Category Archives: Snack

Sometimes Simple

ancestorspirits

Oya: Spirit of the Wind

There are days, like these, when I find myself indulging in the simple: reading about Oya, spirit of the wind {pictured above}; feeling a hoop sustain its spin around my body with only the help of slightly swirling hips; a most nourishing yoga class that reminds me to be here, in this moment, and feel no need to be anywhere else. I’ve been teaching a lot of yoga classes lately and as my practice deepens, my connection with others opens beautifully, solidifying the feeling that all is one. Like my yoga practice, food has the ability to invite me to tap into the subtleties of my body, forcing me to listen to its wisdom.  Some days that means a vigorous, playful yoga practice followed by a meal filled with many different ingredients. And other days, it means doing only a few yummy poses, melting into them with deep breaths, and then savoring a simple snack with few ingredients.

Which brings in my faithful friend and go to snack: avocado toast.

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Avocado Toast

Only five ingredients but always simple yet satisfying and indulgent. I use sprouted grain bread {I love Food for Life brand}, vegenaise, avocado, nutritional yeast and celtic sea salt. The combination of these five ingredients never fails to deliver deliciousness, plus they are packed with some positively nourishing nutrients.  The star of the snack, avocado, provides omega-3 fatty acids, bone supportive vitamin K, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and folate.  This buttery fruit is also a great source of energy-producing vitamin B5 and potassium.  Avocado is also famous for its vitamin E content, which contains antioxidants and will make your hair and skin all purrrty.  Sprouted grain breads are a great alternative to regular white and wheat breads because they are loaded with protein and life-activating enzymes.

The deal on Nutritional Yeast

You eat yeast?? is a common response I get when I tell people about my love for nutritional yeast. Allow me to explain. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast filled with protein and B-complex vitamins. It is a complete protein and is low in fat and sodium and free of sugar, dairy, and gluten, making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans {or anyone for that matter!} It has a great cheesy flavor and I use it on my avocado toast, eggs, pasta, popcorn, pretty much any savory dish.  Plus a little goes a long way so it lasts forever. I bought my 4.5 ounce container two months ago and I’m only about 1/6 of the way through! I also love it sprinkled on kale/swiss chard that has been cooked in coconut oil.

Speaking of swiss chard…..

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Self-Portrait: First Harvest & Proud Mama

I picked my first chard from the garden today! Talk about simple pleasures. There is nothing like walking out to your own garden for a first harvest and feeling so much pride and joy as you eat a plant you’ve cared for/watched grow for five weeks. And yes, it was worth the wait. It tasted damn good. Ahhh..mother earth, you rock.

Wishing all you beautiful people simple pleasures filled with a whole lot of indulgence, gratitude, and love,

Sarah D.

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DIY Nut Butters

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When I started making my own nut butters, it was a revolutionary experience. They are easy, fast, delicious, and instantly gratifying. There is nothing quite like dipping your spoon into a food processor full of warm, gooey, roasted nut butter. Making them at home means you can make any nut or seed into butter and you can make hybrids too [hazelnut/almond is delish!]

When making almond butter, I roast the nuts for 20-25 minutes before putting them in the food processor. For cashew butter/cream, I soak the cashews in filtered water for at least four hours. Cashew cream is a beautiful thing, for real. You can add less water to make cashew frosting, add more water to make a cream, and add even more water if you want cashew milk. Adding a few dates to the cashew cream adds some extra yummy lovin’ and it’s raw!

Tips:

*It is important to soak or roast your seeds/nuts before you butter em’ up. Some of the many benefits of soaking/roasting seeds include: neutralize enzyme inhibitors, encourage the production of beneficial enzymes, increase the amount of vitamins [especially B vitamins], break down gluten and make digestion easier, increase protein absorption.

*Try any seeds or nuts, play around and find your favorite one! [hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts…]

*After soaking/roasting nuts or seeds, place in food processor and processor on high for a minute or so. Scrape down sides of food processor and keep processing on high until a butter forms. Be patient! Suddenly and magically, the oils from the nuts with release and silky smooth nut butter will appear before your eyes. Get your spoon ready for a toasty dip.

Cheers to the beauty of simplicity and our nutty tendencies,

Sarah D.

