The (Vegan) Results Are IN

I finished my 30 days of vegan 2 days ago.

Was it difficult?

Honestly, no.  As mentioned in my original post declaring my 30 days of vegan challenge, I was already pretty darn close to being a full-fledged vegan.  As a reminder, the only animal products I had been consuming were

1. Dairy – Greek Yogurt

2. Eggs

3. Fish

So, not too much to cut out.

I replaced the yogurt with coconut yogurt for my breakfast bowls in the morning.  I’ve been using the unsweetened coconut yogurt by So Delicious and it is so delicious that I think I’ll continue to splurge on it…

For the eggs and fish, I replaced those quick & easy protein sources with another quick and easy food – lentils!  Lentils are SO easy to make and I love that they can be seasoned any which way I please.  My favorite method has been creating a broth with some seaweed – Kombu to be exact (wrote about this in the most recent post) – and then adding lots of curry spices, some fermented jalapeno vinegar from Costa Rica, some apple cider vinegar, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, rosemary at the very end and sliced beets.  I also added mint leaves to one batch which was SO yummy.  In general, I tend to add lots of ‘things’ to my cooking.  I just get excited and can’t help myself.

The past 2 days I have continued to eat a vegan diet.  This is only because I want to make sure I am 100% certain of how I want to eat on a day to day basis – what is best for me & my body and what is in line with my values.

However, I DO know that I will no longer be continuing a 100% vegan diet.  Surprise!? I wasn’t sure when I started this 30 day run how I would feel at the end of it.  Part of me figured I would latch on to the diet, like lots of friends told me they had, and just keep going with it.  For me, though, it’s given me a wonderful opportunity to examine WHY I was eating the animal products I was eating.  I’ve realized that most of my reasoning behind the animal product consumption was Protein.  Quick & Simply & Easy.  Hard Boiled eggs, a can of tuna.. Greek yogurt.

Now, though, I can’t even compare the tastes & flavors of my lentils OR homemade hummus to a stinkin’ (literally.. for most people) can of tuna on my salad.  Sure, it takes more thought, but isn’t that part of mindful eating?  Thinking about the food prep? Making thoughtful decisions about what you are about to eat?

Yet, I miss seafood.  My mouth waters thinking about a filet of salmon .. or still the (not-cheap, dolphin safe, sustainably harvested) can of tuna.  I just love fish! And other seafood for that matter.. which.. technically, some filter feeders ARE considered vegan!

I also miss an egg here and there! Not just hard boiled, but a nice, veggie-filled one-egg omelet.

Surprisingly, the food I thought I would miss the most.. I ended up missing the least!  Sorry Greek yogurt.. but I think I’m sticking with my non-dairy So Delicious.

In conclusion (for now), here is what I plan on consuming, animal-product wise.  These decisions have been based on how I choose to live, what I believe for me is healthiest, and what I believe regarding food & ethics, etc.

1. Eggs – ONLY locally produced.  ONLY humanely treated, small-farm, etc.  I live in a spot that allows me to find these outlets.  I have just been too lazy to do so.  Yes, they will be more expensive, but I don’t need to buy them all the time.  But knowing exactly where the eggs are coming from .. hey maybe I’ll even meet the hens.. will feel like a much less abstract way of consuming them.

2. Fish/Seafood – ONLY sustainably harvested and ONLY on occasion.  If I can get local (which shouldn’t be too difficult, considering I live on the ocean), even better.  This means a can of tuna will now be a splurge for me – you’ve seen the Wild Harvest brands, right? Yes, the cans of tuna that cost almost 4 bucks a pop.  Yep.. this is what I mean by occasional splurge.  Still, I’ll feel much better about eating fish that I know was mindfully caught.  I also will (after I research the different brands) buy different canned fish more often – ones that are caught in Maine and are species that are lower on the food chain.  For example, wild kippers caught in Maine are a good substitute.  I still have more research to do on that though.

I may start buying nicer cuts of fish from markets as well.. but we’ll see.

