Crunchy Asian Coleslaw

Posted by on Nov 16, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 0 comments

This is a great recipe to bring to parties – it’s always a hit!

3 – 4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 cups shredded cabbage (green or purple, or mixed)
3 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 package ramen noodles (vegetable flavor is best but hard to find)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 of the flavor packet from the ramen noodles

Toast sunflower seeds by placing them in a dry skillet on medium heat. Stir or shake constantly until seeds begin to emit a nutty aroma and start to pop. (About 5 minutes)

Combine cabbage, scallions and carrot in a large mixing bowl. Toss with dressing ingredients. This part of the salad can be made ahead to blend flavors. But don’t add the noodles (see below) or sunflower seeds until right before serving.

Put uncooked ramen noodles inside a zippered plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, roll over the noodles to break into small pieces. Remove from plastic bag and mix into salad before serving. Add sunflower seeds right before serving as well.

Makes 6 servings

Inspired by Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods by Cynthia Lair

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Making Better Smoothies

Posted by on Nov 14, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 5 comments

I love a good smoothie in the morning. Fruit, greens, protein, more fruit — it’s a wonderful quick breakfast solution that’s healthy too! Here are some of my favorite tips on making great smoothies that you (and hopefully your kids) will enjoy.

Frozen Banana Slices

Frozen banana slices will thicken your smoothie and may keep you from needing to add ice. I buy large quantities of bananas and let them get just a little dark on the outside. This means they are really flavorful and delicious.

Ready to slice and freeze!

Then I slice the bananas into a gallon-size freezer bag. Just pile the slices from 5-6 bananas right into the bag. Then close up the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. Flatten the bananas into a single layer, as much as possible. And toss into the freezer!

Other Tips & Ideas:

  • Heavy duty blenders like Blendtec & Vita-Mix are worth the money. I also use my Blendtec for lots of other kitchen tasks! I chose Blendtec because it was important to me that the blender fit under my kitchen cabinets. Vita-Mix blenders are a little taller, and have some different available features.
  • Don’t mix red/orange fruits with greens if you want kids to drink the smoothie. The color combination makes a brown smoothie. It’s still tasty, but not as pleasing visually.
  • My favorite source of information about green smoothies is Victoria Boutenko’s Green Smoothie Revolution book and Web site.
  • Most veggies are better ingredients for fresh juice rather than in smoothies
  • Don’t forget to add herbs & extras like parsley, garlic or ginger. They have great health benefits and are so tasty too!
  • Just a tablespoon of uncooked, whole oats will thicken your smoothie and make it more filling. Don’t add more than 2 tablespoons so as not to put a strain on your digestive system.

Some questions from Facebook friends:

Q: Is a smoothie a good way to wake up our body in the morning, or should we have ‘solid food?’

My thoughts: I believe there’s many answers to this question – each person needs different foods prepared in different ways to satisfy their morning nutrition and energy needs. There are many days when I crave a smoothie. However, if my body is asking for a bowl of oatmeal or a tofu scramble, I find it’s important to listen to these messages.

Q: How can I sneak extra nutrition into my smoothies?

My thoughts: The nutrition Americans are most lacking is minerals, and the best source for these is greens. Adding greens like spinach, kale, parsley, etc. will increase nutrition benefits. I also like to include some “superfoods” like raw honey, raw cacao nibs and goji berries to enhance both flavor and nutrition in my smoothies. And honestly, every smoothie ingredient is so much more nutritious than your typical sugary cereal or fast-food breakfast. So if you have a smoothie instead, you are way ahead!

Q: Is it ok to combine fruits and veggies?

My thoughts: Generally, I stick to fruits and greens with the added nutritional boost items. However, there are times when certain veggies can add a lot to a smoothie — try my Autumn Smoothie for example!

Q: How can I get protein into my smoothies?

My thoughts: My all-time favorite source of smoothie protein is hulled, raw, organic hemp seeds. They have a buttery, nutty taste that doesn’t overpower other smoothie ingredients. They are less heavily processed than protein powders. And hemp seeds have nutritional benefits – Omega 3 fatty acids; amino acids and gluten-free. Another protein option is soft or silken tofu. When you spin this into the smoothie, it takes on the tastes of your other smoothie ingredients which is nice. However, some folks find that they need to limit the amount of soy in their diets. Soy isn’t always best as a regular or significant protein source. For the most part, I only use protein powders if I have no other options. But that’s just me …

My favorite time-saving tip

There’s really no need to wash your blender in the dishwasher every time you use it. Just put 1-2 cups of hot water in with a drop of dishwashing liquid. Pulse for 30 seconds or so and rinse thoroughly. I put my blender in the dishwasher if my smoothie had something oily like almond butter in it, or if I’ve made 3-4 smoothies since I last dishwashered it.

Cleaning Blenders

I hope this gives you some great new ideas! Please add comments with questions so I can keep helping improve your smoothies.

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Autumn Smoothie Recipe

Posted by on Nov 14, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 0 comments

Fruit, Squash & a few Extras!

If smoothies make you think of summer berries and fruits, here’s a seasonal option for your autumn breakfast or snacking pleasure. Do you like pumpkin pie? Or sweet potatoes? Does fall inspire you to fill up on squash? Then this is the smoothie for you — it’s one part dessert, one part healthy and three parts delicious!

Put the following ingredients in your blender.

1 ripe banana, sliced or in sections (use frozen banana slices for a thicker smoothie)

1 apple, cored and sliced

1/2 – 3/4 cup roasted squash or baked sweet potato (completely cooled & chilled)

2 tablespoons uncooked whole oats

2 tablespoons plain greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds

Ground cinnamon to taste (at least 1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 tablespoon salmon or flaxseed oil

8-12 ounces of almond milk (can substitute another type of milk or non-dairy beverage)

Blend thoroughly. (The best way to judge is when the apple pieces are completely incorporated.)

Can be kept in a glass jar for up to 12 hours.

Let me know what you think and if you have ideas or suggestions for enhancing the recipe!

More smoothie tips

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Savory Tahini Sauce

Posted by on Nov 4, 2010 in Recipes | 0 comments

Not all oils and fats are created equal. Heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. However, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly. Our bodies also need fat for insulation and to protect and hold our organs in place.

Savory Tahini Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 cup

1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of cayenne (to your taste)

1. In a bowl briskly whisk together the tahini and water until combined. It will look separated at first: just keep whisking!
2. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined.
3. Adjust flavors to your taste. Add additional water if you want it thinner.
4. Serve over grains and greens.

Note: Tahini sauce keeps refrigerated for up to one week.

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Avocado Dip

Posted by on Nov 3, 2010 in Recipes | 0 comments

A healthy percentage of high-quality fat in a meal satisfies and leaves feelings of energy, fulfillment and warmth. When there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness. Signs of insufficient high-quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold.

Avocado Dip

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 cup

1 large peeled and pitted avocado
2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt or soy yogurt
1 diced tomato
1-3 teaspoons Happy Hal’s Jalapeño Relish
sea salt and black pepper

1. Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth.
2. Add yogurt, tomato, jalapeño relish. Blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender or with a fork.
3. Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
4. Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables.

Note: Best made a maximum of 1 hour before serving.

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