Monday, August 26, 2013

Tomato Basil Avocado Toast

I'm a big fan of avocado toast. You know, when you smear ripe avocado on a warm piece of rustic bread and sprinkle it with a little salt? Yeah, a simple avocado toast snack is something that makes me crazy happy. Now, I normally like my avocado toast just as I described above: super simple, nothing fancy, not even a dusting of black pepper. Well, yesterday that changed in a really big way.
If you haven't gotten on the avocado toast train, then I suggest you do. Avocados are amazing for you. They're an incredible source of healthy fats that aid in fighting inflammation in the body. Tomatoes, too, have pretty great health benefits. They're filled with the powerful antioxidant, lycopene. In order for lycopene to be absorbed by the body, it needs to be consumed with fat. So what I have here on these pretty little toasts is a perfect synergy between these two foods. I love that.
Ok, I understand that what I'm about to share with you isn't mind blowing. It's not some complicated recipe or flavor combination. It's not even a recipe, really. I had no intention of blogging about this. At all. But really, you need to try this. All you need is some really good bread, an equally good avocado, a tomato plucked from the garden, some basil leaves, and sea salt. Oh, and black pepper. Don't forget that.

Tomato Basil Avocado Toast

2 slices of rustic whole grain bread or sourdough bread
1 small avocado
1 small garden tomato
a few leaves of fresh basil
sea salt and black pepper

1. Lightly toast the bread. While it is toasting, slice the tomato and chiffonade the basil. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.

2. Remove the bread from the toaster and let cool slightly. Then, scoop out avocado on each slice and mash it on the bread with a fork. Sprinkle with sea salt and top with basil and sliced tomato. Sprinkle again with sea salt and black pepper. That's it.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Announcements and Chinese Spinach

Hello there and happy Friday to you, my beautiful readers. I have some announcements that I've been dying to share with you all! In case you haven't noticed, some things have slightly changed a bit on the blog...I got a new name! I recently changed the blog's name from "Nourish Your Roots" to "Nourish The Roots". Whoa.

Why the subtle change, you ask? Well, to make a long story short, I got all legit on you and decided to make the blog a permanent space by creating a domain (I feel like a queen, haha). So I'm no longer just a blogspot, I'm a .com! Woo hoo! 'Nourish Your Roots' just wasn't going to cut it, and so I had to make a choice. Now, you can simply type '' into your browser and you'll stumble upon me. So fun, right? I feel all fancy. It was a little scary at first to change the name, not gonna lie. I was having withdrawals from it...I felt like I was losing my identity. Okay, maybe I'm being too dramatic, but it was tough. Now, I'm loving the new name...I think it rolls off the tongue beautifully.

The fabulous news is that this doesn't change anything for you. At all. If you have my blog bookmarked anywhere or if my old blogspot address is out there on the interweb or written on a napkin somewhere, you can still click it and/or type it in your browser. It will still take you to this space, you'll just see a different name. So no worries. Whew, Glad we got that out of the way.
Also, I've been a little sneaky lately and slipped a new tab above called 'Consultations and Classes'. This  tab will lead you to a gorgeous little shop where you can see the services I'm now offering. These include private chef services, cooking classes, meal planning, and food coaching. Click here for more details. You guys, I'm really excited about this! Contact me on the blog, on Facebook, or send me an email ( if you have any questions.

And so, I leave you with these gorgeous images of a sexy new green I discovered the other day at the farmers market. The farmer called it Chinese spinach, but I'm not sure if that's the real name or not. Anyway, it's crazy beautiful and also delicious. It wilts down like spinach does, has a bit of a peppery taste, and releases an incredible purple color as it cooks. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it cooked, but sauteing it lightly with some ghee and garlic and some salt? Oh baby it was good. It's always important to vary your intake of green vegetables to make sure you're getting the variety of nutrients found in other green plants. Kale is wonderful and all, but it's great to branch out.

Thank you all for your kindness and support and keep checking back on the blog for exciting new recipes and posts!

