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Adaptogenic Iced Matcha Latte

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I am not always a trend follower when it comes to all the fancy powders and potions in the world of wellness but as someone who has been looking for a less filling but sustaining breakfast to suit my get-up-and-go lifestyle of late (a-la bulletproof coffee) I decided to jump on the super-food fortified beverage bandwagon.

adaptogenicmatchalatte
adaptogenicmatchalatte

This creamy, earthy, sustaining iced matcha latte is packed with all the things that make me feel my best plus a few new additions that I am still experimenting with. I love it because if I drink it in the morning before I run off to teach yoga it keeps me full and full of energy well after class without weighing me down (and if you practice hot yoga, you know how important that is). As always I encourage you to make this recipe your own - if you don't have all the superfoods I list below use what you have, what you know makes you feel your best, or heck, skip them all together - because as I say, " all plant foods are superfoods.".

Here's what I've got goin' on:

Matcha Green Tea Powder: Clean caffeine and rich in antioxidants. Unlike coffee, the energy you get from matcha is a slow build rather than a buzz. In my own personal experience I do feel better after drinking high quality matcha vs. coffee; it feels more "natural" and less intense.

TBH, matcha was never my favorite flavor but I've been enjoying baking with it lately (check out my matcha tea cake and matcha pancakes) so I decided to try my darnedest to make a delicious drink - and I hit it out of the park with this, if I do say so myself. I am not sure how lovely this would taste hot but I really enjoy it as a cold beverage.

MTC or Coconut Oil: MTC or medium-chain triglycerides is a type of fatty-acid most commonly found in coconut oil that helps to sustain energy and control hunger. Now, if you follow my blog you'll know I am not a huge fan of processed/refined foods - and yea, if you didn't know, oils are just that! I was interested in experimenting with MTC oil as I work to balance my hormones due to some long term symptoms I've been experiencing - more on that in a future post - but I do love how rich and creamy the oil makes this drink plus it adds a hit of calories which is what helps to keep me full. Due to the link between oils like this and certain popular means of weight loss I do want to say: I think the 'keto' diet  is absolutely absurd - you can't restrict an entire macronutrient group and expect to gain any long term benefits. Just eat real food. 

Ashwagandha Powder: This was another thing I incorporated into my diet in an attempt to balance out my hormones and reduce my bodies reactions to stress. It is relatively flavorless so it doesn't add anything there but I do love it's supposed benefits which include...

  • Supports a healthy immune system*1, 2
  • Calms mental processes*2
  • Fosters healthy sleep patterns*1
  • Benefits a healthy reproductive system in both males and females*3, 4
  • Supports sustained energy levels, strength, and vitality, including with physical activity*
  • Supports a healthy back and joints*3
  • Promotes thyroid health*
  • Promotes healthy functioning of the adrenals*

*info from Banyan botanicals

My personal jury is still out on if ashwagandha is helping any or if it's more of a placebo but with roots in ayruveda (a yogi's healthcare system of choice) I like to think it is.

Maca Powder: The yin to ashwagandha's yang. It's an adaptogen meaning it can help the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job or illness. This root like vegetable in powder form is one of the most popular superfoods around and it's no wonder why with benefits like enhanced energy, mood, memory and it's help in boosting female and male sex hormones.

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As noted above, please take away or add anything you feel would make this latte something that feels good in your body - there's plenty of adaptogenic powders and superfood potions out there now and a recipe like this is a great way to experiment with them to see how/if they benefit you!


Makes: One 16oz. serving (or two 8oz. servings) • Prep Time: 5 minutes


Ingredients

  • 14-16 oz. unsweetened plant based milk (I used almond)
  • 1.5 tsp. ceremonial grade matcha powder
  • 1 tsp. MTC oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ashwaganda powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. maca powder (optional)
  • Sweetener to taste (I used a bit of liquid stevia but maple syrup or agave are both great additions)
  • Dash of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom or adaptogenic superfood powder (optional)
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Pro-Tip: For a slightly less filling beverage, you can cut the amount of plant based milk in half and sub water - the result will be slightly less creamy but still delicious.


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, except for the ice and combine on high until well combined and frothy - apx. 30 seconds. 

Add ice cubes to a glass and pour your latte over- you should have a nice layer of foam at the top. Enjoy slowly!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Summer Shortbread Cookies with Edible Flowers

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I believe in eating well ...but that doesn't always mean the same thing. With the exception of no animal products ever (I just don't see them as food), sometimes 'eating well' can look like a marcobiotic bowl full of kale, fermented veggies and seaweed and other times 'eating well' is an entire of plant-based pizza if that's what I am really craving - I try to avoid the distinction between 'bad' and 'good' and instead focus on what feels right in my body at the time. 'Eating well'  means caring for yourself, and that looks very different from day to day. I believe in trying to strike balance through food and I don't think you achieve that my making hard and fast rules because, well, rules are for breaking. Despite my moniker, I don't believe in limiting yourself to 'clean' foods all the time - for me, 'clean' is a feeling of peace and clarity not eliminating carbs or sugar or fat. This is important for me to stress because as I dive deeper into my business I never want to be about one particular way of eating or living as 'the answer' for all - we all have our own path, or own past and our own preferences. Balance, tolerance and loving acceptance are huge in my life. 

