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Posts from the ‘Recipes’ category

Here’s To Figs

They are so delicious and yet I often don’t know what to do with them or how to pick em, so here goes..

Figs are soft, not super squishy, with intact stems and no bruises, please. The most common variety is the jammy, dark purple Black Mission, although there is also the sweet Kadota, the milder Brown Turkey; and a juicy variety called Calmyrna.

Store –
Keep figs in a single layer cover, covered with a damp paper towel, for 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Rinse right before eating.

Serve –
Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Add 1 torn small head or romaine, 1/2 pound of fresh figs (halved or quartered), 1 thinly sliced small head fennel, 3 ounces torn prosciutto, and 1 ½ ounces shaved Parmesan and toss.

Savory –
Breakfast: Toss halved figs with honey and cinnamon. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until juicy. Serve over yogurt, pancakes or french toast.
Lunch: Stack a fried egg, sliced avocado, spinach, a sliced fig, and swiss cheese on an English muffin, Benedict style.
Dinner: Bake pizza dough and top with quartered figs, goat cheese, rosemary, pepper and arugula. Heat until warm.

Snack on figs anytime (skin and all)!

Fig Chips

FIg Chips

Coconut Fig Ice Pops

Coconut Fig Ice Pops

Stuffed Figs - goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, roasted, and drizzled with honey

Stuffed Figs – goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, roasted, and drizzled with honey


Enjoy xo

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Chia Seeds

I have been meaning to write a post on Chia seeds for quite some time, so here we go!

Lets get down to business.  Chia seeds are gluten/grain free naturally, but one tablespoon (half an ounce) of chia seeds contains more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than a serving of salmon, more antioxidants than a handful of blueberries, and a great source of protein.

Chia seeds contain: energy, essential fatty acids: alpha-linoleic and linoleic acid, fiber, mucin, 30% protein, A, E and B vitamins, and minerals including calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sodium, magnesium, in addition to anti-oxidants.

According to other sources the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans used chia as a staple of their diet and as an energy food.  Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and they were known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance while running long distances or during battle (Wellness Mama).

Chia seeds are currently being used for their nutritional and medicinal properties, endurance for athletes, for suppressing the appetite, weight loss, leveling blood sugar, and for aiding intestinal regularity.  Chia seeds dissolve in water, creating a substance that looks like gelatin.  This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia seed.  This same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when Chia seed is consumed, creating a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes, slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.  Slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar helps stabilize blood glucose levels, which is critical in warding off diabetes, weight gain/obesity, inflammatory diseases, among others.
How Else is Chia Beneficial?

As if sprinkling chia seeds on your cereal or salad weren’t enough, Chia gel may be used to replace food within recipes.  It adds a nice little crunch and provides all sorts of nutrients.  Bulking up a meal with Chia gel helps lessen the amount of food consumed, since Chia gel is primarily made up of water.  Chia seeds can absorb more than 12 times its weight in water!  Chia gel may also be used in place of fats within recipes, even within baked goods.  Because of this, Chia seeds can prolong hydration, helping retain moisture and regulate the body’s absorption of nutrients and body fluids more efficiently.

“Indian Running Food Recipes”
-Thanks to Wellness Mama

1.  Smoothie Enhancer
Add a teaspoon or two of Chia seeds into your smoothie to enhance nutrients and provide sustenance!  Because they are flavorless they can be used in any kind of drink.

2.  As a Safe Egg Substitute
To substitute for an egg: Use 1 tablespoon finely ground Chia seeds (grind them dry in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder) and 3 tablespoons of water per egg in a baked recipe (does not work in place of eggs for omelets though…)

3.  To Make Chia Pudding
-2 cups of coconut milk/almond milk/ raw milk/water (your choice!)
-1/2 cup chia seeds
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
-1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of choice (optional)

Mix in a bowl or blender until smooth.  Place in the fridge and will thicken in about 10-15 minutes.  As you can see all you need are the chia seeds and a liquid, the rest is up to you!  There are lots of flavor variations – you can add cocoa powder, or a cup of strawberries/blueberries, or add cinnamon and nutmeg!

4.  To Thicken Soup or Gravies
Instead of cornstarch or other thickening agents, just add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds – powdered or not – to reach the desired thickness.

5.  To Make Grain Free Crackers
I have yet to try these!  Mix chia seeds with equal parts coconut milk and thicken, adding some garlic powder and sea salt, then bake at a low temp for a couple hours.

6.  To Thicken Meatballs
Throw in a couple tablespoons of chia seeds – per pound of meat – in place of breadcrumbs.  Also works to thicken meat-loafs, batters, etc.

7.  Sprouted for Salads
Put some chia seeds in water, drain the water off and leave in a jar for a couple days.  Every 12 hours or so, rinse with water and pour the water off.  In a day or two, you’ll have little chia sprouts!

8.  To Make Homemade Energy Gel
Add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water.  Let sit for about ten minutes and you’ll have an incredible energy gel!  Beats the socks off of Gatorade and other highly processed gels for hydration and energy and you get to avoid the fake colors, fake flavors and GMO corn.

9.  As a “Breading” for Fish and Chicken
Mixed with some almond flour and garlic powder, or even by itself, chia seeds make an excellent “breading” for fish or chicken.  It toasts up well and provides a nutty, crunchy flavor without the grains!

 Coconut Chia Seed + Mango Pudding Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

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Its september in San Diego and figs are in season! Get your figs! They can be eaten raw and whole, seeds and skin! They are purplish in color, and have a sweet flavor. I like putting them in my cereal mixture or throwing them in a smoothie, although they are often dried. They can also be baked, made into jam or vinegar.

