healthy

A Salad and a Shake

Just wanted to share one of my favorite salads and smoothies with many health benefits.

The salad:
-1/2 cup Quinoa
-3 cups lettuce of your choice or mix of different lettuces (I used Savory, Lola Rosa and Kale)
-3 Cucumbers
-1/4 cup Cilantro
-1/2 cup Heirloom Tomatoes
-1 Avocado
-1 Lemon for Dressing
-Olive Oil to taste
-Salt and Pepper to taste

Smoothie:
-2 Medium sized Bananas
-2 Tablespoons Vanilla Hemp Protein
-1 cup Frozen mixed organic Berries
-1 1/2 cup water or Coconut water
-1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
-2 Tablespoons Dry Oats
-2 Teaspoons Spirulina

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, this salad and smoothie together are for you! The salad provides a lot of folic acid which is essential during pregnancy. Avocado, any leafy greens contain lots of Folic Acid. The smoothie has Spirulina which helps with fertility and strawberries which also have Folic Acid.

Give Savory a try.

Savory has many health benefits such as anti-oxidants, helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL). It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Vitamins A, and C and helps control blood pressure.

And they taste great 🙂

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Spice it Up: 2 of my Favorite Indian Dishes!

Who doesn’t love Indian food? With their array of spices and flavors, Indian food is not only super tasty, but those spices do more than just tingle your tongue and excite your taste buds. The spices used in Indian food have many benefits. Here are the benefits of just a few:

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, a natural liver detoxifier, a natural pain killer, speeds up wound healing (hmm maybe that’s why my burn from the other day is almost healed), and has been known to aid with Psoriasis (something I myself have) and other skin conditions.

Cayenne Pepper promotes heart health, supports weight loss, has anti-bacterial properties, stimulates your circulatory system which aids in detox, helps prevent migraines, and aids in digestion.

Curry helps burn fat, boosts immune system, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, increases energy and also aids in blood circulation.

Coriander is a good source of Vitamin C, is high in Iron, has anti-bacterial properties, aids in digestion, contains Calcium, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Manganese and Potassium.

Cumin also contains Iron, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium, helps with weight loss, and also aids in digestion.

My two favorite Indian dishes are Chana Masala and Cabbage Subzi. Both are Vegan dishes and are normally served on Basmati Rice but I substituted that for WIld Rice because it contains protein and is not processed. There are a lot of recipes for these dishes out there, I made them my way.. which is always the fastest and easiest way. I had to take a trip to the local Indian Spice store (which is great because I love supporting local small businesses) and bought myself the ready to go spices. They have already combined most of the spices you need for Chana Masala and other Indian Dishes.

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Chana Masala

– About 2 1/2 Cups Cooked Garbanzo Beans (or 2 cans)
– 2 Medium Tomatoes
– 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Shallots, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
– 1/4 Teaspoon Tumeric Powder
– 1/2 Teaspoon, Red Chili Flakes
– Juice from half a Lemon or Lime
– 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
– 1 Teaspoon Chana Masala Blend (pictured above)

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Method:

Add tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, salt and lemon/lime juice to a blender and blend until liquid or paste. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and then add Garbanzo Beans and tomato sauce/paste. Cook for about 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally. Top with cilantro for garnish and enjoy!

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Cabbage Subzi:

– 2 cups Red Cabbage
– 2 cups White Cabbage
– 1/3 Cup Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
– 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Minced
– 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
– 1 Teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
– 1 Teaspoon Kitchen King Spice Blend (pictured above)

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Method:

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add Garlic and reduce heat to medium, let the garlic cook for a bit and then add your cabbage. Cook those together for a minute or two while stirring and add all of your spices and the salt. Let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and you are all done. Top on your wild rice and enjoy!

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Note: Wild rice requires 4 parts water to 1 part rice, boil the water first, add the rice and let cook for about 45 minutes.

 

Vegan Taco Boats

Here’s a filling and yummy meal with variety that you can tweak to your own needs and likes. 

This week with my Abundant Harvest Organics delivery we received a type of Japanese lettuce called Komatsuna. This is the first time I had heard of this vegetable and tried it. It turns out that Komatsuna contains calcium, Vitamins and Minerals. I decided it should be eaten raw, as a taco boat. 

