Tag Archives: raw

Chipotle- Cheddar Kale Chips

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My love for kale chips borders on obsession. It’s probably illegal in most states. I’ve made several version of kale chips including plain salt and olive oil, sour cream and onion, and applewood smoked. These are my favorite yet and I just had to share!
I first started making kale chips in the oven, but after burning  them almost every time I decided to try a dehydrator. What a huge difference it makes! Now I can have kale chips that are crispy and crunchy but never burned, every time. Even when I forget about them and end up cooking them for almost 24 hours. Not only does the dehydrator save energy and preserve nutrients, but it’s also fool proof to use since it “cooks” so slowly that the amount of time doesn’t have to be exact.
But don’t let not having a dehydrator prevent you from trying these out. They are so ridiculously delicious and packed with nutrition that you will want to try them out. Kale haters have been known to fall in love with these chips. I have been known to forget to tell the husband I made these in order to keep them all for myself…

Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A,C, and K as well as a good source of minerals like calcium, iron, and manganese. Additionally, as a member of the Brassica Family (like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), this veggie contains compounds which have been shown to inhibit cancer activity. So what are you waiting for?

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Chipotle-Cheddar Kale Chips:

- 1 bunch kale (curly varieties work best for kale chips, but lacinato will work too)

-3/4 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked for at least an hour

-1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce

-1 clove garlic, peeled

- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (helps contribute to “cheesy flavor and is high in B vitamins)

- 1 Tablespoon olive oil

- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (lemon juice can be substituted)

- 1 teaspoon agave nectar

- scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water as needed for blending

Directions:

1. Wash and dry kale. Remove the tough stems and tear into bite sized pieces, placing them in a large bowl. There should be able 6-7 cups. It will look much smalled when it is dehydrated though!

2. Combine all other ingredients except water in a high speed blender. Add about 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth, adding more water as needed.

3. Pour the sauce over the kale and mix well. Distribute evenly among the trays of your dehydrator and dehydrate about 10-12 hours. I like to do this over night so I don’t feel like I have to wait so long.  OR you can bake these at about 250F for about an hour, or until crispy.

These can be stored in jars or plastic containers (just not bags- they may crumble) and make a great on-the-go snack. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Super Smoothies for Women

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Chocolate Cherry Goodness

Usually I try to eat in a way that nourishes my body, choosing foods which are high in vitamins and minerals and striving for a healthy ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, sometimes those chocolate cravings come knocking and there is nothing I can do but satiate them! This morning and yesterday morning were some of those mornings which I found myself with a desire for nothing else but chocolate… Blame it on PMS if you will. But knowing this was probably the cause of my craving also inspired me to create a meal that not only satisfied my craving, but provided the nutrients my body needs most at this time. I have put together two great tasting a phytonutrient packed smoothies that are healthy and delicious for anyone, but specifically formulated to give women’s bodies both what they want and what they need.

The above photo is of my favorite variation: Chocolate-Cherry. I used to think I hated that combination because all I had tried were those terrible cherry cordial candies… but I have since discovered Chocolate- Cherry is quite delicious!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie:

*1 cup fresh leafy greens (I used beet greens because I have a bunch on hand from my CSA, but  would recommend baby spinach for a mild flavor and great nutritional profile)

*1/2 frozen banana, sliced

*1/2 cup frozen pitted cherries

*1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or 1 teaspoon chia seeds.

*1 tablespoon cocoa powder or raw cacoa powder

*1 teaspoon maca powder

*1 cup nondairy milk (calcium fortified is best. I use soy, but I am aware some of you may avoid soy.)

* Stevia, agave, or your favorite sweetener to taste.

* Optional but good: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions: Layer ingredients in high speed blender in the order given (at least make sure you add the greens first) and blend away! Taste before you pour to determine how much sweetener you want. I topped mine with cacao nibs and granola.

Yesterday, however, I was out of frozen cherries, so I turned to the classic standby: Peanut Butter Chocolate. One of the best combos ever, no question!

Decadent Peanut Butter Bliss...

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bliss Smoothie:

*1 cup greens

*1 frozen banana, sliced

*1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (I like Trader Joe’s because it is all natural, super peanutty tasting, and cheap!)

* 1 teaspoon chia seeds (or 1 tablespoon ground flax)

* 1 tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder

* 1 teaspoon maca powder

* 1 teaspoon cinnamon

* 1 cup nondairy (calcium fortified) milk

* sweetener of preference to taste (I like stevia.)

Directions: Put all ingredients in blender, beginning with the greens and ending with the milk. Test for sweetness before pouring into a glass to enjoy! I topped mine with cacao nibs and a crumbled chocolate peanut butter rice crispie treat. Delish!

So what makes these smoothies special?

Chocolate: Kind of a no-brainer in terms of satisfying those cravings… Of course we now know that there is a physiological reason chocolate makes us feel good. Is releases feel good chemicals in our brains such as serotonin and dopamine, even mimicking the feeling of being in love. The small amounts of caffeine also help perk us up and get us ready to tackle the day.

But did you know chocolate is also a great source of magnesium, copper, and even iron? Magnesium helps prevent cramping and copper and iron both help prevent anemia that can often occur in women of child bearing age due to blood loss.

By using cocoa powder to satisfy your chocolate cravings, you can get all the health benefits of chocolate for much less fat than eating a chocolate bar. (Not that I’m saying chocolate bars shouldn’t also be enjoyed in moderation!)

