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Golden Spicy Citrus Beet Juice. From Alien Beets.

These jagged-edged, exotic, 'alien-looking' golden beets in my fridge just couldn't sit there for another day. And they were starting to freak out my husband. So this morning I unearthed them from my produce bin to make a refreshing juice recipe: Golden Spicy Citrus Beet Juice. Simple flavors from sweet golden beets, carrots, orange, pear and ginger make this a lovely way to hydrate in the morning. Vitamin A galore. See more alien-beet photos and get my recipe...

Golden Citrus Beet Juice:

Carrots and Golden Beet:

Alien Looking Golden Beet:

Inside of a Golden Beet:

Golden Spicy Citrus Beet Juice

1 large golden beet OR 2 small golden beets
3 small long carrots
1 ripe pear
1 large orange, peeled
1 tsp raw ginger, peeled
garnish: 3 dashes cayenne, slice of raw beet

Directions:
Juice in your juicer and serve.

Beet Note:
If you don't have golden beets, regular red beets will do, but you obviously won't get that creamy orange sunrise color.


If you don't have a juicer or know much about juicing yet here are a few good posts to read:
Juicing 101 Guide and Tips
Juicing Series





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Peachy Lychee Daiquiri. Fizzy Blended. Virgin or Not.


Meet my Peachy Lychee Daiquiri fizzy blended beverage. Frosty, fruity, smooth, cool, cravable and oh so effervescent. There are two ways to fall in love with this sip: 1. As a virgin (alcohol-free) healthy smoothie with enzyme-rich kombucha. OR 2. As an end-of-the-week champagne-infused treat to start off a fun Saturday night with friends. Make it once, and I bet you'll make it again...



Light n Frosty. I love this beverage because it is so light, crisp, clean and hydrating. It's a smoothie - but there's no heavy fruit juices or 'milks' involved. Just clean fruit flavors and crisp fizzy liquid. It's unique and transporting (as in, it transports you to a tropical island daydream). Love this bevie!

Virgin Peachy Lychee Daiquiri

1 2/3 cups Guava Kombucha or your fave sparkling or flat tropical juice
5 whole lychees, canned
2 Tbsp canned lychee juice/liquid
1 cup frozen peaches
1 large frozen banana
1/2 lemon or lime, squeezed
1 cup ice cubes
*coconut water ice cubes pref'd
optional add-in: handful of fresh chopped papaya or fresh strawberries. Or a handful shredded raw coconut.
Note: for extra frosty-ness, freeze the lychees first. Highly recommended, but not necessary.

Adults-Only Version: Peachy Lychee Daiquiri

*use exact ingredients as above, only substitute the kombucha/juice with rose sparkling wine/champagne or prosecco.
*tipsy blended: add in 1 shot of vodka, if u r into that sort of thing.

Blend. Serve. Garnish with fresh lychee.

Straw optional.
No end-of-the-glass straw-slurping though.
It's not lady-like.
Oh, who cares. Slurp away.
Heck, have a loudest-slurp-contest.
Winner gets seconds.
Ok, losers get seconds too.
..it's that yummy.







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Cucumber Mint Tea Sandwiches. Tea Party!


My Cucumber Mint Tea Sandwiches on spelt bread, with a spicy-sweet wasabi spread are a dreamy addition to your next tea party, or springtime picnic when the sun melts away the winter frost.

Tea and Sandwiches. When I hear the phrase "tea and sandwiches" I picture a well-postured group of early-century women in wide pastel-laced hats, nibbling tiny white-bread sandwiches with the crusts sliced off, and shiny orange marmalade slathered inside. Tiny porcelain tea cups and saucers all around. Pinkies up! Or, I picture a little girl giggling in her bedroom, having a tea-free tea party. Perhaps she snatched her mums' silver tea set, sprawled it out on the floor and invited all her favorite stuffed animals for a few giggles, sips and plentiful pours of 'tea' - aka water from the bathroom sink.

