Marinated Grilled Eggplant [recipe]

My new favorite summer recipe.

Ingredients:
1 Eggplant
grapeseed oil
white wine vinegar
ketchup (I love Heinz Balsamic or fancy organic spicy ketchup)
garlic clove
pepper
large Ziploc bag

Steps:
1) Cut the ends off the eggplant and discard.  Slice the eggplant into 1/2 in. rounds.  Try to keep them somewhat even.

2) Put the rounds into the plastic bag.

3) Add enough oil, vinegar and ketchup to coat the eggplant.  Using a garlic press add the garlic clove.  Add pepper to taste.

4) Let the eggplant sit in the marinade 15 minutes or longer.

5) Grill the eggplant until soft.  I use a George Forman grill.  It takes about 10 minutes.

I love to serve these with a Dr. Preager’s Veggie Burger on top, no bun.  It would be a great substitute for a hamburger.  I also love this same recipe for large portabello mushrooms.

Homemade Hummus [recipe]

A quick and easy hummus recipe.

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Ingredients:
1 can of chickpeas (drained)
Juice of half a lemon
olive oil
apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled and pressed (optional)

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I use a Cuisinart Smart Stick immersion blender for this recipe.  It comes with a mixing cup that is the perfect size and seems to smooth the hummus better than a food processor.  You can find one of these online or I got mine at Kohl’s.  It is my favorite kitchen tool.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a food processor.

1) Place all the ingredients in the food processor or a bowl.  I use about 2 Tablespoons of oil and 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar.

2) Mix until smooth, adding more oil as necessary to smooth the mixture out.

This creates a very tangy, simple hummus.  The garlic is fairly strong.  You can add many other ingredients to this recipe.  Traditionally, tahini is added.  This will give it less of a tangy flavor.  You could also add roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes or a plethora of spices.

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Enjoy!!

Sweet Chili Guac [recipe]

Here’s a simple guac recipe that I just love as an afternoon snack with some crackers or chips.

avocado-hair-maskIngredients:

1 avocado

Thai sweet chili sauce (usually found in the asian section of the store)

tahini

onion (chopped)

cilantro or parsley

1.  Cut the avocado in half and take out the pit.  The best method for this is to hold the half with the pit in one hand and then whack the sharp edge of the knife into the pit so it sticks.  Twist the pit using the knife and pull out.

2.  Squeeze or spoon the flesh into a bowl and mash.

3.  Add some chopped onion, sweet chili sauce and tahini.

4.  If you like add some chopped parsley or cilantro.  Both of these herbs have multiple health benefits and add some taste to the guac.

5.  Enjoy with some gluten-free Mary’s Gone Crackers or Way Better Chips!

Feed your Sweet Tooth [+recipe]

I believe in dessert.  And the occasional Starbucks Chai Latte.

During the time I was an au pair in Mexico I ate dessert almost everyday.  The mother of the family was French (interesting story) and she insisted that our large meal be followed by something sweet and delicious.  She also insisted that you must sit while eating and taught me to make a delicious ratatouille.  I thank her for her wisdom surrounding food.  It is all about taking time to eat and enjoying the food.  A sweet at the end of the meal satisfies the tongue and the stomach.

Denying yourself something, in my opinion, is the first sign of disordered thinking.  How many times have you said “I shouldn’t eat that ice cream.”  or worse “I CAN’T eat dessert ever again.”  These denials only force us to focus on the object we are rejecting.  Tell yourself not to think about the elephant, all you will think about is the elephant, or perhaps how the extra brownie will make you the size of an elephant.

Rather than denying, food is all about choices and the commitment to that choice.  I have (mostly) cut coffee, gluten, meat, and sugar from my diet.  It sounds like a miserable life.  However, I refuse to say I have given these things up since the reward of eating not these things has been a clear mind, an energetic body and a clear face!

So, with all of these seeming limitations, how do I satisfy my sweet tooth?  There are many alternatives to traditional sugar.  I personally adore maple syrup.  The real kind.  It is awesomely, sickly sweet with that smoky earth flavor.  I drool just writing about it.  Honey and stevia are also great sweeteners.  Then there is raw cane sugar and brown sugar.

An aside: Agave nectar was once touted as the perfect sweetener.  However, recently there have been questions about it’s health benefits and many say that the high concentration of fructose can be damaging, rather than beneficial.  As I still have a bottle and cannot bring myself to throw it out, I use it sparingly.  Read more here, or google agave health benefits and make your own informed choice.

