Tag Archive for vegetarian

Almond Milk

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Here’s the secret to really killing it with a smoothie: homemade almond milk. It’s got four ingredients and could have less if you want, takes maybe five to ten minutes to make, and all you need is a regular blender and cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. No fancy expensive equipment or hours of toil and cleanup. It is a beautiful thing in this life to find something so simple that adds such decadence to a healthy breakfast, or really any meal I guess. For the record, a nut milk bag is this thing:

Specialized nylon thing

Basically a nylon mesh bag with a drawstring on the top. While the almond milk that comes in aseptic containers, those lined cardboard boxes, had recently come to be a staple for me in my smoothies, when a friend brought me some homemade stuff while we were on a cleanse, I knew there was no going back. The milk was so delicious, I would just drink a glass of it for fun. At her suggestion, I simply watched a video on YouTube, made a few changes for my liking, and voila, it only takes like 5 minutes, saves a bunch of money, and tastes out this world.

1c raw almonds, soaked overnight (this activates enzymes in the nuts to help digestion)
1 Medjool  date
1 vanilla bean
3c filtered water

Take your almonds out the night before as you putter around the kitchen and soak them in filtered water. In the morning, drain the almonds and toss them in your blender. Cover the almonds with 3 cups filtered water, extract the pit from your date and toss it in, and add your vanilla bean. Alternately, you can use another date for sweeter milk, you can use vanilla extract if you like, or omit vanilla altogether if it’s not your jam.

Turn your blender on for about 2 to 3 minutes. As you can see, I don’t have a fancy Vitamix or anything, just that cute deco number up there we found at an estate sale for 4 dollars. It’s the best. Pour the resulting milk into a mixing bowl. Then take your nut milk bag (you can also use cheesecloth) and turn it inside out which will take the seam out of the way when you clean it, and insert it back into the blender and fasten the drawstring around the top. pour everything from the bowl back into the blender and lift the bag slowly up out of the liquid. Then wring all the liquid out of the almond meal. Voila.

I save the almond meal in the freezer to use for my next gluten-free baking attempt, which by the way, is really some heavy trial and lots of error. It might be awhile before you see an original recipe here, but I am enjoying the learning. You can also sprinkle the meal in yogurt, over oatmeal, on pancakes or use it in your next muffin or bread mix.

The homemade milk is low in saturated fat, has NO cholesterol, very low in sodium and provides you with a great source of magnesium. Magnesium activates enzymes in our bodies, contributing to energy production. It also helps regulate calcium levels, as well zinc, potassium, and Vitamin D.  We also use it to build bones and regulate body temperature. Word.

Pear Cake for Kimberly

I worked as a barista when I was in college at a joint that no longer exists called Cafe Roma. I was an insecure youth whose unfortunate fears manifested in rejecting others. Santa Barbara had a massive Greek system and my days at the cafe were spent lounging with goths and punks, hurling silent scorn at the sorority ladies who came in to order Non-Fat, Decaf Lattes. We called them Why Bother Lattes. They’d walk away with the pints of coffee clutched in sapphire bedazzled fingers and greek letters in arcs over their butts, ponytails and ribbons bopping toward a study date with their boyfriends. I was a bitch.

Eventually, I dialed down from being a bitch to being snarky, where the mean might not be AT you, but more around you. The new Why Bother target of my days had become Vegan baked goods. Desserts with no butter and no eggs. Add to that No Sugar and you could have me in a serious mouth frothing tirade of Why Bother, providing, of course, I didn’t froth too much and get the filter of the cigarette all wet. Nothing less appealing than a soggy filter, even for smokers. Those were the years where I always wanted to be right.

Now I am not so invested in being Right. I really just want to be happy. Which also means being healthy, for me. While I am not vegan, I would say about 80% of my meals these days just turn out that way, and refined sugar is, with any grace at all, a thing only to be found in my rear view mirror. But I love dessert. This one is particularly delicious with No Sugar, No Dairy, Vegan, and No Gluten. And I’m picky about dessert. I altered this recipe from Terry Walters’ Clean Start, a wonderful book with incredibly clean and healthy food, packed with flavor and creativity. I brought it to the first Moving Out of the Sugar Shack workshop where the attendees seemed pretty sold on it. As with most recipes, I first read them a few times. Then I make some initial tweaks just in my mind. After I attempt the recipe, I make notes and keep tweaking it until it suits my own tastes. Hers is pretty dang good right off the bat. Her other book, Clean Food, is one of my favorite books to recommend to clients just beginning to get back into the kitchen and make clean healthy choices.

1c garbanzo flour
1c almond meal
1/2c potato starch
1T baking powder
1t baking soda
3/4t ground cinnamon
1/4t ground cardamom
1/4t fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 c crushed walnuts

3c grated pears (about 5), whatever ones look best
1/2c pear juice
1 banana, ripe
1/4c maple syrup
2t lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1T vanilla extract

1 pear for topping
Other topping options:
Dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)

Turn your oven on to 350 if you have a good oven. If you are me, and you have a crappy oven, use 375.

