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Monday, May 31, 2010

Raw Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

We were blessed with the gift of a bag full of rhubarb from our naturopath, Dawn.  She had more than she knew what to do with, and we were more than happy to take a bunch off her hands.  :)  It is one of Dave's spring favorites after all!  I have been messing around with raw desserts lately, and I hope you enjoy this Raw Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

THE CRUST (my standard crumb pie crust)
1 1/2 cup coconut flour (double sifted)
1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes
5 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp raw almond butter
1/4 tsp liquid stevia
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 cups organic rhubarb stalks, peeled, chopped to 1" lengths
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup raw honey OR about 3 tsp spoonable stevia
2 cup organic strawberries, hulled and chopped
PLUS 1/2 cup organic strawberries, hulled and diced
3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
a few strawberries for garnish

1.)  THE NIGHT BEFORE -- THE FILLING:  In food processor, blend the rhubarb, lemon juice, stevia and 2 cups of strawberries until smooth, making sure to scrape down the sides if there are lumps.  Pour into a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup diced strawberry chunks (this step is optional, but we like the extra strawberry chunks in each bite).  Cover bowl and let sit in fridge for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to blend (this is for the rhubarb, since it's raw it needs time to break down).

2.)  THE NEXT DAY -- THE CRUST:  In your food processor, add all crust ingredients and pulse until uniform consistency.  It should be crumbly.  Transfer your crust to a pie pan and press it firmly and evenly to line the pan.  Set in fridge to firm up for about 15 minutes.

3.)  To 2 Tablespoons of ice cold water, add the arrowroot powder and mix with fork until smooth.  Take filling mixture out of fridge and stir in arrowroot mixture.  With a spatula, pour the filling mixture onto the crust and spread it evenly throughout the pan.  Cover and freeze for a half hour before slicing.

It was verrrry good, Dave enjoyed it!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spicy Mango-Cucumber-Coconut Salad

Lakewinds (our local co-op) had some enticing, perfectly ripe mangoes sitting on their shelf yesterday.  I just couldn't resist!  I placed them in my basket and thought, "What to do, what to do.."  How about a refreshing salsa-esque salad paired with some grilled Ginger Lime Chicken?  Perfect!  (Ginger Lime Chicken recipe to come in a few days!!)

Spicy Mango-Cucumber-Coconut Salad

1 mango, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp raw honey OR sprinkle of Stevia (less if the mango is really sweet)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more/less to taste)
1/2 cup organic full-fat coconut milk

Toss all ingredients together (except coconut milk) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk, garnish with a slice of ginger.  Makes for a refreshing afternoon snack on its own or a side dish for a meal!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zucchini Hummus

So I recently went in to have my allergies, among other things, tested naturally by my naturopath, and my results showed I cannot do garbanzo beans anymore.  I'm SO SAD!  (But at the same time excited to know what my issues are to help some hormonal issues heal up..)  Since I am absolutely addicted to hummus, I needed another option for making it.  I've had zucchini hummus before at a raw restaurant here, called Ecopolitan, and really liked it, so I decided to blend some up at home.  Using zucchini as the base for hummus will make it much easier to digest rather than using the traditional garbanzo beans.  Even if you don't have a food allergy to chick peas, give it a try -- you will be pleasantly surprised.  :)

Zucchini Hummus
Makes About 3 Cups

2 raw organic zucchinis, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt (more/less to taste)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup raw tahini
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds

First, soak the sesame seeds for about 4 hours in a bowl of water to soften them.  Drain seeds in a mesh strainer (discarding the water) and dump all ingredients into food processor or blender.  Blend on High speed stopping frequently to scrape down sides.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nine Layer Taco Dip

We love this dish as a snack, as lunch or a great addition to any party spread!  The picture is a little off -- we forgot to add the olives until after we devoured half of the dish.  It's great even with a layer missing!  :)

Also, a little note on the cheese, cream cheese and sour cream -- we get these organic and raw from our local farmer.  If you don't have access to an organic farm, the next best thing is to choose the organic dairy options in the grocery aisle.  It's very important for your health to keep the hormones, antibiotics and other nasty stuff out of your food!

Nine Layer Taco Dip

3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp black pepper

1 can organic refried black beans
8oz organic cream cheese, softened
16oz organic sour cream
16oz organic salsa
1 large organic tomato, chopped
1 organic green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch organic green onions, chopped
1 heart organic romaine lettuce, shredded
6oz sliced black olives
2 avocados, diced
Squeeze of lime juice
2 cups raw cheddar cheese, shredded

In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans together.  Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.  Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl.  Spread over the refried beans.  Top the layers with salsa.  Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese.  In a small bowl, mix the diced avocado with lime juice.  Garnish the layers with black olives and avocado.  Serve with organic flaxseed chips and vegetables.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Broccoli-Cabbage Slaw

A yummy staple for picnic season!

