Kids in the Kitchen - Crackin' Coconuts

Have you ever noticed that kids get excited when you're excited? They often absorb the emotions that are in the room. When their brother or sister is upset, they feel upset - and when they are happy and excited - the other one is generally happy and excited also. This goes for the parents and adults in the children's lives too. Kids rely so much on their adult and sibling influences for their likes, dislikes, habits, and interests.

What I have noticed is that when kids give that scrunched up 'ew' looking face, it is often before they have tried something AND it is usually because of the way in which the food is being presented.

"Ok, Johnny, now you need to eat this spinach because you need to eat something green and it's good for you. I really need you to AT LEAST try it. Just give it a taste."

Seems harmless right?

Well, they are now looking at that spinach like it's different. Like it's not as tasty. Like it's a chore. Why not include them in the preparation so that they know all about all the ingredients that they are eating?

Bring up the nutritional facts on your iPad and let them read and learn about the different foods as your making them from the vegetables and herbs to the more desirable fruits and nut butters- allow them to become excited about healthy ingredients all on their own. Soon they will learn that spinach is a powerful antioxidant that includes vitamins C, E, A, manganese and minerals such as zinc and selenium. They'll learn that it also contains vitamin K, calcium and protein - all bone strengthening and muscle building properties. Ya'll remember 'Popeye the Sailor' right? The iconic energetic and muscular sailor dating back to the 1920s was often seen getting the benefits of spinach through his pipe and sometimes eating spinach from a can. While I wouldn't recommend either of those methods, the message was clear even then - eat your spinach to grow big a strong.

Why are we hiding the healthy ingredients? Real whole food IS the source of ingredients. Real whole food is what makes the meals that you and your family consumes. Giving children the opportunity to experience the texture, flavors and benefits of individual ingredients will instill a lasting appreciation for the food whether they acquire a taste for it or not.

Sure there are still going to be foods that they don't like as there are foods that adults aren't too fond of either (like I'm not fan of raw celery by itself... at all) but without a preconditioned judgement, they are free to make that determination after learning about and trying the food.

When we learn we generally grow an appreciation for it. Whatever it is. Judgement often comes from ignorance. The same applies to food.

Also know that you can pair healthy ingredients together strategically to make it even more desirable. Spinach and other tender greens go amazing with fruits such as strawberries and spinach or fruit salsas in boats of butter or romaine lettuce. And more dense options like celery and almond butter or dates and dark chocolate. Or simply blend into smoothies. The options are endless.

So, I spent some time at out my brother's house with his beautiful wife and three boys ages 4, 6 and 6 months old. While the 6-month-old didn't partake in the tasting festivities (although he was watching and smiling), the other two thoroughly enjoyed.

While I was there, there were smoothies with kale (YES!), spinach, avocado, and all sorts of fantastic fruits! There was also vegetable sautés, salads, and protein additions like sprouted seeds and nuts. One of my favorite nights was when they discovered their love of coconuts and coconut water.

This was an Organic Mature Brown Coconut.

To select the coconut, shake it and be sure that you can hear some water and that there is no mold or mildew by the hole/indents. 

If you have drill handy - this is the easiest way to get into the coconut. 

You'll drill into the indent that is darkest in color. In this case, it's the upper right spot.

Gettin' pumped!

You'll want to have a container ready to capture the fresh coconut water.

They were quite excited ;) 

Once the water is drained, you can open the coconut using a very sharp knife, ax, or machete. You can also simply crack open the coconut using something like a hammer by first cracking by the first hole and then continue to crack all along the coconut until it cracks apart - there is a natural line that you will be able to see eventually and it will crack along it.

Cheers!

You can watch our intro here.

Yes, kids can LOVE coconut water AND they'll tell you about it! (Watch here) ;) 

The coconut meat can be saved and shredded and used in all sorts of things, eaten on its own, strained into milk, or blended into coconut butter or oil.

The possibilities are vast in the world of fresh whole real foods - all found in nature.

So, next time you see a coconut at the store, go ahead and crack it on open with the kiddos and enjoy some of nature's most hydrating beverage.

With Love,

-AEB

Product Review: Go Raw Junk-Free Snacks

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of dangerous additives, preservatives, and chemicals that are added to otherwise safe and healthy food. For what? While the short and quick answer would be "longer shelf life," the reality is much more complicated. The reality, is that adding these things to food saves money by adding fillers and therefore making more at a lower cost. The reality, is that the chemicals that are put into packaged and processed foods are not only dangerous chemicals made in a lab - they proven to have an effect on mood and behavior leading to or contributing to a vast amount of behavioral disturbances such as hyperactivity, ADHD, tantrums, and even Autism.

These nutrient void "foods" are made to make your mouth water, your taste-buds crave more, and set you up for a sugar crash with urgent hunger pangs causing you to reach for more. 

"Research carried out by Dr. Neil Ward at Surrey University found that 89% of 357 diagnosed hyperactive children were adversely affected by artificial colours." (foodsmatter.com).

Be Aware of Food Additives 

We've all seen them on the back of packages and this list is no where near exhaustive but here are some of the scariest additives out there:

  • Artificial Colors: Azo & Coal Tar Dyes worst offenders (E102, 104, 107, 110, 120, 122, 123, 124, 127, 128, 132, 133, 150, 151, 152, 155). These colors and dyes have been known to trigger reactions in asthmatics as well as trigger or cause allergic reactions. Artificial colors are found in products such as beverages, condiments, and other processed foods.
     