I never want anyone to feel bad about food. Food is to be enjoyed. To me, its divine, its alchemy, its magic. Food can heal ... and I'm not just talking about kale, I think a cupcake or a fried mac and cheeze ball can be just as healing as a steamed bowl of greens - it all depends on what you need - physically, emotionally, psychologically - at that point in time.  I don't believe in shaming yourself for eating an entire chocolate bar if it's what you really want. I don't believe in limiting yourself if you're in tune with what you want. Just like movement (I teach yoga if you didn't know), I believe in food as a tool of exploration - a way to observe what feels good, what does not, a way to find joy in the simple things, a way to nourish and grow. 

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With all of that said, here is a recipe that may not be thought of as healthy but the process of making these cookies was healing for me and exactly what I needed. I'd seen this concept bouncing around the internet recently and this morning I got hit with the sudden urge to test it out and these turned out perfectly. Well, perfectly imperfect and exactly what shortbread cookies should be -light, crumbly, crisp and slightly sweet. Perfumed with rose water, lemon juice and edible flowers these are not only visually stunning but taste divine as well. I've been really struggling lately, if I am being honest, but the process of making food (especially for others) gets me fully present, grateful and back on my path.

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Give these simple, easy cookies a try and let me know how you like them.


Makes: 16 cookies • Prep Time: 10 min • Cook Time: 20-22 minutes


  • 2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour (you could use GF flour, spelt or whole wheat with mixed results)
  • 1/4 cup stevia/sugar baking blend (use 1/2 cup regular sugar, if substituting) 
  • 1 cup + apx. 2 tbsp vegan butter or margarine (you could sub room temp. coconut oil but I have not tested this)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1 tsp. lemom juice
  • 1 tsp. rose water extract *optional
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup edible flowers

PRO TIP: I bought my edible flowers through a food distributor but you can find small packages at health food stores or forage your own. There's plenty of edible flower varieties - here's some suggestions.


Preheat the oven to 350*F. 

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt together using a whisk. Measure out 1 cup of slightly cold to room temp. vegan butter and use your fingers to evenly work it into the flour - it should resemble a course meal or sand after about a minute or so. Add in the lemon juice, rose water and vanilla. Use your hands to once again bring the dough together - it will feel very crumbly but should press into a ball when squeezed in your fist. If this is not the case, add another tablespoon or two of vegan butter, being careful not to over work the dough - it should still be very dry and not sticky in any way. 

Note: You could also mix in a variety of different flavorings and superfoods into your dough - lemon zest, blood orange, chia, turmeric powder, ginger powder, cacao powder, maca, cortaceps - make it your own!

Transfer your dough onto a well floured surface and form it into  rough circular mound. Use a rolling pin (I don't have one, I use a clean glass jar) to press and roll the dough out into an even 1/2" round. As you are working, sprinkle over your edible flowers and use the rolling pin to gently press them into the surface of the dough. 

Working delicately, use a small circular cutter (I used a small glass juice cup that was apx. 2.5" in diameter) to press out your cookies. Add them to a parchment lined and coconut oil sprayed baking sheet. You don't have to worry about how far you place them apart because these cookies have no spread and no rise! Once you've cut as many cookies as you can from the first round of dough, gather it back up and roll it back out with more flowers - continue cutting out cookies and continuing this process until there's little to no dough left. 

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes and then give them a turn in the oven to ensure even baking. Cook for a total of 20-22 minutes - you should be able to pick the cookies up without them crumbling and they should be slightly golden brown on the bottom. Allow to cool fully before enjoying. They store well in the fridge for up to a week! 

Note: Due to the drying nature of the oven, these cookies do look better prior to baking so take a photo or two (lol) but I love the light perfume the flowers give the finished product - you can always garnish with a little more flower petals right before you're ready to serve. 

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Eating Seasonally: Celebrating and Exploring our Deeper Connection to Seasons through Food

eating seasonally

Eating Seasonally

This post is intended to function as a comprehensive resource for LCK's 'Let's Chat' workshop organized by Jennie Fresa Beauty in Madison, CT on May 22, 2018. It was an honor and a pleasure to connect with all of you- please do not hesitate to contact me with questions! Scroll down to the bottom for full recipes of the dishes that were served!


Think about it: You gain and sustain your energy through the food that you eat. What you take in from a nutritional perspective makes up so much of who you are. Food sends messages to your body -  communicating and regulating everything from your hormonal balance, to your nutrient absorption, to your thoughts. As a matter of fact, we have a “second brain” in our guts (article linked below)! Matching your energy to that of the season can allow you to be more present, balanced, mindful and aware in your daily life. Not only that, but you through matching your internal makeup to that of the external environment allows your body to be more in alignment which builds natural beauty and vibrancy from the inside out.


First, find your why:

When I feel uninspired, my first course of action is to bring it back to my 'why'. There are SO MANY reason why it benefits us to eat seasonally aside from the spiritual and health connections  - so here are some of mine to help get you inspired!

Why eat seasonally/locally?

  1. Support your local growers to support the local economy

  2. The food is more affordable because it’s in abundance

  3. Decrease your carbon footprint, food waste and plastic use

  4. The further food travels the more nutritional value it loses. The average farm-to-plate travel distance in the U.S is 1500 miles sometimes traveling up to 9,000 miles to get to you!

  5. Nature knows what it’s doing - seasonal food tastes best

  6. Your food is tailored to the same environment that you are

  7. Slowing down to make seasonal eating at priority helps you feel more connected to your plate, to your body and to the seasons themselves

What is your why?!