Another note about fish – many vegans will say that: “If you can’t imagine yourself killing the animal for food, then you shouldn’t eat it.” Meaning that one should not eat in a dissociated way.  I’ve come to agree with this more & more, but will not be offering this opinion up at all dinner parties from here on out. I do not judge anyone for their food choices.  For me, though, I know I can watch and be a part of the catching & cleaning of a fish.  It helps that I have done multiple dissections in my lab classes/work, but I know that I would be 100% OK with gutting a fish if I had to at some point.

Side note here – Caleb, my wonderful boyfriend (who is not vegetarian .. or vegan) was given a fish that had been caught by a friend of his while ice fishing.  This was during my 30 days of vegan.  The fish needed to be cleaned, etc.  So Caleb did it on our kitchen table.  It was a bit icky, yes, but of course blood & guts will always be icky.  But watching this happen and knowing that I would have been okay 1. doing it myself and 2. eating it (had I not been doing a 30 day vegan challenge) made me realize that fish was something that I would not be dissociated with while eating it.

3. Greek Yogurt – ONLY from local sources.  Which means, as far as I know, It will be from Appleton Farms- they produce organic yogurt from their dairy cows.  I can turn it into Greek style – yogurt by further straining it myself.  Before being vegan, I was eating Cabot brand yogurt.  Which felt OK, seeing as they are a New England based company.  Still, it feels weird now to imagine going back to them.  I honestly don’t know how they produce their dairy products.  So while I can, I’ll stick to what I know about.  AND like I said above, while I can, I’ll stick to the delicious coconut yogurt.

Now, I’m not going to be a dictator about any of this.  Life happens and sometimes I won’t know where an egg I’m eating has come from, or I’ll be offered animal products (of the three listed.. I’m still going to try to stay away from other animal products) from someone else and I just don’t want to be that person to get all “is it local?/organic?/sustainable?” on the kind soul trying to feed me.

I’m not sure when or how I’ll ease back into these couple of specific animal products.  I think it will start with finding local egg sources.  Which will most likely involve a conversation or two with the farmer/store owner who is offering such products.  I look forward to talking about the importance of eating local with these folks.

In general, though, I know I will be eating animal products even less-frequently than I was.  Sprouted tofu in rice paper rolls and yummy lentils and/or hummus have been so much fun & flavor that I think I’ll continue making those my main protein sources for now.  I mean, flavor has always been such an important part of eating for me and it seems funny to think about how I was consuming things like HB eggs and tuna so often.. SOLELY for their nutritional content and not really for their flavors.

Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls filled with hummus, mung bean sprouts, homemade kimchi, locally grown wheatgrass, red cabbage, onion, baked sweet potato & golden beets. YES.

Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls filled with hummus, mung bean sprouts, homemade kimchi, locally grown wheatgrass, red cabbage, onion, baked sweet potato & golden beets. YES.

Being vegan for 30+ days has been a lesson in mindful eating.

AND a reason to make all sorts of yummy vegan treats….

Acai & Spirulina Tartlets

Acai & Spirulina Tartlets

"no-cheese cheesecake" with rainbow chia jams on top

“no-cheese cheesecake” with rainbow chia jams on top

Assorted Energy Balls.. covered in matcha, wheatgrass, acai, cacao and coconut

Assorted Energy Balls.. covered in matcha, wheatgrass, acai, cacao and coconut

Now, on the flip side, another argument/discussion around food:

A customer who is familiar with mine and Hadley’s food adventures gave us a New York Times article to read about food. The article was titled

Shut Up and Eat – found in the NYT Food Edition Nov. 2014

To paraphrase, the author reminded us of a time when Food was just that – Food.  Something to provide sustenance while also tasting good, while also providing culture and tradition.  Today, it does those things and more.  It describes the person who is eating the food.  It is our political, ethical, general lifestyle choice(s). We are supposed to send signals to the market by spending our money on certain foods/products, which will in turn shift the industry into following practices that we agree with.   We demand Local, Organic, Sustainable, Small Farm, CSA, Farmers Market.  The author described that today, food is a reflection of the person we are trying to be, whereas in the past, it was a reflection of who we are, where we come from.  And yet, the author admitted to being the local, organic, sustainable food buyer.

For me, trying my best to eat ethically and mindfully is going to make ME the happiest.  Coming from a conservation background and continually acquiring a health&wellness background leads me to choose my foods in certain ways.