  • Artificial Flavors:  An artificial flavor must be comprised of one of the nearly 700 FDA-allowed flavoring chemicals or food additives categorized as “generally recognized as safe,” or any of 2000 other chemicals not directly regulated by FDA but sanctioned for use by an industry group, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States. Most of these chemicals exist as natural flavors or can be extracted from them (ewg.org).
     
  • Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol, acesulfame, saccharin, saccharin, xyitol): Artificial sweeteners provide zero benefits, are void of nutrients, and cause or contribute to a vast amount of ailments and disease including but not limited to diabetes, tooth decay, weight-gain, bacteria overgrowth, and toxin build-up.
     
  • Carrageenan: A thickener and emulsifier derived from an indigestible seaweed causing inflammation and linked to cancer, ulcerative colitis, and other diseases such as diabetes. Ironically, this one is generally found in alternative milks (like almond milk), juices, and infant formula.
     
  • Flavor Enhancers such as Monosodium Glutamate - MSG (E621): "One of the scariest ingredients out there...Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills; explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and more." (Found in Eat Raw Not Cooked by Stacy Stowers).
     
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): The term 'GMOs' is being tossed around the health community like a ball in a dog park these days- but the fact is, GMOs are scary. If you aren't already worried about them - you should be. Hate to put it so bluntly, but there simply must be an awareness of GMOs and how they can and will effect your body. 
    • In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.
    • GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
    • Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
    • Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.(http://www.nongmoproject.org/)
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup: This one has stirred quite a debate. As it's name entails, high-fructose is derived from corn - and it is... you guessed it, fructose. What's the big deal? Yes, it is higher on the glycemic index but what concerns me with HFCS the most, is that it is coming from an ingredient that is highly likely to be genetically modified (corn) and it is completely void of an nutrients. And yes, this too is made in a lab. Stick with 100% pure maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar, or dates to sweeten up your foods/beverages where you will be getting the benefit of minerals, enzymes, and vitamins while you get your sugar fix.
     
  • Natural Flavors: According to its website, the FDA does not have a definition for 'natural' as it appears on food labels, and its willing to let marketers use it so long as the food does not contain added colors or synthetic substances. Yet Natural flavors are still made from compounds that were made in a lab utilizing chemicals and synthetic materials! Comforting right?
    • Further ... the FDA says that natural flavor is one that's derived from a "spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable  juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof"...Basically a natural flavor is one that's derived from a plant or animal (including insects). An artificial flavor, on the other hand, does not come from a plant or animal source, and instead is generated from scratch (in a lab).
    • Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid (E210, 211): Food additive/preservatives linked to worsening hyperactivity, allergies and taxing organs such as the liver and kidneys.
    • Sodium Nitrates: Food additive (typically in cured meats as a preservative) linked to gastric cancer, kidney disease/stones/failure. This one may seem relatively harmless on a label but it's a biggie - we humans have a threshold with the amount of sodium that our body can handle. Surpassing that threshold is a serious danger zone. In infants and toddlers, high concentrations of nitrate can lead to a condition called "blue baby syndrome," which can be fatal. The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that this happens with nitrates bind to red blood cells, blocking their ability to carry life-giving oxygen throughout the body. Nitrates are also associated with an increase risk in cancer and specifically brain tumors, leukemia and nose/throat tumors.
    • Sulfites/sulphites, Sulfur Dioxide : These two are different chemical compounds but are similar. Sulfites and sulfur dioxide are added to a slew of products to preserve their color and extend their shelf life. Sulfites are also used an alternative to bleaching (in things like white flours, spices, coconut and is also sprayed on shellfish and some fish right on the boat). Both of these additives have the ability to cause major allergic reactions. In fact, sulfites is amongst Canada's top 10 common allergens. Note: Sulfites are also found naturally occurring in fermented foods and beverages such as wine - though some wine makers add more to preserve it further, kombucha and fermented veggies many people can tolerate these naturally sulfites. These two additives are seriously everywhere so get accustomed to reading labels - but also know that if it is under a certain amount (10 ppm), they do not have to be on the label so severely sensitive individuals should also check with the maker/manufacturer. 

Before I go on, allow me to just give you some brief insight as to what I have experienced with some of these additives:

  • Artificial colors & dyes: Anaphylactic, itchy throat, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate
  • MSG: Joint pain, migraines, dizziness/vertigo, flushing, elevated heart rate, facial pressure and sensitive skin 
  • Sodium Nitrates and Sodium benzoate: Kidney stones 
  • Artificial Sweeteners: lethargy, joint pain, brain fog, digestive upset, headaches
  • Sulfites/sulfites, Sulfur Dioxide: Anaphylactic, itchy throat, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, itchy/watery eyes, brain dog, confusion, depression, joint pain, anxiety

Keep in mind that just because something is derived from a plant or animal (like in 'natural flavors' doesn't mean that it's safe. For example, Citric Acid - a seemingly harmless preservative is often derived from mold. And, ever hear of castoreum? Tastes like vanilla right? Well, this 'natural flavor' is actually a secretion that comes from two castor sacs located under a beaver's tail, right next to a pair of anal glands. This evidently tastes and smells like vanilla and is classified as a 'natural' food additive because it comes from an animal source. Yup, beavers butt. 

I recommend these few simple guidlines:

  • 7 ingredients or less rule: Many folks will say 5  but some of my favorite go-to healthy products contain celtic or Himalayan sea salt or spices like ginger and cinnamon that put it over the 5 limit. 
  • If you can't pronounce it - chances are you don't want to it. For real. 
  • If you don't recognize the ingredient, chances are your body won't either. Our bodies do an awesome job of assimilating and breaking down real whole foods - and naturally begins to reject things that it does not recognize as food.

