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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Papaya, Lemon, and Coconut Cashew Mousse

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I’m writing this post while sitting atop a “doughnut pillow” and an ice pack. I took a pretty nasty fall a few days ago, and not much to my surprise, got myself a broken tailbone. Needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed to try recover as quickly as possible, despite the fact that a tailbone injury takes the longest to heal of most broken bones. Sigh. I think I’ll make it. Even though I’m confined to my house, I’ve been able to conjure up some new easy-on-the-stomach recipes for myself while my body is feeling the wrath of pain medicine. Among these new recipes are soups, smoothies, and this little jar of heaven- papaya cashew mousse.

To be honest, I’ve never really experimented with papaya much in the past. Only recently have I taken an interest in its nutritional properties and have worked to conjure up a recipe using it as the primary ingredient. Papaya, in my opinion, is undoubtedly an under-appreciated fruit considering the health properties of it. The first notable health benefit of papaya is its ability to aid in digestion by providing your body with numerous proteolytic enzymes such as chymopapain, papain, caricain, and glycyl endopeptidase.

For most of us, a lot of the foods we consume on a weekly basis put a strain on our digestive systems, forcing it to work harder in the future in order to digest foods and absorb nutrients and energy from them. The papain enzyme in papaya, as I mentioned previously, is responsible for splitting (or severing) the peptide bonds into individual amino acids, fit and ready to be used by the body for growth. Eating even a small amount of papaya or even papaya enzyme supplements with a meal can significantly speed up your body’s digestion process. When consumed in combination with salivary amylase (an enzyme naturally produced in the saliva) and plant-based food enzymes, papaya has the ability to work wonders in your digestive system, especially during or after a meal when these enzymes are present.

I think I’ve bored you enough with the biology behind papaya enzymes; who’s ready for the recipe behind this deliciousness? This recipe produces the most velvety, smooth, and subtly sweet cream/mousse hybrid that you could ever imagine. It can eaten as a snack, dessert, or even a breakfast item because its full of nutritional goodness and satiating nutritional properties.

This recipe is super easy to throw together; however, you must soak cashews overnight and preferably should use a high-speed blender (preferably a Vitamix or Ninja) in order to make the mousse.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:
(Makes two large jars)
1 medium, ripe papaya with seeds scooped out and skin peeled off
3/4-1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for ~8 hours
coconut milk (the amount depends on the consistency you want)
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp dried lemon zest
2 probiotic capsules (I used this brand)

Method:
1) First, place your cashews in a bowl with filtered water to soak overnight; they should be covered and should be soft the next morning.
2) Place your papaya flesh in a freezer bag and allow it to freeze up for about 6-8 hours (this gives it the creamy consistency).
3) The morning after you’ve done all this, place 3/4 cup of drained, soaked cashews in a high-speed blender with the frozen papaya. Blend this mixture for a few seconds; it probably won’t do much because there’s no liquid in it.
4) Next add in a splash of coconut milk and blend. This should improve the texture a bit, but you may have to add another splash or two. Be careful not to add to much liquid or you’ll end up with a smoothie. I probably used a total of 1/2 cup of lite coconut milk and achieved a pretty stellar consistency in the end.
5) Once you’ve gotten a yogurt-like velvetyness in your blender, add in the lemon zest and salt and blend a bit more. Empty the contents of your probiotic capsules and blend one more time before transferring the mousse into glass jars with lids. Store the mousse in the fridge for up to 5 days.
6) Top your mousse with bee pollen, goji berries, blueberries, granola, or chia seeds for a delicious, nutritious, enzyme and antioxidant-packed treat.

Enjoy! x

 

 

 

Delicious Vegan (and GF!) Buckwheat, Blueberry, and Cardamom Pancakes

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Just look at that stack of ‘cakes…fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and absolutely bursting with sweetness from the melted blueberries. This recipe is perfect for any pancake-loving foodie. They’re super simple to make and they require very few ingredients, most of which you probably have somewhere in your kitchen. I threw these pancakes together this morning with my boyfriend Eric and we were both pretty stoked with how they turned out.