But the timeless art of the Tea Party doesn't have to be stuffy or fit for a five year-old. It can be modern, delicious - and perhaps even a daily wellness ritual to embrace. Tea Party for one? Or two. Or many. Just gather the girls, (and boys), and feast on these delightful sandwiches - tea set optional, but it's a nice touch. Join the party...

FYI, Coffee Lover's can join-in: Not into tea? Cappuccino's will do...

Classic Inspiration. My vegan recipe was inspired by a recipe my mother prepared once when I was a teenager: Cucumber Mint Butter Sandwiches.

Memory. I remember I was being dragged kicking and screaming to another one of my older sister's vocal recitals. It was in a large concert hall downtown and my mother was signed up to contribute a plate of hors d'oeuvres for the guests. I wasn't too pleased about spending a precious Saturday confined to an auditorium while my sister was showered in attention, so I spent the day moping about with an adolescent pout on my face. Ah to be a grumpy teenage 'little sister' again. But I was interested in my moms hors d'oeuvres. And note, I adore my sisters singing nowadays. :)

I watched my mother all morning in the kitchen as she stuffed tiny slices of butter, fresh sprigs of mint and thick crisp slices of cucumber between small, de-crusted triangles of white bread. Each tiny sandwich was big enough for one bite, finger sandwiches. And today, with a bit of research, I found that this is a classic old English recipe - posted all over the web.

I was intrigued by these tiny white sandwiches. The mint smelled so fresh and the cucumber so perfectly cool and crisp. I thought, how odd to be slicing cold hard butter as a sandwich ingredient - especially since my mother rarely used butter on anything. But she called the finger sandwiches elegant. I tasted one and loved it. Cucumber, mint and soft white bread, with an odd creamy bite of butter. Those flavors stay on the tip of my taste buds even today.

Recipe Makeover! But nowadays, I don't consume dairy, and I wasn't too keen on placing a thick slice of vegan buttery spread in my light n petite tea sandwiches, so I made a few substantial modifications on the classic recipe. I even whipped up my own sweet 'n spicy wasabi pepper vegan spread in place of "butter". My makeover was quite a delicious success. Try this recipe on a Saturday afternoon or for a lazy Sunday brunch at home. It's perfect for an afternoon party or springtime picnic in in the park. Cool, crisp, refreshing and super easy to make - I will definitely be making these Cucumber Mint Sandwiches again and again.

Cucumber Mint Tea Sandwiches with Maple Wasabi Spread
vegan, makes 8 small sandwich bites

4 slices of bread
*or 2 long bakery slices, sliced in half
*I used Spelt Bread

1/2 organic cucumber, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp wasabi maple spread
black pepper grinder
fresh mint leaves
fresh dill

Wasabi Maple Spread

2 Tbsp Vegenaise
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tsp wasabi powder
dash of black pepper


Directions:

1. Whip together the spread, thinly slice the cucumbers. You can do thick crunchy slices, or thin silky slices - your choice. Gather your fresh herbs, rinse and pat dry.

2. Spread a very thin layer of spread on all inside surfaces of bread.

3. Layer cucumber on top of the spread. Next, add a layer of mint, dill. You can add both herbs to each sandwich or do half dill and half mint. Grind fresh black pepper inside sandwiches before slicing.


4. Close sandwich and slice into quarter cubes or triangles.

5. Plate and serve.

Optional:
add a thin layer of spicy sun dried tomato spread or a dash of red pepper flakes for an extra spicy kick of flavor. Another pretty addition would be edible flowers - add inside the sandwiches or as an edible garnish to the serving patter.












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Olive Tapenade Tempeh Vegan Sandwich. Lunch.

Dear Critics, if you think you'll end up hungry eating vegan food, you're wrong. My noble Olive Tapenade Tempeh Veg Sandwich is exhibit A of that verdict. Let your watering mouth be the judge. This swanky sandwich, aka my humble lunch, is quite a vision of sandwich beauty if I do say so myself. Let my sandwich-boasting continue, and get the recipe...

