Thursday, March 29, 2012

Raw Veggie Sushi

I cant believe I spent the majority of my cleanse without making some veggie sushi.  I have made sushi many times before.  Andy actually taught me how to make sushi on one of our first dates (one of the many reasons I knew he was a keeper).  I blew off making sushi because I thought it would be boring without the fish and rice- not to mention all of the yummy sauces restaurants put on their "specialty" rolls.  I was finally convinced to make some the other day after a fellow cleanser said it was her favorite raw meal- and I was not disappointed.
I didn't miss the fish, rice or special sauces- in fact I made my own sauce!

While the kids were playing with paint...

I was playing with food!

Raw Veggie Sushi 

Nut rice
1/2 cup Pine nuts
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 tbsp Nama Shoyu

Veggies for filling:
Green onion
Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Nama Shoyu
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced

Nori wrappers

In a blender or food processor combine ingredients for the nut rice.  Blend until almost smooth adding water as needed.  Leaving some chucks gives the mixture a nice rice-y texture.  I used my magic bullet for this and it was perfect for a small amount.

Chop veggies and mango into matchsticks.

For the sauce mix ginger and garlic into the Nama Shoyu.

To assemble the sushi spread your nut mixture on the nori.  Top with the carrots, cucumber, avocado, green onion, mango and sprouts.  

Roll sushi as tightly as possible.  When you get to the end, wet the nori  with some of the dipping sauce to seal the roll.  Use a very sharp knife to slice the sushi into pieces.

Dunk your sushi into some delicious sauce.

It may not be the prettiest sushi I've ever made but it was so so so good!

I made it again for lunch the next day.  And guess what?  I making it again for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Avocado Lettuce Wraps

Eating raw for the last two weeks has given me the opportunity to try so many new raw recipes and create a couple of my own.  I've been eating a lot of avocado on this cleanse.  The healthy fats in the avocados have helped keep me full.  I've put them in smoothies, raw veggie sushi, gazpacho, salads, and made a ton of guacamole.
Avocados are incredibly healthy.  They are full of monounsaturated fats that help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).  Aside from fat, avocados are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, Folate and B6.   You can find more information on the health benefits here.
These wraps were inspired by a salmon salad I love to make.  Instead of regular mayo, I use avocado "mayo." For this version I left out the salmon and added sunflower seeds.  All of the different veggies add great texture. 

Avocado Lettuce Wraps

1/4-1/2 cup of each:
Red onion

1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon
1 1/2 avocados
1tsp olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Salt to taste
Boston lettuce leaves

Soak sunflower seeds for two hours in filtered water.  Rinse and drain.
Chop cucumber, zucchini, carrot and celery into small cubes. Dice red onion.
Combine veggies, sunflower, cilantro and garlic in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl mash avocados.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and lemon juice to avocado and mix.
If you want a smooth mixture you can use a blender or food processor.

Mix the avocado sauce into the veggies and stir until coated.

Scoop filling into lettuce cups and serve

I like to fold the lettuce wraps into burritos for easy eating.

I put the kid's salad into a pita and added some lettuce.  Both of them loved it and had seconds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Raw Tacos

It's Raw-some Wednesday!  I am feeling so good from this cleanse (despite having a yucky cold).  I'm not sure I want to stop eating raw but at some point meat will tempt me.  I was worried when I started that there would be nothing to eat and I would be hungry all the time.  So not true!  I have been eating really good and enjoying it!
So today I want to share some raw tacos.  If you're feeling adventurous you should try them.  These are versatile and you can add tons of stuff to them to suit your tastes.  I made them with nut "meat," fajita veggies, corn, guacamole and tomatoes.  They were delicious and filling!  I will not try to tell you that the nut meat tastes like real meat- it does not.  But it does taste really good and supplies the substance needed to make these filling.

So come out from your safe place. Outside your comfort zone (or cardboard house) and try some raw food!!

Raw Tacos

Nut Meat

1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp ground chia seed
Juice from 1 lime

Soak seeds and nuts for 2-3 hours.  Drain and rinse.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Using a food processor, roughly chop 3/4 of mixture. 
Add chopped mixture back to bowl and mix.
Spread mixture on a teflexx sheet and dehydrate for 2-3 hours at 110 degrees.

Fajita Veggies

1 green pepper, sliced
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp Olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to coat.
Spread on dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 2-3 hours at 110 degrees.


3 avocados
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro
Juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt

Mash avocados in a bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Corn- slice kernels from the knob 

Tomatoes- wash and dice

Romaine leaves- wash and allow to dry

Gather your fixins and assemble as desired.  If you prefer you can chop up your lettuce and eat it salad style.