Food is a funny thing, isn’t it?  It’s a big deal.  It provides us with so many things.  But I always need to remind myself of how LUCKY I am to be worrying about the nit-picky things that I worry about when it comes to food.

The food system is as complicated as human biology, in my opinion :).  Variables, pressures, random events, .. they all go into what we eat, why we are able to eat those things, what we have access to, etc.

Well. That’s all for now, folks.  Any thoughts on food? Being vegan? Recipe shares?

Peace & Food & Love

Gina & Hadley ❤

Advertisements

Umami & Kimchi.

So what do these two funky words mean?

Besides the names of my future kittens..

They are similar words in sound but have different meanings.

Hadley and I have been exploring, (grocery) shopping and experimenting in the kitchen.  We ran into both umami AND kimchi while doing these things. Okay I’ll stop the suspense now..

umami

Umami is the 5th taste. It literally means ‘yummy’ in Japanese.

1/Sweet 2/Sour 3/Bitter 4/Salty and 5/Umami

Right?! My mind was blown as well.  What is an ‘umami’ taste?  I’ll let the excerpt from an NPR story do the telling:

But what was it? Being a chemist, Ikeda could find out. He knew what he was tasting was, as he wrote, "common to asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat but… not one of the four well-known tastes." Ikeda went into his lab and found the secret ingredient. He wrote in a journal for the Chemical Society of Tokyo that it was glutamic acid, but he decided to rename it. He called it "umami," which means "delicious" or "yummy" in Japanese.
Umami
Glutamate is found in most living things, but when they die, when organic matter breaks down, the glutamate molecule breaks apart. This can happen on a stove when you cook meat, over time when you age a parmesan cheese, by fermentation as in soy sauce or under the sun as a tomato ripens. When glutamate becomes L-glutamate, that's when things get "delicious." L-glutamate, said Ikeda, is a fifth taste.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15819485

So there you have it. Umami; the fifth taste, the yummy flavor in certain dishes.  What has umami that Hadley and I have been eating lots of lately?

SEAWEED. Yes like the plants that grow in the ocean.  There are three species that I’ve been munching on/cooking with lately..

Dulse, Kombu & Nori.

Dulse is a snacky seaweed, as is Nori, but Kombu is a bit tougher (it is a type of kelp.. so naturally thicker and tends to grow in areas of higher wave action.. hence its toughness).

Kombu can be used when making soups – I used it in a lentil stew and it made a nice broth, and then after it had been boiled and soaking in hot water for a while, it was perfectly snackable!  Seaweeds are also naturally high in Iodine, which – thanks to Hadley’s nutrition knowledge – I’ve learned is an important ingredient in a healthy diet..
And seaweed has umami and is another great way to explore all of our taste buds.

Hadley and I went and lunched at a quint noodle bar called Anju in Kittery, Maine, where we munched on lots of (I think) umami tastes.

Pickled Cauliflower Salad. Rutabaga & Kohlrabi and Green Cabbage Kimchi. UMAMI.

Pickled Cauliflower Salad. Rutabaga & Kohlrabi and Green Cabbage Kimchi.
UMAMI.

Anju Noodle Bar in Kittery, Maine. Yummy. Umami.

Speaking of kimchi…

kimchi

Kimchi is a Korean dish that has GOT to have umami.  I definitely would say it’s yummy.  AND it’s fermented.. so I think umami is there for sure.  Fermentation. Fermented foods. Kimchi. Kombucha – that bubbly health store drink that will set you back around 5 bucks. All very umami.

Fermentation happens when bacteria cultures grow and respire.  There are wild strains of bacteria found on many vegetables.  This is what happens with kimchi – it is called ‘wild fermentation’ for this reason.  Kimchi is so much fun to make and it’s way cheaper to make it at home than to buy it from your local health store (will set you back at least 7 bucks for a tiny jar).

Same with ‘booch. (Kombucha’s pet name).  Kombucha is fermented tea that needs a Scoby (FUTURE DOG NAME PLEASE DON’T STEAL THIS IDEA FROM ME 😉 ). A scoby is the acronym for:

Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast

This means kimchi & kombucha are full of probiotics – bacteria that are beneficial to your gut health! Did you know that your gut is like your second brain?! So yeah, be good to your gut.  Some may even say to FOLLOW your gut.  (Only do this if you are getting lots of probiotics, otherwise your gut is not trustworthy. Hehe).

