Sunday, January 17, 2016

start with a smoothie

Well, we are over two weeks into the new year already, how is everyone doing on their resolutions? Eating more veggies? Exercising everyday? Meditating? If you are feeling overwhelmed with a big goal you've set for yourself, you're not alone. I used to do it every year. Make huge unrealistic new year's resolutions like lose ten pounds, run five times a week, or be strictly vegan. Let me tell you, the bigger the goal, the further it is out of reach. I've decided to try something new this year.

I have been very specific with my goal, what it is and why I want it. I have visualized it, putting myself in the position that I want to be in and imagined what it looks and feels like. I have put together a list of things that I can do to achieve my goal, including why, what, where, when and who. And I have even put together a list of obstacles that will inevitably interfere with my goal and a plan for what to do when faced with these obstacles. This way my goal is more than just a general direction that can be easily pushed off course, it is a plan for action.

And it doesn't have to be big! I have two very specific new years resolutions; to be free of my "mindless snacking while studying" habit, and to floss my teeth everyday (okay, not everyday, lets be realistic here). I have made lists of obstacles and a plan for action. The visualization has helped me the most so far, now that I know what it feels like to have achieved my goal (or at least what I think it feels like) I am much more aware when I am doing something that isn't taking me in that direction. I won't bore you with the details because they are very, well, detailed.

Monstrous kale in my sister-in-law's garden on Maui

But I do have some advice for a more common goal that I'm sure many people have resolved to stick to this year: how to incorporate more veggies into your diet. My advice? Start with a smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to get your greens because 1) you can have it for breakfast, first thing in the morning and 2) it doesn't even taste like veggies! I have found that sneaking some veggies in first thing in the morning is the best way to meet your quota because by the time lunch rolls around you are ready for something savory, which means more veggies!

tropical morning smoothie
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen banana
  • fresh papaya
  • coconut milk
  • at least two big leaves of curly kale
  • a sprinkle of crunchy granola on top

I have one more thing I want to add about new year's resolutions. They don't have start on January 1st. This just seems to be a popular time for people to set goals for themselves. The reality? Making healthy changes can be done any time of the year, any day of the week. It is always a good idea and it is always a good time to start. "New year's resolution" is just a label, don't think you can't start today, or tomorrow, or just... with a smoothie.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

roasted sweet potato salad + tahini miso dressing

I. Love. Potatoes. Especially sweet potatoes! I just started back at school and I'm busier than ever. This means that a lot of easy meals, like this one, that also serve as a leftover lunch are frequently making the menu. Sweet potatoes are filling and nutritious, and when they're paired with crunchy cabbage and celery and topped with a lemon miso tahini dressing, you basically have yourself a super food. Or at least a super meal :)

roasted sweet potato salad
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • .5 lbs purple cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (tops included)
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the sweet potato cubes in a drizzle of coconut oil and salt and pepper (optional but recommended). Bake on a tray for about 30 minutes, they should be tender when poked with a fork and browning a little on the outside. Finely chop the cabbage, celery, and parsley. Set aside to make the dressing.

lemon miso tahini dressing
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp miso
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Toss the veggies and potatoes with the dressing until everything is evenly coated. I served this tasty salad over quinoa and sprinkled with sesame seeds for dinner and I'm taking some tomorrow for lunch! It would also make a great side for burgers, fish, or even to take to a pot luck. Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2016

quinoa pesto + zucchini noodles

Working with raw foods for Mana Health Foods deli I was introduced to the pesto zucchini noodle dish. It is so simple, raw, and refreshing. Adding cherry or grape tomatoes adds a fresh zing while the avocado smooths it out and fattens it up. It was always just a raw dish to me until I found this blog post by Simply Quinoa. Adding quinoa to the mix was a serious game changer for me. It isn't a raw pasta dish anymore but I feel like it is much more complete and filling, something I can make at home for my hungry man of a husband.

This dish is great for a quick dinner (after a late surf maybe or a summer picnic?) or to pack for lunch! As with anything raw though, it is best if eaten right away!

quinoa pesto + zoodles

 the pesto:
  •  2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro 
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup spinach or kale
  • 1/3 cup walnuts

You can play with the amounts of herbs and greens in this recipe, this is my go-to ratio but it also depends on what I have on hand! 5 big cups of any kind of herbs and greens should do the trick! Blend all ingredients except the walnuts in a food processor until finely (I mean finely) chopped. Add the walnuts and process one minute until smooth.

the rest:
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup green onion

I have a julienne peeler to noodle my zucchinis but a spiralizer will work too. After noodling both zucchinis add the quinoa and all of the pesto, combine completely (I like to use my hands to massage everything together, damaging the zoodles as little as possible).

Chop the tomatoes, avocado, and green onions. You can toss these right in or just serve them on top, either way it's a winner! A bigger bang than the raw version but still fresh, light, and delicious!

This pesto recipe is extremely versatile. Try it with real pasta, a potato salad, or the sauce for a pizza.