on the menu : evolution spinach coconut stew w/ roasted aji amarillo chickpeas

I am a huge fan of transforming leftovers into a brand new dish.  Leftovers = flavors have had time to settle = happy tastebuds.  I took leftovers of my Cauliflower Tabbouleh and turned it into a comforting coconut stew.  The stew is quite mellow so for an added punch, I roasted some spiced up chickpeas to top it off.

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If you take away anything from this post, please try this roasted chickpeas!  They make a great snack and are super easy to pull together.

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INGREDIENTS:

Stew

  • Leftover Cauliflower Tabbouleh
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic Clove
  • Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Milk
  • Water
  • Oriental Basil
  • Salt + Pepper

Roasted Chickpeas

  • Chickpeas
  • Juice of Lemon
  • Aji Amarillo
  • Za’atar Seasoning
  • Hungarian Paprika
  • Coconut Oil
  • Salt + Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F for the chickpeas.  Toss the chickpeas in above ingredients (lemon juice, spices, coconut oil, salt + pepper).  Lay out on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes.  Toss occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, chop up the onion and garlic.  Add to drizzled coconut oil and sauté until onions turn glassy.  Add the leftover cauliflower taboulleh, chopped spinach, chopped tomatoes, and season with salt + pepper.  Sauté well together.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and water.  Add chopped oriental basil as you continue to stir.  Season with salt + pepper as necessary.
  4. Once the chickpeas are done, add to the stew and let simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Serve with a side of brown rice or other whole grain and enjoy.
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on the menu : cauliflower gluten free taboulleh w/ roasted poblano vinaigrette

If you’re looking for a fun, gluten free taboulleh recipe that doesn’t call for another type of grain – because sometimes we all want change – give cauliflower a try!  It flakes nicely and tastes great raw too.  Let it sit for a few hours and the flavors really soak in together.

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INGREDIENTS:

Cauliflower Taboulleh

  • Cauliflower (1 head)
  • Cucumber (1)
  • Tomatoes (2)
  • Mango (1/2)

Vinaigrette

  • Poblano Pepper (1)
  • Yellow Onion (1)
  • Garlic Clove (1)
  • Juice of Lime (1)
  • Cilantro (1/4 cup chopped)
  • Leftover Vietnamese Dressing (1/4 cup)
  • Oil + Salt + Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Finely chop up the cauliflower until texture resembles that of grains.  Place in a large bowl.
  2. Chop up the cucumber, tomatoes, mango and add to the bowl.  Toss with the cauliflower florets.
  3. Char the poblano pepper on a grill or on your stove top.  Remove the seeds and chop up once cooled.
  4. Meanwhile, chop up the yellow onion and garlic clove.  Sauté in a little oil, salt + pepper until the onions turn glassy then remove from the heat.
  5. Place into a food processor or blender all vinaigrette ingredients and purée until smooth.
  6. Add the vinaigrette to the salad, mix well, let sit for a good 15 minutes (or more if you have the time) and serve.

cooking through a cookbook

I can’t tell you the last time I actually cooked out of a cookbook.  Like, went beyond the pictures and bothered to fully read the recipe and try to recreate a very similar dish.  This is less about my not enjoying cookbooks but more due to my love of coming up with original creations.  For better or worse, I never make the same dish twice because I’m always creating and re-creating.

WELL, a few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine gifted me with a cookbook that has me O B S E S S E D.  The book is called, It’s All Good, and regardless of how you feel about Gwyneth Paltrow (I guess some people love/hate her?), this is so worth picking up and flipping through cover to cover.

Here are a few dishes I’ve tried so far, doing my best to stick closely to the recipe but of course… adding my own touches here and there.

ROASTED EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI DRESSING, DATE MOLASSES, + MINT

Just when I thought I had exhausted my eggplant experimentation, here comes a recipe that is easily my new favorite eggplant recipe.  The combination of tahini, molasses, a little sweet, with eggplant is divine.