So, let's step away from the "what  you don't know won't hurt you" mentality and get educated. Knowledge is power my friends.

Product Review: Go Raw Junk-Free Snacks

This post took a bit of a detour - apparently I had some ranting to do before I praise one of my go-to organic food brands: Go Raw. I eat Go Raw products on a regular basis (their spicy pumpkin and sunflower seed mix is out of this world). All of their products are free of sugar, oil, flour, and 100% vegan. 

Their products use a delicate process of soaking, sprouting, and drying (under 105º fahrenheit), ensuring a nutrient dense and enzyme rich finished product. 

I had the pleasure of sampling a variety of Go Raw's new Sprouted Cookies. 

Go Raw's products are sourced from 100% organic ingredients. These cookies are made from a base of 3 simple ingredients: unsulphered coconut, sprouted sesame seeds, and dates that when combined, create a taste-bud experience unlike any other cookie. The good news? The cookie is actually good for you. Go Raw has come up with a variety of cookie flavors like Chocolate (yes please!), Lemon (heaven...), Carrot, Masala Chai, Ginger (OMG yum!) and Original. There was not one that did not like though my favorites are Chocolate, Lemon and Ginger. I may have had three of each in one bite for an epic combination....and by that, I mean that I did... 

For those that have nut allergies, Go Raw is a dedicated nut-free facility. 

Sesame, dates and coconut are nutritional powerhouses. 

Sesame Seeds:

Don't let their size fool you, these tiny seeds are loaded with goodness. Protein makes up 20% of the seed, offering 4.7 grams of protein per ounce. High in magnesium, sesame is an excellent way to get this nutrient in; which aids in digestion, sleep, blood sugar control, lowering anxiety and stress and is critical in preventing diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. The phytosterol is the highest in sesame in comparison to any other nut or seed - this compound has been found to have anti-cancer properties. In addition, sesame contains a high amount of iron, which everyone needs but particularly those with anemia or prone to anemia. And, just a small handful of sesame contains more calcium than a glass of milk. The list goes on and on from healthy skin and hair to eye health - these babies are indeed a superfood. 

Coconut:

If you've been tapped into the health community, you already know that coconut is pretty much a miracle. You can read about the 101 uses for coconut by the lovely Wellness Moma here. Coconut can be used internallyand externally for a wide array of things, but I will tell you that as far as internally, it truly is a miracle food. It is high in lauric acid and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA); which helps to boost the metabolism and aids in weight-loss. Yeah, it's 2015 and time to let go of the fallacy that saturated fat is bad. Here are a few of the other awesome benefits of regular use of coconut: helps to support thyroid function, has been shown to possibly prevent or reverse Alzheimers, controls insulin levels, boost hormone production, boost immune system, improve digestion and is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and, antioxidant.

Dates:

I'm happy to go out on date with this marvelous fruit any day. A sweet product of the date palm, dates are packed with an impressive mineral, nutrient, and vitamin profile of: fiber, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A, B6, K and folates and contains antioxidant flavonoids such as b-carotene. Here are just some of the benefits of consuming dates: digestive health, reduced stroke risk, brain health, heart health, reduced blood pressure, weigh-management, anemia prevention, respiratory health and decreased (colon) cancer risk. 

Eat real whole foods. Go simple. Go Raw.

- Michael Pollan

www.goraw.com

-Ashley

Vega One Power Smoothie

I've been drinking Vega One as shake in the morning for a few months now and I have to tell you - it really has been one of those things that has changed my life. I love brekkie time, but I was beginning to be in a bit of a funk when it came to what to eat because what I was eating was not making me feel well. It wasn't giving me energy. I switched to an all fruit brekkie which made me feel amazing, but it wasn't sustaining me. I needed something more. I found Vega One and never looked back unless of course, I have my new favorite signature dish, The WAKE Bowl. Or... perhaps combine the two (AMAZINGNESS).

Vega One is 100% plant-based, dairy, gluten, and soy free. It has a complete protein blend and balanced amino acid profile made up of of sprouted whole grain brown rise, pea, hemp, and savi seed. Each serving provides 15 grams of protein as well as 3 servings of greens, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, digestive enzymes and probiotics. Here is a complete list of ingredients.

Anyway, usually I have the shake with added chia seeds and almond milk, coconut water or water and then fruit along the side but I was super hungry and didn't feel like a salad for lunch so I threw all of this in the blender and viola! Vega Magic.
 

Vega One Power Smoothie

1 banana
1 avocado
2 handfuls of spinach
3 T coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1 T raw honey
1 serving Vega One (I used French Vanilla)
1 serving liquid chlorella (about 18 drops)
~ 2 cups water (I didn't measure so use your best judgement for consistency)
Few ice cubes (this makes the spinach blend better)

Method

Throw in the blender and blend silly ;)

Makes one large green awesome smoothie.

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

The WAKE Bowl

I have gone though countless breakfast phases - from eggs, potatoes and sausage (yes, really) to coconut flour waffles, to spinach pancakes. But, one thing has remained the same - and that is my love for breakfast and morning. I adore my mornings and the breakfast ritual. Especially on the weekends. I open the blinds, prepare my coffee in the french press, dance a round a bit, stretch and make breakfast (or what I like to call 'brekkie,' which I picked up in Australia). The tunes play as I enjoy my brekkie, read about what is happening in the World, and perhaps do some writing. My weekend mornings are quite ritualistic and if you're ever around me during this time, good luck getting me out of the house before noon.

wake bowl.jpeg

This recipe was born out of me having a couple of nights filled with some heavy food that my system isn't really use to eating and I was feeling like I needed something that was cleansing yet fulfilling and satisfying to my morning appetite.