Same deal here. Cheaper & more fun to make at home. We’ll get back to booch in another post, though.

Kimchi is the next star of the show here.  I made some at home a few weeks ago using local cabbage, beet, turnip and celeriac root. Thanks Alprilla Farm!

I spiced it with lots of good things.. turmeric, curry powder, red pepper flakes, LOTS of ginger and LOTS of garlic (Sorry Hadley).

If you’re interested in making your own fermented things, just google some recipes.  There are lots of easy to follow ones out there!

Homemade Kimchi before it's sealed off to ferment in a jar.

Homemade Kimchi before it’s sealed off to ferment in a jar.

So, there ya go.  Umami & Kimchi.  My future cats.

Probiotics.

I’ll leave you with a picture of some homemade spiced sweet potato hummus.  The red stuff is dulse!

happy hummus. also much cheaper to make at home ;)

happy hummus. also much cheaper to make at home 😉

Stay happy & healthy

❤ Gina & Hadley

Acai Dessert Bowl

As Gina begins her 30 days of being vegan journey, I feel compelled to also try a challenge.

I have been raw in the past and as it becomes sunnier and more spring like out I find myself only wanting beautiful raw foods. Something about cooked food never seems quite as visually appealing to me, and something Gina and I talk about pretty frequently is how important the visual aesthetic of food is.

Beautiful food makes you pause, and like we do, take a picture, or just admire… Taking in the bright phytonutrient rich colors, the textures, the beauty of plants and all they can do for you. This pausing or reflection is a form of meditation and mindfulness.

Mindfulness with food can mean reflecting on where your food came from, how it got to your plate (or bowl!) and how it is healing and healthy for you, as well as what it will taste like. I believe mindfulness is crucial to eating a healthy diet. If you are mindful you probably won’t eat that processed cookie from the factory halfway around the world because if you really picture the process… ew! Also you are less likely to eat an animal product unless you would be willing to kill/ procure the product yourself, and even if you are willing, you are more likely to be aware of the humane ethical issues involved and take them into consideration.

Mindfulness also means paying attention to true hunger rather than eating out of boredom, and the reverse, making time to eat when you are hungry! It also means taking time to nourish your body rather than eating in a rush. When food is not art it is just sustenance. And that is not conducive to mindful appreciation or sustenance for you soul.

With beauty and mindfulness in mind, I took a look at at some recent food pictures I had taken, both mine and inspiration from other people, and noticed that the ones that really grabbed me and inspired me were raw.

Raw colors were more vibrant, textures more vivid, healthy and sunshine just radiating out of the foods. This is the kind of inspiration that fuels excitement, and excitement is a pretty good motivating factor for anything, including healthy eating!

So as Gina does her 30 days of veganism, I will be doing 30 days of raw veganism. I also am still avoiding nuts and oils to support my father on his Esselstyn inspired diet, and to preemptively avoid heart disease myself! As it is best for my body, and I don’t have heart disease, I am back to using other high healthy fat foods like avocado and coconut in their whole food form. Also, after much debate, we decided smoothies and the occasional raw juice are staying in our lives. While the fiber is separated out and therefore reduces the health value, the joy and ease of healthy eating that smoothies give to us make them a keeper.

Whatever motivates you and inspires you on your plant-based journey is a beautiful thing and should be something you aspire to continue to have in your life. Seek knowledge (about everything! not just nutrition and health! 🙂 ) and then fit it into your life, but make sure to keep what you are passionate about and what inspires you too!

This raw vegan acai bowl tastes like red velvet cake. If you haven’t yet tried acai powder go do it! It’s nutty and sweet and delicious and so healthy and full of those dark purple/ black antioxidants and phytonutrients that keep us glowing and healthy!

