Orange You Glad I Said Banana?

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I’ll admit I had a thing against bananas for a while. Something about them having too much sugar. The reality is that I love them and they allow me to consume half a bunch of raw kale without even blinking an eye. In fact, I’m slurping myself into a tropical paradise in my mind when I drink this smoothie.

The Green Orange Banana
1 peeled orange
1 peeled banana (riper = better)
half a bunch of kale
1/2 cup water or kombucha

Optional: 1/2 cup blueberries or 1/2 apple

Put all ingredients in blender, kale on top, and blend until smooth. Slurp away.

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Strawberry Almond Smoothie

StrawberriesStrawberries are in season in CA! I’ve been buying them 3 packs for just $9 or $10 fresh, juicy and sweet from the farmers’ market. A tip for storage: keep them stored flat. If you can get your hands on a non-greasy pizza box, it’s perfect for holding your berries so they don’t mush up.

This smoothie is a great use for homemade almond/nut milk that uses the pulp too! If you use store-bought almond milk, simply throw in a handful of raw nuts instead… at the end if you want to keep something in there to crunch on.

8-10 strawberries
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons almond pulp or 3 tablespoons raw almonds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
dash of vanilla, if desired

What’s so good here? Sounds so simple…photo(14)

This light meal is relatively low in sugar, packed with fiber to keep you feeling fuller longer, and has a healthy dose of good fats from the almonds, to help your body absorb all of the awesome nutrition you’re putting in it (and, fats help tell your body it’s satisfied).

Strawberries are a fabulous source of fiber and vitamin C – this smoothie alone has over 100% of your daily recommended intake! No need to stay with boring orange juice… which has almost no fiber.

Almonds are a source of photo(15)healthy fats and protein as well as vitamin E, great for your skin.

Chia seeds are one of the latest emerging “super foods” and rightfully so – packed with fiber, and a huge array of vitamins and minerals. It’s practically a whole-food supplement supplement!

I garnished this beautiful breakfast with some frozen blueberries and raspberries, and even tried some with my 1/2 avocado for extra fiber and satisfying skin-hydrating healthy fats – YUM! Kept me energized for hours…

Orange Berry Sherbert Shake

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Yes, it’s dairy and sugar-free AND it tastes just like orange sherbert with a refreshing berry twist! Totally magical, I was enchanted when I invented this combo. It brings me back to orange creamsicle summers…

1/2 can coconut milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 large peeled orange (freeze for a thicker shake)
zest from 1/2 orange
splash of vanilla
pinch of salt

Combine and blend until smooth. Top with additional fresh or frozen berries, orange zest, cacao nibs, or shaved chocolate, if desired.

Serves 6-8.

Chocolate Cream for Breakfast

Making healthy food choices and taking really good care of myself is about allowing myself to step into my full potential. It allows me to think clearly, to have tons of energy, to feel light and spontaneous, to put out energy that gets noticed and attracts other like-minded people, to build my business, to give other people the attention they deserve, to show up fully in my marriage, and to show up fully for myself and my own life.

Getting grounded back into that intention and motivation really revs me up! Being healthy should be so delicious that anything else is just silly. Eggs and potatoes and toast? I’m having CHOCOLATE, thank you very much.

So I got up this morning and made this Superfood Chocolate Cream for breakfast in my blender! :) I deserve that kind of satisfaction and goodness!
1 ripe speckled banana
2 tbsp chia
1/4 cup cashews/nut of choice
3/4 cup almond/nut milk of choice and/or water (I used a blend)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
sprinkle of cinnamon
splash of vanilla

 

Blend until smooth. If you like crunchy things, top with goji berries, cacao nibs and/or chopped nuts. This totally filled me up until lunchtime!

I was inspired to make this pudding after a wonderfully warm and sensual time with MyNewRoot’s Superfood Haute Chocolate – check that out for something wonderfully warming and for more information on the health benefits of raw cacao and maca (which will blow your mind)!

