It’s not every day that I cook dinner for myself (or “cook” anything, for that matter), but one thing I will never go without is breakfast. Since the simplest things can be satisfying, I almost always prepare breakfast for myself, even if it just means I chop up some fruit.
As of late, though, the summer days have demanded more energy of me, and I’ve been eating sometimes 2 or 3 “breakfasts” before noon. Realizing this has drawn me towards more sustaining sources of energy, and this pudding is a perfect example. I start with a base of cashew cream for some protein, and use omega-rich chia seeds (also known as an excellent source of energy!) to thicken the texture.
Then it dawned on me, since I was making it so often, that perhaps I could use my favorite tea to infuse it with a new flavor. It turned out even more delicious than I suspected! I chose Lavender tea because it is known for its calming properties, perfect for the morning, but really you could use Earl Grey, Oolong, or even Chamomile.
Top the pudding with your favorite fruits and superfoods, or serve it with extra sweetener (like agave) for a dessert option. (Believe me when I say that this is a pudding of all trades. I even made a pumpkin version last Fall!)
Tell me, what is your favorite source of morning energy? List it in the comments below!
With Love and Lavender,
3 cups Raw Cashews, soaked*
2 cups Filtered Water
1/2 cup Chia Seeds
7 dates, pits removed
2 tbsp dried Lavender (food grade)
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Fruit for Topping*
1. Soak lavender in water in a sealed container overnight. Strain.
2. Blend Lavender tea, cashews, dates and lemon juice until extra smooth. (I use a Vitamix, but if you do not have one you can use a food processor. Just eliminate half the liquid for processing, and whisk it in afterwards in a separate bowl.) Taste to see if it meets your sweetness standards. If not, add additional dates and reblend.
3. Pour mixture into a small mixing bowl, and fold in chia seeds until they are evenly distributed.
4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until thick and ready to serve.
* It is important that you use 3 cups of cashews that have already been soaked, verses soaking 3 cups of dried cashews. For your shopping list, you'll only need about 2-2.5 cups of dried cashews. For information on why and how to soak your cashews, click here.
*I serve my pudding topped with shredded coconut, more chia seeds, lemon zest and blueberries!
I was sitting here debating the course of the rest of my life when it dawned on me that things could be so much simpler. Instead of trying to be a magician who can predict the future (and do a terrible job, at that), I could just do something right now, like share a recipe that’s been in my queue for over a week now!
I feel so lucky because amid a lot of mayhem, life just keeps getting better. I've been a bit on edge lately because I have to move tomorrow, I'm house-sitting this week (bad timing on my part), my cat needs a temporary home, and I don 't know where I'm going to be living next besides my mom's spare room. Nonetheless, I found out today that an article I wrote for NPR's Charlotte food blog, WFAEats, is live! Read it here. What great news!
I also recently quit my job as GM at Luna’s Living Kitchen to do something that feels totally insane - bartend at a diner. Yep, you heard me correctly. I left a community of like-minded hippies who are mostly vegan, and all love raw, organic anything, to serve a group of folks who mostly can’t fathom why anyone would EVER consider being a vegetarian. This isn’t a criticism, by the way. It’s just...totally and completely opposite where I’ve been. Nonetheless, inspiration has ensued. I will share more about my decision in a future post.
At Pinky’s Westside Grill, we serve a burger (beef or the veggie Nature Boy) “Ding Dong Style,” which means it is topped with Honey-Cilantro Coleslaw, Peanut Butter, and Sriracha hot sauce. Unfortunately the slaw contains mayo, so I have not taken the risk of extremely upsetting my stomach, even if I could have gotten it on a veggie-dog. Ya'll know I don't do dairy. Yet that hasn't kept me from drooling at the genius flavor combination that I serve every day.
So, I made my own version at home and have been eating it for days. It is so good! I put it over romaine leaf “tacos,” with hot sauce, peanut butter and some blackened baked tofu to create my healthier version of Pinky's favorited offering. I've also sauteed it with brown rice, and of course have eaten it just plain as well. Since my version is half cabbage and half kale, the options really are endless.
I hope you enjoy it!
Summery Sweet Kale Coleslaw
1 Small head Green Cabbage, shredded or finely chopped
1 Small Green Apple (or 1/2 of a Large one), peeled and shredded
1/2 Bunch Lacinoto, aka "dinosaur" Kale, shredded or finely chopped
1/2 Cup Cilantro, packed, then diced
1/4 Cup Red Onion, diced
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Vinegar
3 tbsp Honey or your favorite liquid sweetener
1 Lime, Juiced
Optional: 1 diced Jalapeno, per cousin Brendan's suggestion!
To taste: Salt & Pepper
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Massage with clean hands until the sweetener is evenly distributed and the kale and cabbage are tender. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy!
Below is a repost of my recent guest spot on Veggietorials.com. Veggietorials was created by the amazing Cobi Kim in Hawaii. She has a really fun Youtube Channel where she creates and shares unique and easy vegan recipes. Since I'm not a film expert, she was kind enough to let me do a video intro, paired with my traditional posting style. Check out Veggietorials.com for more from Cobi!!
What I love most about the holidays is that it’s a time ripe with the essence of both past and present. In these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this remains more true than ever. I used to always wonder why and how and who thought it was a good idea to “put” two such grand holidays so close together (isn’t one enough?!), but I now know that it was a brilliant idea.
During these early December weeks, we’re all a little tired, a good bit cozy, some giddy with expectation, others antsy to call it all a day. Regardless of where you find yourself, though, the reality is that this time of year reeks of tradition while also begging for something fresh. Thankfully the New Year is just around the bend.
With this in mind, I wanted to come up with something that would embrace the past while refreshing the present. I’ve written before about how I’ve become know as the Salad Maven of many a party. I find it to be something many are scared to play with, yet to me it’s fun, inexpensive, and the hardest culinary experiment to mess up. Not to mention that amidst the heaviness of casseroles and roasts, salads are the saving grace!
So in celebration of this holiday interim, I thought it appropriate to embrace hearty and comforting ingredients, while calling on some lively current food trends. I’ve combined coconut shreds with warm quinoa to bring out the oils, creating a soft and delicate texture. The bite of Granny Smith apple perfectly compliments the sweetness, and my Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette ties it all together. Toss it with shredded Lacinato Kale, and you may just find you’ve been knocked into 2014!
Best of celebrations!
Comforting Kale Salad with Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette
1 Bunch Lacinato Kale, chopped thin
1 Cup Red Quinoa, cooked and warm
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1 Granny Smith Apple, diced
1 Recipe Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette (Below)
Fun Options: Dried Cranberry, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds
Zesty Sesame Vinaigrette
1/2 Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, strained
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Vinegar
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Maple Syrup
1/2+1/4 Tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
Dash Salt & Pepper
Sesame Seeds, to garnish
Combine all ingredients except oils. Slowly whisk in oils.
Before quinoa has cooled completely, stir in coconut shreds. Toss with kale and apple, adding the dressing last. Once everything is sufficiently dressed, finish with sesame seeds. Add additional options if you wish.