IMG_2446

Base:

-organic unsweetened vanilla coconut milk

-organic wild blueberries

-organic strawberries

-lots of organic raw acai powder

Decorated with:

-organic strawberries

-organic raw sprouted pumpkin seeds

-organic raw sprouted watermelon seeds

-organic raw acai powder

-organic raw coconut

-LOVE ❤

Have a beautiful day and treat yourself well! ❤

To Vegan? Or Not to Vegan?

I believe Shakespeare was the first to ask this question, am I right?

This is what I have been debating for the past few weeks.  It all started with, well, this blog and our Smoothie Bowl creation(s).  All vegan! Then, my wonderful boyfriend gave me a book called “The Vegetarian Flavor Bible”, which (little did he know) spends the first few chapters expressing the importance and nutritional benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet. Then, as I kept posting more vegan recipes and browsing through more plant-based IG feeds and ideas, I thought to myself… why am I not vegan..why am I not even vegetarian?? Am I a faker?  Here I am , posting about how wonderful plants are and how awesome plants taste and how you can turn plants into Unicorn Food, yet I myself am NOT actually all about this lifestyle?

You’re right, I was giving myself a hard time, I know.  Really, the 3 foods separating me and veganism are:

1. FISH and ALL seafood.. YUM

2. GREEK YOGURT, creamy and protein-y

3. Hard boiled eggs. Not exciting but an easy quick protein filled snack.

SO yeah, I’m getting pretty close. Still, not there yet.

I took a mini-poll on my Facebook, asking friends and family who are veg/vegan about their decisions and motivations regarding their diet.  The question got lots of reflective stories and opinions and they got me thinking..

…thinking about the fish I was eating, the eggs I was hard boiling.. the yogurt I was eating every morning.  I’ve become so invested in what I put into my body – and honestly, I really like knowing where those things are coming from.  Which is why I’ve become interested in crop farming.

But then I thought about the egg I was having for lunch.  Did I know where it was coming from? No. Well, a hen, yes, but where was the hen from? How was this hen treated, what were the conditions like where it lived, what was it being fed, was it a healthy bird? Basically, I started to feel like (FOR ME, this is only MY personal feeling and I 100% do NOT judge anyone who does not share the same dietary feelings as I do.. I am just expressing my own journey here) it was such an ABSTRACT way of eating food.  Just popping this snack down  because it had some protein, I wasn’t really really enjoying it, necessarily, I was just consuming it.  So, one food down. The fish, okay .. so I really like tuna.  Tuna, unfortunately are over harvested and tuna populations are not as stable as the should be.  Now this is something that I went to school for.  Natural resource management.  I knew, everytime I bought a can of Light Tuna at Market Basket, I was voting with my $1.79 and telling the world that I thought it was okay to keep harvesting those tuna.  Even when I sometimes splurged on the $3.29 can of ‘sustainable harvested, pole-caught wild tuna’, it just didn’t feel like enough, and honestly, that’s just too darn expensive to keep up.  So the yogurt.. I recently learned how dairy is produced/how cows are treated to keep them producing milk and it kinda made me squirm.  Now, I LOVE my Cabot Greek Yogurt.  And Cabot is a New England company.. kinda small farmer-esque, right?  Free of hormones and all of that and I bet they do their best to keep their cows happy.  Still, I just want to be true to my values – ethical, environmental, health-wise, etc.  Plus, like Hadley says, I like a challenge too and I want to ‘practice what I preach’ and eat according to the foods/recipes/diets we are posting about here.

Sooo.. dun dun dun.. I am doing a 30 day vegan diet!! Starting.. as soon as I finish the carton of Cabot Greek Yogurt I purchased a day before deciding to do this.  (Sabotage, subconscious sabotage..).  BUT immediately after I finish the greek yogurt, I am starting a full out 30 day vegan diet. NO animal products, no honey, no nothin.

I’m really excited, I’ve already started experimenting with tofu, more beans and just different ways of eating those wonderful fruits and veggies we love.

Rice paper rolls, anyone?

first attempt: filled with sweet potato, green cabbage, beet, onion and curry-spiced baked sprouted tofu. Dressing is a homemade turmeric root/tahini & black sesame seed mix.

first attempt: filled with sweet potato, green cabbage, beet, onion and curry-spiced baked sprouted tofu. Dressing is a homemade turmeric root/tahini & black sesame seed mix.