Not All Looks. Yes she's a pretty sandwich, but what about the taste? Vegan sandwich ecstasy. Aka, yum. The flavors: salty smooth kalamata olive tapenade mingling with the zippy sweet flavor of maple-soaked tempeh, layered on a bed of fresh perky green baby spinach leaves, a few rounds of fresh tomato and sweet onion to top it off. And a skinny slathering of Vegenaise inside the top slice. Tons of fresh black pepper grated throughout. And the critics say vegans don't eat lavishly...

Tempeh Two Ways. There are two ways to prepare the tempeh, I actually used the fast way and it was delicious! Two Ways: 1. Traditional Method - saute it on your stove top as the recipe calls for. This process will take a good 5 minutes. OR 2. Fast Method - simply place the tempeh in a shallow glass container, soak in the tempeh marinade, cover, vent and microwave on high for 90 seconds. That yummy-bitter-hearty tempeh taste will still shine through and you'll be eating in a flash. *yes, the sauteed tempeh has a much better texture and a bit better taste, but if you are in a hurry, the microwaved version is tasty.*

Tapenade. You can make your own tapenade - which I prefer, or you can buy a good vegan olive tapenade at your fave gourmet store. Up to you! You can even substitute a different flavor of tapenade if you aren't into the olive thing. The green, sweet potato or mushroom dips featured here would work. Sunny Asparagus tapenade would be yummy too.

Olive Tapenade 'n Tempeh Vegan Sandwich.
vegan, serves one hungry or two timid sandwich eaters

2 long slices grain bread
*spelt, whole wheat, sprouted grain are my faves
2 Tbsp olive tapenade
1 Tbsp Vegenaise
2 slices EZ Maple Tempeh
3 tomato slices
3 sweet onion slices
big handful of baby spinach
fresh black pepper

EZ Maple Tempeh
2 slices of tempeh, thinly sliced, about 4 oz.
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
*grade B maple syrup pref'd
1 tsp olive oil for saute pan
pepper

Kalamata Olive Tapenade
*modified version of Pure Olive Tap recipe here

1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup white beans
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp water
handful fresh parsley
pepper
*Blend in a food processor. Makes about 1 cup of tapenade


Directions:

1. Prep your veggies: wash n slice tomato and onion. Set aside. Gather all ingredients.

3. Tempeh: Slice your tempeh into two thin blocks -each about the surface size of a deck of cards. (I used about 1/2 of an 8 oz. package of tempeh. Soak your tempeh in the maple syrup and vinegar. Dash some pepper on top. Next, either lightly saute your tempeh stove top, or use the super-fast method and simply microwave for 90 seconds in a covered, glass container. Drizzle the EVOO on top if microwaving. Stove top, should be about 2 minutes on each side over high heat.

4. Start building your sandwich: olive tapenade on both sides of the bread. A light smear of Vegenaise on one side. Then add the baby spinach, tomato, onion, tempeh and a good grinding of black pepper.

5. Slice. Eat. Smile. Bask in the glow of envy from sandwich-onlookers. *Pickle Optional. Wash it down with some lemon iced tea, perhaps.











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Dill White Bean Soup. Sweet Potato Biscuits.


Here's an easy and cheerful "Get Well Soon" Food Basket to make for an ill friend in need. It's fresh, healthy and made with love. It includes goodies like homemade Garden Dill White Bean Soup and Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Biscuits. And no, you don't have to be under the weather to love these recipes.

Get Well Basket. Last week, two of my friends were sick at home, so I decided to spread some love. I took the morning off, threw my to-do list to the wind and stormed into my kitchen to prepare a get well feast. The cooking part was surprisingly easy and fast. I was out the door, basket in hand, in about an hour. Martha would be proud. Find out what I made and get my vegan recipes...

Love Heals All. When you are sick, nothing tastes better than light healthy food made with love. And you won't find "love" hiding in your pantry - it's buried right in your own two hands.

In today's world you can easily swing by Panera, Whole Foods, Le Pain or some other yummy/easy cafe to purchase a fresh bowl of soup, bread and juice - all in a matter of minutes for a good price. But trust me on this one, homemade tastes and feels better.

Made at Home. Martha Stewart has been preaching for years: homemade beats store-bought. I'll admit to thinking in the past that this theory was a bit outdated and silly in today's world of gourmet bakeries, prepared foods sections in grocery stores and cafes with to-go or delivery services everywhere...

