Saturday, June 29, 2013

surf sesh

The Sun
by Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--
or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

 It's summer. And I am in love with the sun, with the ocean, with the waves. I love the way the salt dries on my skin, and gets all itchy. I love the way my eyeballs feel when I've been looking at the glaring horizon for waves for over and hour. I love the way I get surf wax all over my toenails. I love wearing three different bikinis in one day.

 And I love that the south swells are here! I'm happy to say I've been surfing three times this week. I'm getting a good hit of sun and salt on the south side, which also means I get my fix at Choice Health Bar in Lahaina, yum.

heading out with good friends
my ninja suit
plenty of waves for everyone

The green buzz acai bowl was the perfect pick-me-up after a morning in the waves

Acai, bananas, berries, spirulina and coconut. Topped with granola, banana goji berries, and bee pollen.
Choice Health Bar in Lahaina Maui, check em out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

tropical tummy love smoothie

This is my go-to breakfast. Packed with flavor and all sorts of good things for your guts.

  • pineapple- contains the enzyme bromelain, which is an anti-inflamitory and aids digestion by breaking down proteins. It is concentrated in the core of the pineapple so be sure not to cut that part out!
  • papaya- contains the digestive enzyme papain. Papaya also contains plenty of fiber and vitamins A, E, and C! 
  • spirulina- a blue-green algae grown right here in hawaii! spirulina is considered a super food because it benefits the entire body in many ways. It is loaded with enzymes, chlorophyll, B vitamins, and packed with protein. It has been around for billions of years, and its benefits have been studied intensely.
  • chia seeds- another super food packed with nutrients. Above all, chia seeds are known for their omega-3 fatty acids and tons of protein.

 I like to soak my chia seeds in water, they create a gel, which blends well into smoothies. The ratio is about one tablespoon chia seeds to a half cup water. They only need to soak for a few minutes, but I keep a little jar of gel in my fridge, smoothie ready.

the  recipe:
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • a few chunks frozen pineapple
  • one half of a ripe papaya (depending on the size of course, some papayas on this island are as big as babies!)
  • a few teaspoons chia gel
  • one tablespoon coconut oil
  • one teaspoon spirulina powder
I usually have frozen bananas and pineapples in my freezer specifically for smoothies, you can use fresh fruit, I just like the texture of frozen better.

Place all ingredients in your blender, and add almond milk to the top of the fruit. Blend, and top with granola, yum...


Saturday, June 22, 2013

pumpkin seed pesto + naan pizza

This is a two-part post. Part A: pumpkin seed pesto. A vegan, nut-free pesto made with basil from my own garden! 

  • two cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup basil leaves (packed)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a food processor. My food processor (yes, I finally got one, though its really only a "chopper") is a tiny one so this amount fits perfectly. I added just a little more olive oil while I was blending it. The flax seeds don't completely blend, but that doesn't bother me. If you don't like whole flax seeds, use ground flax or just leave them out!

Part B: naan pizza. 
  • two pieces whole wheat naan bread
  • pumpkin seed pesto
  • grape tomatoes
  • goat cheese
  • avocado
Spread pesto on the naan as the sauce. Sprinkle with quartered grape tomatoes and little blobs of goat cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 until you can smell the garlic cooking and the cheese is melting. Remove from oven and add avocado. Serve with a glass of red wine.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

new, revised, and personalized. vegan banana bread

I have taken my last recipe and perfected it. I also used my mother’s kitchen with a real oven, so times and temps should be accurate. Oh, to have an oven...sigh.

7-9 ripe apple bananas (some are way smaller than others, when mashed it comes out to a little over a cup)
⅓ cup coconut oil
⅓ cup almond milk
¼ cup organic brown sugar
¼ maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup sunflower seeds

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease loaf pan with coconut oil
  • Mash banana with masher or fork until nice and gooey
  • Stir in coconut oil, almond milk, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon
  • Sift in flour, baking powder, and baking soda
  • Fold until mixed evenly
  • Fold in shredded coconut and chopped walnuts
  • Pour into greased loaf pan and top with sunflower seeds and a little extra shredded coconut if you wish
  • Bake for 50 mins or until a knife poked into the loaf comes out clean
  • Cool for a few minutes and remove from pan

It sets better if you wait until the bread is room temp to cut it, but its rare I can wait that long for a taste test!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

vegan brown rice sushi

For a wedding present from my dear friend Angie, we received a sushi making set up straight from Japan! A rolling mat, chop sticks, and a sushi plate at bowl. And now I've finally used it!

I guess I've always been a little bit intimidated about making my own sushi. But I've just realized its relatively easy, super fun, and if you go vegan, cheap cheap cheap!

The first and most important part is making the sushi rice. I opted for brown because there is just no reason not to. I cooked it as normal in my little rice cooker, but towards the end added a tablespoon of rice vinegar and a little extra water. Make sure it looks nice and slimy, like it has extra liquid in it, because when it cools, that is what makes it gooey and sticky.

While the rice cools, prepare the filling. I used cucumber, avocado, beet, and pea shoots. You could do carrots, red peppers, green beans, bean sprouts, tofu, or pretty much anything you can eat raw and cut into thin strips.

Next, lay out your mat. I have never used a rolling mat before so I looked up some techniques and tips: This post is very similar to mine, though my rice recipe and filling ingredients are different, its how I learned to roll! 

Lay the nori on the mat, the shiny side should be down and the rougher side up. Scoop about a quarter of your rice onto the nori and spread it out with your fingers. I kept a bowl of water near by to dip my fingers in, it makes it way easier to handle the rice.  The rice should cover the 2/3 of the sheet that is closest to you, leaving a smaller border on the other edges.  

And place your fillings...