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MANGO + AVOCADO SALAD WITH BALSAMIC-LIME VINAIGRETTE

I know this sounds so simple, and it is, but for me it was a reminder to do just that – keep things simple.  I couldn’t resists adding some farmers market tomatoes.. and shishito peppers sautéed with coconut shreds and garlic.  But that’s it!  Quick, easy, done.

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ARUGULA SALAD WITH ROASTED BEETS, SQUASH + SHALLOTS WITH APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE

You know those late summer days when mornings and evenings are cool but afternoons are sunny and warm?  This is the dish to make on those days.

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FLOURLESS ANYTHING CRUMBLE

A gluten free, vegan dessert recipe that is easy and not filled with artificial anything?  Yes, please.

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QUINOA GRANOLA WITH OLIVE OIL + MAPLE SYRUP

I have been saying for YEARS that I would finally start to perfect my own granola recipe.  I am converted at last and have found a base that I can play around with.  Stay tuned!

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on the menu : coconut infused sprouted mung bean salad w/ vietnamese dressing

For the longest time, I was scared of buying fish sauce.  Not literally scared (that would be weird), but worried that it would overwhelm anything I made with the strong essence of anchovies.  This all changed when I came across a dressing recipe that sounded too good to pass up.  I’m also a big fan of Vietnamese food so as an homage to their culture, here is the result of my first fish sauce experiment.  I’m kinda obsessed!

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INGREDIENTS:

Salad

  • Sprouted Mung Beans (1 cup)
  • Avocado (1)
  • Celery Stalk (2)
  • Orange (1)
  • Black Sesame Seeds (1-2 tbsp)
  • Coconut Water (2 cups)
  • Salt + Pepper

Dressing

  • Shallot
  • Ginger
  • Garlic Clove
  • Fish Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Brown Rice Vinegar
  • Manuka Honey

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the mung beans in coconut water, salt + pepper.  Bring to a boil then simmer until done (~30 minutes but cook to your liking).  Stir often while simmering.  Once done, drain, set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and slice up the orange.  Place slices into a bowl and squeeze the remaining juice into the bowl.
  3. Cube the avocado and add to oranges.  Stir until avocado cubes are coated in orange juice (to prevent browning).
  4. Julienne the celery and add to the oranges and avocado.  Mix together and let sit.
  5. Make the dressing by whisking together above ingredients.
  6. Once the mung beans have cooled, combine with the oranges, avocado, and celery.  Spoon in the dressing and mix well.  Reserve some dressing for topping.
  7. Sprinkle atop some black sesame seeds and enjoy!

that time i survived a juice cleanse

A few weeks back, I completed a 3-day juice cleanse with fellow yogis from my beloved yoga studio, YogaSoul.  The cleanse entailed consuming 4 juices + 1 healthy meal each day for 3 days straight.

Positives – I felt a stronger connection with my YogaSoul community and felt empowered by their support.

Negatives – I realized early on that I am not meant to be a juice cleanser (insert everything that comes with grumpiness, headaches, dizziness, on-another-planet-ness).

While I will likely stray clear of juice cleanses in the future, I did enjoy COOKING and APPRECIATING food during these 3 days.  Food never felt/looked/smelled/tasted so good.  Here is a quick recap of what I made:

CURRIED QUINOA W/ SAUTEED CABBAGE, GREEN BEANS, TOMATOES, ONIONS IN A CASHEW BROTH

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HERBES DE PROVENCE FRENCH LENTIL SALAD W/ CAULIFLOWER, MUSHROOMS, CARROTS, ONIONS, + BRAISED COLLARDS

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SWEET POTATO CAPONATA W/ A SIDE BLACK EYED PEA SALAD

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I don’t discourage anyone from trying a juice cleanse if you’re curious.  My advice is to be mindful of your body.  Don’t push yourself beyond boundaries just because it’s a ‘cleanse.’  At the same token, taking a step back and evaluating what hunger means to you is never a bad thing.

My takeaway?  If eating clean is already a part of your lifestyle, you don’t need to cleanse your body.  Set aside time instead to do other soul-cleansing activities like yoga, hiking, laughing, meditating, volunteering, etc.

summer food feast

SUMMER FOOD FEAST

Summer is an opportune time to play around with colorful produce and refreshing combinations!  Share your creations with family and friends while basking in the warm sun and celebrate the beauty of summer.

