Monday, September 11, 2017

And Now This

Yesterday, prepping for our current Tropical Storm (Irma) amidst a maddening throng of Whole Foods shoppers, I needed a pick-me-up.  I saw this and was curious.  You know what they say about curiosity . . .

I didn't not like this, but it wasn't what I expected.  The combination of lemon, ginger and cayenne is a pleasant one, but it's heavy on the pepper. This kombucha has A LOT of cayenne.  I'm sipping it very slowly.  If you try this tea, you might want to use a straw.  My lips are on fire.

Has anyone else tried this flavor?  What did you think?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Broccoleaf

Have you noticed this organic product in your produce department?  Wary of gimmicks, I wanted to know the story of this lovely, delicious leafy veggie.  Is it genetically engineered, a la broccolini?  Where has it been all my life?  I discovered that it's not a frankenveggie.  It's --you guessed it -- the leaves of a broccoli plant!

These kale-sized leaves aren't typically sold as food.  Historically, they've been added to spent soils by farmers.  Broccoli leaves are wonderful at restoring minerals and cleansing the soils of toxins.

I'm glad to know these leaves serve a farming purpose, but I'm a waste-not-want-not kind of girl, so I wanted in on the action of this scrappy delicacy.

One of the best scraps to juice is the surprisingly sweet broccoli stem, so I suspected the leaves would also be mild and delicious.  I wasn't disappointed.  I ate a whole bunch this morning, sauteed with garlic and mushrooms and a little cumin -- lovely!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Banza!

We are loving the new "Banza" pasta made from garbanzo beans!  The texture and taste are lovely and it fits well into my recent attempt to live a gluten-free life.  Here, I prepared it with olive oil, lots of fresh herbs from my garden, some sea salt and nutritional yeast.  Cannot say enough good things about this stuff.

In the background is a bean of a sweeter variety:  Ellie Belly Jelly Bean the Queen.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can I Eat the Leaves of a Sweet Potato?

Yes!

Most of us are familiar with lost veggies in the crisper that have either rotted or started growing.  If you discover the latter, you're in luck!  Past its prime, a potato with "eyes" begins to lose flavor and texture, and the nutritional profile changes as the tuber's sugars are directed to the growth of the new plant that's sprouting.

A new potato plant will happily grow on your counter for quite some time, but popped in a pot with water and sunshine, the growth becomes exponential.  The little aging potato suddenly begins to produce so much more food than it would have if consumed pre-sprout.  Sweet potato vines are prolific and thrive on my kind of neglect.  Every day this potato yields a lush harvest of fresh heart-shaped greenery that is wonderful sauteed with onions and garlic.  It's best to start with organic potatoes, free of pesticides and genetic modifications.  Ornamental sweet potato plants can't boast that pedigree, so stick with potato plants rooted from the produce aisle.

After the potato leaf harvest, at the end of the growing season, don't forget to check the roots to see if bonus potatoes have formed.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Lovely Curry

Dad brought this gorgeous pan for me when he last visited.  He said it was just too big for him to use for only himself since Mom died.  He's a wonderful chef and he would tend to get carried away, filling it to the brim as I've done here.  It saddens me to see his joy of cooking dim a bit, but I see his point.

I'm grateful for the gift and am honoring it by creating piles of gorgeous, healthy food like this vegetable curry.

My daughter and I have had a fantastic long weekend here at home with our dog while the other family members were away.  It's been spent mostly in pajamas!  My daughter, who is vegetarian, really likes a little curry restaurant around the corner where she goes with her friends, and wanted me to go with her at one point, but I was loathe to change out of my pj's so, from my full larder, I created this panful.  It was a big hit!  I'm sorry I didn't write down the recipe but it was that kind of weekend.  From memory, here's what I used, and you'll want to tweak the amounts and ingredients to your liking anyway.  I hope it serves as inspiration.

a large yellow onion and several cloves of garlic, caramelized slowly over low heat in coconut oil
a head of cauliflower, trimmed, but including leaves and clean stems
a bunch of broccoli, including trimmed and peeled stems, which are SOOOO delicious
a zucchini
a can of chickpeas
a can of coconut milk
vegetable broth
2 star anise
cumin
turmeric
dry ginger
garam masala
sea salt
nutritional yeast

From trial and error, I've learned to use the spices sparingly in curry.  You can always add more, but you can't take away.  When tasting, if it first seems bland, I try adding a little more sea salt first, which usually wakes the deeper flavors so I don't need so much of them.  I love a fresh curry, kissed with spicy warmth, but allowing the veggie flavors to star. After the flavors had melded, I threw some fresh raw spinach in there too, which wilted a little in the warm pan.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Experimenting With Flavors

Warm spices, such as cinnamon and ginger, are lovely with green olives, dried apricots and lemon.  This stew tasted like sunshine.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Curried Fruit Smoothie

Always striving for more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, I thought outside of the box and came up with this gorgeous concoction.  Turmeric and cumin, both from the spice curcumin, are fantastic in combatting inflammation of all kinds, and have been purported to help with everything from head and neck cancers to major depressive disorder.  The warming ginger aids digestion and circulation and the black pepper makes the spices more bioavailable.  You can use whatever fruit you prefer.  Papaya was wonderfully tropical and mild in this.  I always aim to have more veggies than fruit, and this combo was so delicious.  Enjoy!


