What happens when you pair a health-conscious, vegan mother of two who has her own diet business with a husband and children who sometimes have other ideas? This blog is a chronicle of my journey to eat and live in a life-affirming way!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Juice Feasting or Fasting?!?

I have been a bit out of touch because I have been doing Dr. Gabriel Counsen's Juice Fast for Peace at Organic Avenue! You get 4 large 16 oz. green juices (see above) and have lectures and counseling sessions with Cousen and nightly meditation. Lately I have been feeling total burnout juggling my business, writing assignments and motherhood and giving my body a break is just what I have needed!

I have found that I am a little grumpy and on edge and have just been working in total overdrive but luckily my younger daughter is off at camp so there has been no sibling fighting to send me over the edge!!! Overall it is amazing, but I have been supplementing a bit with additional juices and smoothies because the 4 juices just have not been cutting it for me!

Day 1 of Juice Fast: Kale and Banana Smoothie

4-6 stalks of kale
1 cup almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
1 tbsp maca
1 tbsp chia
1 tbsp hemp powder
1 tbsp goji berry powder

This totally hit the spot!!! Feeling amazing today- clear and totally energized!

Day 2: Kale, Banana, Cucumber & Celery Smoothie

3 stalks of kale
1/2 cucumber
3 stalks of celery
1 tbsp maca
1 tbsp chia
1 cup almond milk
1/2 frozen banana

Took this in the car on the way to the beach with my son!!! Here is where I perched on the beach all day reading my book- felt like a new person!

Day 3: Chocolate, Goji berry, Banana "I am dying" Smoothie

Day 3 is always hardest for me when I am fasting and I needed a major boost! So, here was my rocket fuel! After I drank this I was good to go!

2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp goji berrie
1 tbsp maca
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk

Truly this absolutely hit the spot and got me through the day without reaching for FOOD!

Day 4: Watermelon Juice

Blend watermelon and serve- that's it! Watermelon can be frozen in chunks or just chilled before you blend it according to your desired consistency. Today after a 6 mile run this was a total thirst quencher.

Well, hopefully, these recipes have inspired you when you go on your own juice fast or are just making smoothies or juices at home! Drink and enjoy- we are off on a 2 week vacation and to pick up my daughter at camp!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Potted Herb Gardens- Delicious Herbs for You and Fun for the Kids!

Several weeks ago before my daughter and I left for camp, we decided that we would plant an herb garden! Above are the before and after shots!

We have fresh rosemary, curly parsley, basil and mint! Even if you live in the city, if you just have a bit of outdoor space such as an outdoor landing or even a window box, you can't easily plant a few herbs. All you need are some pots, dirt, seeds or seedlings, sun & water and viola! It took us a total of 15 minutes to get everything planted. The only bump in the road was that I forgot to factor in the fact that we would be gone a week dropping off Caroline at camp so we lost the tomatoes (see left center) but I replaced them with a hearty rosemary.

I can't wait to use the mint in a pasta with pea dish that Caroline adores (and in my chocolate mint smoothie) and to use the rosemary when grilling!

It is so exciting for children to be able to plant seeds and watch them grow and Caroline is going to be so proud of her herb garden when she returns from camp!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bak Choy Coconut Salad

We are awaiting our new delivery of vegetables from our CSA so today after making a huge green juice when I looked in our fridge we literally only had Bak Choy and a few garlic scrapes left. I am determined to use each and every vegetable that we are delivered! But, if you are anything like me, you get in a rut and I have definitely been in my greens and avocado salad dressed in olive oil and lemon rut. So, what to do? A while ago I took cooking classes from Chef Dan and came across one of his delicious recipes. I tweaked it a bit and here is what I whipped up!

Bak Choy Coconut Salad
2 heads Bak Choy
2 tbsp unsweetened grated coconut
2-3 tbsp coconut butter (leave at room temp so more of a liquid when dress salad)
Healthy dash of soy sauce (we use Nama Shoyu)
Garlic or garlic scrapes

My new secret ingredient is the coconut cream from Sacred Foods! I have been putting the coconut cream on everything from raw bread (for me), Exekiel bread for my son and even adding it to smoothies. This was the first time I have used it on a salad and it was truly delicious!