I've continued to make this brekkie meal over and over - experimenting with different fruits, herbs and spices but the version below is by far my favorite.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am deeming this my signature dish. 

The WAKE Bowl

1 T chia seeds
1 C unsweetened almond milk (carrageenan free like Whole Food's 356 brand)
Small handful of spinach  (torn into small pieces)
1 Banana, sliced
Small handful of raspberries
Small handful of blueberries
Small handful of goji berries
Handful of cubed pineapple
Sprinkle of cardamom
1/8 t fresh ginger
1 leaf of fresh basil (torn into small pieces)
2 T Coconut meat/flakes
1 T hemp seeds

Method

Soak the chia seeds in the almond milk (in the fridge) for at least an hour or overnight (better tasting IMO and easier to digest). Add in all the other ingredients (I do in the order listed so that it looks pretty ;)), give it a stir and enjoy!

Yes this will WAKE you up!!!

wake bowl 2.jpeg

Enjoy ;) 

-AEB

Vegan Spicy Yam Chili

Yeehaw!

That is how I feel about this Vegan Spicy Yam Chili!

So, I've been thinking about this change of season thing that occurs, and it's really very interesting. First of all, it has still been quite warm here in Philly (not complaining). Yet, I am still craving fall foods like mad. Pumpkins, Kabocha squash, Carnival squash, pomegranates, apples, cranberries, brussels sprouts... I even went to Jamaica recently where it was so hot that I thought my coconut oil would actually evaporate, and I was craving apples the entire time. My point is that, it must not just be the change in weather - that effect our state of being during the shift of seasons. Perhaps there are other forces at play like ecology, astrology, and even genotype.

On with this fall inspired and completely satisfying vegan dish (and feel free to make in non-vegan with some meat of your choice!) 

vegan chili.jpeg

Vegan Spicy Yam Chili

13.4 oz Organic no-salt added black beans (I use the 365® BPA-free boxed, if you used canned, make sure it's BPA-free like Eden®)
1/2 cup filtered water
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
2 handful bok choy, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 handful spinach
1 T fresh chive, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (actually use your hands to pull the cilantro apart vs using a knife as it releases the oils better)
1 T EVOO
Heavy dash of: Cumin, Cayenne, Chili Powder and Pepper)

For the Yams (btw... there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes)

1 large yam or 2 small yams, diced (skin-on)
1 T coconut oil
1/2 T Cinnamon

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400º, dice your yams, toss in a large glass baking dish, and massage the coconut oil evenly on all pieces. Sprinkle the cinnamon overtop and roast at 400º for about 1 hour. Turn over pieces two times throughout for even roasting.

Meanwhile, boil the 1/2 cup water and add in the zucchini and boil for about 1 minute, then add the bok choy, boil another minute, and then add in the kale. Boil for about one more minute, and then turn down to a simmer - drain the majority of the water out and add in the EVOO. Proceed to add in the remaining chili ingredients (keep the water from the beans or add in 1/4 of filtered water), turn the heat up to medium and cover for about 5 minutes and then turn back down to a simmer until the yams are done.

Add in about 2 cups of the yams (yay you'll have some left over!)

Pour into bowls and top with avocado.

(Note: I recommend adding the avocado fresh to avoid oxidation)

Serves 4

I think when I make this again, I will add in some lime but I didn't have any limes (um why not?!? One should always have limes!)

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Lavender Lemon Pancakes

Oh...and, this recipe also works for bread (see adaptations below). 

pancakes.jpeg

There are some (like my sister) that think eating lavender is 'weird,' or they think it's 'like eating perfume.' I, am not one of those people. In fact, I would go far as to say that I love the taste of lavender. Plus, it's ridiculously good for you.

So, I made these pancakes the other night for a quick bite to eat the next day while at work. I'm pretty sure that I said out-loud "whoa, these are frickin' delicious!" Yeah...

Lavender Lemon Pancakes

1 egg, cage-free/organic
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup white rice flour
Dash of cardamom
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup oat milk *
2 tbls fresh lemon juice
Pinch of dried lavender flowers
1 tsp baking powder

Method:

Coat a large skillet with some coconut oil (extra virgin/unrefined or your favorite oil) and heat on medium.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whip the egg and applesauce together. Add in the rice flour, cardamom, sea salt and oat milk, stir well. Next, add in the lemon juice and lavender then the baking powder. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour ~ 4 pancakes in the the skillet. Heat about 3-4 minutes on one side (or until tops begin to bubble). Flip, and heat on the other side for about 3 minutes or until they begin to brown.

pancakes2.jpeg

Seriously, YUM! I was not expecting this to be so good.

Now, to make this a bread:

4 egg whites, cage-free/organic (reserve yolks)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup oats (certified gluten free)
Heavy dash of cardamom
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup oat milk *
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Dash of dried lavender flowers
2 tsp baking powder

Method:

Coat a bread loaf pan (I used glass) with extra virgin/unrefined coconut oil (or oil of your choice).

Whip the egg whites until they begin to froth but do not whip them so that they are white. Set aside.

Combine the egg yolks and applesauce. Add in the rice flour, oats, cardamom and salt. Mix well then add in the remaining ingredients and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, cover with foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

lavendar bread.jpeg

A...maz...ing.