The Five Pillars of Seasonal Eating

  1. Eat what’s in season - local, colorful, fresh, convenient, affordable

  2. Eat foods in their whole form - keep it simple

  3. Source, prepare and eat mindfully - use intuition, intention + gratitude

  4. Eat a balanced, wide variety of whole foods


Beauty and health is built from the inside, out:

What about if I asked you to show me your beautifying ritual? You'd probably grab some face masks, makeup or high-vibe oils, right?! But what if I told you that what you put IN your body is just as important as what you put ON it. And no - I am not talking only about supplements, either! Vitamins and minerals are best absorbed by the body when we get them from whole plant foods - the way that nature intended. Albeit great marketing by the pharmaceutical companies, if we really think about it, it's illogical to go through the trouble of extracting vitamins and minerals from the earth and condensing them into pill form. If we simply eat whole foods we receive better delivery, absorption and assimilation of the bodies essential beauty compounds like amino acids, complex proteins, antihistamines, probiotics, prebiotics, UV protectants, free-radical inhibitors, vitamins and minerals. It is even true that many fruits and veggies are rich in specific combinations of these compounds that are only absorbed with the others present (the vitamin C content in kale, helps your body to absorb the veggies' rich iron count, for example). 

According to research from the book ‘Eat Pretty’ by Jolene Hart, food and lifestyle can positively or negatively affect up to 80% of your bodies DNA processes. It is commonly noted that we have a second brain in our gut that processes nutrients as well as emotions. In other words, the way you treat yourself through food can help to determine your health and wellbeing for the rest of your life. I like to look at food as the ultimate tool for wellness - treating my body better though food is my first defense against illness and dis-ease. The closer I get to my food by choosing it intentionally, preparing it healthfully and eating it mindfully I am better able to slow down and notice. I have come to know myself better by eating seasonally and that is the ultimate gift.

 

Let’s talk: Your Seasonal Body

We are seasonal creatures made to flow with the seasons! Our bodies crave different things at different times of the year to keep us balanced - warm and nourishing in the winter, hydrating and cool in the summer . Think of how desirable a watermelon is on a hot, humid day vs. digging into one during a winter storm. Humans are adaptable, opportunistic creatures - meaning we are literally made for seasonal changes. Ever notice how chilly it feels after the first fall frost, but come March you’re fine wearing flip flops if the temp peeks above 40*? Let your body be your guide when it comes to eating seasonally.

 

The Seasons as a Cycle: An Ayurvedic Perspective

Ayurveda, yoga's 5,000 year old sister science explains the real-life applications of living a spiritual life and although it's roots an in India (a climate very different to our own) I find a lot of season-based inspiration in it's teachings. First of all, ayurveda looks at the seasons as well as the bodies different process as a fluid cycle rather than separate and distinct - this helps us to see everything from a more holistic point of view. In ayurveda, rather than seeking a perfect and pristine state of being we learn that our bodies are always in flux and balance is a teetering scale rather than a steady state. It's teachings also instruct that we can balance our dominant qualities through holistic self-care practices - eating simply, moving in ways that feel good, and by consistently showing up for ourselves.

To find out more about ayurveda, and how certain foods interact with your constitution click here

 

Let’s Talk: Eating Un-local, but still seasonal produce

We live in a world where eating local, seasonal food is not always practical. For eons, it was the only way but in modern day we are lucky enough to have fresh fruits and vegetables from places like Argentina and Australia available here in Connecticut year round. I like to go by the GOOD/BETTER/BEST rule when it comes to seasonal but non-local produce - if I am craving something sweet, ripe and  juicy and find a mango in my market from Mexico that is GOOD, if I am craving the same thing but find a Cantaloupe from the Carolinas instead that is BETTER, and if I find a local watermelon at a farm stand that is BEST. That being said, listen to your body - if you want the mango, eat the mango. Mangoes are in season in the northern hemisphere starting in June so from a broad perspective, you’re right on target. We are very lucky to have these foods available to us, so savor them as such. When in doubt as to a particular fruit or veggies’ seasonality, do a quick google search while in the store based on the country of origin on the sticker: “Hey Siri, when are mangoes in season in Mexico?”. I do like to draw the line between hemispheres though - if you’re getting strawberries from Argentina in February, we can almost guarantee they will be unripe and flavorless - opt for frozen instead or find yourself a fruit was likely picked more recently and closer to where you are (California dates and oranges are great in February).

Many varieties of fruit and vegetables that have a certain growing season are now grown in controlled greenhouses year round and they taste consistently great! But, are these items technically “in-season” year round? I think this is for each person to decide on their own as a case by case basis because who doesn’t love a little bit of avocado toast in January, am I right?!

 

Let’s Talk: Organic vs. seasonal vs. non-organic produce

By now most of us know that it’s better to choose locally grown over the organic label. Many small, local farms don’t have the money or the time to acquire the proper certifications to label their food organic - in the case of farmers markets and roadside stands, just ask your vendors about their growing conditions - oftentimes they use organic methods. When it comes to choosing between organic and non-organic - I again like to follow the GOOD/BETTER/BEST rule. If you can afford the organic option by all means go for it, but if eating organic means that you have to spend your full paycheck just to enjoy an avocados and tomatoes - go for conventional. Yes, organic is BEST but conventional fruit and veg is BETTER than fast food or processed options.

 

Let’s Talk: Eating Seasonally in Cold Weather

Although we are in the height of summer now, we do live in a somewhat extreme climate of hot and cold. As we discussed earlier, if we listen to our bodies we tend to discover that we crave warm, nourishing, cooked foods in the winter and cool, hydrating, raw foods in the summer. The internal body matches the external world. Now, we all know that not much grows in the northeast in the dead of winter but that doesn’t have to stop you from eating seasonally. Again, I ask you to refer to the GOOD/BETTER/BEST rule here. While cleansing might be all the rage come January 1st - I urge you to use caution in committing to a week long cold-liquids detox as your body craves warmth and nourishment. Instead opt for a soup cleanse (yes, they exist) or if you must juice, be sure to supplement with warm herbal teas or broths.