The salad was so amazing that I literally had to fend off my husband's fork so I could get a bowl full!!! I have to admit my son was not a fan but we are still working on him to get him to like salads. He likes steamed veggies and even raw veggies with dip but no salads- go figure!
So, why eat Bak Choy. Bak Choy is rich Vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, calcium, and nitrogen compounds known as indoles, as well as fiber--both of which appear to lower the risk of various forms of cancer. Definitely a vegetable that we all need to eat more often!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie Anyone?

Along with the homemade muffins this morning, I made my decadent chocolate banana smoothie. Packed with protein, calcium, potassium, omega 3's and antioxidants, it is a wonderful way to start the day! Yum- delicious!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie
2 small bananas (or 1 large one)
1 frozen banana
2-3 tbsp unsweetened chocolate powder
Agave nectar to sweeten (if needed)
2 tbsp hemp seed powder (optional- to add protein & omega 3s)
Dash of flax seed oil (to add omega 3's)
2-3 cups vanilla almond milk (or soy milk or hemp milk)

Blend in blender and enjoy!

Homemade Healthy Blueberry Muffins that Your Family Will Devour!

It is a lazy Sunday morning here in New York City and after a late birthday celebration last night for my son's 10th birthday, everyone woke up just wanting to putter about in their pj's. I looked in my pantry for some inspiration and came upon the Purely Elizabeth gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free muffin mix that had been given to me in a care package by Integrative Nutrition (thank you so, so much IIN!)

The instructions say to add water, maple syrup, olive oil, vanilla and frozen or fresh blueberries but I put my own little spin on it and added almond milk that I had just made the night before, some hemp seed powder for extra protein, and some flax seed oil for extra omega 3's. Instead of the olive oil, I used coconut butter. And, I used my new secret ingredient- the best alcohol-free vanilla from Sun Organic Farms .

I served the muffins with a side of raw almond butter and the crew completely scarfed them down!!! And, the best part yet was it only took me 5 minutes to whip up and just 20 mins in the oven!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our CSA Farm Share Starts Today: What are They and Why Should You Sign Up?

Here in New York not much grows locally in the winter but last night I finally was able to excitedly await our first delivery of our CSA farm share!

I am sure you have heard of CSA's but just what are they, you might wonder!

CSA stands for 'community supported agriculture' and they are a unique approach to farming that brings the farms and constomers together to produce quality, locally harvested, sustainable crops to your dinner table! With a CSA you become a "member" of the farm for a season by pre-paying on the produce you will receive, which enables the farmer to be able to afford to plant and harvest the produce! And, you in return receive a portion of the farm's harvest!

I am a member of a CSA called My Farm Share. I am signed up for the vegetables only share but you are able to add on a fruit share as well as an egg share to your membership. Each Tuesday night beginning in June, we receive a box bursting with fresh vegetables for our week!

This morning, we received ample amounts of mixed lettuces, swiss chard, arugula, kale, radishes, garlic scrapes, bac choi and fresh basil! Not only does receiving vegetables each week encourage me to experiment with vegetables I have turned out to love but might not ordinarily buy, but I have been able to really connect with and become educated about which vegetables are in season in my area.

When you have eaten a vegetable that has literally just been picked and delivered to your doorstep and you taste just how fresh they are, you can literally never go back! Today, I am planning on making a large salad for lunch with the fresh lettuces and radishes and a large green juice and tonight I will make a fresh pesto with the basil- yum! As we get different vegetables each week, I will be posting new recipes to test out for your family so stay tuned!

Garden Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

Mixed lettuces

Optional: grated carrots, sliced tomatos, avocado, or any other vegetable that you have and love!

For the dressing:

4-6 tbsp olive oil

1/2 Lemon

Dash of sea salt

In a large bowl, mixed the lettuce and then top with whatever vegetables you have on hand. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon, garlic and sea salt and then top on your salad! Truly so delicious and easy!!!

Pesto Sauce

1 ¼ cups olive oil
2 cups chopped basil
1 clove chopped garlic
½ cup chopped pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan (optional!)
Lemon (optional)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want a more lemony taste you can add the juice of one lemon. You can use this pesto sauce over regular pasta noodles, on top of pizza or brushetta, or even over fish!

Tonight I will use the pesto sauce over regular noodles (rice Tinkyada) for my son and husband and over zucchini noodles, which I have sliced with a mandolin or hand slicer, for me!