* If you have a significant allergy/intolerance to gluten, be sure to check the label on your oat milk and make sure it was made in a gluten-free facility as there is potential for gluten-cross contamination with oats.

lavendarbread 2.jpeg

Enjoy!

-AEB

Lentil, Butternut Squash & Kale Bake

I've recently become quite fond of the lentil. With 17 grams in one cup, these little legumes are an excellent source of protein as well as healthy, low-glycemic carbohydrates. Additionally, they contain a significant amount of healthy fiber, manganese, B-vitamins, folate and iron. A true superfood, IMHO.

Like other beans and legumes, you can either soak them or cook them or a combination of the two. For this recipe, I decided to cook them. 

On a side note, do you ever just fall in love with an artist all over again? I've been listening to Adele like it's the fist time hearing her this past week and each song undoubtedly moves me. She evokes so much passion...so many emotions... Lovely. 

Anyway, on with this hearty (vegan and vegetarian friendly) dish ;)

Lentil, Butternut Squash & Kale Bake

For the lentils

1 cup green lentils
3 cups water

Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring often. The legumes, when done should be soft throughout.

For the squash

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced diced
1 tbls coconut oil (Extra Virgin/Unrefined)

Method:

Combine the diced butternut squash with the coconut oil and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes (tossing once halfway through).

For the bake:

3 handfuls of kale, chopped
1 scallion, minced
1 tomato, de-seeded and chopped
Heavy dash of garlic powder
1 tbls cumin powder
Dash of sea salt
4-6 fresh oregano leaves, torn into pieces
3/4 cup water (you'll be splitting this up 1/4 cup at time)
1 tbls coconut oil

Method:

Mix the garlic powder, cumin and sea salt with the 3/4 water. Stir well.

Combine the lentils with the butternut squash, pour 1/4 of the seasoned water over-top and bake another 10 minutes.

Add the tomato and scallion, pour another 1/4 cup of the seasoned water over-top and bake another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°.

Lastly, add in the kale, oregano, coconut oil and remaining water. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes.

lentil bake.jpeg

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Product Review: Tagliatelle Jovial Pasta

This pasta dish was by far the best pasta that I have made and I am thinking it may be the best pasta I have ever had. I know, that is a bold statement.

Jovial was kind enough to send me a box of their Gluten Free Brown Rice Egg Tagliatelle and a jar of their Diced Tomatoes to do a product review. The timing was perfect as I had been craving pasta for a while. Being gluten-free for as long as I have been, I can assure you that is indeed the best gluten-free pasta that I have had. I would feed it to any gluten-eater out there. Any day.

Tagliatelle Jovial Pasta & Chicken Sausage

1 box Jovial Brown Rice Egg Tagliatelle Pasta
1/8 jar Jovial Diced Tomatoes
2 tbls grapeseed oil (for your skillet)
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 handful of kale, chopped
4 Al Fresco Chicken Sausage (Roasted Garlic), thinly sliced
2 basil leaves, chopped

Method: 

Boil the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat your grapeseed oil in a large skillet (I do think grapeseed makes a difference in this recipe - it adds a nice buttery and somewhat nutty flavor). Add the fennel, zucchini, onion, carrot and garlic and begin to saute. 

jovial.jpeg

 

Set the pasta aside.

Add the kale and chicken to the saute. Once the chicken is thoroughly heated, combine with the pasta and add in the diced tomatoes and basil leaves.

And... Viola! ;)

jovial pasta bowl.jpeg

Serves ~ 4 (or 1 with the best leftovers ever ;))

So looking forward to eating this dish again.

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Moroccan Stew

While a true Moroccan Stew would likely call for lamb, chicken or beef, this dish was incredible with bison. You could use the meat of your preference or omit meat all together to make it vegan. 

Moroccan Stew

1 cup organic (white) basmati rice
1 lb ground grass-fed bison
1 garlic clove, minced
2 scallions, minced
1 zucchini, thinly chopped
Handful of kale, chopped
1/2 tomato, diced
1 butternut squash, chopped and steamed
2 carrots, chopped and steamed
2 parsnips, chopped and steamed
1/4 cup raisins
Dash of ground cumin
Dash of ground cardamom
Dash of ground clove
Dash of ground turmeric
Dash of ground pepper
1/2 cup water

Method:

Brown the bison in a large skillet, adding the garlic and scallions.

Meanwhile, steam the butternut squash, carrots and parsnips and prepare the white rice.

When the meat is nearly cooked, add in all the rest of your veggies and seasonings.

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When the veggies are cooked to your liking with the bison, combine with the steamed veggies, rice, raisins and water. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, stirring often to allow the flavors to meld.

moroccan stew.jpeg

I can't wait to make this again, so good. I was excited every night to eat leftovers. 

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Enjoy (with some Hibiscus Rose Sake... ;))

-AEB

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad

One of my favorite things in life is to turn on some music, sip on a refreshing adult beverage and cook up a hearty meal using fresh ingredients. It's like therapy for me. Seriously. 

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad

1 lb ground bison, grass-fed
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 yellow onion, minced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 summer squash, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 large handful of kale, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
1 avocado, diced
Dash of ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt 

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Method: 

Begin to brown the bison in a large skillet, add in clove of garlic and onion and saute. Add in the sea salt and pepper. While the bison is cooking, chop up your sweet potato and steam for about 12 minutes.

Add in the remaining ingredients to the bison and cook until the bison is cooked to your liking and the vegetables are tender. 