Or you can build perfectly delicious tacos with your romaine leaves.

Crunchy, creamy, taco-y raw-someness!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Basic Green Smoothies

I am in the midst of a raw cleanse- eating only raw foods for at least 10 days.  I'm not alone, a group of Facebook friends is leading the way.  I didn't have any plans to do any sort of cleanse but when I heard a group was doing one, I thought why not?  Raw foods are nutrient dense and the best way to maximize the benefits from the foods we eat.  Doing a cleanse can help detoxify the liver, colon, and kidneys.  Even Dr. Oz is promoting a cleanse (just ask my mom).

Who doesn't need a little detox these days?  With all the chemicals we're exposed to on a daily basis everyones body can use a little break.  A raw detox helps your body's natural detox system to eliminate toxins more efficiently and stock up on nutrients.  I eat pretty health on a regular basis but I’m hoping to see a different in the way I feel over the next couple of weeks.  Ill let you know how my little experiment turns out.

In honor of my rawsome detox I'm going to share some tasty raw recipes here.  These recipes are not just for cleanses!  Hopefully they encourage you to include more raw foods in your diet.  It's not hard and it is so good for you!

I wanted to share our green smoothie recipe because it is such a staple in our house.  One of the first things I did when I changed the way we were eating was start making nutritious smoothies for the kids every morning.  I get raw spinach and kale into my kids before 8am- and that’s awesome.  These also are great to tide the kids over until I’ve got breakfast ready.

People equate smoothies with being healthy but if you take a look at the ingredients in the smoothies most chains make you'll realize they are not so healthy. This smoothie doesn't have any added sugars or processed foods, just fruits and veggies full of nutrients and vitamins that our bodies need.   You should keep in mind that there is plenty of naturally occurring sugar in the fruits in this smoothie so you might want to skip any additional fruit in the morning to limit sugar.   You can also slip in some additional veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, beets) and you'll never know the difference.

Green Smoothies
Makes 2-3 servings

Juice from 1 large lemon
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 pear, cored and chopped
1 kiwi, peeled
3 cups packed spinach
3 large kale leaves, stems and all (or chard, collard greens, dandelion)
mint leaves
1 cup filtered water

Other smoothie additions:
Star fruit
Raw unsweetened coconut

Throw all the fruit in a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.  Add in your greens slowly so they are sucked down.  Blend until smooth. 

If you don’t have a high-speed blender you can still make these, they just might be a little gritty.  If you want to you can eliminate some of this by cutting out the stalks of the kale however they are full of nutrients and phytochemicals so avoid this if you can.

My kids love their green smoothies.  Aidric will drink 2-3 sippy cups full every morning.  We keep it classy at our house when the smoothies are a little too cold.  Nothing like a Vegas and village idiot koozie to keep little hands warm.  These kids are ready to hit the road!

I like to add a little extra water to their cups to make them easier to drink.  If you want your smoothie colder you can add ice or use frozen fruit.  I also try to cut up all of the fruit and veggies the night before.  It makes it really easy in the mornings!

Try one of these out and you'll see it doesn't taste nearly as green as it looks!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gluten Free Whole Grain Pancakes

My kids love pancakes.  They get this from their dad.  I much prefer a nice green smoothie or maybe some granola.  I used to get outnumbered in the morning with pancake requests by Andy and the kids.  Since Andy's been deployed the pancake mornings have decreased but I still make them every couple of weeks. 
I came up with this recipe because I wanted a gluten free pancake that didn't come from a box.  If I'm going to partake in the pancake madness I prefer to have the whole grain crunch.  These are also much healthier thanks to the brown rice flour and flax meal.  I grind both of these myself in my Vitamix but you can buy them pre-ground at a health food store.  You can substitute honey for the brown rice syrup if you like.  I haven't tried them yet without the xanthan but I have a feeling the flax might bind everything together just fine.
This recipe actually makes mini pancakes.  I'm sure if you want larger ones it will work too.  At our house the tiny pancakes are perfect for tiny hands.  We add some chocolate chips (this is also thanks to Andy) or blueberries if we want to make things exciting.  I buy Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips for the kids.  They are soy and dairy free so we don't have to worry about allergies.

Gluten Free Whole Grain Pancakes

1 cup brown rice flour
3 tbsp tapioca flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 cup water

Berries or chocolate chips (optional)

In a medium bowl thoroughly mix brown rice flour, tapioca flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum.

Add eggs, brown rice syrup and oil.