Here is what you need:

1 Bunch Komatsuna (or another similar leafy lettuce of your choice)
2 Cans Black beans (or about 3 cups if you are cooking them yourself)
2 Avocados
3 Raw Chopped Jalepenos
2 Chopped Shallots
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 Bunch Chopped Cilantro
2 Limes
1 cup Chopped Red Cabbage
1 Cup Chopped Green Cabbage
1 Cup Spinach Leaves
1 Cup Chopped Kale
1/4 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Cup Farro
Salt & Pepper to taste
Crackers or your choice

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So these taco boats include a homemade bean dip and guacamole:

For the bean dip:

Add black beans, cumin, chilli powder, salt, pepper, 1 garlic, half of the chopped Cilantro, 1 Jalepeno, 1 Shallot and juice of one lime to a food processor and blend until smooth. 

For Guacamole:

First cut avocados and place into a medium bowl. Mash the two avocados with a fork just a little bit. Then add the 1 chopped shallot, 2 minced garlic, other half of chopped cilantro, 2 chopped jalapenos to the avocados and mix a little bit with a fork. Finally, add the juice of one lime (or lemon, it honestly tastes the same) salt and pepper to taste and mix one final time to get a tasty and chunky guacamole. 

Farro:

Farro is an ancient grain that has fiber, Protein, Vitamin E, B3,  Zinc, Magnesium and tastes great! In order to get the most benefit from Farro, you should soak it before cooking for optimal absorption of things like Zinc. To cook, you simply add the 1/2 cup Farro to a pan with 1 Cup water and cook on Medium for about 10 minutes.

For the taco boats, just take a Koratsuna leaf and fill it up with the bean dip, guac, kale, spinach, cabbages, farro and enjoy! The cucumbers in the picture were just a side item and the crackers can be used to make sandwiches with all the ingredients as well. 

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Get your Beet on! 3 ways to enjoy beets.

You don’t have to be Dwight Schrute to enjoy beets. I don’t own a beet farm but I am just as enthusiastic about them as Dwight! Beets are awesome! I love them but I know they can be difficult to work with at times. There are many health benefits of beets, and eating them raw is the best way to get all that goodness!

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Here are a few ways to prepare beets and enjoy them:

1. Juicing – Try these two juices:

Juice 1 – Beets, carrots, and apple – one of the easiest juices with very few ingredients

Juice 2 – 1 Beet, 1 batch of carrots (usually about 4-5), 1 stalk celery, 1 apple, 1 lemon, 1 lime, about half an inch ginger – This juice is tasty and a great way to also enjoy celery which I find very hard to eat. You can’t taste the celery at all 🙂

TIP:  Swish the juice around in your mouth a little to mix your saliva to get more out of your juice. Saliva has enzymes that will help break down the ingredients to better absorb them in your body, it gives your heart a break from doing all the work of moving everything through your bloodstream.  It helps expand your veins, this is called Vasodilation.

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2. Salad and Salad Dressing

– Juice one beet, add the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup olive oil, some salt and pepper and mix them all together for a delicious salad dressing. I created the following salad to pair perfectly with the beet salad dressing.

Here’s what you need for the salad:

– 1 Avocado, chopped (not too small)
-1 cup chopped Kale
– 1 cup chopped Lettuce ( I used the lola rosa kind)
– 1/2 cup chopped Green Onions
– 1 cup chopped Green Cabbage
– 1 cup chopped Red Cabbage
– 1/4 cup Walnuts
-1/4 cup Kalamata Olives

Just mix everything together in a bowl and top with beet salad dressing. You can add more walnuts or less if you like.

Here’s a better picture of the salad once everything was mixed in:

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3: Slice them thinly and eat with pretty much anything!

What I did was take one beet, slice it with my veggie pasta cutter (this was about a $35 investment that has come in handy) then combine it with some sweet potato chips (homemade, just preheat oven to 350, slice thinly and roast for 30 mins), 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1/4 cup lentils.

Drizzle some olive oil on top and just eat together, with a spoon, sandwich style or however you like.

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Swiss Chard Wraps with Rutabaga

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This was actually the first time I have ever tried raw Swiss Chard and Rutabaga… and I have to say, I loved it! This recipe is my take on a vegetarian wrap, made with a simple and easy cashew cream.

Cashew Cream:

– 1 cup Cashews

– 2 tablespoons Almond Milk 

– 1 Tablespoon juice from a lemon

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method for Cashew Cream:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add Cashews to a glass or heat proof bowl and pour the boiling water on top. Put the lid on and let sit for about 30 minutes. 

