Saturday, June 25, 2011

The best junk food ever!

Please keep an open mind. This sounds disgusting... but I assure you, it is perfection. Basically, when it comes to junk food you've got salty or sweet to choose from. I say, "Why choose?". Popcorn kinda bugs me. It gets stuck in my teeth and it's loud and sort of more work than it's worth. Unless it's made this way:

I'm not a Crazy Person Popcorn

A large bowl of popcorn
1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of cajun spice
2 tablespoons of nooch (nutritional yeast)

Mix all of the ingredients together. Yes, seriously. It will be messy and un-freak-ing believably delicious. Nooch in popcorn is perfection. Chocolate is, well, chocolate. Cajun spice gives you a nice kick-in-the-pants flavor-wise. Basically, you have everything you could possibly ever crave in one wonderful bowl of wonderfulness. Trust me. I'm not crazy!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Miso Seedy Roll

After learning about how crazy wonderful seeds are, I realized I needed to eat more. Like, a lot more. One of the things I love about sushi restaurants is seeing all of the creative and interesting rolls the chefs make. This recipe is not nearly as interesting as those. I needed to figure out how to add more raw seeds into my diet and this is easy peasy.

Miso broth- 2 tablespoons of miso into 2 cups of boiled water, stirred, not shaken
OR just 2 cups of plain old water
1 cup of raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup of raw unsalted punk'in seeds
2 tablespoons of your favorite sauce, salad dressing, whatev's. (optional)
Nori seaweed

Soak the seeds in broth or water for over night. The next day, drain em and throw them into the blender with your favorite sauce (if using). You've got a seedy pate on your hands now. Get out the Nori and make a inch thick, inch high pile of the seed pate all along the bottom of your Nori. Roll it up, like a monster cigar. When you reach the end of the seaweed, wet all along the edge with water and press the wet seaweed against the roll. Leave it for a minute or two and then chop up into cute little sushi rolls.

Shy can eat about 3 of pieces of these rolls. Be impressed. There are CRAZY filling. Luckily I have a little one who adores seaweed so that helps.

Sunflower seeds have a reputation for lowering blood pressure, being indecently full of vitamin E, and increases serotonin levels in the noggin. Not too shabby. Pumpkin seeds are also freakishly good for you. Nori has protein, magnesium, iodine, and vitamins. Basically, you can't go wrong with this recipe. Unless you hate seeds and seaweed...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Watermelon Mint Juice

Watermelon is code for heaven, in my book. Sweet, juicy, full of antioxidants, hydrating power, free-radical fighters, and Viagara-like effects. What more can you ask from a fruit? This beverage is inspired by a drink that is served in a vegan chain restaurant called Native Foods. They use agave syrup, but if you get a super duper perfect watermelon, you would have to be crazy to add sweetner!

Watermelon Mint Juice

Flesh of a watermelon (blender full)
1-2 leaves of mint (depending on how feisty you are feeling)
Water (to taste, it's nice for thinning it out-optional)
Coconut sugar (to taste-optional)

Blend the watermelon and mint leaves. Pour into container and add optional ingredients if adding at all. Use other mint leaves for garnish if you are entertaining or just wanna be sassy.

If you have a monster of a blender (like my beloved Blendtec), you can freeze watermelon flesh first, then blend for a CRAZY refreshing drink. Adding boba can be a blast too for a chewy treat.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Glorious Steamed Spinach

Spinach is a staple in my house. It's a wonderfully passive yet nutrious ingredient in Green Smoothies, makes for an easy base in a basic salad, and this recipe is another reason why we always have spinach in the house. This recipe is inspired by a dish at the "Curious Palate" in Venice. Everyone in the house eats this right up!

Spinach (I do about 5 monster handfuls)
Almonds (Around 1 handful)
Garlic (4 de-shelled)
Oil (a little splash-optional)
salt (a pinch-optional)

I can't find my steamer so I've been putting a metal colander into a pan, and steaming the veggies that way. It works, so there you have it. Place a couple inches of water into a pan, put your steamer or colander into the pan and turn the heat onto a medium temperature. Throw in the spinach, garlic and almonds (you can chop those up if you want... I don't... every eater fends for themselves in this house!). You may need to wait to add all of the spinach until the spinach you have added wilts a bit. After the spinach is a bright dark green, remove ingredients and place them into a mixing bowl and add the oil and salt and mix it all up. You may need to drain your spinach first if it's crazy soaked. The garlic adds a subtle flavor and the almonds add a subtle texture. It's a delicate, yummy, nutritious side dish that is way more delicious than it has any business being.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cooking with Olive Oil... big no no.

Olive oil is wonderful. It's so full of fantastic fats and antioxidants. Unfortunately, when you heat it up, those delightful properties turn to free radicals. If you cook or bake with higher temperatures, use a more stable oil, like coconut or safflower. Olive oil is lovely for salad dressings and recipes that don't involve heat.

The best olive oil is organic and cold-pressed. Virgin oil may have more acid than extra virgin. Not that big of a deal.
The best regular oils is expeller pressed. Always try for organic since oils are so concentrated.

Here's an article about oils that is basic and helpful:

Punk'in seeds

I have been on a seed kick lately. My family is thanking me for it.

2 cups of pumpkin seeds, raw, unsalted (sunflower seeds)
2 tablespoons of melted Earth Balance butter (or a high-heat oil with salt)
1-2 teaspoons of your favorite sauce (hot sauce, tabasco, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce, Goddess Dressing, maple syrup, whatever!)

Turn on the oven to 250. Mix all the ingredients up. Lay the seeds on a baking pan. If they are shell-free, bake for about 15-20 minutes. If they have shells you want to leave them for longer, like an hour. Periodically check on them.

Sprinkle them on salads, stir fries, mashed potatoes, whatever you want. Eat em plain. If you made them sweet, put em on ice cream or breakfastnoa.

Pumpkin seeds have fiber, minerals, protein, vitamin e, and happy peaceful making neuro-chemicals. Not too shabby. Shy eats these by the fistful! Roasting the seeds takes away some of the health benefits so try not to roast for very long or eat them raw.

Site on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds:

Chocolate Milk... on crack

Need a "pick-me-up-this-instant-cuz-I'm-a-useless-puddle-on-the-floor"? Avoiding coffee? Want a frapuccino without the crapuccino? Lucky you... I've got the cure!

A tablespoon of cacao nibs (I grind them when I get them and store them in a container)
A splash of date syrup (see recipe)
8 ounces of your favorite milk (almond for me!)
2 ice cubes

Blend! Chug! Be alert! You can get crazy with this basic recipe. Add extra cacao if you are in a serious slump. Add a teensy bit of vanilla extract, maple extract or mint extract for some POW!. Throw in a banana and a teaspoon of almond butter. Maybe a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg is more your style. Heat it up (without the ice cubes) for a hot cocoa with a punch.

Cacao nibs have an OBSENE amount of antioxidants. They are full of magnesium, neurotransmitters that make you happy, and dieters swear by their "losing weight" power. If you don't do well with caffeine, you may want to hold off on these stimulating pieces of yum.

Site on the health benefits of cacao nibs: