Saturday, August 13, 2016

chocolate cherry bombs

Well, summer biochem class is complete! I now have one week until Fall semester starts and I am going to Sandpoint! I haven't been out of Hawaii in two years! That's nuts. Seriously. I am so lucky that going home for me means visiting a natural gem tucked into the Rocky Mountains between glistening lakes and miles of forest. Forest. I really miss forests. And lakes. But most of all I miss my family and friends whom I rarely get to see, except for on my biannual Idaho adventures. So here I go! But first... these balls are seriously the bomb. Chocolate cherry bombs that is. Enjoy ;)

chocolate cherry bombs
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate (chips, chunks, whatever)

The first thing that I do when making any blissful ball is soak the dates to soften them up. Usually a couple of minutes in warm water will do the trick. While the dates are soaking add the oats, coconut, and almonds to a food processor and blend into a course meal. Chunks are good. Transfer this into a bowl. Now add the (drained) dates, dried cherries, and maple syrup to the food processor and blend away. Remember, some chunks are good.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and incorporate fully using your hands. This is definitely the most effective way to mix something like this.

Roll into little balls and set them up for chocolate drizzling:

To melt the chocolate I like to set up a metal bowl that fits on top of a sauce pan. Put about an inch or two of water in the pot and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl over the hot water and add the chocolate, stir constantly. Make sure the water isn't boiling, just simmering, and that it isn't so full that the water is touching the bowl, just the steam, this is what melts your chocolate. When the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and grab a spoon. With a spoon drizzle some chocolate over each ball. This batch made me 18 balls, and I used up all the chocolate (literally, there was a lot spoon/finger licking). 

Now pop 'em into the freezer for 10-15 minutes and you have yourself some bomb chocolate cherry bombs!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

wilted kale slaw + lemon ginger dressing

It is well known that cruciferous vegetables are good for us. They are anti-cancer, inflammation reducing, and hormone balancing. This is due to the fact that they are loaded with vitamins and fiber and contain a significant amount of the cancer-fighting phytonutrient, glucosinolate. Great! Let's eat right? But not everyone can comfortably digest this family of health favoring veggies in their raw form. That is because of plant starches that are indigestible by our small intestine, specifically the carbohydrate raffinose. What happens to carbohydrates that aren't digested in the small intestine? Well, they move into the large intestine where they are feasted on by our microbiota (the colony of bacteria that live in our gut). This is all well and good, we want those little guys to eat, but the byproducts of their consumption, CO2, cause bloating and gas. So what are we to do? Cook it up! Cooking cruciferous veggies, even just a little bit will make them easier to digest and make you more pleasant to be around afterwards ;).

I notice a significant difference in my tummy turbulence when I cook veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and even kale! And that doesn't mean boil the be-jesus out of them, it can mean lightly steam, wilt, or roast.

My schedule has been full since my summer class started a few weeks ago so quick and easy meals are on the menu... every night. My usual dinner planning and making consists of digging through the fridge, roughly chopping whatever veggies I find, throw them on a baking sheet and 15 minutes later at 400 degrees F, dinner is served. Sometimes the combinations I come up with are a little absurd, but toss everything in a tasty dressing and you really can't go wrong. So here is my latest throw-it-together dinner:

wilted kale slaw + lemon ginger dressing
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 bunch of curly green kale

This amount makes a massive slaw so feel free to tone it down if you just want to make a little. Chop the cabbage thinly and de-stem and roughly chop the kale. Arrange veggies on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 4-5 minutes, toss with a pair of tongs, and then bake for another 4-5 minutes in a 400 degree oven. The pile of veggies you originally put into the oven will reduce in size by almost 1/2! Don't overcook them though, I like everything still green and a little crunchy, just wilted.

lemon ginger dressing

  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg's Amino Acids
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • black pepper
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. Done.

This can be a great side dish if you toss the slaw in the dressing. I roasted some fresh corn and chickpeas to add some protein and umph to make this a meal.