Cosmic Cauliflower Bites

This healthy snack is out of this world!

  
What you’ll need:

1/2 head of cauliflower, florets only

2 eggs

1/2 cup mozzarella

1/2 cup onions, diced

1 TBS dried parsley

3 TBS almond meal

2 TBS corn meal

2 TBS chia seeds

 salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: Poppy seeds and dried herbs of choice, to taste

  

 How ya do it:

1. Preheat oven to 375°

2. Chop cauliflower and onion in a food processor or blender if you don’t have one (like me)

3. Empty the mixture into a bowl and stir in the eggs

4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the cauliflower and egg, and mix well

5. Roll into balls (approx 1 1/2 inches) and place on greased cookie sheet. Press with a spoon to flatten into rounds.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.

  
Notes:

I used a sprinkle of poppy seeds and a pinch or two of fennel seeds and dried sage. 

This recipe was adapted from this: http://potluck.ohmyveggies.com/cauliflower-medallions-chia-seeds/#1MkIv86Rvw4OCA7t.99 

I didn’t boil my cauliflower so the texture came out hearty, tasting a bit like a crab cake!

Happy eating!

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Braised Daikon Radish

Daikon as radish is a cruciferous vegetable with numerous health benefits including cancer prevention, weight loss and relieving menstrual cramps.  It is commonly served raw, particularly in Japanese cuisine.  Today I wanted to share a tasty way to prepare this, in a method I adapted from Alicia Silverstone in her book, The Kind Diet. This method takes out the pungent, spicy flavor and leaves a sweeter taste, with a consistency similar to that of baked apples.

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You will need the following and should be able to find them all at your local health food store or international market:

1 daikon radish (I used a half to fit it in one pan)
1/4 cup Mirin Rice Cooking Wine
2 Tbsp Shoyu
Water (filtered)

Peel the daikon as you would a carrot and slice into 3/4 inch slices. Place in the pan with just enough water to almost cover them:

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Add the Mirin and Shoyu. I added a bay leaf to help with digestion, but this step is not necessary.

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Simmer over med-low, covered, for 45 minutes. Then remove the cover and simmer for another 30-45 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed:

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These can be served as a side dish, or you can eat them all by themselves as a mono meal. Aren’t they pretty???

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These are supposed to be eaten shortly after cooking, but sometimes I store them in the fridge and serve one or two with  meals that contain a higher fat content.  I find it helps my body break down the food better and keep me feeling light in my tummy. If you do this, it is best to use them within 3 days.

Happy eating!

Mercedi

Lemon-cashew rice 

  

  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours for easy digestion)
  • Handful of raisins (soaking optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter or ghee (or coconut oil for vegans)
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • Juice of one small lemon 
  • Agave nectar to taste

This is an Ayurvedic recipe which also happens to be gluten-free! Yay!  In a true Ayurvedic recipe, one would simmer the spices for a long time in ghee but I prefer speedy cooking. For this same reason, I keep cooked rice in the fridge so I can pull some out and make a quick one-pot meal on the fly. 

I toasted the mustard and cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat until they began to pop. (Remember to stir often to prevent burning.) In another pot I added all of the other ingredients except the lemon and agave and mixed them  together. Yes, my peas were still frozen! I had to add a little splash of water since my rice was refrigerated, but if you are making yours fresh, the water is not necessary. Add the seeds to the rice mixture when they are done and stir until heated through. Finally, drizzle with the lemon juice and agave to your liking. (I used the juice of a whole lemon and it was too sour, so I recommend starting with half and taste-testing to perfection!)

This recipe uses sweet and sour tastes, as well as cumin, which are all very beneficial for those with the vata dosha. Soaking nuts and dried fruit makes it possible for those with weak digestion to eat these items without bloating or digestive upset. 

Happy eating!

Mercedi


Raise your vibration with rose petal juice

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Did you know that, at a rate of 320Hz, roses vibrate at the highest frequency of all known plants? I believe this is why they are so nice to be around. They are commonly revered as the “alpha flower” much the same way that lions are regarded as the king of the jungle. When someone gives you roses, you know they are trying to convey a message of deep significance. I am one lucky gal because my boyfriend gives me roses all the time. I’ve seen rose petals in gourmet salads, but until this morning, had never eaten any myself.

Here is a good explanation of how Prana, or life force energy, is expressed as an electromagnetic vibrational frequency. The frequency of a healthy body ranges anywhere from 62 to 68Hz with a frequency lower than 50Hz increasing your risk for cancer. So, it makes sense that we would want to do all that we can to keep our vibration rate high. I do this primarily by meditation, keeping my my thoughts positive, and of course by consuming  Prana-rich foods.

After Valentine’s Day, many ladies or couples will probably have leftover roses and rose petals.  Why not consider including them in your green juice or smoothie? Remember to bless them and thank them for their life-giving energy!