But Martha stands firm. I recall seeing some sad NYC news anchor go on her show - he brought Martha some store bought cookies from his favorite bakery. Gasp! Martha was so spryly offended and called him out on his 'lack of homemade' right away. Hilarious. But after my "Get Well Basket" experience, I see that the homemade, "made with love" theory is indeed pure and true - especially when you are delivering homemade goodies to an ill friend.

Prepared and Delivered by Hand. When I handed over that basket of wellness goodies to my friends I felt a stream of energy between us. It was love, plain and simple. Sorry for the sappiness, but it's true.

And the funniest part was how resistant my friends were at first to allowing me to 'burden' myself by spending all morning preparing and delivering goodies. Has society sadly conditioned us to refuse a kind gesture? I hope not. The more we accept kindness, the more we will be inspired to spread it around. So I went with my gut and didn't take no for an answer. It felt like the right thing to do - and it was. I can't tell you how passionate the thanks were in return - they said I brought them a feeling of wellness - and isn't that the point of it all?

Get Well Soon Basket Contents. So here's what I put in the basket: homemade sweet potato biscuits, a big container of hearty bean/veggie/vegan sausage soup - all made from scratch, a few coconut waters for hydration and electrolytes, a big bottle of freshly squeezed citrus juice for vitamin c and hydration, and a few other pantry goodies like graham crackers, pomegranate juice and a gingersnap cookie. For the juice I simply squeezed a bunch of assorted citrus fruits, bottled it and sealed it with parchment paper. For the soup and biscuits, the recipes are below...

Fresh Squeezed Orange-Minola-Tangerine Juice:

Get Well Basket (soup, OJ, coconut water, biscuits):

Sweet Potato Biscuits:
Soup:
Garden Dill White Bean Soup
vegan, makes about 10 cups

1 large white onion
3 small carrots
*stem attached variety
1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
1 vegan sausage
*I used Field Roast brand - apple sage flavor
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 cups of water
*you can also use veggie broth - but then omit the salt
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 cup spiral pasta
2 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp assorted dried spices/herbs
*I used rosemary, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne

Directions:

1. Prep your veggies: wash n chop.

2. Place a big soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, mushroom, garlic, vegan sausage (chopped) and carrots. Allow to saute for a few minutes.

3. Add in your water, pepper, salt, spices (not fresh dill yet). Bring to a boil.

4. Add in the pasta and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste - add additional spices/herbs if you'd like.

5. After 5 minutes, add in the drained beans and most of the fresh dill. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. *Adding the beans last allows them to stay a bit firm and not get mushy.

6. Garnish soup with remaining fresh dill on top.

7. Serve. Or, transfer to to-go containers, soup warmer or store in fridge until ready to eat.

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Maple Glaze
vegan, makes 12-16 biscuits
*variation from my Sweet Potato Spelt Biscuits recipe here.

3 cups flour, whole wheat
1 cup warm water or soy milk
*I use water, but soy milk works too
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 medium sweet potato
2 Tbsp canola oil or vegan butter
*If you use vegan buttery spread, omit the salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
a few dashes of cinnamon

Glaze:
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp buttery spread OR apple cider vinegar (your choice)
*there may be leftover glaze

Directions:

1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix well.

2. Bake sweet potato (micro is fine) peel and mash in a separate bowl with the oil or vegan butter. Set aside.

2. Add water (or soy milk) to the dry ingredients. Then spoon in the wet mashed sweet potato mixture. Fold by hand until a nice ball of dough is formed. Add more flour if dough is too sticky.

3. Knead by hand on floured surface. Press out with fingers:

Press out dough with fingers after kneading:

4. Use a biscuit cutter or a simple juice glass to cut out biscuits, transfer to parchment paper or greased cookie sheet:
Cut out biscuits:

5. Warm the maple/buttery spread glaze in the microwave. Brush a light glaze onto each biscuit:

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before eating or storing.




Before Baking: Biscuits, with glaze:


Baked Biscuits:



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