Will definitely be doing more of these.. thinking savory AND sweet.

All in all, I feel sincerely GOOD about this decision.  I mean, truly in my gut I feel like this decision will bring lots of positive changes and open doors for me.. who knows how much longer after 30 days it will last.. but you never know! Vegan may just stick.

It’s all about a Happy Belly anyways, right?

There’s the answer to your question, Shakespeare.

Today’s recipe:

Vegan raspberry lemon ‘cheese’cake with a pumpkin swirl

to 'cheese'cake? or not to 'cheese'cake?

to ‘cheese’cake? or not to ‘cheese’cake?

Crust

Cashews/almonds/coconut/dates/golden raisins/buckwheat groats

Lemon filling

Lemon juice/soaked cashews&almonds/coconut oil/banana/lemon zest/vanilla powder

Raspberry layer

Cashews/raspberries/lemon/dates/banana/pumpkin puree/salt/water

Tops

Coconut flakes/cacao nibs/raspberries/love💞

Layered one on top of the other, set in the freezer and voila!

one more view..

one more view..

Will keep you all updated on my vegan adventure, made some BOMB hummus yesterday that may appear here soon.. if we don’t eat it all before I get some pictures of it..

Stay happy, bellies ❤
P.S! Check out the HappyBelly Instagram account @happybellybowls
Follow the account for even more happy belly yumminess

Adzuki Genmai Breakfast

Recently, it seems that the idea that juice, even raw, is just sugar water has been applied to smoothies as well. When the fruit or veggies are blended that much it separates out the fiber and the food hits your system really fast. I was of course really sad to learn this because smoothies are a staple in my life..

I do think any whole food plant-based diet is healthy, and any step in the direction of health should be applauded. There’s very little to be gained from being very strict in regards to nutrition or anything really. Also, though, it’s important to try to do what’s best and not give up either. So I set out to change my smoothie bowl breakfast which I have every day to anther kind of breakfast bowl.

The parameters I set for myself were as such:

1) It had to be breakfasty at least a little bit. Miso soup is a staple breakfast item in Japanese diet, but I wanted this to fit into the Western idea of breakfast. So I decided I wanted it to be sweet. Also I am used to smoothie bowls and wanted it to be similar.

2) Following the first point, it should have fruit. I love fresh fruit.

3) It needed to be a complete and satisfying meal. With a crazy hectic schedule I rely on my breakfast before I leave the house to be enough to carry me through until I get time for something else.

4) It had to be easy to make. Because cooking is hard. (Gina’s really good at it; I’m not.)

A topping of fruit and sprouted seeds was an easy place to start. The base was more difficult but fun to figure out. Veggies and fruits were out as they would need to be blended to really make a bowl base (otherwise it would be a fruit salad of some sort and that’s just not satisfying or fun). Gina had a great idea of a baked apple base, but the non-cook in me was way too lazy for that. Also it’s spring! Basically! So that left grains and beans, because in case you have read the previous posts I’m not having high fat foods like nuts. Tofu is an easy options but I wanted something that was good for guys as well as girls and too much soy isn’t good for men. So grains and beans…

Most beans are not very breakfast and also are not my favorite food, but adzuki beans are the best! Also called red beans, they are really common in Japan, and are kind of sweet. When I visited Japan there was even a Adzuki Bean Frappaccino, which I had and it tasted like strawberry shortcake! No comment on the fact that I had a Frappaccino at Starbucks…it was AGES ago, really.

My favorite grain is rice because it’s gluten free and easy to find for the most part. I was gluten free mostly for a while and I think it has it’s benefits. Too much gluten or grains in general is not the best idea because it takes away from the amount of fruits and veggies you’re eating, which really should be the basis of your diet. Some people really feel sick from gluten and others, like me, feel better with minimal amounts. Gluten free grains like quinoa and buckwheat are just not very sweet, breakfasty, or easy in my opinion. Brown, red, or black rice is better than white, with the nutritional value increasing the darker the color is.

Beans on their own are kind of difficult to conceptualize in a Western breakfast, and rice on its own is kind of savory-ish and not very exciting. So I wanted to mix the two. Red bean paste mochi (kind of like dumplings) made with brown rice (genmai in Japanese) would be a yummy base but are hard to find and sometimes have added sugar. Then I stumbled on a recipe for a brown rice and adzuki bean porridge and fell in love.

