Creamy Corn + Basil Soup

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Bins full of corn on the cob standing front and center at the farmers market is a true sign summer is in full swing. Straight off the cob, grilled or boiled, it is hard to resist summer’s earthy sweet treat. There is something about the crisp kernels that make my taste buds go into overdrive. One of my favorite ways to enjoy corn is my creamy Corn and Basil Soup. It is one of the few hot soups I can eat on a hot summer day. The bright flavors make it refreshing and comforting at the same time. If hot soups in the summer aren’t your thing, you may also serve it chilled. But do yourself a favor and try it hot. You may be surprised. Oh and by the way, floss isn’t required after slurping savoring it. A rarity when it comes to eating summer corn.

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Decadent No Cook Brownies

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Are you ready for the most chocolaty, rich and nutrient dense dessert you will ever have? If your answer is yes (there is no reason is shouldn’t be) then I have the perfect recipe for you, decadent raw food brownies. They have been tested on my best friend, who is a self acclaimed chocolate connoisseur, and passed with flying colors. Instead of rambling on and on about how delicious these bad boys are, I am going to suggest you get up from whatever you are doing and go make them. Oh, and no need to turn on the oven. All it takes is a few go-arounds in the food processor for the brownies to come together.

At The Honest Plate cooking class I served the brownies with a Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (recipe to follow) and paired them with Matthews Chalkboard Red Wine (www.matthewswinery.com). It was a match made in wine and dessert heaven, which is the heaven I would like to go to.

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The Honest Plate Cooking Class

The other night I had the joy of teaching a cooking class to a group of fabulous ladies. We created a delicious menu full of healthy summer appetizers paired with Matthews wine, my absolute favorite winery (www.matthewswinery.com).  Through the chatting, laughing and wine drinking we managed to pull together a menu of…

-Gazpacho Shooters with Prawns and Basil Oil.

-Chicken, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas with Avocado Cilantro Crème.

-Crostini with Homemade Ricotta, Peaches, Honey and Basil.

-Dairy Free Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Decedent Raw Foods Brownie.

-Spinach and Arugula Salad with Blackberries, Walnuts, Pears and Blue Cheese tossed in  Lemon Vinaigrette.

Since the cooking class, the crostini with ricotta, peaches, honey and basil has consumed my mind. If you have ever wondered what heaven tastes like, this is it.  Homemade ricotta is creamy, clean tasting, a bit salty and every bit perfect. It is also suuuuuper simple to make.  Honestly, it is as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The moment you pull out this appetizer your guest are going to think you swapped identities with Giada De Larentiis. Don’t worry, the simplicity of homemade ricotta will be our little secret 😉

I will be posting the other recipes from the cooking class this weekend. Just like the Ricotta Crostini, they are guaranteed to be yumzo.

INGREDIENT                                                                                                                                                                                              SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Raw Local Honey   

I am a big fan (and user) of local raw honey.   As cute as that little plastic honey bear bottle is, it lacks key nutrients found in raw honey. How is this possible? When honey is heated and pasteurized it loses many of it’s vitamins, minerals, enymes and powerful anti-oxidants. It has been said raw honey can cure the world of all aliments. I am not 100% sure it can cure the world of every single disease, but I do know it can aid in digestion, treat ulcers, cure a cold, reduce stress, balance blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and eliminate allergies. Local honey is especially important when it comes to eliminating allergies. It contains local pollen, which helps the body build a tolerance to seasonal allergies. While we are on the subject of bees…go ahead and run from them but don’t squash, swat or kill them.  They make our world go round. Stay tuned for more on that subject.

Needed materials- unbleached cheesecloth

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Gazpacho Shooters with Basil Oil and Prawn. Paired with Matthews Chardonnay.
Gazpacho and Prawn Shooter garnished with Basil Oil. Paired with Matthews Chardonnay.

 

Ricotta, Peach, Honey and Basil Crostini
Ricotta, Peach, Honey and Basil Crostini
Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Decadent Raw Food Brownie. Paired with Mathews Table Red Wine
Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Decadent Raw Food Brownie. Paired with Mathews Black Board Red Wine.

 

 

Chicken, Black Bean, Avocado Toastadas with Avocado Cilantro Crème. Paired with Matthews Claret.
Chicken, Black Bean, Avocado Toastadas with Avocado Cilantro Crème. Paired with Matthews Claret.
Spinach, Arugula, Blackberry, Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad tossed in Lemon Vinaigrette.
Spinach, Arugula, Blackberry, Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad tossed in Lemon Vinaigrette.