Chia is the other superfood in this concoction. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds! And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. Chia seeds also provide complete protein (perfect for vegetarians!), lots of fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Total little miracle seed! And yes, the same seed as in the Chia Pets we all know, but make sure you’re getting food-grade chia for your eating delights…

By the way, this is a great and stellar dessert too, one that won’t spike your blood sugar, thanks to all the fiber, protein and good fats it contains! I’m all about throwing aside meal labels, though, and eating things when your body wants them most! You deserve to live satisfied.

Chunky Tortilla Soup

Make this with ripe raw heirloom tomatoes when they’re in season. It comes out tasting much more summery. Stir in either chicken and/or the beans and corn (which, in combination, make up a complete protein!) to make this a great, hearty soup. To make it hot, add hot sauce or cayenne pepper! Makes about 4 servings.

tortilla chips (if stale, toast briefly in your oven or toaster oven)
1 15-oz can tomatoes with juice, or 2 cups quartered raw tomatoes
2 whole carrots, ends removed (if not organic, peel)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 sweet onion, quartered (optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped

Optional stir-ins:
additional tortilla chips
1/2 – 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/2 – 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1-2 ears)
1/2 – 1 cup black beans (drained)
1/2 – 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

Place the tomatoes and their juice, stock/water (at any temperature you’d like), garlic, onion, chilies, cumin and a small handful of tortilla chips into your blender. For high-powered blenders: Blend on high until steam starts coming from the top. For standard blenders: Blend about 4 minutes, until completely smooth.

Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse in any additional ingredients (including the chips!). Serve in bowls, garnished with cilantro, avocado, and remaining tortilla chips.

If you prefer this soup piping hot, you may transfer it to a pan and heat on the stovetop.

*Shortcut Alert!* I found that Whole Foods carries a small 10-oz can of tomato + jalepeno + cilantro that makes this recipe even simpler… it’s a little less tomatoes, but I find it still makes for a great soup when subbed in.

Refreshingly Tart Green Smoothie

This green smoothie doesn’t give you a sugar rush from the pineapple, mango and banana we so often see. Tropical fruits tend to be very high glycemic, which can give you a quick energy rush, but is usually followed by a crash. Which won’t get you through the day. I think we all need to make it through!

I’ve balanced this smoothie with healthy doses of protein, fat and carbs so you’ll have sustained energy. It uses fruits that are low-glycemic (apples, berries, and peaches/stone-fruit). This smoothie is refreshing from the fresh tart flavors of lemon and berries. I also love adding herbs like basil and parsley to this. Experiment with your own additions (cucumbers, squash?).

Makes 1 serving.

1/2 cup water
juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 tablespoons chia or hemp seeds
1/2 avocado

1-2 stalks celery
2 big handfuls kale or spinach leaves
1 peach, plum or apple, pit/core removed (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen, strawberries are my favorite)

Add ingredients in the order listed above. Always load your blender with liquids on the bottom, solids in the middle and frozen ingredients on top for best blending.

Pulse to start then blend until smooth. When I want some texture to chew on, I add another stalk of celery or a small handful of nuts or whole cooked grains (like brown rice or quinoa) and pulse a few times just to mix through without pulverizing.

*Note that adding black or other deeply pigmented berries may change the color of your smoothie.

Velvety Red Pepper Soup

I love love love this soup! Not as quick, as it requires some cook time, but well worth it. Make a double batch so you have some to freeze. My mom makes this in early autumn and saves it for the holidays when we need a quick easy dinner and more for the crazy holiday winter nights.

Perfect with a dollop of goat cheese and some stale toasted crusty bread rubbed with raw garlic and drizzled with olive oil. For a more full and balanced, meal, I’ve also enjoyed it with brown rice, quinoa, chickpeas, and/or a handful of sunflower or pepitas/pumpkin seeds stirred in. I’ve also fantasized about a fried egg on top! It’s helpful to bring in the important fat and protein elements to make the meal more hearty and sustaining.

5 large red bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 apple, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute peppers, onions, apples, carrots, and olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent but not browned.

Add the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.

If you have the time, allow it to cool a bit. Puree soup in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Be careful, it’s hot!

Return soup to the saucepan, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves 3-4.

