Peach & Cilantro Tempeh Salad :: Vanilla Fig Coconut Ice Cream

Summer is officially in full-effect! It's not only sweaty hot around here but the beaches are full of people, stores and parks are crowded, traffic is crazy and well, my taste buds are all over the place. 

Instead of craving comfort food, I crave fresh produce, sweet coffee {really weird}, green drinks, watermelon, crunchy veggies, white wine and yes, ICE CREAM and popsicles.

Today I have decided to share a really flavorful, Summery but light dish followed by FRESH in-season banana fig ice cream for dessert. No dairy and not a lot of cooking.

Tempeh is one of my favorite vegetarian proteins because it comes from WHOLE fremented soy beans, not flour or soy milk. It's got a lot of protein and vitamins. It also has a really hearty taste. I like to cook it the same way I would cook salmon had I been cooking salmon or stir fry meat in a wok {which I don't eat}. By the way, did I mention, it's meat-eater approved?

Makes a great lunch or light dinner. 

ORANGE TEMPEH & PEACH CILANTRO SALAD
serves 2 dinners, 3 lunches/snacks

1 package tempeh, chopped into chunks
1 peach, thinly sliced
1 large handful chopped cilantro
4 TBLS tamari
1/2 TBLS oil of choice
1 orange
1 avocado

In a small bowl combine tempeh, tamari and oil. Cut the orange in half. Set aside half the orange. Squeeze the juice over the tempeh mixture and using a grater or shaver, grate the orange peel into the mixture as well. Let sit for 10 minutes. Stirring a few times. 

Meanwhile, in another larger bowl combine sliced peaches and cilantro. Using the other half of the orange, squeeze orange juice into the bowl. 

Heat your stove to low/medium heat. In a frying pan, add the entire tempeh mixture. Let cook on one side until the moisture/liquid starts to harden and turn dark color {aka reduce the sauce}. After about 5 minutes of cooking on that side, using a metal spatula, scrape the pan and toss it again, coating the rest of the tempeh in reduction sauce. The tempeh should be pretty brown from the tamari, about 5 more minutes. 

One a plate slice the avocado into long pieces. Arrange on plate. Top with the peach salad. Then top the salad with warm browned tempeh. 

Enjoy! 

Dessert is especially fresh and healthy. With only honey and bananas as a sweetener it's a perfect way to end the day or maybe even START the day. I love having cold ice cream for breakfast on a hot Summer day, especially one with in-season fruit, coconut and honey. 

FIG NON-DAIRY ICE CREAM RECIPE
About 6-8 servings

4-5 fresh figs, sliced in half, skin on
1.5 frozen bananas
1 can organic coconut milk {creamy & full-fat}
1-2 heaping TBLS raw local honey {add more or less honey to taste}
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom, powder
1/2 vanilla bean
5 mint leaves, choopped

Chop 4 figs and break the frozen bananas in half. Add to a high speed blender. Open can of coconut milk and add that to blender as well. Mix on high until totally smooth and no chunks {you can keep chunks if you'd like}. Add honey and spices. Using a knife, cut open the vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds in the inside. Use the sticky black seeds, and discard the shell.

Blend again on high until thoroughly mixed.

Add to your ice cream maker and follow directions. Should only take you 30-40 minutes of freeze time.

note: because we don't use dairy, the ice cream tends to take a bit longer to freeze in the ice cream maker. Be patient. If it doesn't completely get hard like traditional ice cream, you can put in freezer for another 10-20 minutes before scooping out. 

Top each bowl with a mixture of fresh figs, finely chopped and fresh chopped mint.

Easy Snack #2 :: Mango Sorbet

This recipe has been perfected over the past few weeks. It was a random combination that I thought up one day and I was pretty happily surprised at the outcome. Even better is that my kids wolfed it down as well. It's refreshing, tangy and great for the entire family. 

It is so easy to make and I liked it as an afternoon snack. Healthy and hits the spot. Enjoy...

