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!
While Spring may technically be just around the corner, it’s been alive in my heart for weeks. How else is one to get through slushy cold sleet and days of cloud cover without going stir crazy? I have pounced on every opportunity to lay in the sunshine, wear bright colors, and eat ripe fruit. Oh, it’s coming, folks. We’ve all summoned it.
Seasonal change invites new “clothing,” whether it kickstarts your running habit or forces you to put away the cozy scarf. This week, I was simply in the mood to change the color palette on my plate, when this salad came to mind.
As much as I love warm, roasted tahini veggies (that, yes, I have eaten 10 times), I bought some blackberries that just begged to reclaim my tahini addiction in the form of a new dressing. A splash of good balsamic vinegar enriches the flavor, and perfectly compliments the berries.
I also make a point each week at the grocery store to purchase a fruit or vegetable that I haven’t used in a while, if ever. If I have no idea how to use it, even better. This week: radishes. I didn’t do anything fancy with these bright red pearls. I shaved them thin and put them atop baby kale, along with sliced strawberries, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds. Next time I’ll also add avocado and peas.
Yet, as-is, this combo got my taste buds ready for Spring without too readily ditching the warmth we’ve all needed for the cold. This would also make a great mock-chicken or pasta salad dressing. I hope you enjoy!
Blackberry Balsamic Dressing
1 Cup Blackberries, the more ripe the better!
2 Dates, pitted
¼ Cup Water, plus a splash
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp Tahini
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
S & P, to taste
Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor, or using an immersion blender, until well combined. Whisk in oil. Enjoy!
Happy New Year, friends! It’s 2014! I would say that I cannot even BELIEVE it, but in an effort make this year absolutely amazing, I protest saying things out of habit that [let’s be honest] we say every year.
Instead, I propose genuine newness! I propose taking your hat off when you walk out the door, doing a fun new workout that scares you (because we all know you were already working out when the clock struck midnight, right?), and switching things up more than just a bit! In doing so, I feel confident that you’ll discover that you are indeed just what the world needed to begin with. Who doesn’t want to feel that way?
My first effort towards a really new year was to put down the skillet and prepare a raw dish. I can’t take full credit for this idea, because every raw restaurant in the country has their own, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I just felt like it would be so delicious, and it was! As much as I truly believe our “Lunasagna” at work cannot be beat, I was just in the mood to switch up the compilation and take a pretty picture in my own kitchen.
It was so simple that I’m not even going to post the recipe but in a few words.
All you need is:
A Mandolin (My favorite new kitchen toy!)
Zucchini, sliced thin with the mandolin
Tomatoes, sliced thin with the mandolin
Fresh Basil Leaves
White Mushrooms, sliced extra thin with the mandolin
1 Recipe Cashew Cheese, omitting the miso and substituting Oregano for the Bohemian Seasoning
Your favorite Vegan Parm
Layer in whatever way makes your heart sing, finishing with your favorite of the last 4 ingredients.
To a New New Year,