And start to roll! Keep your thumbs on the outside of the mat, and your fingers tucking everything in, you can use quite a bit of pressure to get it tight. When you've rolled to the edge wet the seam with your fingers and seal it with the mat for a few seconds. It takes a bit of practice but its really not that hard! I was surprised at how nice my first ones came out! 

Now comes the cutting. The sharper the knife the better, obviously, but another thing to remember is to wipe and re-wet your knife between EVERY slice. It will seriously make a huge difference because the rice wants to stick all over the knife. 

A few things to remember: Be creative! You can put about a thousand different things in a sushi roll, not all at once, but the ingredients and combinations are endless! And take your time! The slower I went with my rolling and my cutting, the better it was!

the rice

  • 1 cup brown rice 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp water
the filling

  • 1 beet sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 avocado sliced into thin strips
  • small bunch pea shoots (pea sprouts, pea greens, whatever) about 2 oz. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

vegan nutty energy balls

I have to admit, I have eaten my fair share of energy bars and protein bars. They are just too easy; after a run, right before work, driving around town running errands. My faves are Luna bars. But... I'm on a quest to get closer to a complete plant-based, whole food diet.  So, I’ve been whippin up some of my own little creations to help keep me going through the week. Not quite as easy as a lemon zest Luna bar, but definitely more satisfying, even just knowing exactly what is in them.

vegan nutty energy balls
  • 7 medjool dates, soaked
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut for coating

I start by soaking my dates... I use medjool dates, cut them in half, take out the pit, and pour hot water over them. Let soak for about ten minutes
Toss them in the blender with pb, maple syrup, cacao powder, and goji berries. Blend until smooth.

So, I do not have a food processor... yet. But it is very high on my list of things I need for a successful food blog and a vegan diet, so it will be coming into the picture soon, I promise. For now, the blender and a good ol’ knife and chopping board will suffice.

If you have a food processor, lucky you, coarsely chop the walnuts, cashews, and almonds in it. If you do not, chop em up as fine as you like. Mix them with the date mixture. Then add chia seeds and hemp seeds. You could add sunflower seeds or sesame seeds, or whatever other seeds you like also. Add the shredded coconut, you can't really have too much coconut in my opinion so this is where I keep adding it until I get the consistency I want.

This is where things get messy. Form the batter into 1 to 1 ½ in balls, and roll in shredded coconut. Place them in the fridge for a few hours to firm up.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

project of the week: sprouting

I’ve been hearing more and more about sprouted grains lately, especially in raw foods. Sprouting seeds and grains allows you enjoy them and all their nutrition without cooking them for hours. Just a few days of soaking and sprouting and you can transform hard dry beans and grains into living plants full of enzymes! 

I could have definitely made my own sprouting jar, which I am still going to do because I already want to start sprouting something new before the first ones are done, but for now I just bought a sprouting jar at Mana Foods. It’s basically a jar with a screen on the top. I am going to use wide mouthed Ball jars and remove the metal disc from the lid, replace it with a screen, and secure it with the rim of the lid. My jar is a Rainbow Acres Sprouting Jar, the 24 oz. version. 

I started with good ‘ol lentils, of the green variety. Along with the instruction sheet that came with my jar, and advice from friends and other blogs, I have come up with a method:

I started with about a cup of lentils, which I have now discovered is a little too much for my 24 oz. jar, the sprouts are getting pretty packed. So, next I’ll try ¾ cup. Rinse seeds thoroughly with fresh water, and allow to soak overnight. Make sure to use enough water, at least a two to one ratio. 

Rinse seeds again in the morning and place jar at a 45 degree angle to drain. You want airflow getting in through the screen but also water to drain out easily. I put my jar in a bowl on an angle, but I think I am going to construct a little prop for it. 

Rinse again in the evening, making sure to swirl around the water, giving every seed a good rinse. Continue to rinse twice daily, always keeping jar at an angle for draining and ventilation, for about two or three more days. These lentil are on their 3rd day of sprouting after the initial soak. Almost ready! 

When sprouts are ready, about an inch coming out of the seed, give them one final rinse, and store in the refrigerator. Once they are in the fridge they won’t continue to grow. The sprouts can be stored in the fridge for up a week.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

my first vegan banana bread

It must be banana season! They are everywhere right now, friends from all directions sending them my way. So, naturally, I feel the need to create something with them. Besides freezing mass amounts at a time to feed my daily smoothie addiction, I’ve been experimenting with banana bread. My inspiration for a vegan version, besides my almost vegan diet, is from my vegan friend George, who has agreed to donate his bananas (and he has a lot of bananas) to my bread in exchange for a few loaves. 

I started with a recipe I found online,

4 medium ripe bananas, or 6 apple bananas in my case
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup organic brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
I added one tsp cinnamon and
½ cup chopped walnuts.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease loaf pan with coconut oil
  • Mash bananas with masher or fork until very gooey
  • Add oil, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon
  • Sift in flour, baking soda, and baking powder
  • Fold until mixed evenly
  • Add walnuts and fold these
  • Pour into loaf pan and bake for 30-40 min, or until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out clean, no goo.

Allow to cool slightly, remove from pan, and serve warm.

Now, in my case, I only have a measly toaster oven for my baking experiences so I baked my bread for about an hour. I just kept poking it with a knife until it seemed solid. I will be doing some baking this week with my mother’s full size oven, so I’ll be sure to let you know the difference! This first attempt wasn't perfect. I thought it was too oily and too banana-y when I first cut into it, when it was warm. Still very tasty. But the next day, thats where its at. Since the only oil in the bread was coconut oil, which hardens when it cools, the bread the next morning was amazing! Very dense and rich, but held together beautifully! My husband ate the rest of the loaf that day. 

Attempt number two coming soon...