Asparagus Salad

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I’ve made asparagus in this manner before when making this Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad, but since corn is not in season right now, I decided to combine it with some greens and avocado instead. This is a wonderfully clean salad because of all of the fresh herbs… and it definitely allows you to get your greens in! So if you have some extra herbs lying around that you are not quite sure how to use, try out this salad for a surprisingly simple treat.

Asparagus Salad
 
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Serves: Serves: 4 as a starter or side
Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, cut diagonally
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp whole grain dijon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup basil, cilantro and chives
  • 1 small avocado cubed
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • Sprinkle of pecorino cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Whisk together next 7 ingredients (until avocado).
  3. Combine asparagus and dressing in a bowl and toss until well coated. Gently mix in the avocado and arugula. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Top with cheese if using.

 

Chimichurri Sauce

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Scott is absolutely obsessed with chimichurri sauce so I decided to try to make it at home… and now I might be obsessed! I made it for the first time last week and we put it over roasted veggies and lentils and added it to wraps, sandwiches, and salads. I really do think it is the sauce that can make anything taste delicious… and it is loaded with parsley which has amazing health benefits… and you can say goodbye to bad breath! So whip some up and see what you can find to put it on :).

Chimichurri Sauce
 
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Serves: 1.5 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves, packed (about 1 bunch)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Mix until chopped. You may need to scape ingredients down from sides of bowl.
  2. With food processor running, slowly add in olive oil.
  3. Serve over veggies, as a spread in wraps or sandwiches, or with salad. This will keep for approximately one week in the fridge.

Thanks to CHOW for the inspiration,

Chelsea

Two Recipes Not to Miss: Kale Caesar and Roasted Cabbage and Cauliflower Salad

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Hello my savvy chefs!

Last week was an exciting one as I had 2 recipes published on Mind Body Green, a site I love for all things health! However, you all are my tried and true so it would be a tragedy if I you didn’t have easy access to these recipes :)… so you can find the links below.

Vegetarian Kale Caesar with Homemade Garlic Croutons - this was made with my vegetarian caesar dressing

Roasted Cabbage & Cauliflower Salad with Peanut Sauce

Have a happy, healthy and yummy week!

Chelsea

Oh-So-Easy Almond Milk

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I am not much of a milk drinker but I recently wanted to make a green smoothie. I have to say, I was a little disappointed when I went to my health food store and looked through the almond milks only to see a large list of ingredients, even on the most natural brands! I decided to give it a try on my own and unless in a bind, I can’t imagine ever not making my own moving forward. This homemade milk tastes so much better and you don’t have to worry about all the added ingredients! I cannot wait to taste these with my homemade vegan cookies!

Almond Milk Steps

Oh-So-Easy Almond Milk
 
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Serves: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3.5 cups water, preferably filtered
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (1 tsp if you really like cinnamon like me)
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar (optional – can omit or add more depending on sweetness you prefer)
Instructions
  1. Soak raw almonds in water for 8-10 hours.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  3. Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer.
  4. To get even more milk, use a cheese cloth or other thin cloth. Place almond meal in the cloth and ring out any added milk.

P.S.Interested in drinking more green smoothies? Check out the free Simple Green Smoothie 30 Day Challenge. I met Jadah in New York last weekend as she was speaking at an event where Scott was also speaking. She is awesome and I love what she is doing so in April, I’ll be making a green smoothie every day! Register if you want to join me, it’s FREE!

Thanks,

Chelsea

Healthy Homemade Dark Chocolate

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I have to thank my friend Lissa Rankin for inspiring this one. We had dinner at her house and she served us the most amazing chocolate for dessert. She is an amazing cook that doesn’t really follow recipes so I asked her for the ingredients and went to town discovering how to make it on my own. The important thing in this recipe is the cacao butter as it allows the chocolate to be solid at room temperature. I like to make a batch and just keep it in the freezer and nibble on it if and when I want a piece because while it is better than recipes that only use coconut oils (for texture), it will still get your hands a little dirty :)

Healthy Homemade Dark Chocolate
 
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Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup cacao butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (can use honey or maple syrup as well)
  • ¼- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes – I like a lot :)
  • Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Place coconut oil and cacao butter in a small sauce pan. Melt to a liquid over low heat.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla, raw cacao powder, and agave until combined. Then mix in coconut flakes.
  3. Pour in a shallow dish lined with parchment or wax paper. I used a 7×7 baking pan.
  4. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to give it a little time to harden. Remove and sprinkle with sea salt and then freeze for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut into triangles – or whatever shape you want!
  6. Serve immediately or keep in freezer and serve later!