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Smiles and good vibes,

Mercedi

Healing green soup

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Whenever our bodies feel run down, it’s a good idea to eat foods that are not only nutrient-dense, but also very easy on the digestion since our bodies need to use all available resources to get back to an optimal state. Here is a beautiful Happy Belly Green Soup that you can make to keep you warm, help your body fight germs and heal your digestion at the same time.

I made this with cauliflower instead of zucchini, and I used equal parts coriander and cumin in place of the curry since these are more suited to my Vata dosha.

The author of the article above, Nadya Andreeva, wrote a book called Happy Belly that has been tremendously helpful for me in healing my digestion. I feel I would be remiss in my spreading the love of health if I did not take a moment to encourage anyone with bloating or other issues to check it out!

Wishing you optimal wellness,

Mercedi

Super easy vegetable soup

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I never used to like soup until it dawned on me how freaking quick and easy it is to make and how much of a nutritional powerhouse it is with very little calories or fat. I still don’t eat it much in the summer, but nothing beats a hot bowl of soup to beat the chill of winter. Plus, our bodies naturally slow down a bit in the colder months leaving less energy for digestion. Large, greasy or protein-heavy meals can make us even more tired or sluggish on gray days. A nourishing vegetarian soup is ideal to give our body a break and help keep us feeling light and vibrant.

Recipe:

28 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups of water
1/2 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
1/2 pkg (6oz) frozen mixed veggies (I used a blend of carrots, peas, corn and green beans)

Optional:
This tastes great alone, but sometimes I add a clove or two of garlic and a pinch of basil, and/or oregano.

Cover and simmer until hot.

Lunch or dinner for the whole week? Done and done! *brushes hands together* 😎

Today’s winter juice recipe

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The weather is turning colder and my body is calling for the deeper colors of nutrient-dense purples and greens instead of the bright oranges and yellows of summer fruits.

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I juiced the kale leaves and pear then poured that into my blender with the grapes, kiwi and coconut water.

Winter juice:
1 bunch kale
Handful of red grapes
1 red pear
1 kiwi
8oz or so of coconut water

Voilà!

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My favorite green smoothie

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This is so unbelievably delicious. It’s pure food alchemy too, because although it’s vegan, it’s creamy almost like Greek yogurt or a milkshake. Mmm. Without further ado, here’s the skinny. (Hehe…see what I did there?)

Gather the following:

Handful of spring greens
Handful of cilantro
1/2 peeled cucumber
1/2 peeled green apple
1/2 avocado
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp raw almond butter
8oz unsweetened almond or hemp milk

1. Toss all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pat yourself on the back for making a meal that’s both delicious AND jam-packed with nutrients then go about your day making equally awesometastic decisions!

Xoxo,
Mercedi

Everything you need for two weeks of gluten-free and dairy-free deliciousness

You may know that many people suffer from inflammation in their intestines and that gluten is often the main culprit.  It takes about 2-3 weeks for our intestines to heal and for our digestion to become stronger. Then we can begin to re-introduce the offending food in smaller amounts, to determine if we can tolerate it. I decided to do a two week experiment on myself and had some great results!

When I first set out to do this, I was intimidated and thought it would be hard but it was not hard at all! The main thing is to have a good plan for what you are going to eat for everyday of the week (in other words: write it down!) and the rest takes care of itself. I have a marker board on my refrigerator where I spell out the weekly plan for myself in no uncertain terms: breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, dessert. I also go to the grocery store or farmer’s market frequently — about every 3 days.  This ensures I have a fridge stocked with fresh fruits and veggies so I can whip up a green juice or a quick salad on the fly and not be tempted to eat a something packaged or processed. I wanted to share an example of exactly what I ate for two weeks because I know how helpful it is to have a solid plan in front of you to go by, and I’ve included links for the foods I made that require a recipe.

Breakfast:

A fresh veggie juice makes the perfect snack or light meal

A fresh veggie juice makes the perfect snack or light meal

*Paleo muffins with honey and/or butter (Earth Balance butter is vegan and dairy free)
*Almond porridge
*Teff pancakes
*Fresh veggie juice (add chia seeds to keep you full for longer)
*Egg cooked in coconut oil with dash of cayenne

 

Snacks:

*Celery with sunflower seed butter
*1/2 Avocado with lime and black pepper
*Sliced tomato with basil leaves and balsamic vinegar or sprinkled with sea salt and topped with hemp seeds

 

Lunches:

*Dinner Leftovers or…
*Rotel and brown rice
*Can of Amy’s chunky tomato bisque – I added hemp seeds and fresh lime juice
*Salad with your choice of veggies and homemade dijon vinagrette (see below)

 

Dinners:

*Broiled Salmon (I added lemon juice, salt and pepper) with sauteed spinach or steamed green beans
*broccoli, carrot and potato soup
*Tamale pie  For this recipe, I used teff flour (instead of oat or rice flour) and a can of gluten-free chili
*Refried bean “tacos” on corn tortillas with picante sauce and fresh cilantro
*Baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon
*A big bowl of roasted veggies, My favs are broccoli, carrot, zucchini and garlic cloves roasted in coconut oil. Top with or dip in miso tahini sauce (see below)

Adding dragon fruit makes frozen banana ice cream extra pretty!