Broccoli-Cabbage Slaw
Makes about 4 servings

1 cup Healing Cuisine Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp raw honey (omit if Advanced)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp Bragg apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 head cabbage, rinsed and shredded
1 bunch broccoli, rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
1/3 cup unsweetened organic dried cranberries or raisins (optional) (omit if Advanced)

In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together until smooth.  In a medium bowl, stir together salad ingredients.  Pour dressing over and mix thoroughly to coat.  Store in fridge for 2 hours or over night before serving.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How To: Natural Fruit and Veggie Wash

With farmer's market season in full swing, I wanted to share my recipe for produce wash.  While you are out buying fresh produce from the organic farmers, keep in mind you still don't know where that food came from, what was used to grow it, or what could be on it.  Some farmers feel they have to use a tremendous amount of chemicals when growing their crops, and they could still consider themselves "natural" or "organic" just because they are a local farmer.  Not only are most of these dangerous chemicals and pesticides sprayed on the crops, but also on the dirt to fight off bugs that live underground and feed off of the roots.  These chemicals are then absorbed by the crops and are later consumed by us.  So when visiting your farmers markets, ALWAYS ASK the staff at the booth if they are an organic farm (preferably Certified Organic).  Last summer we were shocked to find the majority of vendors used chemicals on their farms..  That is why this summer we will be primarily getting our produce from a Certified Organic CSA.

Read more about the toxins in America's produce here, here, here and here.

This is a great produce wash to rinse away any bacteria or airborne toxins/pollens that have settled on the veggies/fruits.  Remember this will not take away any chemicals or pesticides that have already absorbed inside the produce, but it will aid in cleaning up whatever is on the surface.

Natural Fruit and Veggie Wash

2 c filtered water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c baking soda
10 drops citrus fruit/seed extract (optional)

Pour the water, lemon juice, baking soda and citrus seed extract into a spray bottle.  It's normal for the lemon juice and baking soda to foam a bit.  To use, spray on vegetables and let sit for 5 minutes.  Scrub the veggies/fruit and rinse under cold filtered water.  (not recommended for use on soft-flesh berries)  Will last in spray bottle about 2 weeks when refrigerated.  You can also fill a ceramic/glass bowl with this mixture and let your produce sit in it for about 5 minutes and then proceed with scrub and rinse.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Join Us! "My Blog is Carbon Neutral"

I came across this fabulous organization who is helping our Earth and us!  Now I'm one that would probably have paid a company to plant a tree for me to offset the carbon emissions that my blog puts out each year, but when I read the Arbor Day Foundation is doing this for us for free, I couldn't pass up the opportunity!  Join us -- submit your blog or website, too!

Here is the link for more information on how to get on their list and take part.  They also give you a free "carbon neutral" button for your blog/website.  I love it!  The trees were planted in April for 2010 by the Arbor Day Foundation, so we just missed the cut off..  But it's never too late to join the bandwagon for next year!  This organization planted trees in the Plumas National Forest which is located in Northern California as well as in Germany.  The Arbor Day Foundation is helping to reforest after two devastating forest fires in 2007 that destroyed over 85,000 acres.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blueberry-Lavender Coconut Creme

This creme is a delicious summer indulgence.  We enjoy it drizzled over fresh peach slices or on top of Greek yogurt and homemade granola.  Probably would be great on organic ice cream or steel cut oats?  Oooh the possibilities!  I'd say if you're new to tasting/eating lavender, you might want to use a little bit less than what I used in this recipe..  It's an acquired taste!

Blueberry-Lavender Coconut Creme

2 Tbsp dried lavender (or about 5 lavender tea bags)
1 cup water

1 young coconut, meat only (save the water and enjoy later, a fresh electrolyte packed drink!)
1/3 cup full fat organic coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
2-3 Tbsp raw coconut butter
2 tsp stevia powder (more/less to taste)
1 fresh lime, juiced

1.)  Bring the cup of water to a boil.  Add lavender to glass container and pour water over.  Let it steep for about 10 minutes.  The water should be an intense, dark indigo.  Strain, and squeeze out the lavender leaves as much as possible to save the intense flavor.  (The water should be just warm)

2.)  While the lavender is steeping, into you blender, add the coconut meat, coconut milk, blueberries, coconut butter, stevia, and lime juice.  Pulse until just mixed.  When the lavender infusion is cooled, add it to the blender.  Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as you go.  Chill for an hour or longer and serve.