 

Make a Meal out of Miso

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Who loves miso soup? I do, I do! When Scott woke up not feeling great last week, I figured this was the perfect dish. It is a warm soothing broth that has the yummy taste of a miso soup but since I loaded it with veggies, it was enough for a whole meal rather than just a starter. Good bye sushi joints, hello home made miso!

Make a Meal out of Miso
 
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Serves: 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 6 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 Tbsp white miso
  • 2 bok choy, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained – or can use small cubes of tofu for more traditional miso soup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos (optional)
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes – depending on heat you like!
  • ½ bunch of green onions, green parts sliced
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, add oil leeks and carrots. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until mushrooms begin to soften.
  3. Add broth, miso bok choy, beans and spices (and aminos if using). Mix well. Can add water if you want a bit more liquid.
  4. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Taste and add more spices if needed.
  5. Serve in bowls topping with green onions.

 

10 Food Guidelines to Live By

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I’ve read all of Michael Pollan’s books, with the exception of the latest (which I am excited to read!), and I love his philosophy on health and nutrition.  He promotes eating food, mostly plants and not too much – simple, right?!?!

In his book, “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual“ he shares short rules to live and eat by – I am not known to be a rigid rule follower, which is why I prefer the term guideline :). This book is a super simple and short read but below I have summarized a few of my favorites for those of you who may not find the time to read it.You have likely heard all of this before, but a reminder is always good every now and then.

1. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food – Does your great-gma know what Gogurt is? Exactly… stick to the basics, eat simple whole foods rather than processed and packaged items.

2. Avoid food products containing ingredients a third-grader cannot pronounce – if you follow the above guideline, you won’t have any issues but if not, this is a good second line of defense. Rutabaga may be one of the few exceptions here :).

3. Eat only foods that will eventually rot – live foods will eventually go bad but if a ‘food’ is already dead, it can stay on your shelf forever. Your body gets the most nutrients from whole, live foods so to feel alive, you must eat things that are alive.

4. If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t!

5. Eat well grown food from healthy soil – It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are eating things that are grown (or treated) poorly, genetically modified or laden with chemicals, then steer clear. Be your own body’s advocate and know what you are putting into it.

6. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself – now, I might not say ALL the junk food you want… but we love pizza, french fries and ice cream for a reason, they are delicious! Really, what fun is life without pizza? You may not know it given the surplus of junk readily available, but it is not easy to make some of these yummy favorites. So if you want it, do the work and make it! Your meal is bound to be healthier and free of junk when you make it at home. True story, I used to LOVE cheesecake… until I made it for a party. Now that I know all that goes into it, I am not nearly as interested!

7. Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks – There is a reason the Standard American Diet has SAD as the acronym. Because it is a sad way to eat and live. Other cultures generally eat real, fresh foods mindfully and in proper proportions. When you do that, your body functions more optimally to assimilate nutrients and give you signals when enough is enough.

8. Avoid foods you see advertised on television (or ones with health claims on the label) – most likely these are not real foods. Its no brainer that vegetables are good for you, which is why they don’t need to advertise it!

9. Spend as much time enjoying a meal as it took to prepare it – if you do cook for yourself, you’ll know that this can mean long meals, but those are the best kind! Using meals as a time to connect and reflect has become a lost treasure this day in age – slow down, enjoy your food and enjoy the people you are with!

10. Break the rules once in a while – and this is why I love Michael Pollan’s approach :)!

Here’s to staying healthy yet balanced!

