Simple Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Spinach Curry (Vegan, GF)

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As we start to near the colder months of the year, we start to crave heartier, more comforting dishes like curries, soups, and stews. The winter also brings darker, longer days where getting out of bed in the morning takes a good bit more energy than in the bright summer months. Just because the sunlight starts to diminish doesn’t mean that we have to lose our summer glows; there are plenty of ways we can keep our energy levels high and radiate beauty from the inside out. I believe that the key to preparing our bodies for the change in season begins entirely with diet.

October, November, and December bring such an abundance of beautiful foods and flavors into season. Some of my favorite autumn treats are acorn/butternut squash, apples, cranberries, figs, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, chard, and radishes. Fortunately, these foods do absolute wonders for our bodies by promoting healthy digestion and metabolism, decreasing inflammation, defending against free-radical damage, and healing our skin/hair  from the harsh summer sun.

To me, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of velvety curry packed with seasonal veggies and bold, warm spices. Even better, it’s super easy to pack curries and stews with an abundance of vitamins to fuel our bodies for optimal energy levels. There are so many different methods of making curry and a plethora styles to choose from, but this recipe remains my go-to because it’s simple, quick, delicious, and easy to store for leftovers.

Ingredients: 
(Makes 4 generous servings)

2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tomato, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1-2 tbsp oil (I prefer to use coconut or canola)
1 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1.5 tsp turmeric (I like to go heavy on turmeric in curry dishes)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch red chili flakes (optional, but adds some nice heat to the dish)
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 handful fresh chopped cilantro (for garnish)

Method:

1) I like to start this recipe by portioning out all my spices in small bowls or simply in the caps of the spice bottles- it makes the process of actually putting the curry together much easier. This step is obviously optional, but I highly recommend it.

2) Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in your minced garlic and let it cook until it becomes fragrant. Next, add in your diced onion and sautée it until the onions become translucent. If the garlic starts to get too brown, turn your heat down a little as garlic tends to burn pretty quickly.

3) Next, add the diced tomato, bell pepper, minced ginger, maple syrup/agave, coconut milk, all spices, and lime juice to the skillet. Stir to combine everything and turn your heat down to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes.

4) Once this has simmered and has begun to get fragrant, turn your heat down to low and add in your peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and spinach. Stir to combine again and cover the skillet with a lid. Let the curry simmer on low for about 15 minutes until you can poke through the sweet potatoes with a fork. Garnish the finished curry with fresh chopped cilantro and serve it over rice, quinoa, or a grain of your choice.

Enjoy!

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Best Produce for May in North Florida + Recipe

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(Graphic courtesy of Farmer’s Row at RAM)

Hi everybody! As many of you may already know, eating local, fresh, and in-season produce is the key to achieving great flavor in your meals and helping to preserve the natural cycle of seasonal harvest. Additionally, this helps to support local farms and community-supported agriculture organizations. If that isn’t enough to convince you to support your local farms, keep in mind that fresh produce, when at the peak of its harvest, carries optimum nutrition levels.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Jacksonville, Florida, you may know about Farmer’s Row at the Riverside Arts Market. Farmers Row supports the community agriculture by providing the freshest seasonal produce at the Riverside Arts Market every Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I highly suggest stopping by; you’d be amazed at the sheer variety and beauty of the crops we’re able to grow, nurture, and harvest here in North Florida. I recently visited Farmer’s Row and felt like a child in a candy store; I chomped on some mighty delicious micro greens, butter lettuce, and snow peas as pictured below.

Now, I understand that it may be perhaps intimidating to approach these raw vegetables (I mean, look that Romanesco Cauliflower!) while trying to conjure up a meal with them, but I have some tips and recipes help out some of you curious foodies who’re eager to support local farms. It’s important to note, however, which produce is freshest during specific months of the year. Luckily, Farmer’s Row has provided a very useful harvest calendar to teach the community which foods to look out for. Provided below is the harvest calendar by Farmer’s Row; I keep a copy of this posted on the wall in my kitchen because it gets my creativity flowing when I’m prepping meals for the week. Additionally, it gives you an idea of what produce to keep an eye out for on your grocery store runs.

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(Graphic courtesy of Farmer’s Row)

In order for me to provide you all with a recipe idea, I picked the vegetables and fruits that I have the most experience in preparing and am confident in my skills to bring out delicious flavors.

The first recipe here is a very simple, minimal-ingredient recipe that makes a wonderful summertime lunch. It’s fresh, satisfying, and absolutely divine. It takes just minutes to throw together and it can be stored in the fridge- enjoy warm or hot!

Broccoli, Avocado, and Tahini Salad

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)
2 ripe avocados
1 head broccoli
1 tsp fresh lime zest
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (or nut of choice)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 handful of mixed greens (spinach, spring mix, ect.)