Green Mango Slaw w/ Toasted Pepita Dressing

Inspired by a friend residing in El Salvador, this is my rendition of one of their popular snacks – green mango and alguashte (seasoning made from ground pepitas).  Mine is more of a salad than a snack :).  I julienned some green mangos, bell peppers, broccoli stems, carrots, heirloom beets, added some raw broccoli crowns then tossed with a purée of toasted spiced pepitas, lime, honey, and brown rice vinegar.  While I’ve not yet had the opportunity to try the real Salvadorian snack, this dish was a winner and I look forward to experimenting more with pepitas.

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Simple Brown Rice w/ Shiitake and Cabbage

Rice is a staple in Asia, many times eaten as the entrée, so naturally my favorite means of enjoying rice is through honoring IT through simplicity.  Brown rice is nutty by nature with a fully body whereby  a little oomph of seasoning and/or toppings can go a long way.  I sautéed green cabbage and shiitake in coconut oil infused with scallions, garlic, and ginger.  Finish off with a handful of black sesame seeds and an easy, tasty light summer dinner is served.

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Carrot Ginger Cantaloupe Soup Topped w/ Curried Cherry Tomato Chutney

Soup in the summer can be a sure-fire treat if you make ‘refreshing’ a top priority.  Added bonus with most summer soups is that they can be enjoyed hot or cold.  The combination of sweetness from the carrots and cantaloupe paired with a spiced up chutney was just what the doctor ordered on this particular hot, humid evening.  Also, instead of serving this soup with a side of crackers or bread, I pulled some crunchy arugula leaves.  Not quite 1:1 carb-substitution but refreshing?  Yes :).

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Leek Pistacho Mushroom Soup

A visit to the mushroom stand at our local farmers market is a must on Saturdays.  The quality of freshness, texture, and earthiness in these locally grown mushrooms beats anything we find at the local grocer.  And while grilling or making salads is a great way to enjoy mushrooms, using them as a base for a soup brings out a whole new level of appreciation for these little woody wonders.  Experiment with different varieties and take time to notice the way in which each kind illuminates your senses.

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Tomato Gazpacho w/ Cashew Purée

It’s true – I’m obsessed with gazpachos this summer.  I’ve made a number of tomato based gazpachos over the past few weeks where I used mangos, tofu or avocados to balance out the acidity and to thicken the consistency.  This time around, I pulsed some cashews!  You really don’t taste cashews at the forefront of your tastebuds but they do a great job of complementing tomatoes.  Highly recommend!

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Cauliflower Mung Bean Coconut Curry

If you need a mid-week pick-me-up in a comforting feel-good-and-light kinda way, practice yoga ;)… then make this.  Sauté some veggies with your favorite curry mixture/paste and simmer with coconut milk and water or vegetable broth.  Done.  Delicious.  Soul = happy.

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on the menu : fiesta of grilled vegetables

FIESTA OF GRILLED VEGETABLES

Hello grill season!  Nothing beats the aroma and taste of grilled, charred veggies.  Must haves in our household include portabellas, bell peppers, red onion, and zucchini.  While a little oil, salt, pepper is just fine, spicing things up really kicks up the flavor factor.  One of my favorite marinades is a concoction of cumin, za’atar, ancho chile, paprika, coriander, organic ketchup, lime/lemon, herbs, oil, salt + pepper.

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To pair with these veggies, I made two salads:  (1) Black Bean Salad w/ Poblano, Apple, Pineapple, Jalepeño, Red Onion, and (2) Avocado Tomato Salad.  The Black Bean Salad brings a little sweetness to the party and the Avocado Tomato Salad complements with its zesty creaminess.  Fire up that grill and enjoy these beautiful summer evenings!

