Blueberry Chickpea Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbs. melted coconut oil
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease or line a muffin tin with liners.

In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.

In a large bowl, combine egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, apple sauce, and oil.

Pour dry ingredients into wet and stir until well combined.

Fold in the blueberries and optional walnuts.

Pour about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are set and lightly browned.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

Pumpkin Maple Almond Butter

Pumpkin Maple Almond Butter. Yes, it's a thing, and yes, you can slather it on just about anything. Thank you  WellandGood  for the inspiration. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Maple Almond Butter. Yes, it's a thing, and yes, you can slather it on just about anything. Thank you WellandGood for the inspiration. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbs. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
small pinch sea salt

Method:

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip together with a whisk or spatula.

Smear it onto toast or a banana, add to hot breakfast cereal, dip apple or celery slices into it. So good!

Vegan (awesome) Choco-chip Blondies

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life)
*Optional: one pastured egg for a more cakey consistency
*Optional add-ins: chopped nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit
 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and line an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking parchment (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).

In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips (and optional add-ins) and process until batter is smooth.

Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.

Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack.

Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares. Makes about 16 blondies.

3-ingredient Paleo Naan Bread

I made this to go along with some seriously yummy chicken curry for a party we had recently. They were a big hit! Thank you,  MyHeartBeets.com  for the inspiration!

I made this to go along with some seriously yummy chicken curry for a party we had recently. They were a big hit! Thank you, MyHeartBeets.com for the inspiration!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup full-fat coconut milk (make sure it's soft or well-blended before mixing)
*Optional: 1 pinch salt and/or ghee for frying

Method:

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

*NOTE: if they battler is too think you can add a little water to reach desired consistency.

Heat a medium sized non-stick skillet to medium heat.

Depending on how large your want your naans, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour little naans, or 1 cup for larger. You can pour half the batter in the pan for a really large naan, but it'll take a while to cook, and/or be pretty tricky to flip (unless you're a pro!). So be patient. :)

Flip when side one looks fluffy and firm, and allow the other side to cook for a couple minutes.

You can enjoy these with any Indian dish, make them as makeshift pancakes, or even use them as a base for flatbreads.

WARNING: These are addictive!

Balsamic Bacon Artichoke Dip

Balsamic Bacon Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

10-ish slices thick-cut bacon
1 12-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup quality mayonnaise
3 sprigs green onion, cut into 1" hunks
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt, if necessary
Ground pepper to taste

Method:

Fry bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crispy. Dry off excess fat then roughly chop. Add to bowl of the food processor.

*Can set aside a couple pieces to chop into bacon bits and sprinkle on top!

Drain and rinse artichoke hearts and add them to the food processor.

Then add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth (or a little chunky, but well-mixed).

Taste, and add salt and more pepper, if necessary. Add your bacon bits if you saved any.

Serve warm or cold with crackers, crudité (or with a spoon!)

Almond Apricot Nibs

A hint of apricot extract adds a dimension of sophistication to these energy bites. The search continues for my favorite energy ball recipe. This one is great because the cinnamon and almond extract give these a distinctive flavor. What's your favorite combo? Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup-ish almonds 1/2 cup-ish cashews 1/4 cup dried apricots 4 medjool dates, pitted 1/2 cup-ish coconut flakes Pinch sea salt 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. organic almond extract 3/4 cup-ish nut/seed butter

Method:

Add all the ingredients but for the nut butter to a food processor and blend until desired consistency (large grainy is probably best).

Pour into a large bowl and add the nut/seed butter and stir until well-mixed.

Using a spoon and/or your hands, form into balls and put into large glass tupperware with lid.

Allow to chill and harden in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are a Supernut. High in monounsaturated fats (associated with reduced risk of heart disease), almonds contain high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in protein, which makes them an ideal snack. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Apricots: Apricots are rich with beta-carotene and fiber, both of which help promote heart health. They are also good sources of vitamins A and C. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What’s more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or “good fat” found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the “feel good” amino acid”). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Coconut: Coconut is highly nutritious, rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Both modern and traditional medicine have recognized coconut as having antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Meanwhile coconut provides a nutritional source of quick energy, and can be used to enhance endurance and physical performance. Coconut is also soothing to the digestive tract, and aids in absorption of other nutrients within the body. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Dates: Dates are rich with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and copper. They are also high in other antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help protect and nourish our cells. But they’re high in sugar, so a dab’ll do ya. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Massaged Kale with Chickpeas and Avo in Tahini Dressing

Connect with your food! Massage your kale to soften it, rather than dumping it in a frying pan.

