Category Archives: Vegan

quinoa for days

raw quinoaQuinoa, the ever popular super grain. This splendid grain is popular for a reason (actually many!)- it has the highest nutritional profile and cooks the fastest of all grains. It is also a complete protein, contains more calcium than milk, is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, and Vitamin E, is gluten-free, strengthens the kidneys, heart, and lungs, and is ideal for endurance and energy. This mother grain is also very easy to digest and is a warming food. Phew! These little colorful beads really are so full of ancient wisdom and nutritional power. Quinoa has been grown and consumed for about 8,000 years on the high plains of the Andes Mountains in South America. And now today, it has become a popular grain of choice with many uses.

Just one cup of quinoa cooked in two cups water yields four servings. I like to make a bunch and use it throughout the week, especially if I am super busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook. You can find white, red, and black quinoa but there is also a rainbow variety that I like to buy. Pretty much anything that has the word rainbow in front of it (rainbow chard, beets, carrots, etc.) I am a sucker for.

cooked quinoa

spicesCook extra quinoa to use for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are some examples of ways to use quinoa and make it last you at least a few days. And make use of your spices! Depending on what you like, they can add warmth, zest, or a kick to your dishes.

For dinner, I like to cook quinoa and pair it with brussels sprouts roasted with maple syrup or avocado, black beans, sweet potatoes, corn, and hot sauce. Quinoa pairs perfectly with so many different veggies and proteins so go crazy! I like to add turmeric, paprika, cumin, or curry powder to my savory quinoa dishes.

After dinner, I store my extra quinoa in an air-tight container in the fridge. Then the next morning, I combine it in a pot with oat milk (or any plant-based milk) and leave it on the stove just enough to warm it up. Then I add whatever I am in the mood for: nuts, seeds, maple syrup, almond butter, raw honey, raisins, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamon. Quinoa is a higher protein subsitute for oats, so add whatever you usually like in your oatmeal.

For lunch, you can take some more leftover quinoa and make a warming soup. Combine water, miso paste, basil, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, sprouts, and seaweed in a pot and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Add the already cooked quinoa and cook for another minute or two. Enjoy!

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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.

avotoast

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…..

swisschard

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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Raw date squares

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I absolutely adore dates. Date cookies, date cake, dates on ice cream, date paste, dates on their own. They are wonderfully sweet and I love their soft, sticky texture. Mejdool dates are the way to go. I discovered these beauties at the outdoor market. In Italy they are called datteri and since I wasn’t sure of the conversion, I let the lady give me as many dates as she wanted, which resulted in a lot of dates. After nabbing a date here and there from the jar during the week, I decided to make something with them. I didn’t want new, I didn’t want hard. I just wanted the simple, caramel-like flavor of dates in a different form. So I adapted, from who else but My New Roots. Sarah Britton’s recipe for raw date squares involves six simple ingredients and no baking required. Perfection.

IMG_3540Raw baking is what’s up. Seriously, it makes my taste buds do a little dance. Not only is raw baking easy, it allows you to reap the full benefits and nutrients of the food, which can be diminished from cooking. Dates are a staple in raw desserts because they are extremely sweet, rich, versatile, and their texture makes for moist, luscious, and luxurious treats. Plus, using dates means you can say the recipe is sugar-free. I totally ate mine for breakfast…and after lunch…and after dinner. Dates are my jam.

Dates are powerhouses. These wrinkly nuggets pack quite a nutrient, vitamin, and mineral punch. The fruit is rich in fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. They contain vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin K, and many antioxidants such as tannins. They are easily digestible and extremely energizing. Plus, they are a great alternative to those ugly fake sweeteners and refined sugars. Did I mention that I love dates?

IMG_3574During the making of this dessert, I spent a lot of time with my walnuts, or noci, in Italian. In Italy, it is normal to buy whole walnuts instead of the packaged kind [but definitely go for the packaged kind if you want].  It took me a while to crack and dismantle all those suckers [albeit, part of the time was spent marveling at the way the nuts are nestled in their shells] and it quickly turned into a walnut war zone in the kitchen. But that was all the fun of it.

There is something profoundly beautiful about becoming intimate with my food. I think of it as a reciprocal relationship. My food is definitely going to be getting intimate with my body so…I just get intimate with it first. People sometimes ask me why I take the more ‘tedious’ route. Why do I peel all my chickpea skins when making hummus? Why do I scrape the skins off my soaking almonds? It’s simple: I like to spend time with my food. Why? Because it’s meditative, intimate, personal, and rewarding. And when I cracked one walnut perfectly down the middle to discover a heart, boy, was it all worth it.

Now I leave you with some very sweet pictures and a fabulous raw recipe. How do you like your dates? I would love to hear from you!

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IMG_3650Recipe adapted from My New Roots

Raw Date Squares

Ingredients:
Filling
2 cups chopped, pitted Medjool dates
2 Tbsp. water
Juice of 1 large, unwaxed blood orange
Zest of 1 large, unwaxed blood orange

Crust

2 cups walnuts
1 cup raw oats ground in a food processor or oat flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp honey [use maple syrup for vegan version]

Directions:

1. Soak dates in water and orange juice for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring once or twice.
2. Coarsely grind nuts in a food processor. Add ground oats or oat flour and pulse to mix.
3. Add cinnamon first, then honey/maple syrup one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together.
4. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan or round cake pan with coconut oil
5. Press a little over half of the nut mixture into the bottom of the pan, reserving the rest for later.
6. Puree the date and orange juice mixture until it reaches a desired consistency. I pureed mine until it was smooth but still had little bits of date speckled throughout. Mix in orange zest or use to sprinkle on top of squares.
7. Crumble the remaining half of the crust mixture over the dates; press lightly with your hands or a spoon.
8. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes and serve. Watch it disappear before your eyes.

As always, thank you Sarah B. for your knowledge, inspiration, and amazingly delicious recipes!

Happy dating,

Sarah D.

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