Figs are uniquely nutritious, containing the highest amount of calcium of any fruit. Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber, a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, as well as vitamin K. Figs contain antioxidants and some studies have shown them to raise antioxidant activity. Antioxidants bind free radicals, meaning they no longer become a threat; as free radicals may contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease and the visible signs of aging by damaging DNA and other systems in the body. The riper the fig, the more antioxidants it contains.

Fig leaves are also surprisingly healthy. Various cultures use the leaves in cooking, particularly to wrap meats and fish. I’m always skeptical of research, but some studies have shown that an extract of fig leaves will increase insulin sensitivity, which may play a role in preventing diabetes. Other studies have shown fig leaves to reduce the likelihood of heart disease and possibly kill cancer cells!

Try a Fig Smoothie:
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup aloe water
1/2 cup raw figs
1 tbsp almond butter and/or sunflower butter

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Getting Green and Juicy

Summer is almost here, fruits and vegetables are abundant, and I’m getting back into the routine of blending.  The best part of ‘juicing’ is that you can use almost anything.  Whatever you have lying in your fridge that is not already accounted for in tonights dinner, is worthy of being blended into a magnificent concoction.  Not only is this easy to do, but you are nourishing yourself with an abundance of nutrients.  This can also be done on the cheap, using whatever is in season and most affordable.  I get most of my fruits and veggies at a fruit stand, which means that they sell excess produce super affordably and the produce that is on its way out is extra cheap, making it perfect for being thrown in the blender!

Todays Blend:
1/2 cucumber
1 medium carrot
1 1/2 cups of spinach or so..
handful of grapes
4 dates
1 scoop protein powder
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup ice

This made enough for 2 people, or 1 of me spread over the course of the afternoon..  Truth is you can blend whatever you desire and is available..

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Crispy Alternatives to Potato Chips

GO BAKED!  Beets, kale, sweet potato, apple, bacon..the list goes on.  These are a great alternatives to regular old potato chips.  Whether you are having a BBQ…looking for a fun and easy alternative to your normal chip or you are teaching your kids about veggies, this is a fun way to have your fruits or veggies.

*No matter the vegetable you’re baking, the process is essentially the same – lay slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and any other seasonings, then bake for approximately 30 minutes, and rotate the pan once halfway through.   Using a mandoline is the easiest way to make veggies chips.  This is a kitchen tool that helps slice your veggies thin enough to bake.  Your homemade chips will stay fresh in an airtight container for several days.

Nutrient Low-Down:
Baking vegetables breaks down the hard cellular structure, which makes them tender and easy to digest.    This increases the amount of nutrients than can be absorbed by the intestines.  Minerals, vitamins and macronutrients are generally stable during cooking, but some vitamin levels may decrease when food is heated.  Raw-food advocates claim that cooking destroys important enzymes, or proteins necessary for biological reactions in your body.  Enzymes in foods are broken down by your body like other proteins.  Personally, I am a proponent of both raw and cooked food and doing what works best for you.

The bottom line is that although cooking degrades some nutrients, absorption of the remaining nutrients is increased.  Your body must break down carbohydrates to sugars, proteins to amino acids and fats into fatty acids in order to absorb and utilize them.

Vegetables are key sources of fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamins A, E and C, and many other essential nutrients.  Vegetables are high in complex carbohydrates, low in calories and contain low to moderate amounts of protein.  I am firm believer that vegetables are crucial in everyones diet – regardless of where you live, what culture you associate with and what ‘type’ of eater you are!


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5 Foods to Feast On

Spring is a great time to try a few new foods.  Just because you haven’t cooked with it before, or you are pretty darn sure you or your loved one isn’t going to like it, GIVE IT A GO.  You may be surprised!

1.  Kale
– Packed with nutrients: High in antioxidants, loaded with vitamin C, rich in vitamins A and K; very low in calories.  Sautee in a pan and drizzle with Bragg’s, and balsamic vinegar if desired.
2.  Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
– Good source of protein, fiber, and folate; low in fat and calories.  A half-cup serving has more than 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of dietary fiber.  Put in a salad, soup, or make hummus!
Holly’s Hummus:  Blend – 1 can chickpeas (including 1/2 the water in the can), 1 red bell pepper, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. pepper, hot sauce, season to flavor: cumin, tumeric, rosemary.  Serve.
3.  Bulgur
– More dietary fiber than oats, millet or buckwheat, adds to your iron supply (especially for those vegetarians, or people lacking in greens).  A half-cup serving prepared has 4 grams of dietary fiber.
4.  Spaghetti Squash
– One of my favorites!  Use this like spaghetti, its a fantastic replacement for starchy carbohydrate.  1 cup cooked has ~1/4 the carbohydrate as cooked spaghetti, not to mention all the nutrients: Rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron and vitamin B6.  Cook as you would other hard-shell squash.  Cut it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and either boiling or baking the halves till tender.  If baking: bake for ~45 min at ~375 degrees.  Once cooled, scoop out the flesh, which breaks into high nutritious strands and serve the same way you would any pasta; using your favorite sauce or simply drizzle olive oil and sprinkle seasonings and freshly grated parmesan over the top.
5.  Sunflower Seeds
– Very versatile and a great way to get some protein.  A quarter-cup serving of dry roasted seeds supplies ~4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of protein and is an excellent source of vitamin E.  Sprinkle on salad, cook into a granola bar, cookie, or eat as a snack by themselves.
*Try combining: kale, chickpeas, bulgur and sunflower seeds into a salad that wakes up your taste buds and packs on the nutrients.

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