This recipe was inspired MyNewRoots.org

So, I'm a pacifist at heart. But when I read about massaged kale I was a little skeptical. First fruitarians, now this? But I gave it a try and it actually turned out to be a delicious way to soften the hearty green while making its nutrients more accessible to the average stomach. You can add anything to your massaged kale, but I just happened to have some leftover chickpeas and 1/2 an avocado that was calling my name. And thus this hearty, heart-shaped salad was spawned. What kinds of yummies would you add? Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the massaged kale:

1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil 1-2 tbs. cold-pressed olive oil Sea salt to taste

Other Yummies to Add:

1/2 can chickpeas 1/2 avocado (cut into chunks) *You can add anything else you like: fruits, veggies, cooked or sprouted grains and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Optional Tahini Dressing:

1 tbs. fresh tahini or almond butter 1 tbs. nutritional yeast 1 tbs. lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a large bowl, dress kale with lemon juice and olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt.

Roll up your sleeves and massage the kale until it softens and its hue deepens to a deeper green (2 to 3 minutes).

Add the rest of your goodies. Serve and enjoy!

*NOTE: Once you’ve massaged your kale, you can store the unused portions in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Benefits:

Kale: Kale is a powerful green which has been proven to help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of various types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. It has powerful detoxifying properties and is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon and Lime: Lemons and limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spicy Sweet Potato Lemongrass Bisque

Try drizzling the bisque with coconut milk to create individualized designs on the soup's surface. This heart happened by accident, so I had to share. :) Inspired by food.com

The temperatures have been delving well into the negative digits where I live, so on days and nights like that the only way to get warm is from the inside out. And thus, this bisque was born. Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional wallop as they contain more beta carotene than most of their orange-hued counterparts. They're also rich in vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as the mineral manganese, which promotes healthy bone structure and metabolism, absorption of calcium, proper functioning of thyroid and sex hormones, regulation of blood sugar levels, and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Think thin!

This soup is warm, sweet, and spicy, and has that unmistakable aromatic flavor of lemongrass. Lemongrass essential oil is known for its antibacterial, anticancer, antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory effects, and is great for the digestive system.

Sweet potato and lemongrass essential oil are a powerful duo which fight back against internal inflammation while promoting healthy tissue regeneration, so grab a spoon and enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 inches piece gingerroot, peeled and minced

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and minced

4 garlic cloves, minced (I just smash it with the broad side of a knife or use a garlic press)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

6 cups vegetable broth (this makes a thick soup, use 7 cups if you like it thinner)

2 stalks lemongrass, outer dry leaves removed and bulb-like base crushed (again, the broad side of a knife works wonderfully here)

7 ounces coconut milk

salt & freshly ground black pepper

1-2 drops lemongrass essential oil

Method:

In large, heavy soup pot, heat the oil medium-hot and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the ginger, jalapeno, and garlic and sauté 2 minutes-ish more.

Add the sweet potatoes and broth. It should be just enough broth to cover the sweet potatoes.

Tie the lemongrass stalks together with string and put the bulb/base ends into the soup.

Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the potatoes break apart, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Discard the lemongrass stalks. Puree the soup (using an immersion blender or in batches in your blender) and return to pot.

*Optional for Fussy Diners: Strain the soup through a fine sieve (I omitted this step).

Stir in the coconut milk and 1-2 drops lemongrass essential oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk for pretty. Serve and enjoy!

