Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mediterranean Kale Salad

Now that it's starting to get dark at 4:00, and there's a chill in the air, the thought of eating a cool, crisp green salad seems less and less appealing. Enter in my favorite hearty, wintry green leaf veggie, KALE. This salad gives you that fresh, raw veggie feel, with a bit more substance. Feel free to mix and match your veggies here, as well. Olives or some grated carrot might be nice. OR, switch out the edamame for roasted chickpeas or some grilled seitan.

Mediterranean Kale Salad

1/2 pound kale, veins removed, chopped
1/2 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cucumbers, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 apple, chopped
1 cup edamame, shelled
1 avocado, thinly sliced

1/4 cup good quality olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2  teaspoon agave nectar (or honey)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt, or to taste


In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing.  Whisk well until ingredients are completely emulsified. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking: Sometimes I like to add a bit more sweetener to cut down on the “tangingess”.

Place your chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Add about a third to a half of the dressing, a little salt, and massage the kale leaves with your clean hands until the leaves start to soften and wilt, about 2-3 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables, and part of the remaining dressing, to taste. Toss to combine and serve!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Basil Arugula Pesto with Toasted Pine Nuts

This delicious pesto recipe makes the perfect amount to be tossed with 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb of your favorite pasta. Today I had a 1 lb bag of Trader Joe's penne

Basil Arugula Pesto Recipe

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3 cups (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
  1 cup (loosely packed) fresh arugula
  1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  2 garlic cloves, peeled
  1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  Juice of 1 small lemon
  1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  2-4 tablespoons water, as needed

Place 1/2 cup oil, basil, arugula, pine nuts, garlic, lemon peel and juice in blender. (My new Vitamix blender makes this process a breeze). Blend to thick paste. Add nutritional yeast, and blend until smooth With motor running, add 2-4 tablespoons water to processor. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.
Boil pasta according to package directions. Halve 1 quart of grape tomatoes. Drain pasta and add tomatoes. Gently fold in pesto and combine. YUM.
What made this recipe a BREEZE to throw together was this fantastic bag of pine nuts from Trader Joe's, which are already toasted. Keep them in the freezer for whenever the mood to make fresh pesto strikes...especially popular in the Summer months with gardens full of fresh basil. ^_^

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Big Fall Juice Clean 2014- Day 1

The Natural Energizer

This is juice number two (2) and three (3) on Monday (Day 1) on the 5lbs in 5 Days Juice Plan by Jason Vale.

"Creamy, sweet and mellow pineapple juice is the perfect balance to the mineral rich juice from the cucumber, spinach, sugar snap peas and zucchini. This juice is then taken to the next level by adding a hint of fennel and a dash of zesty lime". 

I've done Jason's full 5 Day Juice plane twice this year, and then try to follow it throughout various weeks for breakfast and lunch only. Sometimes I can't always find fennel, but when I have it and add it to this, I think it gives this juice an amazing subtle hint of freshness which really brings this up to the next level!

"Not only is this juice creamy and delicious, but unlike the array of artificial energizer drinks (that ultimately rob your body of nutrients, cause stress to your vital organs and send you on a roller coaster of refined sugar energy highs and lows) this juice will energize you the natural way – say “high” to nature"! ~Jason Vale

1/4 pineapple
1 large handful of spinach
1/4 cucumber
1/2 zucchini
1 inch chunk of fennel
15 sugar snap peas
1/2 organic lime (with the skin on)

How to create
Simply Juice all the ingredients. I make a double batch of this recipe in the morning, and then pour into two (2) mason jars. Then fill with ice so the juice reaches the top. Place the lid on, fasten tightly and you are good to go! I usually drink mine around 12 noon and 3 o'clock. This will definitely brighten up you day with a burst of green energy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

A few years back,  I managed to convince my Pampered Chef consultant and friend to do an all-vegan Pampered Chef party at our home. Very few of the Pampered Chef recipes are actually vegan in their original state, BUT we managed to fine some contenders. And, with only a few simple tweaks or omissions, we pulled off cruelty-free vegan goodness, and quite well, too.
Still to this day, one of my favorite recipes was the Mediterranean Hummus Pizza, which, as you can see, is a virtual rainbow of vegan fun! It’s fresh and delicious, especially if you are in the mood for pizza, but don’t want something really heavy.
The basic recipe that I follow is below, but there is room for great improvisation here, which makes it all the more fun:
1   half recipe of whole wheat pizza dough (Julie Hasson's from Vegan Pizza)
1   tablespoon olive oil, for brushing
1   garlic clove, pressed
oregano, salt and pepper to taste

15  grape tomatoes, halved
1/4   medium red onion, finely chopped
2 baby cucumbers, halved and chopped
1/2   cup pitted kalamata olives
1   container (7 ounces) plain hummus spread (roasted red pepper is great, too)
1/2 cup each diced bell pepper (I had yellow and green this time)
2   jars (6-7.5 ounces each) quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained

*some swaps that work well too:  roasted red peppers, tofu feta cheese, scallions, vegan tzatsiki, fresh basil for garnish

First we are going to bake the crust. Preheat a pizza stone in your oven at 425 for 30 minutes. I actually cook this crust at a little lower heat than my usual pizza with toppings.

Roll out you dough on some parchment paper into a 12" circle. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle on the garlic or powder, then some oregano, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will add some crushed red pepper too!

Slide dough onto your stone and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven off the pizza stone and onto a cutting board. Spread the container of hummus evenly onto the crust. Then arrange the chopped vegetables on top. Cut into squares, (I like the square shape rather than wedges for this) and enjoy!