Stir until the mixture is smooth.
Add water and stir again until smooth.

Heat a skillet or pan over medium to medium low heat. 
Grease your pan with a little extra grape seed oil.
Pour about 1/8 cup batter into your skillet for each pancake.  You want your pancake to be about 2 inches across.

Add blueberries or chocolate chips if you like.

Flip pancakes when you start to see bubbles (after a couple minutes).

Cook for a few more minutes until brown on the bottom.

These are best served right away but my kids will eat them all day long.  I wish I could tell you how many this makes but the kids eat them as I go and I can't keep track.  It should make enough for 3-4 people (depending on the level of pancake frenzy).  Due to the pancake frenzy in my house I didn't even get to take any pictures of the kids devouring these.  Maybe next time :).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

Ever tried a veggie burger?  If it was store bought you probably weren't impressed- they make me cringe.  It is possible to make an amazing veggie burger though.  I've made some pretty good ones in the past but this one beats them all by a mile.
The other day on Pinterest I saw this sweet potato bean burger and it reminded me of this really amazing sweet potato burger I had in Grand Rapids.  I used to travel there for work and I was always searching for cool restaurants.  I had this particular burger at Marie Catrib's and I've been meaning to try to make something similar for awhile.  So armed with their online menu I developed my recipe.  These came out so unbelievably good that thankfully I don't need to fly to Grand Rapids to satisfy my craving.
Even if you aren't big on veggie burgers you should try these.  They are so delicious you won't miss the meat (kind of like these tacos).
These burgers also pack quite the nutritious punch.  Sweet potatoes are extremely high in vitamin A and one of these patties will provide up to 400% of your daily allowance of vitamin A.  Sweet Potatoes are also a good source of vitamins C and B.  So if you're looking for a healthy burger, these are it!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers
Makes 4 patties

1 very large sweet potato (or 2 medium)
1/4 cup cilantro
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup sliced almonds, diced
1/2 tsp salt

2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp ginger, grated
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp molasses (optional)
1/8 cup water

Curried Aioli
1/4 cup veganaise (or mayo)
1 tsp curry powder (or make your own)

Other things you'll need:
Gluten free whole grain buns

For the Burgers:
Lightly oil a baking sheet and preheat oven to 350.
Peel and chop sweet potato into 1/4 inch chunks.
Spread sweet potato on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
* Alternately you can just bake the sweet potato whole but it will take longer
Allow sweet potato to cool enough to handle.
Once cooled mash the potato in a medium bowl.

Add remaining burger ingredients and mix well.

Divide mixture and form into 4 patties.

Heat a pan on medium low and coat with olive oil.
Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, turning carefully.

Combine all ingredients in small pan and simmer until reduced.  This will cook down while you make the burgers.

Curry aioli:
Mix curry powder into aioli until combined.  Add more to taste.  I was out of curry and didn't realize it until 5pm when there were two hungry little ones circling so I made my own from this recipe.

To assemble your burgers, toast your buns (these buns!)

Slather on some curry aioli.  Place some lettuce on the bottom bun and the burger on top.  Cover it with the chutney and dig in!

 Aidric loved his burger but things got a little messy.

You'll love this burger too.  Even if things get messy.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Miso Carrot Soup

Last Sunday we had a "cold" front go through.  Here in Tampa that means it got down to 59 degrees during the day for about 2 hours.  Even this little cold snap got me excited.  Unlike most Floridians I love the cold.  We lived in North Dakota for 3 years- that was a little much but I do miss seasons and some serious cold.
The kids and I enjoyed the festive weather Monday afternoon outside.
They raced on their bikes (notice Kota looking back to heckle). 

They raced on foot (Kota still trying to heckle).

Dakota picked some flowers for me.

And Aidric continued his obsession with heavy machinery.  Notice the trucks in the background adding fuel to the fire.

I took advantage of the cool weather to make some fantastic vegetable based soup.  I made this with the slim pickins' in my veggie drawer.  I didn't have much left in the way of fresh veggies but thanks to Sam's I did still have quite a few organic baby carrots.  This soup is creamy and warming and is good for you so help yourself to more than one bowl!

Miso Carrot Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 ½ cups carrots, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp miso paste (use chickpea miso for soy-free)
½ cup green onions

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
Sauté onions until opaque.

Add carrots, apple and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add broth, water and miso and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Pour soup into blender and blend on high until smooth.

Sprinkle green onions and serve.

I would recommend eating this with a spoon but Aidric used a different method.

A messier method.

And Kota decided to focus her energy on her gluten free noodles.

You can't win them all.