Adzuki Genmai Porridge Base

-organic brown rice

-organic adzuki beans

See the recipe that I found here, it’s easy to follow and works well:  http://justbento.com/handbook/recipe-collection-mains/brown-rice-porridge-azuki-beans-azuki-iri-genmai-gayu

It was easy even with my standards and will last in the fridge for a couple future bowls, saving lots of time which is always appreciated.

I topped this morning’s bowl with:

-organic strawberries

-organic blackberries

-organic raspberries

-organic sprouted pumpkin seeds

-organic raw vanilla bean powder

Love to you all and get ready for some real spring weather this week, and go out and explore and be in the sun!

❤ ❤ Hadley and Gina

FullSizeRender

Toast

So this is a creation not a bowl, of course. But toast is something I have almost every day and it deserves attention.

With a crazy busy schedule and the good fortune to live downtown and the consequence of going out a lot for lunch, dinner and drinks…I never know when or what I’m doing later in the day. Preparing a big lunch or dinner is so out of the question it doesn’t even seem like an option. Toasts can be made in a second and are delicious and can be as filling as you want. And you can have two or as many as you want.. Then when you find yourself having dinner later you’re not so full and, if you end up staying in you can make more! Or make something else, but either way it’s a low key way to get in lots of nutrients on your own time without fuss. Which is so important.

My preference for a toast base is a plain, organic obviously (Gina says “organic obviously” should be our motto 🙂 ) rice cake. They are light and so tasty and work for people who are gluten-free as well. Get ones that are oil free and sugar free (in all its sneaky forms including brown rice syrup, shame on you Lundberg Farms!) A little salt isn’t terrible, sea salt at least has nutrients and hasn’t been terribly processed, but salt- free is always better. Lundberg Farms has a (yay!) sugar free Mochi rice cake that is heavenly. I LOVE mochi.

By the way: Brown rice mochi, especially filled with adzuki bean paste, is something we are going to have to definitely experiment with. ❤

So, if you are not a rice cake fan? Try a thin slice of toast or dense bread that has no oil, no sugar, just whole healthy grains. The Original Ezekiel bread is fantastic and available lots of places.

I used to always have my next layer be mashed avocado, but not that I am trying to follow the Esselstyn way of thinking, with no excessive fats that damage your endothelial cells I needed an alternative. Hummus is something that Gina and I had so much fun experimenting with early on and so I decided that would be a good avocado substitute.

I bought a pound of:

-dry organic chickpeas ($1.99 and it could’ve been cheaper if from a bulk bin)

…and fast soaked them (rinse, add water, boil, let soak, rinse). Then instead of adding oil or tahini, which is super fatty even if no-oil, I added:

-fresh organic lemon juice

-organic balsamic vinegar

-organic spices (black pepper, dill, oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, sage)

All smooshed together it created the yummiest hummus I have ever had ever ever ever.

IMG_4665

This is HALF the hummus that resulted. And thats a really big bowl.

So I just went and checked… that bowl holds 3 cups. So it made about 6 cups! Honestly I can’t tell you for sure because I ate a lot of it as it was being made. It was just so good and taste testing is important right?

So perfect middle layer. Then toppings can be whatever veggies you have on hand that fit on the toast. Which is most anything. Dark leafy greens are always a good bet so I started with that, and just a reminder that you can cook veggies in a little bit of water, just keep an eye and add more if you need to. Too much water gets rid of all the good nutrients (drain veggie water as it has toxins from any cruciferous veggies), and oils and butters are just unnecessary.

So I added:

-organic kale

-organic cauliflower florets

-organic tomato slices

-little bit of organic balsamic vinegar and lemon juice on the kale while it was cooking

The result was yum and so incredibly filling it was strange, or maybe that’s the hummus I ate earlier when I was making it…

❤ Hadley and Gina

FullSizeRender 3

FullSizeRender 2

Unicorn Food

Today’s post will feature 2 recipes that are so colorful they can only be eaten by Unicorns. So find your inner Unicorn and let’s get started.

 the FAIRYTALE BAR.