Drain the Cashews and transfer to a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Add more almond milk if you would like a thinner consistency. 

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Swiss Chard Wraps:

– 1 bunch Swiss Chard

– 1/2 cup Quinoa (Already cooked)

– 1/2 Cup Lentils (already cooked)

-1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)

– 2 cloves of Garlic (chopped)

– 1 Rutabaga (peeled and chopped)

– 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds

– 1/4 cup Goat Cheese crumbles

– Coconut Oil

Method:

Saute Rutabaga, Pumpkin Seeds and Garlic together in a pan with Coconut Oil for 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, add Rutabaga mix to Quina, Lentils and tomatoes in a bowl and mix together. Take your Swiss Chard leaves and cut off the stems, carefully cutting the leafy part away from the stem. Add mixture to each leafs center then top with goat cheese and finally the cashew cream. Wrap leaves up and secure with a toothpick. 

NOTE: I usually have Quinoa and Lentils ready to eat but if you have to cook them, it’s very simple. Quinoa is cooked just like rice 1 part Quinoa to 2 parts water, and boil. You can also use a rice cooker. Lentils also just boil on the stove top until tender.

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Take a BIG bite into this healthy dinner and enjoy! Healthy food IS easy and delicious!

LeftoverS Pizza- Friday Treat!

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No, it’s not leftover pizza.. it’s leftovers pizza, plural.

Almost every Friday, I make this pizza which is basically topped with everything I have left in my fridge from the days before. It is the easiest thing you can make on a Friday evening (when really, no one wants to cook) and a great way to not have to throw out food!

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Note: I always use Goat Cheese, since it is the less mass produced option.

There’s no recipe here, just add your leftover toppings, preheat your oven to 425 and cook for 15-18 minutes depending on how crispy you like your pizza!

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Last week’s pizza had Sesame Seeds, Spinach, Arugula, tomatoes, broccoli, goat cheese and garlic.

This week’s had Sesame Seeds, Kale, Broccoli, Goat Cheese, Garlic, Olives, Tomatoes, Pumpkin Seeds, Arugula.

Note: In order to get the most out of having Garlic, I always add them to the pizza when there’s about 5 minutes left in the oven, this way the garlic doesn’t get over cooked and maintains it’s wonderful qualities.

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Just add some Avocado, topped with lemon, Himalayan salt,  black pepper and hemp seeds on the side. Yum!

Brussel Sprouts and Radishes

Yesterday I made two very easy dishes using Brussel Sprouts and Radishes. These are two veggies that I have found really hard to work with, but yesterday’s plate was delish! The recipes are simple, don’t take up much time and are very healthy.

For the Brussel Sprouts:

– 1-2 cups Brussel Sprouts

– Olive Oil OR Cocunut Oil (just to toss with or spray on the veggies)

– Sea salt to taste

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For the Radishes:

– 1 bunch of Radish (I used Black Spanish Radishes)

– Olive Oil OR Coconut oil to toss in or spray on veggies

– Crushed red pepper flakes to season with

– Sea salt to taste

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Method:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees

– Cut the Brussel Sprouts in thin slices, then either toss with oil, or spray and sprinkle with salt.

– Peel and chop radishes to equally sized pieces. Either toss with oil or spray, and season with pepper flakes & salt

– Place veggies in oven, about 10-12 minutes for Brussel Sprouts and 20 minutes for Radishes

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I really enjoyed eating these two veggies this way, the best part for me was the fact that neither one gets over-cooked, so they maintain most of their nutritional value and still taste great. 

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Radishes are known to reduce risk of Cancer, help control high blood pressure, aid in digestion and eliminate toxins among other things. 

Brussel Sprouts contain Fiber, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Folate (or Folic Acid), Protein, Iron. They help regulate Cholesterol and also help prevent Cancer. 

You are what you eat! 

 

Yummy Hummy!

I have tried out many different hummus recipes and most of them simply don’t taste that good, or don’t have the right texture. As an Armenian, I’m pretty serious about my hummus… so I finally got a great recipe from my best friend (with a couple of my own tweaks):

What you need:

          -1 ¾ Cup OR 1 Can of Garbanzo Beans 

          -1/3 cup Tahini (I make mine at home to avoid buying anything processed)

          – 4 Garlic Cloves

          – Dash of Cumin (I don’t always add)

          – Juice from 2 regular sized lemons or 1 large lemon

          – Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

 

If using raw garbanzo beans:

         – Let beans soak in water at room temperature, over night or for 6-8 hours

         – Add beans to a pot of water and let simmer for 1-2 hours until cooked

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To make the Tahini at home, here is what you need:

         – 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

         – ½ teaspoon sesame oil (I used Olive Oil instead)

         – ¼ Teaspoon Salt (Preferably Himalayan)

         – ¼ cup lukewarm water

First, add Sesame seeds to blender and blend until smooth.  Then Add olive oil and the salt and blend again, until combined. The last step is to slowly add in the water, as the blender is on until smoothed out.