HOW TO EAT SEASONALLY

Let’s talk: Gathering from the earth A.K.A Foraging

Connecticut has a variety of for herbs, weeds, flowers, mushrooms and more that, if I identified properly, can be picked, eaten and use in a wide array of medicinal and gourmet applications.

For more information on herbalism and foraging in CT click here.

Or attend Herbstalk 2018, in Somerset, MA with me on June 2, 2018!


Let’s talk: Growing

The spring and summer in Connecticut is ideal for growing an entire garden full of food with minimal to moderate effort - so many herbs, flowers, veggies and fruits do well in our climate.

For a comprehensive 'how-to' of what to plant and when in Connecticut, click this link.


Let’s talk: Sourcing/Shopping

Here is a comprehensive short list CT shoreline-specific seasonal, local fruits and veggies!

Farmers Markets -

  • Madison Farmers Market, on the town green | May 4-Oct 26 | Fridays | 3pm-6pm
  • Wooster Square Farmers Market by City Seed, New Haven | April 7-15 | Saturdays | 9am-1pm
  • Downtown New Haven Farmers Market by City Seed | Opens June 27 | Wednesdays | 11am-2pm
  • Chester Farmers Market, Main St. Chester | June 10-Oct 14 | Sundays | 10am-1pm

Community Supported and Agriculture/ Traditional Farm Shares -

  • CT Farm Fresh Express • East Haddam
  • Bittablue Farm • Killingworth
  • Barberry Hill Farm • Madison

Grocery Stores -

  • FoodWorks • Guilford + Old Saybrook
  • Bishop’s Orchard Farm Market • Guilford
  • Fresh Market • Guilford
  • Don’t forget about large conventional grocery stores - they carry local produce at affordable prices  !

A Short List of some Spring/Summer Skin Foods Grown Locally in the North Eastern US

I choose some of my favorite nutrient dense, flavor packed foods to feature in the list below. When we are eating for the seasons it's important to match what we consume with what we crave that time of year - all of these fruits and veg and water-rich (to hydrate you in the heat), full of fiber (to keep your tummy tame), and loaded with vitamins (for glowing, healthy skin).

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Cantelope
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Lemons
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Watercress

Make it last:

The funny thing about seasonal eating is that it is a bit of a 'hurry-up-and-wait' type of process. We tend our tomatoes for months, sprouting, watering, nurturing. We patiently watch their flowers bloom, their stalks thicken, their green fruits begin to grow for what seems like years and then, all of the sudden, BAM, you have 400 ripe tomatoes all at once. You have more than you know what to do with! Here are my tips to making your seasonal produce last, thus extending your time to enjoy them.

  1. Freeze it at the peak of ripeness! Most produce freezes rather well, especially if you plan to cook it down or blend it in a smoothie!
  2. Bulk prep your food for the week - clean and chop all your produce so that it's ready for an on-the-fly salad or stir fry.
  3. Teas - throw a little rosemary, lemon and honey together for an incredible combo!
  4. Dry your herbs or edible flowers (like camomile) for use in soups, medicinal teas and tinctures - most of the time its as simple as tying them up in a cool dry room and then rehydrating them in hot water.
  5. Jams, compotes, sauces, chutneys and preserves - easier than you might think
  6. Fermented foods - krauts, kimchi, yogurts, kombuchas
  7. Quick or slow pickles - cucumbers, asparagus, beans, root veggie
  8. Juicing - use up boat loads of veg in a satisfying way (check out my D.I.Y juice cleanse ebook for more)

Let’s Talk: Listening to Your Body

Be honest with yourself - at the end of the day even if it’s gluten free, vegan, calorie free, fat free, etc. if it doesn’t increase your energy or make you feel good, listen to that! We are unique and individual and something that sits well with the person next you might not be the best thing for your body. Be aware of the cues your body is giving you through energy, mood, digestion, weight, strength and yes, even smell. :) 


Local Resources

Ayurvedic Resources

Articles and Books

Equipment Resources

Spring/Summer Recipes:

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Eating Seasonally: Pea and Basil Pesto Cucumber Canapes with Sun Dried Tomatoes

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I'll admit it. I am not an appetizer person. It's not that I don't like the idea of them but, I have a big appetite and honestly, I'd rather just get to the full-plate of food which is why I never really feature them here on the blog. That said, the first time I made this app I pretty much ate a dinner sized portion so I guess, if you're like me, you could do that too.

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My pea pesto is somewhere in between a thick pesto and garbanzo-free hummus - rich, creamy, fresh and packed with flavor. It is loaded with the good stuff - brain boosting walnuts, 'cheesy' nutritional yeast, refreshing citrus, sweet basil and even some very sneaky good-for-you greens. It starts with a lowly bag of frozen peas and transforms into something wonderful in the food processor. I spread it thick over bias-cut cucumber slices (would be just as good over crostini) and top it with fresh or smoked sun-dried tomatoes for a truly special app that tastes like a sinful slice of pizza but with an ingredient list that is as clean as can be. 