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on the menu : vegetarian thai red curry

VEGETARIAN THAI RED CURRY

Whenever I make Thai curry, I draw inspiration from my days living in Boston.  My husband and I used to frequent a cute little Thai spot at least once a week where we delved into their delightfully fresh dishes.  They nailed the right balance of sweet to savory and didn’t go coconut milk crazy.

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Here is my take on a vegetarian, vegan Thai red curry.  This is also a great way to take advantage of the bounty of produce in your garden or at the farmers market!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Yellow Onion (1)
  • Green Bell Pepper (1)
  • Cucumber (1 Skin off)
  • Carrot (2)
  • Salad Tomato (1)
  • Ginger (1-inch knob)
  • Garlic Cloves (2)
  • Lime (1/2)
  • Cilantro (1/4 cup chopped)
  • Almond Butter (2 tsp)
  • Honey (1 tsp)
  • Vegetable Broth (10 oz)
  • Taste of Thai Red Curry Paste (1 packet)
  • Oil
  • Salt + Pepper
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Drizzle oil into a large pot.
  2. Finely chop up the onion and add to the pot.  Turn the heat on low and start to cook the onions.
  3. Meanwhile, chop up the green bell pepper, cucumber (skin off), and carrots.  Once the onions have turned glossy, add these veggies to the pot.  Season with salt + pepper and stir.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, chopped cilantro, almond butter, honey, and Thai red curry paste.  Add some water to help mix all ingredients together completely.
  5. Pour the vegetable broth and this red curry paste mixture into the pot.  Give it a good stir, cover, and let simmer for a good hour (or more).  Uncover to stir and season as necessary.
  6. Enjoy as is or with some brown rice.

go with the flow

GO WITH THE FLOW

I have become a huge advocate of the notion ‘going with the flow.’  Living and breathing through each moment as it is and as it comes is humbling and refreshing.

Last week, I decided to apply this concept to a week of cooking!  I walked into the local grocer without a written list and dived for ingredients that called to me.  That rarely happens because generally speaking, I like to dedicate one day a week planning out the entire dinner menu for the week to come.  BUT I had such a great time switching gears!  Change is never a bad thing :).

Here are some dishes that came out of a flow-inspired week leading up to Summer Solstice:

SPINACH + BLACK EYED PEA PUREE

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CANNELLINI BEAN SALAD W/ TOMATOES, PEACHES, CANTALOUPE, PEAS, BASIL

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KICKED UP SHRIMP + QUINOA JAMBALAYA

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GREEN GRAPE, LEEK, FAVA BEAN, + PISTACHIO GAZPACHO

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SWEET POTATO + EGGPLANT CAPONATA

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Speaking of going with the flow, my husband and I had the pleasure of hosting an awesome duo a few weeks back.  Appropriately named Go w/ the Flow, Tori Reynolds and Ben Rivet have started an amazing movement around this mantra that transcends the yoga and music world.

“Created by Dayton-based yogis, Tori Reynolds and Ben Rivet, GO W/ THE FLOW is an immersive collision of music and movement that is designed to get you out of your head and into your breath. Tori’s powerful but playful vinyasa sequence is scored by Ben’s acoustic guitar and vocals, paced by live-looped beatboxing and dictated by each class’s abilities. Improvisation prevails, reminding us the benefits of good breath and a #gowtheflow outlook on your life and your practice.” @gowtheflow

on the menu : watermelon + heirloom beet salad

WATERMELON + HEIRLOOM BEET SALAD

If you are lucky enough to find locally grown organic heirloom beets, GRAB THEM ALL.  These beauties are not as beet-y as their more traditional red beet counterpart.  They’re crunchy, sweet, and don’t bleach your hands (big plus!).  Oh, and they’re just about the prettiest things ever.

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You can almost eat just watermelon and the beets alone, but that wouldn’t fly as a substantial dinner in my household so I tossed them with some salad greens, julienned basil, red onions, and a bright lemon vinaigrette.  You could also add cheese or strawberries, but there’s something tantalizing about enjoying the rawness of beets and watermelons with a few greens.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Watermelon
  • Heirloom Beets
  • Salad Greens
  • Basil
  • Red Onion
  • Lemon
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Salt + Pepper