Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kelp Noodle Salad with Spicy Curry Dressing

I remember watching a cooking demonstration at a grocery store once and the demonstrator added fresh kelp noodles to a stir-fry and I almost screamed out...NOOOOO!  How can you take something so fresh, crunchy and full of interest and turn in into a flat, soggy mess?  Well they I grabbed my bag of kelp noodles and went home to create this fresh, and vibrant dish with lots of flavor and texture.

I used Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles brand and yes, even on the back of their package they recommend you can also use them for a stir-fry, in addition to salads.  Folks, I wouldn't recommend it.  I don't even dress this salad prior to serving and always serve the dressing on the side.  It makes a big difference.  Unlike other sea vegetables such as wakame, arame, dulse, nori, and kombu, kelp noodles have a very neutral flavor and do not taste like the ocean.  So you can pretty much pair them with any sauce.  The best part, all sea vegetables are full of trace minerals, especially iodine, which is an important mineral you should incorporate into your diet if you are vegan.

When you remove the kelp from the bag, give it a good rinse under cold water and drain well.  I then cut the noodles in half just because it's easier to toss with the veggies, but you can leave them long.  For the veggies I used:  thinly sliced carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage, green onion and cilantro.  I also added diced baked tofu for protein and raw chopped almonds for crunch.  Bok choy would be a great addition to this salad, as well as diced mango.   

For the dressing, I really didn't measure the ingredients--just threw everything in the blender, except for the oil and then added the oil slowly until emulsified. 

Spicy Curry Dressing
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1-2 tsp Sambal Oelek (depending of how much heat you like)
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter  
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (for a raw version use Nama Shoyu)
1/4 cup coconut milk
Juice of 1 small lime
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup safflower oil


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Pink Lady

Sweet, tart, refreshing and beautiful...this juice has it all.  Plus it's bursting with Vitamin C and Antioxidants!  I like drinking this juice in the late afternoon when my body needs the perfect pick-me-up...keeps me going until dinner!

I used Pink Lady apples, but Fuji or any pink or red skinned apple will do.  I also used Ruby Red Grapefruit (the redder the better) so that it tones down the bitterness of the grapefruit.  If you can't find a ruby or pink grapefruit then just add a little more apple for sweetness.  This would be great shaken or stirred over ice as a refreshing "mock-tail".  It's been really warm here this week and this has been the prefect afternoon drink!

The Pink Lady
1-1/2 - 2 Pink Lady Apples (depending on sweetness of the grapefruit)
1 medium sized Ruby Red Grapefruit
1/4 or 1/2 Fennel Bulb (depending on size)
2 1/4" slices of red beet

Juice and enjoy chilled or served over ice!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sweet Potato Sunrise

This juice is BIG on (Beta-Carotene-Vitamin A) and Vitamin C, but the key to making it requires a little planning ahead and patience.  Sweet potatoes contain a lot of starch and you really don't want to be drinking a thick chalky substance.  So you need to juice it first and let the juice sit for about an hour so that the starch settles to the bottom of the glass.  The pure juice that rises to the top is mildly sweet with a beautiful orange color that you can now mix with other ingredients.

In addition to carrots I added an orange to the sweet potato elixir, but as soon as cantaloupe comes into season I will be substituting out the orange.  I also added ginger--good for digestion and fresh turmeric root which aids in anti-inflammatory.  A perfect start to any morning!

1 medium-large sweet potato or yam, peeled
3 carrots
1 medium orange, peeled
1" piece of fresh ginger
1" piece of fresh turmeric (optional)

Make sure you peel your sweet potato before juicing.  It will just taste better and give you a brighter juice.  I let the juice sit in the fridge for about an hour and then carefully skimmed off the juice (about 1 cup) without disturbing the chalky sediment on the bottom.  I then juiced all my other ingredients and stirred in the sweet potato.



Monday, March 10, 2014

Chai Spiced Smoothie

I love the flavor of Chai Spice, but caffeine not so much.  Actually, I haven't drank coffee or caffeinated tea in over 30 years.  Whenever I would consume caffeine, I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin and no matter how early in the day I would drink it--I'd be up all night.  So this smoothie tastes like a Chai Latte, but without the caffeine kick.  If you want it caffeinated, then I would steep whole spices (cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and fresh ginger) with a good quality black tea, strain the tea and chill it in the fridge and then add a 1/4 cup of the flavored tea to the smoothie and blend.

In a small bowl mix the following ingredients together:
  • 1 tsp Cardamon
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Start off by adding 1-2 teaspoons of spice mixture to the smoothie.  You can always add more if you want more spice.  Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 small seedless orange (optional, but I love the flavor combination of cardamon and orange)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
For protein add vanilla or plain brown rice protein powder, soaked white chia seeds or hemp seeds!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fresh Tofu Noodle Salad

Even though I am on a juice fast (day 22 and counting) my husband still needs to eat and so I try to make quick and easy recipes so I'm not tempted.  He said that he would go on the fast with me, but he has an intense job and I think that it would be harder for him.  It also helps that we've had warm weather and so I'm not tempted to cook anything.  The meals that I have been preparing hardly utilize the stove and so the smells of cooking are not throughout the house.

I purchased these noodles made of "tofu" at my local Sogo Tofu shop.  They make these noodles fresh daily along with 30 other types of tofu.  You can probably find similar tofu noodles at an Asian market or substitute brown rice or wheat noodles.  