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Makes: 30 Canapes • Prep + Asembly Time: 30 min


PEA AND BASIL PESTO

  • 20 oz. bag of frozen petite peas, thawed to room temperature 
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup dandelion or spinach greens, de-stemmed *optional
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, pine nuts OR pumpkin seeds
  • the juice of 1 small lemon
  • salt to taste

To make the pesto, add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse til a thick, smooth consistency has formed. You may have to scrape the sides down a few times to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

PRO-TIP: I recommend making this pesto day-of. Even with the addition of lemon juice, basil can tend to brown as it is exposed to air for a longer period of time.

TO ASSEMBLE

  • 2-3 english cucumbers, cut on the bias into 30 rounds
  • Sliced fresh tomato to garnish OR julienne diced sun-dried tomatoes (find the smoked variety if you can)

Use a rounded table spoon of pesto on each canape. Arrange them on a large tray and top with fresh or sun dried tomatoes. Serve room temp or chilled. 

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Eating Seasonally: Raw Pad Thai Salad with *Peanut-Free* Dressing

This salad is not just a salad. It's everything. Am I being dramatic? I am. But keep scrolling and you'll see what I mean.

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This salad is something so special. With a soft-spot for Thai flavors, I've eaten my fair share of this traditionally heavy, salt-laden dish in the past and yea, its amazing. But I would argue that THIS is almost better. My take on raw Pad Thai has the same flavor profile as it's noodley-counterpart but it's fresh, crunchy and leaves me feeling light and energized. 

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If you follow my blog, the sauce recipe should look familiar to you as I have shared it a few times. Usually I make it with powdered peanut butter or tahini but I really love this almond butter variation.

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This is the perfect way to use up all the veggies in the back of your fridge, or your new CSA box or to try something new you see at the farmers market with minimal risk (it's covered in bomb-ass sauce after all). It is slightly labor intensive with all that julienne peeling and chopping but it is SOOO worth it. 

P.S- Do not skip the addition of raw corn here! It's a summer staple that adds a really refreshing hint of sweetness!

Give this nutrient-rich, full-flavor salad a try and let me know how you think it stacks up to the original Pad Thai!

raw pad thai

Serves: 2 'dinner' size portions • Prep Time: 30 minutes


FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 medium zucchini/summer squash, julienned 
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green/Napa cabbage
  • 3/4 cup raw corn kernels 
  • 3/4 cup raw veggies of choice, julienned or thinly sliced (celery root, asparagus, beets, jicama, etc.) *optional
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. mint, chopped

Julienne, spiralize and/or chop your clean veggies and herbs. Add them all to a large bowl suitable for tossing. A julienne peeler (linked about) makes light work of this task.The goal is the get a diverse range of textures just like in a traditional noodle-based Pad Thai so opt for a few different methods when it comes to slicing your veggies.


FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup unsalted almond butter or tahini (for a nut-free option)
  • 1/4 cup  fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos OR Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 2-4 tbsp. water (depending on how thin your almond butter is)
  • 2-3 tsp. maple syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1/2" knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1" piece of lemon grass *optional 
  • 1-2 tsp. sriracha or other asian-style chili sauce *optional
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high til well combined. Sample and adjust seasonings to taste. Stores well in a glass container in the fridge for well over a week.

NOTE: This dressing will thicken slightly as it sits but you can always stir in more acid (lime juice) or water to thin in out.

PRO-TIP: I like to make a double (or even triple) batch of this sauce. The recipe above makes just as much as you need for these two salads BUT it can be tricky to get that small of an amount blending in a conventional size blender. Making more than enough of this is great because you can always store it in the fridge to use on salads later in the week, or to add to a nourishing and warm rice bowl. Although, if you have a nutri-bullet or something similar, whipping up a small batch should be a breeze.


FOR GARNISH

  • Sprinkle of cilantro and mint
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoon chopped dry roasted pumpkin, almonds, cashew or pistachio 
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Right before you're ready to serve toss the dressing through the veggies. You may want to reserve a bit of the dressing (for dipping) or if you don't like a lot of sauce. 

Garnish with chopped nuts, seeds, herbs and black sesame for an authentic look.

PRO-TIP: Be sure to toss just dressing into the veggies right before you serve. The acid in the sauce will break down the thinly sliced veggies over time and NO ONE likes a mushy raw pad thai. Make note of this if you are prepping salad for the week!

*recepie inspired and informed by Oh She Glows!

 

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Eating Seasonally: Rosey Rhubarb Cobbler Breakfast Parfait

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Tastes like dessert but eats like breakfast? I am so in love with this part-cobbler part-parfait and I think you will be too. It comes together in a few easy steps and once prepped, it assembles in mere minutes. It just screams 'summer is almost here' with a combo of ruby-red compote, fresh zingy yogurt and chewy-crunchy raw-nola -granolas raw (and totally addictive) cousin. 

When summer starts to roll around I star to crave something lighter than my usual oats for breakfast, but right now, we're in that silly in-between-time when it's still too cold for an AM smoothie. Sometimes I go for a simple bowl of fruit, but lately, THIS has been my go-to - I still get my fiber-rich oats and I get to enjoy a whole slew of other delicious gut-friendly stuff too! 

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Rhubarb is only around for a few short weeks in my area so I am make sure to take advantage of it while it's here. A powerful digestive aid that is loaded with vitamins and minerals, I pair this veggie with it's classic counterpart - the strawberry, which are just coming into season. My compote sets itself apart slightly with perfume of rose water (which can be found here) and chia seeds - which help to naturally thicken the sauce as it cools.

I am so excited for you to scroll below and check out my raw-nola recipe. It creates the 'crumble' of this 'cobbler' but it requires no oven and it's super easy, quick and totally customizable. I simply add all my favorite dried fruits, nuts, seeds, seasonings and oats to a blender - pulse a few times and voila! 

