Sunday, March 27, 2011

The salad formula: Amazing salads made easy

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks xoxo

Salads are an amazing meal option. They offer a variety of tastes and textures and a mega dose of nutrients. They're also super portable and don't require heating, which makes them a great lunch for work.

Sadly, many people have an irrational hate for the salad. A hate that stems from the unfortunate myth that salads are confined to two to three ingredients, one usually being lettuce, and that they can't ever be enough to fill someone up, and that they're just for diets and therefore a food you don't really want to eat but do occasionally and grudgingly like it's a punishment.

The truth is that salads, with their endless combinations, are a form of culinary art; they require imagination and innovation. And without it, salads are in fact just lettuce with a slice or two of tomato and cucumber, maybe some onion. But don't be scared; it's an artform that can easily be taught. Making balanced salad that serves as a healthy and satisfying meal, like most things in life, comes down to a basic mathematical formula:

whole grain + protein + vegetables + greens + dressing

It's that easy. And have you SEEN the produce section at any grocery store? It's huge! Imagine the possibilities!

Dressings are an essential component of making delicious salads that don't leave you wanting more. And all too often this is the part people put the least effort into, leaning toward oil and vinegar, maybe some mustard...If you're one of those people who is on the fence about salad, it could very likely be that it's your dressing that's keeping you from experiencing true salad love. Step outside of your cupboard and look to your fridge and blender for dressing inspiration. Avocados or nuts make a great creamy base and lemons, tomatoes and even oranges add that wonderful tartness. If you're settling for store-bought dressing because you're nervous about potential dressing disasters in you're bag, rest assured: mason jars, with their powerful seal, make great containers for dressings.

Here is one salad that I made the other day that we're currently quite obsessed with. It left us both nicely full but also feeling energetic - not heavy or tired. And it was so delicious, we were still talking about it two days later and had told almost everyone we knew about it!

Whole grain
2c quinoa, cooked (1c uncooked)


2c mixed beans, rinsed well if using canned

1 tomato, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
3 cloves garlic, derooted and diced
1 hungarian pepper, deseeded and sliced thinly
Olives, pitted and halved

Mix together in a small bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. If you're prepping your salad for lunch at work, store these chopped veggies in a container separate from the greens to avoid the dreaded soggy salad.
1c mixed sprouts (I used a combination of broccoli and daikon radish sprouts)
Carrot greens, chopped
1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Chop greens and wash and dry thoroughly. If you don't have a salad spinner, I highly recommend purchasing one. They're not very expensive and are an invaluable investment in making a great salad. Thanks to my lovely friend Anita for providing me with both my salad spinners (the second one after i accidentally melted the first...).

1 avocado
2tbsp hemp seeds
Juice from 1 lemon
1c spinach (optional)
½ tomato
Water, as needed
Cayenne to taste

blend together. I find the magic bullet quite useful for salad dressings and sauces because of the blender's small size.

Mix everything together and toss with the dressing. 

Enjoy the salad that dreams are made of!

ps did you notice the new feature on my site? In the lefthand column there's a new facebook button that allows you to share my blog and recipes with your facebook friends! So if you do like my recipes, please click the button :)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

raw collard-wrapped springrolls

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks. xoxoxo

Collard greens, destemmed
shitake mushroom caps, sliced, marinated
snow peas, cut into strips
carrots, julienned
napa cabbage, cut into strips
cucumber, cut into strips

1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, derooted, minced
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sesame oil

Marinate the mushrooms for 15-30 min. Squeeze out excess marinate back into bowl and set marinate aside.
Put ingredients in the middle of the collard leaf and roll. Wrap and secure the roll with a strip of seaweed.
Use marinate for dipping. For a richer sauce, add in some nut butter or tahini.



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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, here's a delicious green smoothie to start your morning off right. This refreshing beverage, stocked full of flavour and nutrients, will leave you feeling satisfied.

Awesome affordable organic produce discoveries:

To make, blend together
1 avocado
1 carrot, medium
2 celery stalks, plus the bits that are all leafy
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 tomatoes
1 clove garlic, derooted
2.5-3c water

(4 servings)

Add some parsley or cilantro, which in addition to the celery will help support your liver the morning after.

Drink up and enjoy!!


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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rawlicious: A cookbook

Very excitingly, on Wednesday while I was at work a package came for me. It's always fun when packages come at work. Especially when the return address on it is not from our fulfillment house.

I tore open the envelope (ok, I cut the side off neatly with scissors after I struggled for like three minutes to tear the envelope...) to find Rawlicious a raw food cookbook by Peter and Beryn Daniel. Rawlicious was originally published in 2009 in South Africa and will soon be available in North America.

Rawlicious offers a nice sampling of a variety of dishes, from smoothies to soups to mains with a section on combining the different components to make a gourmet meal. The recipes are easy to make without many specialty ingredients, which I personally always look for in a cookbook. There are tons of recipes I'm excited to try, especially ones using sprouted legumes, such as the sprouted lentil burger and sprouted chick pea falafels. I love sprouting legumes because it's so easy and inexpensive, but I can never find enough ways to use them!

Here's a sneak peek at one of the delicious recipes in this amazing book: I tried the Cream of Celery Soup the other day, with slight variations, when we had a friend over for dinner. It was super easy to make and was a big hit. Here's my modified recipes:

5 stalks of celery (2.5c celery juice)
2c water (1c water)
1 avocado (1.5 avocado)
1/4c olive oil
2 cloves garlic (1 clove)
1/2c parsley (1/2c cilantro + 1/4c parsley)
juice from 1/2 lemon (1tbsp lemon juice)
(1tsp Himalayan salt, 2 scallions)

Blend everything together.

Enjoy with a spring of parsley and maybe a sprinkle of cayenne pepper if you want an extra kick!

Stay tuned as I sample more of the recipes in Rawlicious!

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

quickie post: yogurt plus chia seeds equals love

Totally into yoso vanilla soy yogurt right now.
My fave ways to enjoy it?

chocolate chia goji mousse madness
mix vanilla soy yogurt with raw cacao powder and 1tbsp chia seeds. Mix well and let sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. When you take it out of the fridge, the texture will be more like a mousse. add in goji berries, mix and enjoy!!

cookies and goji goodness

break off pieces of raw cookie dough into vanilla soy yogurt. Mix in goji berries and enjoy!

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