MANGO SORBET RECIPE

4 small African mangos, sliced into chunks
2 oranges, juiced {squeeze with hands}
1 lime, juiced {squeeze with hands}
1/2 vanilla bean, insides scraped out, discard the shell
1/2 - 1 Tbls honey {optional}
7 drops stevia {optional}

Chill ice cream bowl in freezer overnight. Mix all of the above ingredients in a Vitamix and blend until smooth and there are no chunks. Remove ice cream bowl and pour mixture in bowl. Start ice cream maker and in about 30 minutes it should be ready. 

note: Sweeteners are optional and not necessary but the small mangos tend to be very tangy/tart. This recipe does very well with the stevia honey combo. But you can use whichever you like best. Or agave nectar or sugar.  

Spinach Pasta with Organic Summer Veggies

It's Summer time and I couldn't be more excited. I have been extremely busy building our new house but have so many recipe ideas up my sleeve...all I need is a little more time in the day, sans kiddos {that won't be happening now that it's Summer, big sigh}. But this dinner came out so wonderful the other night and I just had to share it with everybody. It's the perfect recipe for my household because of its versatility. It can be made vegan or just vegetarian or even raw vegan. It fits everybody's diet needs and tastebuds. 

The base is a brown rice spinach pasta and vegan pesto. The "sauce", which is more of a big summer salad, is a raw dairy-free Summer veggie salad. You can add parmesan for a nutty cheesy flavor or leave it off for a dairy-free version which still tastes fantastic. 

The pasta fills up the hungry people. But leave it out if you're not as hungry and just eat the veggies as a salad. My kids at the pasta only. {of course}.

Pasta Recipe

4oz 1/2 box spinach brown rice pasta noodles, cooked
3 Tbls vegan pesto {cheeseless}
3 Tbls shredded parmesan cheese, optional

After the noodles are boiled and soft, add pesto and parmesan. If you don't eat dairy, leave the cheese off. It's still very very tasty. 

Summer Salad "Sauce" Recipe

1c chopped cherry tomatoes {quartered or chopped in half}
1 large or 2 small zucchini squash, thinly sliced using a peeler
1 ear corn, kernals cut off using a knife
1c sugar snap peas, cut lengthwise or in half
2 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 pinches sea salt
pepper, to taste
1 heaping teaspoon vegan pesto sauce, optional

Combine all of the chopped veggies in a bowl. Add the vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and pesto. Mix again and let sit an hour or so before eating. You don't have to let it sit but the flavor combine better as they sit. 

Pour the salad/sauce over the pesto pasta for a delicious dinner.

Top with fresh basil and/or parmesan cheese for added flavor. 

Enjoy!

note: I buy vegan pesto at the local health food store. If you don't have vegan pesto, substitute traditional, cheesy pesto. You can also make your own fresh pesto at home and store in fridge for weeks at a time. 

 

The Big Question: Smoothie or Juice? {Meredith Speaks}

One of the most common question we get from readers is Buy a Juicer? Or buy a Vitamix? Which is better, juice your veggies? Or blend your veggies? 

So, Meredith Baird has created a smoothie recipe, Beyond Beautiful Berry Protein Smoothie, as well as her explanation:

My answer is that they are completely different, she says.

Juice is a supplement. The nutrients absorb easily because there is no fiber to slow them down.Because they absorb so quickly I prefer (and recommend) juices that are very low in fruit and sugar. Generally juices aren't that filling. 

Smoothies are a meal. They are full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.  Smoothies are a great way to combine fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and proteins for a completely nutrient dense experience.There is no right way to make a smoothie. Throw ingredients in that make you happy! This is my most frequent (and favorite) combination. You can't go wrong with the combination of berries and spinach- so nutritious! 

Plus, Summer is on its way- and so are amazing smoothies! I don't know about you, but winter makes it really hard for me to get into smoothie mode. It might be because I live in Maine and frozen fruit seems counter intuitive in the winter (as it should!), or perhaps it is nice just to change it up a bit- either way, smoothies are an amazing way to really pack in the nutrition. 

Here is my concoction, try it, and then experiment with your own. 