Let me know if you make this for dessert...err...I mean, breakfast! :) Enjoy! 

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Serves: 5-7* • Prep Time: 20 minutes

*Prep ingredients for a full week and assemble your parfaits day of! Also makes an excellent brunch item to share!


STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COMPOTE

  • 3 medium stalks of rhubarb, cleaned and sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 pint of strawberries, cleaned and diced in quarters
  • Apx. 1/4 cup water
  • Sweetener to taste (I used about 3 tbsp. of maple syrup)
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp. food grade rose water

Add chopped rhubarb and berries along with a little bit of water into a small saucepan on medium heat. Allow the ingredients to cook down together, it will happen rather quickly. If the bottom of the pan dries out before the ingredients soften, add a bit more water, a little at a time. Once the rhubarb breaks down and the mixture appears quite liquid turn off the stove and remove from the heat. Allow the pan to cool slightly and then stir in sweetener to taste, chia seeds and rose water. Serve warm or transfer to an airtight container to chill in the fridge - keep in mind the pectin in the berries and the fiber in the chia will allow the compote to thicken as it cools! Keeps for 4-5 days - also great on toast, on top of oatmeal or enjoyed warm over waffles.


POWER PACKED RAWNOLA

  • 6-8 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 4-5 large dried figs, stems removed
  • 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds, walnuts or pecans (or a mix of any nuts you desire)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom *optional
  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats

Add your pitted dates and stemmed figs to a food processor along with the larger nuts and half of your oats - pulse until the dates, figs and nuts are fully broken up and appear 'granola' like in texture and size. Add in the rest of the oats as well as all other ingredients and pulse just to combine. Mixture should appear crumbly, but it will pull together when pressed between your fingers. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Store in an air tight container - keeps for weeks in the fridge! Also great eaten alone as a snack or on top of a smoothie bowl!


HOMEMADE COCONUT YOGURT VIA MINIMALIST BAKER

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk* (best brands include Thai Kitchen and Whole Foods 365)
  • 2 vegan-friendly probiotic capsules* (at least 50 billion IU)

Instructions here (keep in mind this needs a few days to ferment). If your making this dish day of, use a store bought alternative - my favorite is LAVVA brand but Kite Hill, CoYo and So Delicious also make good, easy-to-find dairy-free alternatives. You could also serve up some chia seed pudding as this layer of your parfait to take the yogurt out of the mix.

TIP: Dairy-free yogurts don't have the protein content that conventional yogurts do - to add in some more power, I have often mixed my dairy-free yogurt with a tbsp. of two of vanilla protein powder - in addition to the added nutrition, it also helps to thicken the yogurt substantially for more of a 'greek yogurt' consistency. 


PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:

Layer apx. two inches of your cooled compote at the bottom of a jar, cup or other glass vessel. Then add in apx. 2 inches of rawnola and top with apx. 2 inches of plant-based yogurt or chia seed pudding. Add fresh berries or other fruit on top and sprinkle with a bit more rawnola for garnish.

Pro Tip: The rawnola can get a little bit soggy if you let these guys sit too long, which I don't mind because its so full of fun textures but for best results layer these up right before serving!

 

LOVE THROGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

 

 

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Matcha Coconut Sponge Cake with Chocolate Ganache

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Matcha Coconut Sponge Cake with Chocolate Ganache

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Light, fluffy, moist and just the slightest bit sweet. A double entendre of sorts - a tea cake, made of good-for-you green tea! This traditional Brit-inspired springy, spongey cake is perfect with your 'cuppa' - enjoyed morning, noon, or night and it get's it special texture from a super unique ingredient! The thinnest layer of chocolate ganache and earthy green tea make the flavor profile light, earthy and refreshing.

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This is the vegan cake for people who don't like vegan cake. For people like my dad - who usually has an initially adverse reaction to anything I bake. He often takes a bite and says "it's nice, but you can tell it's vegan.", to which I usually reply, "good!"...I mean, that's kinda the point. But I know what he means, vegan baked goods tend be to slightly dense and more moist due to the omission of eggs. But, no sir, not this cake! This cake is light and fluffy and rises pretty high thanks to the use of baking soda, baking powder, self rising flour AND whipped aquafaba - the magical liquid found in your lowly can of chic peas. If you want to know more about this wonder-liquid, just give it a quick google - truly fascinating stuff that mimics the addition of whipped egg whites in a traditional sponge cake.

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I know I said it above but I LOVE the addition of matcha here - not only for what it adds in color and flavor but for the clean boost of energy this superfood provides. Paired with coconut and vanilla extract and the light, spongey texture this cake is truly something unique that will impress vegans and non-vegans alike!

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My mom and I had a similar dessert served to us on a recent trip to Mexico and I was blown away by the fact that a vegan cake could get so light and spongey so I set out to recreate it, first by doing a ton of research. The final recipe I settled on was a mash up of two or three I found online and it is simple, quick and totally do-able even for a novice vegan baker. PLUS I only had to test it once to get the perfect result so the measurements and method is pretty fool proof - be sure to use self rising flour or it will not turn out the same! You can of course leave off the chocolate ganache but I do love the extra sweetness it gives this delicate cake. It would be interesting to omit the green tea powder from the recipe, opting for a different flavor instead - perhaps raspberry, cacao or chai spice! I also could see this batter working well as cupcakes - just be sure to cut your cooking time by half to start. 