Love and health to you,

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vegan Summer Fruit Macaroon Tart

Treat every day as if it was a special occasion
I heard that recently and it really struck a chord with me. I think it's easy for many of us (ok, me in particular) to go through life and look forward to the exciting days ahead. Like our plans for the weekend or the vacation we're taking sometime in the future. Or some other life stage that we're anxiously awaiting. Or that dream that you'll fulfill "someday". And we forget to live in the now. We forget to celebrate the incredible journey that is life right in this minute. We forget to celebrate the small things (or even the bigger things that don't typically have a celebration associated with it).
I've felt that the past six months have been an incredible time of growth and changes for me. Some of those changes have been amazing and wonderful and just plain exciting. But many of those changes have do I say it...uncomfortable. There have been many moments of questioning, doubt, and reasoning. Moments where I wonder if I'm actually actively pursing my dreams or if instead I'm just waiting until the time is right. Well, I'm here to say that I've decided to take the chances, do the work, learn the skills, and feel the pain. I'm not backing down. The moment is now. No more distractions or excuses.

I just quit my unfulfilling restaurant job and I'm ready to do what I love. I'm ready to do what I feel like I've been put on this earth to do. I'm devoting more time to this space and to projects that I'm passionate about. I'm seeing where it all will take me. I'm reaching out to others, soaking in everything I'm learning like a sponge. I don't have it all figured out, and mistakes will be made along the way. And honestly, I'm scared to death. But I'm putting it out there and I'm excited to see where it takes me.

And so, I'd call that a reason to celebrate. A special occasion, if you will. And what better way to celebrate than with a gorgeous tart filled with summer fruit? I don't think there's a better way.
This tart is happiness on a plate. For real. I improvised on the original recipe and made it vegan (one, because I wanted everyone to be able to eat it and two, because I ran out of eggs). It came out great. The crust is delicious and the coconut oil richness is just perfect. I imagine that just making the crust and topping it with fruit would be incredibly delicious on its own.

Summer Fruit Macaroon Tart (inspired by Heidi's Macaroon Tart in Super Natural Everyday)
For the crust:
1 ½ cups whole spelt flour (or any flour, really)
¾ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
½ cup coconut sugar (or rapadura or cane sugar)
½ tsp. fine sea salt
8 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or you can use butter)

For the filling:
2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut (I had to use some oats here because I ran out of still came out super)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp organic almond or vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water wisked until a gel forms (or use 4 egg whites)
2-3 handfuls blackberries
2 small plums, sliced
one small nectarine, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub coconut oil on a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan, and set it on a rimmed sheet pan.

2. To make the crust, combine the flour, coconut, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Stir in the melted coconut oil, and mix until the dough no longer looks dusty and all flour is absorbed. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan: it should form a solid, flat layer. Bake for 15 minutes, or until barely golden. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

3. While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Combine the coconut, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Add the chia seed gel (or egg whites), and mix until well combined.

4. When the crust is cool, evenly distribute the fruit over it. Drop dollops of the filling over the fruit, using your fingers to nudge it into the spaces in between. I liked keeping some of the fruit poking out from the topping.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peaks of the filling are deeply golden. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Yield: 8 to 12 slices, depending on how much you like dessert.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Holy Sprouts!

Today I'm going sprout crazy on the blog! I'm here to tell you all about sprouts and why they're good for you. See, I just taught a class on all things sprouts and I'm dying to share my knowledge of these funny little creatures with you all! And if you stick with me all the way until the end (or even if you don't), I have a pretty kick-ass recipe using some of these sprouts that I just know you'll love. Plus I have a list of resources for you at the bottom of the post if you want to learn how easy it is to sprout at home.
Simply put, sprouting is the beginning stage of the germination period of a growing seed when it is exposed to water and sunlight. You can sprout things like seeds, beans, nuts, and grains. So you may ask, "why should I eat sprouts and why are they good for me?" Well, you see, seeds (including nuts, legumes, and grains) have lots of nutritional benefits to you, but many of those benefits are locked inside the seed by anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors. These anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors are natural protective mechanisms in the seed that keeps it from sprouting in unwanted places (like in your pantry or in your stomach). To unlock all of the nutrients in seeds, you need to start the germination (or sprouting) process. Once you do, the dormant seed becomes a live plant. Anti-nutrients are cast away and you are able to digest and absorb all of the nutrients that the seed has to offer. You're actually eating a live little plant!

