Raw Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing

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Kale is one of my favorite foods to work with. I’ve made several kale salads before and this is definitely a keeper. Unfortunately I did not measure out the dressing, but I will do my best to give an estimate. Feel free to play around with it as needed.

I truly believe kale salads are an essential staple to have on hand. I usually make one batch a week and play around with different dressings for each one. Avocado based dressings are quite excellent since they provide a creamy texture and a healthy fat. When you finish this nutrient-packed meal, you feel fully satisfied!

Ingredients
– 1 bunch of kale
– oil
– 1 avocado
– 1 clove garlic
– 2-3 Tbls nutritional yeast
– 1-2 Tbls lemon juice
– 1/4 tsp cayenne
– salt/pepper to taste
– water to thin to desired consistency

1. Destem kale, tear into bite sized pieces. Massage with oil for 5 minutes or until tender and wilted. Rinse and set aside
2. In a blender/food processor, add avocado, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, cayenne, salt and pepper. Thin with water as needed. Pour over salad. I used about 2/3
3. Add in toppings such as raw sunflower seeds and shredded carrots

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Vietnamese Mock Duck with Pickled Veggies, Roasted Broccoli and a Sweet Sriracha Sauce

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I was inspired to make this dish after we received some mock duck in the shop. The first thing that came to my mind was “Banh Mi!” As you can see, this is not the traditional Banh Mi, which is served on a baguette with pickled veggies, pork, pate, cilantro and jalapeños. One thing I did stay true to was the spice. I put a good amount of red pepper flakes in the marinade and the sweet sriracha sauce gave another dimension of heat. You can certainly serve this traditionally on bread or incorporate it other ways such as atop a mountain of veggies!

Ingredients
– 1 package of chicken style seitan (Westsoy makes a great one)
– 3 cloves garlic, leave whole and crush
– 1″ piece of ginger, minced
– 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 Tbls lime juice
– 2 tsp tamari

1. Drain the seitan and set aside
2. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Add seitan to marinade. Cover and refrigerate for as long as possible (I did about 3 hours, overnight would be ideal)
3. Sauté marinated seitan with the marinade until the marinade has absorbed/evaporated and the seitan has browned
4. To make the sweet sriracha, add equal parts of sriracha to agave

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Chocolate Coconut Almond Crispies

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I’ve been on a crispie bar kick lately. Partly due to the fact that I have a gianormous box of rice crispies to use up.

These Chocolate Coconut Almond Crispies are excellent! The one downside is you should keep them cooled, especially on a warm day. So after they chill and set up, cut them into desired pieces then put them back into the fridge. Silver lining: they aren’t laying on the counter and tempting you every time you walk through your kitchen.

Ingredients
– 4 c rice crispies
– 1/2 c corn syrup
– 1/2 c maple syrup
– 1/2 c chocolate chips
– 1/2 c almond butter
– 2 Tbls coconut oil
– pinch of salt
– 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

topping (optional)
– 1/2 c chocolate chips
– 1 Tbls coconut oil
– slivered almonds
– coconut flakes

1. Pour 4 cups of rice crispies into a large bowl
2. In a small pan, add the corn syrup and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add almond butter, chocolate chips, coconut oil, salt and extract. Stir until everything is combined
3. Add the syrup mixture to the crispies and stir
4. In a 8×8 pan, line with parchment paper and with wet hands, press crispie mixture into the pan
5. Let chill for an hour. If using the topping, melt the chips and oil in a small pan. Once the mixture is smooth, pour over crispies. Top with almonds and coconut
6. Return to the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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Chinese 5-Spice Quinoa and Cabbage Salad

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Nothing makes me happier than when I create a recipe from my own creative devices. Such was the case with this Chinese 5-Spice Quinoa and Cabbage Salad. We had an abundance of cabbage on hand, so I decided to start there. I sautéed it with some onion, garlic and ginger, adding the red pepper at the end. The only challenge was perfecting the dressing. I’ve come pretty close to doing this, but seem to still be tweaking it since I am terrible at writing measurements down. So, be aware that the recipe for the dressing is a complete guesstimate. Feel free to play around with it before adding it to the salad. (PS this makes a very large amount…)

