Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Green Smoothies

Many of us are looking to find easy, tasty ways to add not only fresh fruits and vegetables into our diet, but fresh greens.

What is a Green Smoothie? A Green Smoothie is simply a smoothie made with fresh, organic (whenever possible) greens, fruit, and water or juice.

What are greens? Here are a few of the greens that can be added to your daily smoothies:
Beet Greens (the tops)
Bok Choy
Carrot Tops
Collard Greens
Green and Red Leaf Lettuce
Mustard Greens
Green and Red Leaf Lettuce

You can also add weeds, herbs, or sprouts such as:

Stinging Nettles

Aloe Vera
Baby dill
Peppermint Leaves


Why do we need greens? A few of the many great benefits greens provide include:

*An abundance of protein in the form of readily available essential amino acids (as opposed to long molecules of protein found in other sources that the body has to break down and then reassemble).

*An abundance of insoluble fiber, a *sponge* that can absorb large amounts of toxins and take them out of the body.

*An abundance of Chlorophyll which counteracts toxins, provides iron to organs, helps purify the liver, cleanses the bowels, and eliminates body odors, to name a few.

*They can raise or maintain an appropriate level of stomach acid. (Stomach acid is responsible for the proper absorption and assimilation of vital nutrients, the destruction of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, and the digestion of large protein molecules which can prevent allergies from forming).

*They make the body more alkaline. (Most diseases, including cancer, thrive in an acidic environment, sokeeping the body alkaline is essential for health).

Why is blending our greens so great? Greens are full of nutrients, but most people don't receive them because of two main reasons: 1) People cook them, destroying up to 80% of their nutrients and enzymes; and 2) People eat them raw but don't chew them well enough. Greens have a tough cellular wall that must be completely ruptured to release the vital nutrients inside. Blending your greens is the perfect solution.

* I received the bulk of this information from *Green for Life,* written by Victoria Boutenko.*

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Weekly Menu

It occurred to me that it would fun to occasionally post my weekly menu plan- just to give you an insight as to what we are eating. Today Savanna and I spent about 3 hours in the kitchen preparing foods for the week. I will try to post the recipes in the next few days, but in the meantime here is what we made today, and what we will be serving the rest of the week! (We learned many of these from our recent trip to the Raw Spirit Festival in Santa Barbara.)

Today we made Banana Quinoa Muffins, "Ranch" Dressing (cashew/avocado based), Buckwheat Crispies cereal with Hazelnut milk, Pistachio-Lime Hummus, Cashew Mock Chicken Salad, and Sun dried Tomatoes!

Banana Quinoa Muffins

Cashew "Mock Chicken" Salad

Cashew "Ranch"

Buckwheat Crispies with Hazelnut Milk

Marinated tomatoes (they will go into the dehydrator tomorrow and voila! Sun dried Tomatoes- Mmmm!)

As for the rest of the week, besides the above, we will make:

Monday: Nori Rolls filled with avocado, cucumber, cauliflower rice, and sprouts with Tamari dipping sauce
Tuesday: Spring Rolls filled with shredded carrot, jicama, sprouts, and sun dried tomatoes with a Chinese dipping sauce
Wednesday: Whole Wheat Blueberry pancakes and fruit salad
Thursday: Veggie burgers wrapped in lettuce leaves
Friday: Veggie sandwiches and salad

In addition to this we've been making some killer Green Smoothies lately. James and I started a 30 day green smoothie challenge 4 days ago. We are each going to drink a quart (32 oz) of green smoothie daily for one month- good stuff!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Breakfast Burritos

These are so good and replace any craving I ever have for scrambled egg burritos!

Ingredients (Makes about 6 burritos):
  • 1 package of firm organic tofu (the "eggs")

  • 1 diced bell pepper

  • 1/2-1 diced small red onion

  • 2-3 diced Roma tomatoes

  • 1/2 can of mild green chilies

  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

  • Margarine or olive oil to coat the pan

  • 6-7 pieces of Smart Bacon, fried in oil or margarine until crispy, and then crumbled into small pieces

  • Spices to taste- I used a bit more garlic, sea salt, ground pepper, and a pinch of Turmeric to color the tofu yellow like eggs
*(And anything else you like in your breakfast burritos- diced mushrooms, hot sauce, the sky is the limit!)

I fry up the Smart Bacon first, crumble it, and put it to the side. The trick to making this fake bacon taste JUST like the real deal, is to fry it in oil or margarine. It will get crispy and greasy like real bacon. We figured this out by accident one time!

I learned another little trick when using tofu as an egg substitute. You don't want your eggs liquidy, so take the block of tofu out of the package and place on a plate. Put another plate on top and place a heavy item, like a large book, on top of the top plate. Leave it for about 10 minutes and it will squeeze out most of the liquid in the tofu. Drain the liquid in the bottom plate and you are good to go!

I like to put the oil or margarine in the pan and saute the onions, garlic, and bell pepper first for a few minutes. I learned something new about bell peppers. Green bell peppers are actually just unripe bell peppers and are really not good for people to eat. Since they aren't fully ripe, they are very hard to digest and do not contain the full nutrient content of the ripe yellow, red, and orange peppers! So, I used green because that's all I had on hand, but in the future, I will use yellow, red, or orange.

Next, crumble the tofu into the pan, and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring frequently. Turmeric is the key to making the tofu turn that egg-yellow color. Cook until heated through and veggies are as soft as you like them. Pour into a tortilla and top with avocado, fresh salsa, hot sauce, whatever. SO good!

*Let me just add that some of my recipes with processed "fake" soy meats or cheese, I consider to be more in the "splurging" or "occassional eating" category. We definitely don't use these products on a daily or even weekly basis. I believe that they are healthier than dairy or real meat, however, whenever a whole food is altered to look and taste like something else, be wary not to make it a staple!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Savanna belongs to a book club and she was asked to bring these to their next meeting. She and I were not feeling well, so James actually made these beauties. I watched him, and it only took him about 15 minutes! Seriously easy and seriously good.

How He Did It:

We get the 1 pound bars of chocolate from Trader Joes (there are two kinds that are vegan: the dark chocolate and the bittersweet chocolate). Just break off a good size piece of the bar and chop it into small pieces. Microwave the chocolate pieces on high in a glass bowl for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the strawberries the melted chocolate and place on wax paper. Place in the fridge for about 10 seconds and then serve! (You can also refrigerate these for about day, covered).