Summer in Winter: a smoothie and salad to cure your winter blues »
My “cooking” style can best be described as hodgepodge. The more I try new things in the kitchen, the more comfortable I get, just like most things in life. Even though I needed to text TWO separate people asking them how to work the rice cooker that was immediately in front of me, and even though I’ve never finished preparing a meal without my sous chef, Chef Google-Search, I’m always pleasantly surprised at the finished product. And that’s saying a lot because I am the most self loathing person I know.
Back to the food. I say hodgepodge because I enjoy throwing many ingredients into what I’m making to try to find something that I haven’t tasted before or just switch things up from the monotony. Case-in-point, the rice cooker. In an effort to save money and not waste food, I try to eat as many things left in the closets, cupboards, and ‘fridge on the day I bring groceries home. Rather than gorging myself on all the new treats. A couple months back I did a post on SooFoo and their grain blend. I came across the nearly empty bag, buried in our bulk-food drawer, and decided I was going to finish it off but with some new twists. Then saw a bag of salad about a day before it was set to turn slimey and dark, a bag of bread that only had one heal left, and a soft kiwi. It was like the Island of Misfit Toys, but with vegan friendly food from your local grocer. That’s when it hit me, let’s make a cheap meal that will bring all the boys (or girls, or both) to the yard.
First up: the SooFoo.
Normally, you follow your ricers directions of 1 cup (which isn’t a real “cup” and no one has given me an explanation of why) of the blend and some water up to the “1” line and a teaspoon of oil. I said, to myself, “NAH SON.” Threw the rest of the bag of the blend in the ricer, along with a handful of roasted/unsalted peanuts and a handful of raw pecans. For the water, I felt that was the easy way out, so I threw one part water and one part Trader Joe’s Low Sodium Garden Patch juice. Think V-8 but way less gross and actually good. And not disgusting. Then I pressed the button and let this interesting concoction boil in that plastic and metal cauldron. After it was finished, which I should have done way earlier but my kitchen neuroses kicked in, I threw in a gang of spices—thyme, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cayenne pepper—then mixed it in and was taken aback by
my its awesomeness.
Next: The smoothie.
I like to brag about my smoothie skills. But that’s like bragging about exercising and we all cannot stand that person who loves to tell you how much they just ran, all before the sun came up too. But I wear my smoothie skills like a badge of courage—or more realistically, a badge of healthy poo. Because let’s be serious for a moment, that’s all the really matters in this world. The smoothie began with an extremely squishy kiwi that would not have been fun to eat normally. Then half of an avocado. Then a good sized handful of that almost wet and slimey salad. Followed by some almond milk. After blending those ingredients and getting a nice green, milky consistency, I threw in the frozen portions. Blueberries, raspberries, and spinach. Then blended like crazy and poured into a re-purposed glass peanut butter jar that any hipster on Pinterest would be envious of. I garnished it with a cuke moon because I’m classy (ignore aforementioned poo reference in previous paragraph).
Lastly: the salad, which is English for ensalada.
There was a giant Fuji apple nearby, that must have been in the bottom of a shopping bag because it had a dent and gash in it in the shape of a cereal box. Instead of doing some mouth-maneuvering around the bruise, I figured I’d use the apple in my salad. I chopped it up to 1 CM squares, which is way smaller than I usually make my salad-bound apples. I wanted each forkful to have as much of the many ingredients. After the apple came the other half of the avocado, cut, while still in its skin, into similar sized squares as the apple, then squeezed into the bowl. Next up with throwing the rest of the bag of salad in, followed by 1/3rd of a cucumber, cut into half moons. I toasted that lonely heal of bread and chopped it up to make semi-homemade croutons. Sandra Lee woulda been proud.
Finally I threw a heaping of the SooFoo blend into the salad and mixed it all with some goddess dressing. Between the kiwi in the smoothie, the apple and avocado in the salad, the (relatively) cold SoCal winter seemed to wither away. It was like, all the way down to 59 today. But this extremely fresh, resourcefully made, and low budget-friendly meal was reminiscent of just 3 weeks ago when it was 70. (hash tag California)
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
NPR does vegan: Bryant Terry recipes and more! »
Last week, with everyone on vacation and news slow, NPR’s Morning Edition deigned to do a two-part series about veganism. Coverage is coverage!
"It isn’t all brown rice and steamed vegetables," says Renee Montagne. I’m just going to assume she’s pretending to be ignorant for the benefit of her ignorant listeners.