Raw Ginger Carrot Soup

4 medium-large carrots, roughly chopped
1/2-1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons miso paste
juice from 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut milk or whole milk plain yogurt
1 cup cold water
fresh black pepper
sprinkle of curry powder (optional)

Put all ingredients into blender, reserving a handful of the carrots. Pulse to start and then blend until smooth. (Bonus points if you throw in a handful of dark leafy greens or parsley!)

Add reserved carrots at end and pulse a few times to break up, but keep it slightly chunky. I like to give myself some texture, something to crunch on.*

Serve with a dollop of yogurt or a swirl of coconut milk. Or take it to go in a jar!

*Chewing is an important part of our digestive process, when we release digestive enzymes in our saliva that begins and aids in the entire breakdown and assimilation of our food. It also signals to our body that we are eating and helps us know to get full. Make a conscious note to chew your soups and smoothies or at least swirl them around your mouth before swallowing.

Creamy Hummus

Hummus is an incredibly simple and cost-effective food to make at home – without that packaged, citric acid flavor that is in almost all grocery store varieties. This one is creamy, smooth and can take on any flavors you want to give it.

1 cloves garlic, peeled
2+ tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 cups or 1 (15 oz.) can cooked garbanzo beans, drained
1 tablespoon tahini or sesame seeds
4-6 tablespoons fresh water (have on hand)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: fresh parsley, cayenne, paprika, cumin, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives, jalapeno or whatever calls your tastebuds…
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients, including 4 tablespoons water or cooking liquid, except for the salt, pepper and any spices you’re using.

Pulse until integrated and churning smoothly. Then blend until smooth. If the consistency is too thick or not integrating, add small amounts of liquid (water or cooking liquid, if from scratch) or more olive oil (my choice!) until desired consistency is reached. (Note that hummus will continue thicken in the refrigerator.)

Add salt and pepper to taste, blending thoroughly and tasting after each addition. When you want to eat it with a spoon, you’ve got it right.

You may also blend any extras at this point. Remember just to pulse until chunked and blended in unless you want everything pureed together.

Serve warm or cold with additional olive oil drizzled over top. For dipping, I recommend chopped raw or lightly steamed vegetables, apple wedges, whole wheat pita, rice or other whole-grain crackers, corn chips… Get creative! Use it as a spread on sandwiches and wraps.

Make Your Own Nut and Seed Milks

Nut and Seed Milks

Nut and seed milks are simple to make, light and refreshing in taste, and cost much less to make than to buy in the store. Plus it isn’t full of sweeteners, thickening agents, artificial flavorings or preservatives. You get to decide what to add and how you want it to taste.

You’ll need a blender, and optional cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve.

1 cup almonds or other nuts, seeds
3 cups water

Optional sweet and flavor:
3-6 dates, pitted or other dried fruit (such as raisins, currants, or berries)
2-4 tsp maple syrup, raw honey or sweetener of your choice (such as stevia)
cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
tiny pinch of salt

Soak 1 cup nuts in about 4 cups of water overnight, anywhere between 8-24 hours is ideal. Soaking neutralizes the naturally-occurring phytic acid found in most nuts, grains and legumes, which can be hard to digest. Discard soaking water or feed it to your plants, who will love it.

Put nuts and 3 cups of fresh water in a blender. Start blender on a low setting and increase to high. Blend for 2-3 minutes. Taste and add any flavorings or sweeteners, blend for another 1-2 minutes until fully integrated. I almost always add dried fruit and a pinch of salt.

At this point, you can serve the nut milk as is, just shake before pouring. There will be small bits floating around. Tasty and nutritious. For smoother milk, set up a piece of cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the milk through to catch the meal.*

Store milk in a tightly sealing jar or container in the fridge for about 5 days to a week.

*You can save this almond meal to use:

  • in cookies or baking recipes
  • as a spread: season with sweet or savory spices or herbs
  • tossed with cooked grains, such as oatmeal or rice, for added protein and a richer flavor
  • mixed in with your oatmeal or cereal

AND BEYOND: Try this process with any nut, seed, oats (cooked or simply soaked) or a mix. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds make great nut milk. Mix and match to find the flavor you like best.