Happy Fall, everyone! =D
I would have to say that fall is my favorite season. There is something nostalgic about the first chill of autumn in the air. It reminds me of scarves, hayrides, hot coffee and tea, sleeping under a warm blanket...70
Oh, and I can't forget FALL FOODS!
Usually, everyone thinks of pumpkins around this time of year. Pumpkin spice flavored everything began coming out at the end of August this year, much to my dismay. Although I love pumpkin and spice, I don't think it should be a flavor for everything. I am excited to make some homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays though, don't get me wrong... I just think that August is a wee bit early for it!
I was thinking of a good dish to celebrate the fall equinox with. I love squash and stews and soups, but I still feel that it's a bit early for such heavy fare. The local temperature where I live is pretty warm still. We've had some chilly mornings, but over all our days are within the high 60-low 80 range. I still crave salads; I can't help myself!
In summer, I like to make very light salads that are full of yin energy. I first learned that different foods have either expansive or contractive properties when I attended cooking school. We were taught with some principals of macrobiotics, which I tend to follow now and again. I'm not a die-hard macrobiotic cook, but I definitely identify with many of the macrobiotic principles of food combination and preparation. I find that I gravitate towards macrobiotic foods more during the fall and winter months.
A simple example of a yin food, or a food with expansive (light, outward growth) energy, is baby lettuce. Baby lettuce grows upwards out of the ground, absorbs energy from the sun, and basks in the open air. Eating this lettuce will provide me with light nourishment that will not make me feel weighed down. However, this lettuce benefits me best when it is accompanied by a heartier root vegetable like a carrot. Carrots are more of a yang food since they grow in the ground. They keep our bodies and spirits rooted and steady, as well as satiated.
For me, winter calls for more yang foods. These heartier foods (like root veggies, baked dishes, grains, etc.) keep me full and warm when it's cold out. I like to balance the heartier foods with robust greens, like kale or collard greens. This salad that I've made is the perfect answer to the first calls of autumn: a light salad of substantial root vegetables with an oil-free dressing.
Almost all the vegetables I used for this salad are roots, so they are crunchy and satisfying with slightly sweet flavors. In order to keep the salad light, I shaved the vegetables thinly. The translucent disks are so delicate and reminiscent of fallen leaves! This is definitely a great Japanese side dish for any warm supper. Eating something raw on the side of a cooked main dish is an easy way to balance the yin and yang of your meal.
You can easily substitute some vegetables for others if you don't like them or cannot find them. Daikon and Japanese cucumber are usually difficult to find in a standard grocery store. If you are lucky enough to live near an Asian market, you will probably be able to pick up at least one of them! If you've never tried daikon, I urge you to give it a chance! It's a big carrot-shaped white radish with a slightly pungent bite. I like using raw daikon with sweeter vegetables to balance our their flavor. Some even say that daikon has fat-burning properties...so, why not? =)
Autumn Root Vegetable Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette
**Organic if possible!**
Ginger Dressing Ingredients
Whisk all ingredients together in a dish. Adjust any ingredient to suit your palate!
Happy Fall Cooking! ^_^
So, like I said, I'm still on my "spring cleaning" detox theme. Any detox that involves delicious ice cream is good for me! This idea started with a granola recipe. I was never keen on buying pre-made granola. Even though some varieties are very high quality, they can cost a fortune! Realistically, it's far cheaper to buy organic oats in bulk and then toast them yourself. Yep. Granola is basically toasted oats with stuff mixed in it. I also like making granola at home so I can control what goes in it. Too often are pre-packaged cereals laden with added sweeteners and oils. Some fat and sweeteners make granola delicious, this is true. However, I like to keep these ingredients in check for both health and flavor. Granola that is as sugary as candy doesn't do anyone any favors.
This granola is great because it's also multi-grain! I added some millet and quinoa for nutritional and textural benefits! I love the cunch the two grains add to the granola. By using the base ingredients for this mixture (oats, quinoa, millet, liquid ingredients...) you can change up what nuts/seeds/dried fruit/chocolate(!) you add. Customize and have fun!