Adding dragon fruit makes frozen banana ice cream extra pretty!

 

Dessert:

*bananas and raisins drizzled with honey or agave/date/maple syrup
*Coconut date balls
*Frozen banana ice cream
*Golden milk
*hot herbal tea

 

 

Sauces and dressings:

Having a sauce for your veggies really helps keep them from being so boring.  I like to get creative and mix any of the following together in roughly equal parts to jazz things up:

These staples add flavor and protein to bland veggie dishes.

These staples add flavor and protein to bland veggie dishes.

fresh minced garlic
ginger paste
sesame tahini
mellow (light) miso
gluten free tamari (this is just soy sauce, only gluten free!)
almond butter or even peanut butter
rice vinegar

Examples of two of my favorite combos:
miso/soy/ginger
peanut/garlic/soy/ with a splash of rice vinegar

 

 

Making your own salad dressing is a good thing to do so that you know what’s in them. It really only takes a few seconds!  Sometimes I just use olive oil and either a splash of balsamic vinegar, or  a squeeze of fresh lemon/lime juice but if you want more flavor you can make one of these:

Homemade Dijon vinaigrette:

1tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of agave nectar or brown rice syrup (optional, to add some sweetness)

Creamy almond dressing:

Take about a tbsp of almond butter and stir in some olive oil until it becomes thin enough to pour. That’s it! May sound weird, but it’s sooo yummy and makes a salad keep you full all afternoon.

 

Notes:

*When adding chia seeds to juice, allow at least 10 minutes for them to “gel” before drinking.

*It is best to eat fresh fruit on an empty stomach.  Most foods take about 2-4 hours to digest but fruit passes through the digestive system very quickly, in about 30 minutes.  You don’t want it to sit on top your your last meal and have a chance to ferment in there, so try to wait a couple hours after a meal if you plan to eat fresh fruit for dessert.

* When buying store-bought items such as picante sauce, always check the labels to make sure there’s nothing weird in there. Look for items that have only two or three ingredients (ex: tomatoes, garlic, salt.)  Also, your local health food store and international market are your friends when it comes to finding more pure items as well as things like teff flour, miso, tahini, hemp seeds, etc.

*If you don’t have much time and find yourself having a less-than-exciting meal (say a quick bowl of lettuce, carrots and tomato with olive oil and lemon juice for lunch) then make sure your next meal is a tasty one or else you’ll fall off the wagon quickly.  The body wants foods that are flavorful and that look pretty so if we cut too many corners for speed or frequently eat something that looks like mush, the body thinks this is no fun and as a result we’re less likely to stick to the plan.

 

Lastly…

* I’ll admit it –  I LOVE COFFEE!! If you are like me and feel you just can’t do without creamer in your morning coffee — do yourself a favor and try blending your coffee in the blender with 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and some stevia, then sit back and watch as your brain says “Yum!” on repeat.  The blender emulsifies it like a latte, with a frothy top layer and everything.  As you may know, coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.  MCTs burn up as fuel in the body very quickly so they don’t have time to be stored as fat, AND they help speed up metabolism and flush out other fats.  It’s a win-win! This coffee is a real treat and since I’ve started doing this, I truly don’t want it any other way! Pro-tip: Pour some hot water into your blender (I do my mug too) while the coffee brews to pre-heat them so that the blending process doesn’t steal the heat from your brew.

 

After doing this for two weeks, all the puffiness that normally surrounds my midsection was gone.  My hips also slimmed down. I wish I had taken a “before” shot but here is the after:

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If you’ve been flirting with the idea of going gluten-free, I hope this post inspires you to get creative in the kitchen and encourages you to see just how easy it can be!

Golden Milk – to fight inflammation, illness, depression and more

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Golden milk is a favorite yogic beverage. It’s made with turmeric, which has numerous health benefits, particularly as an anti-inflammatory.
Its’s great for your joints, your liver and immune system, and even helps with depression.

Recipe:

1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of black pepper
1/4 filtered water

Simmer 5 min then add:
1 cup of almond or hemp milk
2 tbsp almond or coconut oil
Bring to just under boiling (do not boil!)
Serve warm and if, desired add honey for sweetness.

Black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric, so our body can absorb all of it’s wonderful properties so don’t leave this out! This drink is very calming and is especially good at bedtime. 💤

Photo by Clementyne Howard.