Detox Salad

Last night I was pondering which way to go re: the obligatory post New Year “detox”. When I was reorganizing all the stuff I moved out of my apartment a few weeks ago, I was feeling ambitious and went ahead and unpacked my juicer, so 3 day Juice Cleanse was option 1. Back in May, I embarked on a week of raw eating that was actually really successful, and an easy transition since my diet is primarily plant-based anyway, so last night that became option 2. Last January, I went an ayurvedic, macrobiotic route… option 3.

But I’m opting for option 4: to make small, positive choices in all areas of my life that will contribute to overall mental and physical health. I believe that a slow and steady approach will do so much more to foster lasting good habits. Plus, I haven’t really gone overboard with unhealthiness in a while, so small adjustments are really all I need.

What I do want to do this week, just for myself, is keep a little journal of what I’m doing well, plus tasks I need to get done each day. I get scattered in this crazy brain of mine- you should see all the “stickies” on my computer desktop- so it’s better for me to keep things visually organized.

A few highlights of my goals, big and small:

– keep track of my sleep, and aim for 7 hours at least with no interruptions

– take time for meditation each day

– start doing yoga again on a regular basis

– keep coffee down to 2 cups max

– cut sodium consumption

– drink more tea and water

The next couple of weeks have the potential to be a bit overwhelming as I get everything in order to, ahem, move out of the country. It is all the more important, therefore, to remain as calm as possible. I opted not to really share my resolutions for 2013, but I will say that one of the big ones is to remain positive and zen, even in the face of stress. Good healthy habits will help to keep me centered.

Eating well is always a part of that. This salad is a staple, both when I hit the Whole Foods prepared foods bar and at home. It’s easy to make, sweet, zesty, and adaptable… I made some changes to the original posted at Oh She Glows.

Detox Salad

adapted from Oh She Glows and Whole Foods

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower, stems removed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • kosher salt, pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp salt and lots of pepper)
  • 1 tbsp garlic dulse flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp kelp granules
  • salt free seasoning to taste (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)

Instructions

  1. Process cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots in the food processor separately until each is shredded and mix together in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Feel free to adjust seasonings and lemon juice to personal taste.

Notes

Angela also suggests adding a bit of maple syrup if you would prefer some more sweetness, but I think the currants do the trick.
Also, the recipe normally calls for 1/2 cup raisins as well- I omitted because I only had currants on hand.

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes and Entrees

Weekend DIY: The Perfect Bubble Bath

Baths aren’t the most eco-friendly thing in the world, but when used sparingly, they are a godsend. Feeling overworked, anxious, stressed… or even sick? Taking a bath can be an economic and therapeutic fix. There are a few ingredients that can make a bubble bath positively blissful, as it should be… and the great part is that how you mix and match is totally up to you and your mood.

  1. Epsom Salts
    Benefits
    : draw out toxins; increase magnesium in the body which leads to a boost in serotonin, elevating your mood
    How to use: add 1-2 cups to your warm bath. Sea salt is a decent alternative.
  2. Bubble Bath
    Benefits:
     depends on the kind you choose, but most will soothe and soften your skin
    How to use: I always add it to the bath as it’s running, right near the faucet so that the bubbles foam up immediately and I can gauge how much I want. Shower gel can be a good alternative, though it might not foam up as much. Pamper yourself! I just splurged on this the other day: It was amazing. I’m definitely on a budget, so I usually just grab my liquid shower soap and use that, but this proved that it is definitely worth it.
  3. Temperature
    Benefits: depending on how hot you make it, warm temperatures are soothing while hot temperatures are detoxifying
    How to use: this sounds like an inane detail but it can actually make or break the experience. It really falls to personal preference- do you want a loooong, relaxing time to read a book? Then keep the temperature on the warm-hot side. A shorter, detoxifying experience? Make the bath super hot (but not scalding- think a hot jacuzzi; you don’t want to burn yourself!) and sweat it out for 15-20 minutes or so.
  4. Essential Oils
    Benefits: Here are some of my favorites:
    lavender: lowers heart rate and blood pressure for anti-anxiety; helps insomnia; soothes inflamed skin
    eucalyptus: decongestant; soothing for sore throat and cough; soothes muscle pain; rejuvenating and de-stresser
    jasmine: anti-depressant; relieves muscle spasm (including coughing); de-stresser.
    rose: anti-depressant; soothes coughing and muscle pain
    bergamot: anti-anxiety; relieves soreness
    patchouli: anti-anxiety; antidepressant; soothes skin; helps fluid retention
    There are soooo many more. I almost want to do a post with a more complete guide… maybe I will eventually. Just have fun experimenting and even do a little research on what the benefits might be.
    How to use: mix and match your favorites- most will compliment each other pretty well, as long as you keep it to two or three, tops. Just add a couple of drops of each to the bath as its running. Use sparingly- essential oils are expensive, and they’re strong. You don’t want to feel high from the fumes!
  5. Ambiance
    Light some scented candles, dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, have a few magazines or a good book at the ready, and turn on some Bon Iver. Oh, and for the love of God, turn off your phone.
  6. And extras
    Do whatever you want! I like to smother my hair in coconut oil and pile it on top of my head to soak. I also have this amazing lemon sugar scrub that I rub all over my legs to slough off dead skin and it makes them soooo smooth. Whatever floats your boat.