Dressing:

2 tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp cold water
1 tsp agave nectar or sweetener of choice
small squeeze of fresh lime juice


Method:

1) The preparation for this salad, as I mentioned above, is incredibly easy and requires minimal ingredients or time. First off, wash your broccoli, mixed greens, and limes thoroughly.

2) Next, chop off some broccoli florets (don’t discard the stems- compost compost compost!) Steam the broccoli florets for about 5-8 minutes until they’re tender but not falling apart. While the broccoli is steaming, you can go ahead and cut up your avocados into cubes, being careful to remove the pits safely. If you’re looking for ways to use your avocado pits, check out this site for some tips on how to use avocado pits.

3) Next, combine the broccoli and avocado in a medium-sized bowl and massage the avocado into the broccoli gently, making sure not to completely break apart the florets. Next, add in some lime zest, a pinch of sea salt, and stir gently until incorporated. Add in the mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds and fold into the salad with a fork.

4) Assemble the dressing in a separate bowl and mix it thoroughly to ensure that you have the desired texture. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water and if it’s too thin, add just a spoonful of tahini.

5) Dress the salad and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. (The avocados may begin to brown, but they should be safe because the acidity of the limes plus the sea salt helps to preserve them).

6) Enjoy! xx

Keep an eye out or more seasonal recipes to be uploaded very soon! Thanks for reading!

Probiotic Spinach and Grain Salad

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Eating foods that nurture your digestive health is something that many people overlook. Things such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso all contain cultures, which are the beneficial bacteria that we need present in our gut to promote healthy digestion and intestinal health. Lucky for us, these foods are super easy to add in to our everyday diets between smoothies, salads, and entrees.

I make it my goal to include fermented foods into my meals each day. I also take probiotic supplements 2-3 times per day. Our bodies are all different and you should indefinitely go with the brand that best suits you, but I highly recommend Garden of Life’s Raw Probitiotics.

This salad recipe is absolutely bursting with these beneficial fermented foods to help keep your intestinal flora in great shape. This salad does have a slightly bitter taste between the kraut and dulse, but the dressing helps to balance out the bitterness with sweetness. I don’t suggest substituting ingredients in this recipe because I’ve definitely played around with the flavor profiles quite a bit and this is a really spectacular combination that leaves you feeling supercharged.

 

Ingredients:

(Makes 1 salad)

For the salad:

2 handfuls raw spinach (about 3 cups)

1/2 cup sauerkraut (there are a lot of varieties you can use, but I absolutely love the Wildbrine Smoky Kale Kraut)

1/4 cup cooked brown rice or grain of choice

1/2 cup drained, rinsed chickpeas

1 medium handful or 1/4 cup dulse seaweed flakes (I use Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Applewood Smoked Dulse– it’s absolutely divine)

1 inch turmeric root (optional)

 

For the dressing:

1 1/2 tbsp chickpea miso

1 tsp tahini

1 tbsp plain hummus

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp cold water

 

Method: 

  1. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Grate some turmeric root over the salad using a microplane or box grater.
  2. Assemble the dressing in a separate bowl, combining all ingredients and stirring until incorporated and creamy.
  3. Dress the salad and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Millet Patties with Spiced-Carrot Fries and Beet Hummus

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I made these burgers a while back and I remember falling so in love with them that I made batches every few days for about a month. They’re extremely versatile and taste great with such a variety of things. My personal things to eat them with were avocado, beet hummus (recipe below), and caramelized onions. What I especially love about these patties it that they hold together so well which is quite uncommon for veggie burgers. They keep very well in the fridge for a couple weeks but you can also store them in the freezer to preserve them for a month or so! These patties are an excellent grab-and-go option and they take little preparation or labor.

They’re chock full of great nutrients that power you up and leave you feeling satiated for hours. The lentils provide a good bunch of protein, the squash adds A Vitamins and fiber, and the millet adds some mood-boosting tryptophans (these raise serotonin levels naturally). I’m working on a new post about these mood-boosting foods too, so keep an eye out for it! In the meantime, do yourself a favor and make a batch of these to keep in the fridge. They’ll surely become a new favorite for you!

 

Ingredients: 

(Makes about 16 patties)

For the patties: 

About 3 cups cooked yellow lentils (you can also sub white beans or chickpeas)

1 cup pureed sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato) My favorite brand!

1 cup cooked millet or grain or choice (brown rice also works well)

1/2 cup brown rice or buckwheat flour

1 tbsp psyllium husk powder (optional, but it definitely helps bind everything)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp dried thyme or rosemary (or 1/2 tbsp thyme and 1/2 tbsp rosemary)

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (you can also use veg oil)

 

For the carrot fries: 

(Makes 2 side servings)

4-6 medium/large carrots

2 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

ground cumin

ground coriander

 

For the beet hummus: 

1 can white beans

1 cooked beet

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 garlic cloves, minced

dried rosemary

(For the best chip and hummus combination, I suggest Brad’s Raw Sweet Potato Chips with this hummus. It is delicious!)