If you can’t tell by most of my past recipes, I have a serious love affair with cardamom spice; I use it in a huge majority of my sweet dishes because it adds a warm , almost floral flair that compliments nearly any fruit. My favorite combination, so far, is cardamom, blueberries, and coconut. I cannot get enough of these flavors. I’ve been wanting to incorporate this trio into a pancake recipe for awhile now and I believe that I’ve finally struck gold.

This recipe uses buckwheat flour and I highly recommend sticking to it for these pancakes. There are lots of different kinds of flours that can be used for pancakes but in my experience, buckwheat flour yields the most fluffy pancakes with almost earthy undertones. If you’re not so much into dense pancakes, I would suggest finding a pancake recipe that uses a lighter flour such as rice flour or oat flour. Buckwheat flour, in addition to being a great addition to a pancake recipe, is full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Buckwheat is also gluten-free, so it’s also a great alternative for those who have trouble digesting gluten.

These pancakes will indefinitely satisfy your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling sluggish or bloated afterwards. The recipe makes more than enough for two people, so I recommend freezing any extra pancakes if you can resist gobbling up every last one. There are so many things you can top these with; I really enjoy fresh blueberries, bananas, pumpkin seeds, and fresh maple syrup. I think you’ll all be really pleased with this recipe- give it a go and let me know how it works out!

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Ingredients:
(Makes 8-10 medium/large pancakes)

1 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 bananas (overripe preferably)
1 cup coconut milk (any non-dairy milk will work, but the coconut milk works beautifully with the cardamom spice and blueberries)
2 tsp maple syrup + more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp chia seeds + 9 tbsp water
2/3 cup fresh blueberries + more for topping
coconut oil for greasing

Method:
1) First, combine the chia seeds and water in a small bowl and set in the fridge for about 15 minutes until the mixture becomes gelatinous and thick.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cardamom and use a fork to comb through until ingredients are all incorporated. In a separate bowl, smash the bananas with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Add milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and chia seed mixture into this bowl and stir gently.

3) Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring carefully to make sure that everything is combined. The batter should be pretty thick and no clumps of buckwheat flour should remain. Be careful not to over-mix the batter because it’ll make the finished pancakes much less fluffy than they should be; use a rubber spatula to stir for best results.

4) Toss in the fresh blueberries and fold them into the batter using your spatula. Let the batter sit for about five minutes before you begin frying the pancakes.

5) Heat a nonstick flat-top skillet over medium heat. Grease it liberally with coconut oil to prevent the pancakes from sticking. Scoop out pancake batter with a 1/2 cup measure and pour it into a circle on the heated skillet. Give the pancakes about 2-3 minutes on each side until bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake. Remember to keep a good amount of coconut oil in the skillet at all times.

6) Top your pancakes with fresh maple syrup, cold blueberries, banana coins, and some nuts/seeds for a nutrition-packed, sweet tooth-satisfying breakfast!

xoxo,
Lyndsey

 

Coconut, Cardamom, and Blueberry Chia Pudding

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Chia pudding is one of my favorite things to eat- breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s subtly sweet, creamy, and packed with nutrients to keep my body going for hours. It’s so versatile, too; you can play around with flavor combinations and add-ins to change it up every time. In addition to being absolutely delicious, chia pudding is so simple to make- just toss the ingredients together in a jar, shake it up, leave it in the fridge overnight, and grab it n’ go in the morning! If you’re looking to spice up (or sweeten up, rather) your breakfast meals, give this recipe a go!

If you’re curious about the health benefits of chia seeds, look no further. I’m here to open up your mind to the endless wonders of these little guys. To start, chia seeds are extraordinary sources of high-quality protein and amino acids. In addition to proteins, chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids which I like to call “brain fuel”. These fatty acids contribute to clear skin, healthy hair, and strong bones. Chia is packed with antioxidants which are super important for the summer months; they help reduce oxidative stress on the body. Additionally, these antioxidants help strengthen the immune system and fight off infections. Impressed yet?