Greens: A great source of vegetarian iron, as well as calcium, vitamin c, vitamin a, and vitamin k. Depending on the greens, the nutrients will vary a little, but most dark leafy greens are high in these vitmins and minerals. I struggled with anemia for years, so I am always trying to eat lots of spinach! Although vegetarian iron is not as easily absorbed by the body as the iron found in meat, vitamin c aids in the absorption, so vegetarians should consume foods rich in iron with foods rich in vitamin c when possible.

Cherries:  A few weeks ago my mother sent me an article on the benefits of cherries in fighting breast cancer. Unfortunately, breast cancer tends to run in my mother’s side of the family. My mother was diagnosed when she was only 42 and her mother and aunt also had it. I try not to worry about whether I will get it. Instead I aim to for a healthy lifestyle that will ward off all kinds of cancers. Anyhow, apparently research has shown that women who get more melatonin have a lower risk of breast cancer. Cherries are one the the best natural sources of melatonin, as well as full of other antioxidants.

Maca: I recently have fallen in love with maca… I bought it because it has been touted as one of those great new “super foods” and I’m a sucker for that kind of thing, but I keep eating it because it’s delicious! It has a malty, buttery sort of taste that is terrific in smoothies, banana ice cream, yogurt, and oatmeal. Here is an excerpt on some of the health benefits from this site:

[Maca] increases energy levels, helps balance hormones and is said to balance the endocrine system and hormones It also helps with estrogen dominance and osteoporosis due to it’s high mineral content with approximately 300mg calcium per 100 grams making it the perfect natural calcium supplement. It also contains magnesium, potassium, iron, silica and traces of iodine, manganese, zinc, copper and sodium, plant sterols which account for it’s hormone balancing effect and 19 valuable amino acids. It also contains vitamins B2, B6, C and niacin. No wonder it is called a Superfood.

It contains considerably more calcium than cows’ milk, and also contains vitamin B12. Maca contains around 15% protein, and all of the essential amino acids. It is not just a basic supplement, but an entire spectrum of nutrients.”

Other Ingredients:

The milk provides calcium, which helps with cramping. If you use soy, it is also a good source of protein.

Chia seeds and ground flax seeds are both excellent sources of omega 3s, and fiber. Chia is especially high in calcium also.

Peanut butter provides a rich taste and long lasting fuel for the body as well as a good dose of protein.

I hope you enjoy these smoothies as much as I do!

xoxo/Nikita

Rawlicious indulgence

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As the weather finally begins to warm up around here, my body naturally starts to crave more fresh and raw foods. While looking online for some raw inspiration last week, I came across Ani Phyo‘s site and saw that she was coming to Portland for a talk and book signing Thursday! The timing couldn’t have been better. Ani was great! I think her gorgeous looks alone sell a lot of people on eating raw foods- I can’t believe she’s 42! She talked about the benefits of raw foods, and answered questions about eating raw on-the-go or while traveling, eating raw in colder climates, and more. She was promoting her new book, Ani’s Raw Food Asia, but I purchased her Ani’s Raw Food Essentials book because I wanted a more basic book to start. I try to eat a lot of big salads and smoothies (especially smoothies with spinach or kale- my husband thinks I’m disgusting, but it’s such a yummy way to get your greens!) but as far as the more complex raw foods preparation, I really have little experience. I also don’t have a dehydrator yet, which many raw recipes call for.

Raw food, which Ani considers food that is not heated above 104F,  is great because it is unprocessed and retains all the beneficial nutrients and enzymes that nature intended it to have. I personally don’t believe that it’s healthy for me to eat too much raw foods during the colder months because when I do I get very chilled. I have a rather cold constitution. When I did my yoga training we had a class on Ayurveda and I am predominantly Vata with a bit of Kapha.  I try to consume warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne, but even that isn’t enough to warm me! So it’s hard for me to imagine living a completely raw lifestyle while living in Portland, but once it warms up I like to a much higher ratio of raw to cooked foods in my diet.

While raw food diets should be based mostly on vegetables, they also lend themselves well to some amazing desserts! Raw food desserts are generally not low calorie, but they are packed with nutrients and satisfying. Yesterday was my last day of clinicals this semester (!) and so we brought in some treats. I wanted to bring something gluten-free, because a friend of mine in the group is allergic to gluten and I also wanted to bring something raw so I adapted a recipe from Angela‘s no bake date bars to make some amazing chocolate coconut date bars. These were a big hit! I always worry when I bring my “healthy treats” that people will turn up their noses at them, but my class mates gobbled them up!

Raw Coconut Chocolate Date Bars:

Crust:

1.5 cups almonds

1.5 cups dried unsweetened coconut (Angela uses oats and I have used these too with yummy results, but I didn’t have any gluten free oats)

10 pitted and chopped dates

2-4 tablespoons coconut oil (you can use another kind of oil, but the flavor of coconut oil is worth seeking out!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:

2.5 cups pitted dates

2 tablespoons raw cacao or regular cocoa powder

2 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)

1 teaspoon maca powder (optional but gives a delicious malty flavor)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup pure water as needed

Directions:

Line a 9×9 in square baking pan with parchment paper. Pulse ingredients for crust in food processor until a crumbly and slightly sticky mixture forms. Start with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and add more if your mixture is still too dry. Press 3/4 of this mixture into your prepared pan. Reserve the rest for topping.

Now wipe out the food processor (it doesn’t need to be washed) and add your filling ingredients, starting with 1/4 cup water and adding more as needed to form a thick, spreadable paste. Spread the filling over the first layer and top with the reserved crust, pressing down lightly. Top with a few more cacao nibs if desired. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate for a few hours to set up before slicing into 16 squares. Store in the fridge or freezer for longest shelf life.

Have a beautiful day! I get to take it easy today because tomorrow I’m running my first 10k! :D

xo/Nikita