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*So the blog has kind of been on hiatus for a bit. I have been busy moving back from Europe and moving to Burlington, VT. Summer in Burlington has been truly magical so far and filled with lots of yoga teaching, nature, exploration, and locally farmed foods! Excited to share some Vermont love with y’all this summer. Get ready for some super smoothies and fresh juices (:*

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chickpea fries with tahini yogurt dipping sauce

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One thing I am: a hummus hound.  I can’t get enough of this creamy, luscious snack.  It’s easy, hearty, and comes in a variety of flavors.  Most times I make my own hummus because it’s super simple and you can tailor it to your own taste buds (I add extra lemon and harissa to mine.)  For me the equation had always been: chickpeas=hummus…until I went to Peacefood Cafe in NYC and tried their chickpea fries.  I fell in love that day.  Seriously, they are divine.  Warm, light, and filled with the perfect blend of Indian spices, these delicate chickpea fries are served with a cool dipping sauce that perfectly balances the warm, subtle spice of the fries.

My eyes were opened that day to the versatility of chickpeas.  Chickpeas are great as soup thickeners, added to salads, stewed in Indian spices, and even simply fried on their own and sprinkled with paprika for an on-the-go crunchy snack.  And in this case, they can be turned into flour and used to make a healthier alternative to regular ol’ potato fries.

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Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, have long been valued for their fiber content.  Two cups provide your entire daily value!  Between 65-75% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, and this type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. By supporting the energy needs of our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from garbanzo fibers can help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer. [1]

Garbanzo beans are high in protein and iron.  One cup of garbanzo beans provides 26% of your daily iron and 29% of your daily protein value.  The high protein and fiber content of these beans makes for better regulation of blood sugar.  These two nutrients have an amazing ability to help stabilize the flow of food through our digestive tract and prevent the breakdown of food from taking place too quickly or too slowly.

These legumes also have a unique supply of antioxidants that play a key role in lowering heart disease.  One of its many minerals, manganese, is a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells. One cup of garbanzo beans offers 84% of your daily value of manganese! This is especially important since the majority of Americans are deficient in this essential mineral.

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Garbanzo flour (also known as gram flour) is used all around the world.  In India, chickpeas and gram flour are a staple of the diet.  Chickpea fritters, or panelle, is an ancient Sicilian recipe and still a common street food in Southern Italy.  In Southeast France chickpea fries are called panisse, and are sold at beach-side vendors.

You can make your own chickpea flour by running dried garbanzo beans in a food processor until they become as powdery and fine as flour.  Or you can do what I did and buy it pre-made.  I prefer Bob’s Red Mill brand, which you can find at natural foods stores and most supermarkets.

Garbanzo flour’s flavor is non-offensive, making it an excellent flour for gluten-free baking. However, this can mean bland fries if left on its own so be sure to take advantage of your spices & seasoning.  If you are having a hard time choosing a spice to add to the mix, think about what you like in your hummus, since this dish incorporates all the same basic ingredients [lemon, olive oil, chick peas, tahini, garlic.]  My favorites are cumin or harissa.  Other options include smoked paprika, cayenne, or chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or flat-leaf parsley.

Important note: don’t skimp on the sauce.  Don’t get me wrong, the fries are divine but most times aren’t fries just a utensil for the condiment?

Chickpea Fries with Tahini Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Serves 4

Chickpea fries:

1 cup garbanzo bean flour

2 cups water

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

minced garlic (amount depends on how garlicky you like your fries)

spice/herb of your choice (smoked paprika, cumin, harissa, fresh rosemary or flat-leaf parsley)

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Add 1 cup garbanzo bean flour and two cups cold water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Start whisking.

2. Allow the mixture to come to a boil.  Whisk constantly for about one minute until mixture resembles polenta.  Make it fairly thick but not dry. (This process happens very quickly so the second you see it turn polenta-like, take it off the burner.)

3. Stir in one tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, and spice/herb of your choice.

4. Spread mixture on a nonstick or oiled surface (I used a cookie sheet) and cover with waxed paper or plastic.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

*Time saving tidbit: You can make the mixture the night before and take it out right before cutting, frying, and serving.

5. When you’re ready, cut into shapes (rectangles, half moons, peace signs, whatever your creative heart desires.)

6. Shallow-fry in olive oil until crisp.  You can make them pale or dark.  I like mine paler so that they are slightly crisp on the outside but have a custard-like consistency on the inside.

7.  Place on a paper towel-lined plate and top with a little more salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

Taste profile: crisp, light, creamy, custardy, warm, subtle spice.

Tahini Yogurt Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup sesame tahini

1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1/2 of a lemon

Directions:

1. Mix ingredients until smooth and a palish-tan color.

Taste profile: cool, creamy, smooth, slightly nutty.

*I don’t usually measure my sauce.  I play around with the quantities until it tastes good to me.  Most recipes call for more yogurt than tahini but I like tahini to be the stronger note in my sauce.  I leave it up to you and your taste buds, my dear foodies.

Cheers,

Sarah D.

Sources: [1] whfoods.org

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