Archive for May, 2013
June 21st might technically be the official start of summer but everyone knows Memorial Day is the real kick off day. As far as I’m concerned summer has started and I’ve been enjoying all the yummy produce it has to offer. I’ve been living off cherries, watermelon, peaches and nectarines for the past few weeks and I’m not looking back! This salad is the perfect combo of summer flavors all wrapped up in one amazing dish. I used nectarines for both the salad and dressing because I had them on hand but peaches would be delicious too! I serve the salad at room temperature but you can easily serve it cold on hot summer days. Enjoy!
For the salad:
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 8-10 stalks asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 peach or nectarine, diced
- 1/3 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 a peach or nectarine (about 3-4 tbsp pureed fruit)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp dried parsley or 3 tbsp fresh parsley
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Place the quinoa and water into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- While the quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes or until the asparagus is bright green and tender. Let cool, cut into 1 inch pieces and place in the mixing bowl along with the quinoa.
- Add the diced onion, fruit and almonds to the bowl and stir to combine.
- In a blender add all the ingredients for the dressing. Process until smooth and drizzle your desired amount over the salad.
- Give everything a stir and serve at room temperature or place in the fridge for 15 minutes to serve cold.
Serves 2 as an entree.
Leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The salad is best when served right away. If you plan to store the leftovers it’s best to do so without the dressing added.
On really hot days that you don’t want to use your oven you can grill the asparagus outdoors on your grill.
Summer is right around the corner and that means picnics, ball games, road trips and more. What do you do when you get hungry? Restaurants that feature whole, healthy, plant based ingredients are few and far between. Peanut butter and jelly is ok for the kids but what about you? I love this pate’ for it’s rich, delicious grown up taste. Spread on your favorite bread with the toppings of your choice and you have the ideal sandwich to pack up and take with you wherever you are headed.
- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
- 1/2 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil or other neutral flavor oil
- 1/2 cup diced yellow or sweet onion
- 1/2 cup diced red, orange or yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced white button or cremini mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp low sodium tamari or soy sauce (use gluten free if needed)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
- 4-6 tbsp water
- In a dry skillet over medium high heat toast the almonds approximately 5 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring often. Remove to the bowl of a food processor and set aside.
- Add the pumpkin seeds to the skillet and toast 3-4 minutes, stirring often until lightly browned. Transfer to the food processor with the almonds. Process 2-3 minutes until finely ground.
- Heat the skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Add the onion, peppers, mushroom and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the vegetables to the food processor along with the tamari, lemon juice, parsley, red pepper flakes and 4 tbsp of the water. Process until smooth. Add the remaining water if needed for a smoother texture.
- Chill before serving. Spread on your favorite bread with a slice of tomato and lettuce, scoop out the insides of roma tomatoes and fill with the pate’, spread onto celery sticks or wrap in lettuce leaves.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Is it just me or does this year seem to be flying by?! I can’t believe we are already coming up on the Memorial Day Holiday. For me, Memorial Day is the official start of cookout season. Burgers, potato salads, grilled corn and juicy watermelon are just a few of my favorite Memorial Day treats. Here is a round up of some of our favorite recipes – perfect for Memorial Day or anytime you’re feeling like having a delicious cookout.
What is green garlic you ask? Green garlic is young garlic that is harvested usually in the spring before the cloves have matured. It looks similar to a scallion with a white bulb and green stalks. The flavor is still very much a garlic flavor but is milder and less bitter. The bulb as well as the stalks can be used in the same way as mature garlic but with a slight variance in the resulting flavor.
Onion and garlic are a perfect combination of flavors and this recipe showcases the fresh mild flavor of green garlic when combined with the sweet caramelized onions and fennel.
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 green garlic bulbs including green stalks (use 2 cloves garlic, minced if green garlic isn’t available)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos or tamari sauce (gluten free if needed)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (gluten free if needed)
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 4 one inch thick slices of a whole grain baguette (gluten free if needed)
- 1/2 – 1 cup daiya mozzarella cheese shreds (optional)
- Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil, onions and fennel. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions and fennel have softened. Lower heat add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are a rich golden brown, approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Add the wine, coconut aminos and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 4-5 minutes until the liquid has reduced to about half.
- Add the thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaves and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering heat the oven to 300 degrees. Brush the baguette slices with the remaining 1 tbsp oil (omit if using cheese). Place on a baking sheet and bake 4-5 minutes, flip over and bake 4-5 minutes more until crisp and lightly browned. If using cheese sprinkle evenly over the toasted baguettes and return to the oven until melted.
- Remove the bay leaves and spoon soup into bowls. Top each with a toasted baguette and serve.
Makes approximately 8 cups.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Here in Southern California we are just a few weeks away from the the start of summer fruit season. Some of my favorite fruits have already starting popping up at the local organic market and my fruit obsession is in serious overdrive. Along with some delicious fruits here are a few other foods I’m loving right now.
Watermelon can help relax blood vessels, improving circulation and gives you a sweet treat with nutrients that benefit your body. Watermelon’s citrulline converts into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and circulatory system.
Watermelon and fresh watermelon juice contain more lycopene and beta carotene than tomatoes and tomato juice do. Dark red watermelons are particularly rich in these protective phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural plant compounds that trigger positive health effects in the body.
Pineapple definitely ranks as one of my top 5 favorite fruits. It’s juicy and sweet and full of health benefits. Can you guess my favorite part of the pineapple? Would you believe it’s the core?! I love the crunchy middle and good thing too – the core is loaded with vitamins and nutrients and is the most nutritious part of the whole fruit!