Ingredients
– 3 c cooked quinoa
– 1 large head of green cabbage, chopped
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 red pepper, diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1″ ginger, minced
– salt and pepper
– 1 c olive oil
– 2 Tbls sesame oil
– 2 Tbls rice vinegar
– 1 Tbls Chinese 5-spice
– 2 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste)
– 2 tsp tamari
– 2 tsp agave

1. Saute the onion in oil, once soft, add the cabbage. After the cabbage cooks down, add the red pepper, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice. Cook for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and add to the quinoa
2. For the dressing, whisk together the oils, vinegar, 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice, red pepper flakes, tamari and agave. Taste….and alter as needed. Pour over the quinoa cabbage salad. Chill or serve warm

Product Review: Spirit Creek Farm’s Curtido

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Last year, I had no idea what curtido was. Now, I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff! The vinegar infused, fermented slaw-like mixture is addictive and delicious. My favorite brand is Spirit Creek Farm from Spirit Creek, WI.

I have incorporated this into sandwiches and veggie burgers/brats. I also enjoy eating it salad style with chopped avocado and spinach.

There are many health benefits from incorporating fermented foods into your diet. The blog site “Nourishing Days” has a great article that states, “The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”

Definitely check out your local co-op to see if they carry this amazing product. And if cabbabge, carrots and onion aren’t your favored vegetables of choice, Spirit Creek Farm also makes a variety of other delicious fermented veggies!

Mock Chicken Salad

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We received our first shipment of seitan for the season and needless to say, I was eager to get home and create something for the deli. Meat-salads are pretty popular at the store so I made a mock chicken salad.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the devilish sounding faux meat, it’s a great option. And I’m not particularly fond of most alternative meats. Seitan originates from Japan and is said to have a texture similar to duck. In fact, it is often referred to as ‘mock duck.’

The recipe is very simple and if you don’t have a food processor, feel free to go for a chunkier texture by chopping the seitan. And while this salad goes great on a sandwich, it would also be a lovely protein for a pasta salad.

Ingredients
– 1 package of chicken style seitan (I used the Westsoy brand)
– 1 Tbls onion, diced
– 1/3 c vegenaise
– 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
– 1 carrot, grated
– 1 stalk of celery, chopped
– salt and pepper to taste

1. In a food processor, combine the seitan, onion, vegenaise and apple cider vinegar. Pulse until you have a desired consistency
2. Transfer the salad mixture to a bowl, stir in the celery and carrot. Add seasoning to your liking

Vegan Peanut Nutter Butter Crispie Bars

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Despite being MIA the past few weeks, I have no doubt been cooking and eating up a storm. I recently visited one of my favorite cities, Madison, WI, where I enjoyed testing out new eateries such as The Spot, Alchemy, and Marigold Cafe. All were pretty good, but the latter two were especially great.

Last night I whipped up a batch of these awesome bars. Yet, I must warn you, these are far from healthy and are quite addicting. With that in mind, these are great for gatherings and are a total hit with non-veg folk. It is reminiscent of a scotcheroo or special-k bar. Definitely worth trying!

Ingredients
– 1 package (16oz) Nutter Butter cookies
– 4 1/2 c puffed brown rice/rice crispies
– 1 c corn/brown rice syrup
– 1 stick butter (Earth Balance)
– 1 c lightly packed brown sugar
– 1/2 c unsalted peanut butter
– 1 tsp vanilla

1. In a food processor, chop the cookies into a crumble
2. Add Nutter Butter cookie crumble with the puffed rice and set aside
3. In a small pan, melt the butter and then add the corn syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add peanut butter and vanilla
4. Once all of the sauce ingredients have blended together, add to the cookie/rice mixture
5. Transfer into a greased 9×14 pan and chill in the freezer. After the bars set you can add the optional topping
6. Topping: Melt 1/2 bag of chocolate chips on the stove. Spread on top of the bars. Let cool and harden before cutting

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Siete de Mayo!