Coconut Butter vs Coconut Oil

I can already see the questions forming in your head and eventually hitting my Inbox on why you can't just use coconut oil in the recipe.  Friends always ask me what the difference is between coconut oil and coconut butter.  Aren't they just the same thing? The answer is no, they are two completely different products.  The easiest way to explain it is to say it's like peanut butter vs peanut oil.  Make sense?  Coconut butter is a mixture of coconut meat and coconut oil.  Coconut oil is just the pressed oil from the seed. (Did you know coconuts are seeds?  That's your random fact of the day!)  Coconut butter is even more nutrient packed than the oil because of the meat mixed in.  It adds fiber and protein!  You can use coconut butter on just about anything you'd put regular butter or peanut butter on (it has a taste similar to peanut butter).  It's even good alone by the spoonful, just ask my husband.  ;-)

Here's a glimpse of where the magic happens -- my tiny little counter where I prepare most of my recipes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nut & Seed Protein Bars

Dr. BJ Hardick, co-author of THE book Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, was in Bloomington on Friday to give a [amazing] nutrition talk to the Maximized Living students.  Even though I had known about the talk for like a month, it honestly didn't occur to me to surprise him with some healing treats until the night before (helloooo, right??).  And need I mention I didn't get home Thursday night until closer to 10:30pm after a full day of work followed by nannying for a family.  So Dave and I were sitting on the couch, half asleep, and the idea came to me that DUH, I should have made BJ something.  Then I looked at the clock, approaching midnight, work in the morning...and I said "oh well, maybe next time."

Friday afternoon, Dave and Vern were going to pick him up at the airport, and little did I expect for him to request some food!  I got the call from Dave in the middle of our shift on Friday, leaving me 3 hours to  plan my recipes, go to the store, drive all the way home in the pouring rain (I hate driving in the rain), make the food, and get it to him at his hotel.  Well I did it!  I prepared the Chocolate Strawberry Tart from my Mother's Day menu (the chocolate crust is to DIE for!!) and this salty-sweet Nut & Seed Protein Bars recipe.  I think Dr. BJ liked them just a little bit as I'm posting this recipe per his request.  ;)

Enjoy this simple and quick to make snack that will have you begging for more!

Nut & Seed Protein Bars 
Adapted from Meghan Banke's recipe

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup fresh ground flaxmeal
1/3 cup organic sodium free Valencia peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp spoonable stevia (more/less to taste)
Dash of sea salt (to taste)
1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Optional Chocolate Topping:
4 oz unsweetened organic dark chocolate
3 Tbsp raw butter
2 tsp spoonable stevia (more/less to taste)

1.)  In a dry stainless steel skillet over Medium-Low heat, toast coconut lightly until it becomes fragrant and just starts to brown.  Stir often and watch carefully so not to burn.  Pour into bowl to cool.

2.)  In food processor, add all nuts.  Pulse until well chopped, almost ground (you want tiny chunks of nuts that can stick together easily).  Add chopped nuts to dry skillet over Medium-Low heat and toast for approx. 10 minutes, stirring often, until nuts are fragrant.  Again, be careful not to burn.  The moment you smell the nutty flavor, remove from pan and add to bowl with coconut flakes. (Optional protein powder can also be added to bowl at this time.)

3.)  In small saucepan over Low heat, add peanut butter, coconut oil , stevia and vanilla.  Stir to combine then remove from heat.  [Note: if adding protein powder, you'll need to use a little bit more peanut butter and coconut oil to get the right consistency, about an extra Tbsp of each.]

4.)  Pour peanut butter mixture into the bowl and stir everything until all nuts are well coated and protein powder is mixed in.   Use a spatula to scape nut mixture into a 9x13" pan lined with parchment paper and press the mixture into the form of the pan.  Put into fridge or freezer to set.

5.)  This chocolate topping is optional, but very delicious!  This makes just a thin layer of chocolate on top, so sometimes I double it.   It turns these protein packed bars into a dessert!  In a small saucepan over Low heat, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth.  Stir in stevia.  Pour over bars and spread evenly.  Pop pan back into fridge to set for about a half hour before serving.  Store in fridge, lasts up to 1 week.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Braised Cabbage & Apple with Bacon

Looking for something new to incorporate as a staple side dish?  Try this tart and sweet mixture of cabbage, onion and apple with smoky undertones of turkey bacon.  You can't go wrong with this Irish inspired dish!

Braised Cabbage & Apple with Bacon

1 medium head cabbage, chopped (any kind, green, white or red)
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
6 slices uncured organic turkey bacon
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp stevia (optional)
3 Tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1/3 c sodium-free organic chicken broth

1.  Preheat skillet over Medium heat.  Add a dab of coconut oil to pan.  Place uncured turkey bacon in skillet, flipping occasionally, until it is browned and most of the fat has cooked off.  Remove from skillet and place on cutting board, chop into bits and return to skillet.

2.  Add onion and apple and stir to coat in turkey bacon fat.  Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.  Cook until onion begins to caramelize.

3.  Add cabbage, stir to coat it in bacon fat and cook until cabbage begins to wilt, about 4 minutes.  Stir in optional stevia at this time.