Curried Fruit Smoothie

1/2 cucumber
2 celery stalks
1 large carrot
1c. papaya
a small handful of raisins
1 can full fat coconut milk (I like this brand)
1tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. turmeric

Blend in a vitamix or other high powered blender.  Add a little water if you want to thin it out.  This is very nutritious and filling and provides 2-3 servings.  Sometimes I store some in a jar for later in the day, then whirl it up again with some ice when I need a pick-me-up.  Always finish fresh smoothies within 12 hours or so.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pretty, Simple

This lovely hue was achieved in a Vitamix:  a beet, a carrot, a cucumber, a couple of shakes of dry ginger, 1/2 cup coconut milk, water and ice.  This was such an easy way to consume more root veggies, but I've found beet sugar makes me a little crazy and "buzzy", even though the beet was only the size of a golf ball.  Roots are very grounding, so it's ironic the sugars are so overwhelming.  I had to drink this very slowly to stretch out the rush.  Because the effects were so powerful, beets will be part of my smoothies only occasionally.  Still, it was nutritious and delicious -- and pretty!

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Waste of a Good Bunch of Mint

Fresh mint is so lovely in salads, spicy stews and smoothies.  I love the combination of lemon with mint in a smoothie and crafted one recently that had a wonderful start with these organic grapes, some coconut milk, cucumber and romaine.  Then I went too far and ruined the whole thing with another ingredient:  matcha green tea powder -- just a teaspoon of it.  Yuck.

I knew the smoothie would be ugly because purple and green make beige, but I didn't know how bad it would taste.  I didn't waste it -- I choked it down over the course of an hour or so because of the nutrition, but I didn't enjoy it either.  I love tea, except green tea, and I especially dislike matcha.  I'll get my antioxidants elsewhere.

I'm glad I took this pretty photo before my planning went south.  You win some, you lose some, that's how we learn.  I won't make this mistake again!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Almond Butter and "Jelly" Smoothie!

[This is a cross-post from one of my other blogs, A Midlife Regeneration.  This delicious, regenerating smoothie is also vegan!]

After a week of striving for the Wahls' 9 cups of veggies and fruits per day -- I'm sold!  On the days I was able to get close to 9, I felt amazing and many of my persistent symptoms (skin pain and numbness, fatigue, brain fog) began to disappear again.  Other autoimmune skin issues disappeared instantly, my facial skin improved freakishly fast (it seems tighter and pores are smaller, tone is more even).  Since I doubt healing is only skin deep, I'm hoping the benefits to the CNS are even more dramatic.  A couple of days I ran out of time and was only able to squeeze in 6 veg servings and the old symptoms began coming right back again.  Immediate palpable evidence is so rare as we spoonies strive to find what's best to include in our healing arsenals.  What a treat to have anecdotal evidence to match Dr. Wahls' clinical results.

Since I adore freshly made juice, and Dr. Wahls didn't recommend it in The Wahls' Protocol because of the glycemic index spike it could cause, that was one of the reasons I stopped pursuing the Protocol last year.  I never thought I'd like smoothies as an alternative to juice, because of the texture.  Now, looking back, I wonder why I was so hard-headed about this.  It seems crazy that I didn't even try veggie smoothies as a way to up my veg doses for the Protocol.  It's so much easier to eat more vegetables when some of the servings are pre-digested in smoothie form.  I've had the Vitamix all along, and am now really putting it to good use -- every day!

I've really enjoyed the recipes in Dr. Wahls' new book, but this one is my original recipe.  It was amazing, and provided at least 3 cups of my required servings, along with wonderful healthy fats and protein.

Almond Butter and Jelly Smoothie
1 c red organic seedless grapes
1/2 cucumber, peeled unless organic
2 organic purple carrots, unpeeled
2 Tbsp. organic almond butter
1 Tbsp. MCT oil
1 c filtered water/ice
a shake of nutmeg
a shake of powdered ginger
freshly ground black pepper - 1 grind

This recipe made about 3 servings, and this is how I portioned them.  I initially put the mason pint jar in the fridge and I sipped it later on in the morning.  So I had all three servings -- sort of a brunch situation.  The smoothie was substantial enough that I needed no additional breakfast, and had no problems with nausea from supplements and medications.  If I don't have enough on my stomach I do sometimes get a little ill when I take my pills.  Not in this case!