Since I'm trying to keep my food preparation under 15 minutes or less, I just added thinly sliced celery, and julienned carrots and cucumbers.  For the sauce I whisked together in a bowl rice wine vinegar, mirin, low-sodium soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.   Finally, for added flavor I topped the salad with chopped cilantro, green onions and toasted sesame seeds!

Super easy for me...delicious and healthy for hubbby!  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Raw Sprouted Almond Milk

The first time I made homemade almond milk I did not have a nut milk bag and I used a fine mesh strainer and it was a disaster!  It was so thick and grainy that it was like eating porridge.  Actually I don't think I owned my Vitamix at that time and I used a regular blender as well--two big mistakes.  And to top it off I served it with oatmeal...what a mess!  I don't think that my husband really ever recovered from that breakfast and so we have been buying almond milk ever since.

So since I have been fasting and eating (well drinking) really healthy I decided to make my own.  Have you ever read the side of the box of Almond Milk?  If not, here you go:  Filtered Water, Almonds, Calcium Carbonate, Tapioca Starch, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Vitamin A, Palmitate, Vitamin D2 and D-Alpha Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E)...what?  The two ingredients that concern me the most are the Carrageenan and Palmitate.  Carrageenan is a preservative that has been linked to colitis and tumor production in animal studies :-(...Animal studies bum me out)...and, Palmitate is used to add texture to processed foods and is linked to the risk of developing heart disease.  You would probably need to consume an incredible amount of these compounds on a daily basis to be adversely affected, but do we really need all of this stuff in our food?

Now, take a look at the ingredients for homemade almond milk:  1 cup organic raw almonds (sprouted), 3 cups filtered water, 2 pitted dates, 1/4 vanilla bean pod (seeds only), or 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt (optional).  That's it and you can really taste the difference!

To sprout the almonds, I soaked them in filtered water in the fridge for three days, changing the water twice daily (morning and evening).  And to keep it raw, I soaked the dates in water overnight as well so they were soft for blending.  Also while blending, the Vitamix can really heat liquids up if you leave it running for several minutes, so I blended for a minute, turned it off and blended it again to make sure that I stayed below 105 degrees.  This recipe makes about 3 cups of milk.  I wouldn't say that it's cheaper making it yourself, but it is definitely better for you and tastes great too!  Can't wait for my husband to try it in his cereal...I know I will be redeemed!



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Raw Carob-Strawberry Hemp Smoothie

This smoothie is so yummy and with good for you ingredients that I really didn't know what to call about Yummy & Good For You Smoothie!  I don't like smoothies made with fruit, but sometimes in the afternoon around 3-4pm, I seriously need a pick-me up...especially since this is day 19 of my juice fast.

This smoothie isn't sweet at is fruity but not very sweet tasting.  I prefer carob powder over cocoa powder, but a lot of people don't like carob because they are expecting it to taste like chocolate.  Carob is similar to cocoa, but it is naturally sweeter, fruitier, contains less fat and has no caffeine.  I find cocoa powder more bitter and so I always need to add additional sweeteners.  But if carob is not for you then by all means use raw cocoa powder instead.  However, you may need to add more strawberries or dates if you want a sweeter smoothie.

And what makes this smoothie really good for you is the raw hemp seeds...packed with five grams of protein per tablespoon.  And not just any old protein, but a complete protein with all the essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, and Omegas 3 and 6!

So pull out the blender and whip yourself up this delicious and nutritious smoothie for an afternoon pick me up...and guaranteed the kids will love it too!

Yummy & Good For You Smoothie

1 cup organic raw almond milk (I make my own and I'll post the recipe tomorrow)
1 small organic banana
2 organic strawberries
1-2 tbsp organic raw carob powder (I used two), or raw cocoa powder
2 tbsp organic raw hemp seeds
1/2 cup ice


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kiwi-Cucumber Cooler

Well it's day 15 of my juice fast/cleanse and I'm doing great!  I get a little hungry now and then but for the most part I feel really good.  I have a lot of energy, I've lost 10 pounds and believe it or not the whites of my eyes are brighter!  Which scares me a little bit...was there something wrong with my liver before I went on this fast?  Anyway, at least I'm going in the right direction.

I don't know how long I will remain on this--I just take it day by day but most likely I'll stay on this course for 30 days.  To keep the weight loss from slipping any further I've added more smoothies to my diet.  I drink a high protein smoothie every day now instead of every other day.  And I've also added a savory vegetable broth as well.  Some times I want something hot and soothing, especially since we've had a lot of rain lately.

Also, I try and change up my juices everyday, but I always include a "green juice" of some sort and alternate certain juices if they have higher sugar content such as beet and carrot, or sweet potato and orange.  I also keep track of the amount of sugar/carbs, protein and fiber in an app on my iphone.  It helps me track if I'm using too much fruit in my juices and smoothies.  But for the most part, I follow the 3:1 ratio of veggies:fruit.  However, if I have four juices a day, then the fruit can add up and so I always drink a pure vegetable juice as one of my juices.

Kiwi-Cucumber Cooler 

3 or 4 kiwi ripe kiwi depending on size
1 cucumber
1/4-1/2 bunch spinach
5 sprigs of mint
1/4-1/2 small lime (I wanted to use Key limes but the store didn't have any)
1/4 cup coconut water

I like peeling the kiwi because it keeps the juice vibrant green but you can juice the skin.  Once all the ingredients are juiced, I stir in the coconut water.  If you want it thicker you can blend in fresh coconut meat or an avocado.  This will also be a great refreshing summer drink served over ice pool side!