Best part of the interview: two recipes from Bryant’s most recent book, The Inspired Vegan! His black-eyed peas in garlic-ginger-braised mustard greens, and molasses, miso, and maple candied sweet potatoes sound perfect for chilly winter nights. Check them out on the NPR website, or maybe just buy his book, because you know it’s full of good food, and suggestions for excellent literature and music accompaniments.
[photo by Jennifer Martiné/Da Capo Lifelong Books via NPR]
It’s almost Christmas! It’s cold and dark (it drops below 30 at night out here!) and we need booze and fat and sugar to keep us warm and fat and awake! Also something aesthetically pleasing, to keep the SAD at bay. Lucky for us, Meagen of Vegan Food Addict whipped up this wonderful antidote to the December grays: a chocolate peppermint martini! Get into it! (Seriously, I want to Dita Von Teese this thing and climb in.)
PS: Need something warmer? Try Angela Liddon’s ultra-creamy mocha hot cocoa. I bet it’d take to booze pretty well.
Pumpkin Parfaits with Ginger Snaps! I got this from this great Vegan Thanksgiving board on Pinterest, where there are millions upon millions of tasty Thanksgiving recipes! Yay, Thanksgiving, LET’S EAT IT ALL!!!!
Also, Bay Area, don’t forget it might be your last day to order Thanksgiving stuff!
Product review: Sacha Vida’s nutty-tasting, omega-3-packed, delicious sacha inchi oil! »
Sacha Vida sacha inchi oil, made from sacha inchi seeds grown in peru and bottled in the Napa Valley, tastes like a cross between hemp, flax, and peanut oil. Like hemp and flax, this oil cannot withstand heat and therefore must be used exclusively in raw dishes. Obviously that’s fine with me, because I just love raw food!
The health benefits linked to sacha inchi seeds are impressive: ideal ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, cardiovascular health, improved skin health. Apparently the oil causes less gas than some others, and has way more omega-3s than soy, olive, sunflower, or flax oils. It is the most unsaturated vegetable oil on the planet, according to the Sacha Vida website. It contains natural antioxidants. As oils go, this one has a pretty ideal nutrition profile for vegans of all stripes!
Sacha Vida Sacha Inchi oil is obviously super-healthy, but how does it taste? To find out, I used a free sample of sacha inchi oil sent to me by Sacha Vida, and employed it in this recipe I created:
Kale Pomegranate Sacha Inchi Salad
Serves 1 to 2
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped beets
1/4 cup raisins or goji berries (optional)
1 Tbsp. Sacha Vida oil
1 pinch black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. miso (I used chickpea miso)
1 tsp. coconut aminos, tamari, or Braggs
1 pinch kelp flakes (optional)
Mix all dressing ingredients and massage into salad ingredients. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving in order to give it time to marinate!
The oil tastes delicious. The peanuty flavor is heightened by earthen notes that satisfy the palate. Mixed with greens, it feels silky on the tongue, and has a slight lingering mouth-feel that is sweet and savory at the same time. I feel like I just drank golden nectar, something the Greeks would have loved to have imported from Peru to consume after the cheaper oil was all used up for wrestling.
Ethical Ocean’s vegan recipe contest »
Come one, come all! Ethical Ocean is having a vegan recipe contest and the competition is steep.
So for recipe contests, do you have to make everything to decide which recipe to vote on? I can’t make all this stuff! It would take forever! A delicious, delicious forever. If you just vote for the prettiest, I may have to vote on these pomegranate pops. They are super sexy, right? You can vote every day until August 13th. Which are you going to vote for?! Tell me!
Book review: Scott Jurek’s “Eat & Run” Plus, run with Scott today! »
This dude running with his dog is Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek could basically kick your ass any day of the week, including days where he hasn’t slept the night before, has a broken ankle, and already ran 75 miles. See, Scott is an ultramarathoner, which means he’ll run a marathon as a warmup, then run another one, then figure that the race is just getting started. He’ll run over mountains and through lightning storms and never stop. “Hallucinations and vomiting, to me and my fellow ultrarunners,” he says, “are like grass stains to Little Leaguers.” Shit yeah, that shit’s for real. Oh yeah, by the way, just in passing, he’s vegan, and has been essentially the whole time he’s been doing this. (!!!!)
Scott, you’re my new hero, I love you! Thank you for writing this book so we can all learn about how amazing you are!
Scott’s publisher sent me a copy of Eat & Run and I was like, “Hey, I kinda like running, I’ll check that out,” despite David Foster Wallace having brilliantly explained, athlete memoirs are pretty much guaranteed to suck. I was prepared to read two pages, tell y’all the book existed, and move on.