To Make Hummus:

Combine all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. ( I prefer mine a little chunkier, so just blend until you get the texture you like best).

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NOTE: Add a pinch of Cayenne Pepper & Paprika and top with a drizzle of Olive Oil for an even tastier snack.

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 LAVOSH CHIPS:

To Make your own Lavosh Chips to go along with the hummus just cut lavosh bread into bite size pieces, preheat your oven to 425 and spray olive or coconut oil on the bread, leave it in the oven for 5 mins, then flip, spray again with oil and after another 5 minutes in the oven, they are ready for dipping.

 

Why make hummus at home?

Everyone knows hummus is a generally healthy snack. Making it at home is the best way for your body to get all the greatness that hummus has to offer.

Garbanzo Beans:

            -Have lots of fiber

           – Antioxidants

           – Helps regulate blood sugar

           – Helps with digestive support

           – Good source of protein

Sesame Seeds:

           – Great source of Calcium, Dietary Fiber, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin B1, Maganese

           – One of the few vegetables with Zinc (great for bone health)

           – Has Copper, which is good for Rheumatoid Arthritis and helps reduce pain & swelling)

If you read the ingredients of the hummus sold at stores, ALL the brands use everything other than olive oil to make their hummus… hummus is supposed to be made with olive oil, not canola, safflower, sunflower, or any of that. The sad truth is that all of these oils are processed and FULL of chemicals. When shopping for olive oil make sure to only buy Extra Virgin and nothing containing the words “pure” or “purified”.. this is a trick to make you think it’s true olive oil when in reality it is the olive pits left over from making actual olive oil, that big refineries buy from olive oil farms and refine, process, add chemicals for extraction until they can call their product olive oil too, they just have to mention purified on the label, which can be VERY misleading. 

Goodies – The Easiest Jam you will Ever Make

The jam I used for my uncles gift box was strawberry, but today I made Raspberry jam with Chia seeds.

It’s all RAW and only 3 easy steps

Here is what you need:

–          1 cup raspberries 

–          1 tablespoon Chia Seeds (you can add more if you want)

–          Stevia to taste (optional)

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3 EASY STEPS:

  1. Blend raspberries in blender until liquefied
  2. Add contents of blender to a jar and then add the chia seeds and optional sweetener
  3. Mix everything together well, and let sit in refrigerator overnight

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This is what it should look like after you have blended the raspberries and added the Chia seeds and optional sweetener. 

 

That’s it! The next morning you should have a healthy, raw, all natural jelly/jam ready to be spread on your morning toast or eaten on its own! You can make this same jam with strawberries, blueberries and more!

You should have this thicker consistency the next day:

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Why make this at home, and why raw?

Store bought jelly or jam is usually, well a sham! When you think of something made of pretty much just fruit. It’s supposed to be good for you right? Well not when the fruit has been cooked, second ingredient is sugar (or even worse, cornstarch!), has other additives/preservatives and has been sitting on a shelf for God knows how long. Here are some benefits of having berries on a regular basis:

–          Great for your skin

–          High in antioxidants

–          Contain vitamin C

–          Aids in weight loss

–          They taste great!

 

Making this jam at home is also a great way to eat raw chia seeds which are an excellent source of OMEGA-3. So instead of spending your money on fish oil that are likely not even doing their job unless you take like 6-10 of those huge pills a day (read the instructions people)… just add more chia seed to your diet.  

 

Here are some other ways of incorporating raw chia seeds to your diet:

 

–          Add them to ANY soup, they are practically undetectable

–          Make drinks (you can add them to any juice or smoothie or even an iced coffee and they only enhance the texture)

–          Make a chia seed dessert:

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Chia Seed
  • Cinnamon and Stevia to taste

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Add the Chia seeds, cinnamon and stevia to the almond milk in a glass cup. Stir well, and leave the cup in the fridge for 15-20 mins for a sweet and healthy, jell-o like desert!

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