Happy relaxing!

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Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

The other day, I was running an errand for work and picked up a spinach and feta wrap for one of my bosses. It smelled so unbelievably delicious that I vowed to myself right then and there to somehow create a version of those flavors for myself. So I got to researching, looking to use nuts as a base for the cheese rather than tofu. A few tweaks here and there and one roasted spaghetti squash later, success!

The feta is a little labor intensive, more so than nut-based cheese sauces I’ve made in the past (macaroni and alfredo) because feta is supposed to be crumbly, not smooth and creamy. Because of this, it had to be pressed and drained in order to work. It’s definitely worth the effort, because the texture is almost spot on and the flavor is packed.

Tossed with spaghetti squash (or pasta!), fresh spinach and mushrooms, and the result is a healthy and hearty take on an old favorite.

Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • +For the Feta+:
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • juice of one half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • +For the Pasta:+
  • Spaghetti Squash or Pasta of choice, cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. +For the Feta:+
  2. After soaking the walnut pieces, add them (with the water they soaked in) and the rest of the feta ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Lay out two layers of cheesecloth on top of each other, and scoop out the cheese from the blender, placing it all onto the middle of the layered patches of cloth. Bring all the edges together and tie tightly with a piece of twine.
  4. Gently squeeze so any excess liquid drains immediately. Then place in a small strainer over a jar or bowl (I used a tea strainer over a mason jar and it worked wonderfully) and let sit in the fridge overnight, so that any additional liquid will drain as well.
  5. When ready to use, simply remove the cheesecloth and put into a small container to use as needed.
  6. +For the Pasta:+
  7. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto a pan. Add the garlic and cook on low until the garlic begins to cook, stirring. Add the mushrooms, and cook until soft.
  8. Add the spinach leaves and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, just until the spinach is wilted. You may need to add a little bit of water or vegetable broth to ensure that nothing burns and the spinach steams well- just use sparingly. Remove from heat.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta or squash with salt, pepper, and cooked vegetables. Crumble some of your new feta over it at your discretion- I recommend being liberal!
  10. Toss all together once more and garnish with some black pepper and more crumbled feta before serving.

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Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

We’ve got a squash on squash situation.

I have here one of those serendipitous recipes that just seemed like a simple idea to put together but exceeded all expectations. I was quickly reminded that cinnamon as a savory spice is unexpectedly fantastic. And guess what? Pumpkin puree makes a great marinade. Cinnamon and fresh herbs make a great air freshener. And as the chill in the air becomes more pronounced, this recipe is a great excuse to crank up the oven and celebrate the harvest.

P.S. This is already on my Thanksgiving menu.

Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • handful each of fresh sage leaves and fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, broth, miso, garlic, soy sauce, cinnamon, and fresh herbs until combined.
  2. Chop the mushrooms, carrots, and acorn squash and put them in a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the vegetables and toss, so everything is evenly coated. Transfer the entire mixture to a baking pan, laying out as evenly as possible, sprinkle with pepper, and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, checking periodically and stirring the mixture. Remove and serve.

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My Favorite Fall Recipes

It’s a chilly afternoon- even a little blustery. It’s also the first day I noticed some leaves changing color. The first official day may have actually been a few days ago, but as far as I’m concerned, today is my first day of fall.

I love inventing and trying new recipes; so much so that I often forget some good ones I’ve made in the past. This slideshow may be for my benefit as much as yours. So let’s all reminisce and get re-inspired together, shall we?

And of course, there are plenty of other great recipes for fall- and all seasons- here.

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Pumpkin Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Pumpkin and Earl Grey go great together. Who knew?

I whipped these up on a day that I was feeling the need to make something elegant. They’re so perfect for the season: gently spiced, but with a comforting pumpkin kick. And perfectly complimentary to a steaming mug of tea. Thick socks, blanket, and a good book are all recommended.