Except the book is good! I kept wanting to read it! I read two chapters out loud in the car and my husband wanted me to keep going, even though I was gonna puke because the road got curvy! (See, right there, you can tell I’m not an ultra-athlete: I avoid things that make me puke). I wanted to read the book so much that I almost posted this review too late because I wanted to finish it first!
Too late for what, you ask? FOR YOUR CHANCE TO MEET SCOTT JUREK!
Wednesday, June 13 (that’s today!!) in San Francisco:
- 7 to 8 p.m.: Fun run with Scott at Fleet Feet San Francisco, 2076 Chestnut St.
- 8 to 9 p.m.: Eat & Run Experience with Scott at Fleet Feet
Check out his full calendar of events; he’s in L.A. soon, and San Diego, and he’s even coming to Colorado a couple times, though on days I can’t be there, BUMMER.
Even if you’re not a runner, you should totally go meet this dude. He’s just amazing. And inspiring. I literally got off the couch after reading this book for two hours, put on my shoes, and set off into the sweltering heat the weekend before last, because Scott made me want to.
Oh, one other thing about his book? It’s got recipes. Here’s one that’s also on his website. I haven’t tried any of them, but even if they suck I’m still gonna love him.
Green Power Pre-Workout Drink
Hippie Dan first taught me the importance of greens like spirulina and wheatgrass. Spirulina is a green algae said to have been carried into battle by Aztec warriors. Used for centuries as a weight-loss aid and immune-booster, it has lately been studied and shown promising results as a performance enhancer for long-distance runners. Because spirulina is marketed as a dietary supplement rather than a food, the FDA does not regulate its production; buy it only from a health food store and a brand you trust.
Packed with protein (spirulina is a complete protein) and rich in vitamins and minerals, this smoothie is an excellent source of nutrition. For a little extra carbohydrate boost, replace 1 cup water with 1 cup apple or grape juice.
1 cup frozen or fresh mango or pineapple chunks
4 cups water
2 teaspoons spirulina powder
1 teaspoon miso
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for one to two minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth. Drink 20 to 30 ounces (2 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups) 15 to 45 minutes before a run.
Gluten-free vegan peanut-butter cookies! They look so good! And a “friend”* on Facebook says they’re yummy! Insider tip: consider leaving out the salt! Bam, you’re so ready to make those cookies!
Om nom nom I want them.
*A nice person who was in my writing group for about 3 months 3 years ago. Reliable source, I swear!
Chia seed pudding! Doesn’t it look awesome? It’s super-easy and healthy too. It’s the best idea, I can’t wait to try it. I put chia seeds in my oatmeal every morning but I haven’t graduated to making it into dessert! The “recipe" is more like general instructions so you can get creative. Just soak your chia in yumminess (like almond milk), add whatever spices you want, and soak it overnight! BOOM!
Try it and tell us if it’s awesome or if the author’s just good with Photoshop! Also, why are there vegan recipes on a psychology blog?
Guest Recipe: Chocolate Smoothie! »
This smoothie is one of the most delicious, creamy, filling and energizing drinks I’ve ever had. It’s inspired by Cafe Gratitude’s raw chocolate smoothies that blew my mind when I first had them. I could literally drink 3 or 4 cups of this and not get bored—it would just make an amazingly delicious meal!
The recipe requires a 1-2 hour wait because you have to pre-soak the cashews to make them extra creamy.
1 Handful raw soaked cashews (3-4 oz)
1 Tablespoon raw Cacao powder
1 teaspoon raw cacao nibs (optional, adds a nice chocolate crunch)
1/2 oz agave nectar
4 medjool dates
16 oz water
(Optional) Ice Cubes, just to add a thicker, slushy-like texture.
Soak the cashews in water, making sure they’re fully submerge, for at least 1 hour. You can also soak them overnight ahead of time to prepare for an amazing delicious energetic breakfast smoothie. Soaking the cashews helps not only improve their taste and creaminess when blended, it also helps improve enzyme activity and digestion of the cashew’s nutrients.
After the cashews are soaked, drain the water, then rinse them and drain the water again.
Add the soaked cashews and the rest of the ingredients to a blender. Blend for at least 60 seconds to turn the dates and cashews into a nice creamy mixture.
What you’ll be left with is pure heaven! Make sure to drink it right away as you’ll get most of the nutrients still active and the taste will be best. If you must, you can store it in the fridge for 24 hours.
Thanks to Tom Corson-Knowles from Authentic Health Coaching for sharing this great recipe! You can check out Tom’s blog about nutrition, healthy meal plans, and more great recipes at www.TomCorsonKnowles.com/blog