Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cranberry Almond Chia Bars

This is another simple, raw, vegan, nutrient packed power bar that's being served down at Shakti Rock Gym.  The almonds require a few hours of soaking time, and it's good to chill the whole batch before cutting it into bars, but putting this recipe together only takes about five minutes.  They store well in the freezer and make for easy access to energy boosting snacks.  They're just so much better than what you'll find on the market; completely free of preservatives, additives, or excessive packaging.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Raw Asparagus Salad aka: Summer Potluck Crowd Pleaser

Vegan Asparagus Salad

I don't know if I'm more excited to write about raw asparagus or awesome pasta salad (yes, it does exist), so this post might get a little windy.  At the very least, while we're still in asparagus season I wanted to point out that asparagus is fantastic raw.  This news is fairly new to me and I'm taking full advantage of it while bundles are 2 for $5 at the local farmers' market.

Sliced thinly,  asparagus makes a great base for, or addition to, all kinds of dishes.  As with other green vegetables, it's alkalizing to the system, and contains lots of fiber and protein.  A 27 calorie serving of plain old asparagus contains 3 grams of protein.  Not too shabby. It's also especially high in B6, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. You can see a more complete nutritional profile here.  

Vegan Asparagus Salad

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto

I first learned about garlic scapes this time last year when I was doing a brief stint on a permaculture farm in the middle of New Hampshire.  Garlic was a huge crop there and we pickled, stir fried, and pesto-ized countless bushels of scapes in the month of June.   Before that, I'd never even heard of them. Scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, which farmers snip off to encourage the plant to put its energy down into the ground, thereby growing a fat bulb, rather than a small bulb and a smelly flower.  Definitely milder and more subtle than garlic cloves, they still pack a lot of flavour.  You probably won't find them at the grocery store, but they're all over the place at the farmer's market.

Vegan Scape Pesto

This pesto recipe is a basic starting point.  Feel free to play from here; add additional herbs, change up the nuts/seeds, throw in some spinach.  Lately I've been learning more about the benefits of various oils,  and while I still don't know enough to give you a big oil lecture, what I can say is that pestos and dressings are great ways to get some healthy oils into your diet.  These would include flaxseed oil, hemp oil, and pumpkin seed oil.  For this pesto I used half flax and half olive.  These are oils that you always want to get "first cold pressed," and you definitely don't want to heat them.  If you're curious, you can read more about flaxseed oil here.  If you don't have it in your pantry yet, get some!  Or just use a high quality olive oil.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Pâté

Sprouted Curry Quinoa Crackers

Even simpler and quicker than Saatvic Veggie Pâté, this pâté is nutrient dense, can be made in about five minutes, and doesn't require any cooking.  Serve it up with some Sprouted Curry Quinoa Crackers or Gluten Free Crackers to get you through a mid-afternoon energy slump.  Makes about 2 cups.

Sprouted Curry Quinoa Crackers

Gluten Free Quinoa Crackers

This recipe is inspired by a recipe in "Thrive" by Brenden Brazier.  If you haven't picked it up yet, I strongly recommend it; this book is rocking my world.  It's all about developing and enhancing greater health, mental clarity, and better sports performance.  Brazier talks in depth about stress, cravings, and junk food consumption and is helping me to make some meaningful connections.  He says that "Food cravings, usually for sugary or starchy foods, are often a telltale sign that the diet lacks nutrients or is tired...Appetite will diminish as the quality of food improves." As someone who regularly craves sugar and starch, and who often feels "low energy," this is wicked awesome news.  You mean I'm not just weak willed?  I have a tendency to reach for the bread and complex carbs when I want a snack.  This wee piece of information, obvious though it may be, is helping me to snack on more nutrient dense foods.  Gotta fuel up on the good stuff if you want to feel great.  Enter Curry Quinoa Crackers.  These crackers are loaded with nutrients, add nice texture to salads and spreads, and are gluten free.

These could be easily made with sprouted or cooked lentils instead of quinoa, I mainly used quinoa because I wanted to let you know, in case you didn't, that sprouting quinoa is a piece of cake.  If you're new to sprouting, you can find basic instructions over at Sprouts and Civil Disobedience.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Apricot Almond Power Balls

Raw Vegan Power Balls

These seem to be about the only thing I have time to make these days, and by popular demand - here's the recipe.  Feel free to make additions and substitutions - chia seeds are nice, as are sesame.  Just be sure to soak the almonds for at least four hours.  It's necessary partly for the moisture content and helping the balls/bars to stick together, but primarily because it improves digestibility and increases nutritional value.  You already know that though, because we talked about it when we made Raw Almond Hummus.  Remember?