Fruits and Veg
Serves 2 Large Smoothies 

2-3 Cups Frozen (or fresh) Berries - I always make sure that some blueberries make there way in! 
1 Young Coconut- Meat and Water 
1 Cup Brazil Nut Milk (or Nut Milk of your choice) 
2 Cups Spinach 

Supplements

 

  • Beaming Protein Powder - This is a proprietary blend of vegan protein made by or friends and colleagues at the Be Beaming cleanse squad in San Diego. I am LOVING it. 
  • 1 Scoop Green Vibrance 
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Butter
  • Bee Pollen- *I like Bee Pollen on mine 

*If you like it sweeter, add a date or a few drops of stevia. 

Throw all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth! (It helps if you put the spinach and liquid in first!) 

Sip, Relax and Enjoy!

A Week Of Serious Hydration

I have decided to take a week to focus on hydration. I feel like I worry more about my food choices and less about my water intake. I have noticed more unnecessary wrinkles and just overall dry skin {and I know why, I've been so busy moving and not focusing enough attention on juicing}. So, I'm hoping to see some improvement in my skin, among other things, this week. 

Join Me!?

You might be thinking I drink lots of water, I don't need to do this! Well, you might want to think again. It's not just about how much water you drink, it's also about the food you eat, your environment, and how much you sweat. Do you travel a lot? Is it hot outside today? Are you on a medication or involved in exercise and sports? Are you stressed {hello? me me me}? 

Integrative health care specialist & PureMamas contributor, Christine Dionese, says:

"Look to your urine color! If it's dark yellow, brick colored or orange, your body wants more water. If it's lighter yellow or pale yellow, then you're likely getting enough!"

Now are you feeling a bit more motivated to join me? 

If not, you might want to hear what else Christine has to say:

"Staying hydrated improves concentration, memory, energy, reduction of headaches, sore aching joints and muscles, improved metabolism and weight loss, improved skin and more. 

"A quick tip - many people confuse hunger and thirst. If you're having a difficult time differentiating between the two, go for the more water-bearing foods like Juli suggests - no salt, less cooked/dehdyrated foods and high water fruits such as cucumbers, oranges, tomatoes and so on."

Dehydration can be and is often the main contributor to unwanted small wrinkles on your face. Beauty experts have told us this for a long time now.

Drinking clean pure water with lots of lemons is also great for detoxing your kidneys and liver, which in turn helps your skin glow and keep your mind clear. In fact, as much as I dislike talking about celeb gossip on my blog, I wanted to point out that Beyonce drinks a ton of lemon water all day long and DAMN, look at her skin!

But it is NOT just about drinking water. You also must avoid some seroiusly dehydrating activities, foods and beverages. You need proper electrolyte balance as well. 

Here is my quick list of things to consume LESS of this week and things to consume MORE of this week! So far today, I woke up to green juice, lemon water and an avocado. I'm going to eat a lunch without adding sea salt {sniff} and season it all with fresh ingredients like lemon and olive oil. 

I'm going to avoid {or at least minimize} caffeine and alcohol intake, dairy, processed or boxed foods and dehydrated foods.

And not only am I going to drink more water, I'm going to UP my intake of green juices and smoothies while minimizing my intake of cooked foods. Cooking foods and dehydrating removes water from foods. Oh and did I mention my man, Wes, is going meatless all week as well. Meat is dehydrating. SORRY everbody, but it is the truth! 

If I exercise, which I am planning on doing, I will up my liquids as well.

My other main goal this week is to simply get BETTER at always drinking more hydrating liquids {and less of the more exciting ones like coffee and wine}. I'm hoping that my conscious effort this week will result in better habits. I often forget to drink water and that's my main problem with feeling dehydrated. Not to mention, I have an addiction to sea salt {wine and coffee}. 

In case you are actually wondering -- what is proper intake of water? According to Christine:

"The common recommendation of eight, eight-ounce glasses of water is a standard based on a 120 pound person. Shooting for half of your body weight in ounces a day is the easiest and most reliable way to figure out about how much you should be drinking." 


GOOD LUCK!

And stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post :: Meredith's Crazy Hydrating Secrets! {and by the way, this girl GLOWS and has no wrinkles, I know this because we just hung out last week - ha}.