A little word about phytic acid. Phytic acid is in all seeds, nuts, and grains. It binds with calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc in the body, making it hard to impossible for you to absorb those nutrients. Bummer, right?  It’s also irritating to your digestive system and can cause gas and bloating (if you've ever eaten too many beans and got lots of gas, then you'll understand). By soaking and sprouting your grains, legumes or seeds, you are neutralizing phytic acid very effectively. You will also be neutralizing enzyme inhibitors, which unfortunately not only inhibit enzymes in the actual seed, but can also inhibit your own valuable enzymes once they have been eaten. Your seed/grain/legume will be much easier to digest now that you have sprouted it, and you will also be able to assimilate more nutrients. Yay!
As you can see here, I've sprouted lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, broccoli seeds, and farro (a whole grain similar to whole wheat). It's ok if you don't have time to let your seeds sprout all the way every time you want to eat them, but I recommend at least soaking them overnight or for 8-12 hours before you do. I do this for all of my beans, grains, and nuts to ensure that I'm absorbing all of their nutrients. Yes, it takes a little planning ahead, but for me, it's worth it.
 This recipe can be made with any type of sprouts you like. I chose mung bean sprouts in this Asian salad because mung beans have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of conditions.
Asian Style Mung Bean Sprout and Vegetable Salad

2 cups sprouted mung beans
3 scallions, thinly sliced
one half of a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½  cup of shredded purple cabbage
½ cup julienned carrot
1 cup of chopped cucumber
1 cup of thinly sliced kale
Radish or broccoli sprouts for garnish
2 tablspoons dulse flakes
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

6 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
3 tablespoons raw honey, maple syrup, or agave
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1. Combine all of the vegetable ingredients from the first list (minus the radish sprouts) into a large bowl.  
2. Add the dressing ingredients to the bowl. Toss well and taste for seasoning.
3. Garnish with radish sprouts and more sesame seeds before serving.

Sprouting Resources
This site provides everything you could ever need for sprouting from sprouting supplies to sprouting seeds.

The Sprouting Book by Ann Wigmore:

Sprouts: The Miracle Food by Steve Meyerowitz:

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cauliflower Soup with Coconut, Turmeric, and Lime

I totally get it if you're looking at the title of this post and thinking "Soup? In the Summer? What is this girl thinking?!" It's crazy, I know. But guys, sometimes it gets chilly here, even in 'I need to wear long sleeves and pants' kinda chilly. I'm an east coast girl who's used to hot, humid, and sticky summers. These northwest summers are different for me. But in a good way. And that, my friends, is why I have a soup recipe for you today. This soup is from the gorgeous cookbook "Vegetable Literacy" by Deborah Madison. People, I'm in love with this book. If you are a nerdy lover of vegetables like me, you'll love it, too.

I chose to top this soup with lots of mung bean sprouts for a little extra protein punch. I also used fresh coconut meat and fresh coconut water from a young Thai coconut blended together in place of canned coconut milk. Serve this soup with fragrant brown basmati rice with melted ghee.
Cauliflower Soup with Coconut, Turmeric, and Lime 
(adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison)

2 tbs butter or ghee (or coconut oil for vegan version)
1 cup or more chopped leeks, white part only, washed thoroughly
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro stems or leaves
1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, broken into small florets
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tablespoons curry powder
sea salt
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk, plus 2 or more cups of water
juice of one large lime
1-2 tablespoons coconut butter
chopped cilantro to finish

1. Melt butter, ghee, or coconut oil in a soup pot over medium low heat. Add leeks, cilantro stems, and cauliflower and stir to coat with butter.

2. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add turmeric, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Pour in coconut milk and 2 cups of water and raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover partially, and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.

3. With an immersion blender, lightly blend the soup so it's still a little chunky. (Alternatively, you can put a few cups of the soup through a blender or food processor) Add more water if the soup is too thick. Stir in lime juice and taste for salt.

4. Just before serving, stir in coconut butter, ladle into bowls and top with fresh cilantro. I happened to top mine with mung bean sprouts, as well.

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