Granola is also wonderful (let me count the ways!) because you can always serve it with something. I love using granola as a topping or garnish for breakfast porridge, smoothies, chia pudding, and ICE CREAM!!! I devised a completely clean and naturally sweet ice cream that can be eaten for any meal or snack of the day. This concoction is basically a bunch of fruits blended together with a bit of spirulina...not complicated at all! (It's also a lovely mint green color that is absolutely adorable!) Go ahead, whip some up for a midnight snack! If you wake anyone up with the sound of the blender, appease them with ice cream and send them back to bed. #Nobigdeal
Avocado Ice Cream and Granola Parfait
Avocado Ice Cream
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender or food processor till smooth. You may add a little liquid if it needs help moving (water, coconut water, non-dairy milk). Consistency will be like frozen yogurt soft serve! YUM
Gluten Free Multi-Grain Granola
Yield: approx. 3 cups
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine all wet ingredients and spices in a bowl and microwave to melt the coconut oil. Pour the mixture into a blender/food processor and blend until it forms a thick paste.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients with a large spoon. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and combine. Spread granola on a baking sheet and bake for about 17 minutes, tossing everything about half way through baking time to ensure even cooking. Let cool and munch! =)
Happy parfait making!! ^_^
Lately, the weather has been warming up quite a bit! There were a few days last week that felt like summer had decided to come early, but they came and went so quickly. I honestly prefer spring temperatures that hover around the high 60's-low 70's. That's my happy place.
When the weather changes, I try to change my eating habits to suit the energy of the air. In very hot conditions, my body seems to crave more raw foods or lightly cooked foods. This is true of most people, I would think. A huge bowl of soup in 85 degree weather seems a bit unappealing, unless the soup is chilled. I will still drink hot tea and coffee in the summer, but only when the temperature drops when the sun goes down.
This pattern of eating is difficult for me because I LOVE hot food. The fall and winter are my favorite seasons because warm foods are back in vogue and they keep me cozy in the chilly air. This year, I am determined to get myself excited for spring and summer foods. I'm trying to eat more raw at this time. It's almost like a spring cleaning or "detox" for my body and eating habits before the sweltering heat of summer arrives.
Breakfast has been a bit of a challenge for me to convert to raw food mostly because it usually consists of some hot porridge, hot rice, hot soup, hot tea...ANYTHING hot! I've known about chia pudding for a while now and I've tried it a few times. Only recently did I realize how versatile and amazing this concoction is! Thanks to a bunch of awesome healthy Instagrammers, I've gotten a ton of #foodspiration on how to make raw breakfasts interesting. I've pretty much been obsessed with chia pudding and overnight oats for the past week now. I eat some form of them every morning. This is wonderful for my sleep patterns too because I can mix my ingredients the night before and they create deliciousness in my fridge come 3:30 am when I wake up! (I know...insane.)
This post is dedicated to three of my favorite raw breakfast puddings that I've created lately. I am constantly trying new flavors and ingredients to mix things up. It's similar to what Chocolate Covered Katie does with oatmeal and baked oatmeal. Please check out her recipes if you love oats and tasty dessert-inspired flavors! They're delectable!
I will definitely take her lead and try to create more fun flavors for my breakfast puddings. I'm just getting warmed up! (Or...cooled down?)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Chia Pudding
Blend the oat milk, vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon in a blender to dissolve (or whisk briskly! try saying that 10x fast...). Pour in a glass/bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Place in fridge overnight. Top with some coconut sugar if desired and savor when you're ready for breakfast!
Yield: 1 cup
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until completely smooth. Use to drink, in cereal, in baking, sauces, soups, or smoothies!
Blueberry Pie Chia Pudding
Blend all ingredients (only 1 Tb of the berries) except chia in a blender, but not until smooth. Some pieces of blueberry are okay-you are just looking for a nice purple hue! Stir in the other 1 Tb blueberries and chia seeds. Let set in the fridge overnight.
Cinnamon Mocha Chia Pudding
Combine all except the chia seeds in a blender to dissolve. Pour the mixture in a glass/bowl and stir in the chia. Top with some cinnamon or cocao powder. Let set in fridge overnight. Use it to recharge in the morning! #screwstarbucks
If you want to see more foodspiration, check out my new Instagram page! It's just pictures of things that I eat in (mostly) real time! Like I said, I'm totally addicted. =D
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.