Thai Broccoli Salad

IMG_2221I have been making this Thai Broccoli Salad for about a year now, and it has become one of my favorite meals.  It is my go-to when I am craving Thai flavors, which is often. I love that it embodies the flavor of Thai without the sodium often found in dishes from Thai restaurants (not all Thai restaurants). Thai flavors with no bloat or MSG- pretty awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a plate of authentic Pad Thai from my fav Thai restaurant every once in a while.  If you find yourself in the same Thai craving boat, give this recipe a try. You will be satisfied.

Thai Broccoli salad  is substantial enough to stand alone or can be served as a side. It would also be great with some added chicken.

Recipe tip- If you don’t have dates at home and aren’t heading to the grocery store, replace dates with 1 tablespoon raw honey.

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Ranchero Quinoa

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I am a self confessed juice bar junkie. I can’t stay away. My favorite juice bar, Juice Land, is a short hop, skip and jump away from my house.  It isn’t just the juices and smoothies that lure me in more than once a week. Juice Land also offers grab and go health supportive, super delish foods. My all time favorite dish  is their Quinoa Ranchero. It is the type of meal that makes you sad when you take the last bite. Has that ever happened to you?  I never want it to be over.  Since the day I tried Quinoa Ranchero it has been on my list of recipes to attempt. As of yesterday, I can officially cross it off the list because I finally made it! It is slightly different than the Juice Land version, but still so good it leaves me wanting more.

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Chocolate + Cherry Tart

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September is a busy birthday month for my family. I’m talkin’ 4 birthdays in 30 days.  Living in another state makes it difficult for us to participate in the family b-day celebrations, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating. Last night I made a raw chocolate cherry tart in honor of the birthdays. We skipped the candles and singing, but dug in like it was OUR birthday. This may be the richest and most satisfying dessert in the whole entire world and the next universe over. The cherry flavor is very slight. Not too strong. Not too weak. I served it with coconut vanilla bean ice cream. The depth of the tart pairs well with the lightness of the ice cream. Besides the flavor, what I love most about this dessert is all the goodness it entails. Your body will benefit from eating every single ingredient blended into this chocolaty tart…A true rarity when it comes to dessert.

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                               Raw Cacao  

Before the cacao bean is processed with sugar and dairy to make your favorite chocolate bar, it is a packed with vitamins and minerals. Raw cacao, which can be found in the form of butter, nibs, powder or beans, is high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium and Omega 6s. Ready for a shocker…raw cacao is said to help prevent cavities. Yup-sir-e. Cacao is high in Theobromine, which kills a strain of bacteria that causes cavities. It is also one of the highest food sources of magnesium, which is the most deficient mineral of a modern day diet. Raw cacao is a bit pricey but defiantly worth it for the health benefits.

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Get Your Peachy Greens On

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Not ready for summer to be over? You aren’t alone. The perfectly ripe and juicy farmers market peach stands with you. Lucky for them (and you), they still have a few weeks before they will officially be out of season. Although they will  soon say a sad farewell, please don’t fret.  We know peaches will be back in style next summer, unlike bright neon and high wasted shorts.

I used the last peach in the fruit bowl for my Sunday morning smoothie, along with some spinach, apple, kale and mint. The combo of mint and peach took my smoothie to the next level.  The fragrance alone gave me an extra spring in my step. That is quite the fete on a lazy Sunday morning.  It is definitely going down in the books as one of my favs.

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Salt + Pepper Sweet Potato Chips

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Raise your hand if you enjoy a salty and crunchy snack. I am going to assume you have at least one hand in the air.  In case you are wondering, both my hands are stretched up to the sky. Years ago I was more of a sweets girl than a salty girl, but tables have turned and my heart belongs to sea salt. Baked Sweet Potato chips are my go-to snack. They fulfill my salt craving without being too heavy. Using sweet potatoes adds a nutritional punch and an extra layer of flavor.

These chips take a bit of time and patience. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to crunchy baked Sweet Potato Chips. Cooking them at a high temp and short period of time has never worked for me. I am always left with crispy edges and soggy centers or burnt edges and crispy centers. Call me crazy, but I like the entire chip to be crispy.

 

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                                            Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are part of the super food family (the royals of all food groups). Rumor has it they are one of the healthiest veggies we eat.

-They are high in Vitamin A, which supports vision and reproductive health.

-Great source of fiber to help keep you regular.

-High in iron. Eat up vegetarians!

-Antioxidant overload. Vitamin C and beta-carotene work hand in hand to rid the bod of free radicals, which can be cancer causing and promote aging.

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A Farewell Summer Gazpacho

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Farewell, summer. I will be counting down the days until we meet again. Yes, I know summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd, but Labor Day feels like the unofficial toast goodbye. It is the last hurrah before the swim suits are packed away and butternut squash takes back the center stage.
To bid adieu to my favorite season I made  gazpacho, a chilled (super delicious) Spanish soup that embodies the flavors of summer. It’s the perfect light meal for the hottest of summer days. Gazpacho is essentially a liquid salad. Chop up some raw veggies and herbs, throw them in the blender and bada-bingo bada-bang you have yourself a soup.

For this gazpacho recipe, I blended 3/4th of the veggie mixture and kept the remaining 1/4th unblended, which resulted in a chunkier soup. For a smoother consistency, blend all the veggies together. Same flavor. Different texture.

One more thing, summer- Please send Austin the memo that your time here is unofficially done, so the 100 degree temps aren’t necessary. I would be very thankful. So would my super furry dog.

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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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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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