YAWP! (the redemption of the health bar)

slideshow_1YAWP! bars are the best thing to happen since…ever.

Since 2007 I have viewed all “energy bars” with disdain or else voiced ironic and original quotes (and often outright anger) regarding their place in “society” as glorified candy bars, or their infallible ridiculousness as a supposed health food. Continue reading

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Spicy Sautéed Kale with Lime

spicy kale with lime
I love recipe makeovers. Last week I “made over” a Julia Child recipe. This week it’s Martha Stewart. Often recipes makeovers are easy, like in this case, where I only substituted stevia for the honey and lime for the lemon.
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Lettuce Wraps + 2 Types of Hummus

vegan lettuce wrapsPeople regularly ask why I use legumes i.e. chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and the occasional soy product in the recipes I post. This is a complicated question to answer in a brief response to a comment, so it seemed logical to incorporate a more detailed explanation of my diet/lifestyle and whether or not it’s paleo, what I consider paleo, etc. into this post.
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Romaine and Cucumber Salad with Pepitas, Cranberries, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

pumpkin seed romaine cucumber salad
To follow my 5 Salad Dressings ≤ 5 ingredients post, here is a salad ≦ 5. Most ingredients can be found at your average run-of-the-mill grocery store, and the salad as a whole tastes great with my oil-free balsamic vinaigrette.<--more-->
I just now realize how holiday-ish this recipe is. Pumpkin seeds, cranberries…Thanksgiving, anyone? Bookmark it for next fall. Tell your friends.

for the Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried basil
Juice of 1 meyer lemon




This should make enough for two to three meal-size portions of salad. Ingredients in the salad i.e. dried cranberries and garlic have distinct flavor profiles and are meant to stand out. In other words, excess dressing might throw off the balance.

for the Salad:

Ingredients

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded or chopped
2/3 cup shelled pepitas/pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cucumber, finely chopped
1 tsp granulated garlic, or more to taste.

Mix. *Tip: throw all ingredients into a large pyrex container with lid. Cover tightly and shake. Remove lid, add dressing, and shake again. This method works well, and doubles as an arm workout.

*Things to consider: The recipe calls for granulated garlic, not garlic salt. Be sure to observe the difference. Granulated garlic is sold for under $1 per ounce, on the spice rack at Mexican markets or the “Hispanic Foods” section at grocery stores. Look for ajo in 1 or 2 oz plastic packets.

If you buy unsalted pepitas/pumpkin seeds, you might want to add a bit of salt to taste. I used salted pepitas for this recipe, so naturally I didn’t need any extra. To stay on the safe side, avoid the task of determining the perfect ratio. Just provide a salt shaker and everyone can doctor the salad to their liking.




I think this salad is genius, but I’d like to hear other opinions. If you try the recipe, please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

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Lunch in a Jar w/ Fire Roasted Peppers

jar lunch vegan 2

Mason jars work like a charm, in many situations i.e. brown-bagging it to work (unless of course you have to go through a security scanner or your employer bans glass containers). Plastic gladware or tupperware containers fail miserably in comparison, in terms of functionality and sustainability…but if an anti-glassware policy is your office-environment predicament, this recipe can adapt to plastic.

Lunch in a Jar w/ Fire Roasted Peppers

Ingredients

1 7oz can whole fire roasted green chile peppers
4 roma tomatoes
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup cooked black beans
salt to taste, optional



method

In a cast-iron skillet, cook the tomatoes in 1/4 cup water. Add more water if necessary, making sure not to burn the tomatoes but allowing them to brown a little. Add the onions, and use a wooden spoon or spatula to create a paste. The mixture should resemble a thick sauce, but not a purée. This salsa/sauce is one of my favorite foods in the world, and I can’t take credit for the recipe. I tried it for the first time in San Marcos La Laguna, a village on the western shore of Lago Atitlán in the Sololá Department of Guatemala. The copy-cat version featured here pales in comparison I’m sure, but it’s my best attempt thus far.

Transfer the cooked tomato and onion mixture to a bowl. Add a bit more water to the skillet and begin to heat the roasted chiles. If the beans are not warmed yet, or if you are using a can, have them ready to heat after the chiles. Remove the heated chile peppers from the skillet, and place in a separate bowl or on a plate. Heat the beans if applicable. In a jar, layer the tomato sauce and chiles with a thin layer of beans.

jar lunch vegan

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Mint-Infused Berry Smoothie

mint-berry-smoothie

Mint helps to ease cramping and nausea. Sometimes during a detox or cleanse, the body responds with nausea or stomach cramping. While ginger stimulates, mint soothes. Both help in instances of food poisoning or the stomach flu; ginger stimulates the production of bile to move the undigested or offending substance through the system to provide eventual relief, while mint soothes the stomach (making the process less painful).