Pumpkin Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp ground flax in 6 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Soak the ground flax in the water in a small bowl for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the almond milk with the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and the emptied tea bags.
  3. Whisk together gently, and then add in the soaked flax, and then the remaining ingredients. Whisk gently until completely combined. Distribute evenly in a lightly greased but unlined muffin tin (the tins shouldn’t be filled to the brim, but halfway or less).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.

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Kimchi Taco Salad

New Yorkers take their food trucks very seriously.

In a city of convenience (and awesome food), what’s better than gourmet on the go?

One of the favorites of the food truck world is the Kimchi Taco Truck. It’s beloved by omnis and veggies alike- it’s just so freaking good. I looove kimchi, so it was a no-brainer for me.

And it inspired this salad!

Obviously kimchi is great on its own, but the Korean BBQ Sauce just sets it over the edge. Combine it with some all-natural ingredients, and you’ve got a fresh, zesty, delicious meal.

Kimchi Taco Salad

For the salad:

tortilla strips, toasted

romaine lettuce

1/3 avocado, sliced

kimchi*

* Not all kimchi is vegan- it’s often made with fish. If you are vegan, make sure you check before you buy!

Korean BBQ Dressing:

¼ onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp miso paste

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp tahini

1 inch chunk fresh ginger, minced

½ tsp red pepper flakes

pinch of guar gum

2 tbsp brown sugar OR 2 tbsp agave OR ½ tsp stevia

1/4 tsp black pepper

Assemble the salad as you wish and pour the dressing over before you serve. Enjoy!

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Salads

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Who knew that nutritional yeast could be made sweet?

I went into this thinking, “Okay, this is either going to be really disgusting or absolutely amazing.” Luckily, it was the latter. And the best part? Okay, the second best part? It adds so much of a protein punch, which is often elusive for us vegans. I’ve been dabbling with some protein powders, but it’s hard to find something really unprocessed, so nutritional yeast is a great solution. This smoothie packs more than 10 grams of delicious, creamy protein. Drink up… it’s a great recharge after your morning workout.

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

5 medium strawberries, cored

1 cup almond milk

1/5 package light firm tofu

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp vanilla extract

stevia to taste

ice (optional) or pinch of guar gum, xantham gum, or 2 tsp of flax for a thicker smoothie (and more protein!)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast, Eat, Shakes and Smoothies

Fettuccine Alfredo

Goodness. It’s been so long since I put together a recipe that I feel like I forget how to do this!

Luckily, what’s coming your way doesn’t need much of an introduction.

I first discovered the power of pureed nuts with my walnut whipped cream. Obviously that’s a sweet recipe, but if we’re going on texture, the creaminess is something that I knew could definitely translate over to a savory recipe. Plus, I’ve heard praises sung about cashew “cheese” everywhere from other vegan blogs to veggie restaurants.

I’ve tried cashew cheese, and it’s amazing… especially in mac & cheese. (P.S. that recipe is still one of my all-time faves!)

But alfredo sauce is obviously a different breed- a different cheese. I knew I needed a more mild flavor that was still creamy. So I turned back to walnuts. Mixed with some herbs and almond milk?

Perfection.

And, the flavor is dead on. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to try it!

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

1 cup almond milk

1 cup walnuts, soaked

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tsp lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp vinegar

2 tsp dried basil or oregano

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of guar or xantham gum (optional)

your choice of pasta (or spaghetti squash!)

After soaking the nuts for 1-2 hours, drain them and put in a blender or food processor with the almond milk. Puree until smooth, and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Puree until smooth. Heat over stove in a pot over low heat until desired temperature (add more milk if the sauce reduces at all)

Cook pasta according to instructions, pour sauce over, and serve.

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Carrot Cake Fudge

You know me- I love me some carrot cake!

And we all love fudge.

Two rights make a RIGHT. Thus, this has to be good. And trust me, it is. Epicly so. It’s like carrot cake in a teeny tiny, sweet little package. It can be made vegan. And it looks so cute in an Easter basket! Another suggestion? Cut it small enough to be hidden in those plastic eggs.

That‘s a prize worth hunting for.

Carrot Cake Fudge

2 12 oz. packages of white chocolate chips (vegan as necessary)

¾ cup shredded carrot

½ cup shredded coconut, toasted

¼ cup chopped walnuts

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

1 cup sweetened condensed milk (for a vegan alternative, try this– it works fantastically!)

Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue stirring until the milk starts to bubble. Let it simmer for a minute, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the pan so nothing burns. Remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a 11 x 3 pan lined with greased aluminum foil. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top, cover with plastic wrap and let it firm up in the fridge or freezer before cutting into squares and serving.

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Filed under Eat, Holidays, Sweets