Quick and Tasty Summer Lunch

This quick and tasty summer lunch is fresh out of the garden.

Who can resist this?

Quick and Tasty Summer Lunch

Quick and Tasty Summer Lunch

The tomato is of an heirloom variety that has a purple top and green bottom that slowly turns red as it ripens. It is the sweetest tomato I have ever tasted! I have no idea what the name of it is so if you know, Please let me know in the comments!

The cucumber was cut from the vine just minutes before it was sliced for the plate.

On the way in the door, I stopped and pulled a scallion and a few basil leaves.

Freshly pulled scallions

Freshly pulled scallions

I added some pickled cauliflower for a fermented food aspect and whole grain flat bread crackers.

Fresh and Pickled cauliflower

Fresh and Pickled cauliflower

 

Add some cheese and nuts if you want some protein.

One Delicious Bite!

One Delicious Bite!

Related Articles:

Pickled Cauliflower

Appetizing Cheese Board

Make your own goat cheese at home

Farmers Market Visit

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Lemon Detox Challenge

Lemon Detox Challenge!I’d like to invite you all to a simple challenge.

The 21 Morning Lemon Detox Challenge

Here’s what you do:

Each morning, before you have anything to eat or drink, squeeze 1/2 or a fresh lemon into a glass, add 8 ounces of room temperature water and drink it down.

Then go about your day as normal.

Make any notes about anything you may feel or how drinking the lemon water effects your body.

People report having more energy, clearer skin, calmer gut, less gas, regular bowel movements, anti aging effects (you’d have to do it a lot longer than 21 days, like, forever. . .) and easier weight control.

I’ve done this before and I really do like how I feel when I do this. My mother used to tell me when I was a little girl to drink a glass of lemon water every morning for your health. Good thing I like lemon.

Would you like to join me?

I’ll be doing a brief post each day about my experience on my Health Coaching Website’s blog www.chefpamela.com in hopes of supporting you in successfully completing your challenge.

SO go buy 4 fresh lemons and get ready to join me in the morning.

It’s time to feel good!

Related Articles:

Natural Beauty-21 Day Detox Routine http://ourlittlegreendot.com/natural-beauty-morning-detox-routine/

 

 

 

Join The 2014 Food Revolution Summit with John & Ocean Robbins

Don’t let Monsanto or Coca-Cola control your menu or your country

For the April 26-May 4 , bestselling author John Robbins is personally interviewing Vani Hari, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Dean Ornish, Woody Harrelson, Andrew Kimbrell, Dr. Mark Hyman, and 18 more real food leaders. Join in for free to find out what’s really going on in the food movement, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

You’ll get urgent insights on topics like GMOs, the collapse of bee colonies, the real meaning of words like “organic” and “natural”, and how to protect yourself from toxic chemicals that should never have been approved.

You’ll also get the latest science on hot topics like gluten, sugar, fat, Paleo and vegan diets, fair trade, and what it’s going to take to feed a world of more than 7 billion.

Join The 2014 Food Revolution Summit with John & Ocean Robbins.

9 Days, amazing speakers!

Register for free for full access anywhere, follow the link below

http://www.foodrevolution.org/summit?orid=271881&opid=108

Listen this about Monsanto’s lies

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies

A Morsel of Almond Date Cranberry Lime Cookie

A Morsel of Almond Date Cranberry Lime Cookie

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies are a real treat!

They are a “no-bake” cookie which puts them in the raw category; they are no sugar, eggs or butter so they also fall into the vegan category. With all natural ingredients so they also fall into the healthy foods and nutritious category.

Personally, my favorite category for  these morsels: Delicious!

Keep in mind some people might be put off thinking they are eating a raw cookie. So change the language and present these delicious morsels.

NOTE: Don’t fall prey to marketing ploys and think that because the label claims “healthy, all-natural or nutritious” does not mean low in calories! Learn to read a nutrition label and compare information.

Here’s the recipe for the cookies. It’s pretty much put it all in a food processor and pulse until a dough forms. Have fun!

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies

  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
  • 1 generous Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough forms. Leave some nuts chunky for a cookie that has some crunch.

Taste the dough and see if it need adjustment: a bit more salt? More vanilla or lime?

Form the dough into about 18 balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with a fork.

