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Harvest Chard

harvest chardA little bit sweet, sour, and spicy. Rainbow Chard is one of my favorite vegetables because of it’s dual nature with the crunchy stems and leafy greens. One vegetable seems to take on the life a full salad. Chard is dressed up with fortifying fall flavors in this quick-fix warm salad. Because the chard leaves cook down so much, this recipe should be doubled if serving more than one. This recipe makes enough for a main dish salad with a little leftover for later.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tb. oil – I’m using Walnut Oil for this recipe but anything will do
  • 1 small Shallot – small dice
  • 1 bunch of Rainbow (or other variety) Chard  – strip leaves from stems, chop stems and leaves separately
  • 1 small Apple diced – reserve a few Tb. of chopped apple to top salad
  • a handful of Golden Raisins
  • Mix together — 1 Tb. Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Tb. Water, 1 tsp. Dijion Mustard, pinch of salt, pinch of Chili Powder
  • Handful of chopped Walnuts

Preparation

  1. Saute shallot in oil, and when softened a bit, add the Chard Stems, 3/4 of the Apple bits, and Raisins over med/high heat
  2. Cook for about 8 – 10 minutes until Chard Stems and Raisins have softened slightly
  3. Add Chard Leaves and Cider cooking water to steam the leaves – cook just until tender – only a couple of minutes
  4. Top warm salad with remaining apple pieces and chopped walnuts

Enjoy and Namaste ~Kate

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My (current) Food Manifesto and Go-To Green Salad with Actual Avocado Dressing

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(Recipe Below)

Recently someone asked me what my food blog slant was. My journey to a healthy relationship with food has been a winding road with many ups and downs. For now, these are my priorities in no particular order: Fast!, Healthy for our Bodies and Healthy for our Environment, Affordable, if it’s got to be fast – there’s also going to be an element of Ease – though I have learned a few tricks along the way to make fast food feel Special, of course Flavor, and Family Friendly. My kids are still in elementary school and though they have been through “taste bud boot camp,” I still like to be considerate of their preferences. We are mostly vegetarian here at home but the family eats meat on occasion, and….. with that being such a hot topic, I will save that conversation starter for another day.

Our relationship with food truly is the most intimate one we have. What we consume literally becomes a part of us and gives us the energy to thrive (or not.) I have a great respect for the power of food beyond it’s capacity to bring sensation to the tongue and belly. I would love to see food acknowledged more and more for what it truly is: a life force energy. In our Yoga practices we acknowledge that all energy including that which we consume through our mouths, eyes, ears, etc. is a form of prana – or life energy. A few years back I was inspired to add more Raw Foods to my warm* weather menus when I read Natalia Rose’s, Raw Food Life Force Energy. This recipe is likely very close to the original because it hits all the marks on my priority list.

Actual Avocado Dressing & Basic Green Salad
(With a high health factor and low energy use to prepare this meal, it’s a perfect recipe to share on this Earth Day – don’t forget to compost – or learn to compost your veggie peelings.)

Makes 2 Servings

In a medium bowl, add the following ingredients and mash them up

  • 1 peeled ripe Avocado
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • Drizzle of Honey (no honey for vegans! Stevia is a good alternate)
  • 2 – 4 Tb. of Water – the mixture should end up thin enough to dress your salad greens

Load your salad components on top of the dressing and toss well to coat the salad with this sumptuous sauce. I like to use a mixture of crisp Romaine and oxidant rich field greens with some cucumber for crunch and sunflower seeds to boost the amino acid complex which your body will use to make protein.

Enjoy! …..and feel good about and because of what you choose to eat.

*As I incorporate Ayurvedic principles in my personal diet, I save cold salads only for bright warm days to help keep my constitution in balance. 

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Celebration Salad with Spiced Pecans & Pomegranate

This festive salad features spiced pecans, chopped dates, pomegranate seeds, and a special balsamic vinaigrette. The extra time it takes to toss this special salad is totally worth it. It’s fruity, delicious, and…. makes leftovers you can feel good about. I sautéed an apple and had a warm healthy salad that felt as good as it tasted after last night’s over-indulgence! The whole process takes about 40 minutes – but there’s a lot you can do ahead of time if you pre-plan.

Start with your choice of a green salad base. I like to mix classic leafy greens with a baby greens field mix of spinach, kale, and red leaf lettuce.