4.  Deglaze the pan by adding cider vinegar and scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate the browned bits into the sauce.  Add chicken broth and season with a few pinches of sea salt and more freshly ground pepper.  Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to Medium-Low and cover the pan tightly. Simmer cabbage, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and soupy and turkey bacon is tender, about 25 minutes.  If cabbage begins to look dry, add more chicken broth or water.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day Brunch Menu


Now available for download:  Mother's Day e-Book Menu Planner

Complete with recipes for brunch, lunch, or dinner.  Desserts, sweet treats, savory main course options, drinks, and more!  Impress your mom with a healthy, flavorful meal in her honor!  I have specifically designed recipes around Mother's Day that fit into both the Core and Advanced Nutrition Plans.  My e-books include recipes unique to each e-book, not already found on my website.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fresh Dressing Ideas

Most salad dressings are composed of a mix of a fat and an acid  (usually in a 1:2 ratio).  The fat is usually oil and the acid vinegar, but here are some other ideas to break thru the box.  The fat can be nuts or nut butter.  The acid could be lemon or fruit juice.  There are so many different ways to experiment and tons of dressings to enjoy.

My favorite dressings are oil based, mostly because I’m always happy for a chance to use good, healthy oils (flax, hemp, cold-pressed olive).  Healthy fats are good for us as they are rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which we as Americans are deeply deprived of in our regular diet -- EVEN if we are eating "healthy".  You should always be looking for ways to add healthy Omega 3's to your diet to help feed your brain (primarily composed of the fat) and decrease inflammation (which causes disease) naturally in your body.

On a Maximized Living Nutrition Plan, we know to stay away from the bottled dressings due to the ingredients (chemicals, sugars, non-organic quality).  So, are you sick of the same old olive oil and vinegar salad dressing?  Me too.  Here are some of the dressings I've been playing around with for my salads lately.  We eat a lot of salads, mostly for lunch since we are a no microwave family and need quick and easy meals away from a stove (check out why microwaves are so dangerous and make an educated decision for your family).  Salads are a staple!  Here are some yummy dressings to switch it up from the normal oil and vinegar.  Send along your favorite salad dressing ideas!  We are always looking for different mixes!

Creamy Avocado-Cumin Dressing
Yeilds About 1 Cup

1 tsp whole cumin seeds (buy them in the bulk section at your co-op)
3-4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 avocado
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp organic Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced (3 roasted cloves if you have time)
1/4 c filtered water
Fresh black pepper to taste

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant (just a few minutes, keep close watch not to burn!).  Grind into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.  Add pepper and season to taste.

Asian Inspired Dressing
Yields About 1 Cup

1/2 Tbsp ginger, diced
1 c olive oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/3 c water
4 Tbsp white miso paste
4 pitted dates, diced

Blend all ingredients together in blender until creamy and emulsified.

Thai Inspired Dressing

Yields About 1 1/2 Cups

1 c filtered water
1/3 cup cilantro
1/4 cup basil
Sprinkle of sea salt to taste
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp stevia powder
1 avocado, diced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Zucchini Dressing 
Yields About 1 Cup

1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp organic honey mustard
1/2 tsp powdered stevia
2 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
3 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 medium zucchini, chopped

Blend all dressing ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy. ((delicious with spinach!))

Poppyseed Dressing
Yields About 1 Cup

1 c raw pine nuts
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c filtered water
1 Tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp raw agave nectar
Dash sea salt
2 Tbsp poppy seeds (Added last, after blending)

Blend all ingredients in a blender on high.  Add poppyseeds.  ((So good!! Dave's Favorite!))

Butternut Squash Dressing
Yeilds About 1 Cup

1 c cooked butternut squash
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos
2 Tbsp filtered water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp raw agave nectar

Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth. ((Great with raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds over greens!!))

Beet Dressing
Yields About 1 1/2 Cups

2 c cooked beets, chopped
2 Tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp filtered water
2 Tbsp flax oil

Blend all ingredients on high. Enjoy this sweet&tart creamy dressing.  ((Great over any greens with cucumber, red onion and carrot.))

Sweet Carrot Dressing
Yields About 2 Cups

2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 c raw, organic tahini
1 c unsweetened carrot juice
2 Tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos
2 tsp fresh ginger (more if you can handle it)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sprinkle of powdered stevia (optional)

Blend all ingredients in blender until creamy.  Add a splash of water to thin out if preferred.  ((Wonderful with dried cranberries, raw almonds and cabbage.))

Buttermilk Dill Ranch Dressing
Yields About 1 Cup

1/2 c organic plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c raw milk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp Vegenaise
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dried savory mix
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp fresh dill fronds

In glass measuring cup, add 1/2 cup milk and 2 tsp lemon juice and let stand for about 5 minutes (turns the milk into a buttermilk substitute).  Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until thoroughly combined.  Let rest covered in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

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