Put your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. I put my wet into a food processor, but any mixer will do. If you don’t have one, just mash your banana by hand and then whisk them all together in a bowl.  Then dump your wet into dry and mix the whole shebang.

Pour the goods into a 9″ square or round pan, greased. I used coconut oil to grease the pan. Top the thing attractively and bake for 45 minutes or until you poke a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. It should be slightly browned on top.

Now have friends over and play cards. Enjoy each other. That’s the best part.

Split Pea, Lentil and Leek Stew

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I have the deeply good fortune to work not only as a coach while I am in school but also to act as a worker/owner at Rainbow Grocery, one of the country’s largest worker owned Co-ops. I am surrounded by whole, organic, local choices every day, (Not to mention a bunch of not so hot choices masquerading as healthy) until I complete my studies and move to coaching full time. Occasionally, one of our store mistakes will turn out to be a small creative opportunity for workers. On this occasion, a sleepy worker accidentally mixed a bunch of split peas with lentils and rather than sort them each out like a dark tweeky memory, the workers were given a page over the speaker system to bring hom the mixed bags and see what could be done in our kitchens.

Turns out, this stew is nutritious, packed with plant based protein and whole grains. In addition, legumes are also a great way to regulate blood sugar and contain a good dose of soluble fiber which lowers the body’s level of LDL (the nasty one) cholesterol. So, let’s get to the kitchen and see what happened.



1/2 c split peas
1/2 c lentils
1 lg carrot
1 T fresh ginger, grated
3 lg cloves garlic, diced
1 lg leek, sliced into rings
1/2 onion, diced
4 c vegetable broth
1/4 c wild rice
3 T olive oil, separated
1 t coriander, ground
1 t cumin, ground
salt to taste

Heat 2 of the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add your onion, garlic, leek, and spices. Let everything soften and coat over medium heat. About 7 minutes. Add carrot. Soften for another few minutes. Now add in your split peas and lentils. Stir and coat everything. Now add in your broth and your rice. Bring everything to a boil, then turn flame back down and cover for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding salt to taste as you go. Serve with Olive oil drizzled on top.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Artichoke Hearts on Seasoned Brown Rice

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It’s day three of my cleanse so I only have one chewing meal a day. This means that lunch is possibly the greatest thing ever. I am stunned at how heightened my taste has become in such a short period of time. I thought I would be so ravenous that I’d wolf down the food, terrorized by the idea of waiting to eat again.

Miraculously, the cleanse has me eating slowly and mindfully, enjoying the sheer delight of each bite; of chewing itself. I love the way I spend the time thinking about the food: Who grew it? Where do they live? Do they also have a deep abiding love for Muhammad Ali, who turned 70 yesterday? I think about how the flavors catapult off the fork into me, and I’m shocked by how strong everything is. I’ve weeded out gluten (wheat, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, and couscous), oats, most sugars including maple syrup and honey leaving fruits to act as my sole dessert model. Also gone: corn, creamed vegetables, tomatoes, any and all things soy, citrus (and at the glorious height of the season!), strawberries, bananas, all dairy, eggs, meat (you can eat some but I am opting not to), peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, processed oils, store bought dressings, mayo, coffee, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate.

Five years ago I would have found this idea not only verging on ascetic, but also kind of dumb. Two years ago I would have moved to thinking that it seemed healthy to clean out the body, but this way was way too crazy for me. Today, it’s challenging, but I’m super into it. I can’t believe the amount of delicious stuff still available, how creative the limitations nudge me to be, and by day three, how I can already see so many changes.

This is how lunch went today (after my breakfast smoothie of frozen peaches and pineapple, Amazing Meal protein powder, chia seeds, almond milk, coconut water, and a dash of cinnamon.) Plus, it’s pretty.


Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Artichoke Hearts on Seasoned Brown Rice

1 head cauliflower separated into little tree trunks

1/2 marinated artichoke hearts

2T extra virgin olive oil

1/4c arame and hijiki mixed

1t sesame seeds

seasoned brown rice ready to go 3/4 for a bowl. (seasoned brown rice in my house is brown rice cooked in vegetable broth and then tossed with 1T of rice vinegar. I make a bunch at a time and eat it throughout the week.)

First separate your cauliflower into little florets that look like tiny purple bonsai trees. Then toss your forest in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes on 350 or until gold brown on edges.

Meanwhile, in a skillet sautee your seaweed and sesame seeds on low in sesame or walnut oil for about 8-10 minutes.

Get your bowl ready with your warmed up rice and then lay your purple cauliflower in. On top of that go your artichoke hearts and then top with your seaweed sautee. Eat slow. Chew. It’s so good.

Reason #1 that cleanses do not have to suck.