Mint-Infused Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup frozen raspberries
5 frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
2 cups water
20 fresh spearmint leaves
1 lime (juiced)
a few drops liquid stevia extract, optional, to taste

Method

Combine berries with 1 cup water and purée until smooth. Add the banana, lime juice, and 1/2 the mint (10 leaves). Blend until smooth. Taste-test to determine whether to add more mint leaves. Adjust to your liking, blending after each addition. If desired, add a few drops liquid stevia extract.

Nutritional Info

Per serving (recipe serves 2): 120 Calories; 32 carbs; 1g fat; 2g protein; 9g fiber; 17g sugar.

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Artichoke Dip with Avocado + Kale

kale artichoke dip

Inspiration behind the invention of this recipe stemmed from having a ripe avocado on hand and little more than a can of artichokes and wilted kale leaves, a fork, a couple of plastic containers, and a serving dish or two. Post recipe-development I looked throughout the blogosphere for vegan artichoke-spinach and/or kale dip. Much to my surprise I found several—some of which also use avocado as a base. Differentiating them from the recipe that follows, most call for a blender to combine all the ingredients. In my experience with developing recipes in the past, blenders don’t always function as the optimal appliance in the case of dips or any other dish for which the desired texture resembles something other than a purée. Don’t get me wrong—blenders and food processors work great in many cases, but mostly in the context of specific ingredients or single-ingredient recipes i.e. nut butters, tahini, nut and seed “milk” and “cheese”, vegan alfredo or creme/cream/crema, the mock-guac I blogged about the other day in which I substituted peas for avocado, or the recipe for raw vegan sun-dried tomato & sunflower seed pâté I created in college and would have shared the recipe for years ago if not for the fact that the nearby co-op mysteriously began to sell a pâté identical to it about a month after I invented it—which seemed very ‘twilight zone’ and seemed to border on plagiarism, yet I never shared recipe “secrets” and I certainly hadn’t blogged about it, since of course back then I only blogged on Blogger.com and god forbid, Myspace. I think I had a live-journal also, but that’s beside the point. I wonder if it still exists? Also beside the point. That said, management of one’s social-media persona has morphed into a conundrum that if not properly managed can open a pandora’s box of all the skeletons in one’s closet that suddenly grow wings and orbit your brain like flying monkeys or planets that circle the sun in an alt-universe where you are the sun and desperately want fewer planets to be your responsibility.




Now for the recipe:

Artichoke Dip w/Avocado + Kale

Ingredients

1 x 14oz can artichoke hearts
1 ripe avocado
1 lime
2 Tbsp raw tahini
1 cup baby kale leaves, wilted
cayenne, optional

kale artichoke dip with veggies

Method

Drain artichoke hearts and mash with a fork to achieve a stringy texture. Set aside. Add the avocado and mash. I used a very ripe avocado that was soft enough to scoop out from the skin very easily—so I didn’t need to chop it first before mashing. If the avocado you use feels too firm to mash easily, I recommend chopping it first. However, I don’t know how well a less-than perfectly-ripe avocado would perform in this recipe.

kale artichoke avocado dip close up

Sprinkle in the kale leaves gradually, stirring/mashing to combine with the avocado-artichoke mixture. Squeeze in juice from the lime gradually also, tasting periodically to gauge the flavor. For the cayenne, do the same. Bear in mind that some people might have a different definition of “hot” than you do, if you plan to bring it as an appetizer to a party/gathering, potluck, or food-not-bombs event. It always comes as a surprise when strangers remind me that fewer than 100% of the individuals that populate the earth enjoy cayenne added to everything.

Serve with raw vegetables, and enjoy.

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Holiday Detox Survival Kit, Part 3

edamame

The key to a detox or cleanse lies in the ability to eliminate unnecessary foods and substances. To cleanse from that bottle of Pinot Noir or the sweet potato fries at the hipster establishment you dined at yesterday with an unsuccessful date you paired with via OK-Cupid, you might find yourself at a loss for what to eat or drink while watching reruns of The O.C. and cursing your problems. That’s where easy breezy omni-dieting comes in handy. Continue reading

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Holiday Detox Survival Kit, Part 2

The second addition to the Holiday Detox Survival Kit, this post features the first part of a soup-and-smoothie pairing: Savory Carrot Ginger Soup. Smoothie recipe will follow, in a subsequent post.

Ginger cleanses the body by stimulating digestion and circulation. Its digestive actions help to flush the build-up of waste and toxins in the liver and colon. Its high concentrations of gingerol and shoga, both of which have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, contribute to the production of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes neutralize acids in the body, providing relief from gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

Savory Carrot Ginger Soup

carrot-ginger-soup Continue reading

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