 

Prepare the Spiced Pecans*

  • Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper to cure your pecans after they are prepared.
  • Toast 2 cups of pecans in a cast iron skillet – watch carefully and stir often so they don’t burn. Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes until they smell toasted.
  • In a small bowl, prepare the spice mixture:
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • dash cayenne pepper (use up to 1/2 tsp. if you like a lot of heat)
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Coat the pecans: add 4 Tb. unsalted butter to the pan of pecans. (Use an oil instead if you are making this vegan.)
  • After the pecans are coated with melted butter (or oil), add your spice mixture
  • Add brown sugar + 1 Tb. water to your pan — (I used about 2/3 cup brown sugar per the directions – but will likely try to reduce this next time just for the health factor)
  • Cook and stir for about 3 more minutes until pecans are thickly coated
  • Transfer nuts to sheetpan and separate them to air about. Mine stayed sticky in the salad – no problem!
  • Original recipe says they can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.

 

Flip-out the Pomegranate Seeds

  • Fill a medium-sized bowl with water
  • Slice 1 Pomegranate in half
  • Dunk 1 half into the bowl of water and then flip it inside out. This will make it easier to slide the seeds out without getting messy.
  • Let the seeds sink to the bottom. The little bits of pith will float to the top – making it much easier to get the seeds out clean.

 

Combine the Fix-ins

  • Mix together your green salad base, spiced pecans, pomegranate seeds, and add 10 chopped dates.

Fig & Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette (any balsamic vinaigrette will be fine)
These special ingredients are worth having just for this salad. Actually I use the Walnut Oil for my muffins because of it’s health benefits. (Learn more here.)

Combine following ingredients in a glass container and mix well:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Juice of two tangerines / or 1 orange
  • Dash of honey (skip – or use another sweeter for vegan)

Dress your salad with vinaigrette just before serving to keep the greens crisp. Enjoy!

 

Holiday Breakfast Salad
I knew better and saved a serving or two of the pecan, pomegranate, and date mixture. There were no leftovers. For a sweet and savory breakfast salad:

  • Salute one apple with a little walnut oil.
  • Mix with fruit & nut mixture
  • Toss with just a touch of green salad
  • Enjoy!

Wishing you a happy & healthy holiday season, Kate


* The spiced pecan recipe was based on a recipe from Alton Brown. He also included some dried orange zest which I’m sure is a a great complement.

 

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Roasted Roots & Crispy Chickpeas with Balsamic Vinagrette

image

Warm, hearty, sweet, and crunchy…..
just what’s needed when the first fall winds blow in.

Preheat Oven to 425°

Roasted Roots & Crispy Chickpea Salad Ingredients:
4 cups of potatoes cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of onion – chopped
2 cups carrots – bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 sprig rosemary – chopped fine – or 1 tsp. dried & crushed between fingers
1 can chickpeas (garbonzo beans)
2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
sprinkle of pepper

image> Chop & drop veggies into a roasting pan. Drizzle oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary on top. Mix well and roast for about 45 minutes – until potatoes and chick peas are crunchy on the outside and
soft on the inside.

> Eat as is – or add to a bowl of leafy greens. This Honey Mustard Balsamic Vinagrette is a perfect complement.

Honey Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 balsamic vinegar
2 Tb. dijion mustard
1 Tb. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash of cayenne

Mix well & Enjoy!

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Summer = Time for Simple Salads (#1 white bean, tomatoes, olives)

Salad with White Beans and Balsamic DressingThere is no time like summer to eat in tip top form! And with fresh ingredients abound you can prep a healthy, mouth-watering meal in no time flat. Here’s a salad with lots of veggie protein so you can skip “cooking” all-together.

Super Simple Lite* Balsamic Dressing
Just whip the following ingredients up in a little bowl:

  • 2 Tb. olive, sunflower, or your oil of choice
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Prepare your salad
In a large bowl, combine:

  • 4 cups of mixed leafy greens
  • 1 can of drained and rinsed white beans
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 12 sliced kalamata olives (or more for your taste)*

Toss salad with dressing and you are good to go. Enjoy!

*My amazing hubby has lost 55 pounds in the last year with the Weight Watchers program. So salad dressings always go lite around here. You can add more oil – or add a little water to stretch the dressing further without the extra fat.