 

Method: 

(For the patties)

  1. Preheat your oven to 365F. First, fill a medium saucepan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the dry lentils, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the lentils are soft. In a separate saucepan, boil 1 cup of water, add 1/2 cup dry millet, reduce heat to lower, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While the millet and lentils are cooking, prepare the flax egg by combining the ground flax meal with cold water and allowing it to sit for 10 minutes in a small bowl.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the sweet potato, garlic, coconut oil, and spices. Once this is combined, add the brown rice flour, psyllium husk powder, millet, and lentils. Stir thoroughly to combine everything. You can even use the back of a fork to mash up the lentils a bit, but I recommend leaving some whole ones for variation in texture.
  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and grease the bottom. (Do not use foil- the burgers will stick!) Form the mixture from the bowl into medium sized-balls, place them on the sheet, and use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten them.
  5. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or so until the tops are golden brown but the burgers don’t feel dried-out or crumbly. Leave them to cool for 20 minutes after you take them out because they’ll harden up a bit.

 

(For the carrot fries)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Peel, wash, and de-stem the carrots. Cut them into matchstick/french fry shape and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle liberally with olive oil then coat with sea salt, black pepper, cumin, and coriander.
  3. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

 

(For the beet hummus)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined. Adjust the garlic, salt, and lemon juice to your preference and store in fridge in a sealed container.

 

Enjoy! x

Barbecue Tofu and Veggie Chili (GF)

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Warm your bones this winter with my favorite chili recipe! I’ve done a lot of experimenting with chili recipes and I think I’ve finally struck gold on this one. It has a deep complexity of warm flavors from the heat of the jalapeño, the sweetness of the cinnamon, and the intensity of the cacao. It may sound like a lot, but I promise you that these ingredients work in flawless harmony together. The addition of veggies to this chili recipe lends a certain earthiness (and not to mention some jalapeño’ health benefits)!

Chili has the potential to be such a protein-rich, nutrient-dense dish. Between the beans, fresh veggies, and tofu, this chili will absolutely provide you with endless energy and satiety. I make this recipe almost weekly because it always satisfies my craving for something warm, comforting, and hearty. This recipe makes a huge batch of chili and you’ll likely have lots of leftovers, so I like to freeze the extra and keep a small container in the fridge for a quick meal. In my opinion, chili always tastes better the next day, so keep that in mind when you’re scrounging for a quick lunch the day after whipping up this recipe 😉

Ingredients: 

For the chili:

1 16oz can of black beans

1 16oz can of kidney beans (or pinto beans)

1 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil

1 large white onion, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large red or green bell pepper, diced

2 fresh jalapeños, very small dice

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

4-6 sticks celery, roughly chopped

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (I like to use fire-roasted)

8 tbsp tomato paste

1.5 cups vegetable broth (water works too, but veggie broth adds flavor)

1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder

zest of 1/2 lime

sea salt

black pepper

2 tsp cumin

2 tbsp chili powder + more for extra heat

1-2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp smoked paprika

optional: avocado slices, green onion, vegan sour cream/cheese shreds, sunflower seeds

 

For the tofu:

1 block organic, extra-firm tofu

1 cup barbecue sauce (I like Organicville)

 

Method:

Tofu:

  1.  First, press your tofu for about 30-45 minutes to ensure it’s essentially free of excess moisture. To do this, place a dish cloth and two paper towels on a flat surface, put the block of tofu on top, and then cover it with another few paper towels. Place a heavy object (such as a book or pot) on top and allow the moisture to drain out. Pressing the tofu is critical. Once this is done, stick the tofu in the freezer overnight. This isn’t an essential step, but it definitely lends a meatier texture to the tofu after being baked.
  2.  After your tofu has been frozen and defrosted, it’s time to marinate it. Place it in a baking dish with enough barbecue sauce to completely cover it. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to marinate in the fridge anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
  3.  It’s time to bake the tofu! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your marinated tofu on a flat, baking tray on top of greased parchment paper. (I don’t recommend using foil for this- the tofu will stick). Place the tofu in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on each side, flipping halfway through.

 

Chili:

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and continue to heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion becomes translucent. Next, add in the chopped celery, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeño and sauté lightly for another 3-5 minutes until veggies are soft.
  2. Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, veggie broth, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Let this mixture simmer on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low and add in the beans, cacao powder, baked tofu, lime zest, and spices. You may need to adjust the spices according to your preferred spice/smokey levels. (I almost always add extra cumin and smoked paprika). You can also add a tablespoon or two of barbecue sauce!
  4. Allow this mixture to simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. I like to top my chili with avocado slices, green onion, and toasted sunflower seeds, but most things taste great on top of this beauty. I like to serve mine over brown rice, but quinoa, millet, and polenta also work!
  5. Store this chili in the fridge or freezer. Keep in mind that it’ll last about a week in the fridge but it’ll last much longer if kept in the freezer!

 

Enjoy! x

 

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