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per batch. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Benefits:

Ginger: Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as gas, bloating, motion sickness, and morning sickness. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemongrass Essential Oil: Lemongrass essential Oil is a powerful analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, astringent and sedative. It can be used to relieve stress. Its sweet, citrus scent is excellent to help restore and balance the emotions and boosting mental acuity. See here for more information about doTerra essential oils.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Onion:  Like garlic, onions are high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. They are a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and manganese. They help protect our blood, bone, and connective tissue. See here for other health benefits and nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Yams/Sweet Potatoes: A great source of Vitamin B-6, potassium (a mineral that helps to control blood pressure), and manganese. According to Chinese herbal medicine, yams also support kidney function and the female endocrine system. The yam’s composition of complex carbohydrates and fiber make them a great food for maintaining steady blood sugar while helping you feel fuller for longer. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Zucchini Avocado Carpaccio

For this "simple man's" zucchini carpaccio, I used a potato peeler to create paper-thin zucchini ribbons. I've always been a glutton for delicious words like "kumquat" and "soliloquy." Diving into the world of culinary arts has opened up a treasure trove of new words that make me tingly just to say them. One such word is "carpaccio." I love the way it rolls off my tongue, especially when in the same phrase as multi-syllabic words like "zucchini" and "avocado." Call me a word nerd, but I don't care. I take almost as much pleasure speaking the names of these dishes as I do tasting them. So I present this beautiful dish, which was spawned from food icon, Patricia Wells' cookbook Vegetable Harvest, but I found and adapted this version from food52.com. It takes a few minutes to assemble, can marinate anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, and is absolutely divine. The tartness of the marinade is rounded out by the fat of the avocado and the salty creamy crunch of the pistachios. I didn't include lemon thyme in this version, but that would surely elevate the tasting experience even more. Enjoy!

 Ingredients:

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 Tsp. fine sea salt, plus additional as needed

1/4 cup high-quality pistachio oil, almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil

4 small or 2 medium zucchini

1 ripe avocado, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup salted pistachio nuts, chopped

4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, preferably with flowers.

Method:

Combine lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in small jar. Cover and shake to blend.

Slice zucchini lengthwise as thinly as possible, using mandoline or very sharp knife...I used a potato peeler and had pretty good (albeit not perfectly even) ribbons.

Spread slices on platter and drizzle with lemon mixture. Tilt platter to evenly coat slices. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Alternate zucchini and avocado slices on your platter (or individual salad plates), slightly overlapping each slice.

Sprinkle with pistachios. Season with salt to taste, garnish with lemon thyme, and serve.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Pistachios: These nuts are rich with antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fats, vitamin B-6, and thiamin. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Zucchini: Excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, and is a good source of vitamin A. Summer squash also retains its nutrients when eaten raw, lightly steamed, and/or frozen. And make sure to eat the seeds! Summer squash seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids which are helpful in the prevention of inflammation. The seeds are also thought to contain anti-microbial properties and are still used in some parts of the world to treat intestinal parasites. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarine and Heirloom Tomato Salad

This 5-minute salad was one of my favorites of the summer...Sweet, tart, and tangy, I'm drooling a little just thinking about it. Nectarines and tomatoes might not seem a likely pair, but oooh, they are. Sweet yet savory, tart but smooth, the ripe flesh of both of these fruits (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit) are a sultry match, like a tango in my mouth. I had to make an instant salad to go with dinner, and ended up enjoying this way more than the main course. So I offer it humbly, and hope the results are equally as satisfying to you.

Ingredients:

2 large or 5 small/medium RIPE heirloom tomatoes (I like the smaller ones as their flavor is more concentrated)

2 RIPE nectarines

2 Tbs. julienned basil

High quality olive oil and sea salt for marinating

*NOTE: This recipe can be made with ripe peaches as well for a similar effect, but I recommend using nectarines. If using peaches, peel them for less "mouth fuzz."

*OPTIONAL: If you're craving dairy, try a few crumbles of goat cheese for a nice variation on taste and presentation.

Method:

Slice tomatoes and nectarines into a bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Toss.

Sprinkle with basil and allow to sit 5-10 minutes (if you can wait that long!)

Serve and enjoy.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarines: Nectarines are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene (read: high in cancer-fighting free radicals!), and are high in fiber. They are also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain healthy blood pressure. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Avocado Lime Coleslaw

The perfect companion to any summery meal!