Chickpea + Tomato Salad

The Seattle weather Gods have gone above and beyond this summer. They have blessed us with 18 straight days of sunshine.  If you are not from the Northwest 18 days of sun may seem like no biggie.  Around this neck of the woods it’s a big deal. We are 33 days away from breaking Seattle’s record of 51 days with no rain. I am loving this weather and the extra dose of natural vitamin D that comes along with it. What I am not loving, hanging out and sweating by the stove all day.  Which is why I give my Chickpea Tomato Salad the award for best summer salad. It requires no cooking. Zero, nada, none. Not only does it require no cooking, it’s also uber satisfying and substantial enough for a main course. Chickpeas, tomatoes and scallions are tossed with a creamy raw foods miso dressing to deliver a fiber and protein rich salad.  Enjoy it on a bed of greens or marry it between two pieces of bread to make a sandwich. Either way it is the perfect accessory to a summer picnic.

The 411 on the raw miso mayo…Say adios to jarred mayo, a new and improved spread/dressing just moved into town. The new kid on the block is made of raw cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, miso and garlic. It can be used in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches or as a dressing.  It may taste like mayonnaise, but that is where the similarities stop. There are several health benefits that come along with miso mayo, which cannot be said about traditional jarred mayonnaise.

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                               Chickpea/Garbanzo Beans

These nutty beans are full of protein and fiber. Dietary fiber lowers cholesterol, promotes healthy digestion and helps stabilize your blood sugar. The body metabolizes garbanzo beans at a slow rate providing energy to your body for a longer amount of time. These little beans are also high in folate, a vital nutrient to all the preggo ladies. Even if you aren’t preggo,  folate is an important nutrient. In the school of nutrition garbanzo beans receive an A+.

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Recipe

Cherry + Almond + Kale Smoothie

We have all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  This is as true as saying Justin Timberlake is the most beautiful man on earth (except my husband).  Breakfast  kick starts our metabolism and gives us the brain fuel we need to take on the day. Although I know this to be true, the simple task of making time to sit down for breakfast seems close to impossible.  It is a scramble to get out of bed,  showered, dressed and out the door on time. Which is why smoothies are my saving grace.   They are the perfect  on-the-go breakfast.  Quick, nutritious and delicious. To cut down on prep time in the morning, chop all ingredients the night before and put them in a mason jar. Come morning all you have to do is toss the mason jar contents into your blender, blend and go!

A few more reasons a Cherry Almond Kale smoothie is the right way to start your day…

-It will give you more energy than hitting snooze.

-Eating a nutritious breakfast ensures you won’t get hangry (hungry + angry) before lunch.

-Sitting in traffic is much easier when sipping on a delicious smoothie.

-You will be more focused and productive at work, which will lead to a promotion which means more money to spend at the Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

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break the fast

Watermelon Salad

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Summer and watermelon are BFFs. You can’t have one without the other.  I decided it was time for watermelon and summer to add a few more friends to the mix…feta, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and spinach.  If watermelon and summer could talk, they would  be thanking me for broadening their social circle, because this salad is amazing.  The sweetness of the watermelon combined with the saltiness of the feta and the tang of balsamic vinegar is heaven.   Although the recipe is simple, the flavors are complex. There is something in it for everyone.

Another reason I love this salad is for how versatile it is. Swap spinach for arugula, micro greens or kale. Fancy up the dressing by making a vinaigrette, add red onion or shrimp… do whatever your little heart desires, and the outcome will still be mouth watering delicious.

INGREDIENT SPOT LIGHT
Watermelon

No matter how you slice it, watermelon’s health benefits are incredible.  It goes well beyond being super hydrating. Watermelon is high in B vitamins, which helps with energy production, the vision protecting vitamin A,  immune boosting vitamin C  and a valuable source of lycopene, an antioxidant known to  reduce the risk of breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer.  Watermelon packs a lot of punch for being 92 % water.

Go ahead and beat the heat with a big piece of watermelon. Your body will thank you.

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Kale + Mushroom Taquitos

When I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, I secretly hope he requests a Mexican dish (or anything that requires guacamole).  Lucky for me, he usually does. His favorite Mexican dish is taquitos. He prefers freshly made authentic taquitos, but has been known to throw down  the frozen kind. Yes, you read that right, my husband eats frozen taquitos. Only when I am not looking. There was only one way to put a stop to this…make my own.  In with the Kale, mushrooms and coconut oil, out with the preservatives, chemicals and whatever else is hidden in those little frozen taquitos.

Once you try this little gem of a recipe, I have a feeling sales of frozen taquitos may go down, and the sale of kale will go up.

 

INGREDIENT SPOT LIGHT

Mushrooms provide more than texture and taste to dishes. They have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years and score an A+ when it comes to nutritional benefits.  Mushrooms have been shown to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer, help strengthen the immune system and  treat the flu. They are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps reduce the risk of a stroke by reducing blood pressure and helps our body process sodium.  Have you every been woken up in the middle of the night with an excruciating cramp in your calf? That may be due to a potassium deficiency. Next time that happens eat a mushroom, not a banana. Although bananas are high in potassium, portobello mushrooms provide more. You know what’s better than eating a plain mushroom to curb calf pains? Eating a mushroom and kale taquito. Say good bye to leg cramps and enjoy a tasty meal at the same time…win-win.

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