That’s it.

Flatten the dough balls with a fork; like you would peanut butter cookies

Flatten the dough balls with a fork; like you would peanut butter cookies

The texture is kinda like fudge but in a much better way. If you leave some nuts slightly chunky, your cookie can have a crunchy texture too, but if you want a smooth cookie, pulse until smooth.

You can choose to roll the cookies in coconut, chopped nuts or cocoa with a dash if cinnamon if desired. Use peanut butter, cashew or almond butter with cocoa in it. I guess in a pinch you could use Nutella but the point here is to avoid added sugar and processed foods in delicious ways.

(OK, so now I have to make another batch using the cocoa!!!)

Most people would never realize these are considered “raw food” but they are.

These certainly aren’t low in calories but the sure supply great nutrients: Potassium, fiber, iron, B-6 and magnesium and vitamin E.

Just a note, you can leave the coconut oil out but it adds so much, I would use it.

Oh, and don’t bake these beauties for any reason! If you try, all that will happen is the oils from the nuts will leak out and leave you with a rather unpleasant mess. So if you want  a baked cookie recipe, use another recipe, not this one.

Hopefully you make your own vanilla extract, if not, go get ya some vanilla beans and some 100 proof vodka and make some!

Click this link: Perpetual Vanilla Extract

Please make a batch of these and let me know how you like them and how they go over with friend and family.

Raw Almond Date Cranberry Cookies  Rather than "raw" let's call them "No Bake"

Raw Almond Date Cranberry Cookies
Rather than “raw” let’s call them “No Bake”

My Cooking Culture

george-chochran-shoot-086.jpgMy Cooking Culture

We lived all over the world, moving about every 3 years to another place on the planet. From Morocco to Spain, Canada to Japan with a few of the United States in between.

My father is an avid gardener; we used to joke about having a corn field in our back yard no matter where we lived. Fresh snow peas were the gardeners treat. They got eaten in the garden and never quite made it to the table. I used to eat snow peas instead of potato chips. After school, I would head to the garden and sneak a few off the vines then help my dad after work with weeding and tying vines to eat more.october-15-2011-farmers-market-015.jpg

To this day, I love garden grown green beans and home-grown tomatoes seem to be better than anything you can buy at a store.

My mom is Canadian; grew up in Nova Scotia where they grew a lot of their food. She fed us with garden grown fresh foods, or frozen. She tried cans on us once and we rejected them as repulsive so she didn’t try that again.

In the foreign countries, mom always managed to hire a native cook to prepare meals for us a few days a week. My parents made sure no matter what country we lived in, we learned about the culture, food and language. When we lived in Japan, the family that lived behind us was the same size. The mom there and my mom made great friends with each other. On Wednesday night, they would each prepare a full meal for the family, put it on trays; walk out the back door and swap meals. They got a traditional American/Canadian meal and we got a traditional Japanese meal. I loved it! My dad, not so much.

Imagine, from my Dad’s point of view, the aroma of pan-fried pork chops, green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy wafting through the air. Ah, the smell of the roasting garlic whetting the appetite. The coming to the table and finding plates of various sushi, rice, miso soup and tofu with cucumber seaweed salads. Surprise!

We have always eaten a ton of fresh vegetables, local meats and foods. What is horribly frustrating is seeing the decline in the quality of our food supply. In addition to the decline in quality, there is also the fact that so many people really don’t know what they’re eating, or how to eat well or make good food choices.

This is where I want to make a difference!

My dad, who is 87, still grows a garden and has the best tomatoes in the world. He also makes a terrific gyoza, thanks to “Mamasan’s” recipe.

Final Harvest!

Final Harvest!

I am one of the lucky ones. My parents didn’t take us to McDonald’s. Even though as kids we begged for it. I remember looking at the McDonald’s signs and noticing how the numbers of how many hamburgers they sold kept increasing. (Yes, they kept count in the early days!) I wondered if I would ever be lucky enough to be part of that statistic. Then came the day when the signs changed to “millions served” now it might be “billions served”. Yes, I finally got one. They must have, among other things in this category, the worst bread on the planet.

My son used to say my meals were always the same: 1 starch, 1 or two vegetables (1 always green), and a protein with a sauce of some kind. I have to admit it is a type of formula.