In case you were wondering, some benefits of matcha include:

  1. A clean boost of energy. A less jitter effect compared to coffee.
  2. Aids in natural weight loss
  3. Aids in natural detoxification
  4. Loaded with disease fighting antioxidants
  5. Boosts memory and concentration

Want to know more about the benefits of matcha before you invest in this somewhat-pricey superfood? Read on, here!

Will you try this cake? Let me know in the comments below! Now onto the recipe...


Serves: 12 even pieces • Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 25-35 minutes


FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 cup unsweetened, plain coconut yogurt (I used the So Delicious brand)
  • 3/4 sugar OR 1/4 + 2tbsp. stevia/sugar baking blend (I used Truvia brand)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. coconut flavor extract
  • 1+1/2 tsp. high quality matcha powder (I found mine here on Amazon)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1+1/2 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (aka chic pea juice), whipped to soft peaks

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350*F. 

In a large bowl, combine the coconut yogurt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder - whisk to combine. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until small bubbles start to form. In the meantime, drain a can of chick peas and use an electric whisk to beat the canned liquid til it forms soft, white peaks (be patient, this can take 5-10 minutes). 

Once you see small bubbles in the yogurt mixture, whisk in the oil, vanilla, coconut extract, matcha and salt until well combined. Then sift in the flour. Fold it gently into the wet ingredients using a rubber spatula - do not over mix. The batter should be somewhat stiff. Take 1/2 cup of the aquafaba and fold it into the batter - the aquafaba will deflate some as you do this, but again, do not over mix. 

Transfer the batter to a parchment-lined, well-oiled oven-safe pan or tin (I used a 6x9" glass dish). Spread evenly across the bottom of the pan - note it may seem a bit flat now but don't worry, the cake rises quite a bit. Bake for 25 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Test for doneness using a toothpick - if it comes out clean the cake is ready - if it does not, bake for 5-10 minutes more. Once done, take the cake out of the oven and transfer it to a wire cooling rack.

To make the ganache - melt all of the ingredients listed above together in a small sauce pan (oven low heat) or in the microwave - stirring frequently. The recipe makes far more ganache than you need to garnish the cake but it's a good thing to have on hand to up-level your fruit, ice cream or morning crepes - store in your fridge and re-heat gently anytime you need a little chocolate love. 

Allow the cake to cool almost fully before pouring the ganache over in a very thin, even layer. Serve the cake at room temperature.. Garnish with a sprinkle of matcha powder or a dollop of coconut whipped cream. Wonderful with a cup of green tea! 

 

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Sage and White Bean Spring Detox Soup

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Sage and White Bean Spring Detox Soup

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I am SO excited to share this soup recipe with you! Of course we can feel run down and sluggish in winter but people sometimes forget that spring, and all the change it brings, can require a little detox of its own. Primarily, I like to detox with whole-plant foods. They get me feeling on track and fully vibrant. This time of year I like to start eating more uncooked fruit and veg but I also still crave warm, nourishing dinners - if you are like me, then this soup is for you!

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 I took a lot of time researching and selecting each and every ingredient in here to make sure I was selecting ingredients that aid in detox, reduced inflammation and increased nutritional diversity. I also wanted to make sure the flavors and textures matched the energy of the season. This soup is light & bright but still creamy (due to a technique I mention below) and comforting. 

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The recipe does take more time than my usual in-and-out style of cooking but it's worth it. Think of the process of making this soup as a devotion to yourself and the ones you love - or perhaps even the season itself. Take the time to move through this process slowly and make it from scratch (aka soak the beans) - as everyone knows, it makes all the difference when you put love into it. To make it worth your while, this recipe does yield a fairly large amount of soup - so be sure to share some with friends. Everyone I shared it with reported feeling full, nourished and light after eating. 

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In my posts I love to take the time to fill your brains with a little nutritional factoids and I could go on forever with this one. I think every ingredient plays a role in the healing power of this recipe but here are my key players:

White Beans: Aside from acting as a base and thickener for the soup, white beans are rich protein source (8g per 1/2 cup serving). Full of sustaining fiber. High in vitamins and minerals - magnesium, iron and B vitamins. 

Sage: Contains a whole slew of essential nutrients - Aside from amazing flavor benefits, sage is high in vitamin A, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and B vitamins, plus healthy amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, and copper!

Dandelion Greens: I could go on and on with this one. Dandelion greens (aka literal weeds) are an awesome affordable spring-time alternative to your usual go-to greens - they are much more tender than kale and are slightly bitter like arugula ... these greens give the soup a dynamic flavor profile but beyond that they are are POWERFUL detoxifier and blood purifier. They are high in fiber and literally ever vitamin and mineral you can imagine.

Lemon: The ultimate alkalizing, detoxifying citrus that gives the soup a really pleasant brightness.

Onions + Garlic: How can you have soup without these two winners! Not to mention, they are both great anti-fungals! 

Celery Root AKA Celeriac: Never heard of this veggie?! That's kind of the point - incorporating new and diverse veggies into the soup will not only aid in your exploration of new foods BUT it also really helps your gut microbiome. Celery root (literally the bulb of the celery plant) is actually fairly easy to find in most grocery stores. It's an affordable, low-calorie, slightly-sweet, starchy veg that makes a refreshing alternative to potatoes or parsnips. High in B6, vitamin C and lots of healthy fiber.

As with all my recipes, I totally encourage you to customize! Can't find dandelion greens? Toss in some chard or kale. Don't like sage? Sub rosemary. Let me know if you make this soup and how you feel afterwards!