So, first of all, my detox too a detour. Apologies to those who were following. A three day detox is a noble one though! It definitely helped realign my focus and drive to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. So that’s a plus.

Secondly, I totally missed out on Cinco de Mayo. I usually like posting fun, festive foods, and here it is, just a few days late. I made a version of Vegan Richa’s pulled butternut squash tacos. Below is my spin on the recipe. I will definitely make these again. They turned out awesome.

Ingredients

- 1-2lbs butternut squash, shredded
– oil
– garlic powder
– salt
– packet of organic Southwest Taco mix
– 1/4 c bbq sauce
– 1/4 c Drew’s Smoked Tomato Sauce

1. Sauté squash in a little oil, garlic powder and salt
2. Mix taco seasoning, bbq sauce and Drew’s Smoked Tomato sauce in a separate bowl. Use about 1/4 c of the spiced paste and add it to the skilled
3. If necessary, add 2-3 Tbls water
4. Simmer until squash is tender
5. Serve on corn tortillas with your favorite taco fixings!

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Raw Cleanse: Day 3

Day 3 has also been tough, however, I have been busy with interviews and running around, so I haven’t had much time to notice. I mixed things up this morning by making a banana smoothie (1 frozen banana, ground flax, peanut butter and coconut water).

For lunch, I had these awesome ‘Better Than Walking Tacos’

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The recipe is very simple. Pulse together 1 c raw walnuts, 1 c mushroom of choice (I used shiitake), 1 Tbls bragg’s aminos, and spices of your choosing. I used chili, cumin and cayenne. Once your mixture is crumbled, spoon into mini-peppers. Top with cilantro and dip in whipped avo or fresh salsa!

Dinner will be these wonderful zucchini lasagna creations

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Prior to making these, I encourage that you invest in a mandolin. This piece of equipment will help you uniformly slice the zukes. As you can see, I do not have said equipment and my knife skills are shoddy, but improving, slowly.

I decided to peel the second batch of ‘lasagna’ layers, totally up to you. The skin brings nice color and obviously has added nutrients.

Here is what you need for the filling…

Cashew Cheese
– 2/3 c raw cashews
– 3 Tbls nutritional yeast
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
– 1 clove of garlic
– salt to taste
– water

1. Puree ingredients in a processor until you reach a desired consistency

Sun-Dried Tomato and Broccoli Pesto
– 1/2 head broccoli
– 4 slices of oil-packed sun-dried tomato
– 1 tsp oil from jar
– 1 tsp Italian seasoning
– 1/2 c shiitake mushrooms (optional)
– salt to taste

1. Pulse until everything is combined

Alternate layers with cheese/pesto spreads. Feel free to add other veggies in along the way. Enjoy!

Raw Cleanse: Day 2

Day 2, infamous Day 2. Today, I struggled. I had a pear and banana salad for breakfast. Mid-day I sipped on a carrot/orange/apple/lemon/ginger juice. By the afternoon I was ravenous. Oops. Major mistake: going too long without eating. For lunch I had a simple garden salad (lettuce/carrots/cucumber/green onion) along with some leftover pasta from last night. You know what would’ve helped? These:

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This image isn’t exact to the bites that I made today…but…pretty close. Again, carrying nuts, dried fruit and veggies along really helps.

The Simple Veganista has a ton of great recipes, some of which are raw. Hoorah! I played around with her almond vanilla bites and below is what I came up with. These are great to have on hand when you’re feeling an “OMG, I need to eat something, NOW” moment.

Another note, for future cleanse success, it is crucial to have a plan to follow. I’m hoping you can draw from these meal plans for ideas, inspiration and encouragement!

Almond Vanilla Chocolate Chip Energy Bites
– 1 c raw almonds
– 1/2 c oats
– 2 Tbls almond butter
– 1 Tbls peanut butter
– 3 Tbls maple syrup (or raw honey to be technical)
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/2 c dates, soaked
– 2 Tbls water
– dash of salt
– 1/4 c carob chips

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined. Roll into bite-sized pieces and place in the freezer. Enjoy when needed!