Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vegan Cream of Spinach Soup

This was an experiment that went Oh So Right!
It was surprisingly delicious.
I had a TON of spinach.  I had bought 2 bags at Trader Joe's & then got another bag in my CSA box.
I needed a serious spinach recipe.
This little experiment worked out perfectly.
Unfortunately I wasn't planning on sharing the recipe so I don't have pictures of the whole process.
I will do my best with describing my process so maybe you won't even need pictures.

In 2 Tbls. olive oil sauté 1 chopped onion & 4 minced cloves of garlic.

While the onions & garlic are sautéing, you can work on your "cream".
I added 3/4 cup raw soaked cashews & 3/4 cup water to my Magic Bullet and blend until smooth.
I soaked the cashews for about 45 minutes before I used them.
I then added the "cream" and 2 quarts veggie broth to my onion mixture in the pot.

Next I chopped 4 small potatoes and added them to the pot.
Then I dumped what would be about 2 bags full of spinach into the pot.
Bring pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Once veggies are tender blend the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in the regular blender.
Pour soup back into the pot and season generously with salt and pepper.
Simmer until ready to serve.

Souper simple, very tasty!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Super Simple Supper & Simple Dressing

Last night I was super tired and grumpy.
I needed a really simple dinner.
So I made a salad bar.
My girls LOVE salad bar, believe it or not.
I think they like having control over what they are eating.
I LOVE it because they are getting a plate full of healthy things!
I made a homemade dressing to top our salads.
It was really simple to make and tastes yummy.
So I will share the recipe with you.

Super Simple Dressing
Add 1 1/2 cups olive oil, 2/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbls. mustard (I used Dijon), 1 tsp each salt, pepper & coconut sugar & 1 1/2 tsp Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute to a large jar. 
Shake well and refrigerate.
Note:  You can use regular white sugar in place of the coconut sugar & use Italian seasoning in place of the 21 season salute.
Tonight I am going to attempt a Vegan Cream of Spinach soup.  I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gluten Free Nutty Granola

This is the detox friendly tweak of my original granola recipe.
To make it vegan just sub maple syrup for the honey in the recipe.
It tastes just as good!
Combine 4 cups Gluten free oats, 1 cup almond meal (leftover from homemade almond milk), 1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds, 1 cup unsweetened coconut, 1 cup raw pecans or walnuts, and 2 heaping teaspoons of pumpkin pie seasoning in a large bowl.
In a microwave safe container melt together 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 Tbls. almond milk, 1 Tbls. maple syrup, 3/4 cup raw honey & 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and give it a good toss until everything is incorporated.
Bake on a large baking sheet at 325 for 10 minute intervals, tossing between intervals, until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely and store in an air tight container.
Enjoy with your favorite milk, yogurt or berries!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

Another really simple thing to make at home is Almond Milk!
Again, it's great for the same reasons as making your own broths.
It's cheaper, you know what's in it & it's green.
Here's my method.

Start with 1 cup of raw organic almonds.
Add plenty of water and allow to soak overnight.

In the morning give the soaked almonds a good rinse.

Next add almonds and 4 cups water to your blender & blend.
It takes about 1-2 minutes for me to get the right consistency in my Ninja.
It may take longer or shorter depending on your blender.
Next, strain the milk using a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or muslin. 
I set mine in a colander over a pitcher.
Squeeze the almond pulp in the nut milk bag to remove all the milk.
And there you have it!
Delicious almond milk.
Store in a covered glass pitcher in fridge for 3-5 days.
If you like a little sweetness in your milk you can add a few pitted dates, vanilla beans or 1Tbls. maple syrup during the blending stage.
You could also make other types of nut milks using the same method.
Cashew and macadamia are also very good.

 OK, so what do you do with the pulp?
DON'T throw it away!
I put it in a shallow glass dish and let it dry out.
You can store it covered in the fridge for a few days.
You can use this deliciousness for baked goods, granola or chicken feed. 
Just sub for part of the flour in any baked goods recipe.
It adds a delicious nutty wholesome flavor to all of kinds of things; cookies, muffins & breads.
Chicken also LOVE almond pulp/meal!!!
See, zero waste!!!
Zero waste rocks my socks!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homemade Veggie Broth

Homemade Veggie broth is SUPER simple!!!  There are so many reasons to make your own.
1 - You know exactly what's in it.
2 - It's green.  You can reuse the jars over and over.
3 - It's cheaper....honestly it is.
4 - It tastes better.
Veggie broth can be used in a ton of different recipes and is detox friendly.  Tastes great in place of water when you make rice or quinoa.
I don't really have a recipe, it's really more of a method.
I start with my giant canning pot and fill it full of organic veggies and scraps.
For this batch I used leeks, carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, mushrooms, parsley, marjoram, thyme & a couple cloves of garlic.  I scrubbed the veggies clean with a strong bristle brush, chopped them in large chunks & added them to the pot.
My pot was about 3/4 of the way full with veggies.
I then added filtered water to about 2 inches from the top of the pot.
Bring to a rapid boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer for about 4-6 hours.  The stock is done when it has a golden hue.
Next I use a large ladle and wire mesh strainer
 and strain the broth into a pitcher.  I put a small strainer on top of 1 of my jars and pour the broth into the canning jar.  I double strain because the potatoes become mush and can cause your broth to be too thick.
Fill jars but make sure you leave 2 inches of headspace, especially if you plan on freezing the stock.  Another note, you must use wide mouth jars to freeze your stock.  I use wide mouth quart jars.
Allow your jars of stock to cool overnight in the fridge before putting in the freezer.  Also, make sure to not screw the lids on too tight.  All of these things will help to keep your jars from cracking in the freezer.
Another note, you could add salt to your broth for more flavor but I prefer to not have the added sodium.
This method typically makes 12-14 quart jars of stock.
You can feed the leftover mushed veggies to your chickens or add it to your compost pile. 
Happy Healthy Eating Friends!

Friday, January 4, 2013

At It Again!

It's that time of year again...
I dread the word...
It's a love hate relationship...
You guessed it, DETOX!
I was really really bad this holiday season.  If I were to use the word indulgence it would be an understatement.  If it was in front of me and it was edible, I ate it.  Not good. 
Every part of me noticed the change, my immune system (I had to miss almost a week of work for a stupid flu bug), my sleep patterns (or lack of them), my moods (sugar makes me cranky), my gut(we won't go there) & most importantly my thighs (those super cute bright red skinny jeans had to stay in the closet).  Boy did I ever stray.  Strayed so far I ate Twinkie's, several Twinkie's.  I am so ashamed.  
Thank goodness it's a new year and I feel like I can get a fresh start.  Time to forgive myself and move forward.  But let's be honest here, detoxing is NOT my favorite.  It sucks.  Do I like eating healthy whole foods, yes.  Do I love eating fruits & veggies, yes.  Do I love bacon and bread, yes.  Woops, not part of the detox. 
I do LOVE how I feel about 8 days in.  Every part of my physical being loves it.  I sleep a very sound 8-9 hours a night and wake feeling refreshed and ready to start my day.  I seem to have super powers against all forms of cooties, or at least it seems that way.  I feel unbelievable happy, now I don't know if that's because I am rockin those red skinny jeans or if healthier eating just effects my moods but either way it's a win/win situation.  So I am going to buck up, gather my willpower and make it happen.  I would love for you to join me.  You will be amazed at how good you will feel.  I will try to be better at documenting my journey so you can follow along. 
This is now my 5th, 28 day detox.  Over the course of 2.5 years I have shed 25 pounds & lost 4 pant sizes.  Difficult yes but so worth it.  So here's to the New Year and to a much better, healthier, happier me!