However you use it the result is delicious and it is always nice to have some in the fridge to spice up recipes!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Homemade Dried Fruit: Perfect Portable Snack for the Plane!

What do you do when you know you will be traveling on an airplane? Well, the first thing I do is pack provisions, which usually include an avocado, some dulse, some olive oil and lemon, and some healthy snacks such as a Lara Bar, Moms in the Raw granola bar, or even some Sacred or Gnosis chocolate!
This weekend, I was taking my daughter to camp in North Carolina (boo hoo) and I noticed that I had tons of fruit left so decided to make dried fruit for us for the plane!

So, how do you make them?
It was so incredibly easy!!! All you need is a dehydrator and some fruit. All I did was slice up the remainder of the box of strawberries and the leftover pineapple that I had made my son's smoothie with the day before and pour the blueberries on the tray (see above.) I let the strawberries and pineapple dehydrate overnight but the blueberries needed a bit more time.

And, voila, snacks for the plane! We ended up having a long wait on the tarmac and Caroline and I were very grateful to have our snacks to tied us over for a late dinner!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Raw Chocolate Pudding Kids & Grownups Will Adore!

Tonight I got home late with the children from their dance and drama classes and while they sat at the kitchen counter having dinner, I made this delicious pudding. It is so easy to make and truly addicting!

Raw Chocolate Pudding with Vanilla Cream
2 Thai coconuts (if you do not have these you can substitute 2 cups of raw cashews and 1 1/2 tbsp coconut butter)
2 vanilla beans (or alcohol-free vanilla extract)
1-1½ tbsps unsweetened chocolate powder
½ cup agave nectar

Open the Thai coconuts and take the meat of both coconuts and the juice of another and blend until smooth. A Vitamix blender works best. Add the agave nectar and beans from the vanilla pods and run. Take some of the pudding and put it aside for the vanilla cream. Add the chocolate powder to the rest and continue to blend. Serve the chocolate pudding in a fun glass or bowl and add a dollop (or more!) to the coconut cream on the top.

My crew devoured it up! And, I felt good because they were not filling their bodies with sugar or dairy-laden desserts.

A Refreshing Pineapple, Mango & Banana Power Smoothie

My son had Sports Day today and I knew it was going to be a scorcher. So, this is what I made my crew this morning for breakfast before we all headed out! Packed with nutrients, live enzymes as well as protein, this is a great way to start a hot, action-packed day!

Pineapple, Mango & Banana Power Smoothie
3 slices of pineapple (sliced about 1/4-1/2 in thick)
1 mango
1 sliced banana (frozen)
1-2 cups almond milk
2-4 tbsp hemp protein powder

Blend all until smooth and enjoy. Truly this is so delicious and incredibly refreshing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brussels Sprouts 2 Ways: Raw (for me) and Grilled (for the kids & hubbie!)

Who has not been stuck having to cook 2 dinners? Well, I have plenty of times! That is why I try to maximize my time and coordinate meals for me and the children if I can. So, tonight, I am going to make my Raw Brussels Sprout Salad and Grilled Kale!

When I first met my husband, he would not touch Brussels sprouts. Too many times he had been served overcooked ones growing up! One day he gave them a try and since it has become his favorite vegetable!

I have separated the directions below but I suggest that you do them both at once to save time!!!

Raw Brussels sprout salad
6-12 Brussels sprouts (depending on how much you are making)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Optional: crushed walnuts (and, if you are not vegan, an aged Parmesan or a raw cashew cheese), sliced avocado
Also optional: drizzle of pumpkin seed oil

Clean the Brussels sprouts and thinly slice in approximately 1/8 inch strips. Place the shreds in a bowl and dress with olive oil, lemon and sea salt. And, then decorate as you would like. Sliced avocado is also good over this salad. I also love to drizzle a bit of pumpkin seed oil (Austrian's Finest Organic is my favorite.) Experiment and make it fun!
Grilled Brussels sprouts
6-12 Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Sea salt

Clean Brussels sprouts and cut stems off. Place half of them in a casserole dish and liberally douse with olive oil and a healthy dash of sea salt. Cook at 350 degrees for approximately 20+ minutes until crispy.

Who knew with Brussels sprouts could be so delicious?!?