Chelsea

Be Where You Are…

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Koh Phi Phi, Thailand – 2013

My nature is to really take advantage of places and things. When I travel I want to eat, see, do and explore all that I can. When I am in a new environment, I think to myself “You may not be back, take in as much as you can now!” Hence, the tendency to over order at restaurants :). But it is also important to realize the beauty and the opportunities of just being where you are. Not doing, just being. 

Even if you aren’t totally thrilled with where you are in a particular moment, it’s probably because you aren’t actually where you really are – you are thinking ahead or behind, trying to complete a task or check a box, focusing on something that is not actually happening in that moment.

Our mind is always ready to be in the next place, or a place we have already been.

Life pulls us forwards or backwards.

Our nature drives us one direction or another.

Emotions cause us to project and to remember.

But when you can just be where you are… no matter that place,  you are where you are, which is a gift in itself! And when you are where you are, opportunities arise – stress softens, fear fades and gratitude grows.

A story I heard this week sums it up perfectly:

Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out.

“Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”

“Brother,” the second monk replied,
“I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”

May you do your best to be where you are…

Chelsea

Vegan Corn and Roasted Poblano Chowder

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I’ve been seeing poblano’s everywhere lately and while I have never cooked with them before, something about them just drew me in! I made a stuffed poblano recipe that needs a little work before it goes on this site and then followed it up with this recipe.

It takes a little work but Scott and I ate this every night for about 4 nights because it makes enough to serve 8. So, on an evening or an afternoon where you have some time, whip this up and enjoy it for the week or freeze and reheat at a later time. We surely were not sick of it by night 4…

Vegan Corn and Roasted Poblano Chowder
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 6 poblano peppers
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 4 cups high quality almond milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 5 cups of corn, fresh, frozen or canned (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • 1 bunch of chives, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Turn on broiler and place poblano’s under broiler (about 10 minutes, maybe longer depending on your broiler) turning halfway through. Poblanos should be blackened.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the milk, cumin seeds, bay leaves and rosemary in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and bring nearly to a simmer without boiling. Remove from the heat and let sit 20 minutes to infuse.
  3. Once poblano’s are roasted, place them in a large ziplock bag until they cool. Remove skin with hands. Do not run under cold water as it may take some of the flavor away from the peppers. Remove tops, seeds and dice.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a separate large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Cook the onions with the salt until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the garlic and ground cumin and paprika. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Then stir in the corn kernels, sweet potatoes and diced chilies and continue cooking over low heat 5 more minutes.
  5. Using your finest strainer, strain the infused herbal milk into the corn and chili mixture. Bring to a very slow simmer over low heat. Gently simmer 15 minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender to thicken the soup a bit or pour one third of the soup into a food processor/blender and puree. Stir back into the soup pot. Add more salt/pepper and spice as needed and serve hot with the chives as garnish.

Thanks to Food Network for the inspiration!

Chelsea

Top TED Talks: Creativity

One of the things I like to do on my mornings walks is listen to TED talks. I find that they inspire me to think new thoughts and do new things… or they may simply just inspire me to be happier and healthier. Over the past few months, I have come up with a list of TED talks I love in different categories.

I’ve talked about the importance of creativity in the past, so I thought that would be a good place to start – below you’ll find a few of my favorite talks on the topic of getting creative.

You may think, I don’t have time for a 20 minute video… but you can listen to these while you are getting ready, commuting to work or instead of watching TV. Or perhaps it might even be a reason for you to get outside - just get creative… no pun intended :). If you are listening at a time you cannot watch, you can always come back to a visual you may have missed.

I hope you enjoy these inspiring individuals as much as I do!

*If viewing in email, use links to videos.*

1. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius - Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius.

2. Sir Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity - Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

3. Logan LaPlante: “Hackschooling” Makes me Happy - When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.

4. Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation - Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t – traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think.

5. Ron Finley: A Guerrilla Gardener in LA - Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”

Do you have a favorite TED Talk? Please let me know in the comments below!

Thanks,

Chelsea