September through May, good quality, freshly ground coffee and my French press are all I need when I’m in a coffee state of mind. But in the summer, my efforts failed to satisfy the inner coffee snob inherent in all Seattle natives. My DIY iced coffee attempts (serving a concentrated brew over ice cubes, regular strength brew over coffee ice cubes) proved less than satisfying; watery and sometimes leaning towards bitter. The horrors. Continue reading
By request, I created these Coconut Cashew Cream Layer Bars as a vegan and raw version of my Healthy Nanaimo Bars. Rather than graham cracker crumbs for the base, I use a fiber-rich mix of dates, oats and nuts. A coconut cashew cream filling provides healthy fats and replaces condensed milk or pudding mix. And for the chocolate layer, polyphenol-packed raw cacao and coconut oil are the base. Maple syrup and dates are the only sweeteners. Raw, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free – these are suitable for almost any guests! Continue reading
Nanaimo Bars were a ubiquitous treat growing up. After all, growing up in Seattle, we were not so distant neighbors with the bars’ eponymous Canadian city. You guessed it, Nanaimo. There are countless recipes claiming to be ‘the original’. And, while they have varying ingredients making up those three layers, they all use a lot of packaged items (pudding mix, graham crackers, condensed milk, processed cocoa powder, etc.) and a lot of sugar. I mean a LOT. But, there’s no doubt, Nanaimo Bars became a cult classic because they are easy to make and have an enticing variety of flavors and textures in every bite. Continue reading
I’ve never, not once, considered ordering a cold soup off a menu, much less making one at home. In a word, they seemed B-o-r-i-n-g. Note the capital ‘B’? How could a cold soup possibly be satisfying? Gazpacho gets a pass once a year. Otherwise, not part of my cooking / dining repertoire. Next! Continue reading
My first effort with zucchini noodles was a fail and it had nothing to do with not having a spiralizer. The first time I made them, I sautéed them with pesto. By the time I sat down with my plate, the noodles were a lukewarm and slightly watery pile. Note to self: the best way to eat zucchini noodles is cold. Continue reading
This dish is all about the creamy chipotle avocado dressing. Combine silky avocado, zesty lemon and the smoky kick of chipotle pepper. You won’t miss the mayo!
Customize the vegetable and fruit blend to make it your own. Savoy cabbage is particularly good for slaw salads. Savoy cabbage is more tender and less bitter than the green or red cabbage typically used for coleslaw. As such, there’s no need to salt it before serving it uncooked. Dice, grate, slice…it really doesn’t matter much. But, keep the produce sections thin to ease even dressing coverage. Customize the volume as you like. But, who doesn’t like having a salad ready to go in the fridge? Chop now and be veggie-ready for days!
Why do I make turmeric cubes —and will probably never again put turmeric root through a juicer again? Well, let’s go back to Juicing Vs Blending. The Plot Thickens. In this post I remarked that plant fiber is a much more interesting character than we realized. More than simply roughage or a bulking agent, fiber is a carrier for the free radical-quenching polyphenols found in many fruits, vegetables and other plants.
However, most plant polyphenols are fused to the plant fiber and can not be extracted [1,2]. So, if consumed as a whole plant or blended, the polyphenols travel through the digestive tract, then into the colon, where they are digested by friendly flora, producing short chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate) [3,4]. These short chain fatty acids deliver many health benefits, from anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties to inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and increasing mineral absorption. Some also serve as a major fuel for the cells that line the colon [5,6,7]. But, juice those same fruits or vegetables and most of these valuable polyphenol compounds are removed with the fiber. Lose the fiber. Lose the polyphenols. Continue reading
As discussed in an earlier post, there are three strategies to get the benefits of raw crucifers when cooked. This supporting recipe is not just a recipe for a mustard vinaigrette. When used to dress a salad containing cooked crucifers or to top cooked crucifers, it is a recipe for the wonder compound, sulforaphane!
This vinaigrette recipe includes mustard seed powder, which provides a source of myrosinase. Remember, mustard greens are crucifers. So, the ground seeds are a potent source of the all important enzyme. Theoretically, whole mustard seeds should work as well. However, do not roast, toast or otherwise apply heat to the seeds or you will denature the enzymes, rendering the seeds just another ingredient. Further, you can adapt any dressing recipe to make it a sulforaphane-maker simply by adding some mustard seed powder. Following is a recipe I now keep on hand and drizzle a little over steamed broccoli or cabbage. I have tried it with apple cider vinegar, but prefer the version with balsamic vinegar.
MUSTARD SEED VINAIGRETTE
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon organic prepared mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey, ideally raw and organic (or maple syrup)
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a clean jar or small bowl, add the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, prepared and powdered mustard and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients, except the oil and mix well again.
- Slowly add the olive oil while either whisking or stirring rapidly with your fork. Or, if using a jar, shake vigorously, adding the oil in stages until emulsified.
- Adjust seasoning as needed.
Do you have a dressing with mustard seeds or powder you like to serve with cruciferous vegetables? Please share!
What do raw broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes arugula and bok choy have in common? They are all members of the cruciferous family of vegetables. As such, these raw cruciferous vegetables are the produce aisle-equivalent of a wonder drug for protecting the brain, eye-sight, reducing free radicals, eliminating toxins and preventing cancer .
Unfortunately, most individual’s intake of crucifers is low and their intake of raw crucifers is even lower. Raw Brussels sprouts anyone? While cooked crucifers are nutrient-dense, providing fiber, vitamin C, calcium and more, the cooked versions lack sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a molecule within the isothiocyanate group of organosulfur compounds. It is the equivalent of a pharmaceutical drug’s main active ingredient and is most responsible for broccoli’s health benefits. Continue reading
Date paste may be the best alternative sweetener you’re not using. Dates are naturally moist and sticky with hints of carmel, brown sugar and often vanilla flavor. These qualities make blended date paste an excellent alternative to processed sugar in smoothies baked goods, such as breads, cookies and bars or as a spread. Date paste also has more than a few health advantages over the white stuff.
Adding sweetness with dates means adding nutrition without refined sugar’s roller coaster ride. The natural sugar in dates, invert sugar, is easily absorbed and assimilated by the body. Yet, their high fiber content makes them a low-glycemic index food. So, dates or date paste, not only support healthy blood sugar levels and elimination, but also helps you stay full longer. Dates are also high in iron, calcium, are even richer in potassium than bananas. Dates are also a rich source of minerals, such as chlorine, copper, magnesium, sulphur and phosphorus. Continue reading