Fairytale Bars

Fairytale Bars

These yummy yummy treats feature dates and raw nuts as their superpowers..so sure, you can call them super food bars if you want.

Bottom layer: medjool dates, raw almonds & cashews, @ORGANICBURST maca, cacao, lucuma powder, peanut butter, coconut, cashew MILK.

Top layer: last of the frozen raspberries, half a frozen papaya, a few frozen banana pieces, BEET, more coconut, more peanut butter, coconut oil, more raw cashews, vanilla extract, chia seeds.

Toppings: @organicburst wheatgrass, coconut, black sesame seed, raw sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds, cacao nibs.

Up Close & Personal

Up Close & Personal

Blend up the Bottom layer into a fine yet sticky mixture.  Coat the bottom of a wax-papered pan and let set in the freezer. While this is happening, blend up the top layer ingredients.  The top layer should be pretty thick too, almost ice-cream consistency.  Add/subtract ingredients as needed!

That’s the fun of this type of ‘cooking’ – you can be as guess&check/eyeball style as you want.

Spread the top layer on the bottom layer, add any toppings to make them extra unicorn-y and then set them back in your freezer!

They should be kept in the freezer and are best when thawed a bit before eating.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Next on the list is another smoothie bowl:

The Sweet Potato Swirl BOWL

Swirled.

Swirled.

As a barista, I was trained in how to produce ‘latte art’ on our espresso drinks.  This happens when the perfectly steamed milk is poured over the perfectly pulled espresso shots in a certain way that creates a design on the top of the drink.  😉

So I thought, why not try smoothie bowl art?  This would require 2 different colored layers – one darker (the espresso layer on the bottom) and one lighter (the steamed milk on the top).  The consistencies were the trickiest part and I’m going to have to play around with what works.

For the ‘Espresso’ Layer

Frozen Raspbabies/Bit of frozen banana/coconutmilk

For the ‘Steamed Milk’ Layer

frozen sweet potato (baked)/Bit of frozen banana/coconut milk

Tops

bluebabies/shredded coco/cacao nibs/buckwheat groats/@Organicburst wheatgrass powder aka fairy dust

So, I did my best to pour as if I was pouring a latte, but right away I could tell it was going to be different (duh, I know). Anywho, it created more of a swirly pattern and next time I think I’ll just commit from the start to a swirl on top instead of going with how I pour lattes.

Different animal, I know – lattes vs. smoothie bowls. Shoulda known.

Another view ;-)

Another view 😉

But the most important part of this bowl is the sweet potato, lets get serious.  Sweet potato is probably one of the most delicious root vegetables (maybe besides Beets) out there, in my opinion.  Also one of the most versatile.  They can be used in savory and sweet dishes – like beets – and can be prepared in a variety of ways.  They are a great source of carbohydrates for athletes and are full of Vitamin A/beta-carotene, as well as a solid source of Vitamin B5/6 and Manganese.

Baking sweet potatoes is a time commitment. I like to cut them in half hamburger wise, then in half again hot dog wise.. stick them in some aluminum foil and throw them (place them) in the oven @ 375 for about an hour, sometimes longer.  I only used about 1/2 of an entire potato – and it was on the small side – in the smoothie bowl.  Of course, these pieces were frozen.

The baked sweet potato can be used as a yummy sweet spread, it can be mushed up even more and turned into pudding mixed with some coconut milk, it can become many delicious things. You just have to experiment and be creative.

Your kitchen will not judge you for hoping for the best with recipes.  And if you have supportive family members and friends, neither will they.  And if you don’t have support in your kitchen adventures, just remember – you are embarking on a great adventure.  You are exploring new land and you are your very own Sacagawea.  It is easy to fall into ruts with food – I do too, we all do.  But if you continue to adventure and experiment in the kitchen, try new recipes, go out on culinary limbs, you will find hidden treasures everywhere!

If you’re using great ingredients, the recipe will turn out great.  It may not look like an award-winner, but as long as it’s tasty, who cares? And you know what, sometimes you’ll ‘fail’, but we all know what they all say about failure, right?

Keep inspiring and being inspired, friends ❤

Gina & Hadley