Ingredients: 
(Makes 2 servings)
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 handful frozen blueberries
Optional add-ins: goji berries, blueberries, coconut flakes, mulberries, granola, nuts, seeds, ect.

Method: 
1. Add all ingredients into a large jar and shake, shake, shake! Set in the fridge for 5 minutes and shake it again, making sure that the chia seeds and blueberries are evenly distributed throughout the milk and aren’t sitting at the bottom of the jar. Once this is done, place the jar in fridge to sit overnight.
xoxo,
Lyndsey

 

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Apple Cider Vinegar- The Mother of Internal and External Health

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Apple Cider Vinegar- You’ve most likely seen it lingering in the dark, dusty corners of your grandmother’s pantry and paid no mind to it. Not gonna lie, it looks pretty unappealing with its orangey-brown hue and its stringy pulp (also known as “The Mother”). The smell, like most other vinegars, is extraordinarily pungent. Its no wonder why this stuff isn’t widely touted as a beauty product or yummy, fancy pantry item.

But it should be. 

Let me tell you a bit about apple cider vinegar. This bottle of goodness can be used as a simple, cost-effective, and cruelty-free remedy for essentially anything. Most of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits come from “The Mother”- the scary looking pulp that sits at the bottom of a bottle of raw, unfiltered ACV. This pulp contains live, beneficial bacteria and countless nutrients. These nutrients and bacteria are created primarily through the double fermentation of apple cider, wherein enzymes are produced and countless health benefits come to life.

Here are some notable nutrients that raw, unfiltered ACV contains:

Potassium – Potassium is responsible for maintaining regular heartbeat, lowering blood pressure, and keeping a normal fluid balance between the body’s cells.

Pectin – Pectin can help to reduce LDL cholesterol in the body.

Malic Acid and Acetic Acid – Malic acid can help the body fight off certain infections and viruses while acetic acid aids in the body’s absorption of certain minerals.

Calcium –
Calcium, as we’re all aware, helps to maintain strong teeth and bones.

Ash – Ash helps the body maintain healthy alkalinity and normal pH levels. 

Vitamin A – Vitamin A is responsible for the health and growth of many different organ systems in the body. It’s important for vision, reproduction, the heart, the liver, and the kidneys. 

Vitamins B1 + B2 + B6 – These B vitamins help the body stay energized through the absorption of different vitamins and minerals of foods we eat. Additionally, the B vitamins can promote healthy skin and hair.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is vital in maintaining a strong immune system and strong eyesight. 

Vitamin E – Vitamin E functions mainly as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells in the body from damage.

If the above benefits aren’t enough to convince you to add apple cider vinegar into your daily daily diet, allow me to introduce you to the beauty benefits of the stuff! Apple cider vinegar quite recently became a critical element of my beauty regime after I discovered how much it helped my skin in staying blemish-free, balanced, and supple. Apple cider vinegar contains alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps to remove dead skin. This, over time, reduces age spots and stubborn acne scars. Additionally, the malic acid in ACV fights acne and other blemishes because its a natural antibacterial agent. Lastly, ACV works to draw out toxins and clogged pores from the depths of your skin, leaving you with a balanced, clean facial glow.

When you first start using ACV on your face, you should dilute it with water until your skin gets used to its strength. I dilute 2 teaspoons of ACV with 1 teaspoon of water and apply it to my problem areas with a cotton pad. It may sting a bit at first, but your skin will become pretty resistant to the sting after a few days.

In addition to adding apple cider vinegar to your beauty regime, there are countless ways to incorporate it into your everyday diet. Below, I’ve provided a recipe for an ACV salad dressing as well as an ACV “tonic”. I strongly recommend trying these recipes out to introduce your body to the goodness of ACV- you won’t regret it!

Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil OR tahini
2 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
sprinkle of salt + pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic:

1 apple, juiced
1/2 tbsp raw, unfiltered ACV
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp ginger juice
1 small sprinkle cayenne
1/2 tsp maple syrup

xoxo,
Lyndsey