Adapted from http://anutritionisteats.com

I've never known what to do with cabbage. But one fateful Saturday morning, a cabbage appeared in our farmshare goodies, so I realized it was time to get creative. This recipe is perfect for the last summer barbeques and dinner parties as a side dish. Or nestle some in a corn tortilla with some fish and create some gourmet-ified fish tacos. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 cups cabbage, shredded

*Optional 2 Tbs. red or white onion, minced

1 cup + 2 Tbs. cilantro

1 small avocado

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbs. honey

2 tbs. olive oil

Water to thin dressing  (as needed)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine cabbage, onion, and 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Add water as needed.

Toss with cabbage mixture with dressing and let chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cabbage: Cabbage is a powerful cancer fighter and lowerer (new word?) of cholesterol. It contains massive amounts of Vitamin A and is a good source of Vitamin C. While purple cabbage is more nutrient dense than the lighter green varieties (due to their added phytonutrients), all varieties are nutritional powerhouses. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a powerful cleansing agent which helps remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body. It's also beneficial for the digestive tract due to its production of digestive enzymes, acids, and juices. Its essential oils stimulate peristalsis, relieve gas, and aid with digestion. Cilantro also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and helps to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lavender Macadamia Chocolate Bark

This chocolate bark makes and excellent Valentine's Day Gift...If it lasts that long. I recently made the dangerous discovery that it is extremely easy to make one's own chocolate bark. I find myself fantasizing about all the different flavor combinations one could make, all the toppings and essential oils one could include, to create supremely delectable confections. The possibilities are truly endless. I've tried a host of combinations and this one is a favorite. What's better is you will make someone's day (and save your burgeoning buttocks) if you hand deliver it to a friend's doorstep. Enjoy and they will too!

Ingredients:

8oz dark chocolate mini chocolate chips

1 bar 70-88% organic fair trade bar chocolate, broken into small pieces (*note: the higher the cocoa content, the less sweet your finished product will be)

2/3-ish cup macadamia or hazelnuts, skins removed and coarsely chopped

1 drop doTerra lavender essential oil

*Optional: edible dried lavender blossoms and/or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Method:

Line a 9x13 baking sheet with wax paper.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Place chocolate chips in the pan and melt slowly, constantly stirring to ensure even melting.

Add the chocolate bar pieces and stir until completely melted and smooth. Turn off the burner.

Add the drop of lavender essential oil and stir until well-blended. Mix in half the nuts.

Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet. With flexible rubber spatula spread into an 8x10 rectangle about 1/4 inch-ish thick.

Sprinkle with remaining nuts and optional blossoms and salt.

Refrigerate (or put outside in the snow!) to chill until firm (about 30 minutes)

*Refrigerate up to 5 days (if it last that long…which it won’t).

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per batch. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Carrot Ginger Cashew Bisque

Carrot Ginger Cashew Bisque with vegan pesto and basil leaves.
Carrot Ginger Cashew Bisque with vegan pesto and basil leaves.

If the eyes are the windows of the soul, then this soup is soul food. Packed with beta carotene, turmeric, and healthy fats and proteins, this soup is wonderful for your eye and gut health. I had a similar soup during my yoga therapy training at Mount Madonna Center, so I'm flooded with happy memories every time I taste it. It may be served warm or chilled, and is delightful when accompanied by pesto, fresh herbs, creme fraiche, or by itself. Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cups veggie or chicken stock

1 tbs. ghee

*1 cup chopped onion

*2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs. freshly chopped ginger

3/4 cup toasted (or soaked!) cashews

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon dried mint

*Denotes optional ingredients. Onions and garlic disagree with some folks’ digestion, so you can leave them out for a different flavor.

Method:

Heat the ghee in a medium/large stock pot. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until translucent and fragrant.

(If you're nixing the onions and garlic, then just skip to the next step.)

Add carrots, salt, and spices. Lower the heat and continue to sauté for another 8-10 minutes.

Add the water/broth and bring to a low boil. Allow to simmer until the carrots are tender (10-15 minutes).

Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth.

Add cashews to the mixture and puree until creamy.

(Serves 8-10)

Health Benefits:

Carrots: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Ginger: Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as gas, bloating, motion sickness, and morning sickness. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What's more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or "good fat" found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the "feel good" amino acid"). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Vegan Pesto

Farm-fresh vegan pesto!