I feel so happy to have found one piece of my wellness puzzle!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Parsnip Salad/Chutney/Compote

This lovely concoction came from improvising one of my favorites, "Parsnip Tabouli" from Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  Kris' recipe replaces couscous with raw parsnips and the result is shockingly lovely and delectable.  I didn't have most of the ingredients but had recently found some amazing organic parsnip specimens, so I tossed one into the food processor with Italian parsley, a few raw garlic cloves, sea salt, lemon and olive oil.  Amazing!  The flavors were perfect the first day, but the lemon continued to intensify as time went on.  I think I'd squeezed a whole lemon into this.  I'll use a little less next time.  Nevertheless, once I shifted my thinking on these leftovers (chutney or compote instead of salad), this was amazing mixed into fresh arugula with another drizzle of olive oil, stirred into a gorgeous, brothy vegetable soup, piled atop a sprouted english muffin, and also stuffed into a baked sweet potato!  One giant parsnip made all of this and I'm still eating it on everything.  What a great way to amp up the raw veggie representation!

I have a couple more giant, organic parsnips, which will also be amazing in a puree -- so much more silky and decadent than mashed potatoes.  For that, I'll just roughly chop them, boil them for about 15 minutes, then blend them in the vitamix with a little "butter" and nutmeg.  Mmmm.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Veg- Forward

Every once in a while I just want a big plateful of veggies and more veggies.  Last night's dinner fit the bill.  Lentils with fresh thyme paired perfectly with baby bok choy, garlic and mushrooms sauteed with a little of my fresh pickled cabbage.  This was delicious and health-affirming.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Japanese Sweet Potatoes

There seem to be so many varieties of sweet potatoes out there, and maybe there are several names for each one.  I don't believe "Japanese Sweet Potatoes" is the actual name for these delicious tubers, but that's what they were called at Whole Foods.  Strangely, they look on the outside exactly like a less exotic, orange-fleshed potato.  Both types had a pretty purple skin and the same general size and shape.  I'd inadvertently gotten a few of each.  Sometimes you don't know for sure until you cut into them.

I mixed the cut, raw potatoes with coconut oil and 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and roasted them on parchment on a pan preheated to 400 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.  They were amazing tossed into a Swiss chard saute at the last minute.  I'd forgotten how much I love chard.  Mom used to grow a lot of it in her big backyard garden when I was young.  This bowlful made a delicious breakfast.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Warm Salad

These greens are topped by green, which is topped by more green.  I was craving greens today (obviously) but my arugula was lackluster.  But I did find, in my crisper, some lovely fresh brussels sprouts and half a bunch of broccoli rabe (rapini), still in excellent shape.  I quickly sauteed these in coconut oil and garlic and then topped the warm veggies with almost a whole avocado (bits of it weren't as good as the rest so I removed them) and some fresh chimichurri that I made the other day (parsley, cilantro, purple onion, garlic, vinegar, lemon, olive oil).  This was SOOOO good.  Never enough greens, people.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Even Better The Next Day


We've been enjoying more vegan and vegetarian meals per week in our household -- even for the omnivore, who's now outnumbered.  Though not gluten-free, this delicious one-pot meal made good use of spring vegetables.  First, four cloves of garlic and a package of white mushrooms, both sliced, were sauteed in coconut oil and olive oil.  Whole grape tomatoes were then added and all was cooked at medium-high heat until the tomatoes' skins split.  Sliced brussels sprouts and asparagus were then added, along with a tiny pinch of salt, a shake of tamari and a couple shakes of cumin.  Then a scant 1/4 cup of good tomato sauce and cooked pasta were stirred into the mix and the pan was taken off the burner and covered.  The green veggies cooked perfectly in the remaining steam.

This was so easy and enjoyed by all.  The vegetarian and omnivore added parmesan cheese to their bowls and I added capers.  After sitting overnight, the noodles had soaked up the goodness, making the whole thing even better.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Beautiful Bowl

I love a big, beautiful bowl of vegan food!  This usually means various leftovers from meals past, artfully combined, elevating each to a fresh new level.

Arugula (rocket) is the star of my bowls of late, and I've really been enjoying jasmine rice too.  I know there are healthier versions of rice, but the subtle flavor of the jasmine is on the tip of my tastebuds recently.