Regardless, a brownie or a cookie won’t kill you either.  When eaten consciously, as a choice and with joy, it might taste even sweeter.  Or be too sweet.  Your taste buds will adapt to the lack of sugar and make sweets, especially processed ones detestable.  Once in Namibia, a fellow volunteer received a care package containing a box’o’cake.  We baked it for Thanksgiving dessert and looked forward to it all night, drooling at the sight of the canned frosting.  After one bite I felt sick.  The sugar made me gag.  My eyes still wanted it, but my tongue said, no way.

I eat one (or two) sweet courses a day.  Sometimes it’s a bit of chocolate or maybe a fruity (and chocolatey) smoothie.  Right now my obsession is this:

Fruit Salad with Cashew Butter Dressing

Ingredients:

Fruit (I prefer strawberries, blueberries and green apple, but any fruit will do)

Cashew Butter (1-2 Tbsp/serving)

Maple Syrup (1/2 Tbsp/serving)

1. Cut the fruit and place it in a serving bowl.

2. Put the cashew butter and maple syrup in a small bowl and heat (I microwave it for 15 seconds)

3.  Mix the maple syrup and cashew butter together.  Pour it over the fruit.  It might not be runny, but just mix it into the fruit.

4. Enjoy!

*For extra yummy, place a bit of chocolate in the dressing and melt that in there!

Kale Slaw [bonus recipe]

This is one of my tried and true faves.

Rainbow Kale Slaw

kale

Ingredients:
Kale (chopped)
6-8 Mushrooms (sliced or chopped into large chunks)
1/4 red cabbage (thinly sliced)
1 carrot grated
*feel free to add other veggies such as red peppers or sundried tomatoes

1. Chop all veggies.  Place them in a large bowl and toss the veggies. Set aside.

 

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Dressing Ingredients:
1-4 garlic cloves (depending on how much you love garlic)
1/2 cup or so of tahini
Few squirts of amino acids
Apple Cider Vinegar

1. Using a garlic press, press the cloves of garlic into a bowl.

2. Pour in the tahini and amino acids.  Mix.

3. Pour in the apple cider vinegar until the dressing becomes a thin paste (it should run slightly but not be too watery).

4.  Pour the contents over the veggies.

5. I recommend you use your hands here to massage the dressing into the greens.

6.  Place in the refrigerator.

7. Enjoy!

A note on Tahini: Tahini is my favorite ingredient.  It is ground up sesame seeds to make a paste.  It can be found in most grocery stores now-a-days.  Mine has a few brands over near the peanut butter and a fancy brand in amongst the greek marinated artichokes and mushrooms.

A quick and hearty miso soup [recipe]

I love miso soup.  So when I found a miso soup broth at Whole Foods I was super excited.  I used it to make a non-traditional miso soup with lots of flavor!  This recipe is vegan and can be gluten free with the right miso broth.

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Ingredients:

1/2 an onion (chopped)
1 tomato (diced)
3 leaves of kale (ripped into large chunks without stems)
tofu (cubed) *
a dash of Liquid aminos
1/2 box Miso soup broth
1 bunch of bean thread noodles
*not pictured above

1. In a medium size pot, over medium heat saute the onions in oil until soft.

2. Add the tomatoes and stir occasionally until tomatoes start to fall apart.

3.  Add the tofu and kale.  Let the kale become bright green.

4.  Add a dash of liquid aminos (about three good squirts) and you can add agave or maple syrup for a little sweetness.

5.  Cover the veggies with broth (I used half a box of broth and some water, the flavor was still strong).

6. Bring the liquid to a boil.

7.  Turn off the heat.  Place the bean thread noodle bunch in the soup and push it under the liquid.  Cover the pot and let sit about 5 to 10 minutes.

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Enjoy!

An afternoon snack [recipe]

or a full meal!

Here is my recipe for a yummy spring roll.

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Step 2.

Gather your ingredients.

Here I have Pea Shoots, Super firm tofu, Hot Lime relish and a red pepper which I slice thin. You can use any ingredients you have lying around.  I love to use salad greens or avocados or a stirfry.

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Step 1.

I use brown rice wraps I found at whole foods in the Asian food section.

You will need a pan of warm water.

Remove one wrap from the packaging, careful not to snap it.  Soak the wrap in the warm water for about 10-15 seconds, using your fingers to push it flat.  The wrap should become flexible but not completely soft (it will get softer as it soaks up more water once it is removed).

Take the wrap out of the water and lay it on a dry clean towel.  Pat the top dry.

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Step 3.

Pile the ingredients on to the wrap.

I like to fold the bottom up first.  Then the right side.  Then I fold the top down tightly over everything.  Then using your fingers to hold everything in roll the wrap to close the last side.

This can be tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s super fun and looks impressive ;).

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Enjoy!!

I like to make a dipping sauce from cashew butter, rice vinegar, liquid aminos and agave.