Today my Typical Dinner Consists of:

1 Green vegetable (1 cup)

Leafy greens, broccoli, cabbages, peas, any variety of beans, snow peas, there are so many! If you’re not familiar, pick something you don’t know, ask about it, look up recipes on the internet and play with cooking it.

Fresh picked kale

Fresh picked kale

1 Vegetable of another color (1/2 cup)

Any veg that is not green, peppers, onions, cauliflower, squashes, this is to make the plate visually interesting and it also adds a punch of nutrition!

Corn Crusted Grouper

Corn Crusted Grouper

Grain or starch of some kind (1/2 to 1 cup)

Whole grains like brown rice, exotic rice, lentils, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, millet, mung beans, quinoa, farro, cous cous. I love how much the level of choice in this category has grown. There is so much more than just rice and potatoes.

1 High quality protein – not always animal based (4-6 ounces)

Guidelines for animal proteins:
  • No beef
  • No pork (but I love bacon! ) 😉
  • No farm raised fish except catfish or trout
    • No Tuna, Sea Bass or Redfish

Note: we no longer eat any fish from the Pacific ocean.

  • Organic poultry
  • Organic eggs
  • Organic Dairy

    Multi colored Carrots (I bought these!)

    Multi colored Carrots (I bought these!)

1 Sauce (1-2 ounces)

Can be made from de-glazing the pan or reserved cooking liquids or stock or vinaigrette. This provides a bit of moisture and can add another dimension of flavor. I avoid using fat and flour thickeners and cornstarch. Instead I thicken by reduction (enhances flavor), adding mustard or miso which also contribute to flavor.

1 Side dish of raw vegetable salad (1/4 -1/2 cup)

This can be a green salad, carrot salad, cucumber, onion, Caesar, or lightly blanched vegetable and may contain a fermented/ pickled vegetable like pickled beets, cauliflower or onions. A homemade vinaigrette dressing, sometimes lemon juice and olive oil and cracked black pepper.

Anaida's Beans

Anaida’s Beans

This side does not need to be a big portion. 1/4 to 1/2 cup is a typical serving.  It can be used as a palate cleanser between tastes on the main plate.

Lunches:

Sandwiches with a chip and pickle of some kind. I’m working on improving the chip option but I really am fond of a handful of chips with a sandwich. I’m trying nori chips and kale chips. . . I may still go back to potato once in a while.

Light bits of left over dinner

Soup with good bread (I’ve made the bread we eat in the house for the past 10+ years)

Noodle stir fry

Grill pan dinner“Ploughman’s lunches” using what we have on hand

Vegetable Sushi

Breakfast:

On our own for breakfast. Most of the time I’ll grab something with protein.

This meal is usually quick , easy and light. Unless it’s oatmeal.

What we always have on hand:

Buy Organic whenever possible

Chicken stock, 1/2 & 1/2 for morning beverages and sometimes chai, fat-free milk, fresh greens, eggs, fruit, tetra-pac tomatoes, variety of beans, canned and dried, various rice and grains, legumes and potatoes. We will keep a stock of chicken and sometimes fish in the freezer for meals during the week.

I shop whenever we need fresh vegetables; I try to use fresh vegetables over frozen.

I leave processed foods on the shelf and process my own condiments, pickles and breads.

That’s it! My cooking culture, in a nutshell. A bit of many cultures rolled into a multitude of meals.

I believe everyone should be able to make healthy food choices and healthy food should be affordable and available to all.

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds

There’s been a stir lately about chia seed pudding and this recipe for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds is one of the best I’ve tasted. Yum, Chocolate!

When I first bought the bag of chia seeds, honestly, I had no idea how I was going to use them.

I kept having flashbacks of smearing the soaked, slimy seeds over a rough damp terra-cotta pot shaped into some absurd shape. In college, my roommate and I had some; mine was an animal that grew chia fur, my roommate had a head that grew chia hair.

I think this is my favorite though:

But enough of silliness, on with the recipe! Best part is the seeds aren’t sprouted for the pudding.

The thing about chia seeds are they absorb quite a bit of liquid compared to their dried mass. This thickens products they are used in and results in a bit of an off-putting gelatinous substance. Hold your judgement.