I did a terrible job of making oven frites the other night -- I'd not properly pre-heated the pan before laying the spuds upon it.  The fries got stuck and cooked unevenly and finally fell apart.  Cold, from the crisper, the leftovers of that debacle shine as they hadn't before, when added to this veggie bowl.  Crispy and herby, they are much better than croutons.  The grape tomatoes are tangy and better than we usually find this time of year.  They perfectly offset the richness of the olive oiled frites.  Delish~

Monday, February 27, 2017

"This is Her Broccoli Face"

--That's what my daughter said as she shared this photo she took of Ellie, our veggie-loving dog.  This little old sophisticated lady instantly morphs into an eager pup when she hears the crisper opening.  Then, she's under foot, with that big smile, batting those lashes, until I toss a chunk her way and she leaps to catch it out of thin air.  Broccoli, kale, celery, romaine . . . as long as it's green, she's all in.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Nurturer

I love it when our sweet, vegetarian daughter comes home from college for a visit.  She insisted on making us dinner and then we sat and listened to music with her.  She's always been this way -- an intuitive caretaker.  She knows I don't eat dairy, so she only served cheese on the side, making this dish vegan.  She's becoming such a great little veggie chef, experimenting with subtleties of flavor.  This Italian vegetable melange was delicious, and it was great not to have to think about what to make for dinner, but I best loved the chance to watch her in her element, and to have time to learn about what matters most to her.  She's a pretty amazing person.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Edible Flowers



This pretty salad has already been featured on A Midlife Vegan+, but it's worthy of another look.  In our neck of the woods, Spring seems to be coming early, putting me in the mood for fresher fare.  Edible flowers, such as pansies, roses and nasturtiums, are beautiful and delicious in salads, imparting a peppery tang.  It's imperative that the flowers are organically grown, since we don't want bug spray in our salads.  I grew these beauties myself from seed.  They were lovely on a pile of watercress and avocado.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Simple

This is not gluten free, but this delicious plateful is an example of how we can eat delicious, vegan food without a plan.  I sauteed 3 chopped garlic cloves in olive oil and then tossed boiled gnocchi, a drained jar of pimientos and a couple of forkfuls of capers into it.  This took 5 minutes and I didn't have to go shopping.  Stock your cupboards! (I had a giant green salad on the side) 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It Might Be Time to Plant This Potato

I've never been one to shy away from eating a tuber with a few eyes sprouting.  I've just rubbed them off in the wash and prepared the potato as usual.  In this case, when I neglected the root bin and found these lovely sprouts, the process had gone too far.  Not only has this plant now likely sapped much of the flavor and nutrition of its benefactor, I just don't have the heart to kill this willful, spunky little thing.  I'm debating now whether to keep it inside and give it some water for a while while it warms up outside (it's had no water thus far) or put it right into the ground. Hmm.  I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I Did with a Rutabaga

Have you cooked one of these?  With its beaten-up, thickly waxed peel, it was a bit daunting.  The thing was the size of a small pumpkin.  As I was pronouncing it out loud in the supermarket, the produce department employee chimed in, "They are very popular!"  Hmmm -- wish I'd asked him to elaborate.

I decided to put it in a lovely stew.  Based loosely on a recipe I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook, I added my own spin based on what I had on hand.  Utilizing spices common in Morroccan cooking, I researched "harissa" and invented one of my own, using dried chipotle chiles instead of the sharper, hotter varieties.  I also mashed garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and dried mint.  I didn't have the saffron the recipe called for, so I subbed a little smoked paprika.  Carrots, a parsnip, and lots of sauteed shallots rounded out the vegetables, and I decided to add a couple of bay leaves and also a couple of star anise pods because I knew they would complement the warm spices.  Finally, I decided to use a little cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  The recipe suggested serving the stew over the larger Israeli couscous, but I couldn't find it so orzo worked just fine.  Fresh cilantro on top was perfect.  Delicious!

Garden Inspiration

Our weather has been so mild this winter, but not warm enough to garden.  Still, finding this pretty photo of a 2011 harvest is inspiring.  I'm looking forward to planning.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Paint Color?

The hue of my wonderful juice this morning reminds me of a recent "color of the year" shade.  I'll call this one celery-broccoli-lemon.  It tasted as good as it looks!

Monday, January 23, 2017

From My Vegetarian Daughter!

I started my vegan journey, and this blog, in 2010, when my daughter was only 12!  My diet has changed a bit since then, and I've settled back to a mostly vegan diet again -- in my comfort zone!

In the meantime, my amazing daughter is on the Dean's List in her freshman year of college, and she's been vegetarian for almost two years now. She was home this weekend and was glad I already had everything she needed for this lovely curry, which happens to be vegan.  I love watching her learn how to cook, tasting as she goes, developing her preferences.  I also love tasting her creations!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ellie Loves Veggies!


Here's a great action shot of my veggie-loving pup, Ellie.  She's so proud of herself as she catches a piece of celery.  Whenever I'm cooking and she hears me going into the crisper for something green, she comes running.

video