Makes: 10-12 servings (freezes well) • Prep Time: Overnight + 30 min • Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 1 16 oz. bag white/canileni beans, soaked overnight or with the quick soak method of your choice (OR sub 2 16. oz cans cooked white beans for shortened prep)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 veggie boulion cubes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried mushrooms, any kind will do *optional
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and diced (or sub parsnips)
  • 6 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch dandelion greens, finely chopped with tough ends removed (sub kale, chard, spinach, etc)
  • 2 small summer squash or zuchinni 
  • 20-30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large bunch sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flake
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt + pepper to taste

METHOD

Soak your white beans according to the package instructions - overnight or quick soak method. Then, rinse and recover the beans in 8 cups of water and simmer for 1 hour in your largest pot until the beans are soft. 

In the meantime, prep all your your veggies. Peel and chop carrots and celery root and set aside with the onion and garlic. Wash and chop summer squash, danellion greens, tomatoes and sage and place in a separate bowl.

Once the beans are tender, add in the boullion, mushrooms, dried spices and root veggies - carrots, celery root, garlic, onion. Simmer until veggies are very tender - apx. 20 minutes

At this point, transfer 1/4-1/2 of the soup (depending on how creamy you want the base) to a high speed blender and blend on a slow setting until smooth. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to puree some of the mixture or simply leave your soup unblended with a less creamy finished product. Add the pureed portion back into the pot and stir to combine. You may need to add more water or broth at this point depending on how thick you like your soup - use caution though, over time the soup will thicken due to the starch in the beans.

Add the rest of the veggies into the pot and cook a few minutes more until they are tender. Finish with a garnish of freshly squeezed lemon and some green onion.

Serve hot. Reheats well - may have to add additional water or broth.

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Featured on SivanaSpirit.com: Routines to Rituals

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With a long time interest in wellness, I was always the kind of person who sanctified the potions, products, and practices surrounding self-care. I bought all the essential oils, I invested in skin care products, and I read all of the top blogs. But when it came to actually performing my daily routines, I found myself dreading them. I had no patience for the precious, quiet moments in my own life.

When I finally began meditating I achieved the perspective to see how ....

From Routine To Ritual: 5 Powerful Ways To Make The Mundane More Meaningful

 

LIVE IN THE LIGHT, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Breakfast Sweet Potato Bowl

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Breakfast Sweet Potato Bowl

sweet potato breakfast bowl

I started making sweet potatoes for breakfast when I put myself on a week long grain-free challenge last winter. It left me feeling lighter, more alert and fully satisfyed so I wanted to share my favorite grain-free brekky with you!

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Now, I LOVE oatmeal and I eat it nearly every day for breakfast. I've always eaten it and I never get sick of the stuff. So needless to say, giving up my breakfast staple was my biggest concern while taking this break from grains. But, I found that I felt GREAT without it and this sweet, nourishing whole-food alternative was just as delicious, satisfying and maybe even more filling.

Along with feeling better, my week long grain-free experiment reminded me about the value of meal prepping. This recipe is SO convenient if you simply take the time to prep ahead (step-by-step directions below). Now, every 7 days or so, I cook off a batch of 6-8 sweet potatoes to enough throughout the week. This ensures that I have ready-to-eat whole-plant-foods on hand so I make better choices instead of going for the processed alternative.

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It's worth mentioning that as a whole-foods plant-based vegan, sweet potatoes are one of my staple foods, I have them at least a couple times a week but I never really thought about them for breakfast until recently. Sweet potatoes are a carbohydrate (read: energy) rich food that is high in pre-biotic fiber (especially in the skin), they're lower than regular potatoes on the glycemic scale and contain a ton of vitamins and minerals like beta carotene, vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

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When you top these golden beauties with a balanced ratio of fats, proteins and other micronutrients (from nuts, seeds and fruit) it's easy to see how this could be your healthiest meal of the day - but, don't forget to eat your greens though! I love how the cinnamon, nut butter and fruit play together flavor-wise - making this taste more like a sweet potato pie than anything else. So good!

Of course this recipe is FULLY customizable - I make recommendations below of my favorite combination but you can, and should, make it your own! I also love it because you can totally take it on the go - just wrap it in a few layers of tin foil and enjoy this fork-free treat anywhere)

PRO TIP: Make sure you add just the teeniest sprinkle of salt to your potato when adding your toppings - it will take the flavors to NEW heights!


Serves: 1 • Prep Time: 5 min (if cooking sweet potato a la carte, add 1 hr)


Recipe for One Serving

  • 1 cooked sweet potato
  • 1-2 tbsp. almond butter/tahini (I did a combo of both)
  • 1/2 tbsp. flax seed
  • 1-2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • OPTIONAL ADD-ONS: 1/4 cup mulberries, goji berries, blueberries, raspberries, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, maca powder

If you're meal prepping/bulk cooking, start the night before by cooking your sweet potatoes so you have an easy morning routine - wash, dry and poke the skin of 4-6 large sweet potatoes with a fork.

Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a preheated 425*F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool on top of the stove. After that, you can store them in the fridge for up to one week.

In the morning, you can enjoy the potato cold, at room temp but I would recommend preheating your sweet potato in the oven (10-15 minutes at 350*F does the trick) or in the microwave (2-3 min on high), if you use one.

Slice the potato open length-wise and place in a shallow bowl or on a large plate - spread the nut butter over both sides and allow it to melt slightly with the heat of the potato. Add the rest of your toppings/spices in whichever order you so choose. Enjoy immediately or wrap it in tin foil as a nourishing on-the-go breakfast/lunch/dinner - and don't forget to eat the skin!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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