The chia seed has good nutritional value providing omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. It’s a powerhouse of good nutrition.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds

Yield: 1-1/2 cups

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-fat milk or use almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk, use plain rather than already sweetened varieties
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
Method:

Mix the dry ingredients together so there are no lumps.

Mix the wet ingredients together; add a small amount of liquid to the dry ingredients. Stir this until it makes a smooth batter-like paste. Fold the rest of the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix well.

TIP:

Dry cocoa powder does not combine easily with the milk if you just add everything all at once. There could be lumps of dry cocoa in the finished pudding which would be kinda yucky. SO add just a bit of milk and stir it in to get the cocoa wet and lump free before adding all of the milk.

Cover and set aside then stir every 20 minutes 3 times.This ensures the seeds are not clumping and will hydrate correctly.

Then put the covered pudding into the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To serve, fold in toasted almonds, reserving some for the top garnish. Spoon the pudding into a small bowl or cup, sprinkle with a few toasted almonds on top, add a small mint leaf and a berry or two if you have any on hand.

About the milk and ways to modify the recipe:

You can use any milk you prefer, even half and half but that sort of defeats the “healthy” part of this recipe. If you choose coconut milk, read the label and make sure of the ingredients before you buy it.

You can add spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, use almond extract or orange or raspberry extract for flavor enhancement.

Leave the nuts out, add fruit  or nothing instead.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Almonds

I’m thinking coconut, rose-water and cardamom, or chocolate raspberry next!

Since I had to taste this while writing about it, I didn’t realize I ate the majority of the dish and now have to make more to photograph the final plate up. Duh! It’s like the time I walked into the kitchen and ate the photo shoot. I dream of having a staff to help keep things straight!

Monk Fruit in the Raw VS. Sugar

Monk Fruit In The RawOK, so at the start of every new year, almost everyone says “I’m going to lose weight or get fit” or something. So I decided to see what this zero-calorie Monk Fruit In the Raw “all natural sweetener” is about.

The ingredients are: dextrose, monk fruit extract. In the larger bulk pack, the ingredients were: maltodextrin, monk fruit extract.

I wonder why the difference? I wonder what percentage of dextrose to monk fruit extract am I getting? Theoretically, they could simply add a few drops of the extract to the bin of dextrose and call it Monk Fruit in the Raw, but it is far from raw and since dextrose is the first ingredient, it is also far from being monk fruit.

So, I bought some to explore since I didn’t think the store would appreciate me trying this in the store. I opened a pack and poured it into my hand. I put some in my mouth and tasted it.

Sweet on the front, but it had an odd numbing sensation, slight, but numbing. Then the bitter after taste came on a few minutes after I had finished tasting the newly discovered miraculous ‘have your sweets and no calories too’ monk fruit sweetener. Yuck!

Then I put some in a perfectly good cup of coffee and totally ruined that too.

While the initial taste is sweet, it’s the dry bitterness of dextrose (yes another ‘natural’ sugar) that gets you in the end. Not being a diet soda drinker, I suppose my taste buds are more sensitive to those kind of flavors, but I didn’t like it at all. It actually numbed my taste receptors for a while after I finished  tasting, that I didn’t like at all!

I read the website the claim “Has the least after taste . . .” but whats with that tongue coating effect?

After washing my tongue off and getting it back to normal, I tried the same with a bit of organic sugar. Yup! Pleasure, smooth and sweet.

Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl

So what’s the conclusion? Use sugar, just use a lot less. I’m learning to like my tea with no sweetener but Earl Grey really likes a small bit of sugar.
Unless you enjoy the sensation of diet/low-calorie food things in your mouth, stick to using sugar. Train yourself to use less. I know that’s not an option for diabetics., but maybe use the real fruit instead of this processed junk?

The packaging is romantic and describes the ancient history of using monk fruit as a sweet ingredient. I’d bet they didn’t have granulated sugar then either, let alone dextrose or maltodextrin to mix it with. What they used back then is not what is wrapped up so neatly in bright orange packages and presented to you as monk fruit.Monk Fruit In The Raw Packets

And the zero calories? The say on the side of the box that each package contains less than 3 calories per serving which the FDA recognizes as zero calories. But whose counting?

This is my opinion and your tastes and experience may differ. I love that!

Southern Iced Tea

Southern Iced Tea