Serve with the diced avocado.

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Now, I went light on the seasonings because I was just excited about the fresh ingredients but you could jazz it up with some oregano, chili powder, cayenne etc...

Serves 3-4 (or...leftovers...)

And with the those leftovers, just toss over some romaine and eat cold ;) Yum! 

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My new beverage of choice... 

zipang.jpeg

Zipang

is the greatest thing since sliced bread IMO (gluten free sliced bread that is ;)). Seriously incredible. It tastes almost more like brew than a wine. I could go on and on about it, so you'll just have to try it. Not sweet, super refreshing AND gluten/sulfite-free. Aaah....

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Spinach Bread Loaf

Well, I really wanted to get this recipe out sooner because I am kind of in love with it, alas, life had its way with me again. So, I apologize for the delay, only because this recipe should most certainly make its way into your life.  

You all know how much I love breads and pancakes, so I thought, why not combine my favorite bread recipe with my favorite pancake recipe?

I now present to you my newest favorite.... Spinach Bread Loaf. Oh yes. 

spinach loaf bread.jpeg

Spinach Bread Loaf

1 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
2 egg yolks, organic/cage-free (reserve the whites)
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp 100% pure maple syrup
1 cup brown rice
1 cup oats
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 cup spinach, chopped
Heavy dash of cardamom
Heavy dash of turmeric
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Method: 

Whip the egg whites until the begin to turn white (but not quite frothy), set aside.  

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the egg yolks, apple sauce, vanilla and maple syrup. Add in the flours, spices and spinach and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Lastly, add in the baking soda and apple cider vinegar and mix well.

Grease a bread loaf pan (I used grapeseed oil) and bake at 350° 25 minutes, turn down to 300° and bake another 15 minutes with foil over-top. 

Delicious! 

When the temperature drops enough for me to not feel insane for turning an oven on, I'll be making this again.  Yes, even on the coast in Northern Maine, it's HOT. I love it... I really do.

spinach loaf bread 2.jpeg

Enjoy (for brekki, lunch, dinner or a snack! :))

-AEB

Banana & Pear Chai Spiced Bread

The idea of a chai spiced bread had been spinning around in my head for a few days before I made this. Then, the thought to put some pear in it came to me and I couldn't wait to try it out. Seriously... delicious. I may have said this before, I'm sure that I have (because I'm vain like that...), but this is likely my favorite bread to-date.

Banana & Pear Chai Spiced Bread

3 bananas (very ripe or previously frozen)
2 egg yolks (reserve the whites)
4 egg whites
1 tsp 100% pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups brown rice flour

Chai spice:

  • Dash of ginger
  • Dash of Cardamom
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Pinch of clove
  • Pinch of Nutmeg 

Pinch of sea salt1/4 tsp ground flax-seed (optional)
2 tbls grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 pear, peeled & diced (I used Bartlett)

Method:

Whip the egg whites until the begin to turn white (but not quite frothy), set aside.

Thoroughly blend together the bananas, yolks, maple syrup and vanilla. Add in the flour, chai spice, sea salt, flax-seed and grapeseed oil, stir well.

Fold in your egg whites and thoroughly combine with the dough. Add in the baking powder and soda and top with the apple cider vinegar. Give it a good stir and then fold in the pear.

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes, cover with foil and then back another 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

chai bread.jpeg

I will definitely be making this one again.

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Baked Haddock & Veggies

Haddock is one of my favorite types of fish. It's similar to cod (another favorite), with a slightly different taste.

haddock.jpeg

Both haddock and cod are mild in flavor (in my opinion), so they can be paired with just about anything. 

Baked Haddock & Veggies

For the fish

1 haddock filet (I can't recall the weight on this one but it was a healthy size. Try to get fresh/wild-caught)
Dash of thyme
Dash if turmeric
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tbls EVOO

Method:

Rub the fish (the side sans skin) with EVOO and your seasonings.

Bake on parchment paper at 400 for about 12-18 minutes or until done. The fish should be white, moist and easy to pull apart with a fork.

For the veggies

1 carrot, very thinly sliced
1 parsnip, very thinly sliced
Small bunch of broccolini, chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 of a leek, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 basil leaf, chopped
2 tbls EVOO

Method:

Toss the veggies in the EVOO.

Bake on parchment paper at 400 for about 25-35 minutes or until tender. Stir half-way through and add the basil.

Such a light and satisfying meal in the summer heat.

Enjoy! ;)

-AEB

Eggs, Potatoes & Sausage, An Irish Brekkie

So, I am Irish (I'm a mutt but there is Irish in there. Hence the Bailey ;)) and I do love potatoes. And sausage. Why don't I do this more often? Because I'm infatuated with pancakes probably...

Irish Brekkie.jpeg

Anyway, this breakfast just kind of happened. I had some leftover potatoes and then remembered that I had some chicken sausage I needed to use up so it was the perfect combination.

I am not a fan of any store-bought breakfast sausage right now because they are all so heavily processed but there are others that are not advertised as breakfast sausage that will certainly do the trick. The ones I've been getting are Al Fresco with spinach, garlic and fennel seed. Delicious (all natural and a gluten free casing).

This was a definite make again, especially after a run and before a hike (I know I'm working on the whole calm down and relax thing.

I looooove being Irish ;)))

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Love my hiking days...