Just this week my family and I enjoyed our first round of fresh corn on the cob for the season. It was so fantastically good and I’ve been craving more ever since. I’m a big fan of grilled corn hot off the grill but I also love adding to recipes and enjoying it’s sweet flavor. My three favorite corn recipes - Grilled Corn Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing, Summer Sweet Potato Salad with Garlic Dijonnaise and Naked Quesadillas.
4. Summer Salads
I know it’s not technically summer yet but these salads are so delicious and healthy that I’ve started eating them a teeny bit early. I bought my first bag of summer cherries just 2 days ago and while half the bag disappeared on the car trip home I did save enough to make my favorite I’m Just Peachy Salad. A couple of my other favorite summer treats - Smoky Ranch Potato Salad (cause what summer cookout would be complete without a potato salad?!) and Massaged Greens with Avocado Dressing.
5. Homemade Ice Cream
This past week we had a little mini heat wave and summer temps made a brief appearance. It rarely gets really hot here so when it does there is no better excuse to break out some homemade ice cream. Everyone in my family loves this Guilt Free Banana-licious Ice Cream. It’s so easy to make, no ice cream maker needed, and it’s so healthy you won’t feel bad about going back for seconds (or maybe even thirds!).
Summer is fast approaching and if your family is anything like mine it means things are about to get busy. I’m always looking for healthy, tasty, portable snacks that will work whether we are at the pool, in the car or at the park. My family loves this crunchy granola and if you’re a peanut butter fan you will too!
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (gluten free if needed)
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice puffs
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 tbsp coconut nectar
- 1/4 cup Naked Apple Butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
- Place all the oats, brown rice puffs and peanuts in a large bowl and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, oil, coconut nectar, apple butter and vanilla extract.
- Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir well until evenly coated. Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Remove granola from the oven and let cool completely.
Makes approximately 4 cups.
Leftover granola can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days. For longer term storage store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
How many black bean salad recipes are there? I’m not sure, but here is one more to add to the list. It’s no surprise that black bean salad is so popular. You can’t go wrong with it. It has great taste and it’s nutritious. It’s easy to make and economical. This one is my current favorites. I like the surprise of the potatoes and how they add creaminess to the salad along with the avocados in the dressing. Since the avocados contain enough (good) fat on their own there is no need to add any more to the dressing and you still end up with a rich, creamy and flavorful topping.
- 3-4 ears corn, roasted and cut from the cob or substitute approximately 2 cups frozen (thawed) when fresh isn’t available *see notes
- 3 cups cooked black black beans or two 15 ounce cans
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 cups diced boiled potatoes, cooled
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 avocados, pitted and diced
- 3-4 limes, juiced
- 2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp ground chili ancho or to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground chili chipolte or to taste
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp raw honey or coconut nectar (optional)
- In a large bowl combine the fist 6 ingredients.
- Juice 3 limes and place the juice in the bowl of a food processor along with the avocados, 2 tbsp of vinegar, both chili powders, salt and honey. Process until smooth and creamy. Taste and add the remaining lime juice and vinegar if desired. I like lots of lime flavor so I normally use all 4 limes.
- Pour over the black bean mixture and gently stir to combine.
- Chill 30 minutes to an hour and serve.
Makes approximately 6-8 servings.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
*When fresh corn isn’t available to roast you can roast thawed frozen corn in a dry non stick skillet on high heat, stirring often for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, mothers to be, those that have a mother or know a mother. I think that covers about everyone.
What would your perfect Mother’s Day look like? Would you like… breakfast in bed? A day at the spa? Hang out at the beach? A fancy dinner (that you didn’t cook)?
My pick would be to get on a plane and spend the day with my mom planting flowers in her yard. Since that isn’t in the program for this year my next pick would be brunch. It’s a well documented fact what a huge fan I am of brunch.
Since blackberries have been plentiful at the market this past week I thought I would share one of my favorite brunch recipes. Sweet Blackberry Cornbread.
- 1 1/4 cups whole grain yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup neutral flavor oil plus a little to grease the baking pan
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup blackberries, fresh is best but frozen can be used
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 count mini loaf pan or 12 cup muffin pan.
- In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, almond flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt.
- Add the milk, oil and maple syrup. Stir gently until smooth and there are no lumps remaining.
- Pour evenly into the prepared pan. Add approximately 6 berries (about 4 for muffins) to each loaf and poke down into the batter.
- Bake 25 minutes (approximately 20 for muffins) or until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
- Let sit in pan 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm.
Makes 8 mini loaves or 12 muffins.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 2-3 days.
Before becoming the California girl that I am now I first got my start in Michigan where I was born and raised. Long before I switched to a plant based diet I used to love going to a restaurant called Olga’s Kitchen. Olga’s was started in Michigan and most of it’s locations are still located within the state. One of my favorite menu items was Olga’s Snackers. They would cut up pieces of their Olga bread, add a special seasoning mix and bake it until it was golden brown. It’s probably been over 15 years since I’ve eaten at Olga’s so while this recipe may not be an exact copy of their snackers, it’s certainly a delicious snack that everyone will enjoy.
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- a few pinches of red pepper flakes
- 4 pita breads cut into 8 pieces each
- 1-2 tbsp Garlic Gold Oil or other neutral oil of your choice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Add the smoked paprika, garlic, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes to a small bowl and mix well. Set the seasoning aside.
- Brush a small amount of oil on each piece of pita bread and sprinkle with seasoning.
- Place the seasoned pita pieces on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 4 servings.
Leftover snackers can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day in a sealed container.
This Sunday is Cinco De Mayo and we’re here to help you celebrate with some amazingly delicious and healthy recipe ideas. Here are some of our favorite ‘Mexican’ inspired dishes that would be perfect for your Cinco De Mayo celebration.