Adapted From allrecipes.com

This pesto is dee-darn-licious. It is high in protein, thanks to the nutrtional yeast, and can be used to dress up soups, salad dressings, spreads (like hummus), or slathered in mass quantity on crackers or bread. You can also replace the nutritional yeast with Parmesian cheese if you're a pesto purist. This pesto can also be frozen in batches to bring summer flavors back in the wintertime. Try it with spaghetti squash or tossed with your favorite root vegetables for a summery tasting treat.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup pine nuts

2/3 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves crushed or minced garlic (more if you’re warding off vampires or a cold, less if you have a meeting in the following 24 hours)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Sprinkle pine nuts into a skillet over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.

Allow to cool.

Gradually mix the pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and basil in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper.

Notes:

*You can replace the nutritional yeast with grated parmesian cheese if you eat dairy.

*This recipe can be frozen in ice cube trays, small ziplock bags or plastic Tupperware containers and used for future reference.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is a staple source of protein, particularly for vegans and vegetarians. It is one of the few non-animal sources of B-12, is rich in folic acid and other nutrients and amino acids. Nutritional yeast is free of the Candida Albicans strain, making it safe for those concerned with candida. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pine Nuts: Pinenuts are excellent source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folate. They also contain healthy amounts of essential minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Black Sesame Encrusted Tuna and Heirloom Tomatoes on Arugula

Black sesame encrusted tuna and truffled heirloom tomatoes on bed of arugula. You might as well call this the "healthy heart salad." All the ingredients have heart helping properties, and as we all know, the heart is a pretty important organ to keep happy and healthy. So give it, and your taste buds, some love. And make sure to say a blessing to the fish who gave it's life so that you may be nourished. Happy eating!

Ingredients:

Salad:

2-4 cups arugula

1 large heirloom tomato, preferably something kinda dark and stinky like a black krim or ananas noire, sliced into thick slices

Truffle or sea salt to taste

NOTE: If vegetarian, sub avocado and/or your favorite cheese (like this yummy goat cheese, see photo below) instead of tuna. Yum!

Dressing:

3 tbs. grapeseed oil

Juice of ½ lime

Pinch salt

Teeny squirt agave nectar

Tuna and Marinade:

Two ahi tuna steaks (preferably sustainable, wild caught, and fresh)

¼ cup water

Healthy squirt of liquid aminos

1 tbs. sesame oil

1 tbs.-ish agave nectar or honey

½ teaspoon diced ginger root

1 clove crushed or minced garlic

½ cup black sesame seeds

Ghee for searing

Method:

Combine marinade ingredients and tuna steaks and allow to marinate AT LEAST 15 minutes…preferably more like 30.

While tuna is marinating, prepare salads: mix dressing, toss arugula with dressing and adorn with tomato slices, pinch truffle or sea salt over tomato slices.

Arrange black sesame seeds in a thin layer on a plate.

Smoosh tuna steaks on sesame seeds, flip and repeat on both steaks.

When ready to eat, heat pan and ghee to med-high heat.

Put tuna in pan and sear for 1 minute.

Carefully flip and sear other side for one minute.

Add tuna steaks to salad and voíla! Enjoy. (Or see vegetarian option below.)

Truffled heirloom tomatoes, goat brie, and avocado on bed of arugula.

Health benefits:

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Heirloom Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I'll write more about this later.

Black Sesame Seeds: These little seeds are jam packed with manganese and copper, and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. The black variety is also known in Chinese Medicine (as are all black- and blue-colored foods) as yin builders. More on this later, but see here for more nutrition facts on these mini powerhouses!

Tuna: I know, I know. Yogi(ni)s are supposed to be vegetarian. Don't even get me started. There are some times in life when flesh is a necessity for some beings...(to be posted about later, dude)...Anyway, IF you are partaking of animal flesh, tuna is a powerhouse of lean protein, tryptophan (the "feel-good" amino acid), and minerals such as selenium, magnesium, and potassium. Tuna is also packed with the B vitamins niacin, B1 and B6, and is a great source omega-3 essential fatty acids. See here for a more detailed look at the health benefits of this super fish.