Eggs, potatoes and Sausage, An Irish Brekkie

2 eggs, organic cage-free
Serving of previously steamed russet potatoes*, diced
Dash of turmeric
Sprinkle of sea salt
Dash of fresh parsley, minced
Dash of fresh fennel fronds, minced
1 chicken sausage link, diced

Method:

Soooo EASY! I used two separate pans so that i could prepare my eggs over-easy (yolk popped), but you could toss it all into one (coat with EVOO) and do a scribble.

Prepare your eggs as you'd like, add in the turmeric.

Heat up the chicken sausage and potatoes with parsley, sea salt and fennel fonds.

I also had some blueberries. I may have been hungry...

* For nightshade-free, substitute russet potatoes for sweet potatoes

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Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Acorn Squash and Leeks

Despite it's lengthy title, this dish was actually very easy. A few steps for a downright delectable meal (my ego is a tad big on this one... It really was fantastic...)

pork tenderloin.jpeg

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Acorn Squash and Leeks

For the Pork:

1 pork tenderloin (free-range, grass-fed)
Dash of sea salt
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of garlic
Sprinkle of rosemary
~ 3-4 tbls grapeseed oil

Method:

Heat the grapeseed oil on medium (enough so that the pan is coated with approximately .5 cm in a medium-sized skillet)

While the oil is heating, pat the tenderloin dry and cut off any excess fat, then rub with the seasonings.

Place the tenderloin in the oil and sear for about 2 minutes on each sides (4 sides). I cover mine while I sear.

pork tenderloin 2.jpeg

Roast on a glass dish at 425º for about 15 min or until the center is 155, allow to sit for about 10 minutes. It will continue to cook to about 160z

For the veggies:

Cut the acorn squash in half (lengthwise), scoop out the insides, score and put a light coating of grapeseed oil on the flesh. Roast on parchment paper, flesh-side down for 45 minutes - 1 hour depending on the size of the squash.

Cut a bell pepper (I used yellow)  in half and remove seeds.

Thinly slice a leek, rub some grapeseed oil on the pieces and place underneath the bell pepper. Roast at 400º for 10 minutes and 425º for 10 minutes.

The order in which you do things is up to you but it worked out perfectly for me to roast the squash, then add the tenderloin in the oven and then the pepper and leeks (I was worried about turning the temperature up to 425 º on the pepper and leeks but it was great).

Drizzle the veggies with  100% pure maple syrup. I also sprinkled with turmeric.

Wow. (I know the humble thing, but this really was delicious).

Serves 2-3 people (or one and wicked awesome leftovers).

Gorham Trial, Acadia National Park

Gorham Trial, Acadia National Park

Enjoy (after a nice long hike...;))

-AEB

'Indian Influenced' Veggie Bowl

I love Indian inspired cuisine and I love curry. But a lot of curries have cayenne in them, and although I love cayenne, cayenne does not love me these days. So, I did my own version ;)

By no means am I an expert on the wonderful Indian cuisine; which is why I call this 'Indian Influenced.' It has elements of an Indian dish, though I do have much to learn in that realm.

King Soba pasta is the best gluten free pasta that I have come across. It has a whopping three ingredients (one of which is water), is super simple to cook and absolutely delicious. AND the consistency is that of pasta. Awesome.

indian influenced veggie bowl.jpeg

Indian Influenced Veggie Bowl

1 package of King Soba Brown Rice Pasta
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 summer squash, thinly sliced
1/2 cup peas
1 scallion, diced
Large handful of spinach, chopped
Small handful of raisins
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cardamom
Dash of turmeric
Pinch of ginger
Splash of lemon juice
~2 tbls EVOO

Method:

Coat a medium-size sauce pan with about one tablespoon of EVOO and heat to medium, add in all of your veggies except for the spinach and begin to saute.

Boil about one quart water, add in your pasta, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium and cook for approximately 4 minutes.Add to a colander to strain once cooked.

Once the veggies start to soften, add in the spinach, raisins, spices and lemon juice. Saute a few minutes longer until the raisins soften and the flavors begin soak in.

Add the veggies to your pasta, drizzle in the remaining EVOO and toss in with the pasta.

Yum!

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Krista's Hearty Spinach Pancakes

I've gone through many phases with many foods. I love them for a while, I hate them for a while, or I am indifferent to them for a while. But not pancakes. No, through all of the years and experimenting with different foods and diets, my love of pancakes has never faded. Oh dearest pancakes, I will love you 'til the end. 

I could eat pancakes right now. And, I had some for breakfast this morning. In fact, I've had pancakes for breakfast every morning now for about a week. Yep. True story. 

Now, I am calling these "Krista's Hearty Spinach Pancakes," because my sister, Krista, turned me on to putting spinach (and turmeric) in my pancakes as well as using the

King Arthur brand of pancake mix. You could, of course use your own flour blend (I have various pancake recipes on here, just search in the upper right hand corner ;)) and make them from scratch... but I've been a tad lazy lately. And, this brand pretty much rocks. As far as pre-packaged goes, the list of ingredient s isn't toooo bad, so I'm feeling OK about it. Actually, I am feeling great about it because these pancakes have been a staple for me these days ;)

King Arthur Pancake Mix

King Arthur Pancake Mix

So, without further adieu... 

Krista's Hearty Spinach Pancakes

(Variation One egg-free)

~ 1/3 cup King Arthur Pancake mix
Dash of turmeric
Small handful of spinach, torn into small pieces
1/3-1/2 cup of water

Method

Simply combine all ingredients together, the water will vary depending on if you've used a bit more or less pancake mix and how thick or thin you prefer them. You can play with the amounts a bit. 

Heat your skillet to medium with some EVOO (or any other oil you like), form two-three pancakes on the skillet and turn down to low-medium. Cook for about three minutes, flip and cook another three. I like to flip them again and do another minute on each side. 

This variation omits the egg and oil. I like to make these the night before my early shift mornings so that I can just grab them and go the next morning. They are the perfect fuel ;) 

Variation one, egg-free pancakes with a side of eggs :)

Variation one, egg-free pancakes with a side of eggs :)

And...I like to top them with raw honey... ;)))

Krista's Hearty Spinach Pancakes

(Variation Two with eggs)

~ 1/3 cup King Arthur Pancake mix
Dash of turmeric
Small handful of spinach, torn into small pieces
1 egg, organic cage-free
1 tbls grapeseed oil
1/4 water

These are even a bit more hearty, I usually have these on my days off... and sometimes add blueberries or raisins. And eat them very, very slowly... savoring each and every bite. 

Variation two

Variation two

By the way, the turmeric and spinach are both very subtle  I love the taste of both ingredients but you really cannot taste them very much so if you are not a fan, try it anyway - you may be pleasantly surprised.

Fabulously simple. Thank you sweet sister of mine for inspiring this one!

Enjoy ;) 

-AEB

Truffle Roasted Acorn Squash with Fennel, Parsnips, and Kale

WOW

It has been a LONG time since I have put out a recipe post. Whew! What an experience the past few months have been! Amazing journey's, incredible learning's and enchanting healing gifts along the way.

With my move to Maine and recovery fromMy Battle with Orthorexia, the space and time to come up with new recipes AND write about them has not come about until now. 

Anyway, this meal was thrown together (typical Ashley-style with no real planning involved ;)) and turned out to be FANTASTIC!

Acorn Squash and Veggies.jpeg

Truffle Roasted Acorn Squash with Fennel, Parsnips, and Kale

1 acorn squash
1/4 large fennel bulb, sliced
1 large handful of kale, broken into bite-size pieces
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
1-2 tbls EVOO
Drizzle of white truffle oil
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of turmeric

Method (this can all be done in the same casserole dish):

For the acorn squash

Slice the acorn squash in half (lengthwise), score with a knife and massage some EVOO into the flesh. Bake at 400° on parchment paper (face down) for 60 minutes.

For the parsnips

Massage some EVOO into the parsnips, season with the ground pepper and toss in with the acorn squash at 400° for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through (so put in when the acorn squash is 20 minutes in).

For the kale

Massage some EVOO in the kale leaves and toss over-top of the parsnips for 20 minutes (so 40 minutes into the acorn squash cook-time).

For the fennel

Massage some EVOO into the fennel, sprinkle with some ground pepper and then wrap with parchment paper. Lay the wrapped fennel in with the vegges and bake for 20 minutes (when you put the kale in).

Drizzle some truffle oil on the parsnips and kale and sprinkle the turmeric on the acorn squash.

Ummmm WOW (again), SO delicious! This made enough for two so I had it two nights in row. Yeehaw!

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Whole Grain, Seed & Nut Bread (Vegan/Gluten-free)

I love experimenting. So, I figured that I would try another vegan bread. Yes bread with no yeast... or eggs. 

Whole Grain, Seed & Nut Bread (Vegan/Gluten-free)

1 cup apple sauce
1 tbls chia seeds (I used white, black would also work)
3/4 cup water
3 tbls ground flaxseed
1 tsp 100% pure maple syrup
1 + 1/4 cup whole grain brown rice flour
1 cup almond meal
Dash of sea salt
2 tbls grapeseed oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the chia seeds with the apple sauce and let set for about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the water and flaxseed and let set for about 10 minutes.

Both of these will start to thicken and 'gel.'

Add the maple syrup, brown rice flour, almond meal, sea salt and oil to the applesauce/chia seed mixture and stir well. A dough will begin to form.

Fold in the flaxseed mixture and grapeseed oil and then add in the apple cider vinegar, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

In a greased loaf pan (I used grapeseed oil), bake at 350° for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, cover with foil and bake for about another 20 minutes.

Note, when making a gluten-free bread that is also egg-free AND yeast-free... any sort of 'rise' is success in my book :) 

seedbread.jpeg

Delicious. This bread was super moist, dense and awesome. And pretty amazing with coconut oil and cinnamon spread on-top.... 

seed bread.jpeg

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

One-Minute Savory Oat Muffin

I am into savory lately. Maybe it's the winter months? I'm not sure, but this muffin came out fan-tas-tic. I hope you can all tell how I am saying 'fantastic' right now. It's like 'faaaaan-tAs-tic.'

savory oat muffin.jpeg

Ok, moving on...

One-Minute Savory Oat Muffin

1/2 tbls grapeseed oil
1 egg - organic, cage-free
1/4 + 1 tbls oat flour
1 tbls ground flaxseed
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of rosemary (dried)
Pinch of chives (dried)
1/2 tsp baking powder

Method:

Coat a small ramekin or a coffee mug with the grapeseed oil (there will be some left over, keep that in). Whisk the egg in with the oil and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir well until all ingredients are incorporated. 

Heat in the microwave for one minute.

Allow to cool for a minute or do an then flip over to remove (it should slide right out).

savory oat muffin 2.jpeg

This has an amazing bread consistency. So good and perfect for lazy mornings.... or evenings... or afternoons... ;)

And what's better than a one-minute muffin? If you haven't seen it, here is a grain-free version a one-minute muffin.

savory oat muffin 3.jpeg

Enjoy! ;)

-AEB