Thursday, February 28, 2013

Healthy Chia Honey Mustard Dressing

I was craving some honey mustard dressing and in the past have tried a few different recipes and experiments that were just not quite there. One recipe I used called for using jarred organic mustard, and the results were very tasty, but for me, I like using all my own ingredients... so I tried once again and this time, I hit hit the nail on the head! The consistency is perfect and the taste is amazing. This dressing is great for sandwiches, salads, wraps, dipping you name it! The healthy secret is chia!

If you are into eating healthy, you will probably already know that chia has been touted as a super food. Chia packs a big punch with the right balance of omega 3's & 6's, protein, calcium and fiber. Here is a good article on chia on the Dr Oz site.

Besides chia this dressing has other healthy ingredients like the anti-cancer combo of turmeric and black pepper, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey and dates. All nutrient dense ingredients! Ok on to the good stuff!

Chia Honey Mustard Dressing:
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/8 cup olive oil
2-3 tbsps raw apple cider vinegar (depending on how tangy you like it)
2 medjool dates (soaked makes them easier to blend)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp turmeric
5-6 black peppercorns or fresh ground pepper
1-2 tsps raw honey (not vegan and this is optional, add another date instead if you like)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup water (you can add more if you want it thinner)

Toss all ingredients into your blender and puree for 2-3 minutes until thick and smooth. It will be to the point where it starts to warm up a bit. This makes 4-8 servings depending on size. I store my extra in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

Salad pictured is kale, carrots, cucumber, tomato, and avocado. Better photos next time. I did this on the fly so I could record this recipe. I have more ideas for some healthy dressings that I will experiment with soon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Apple Walnut Waldorf Salad With Creamy Hemp Mayo

Waldorf salad always makes me think of my grandmothers house. It was at her table I had my first bite of Waldorf salad. Of course she used mayo in hers. Back then mayo was probably a bit healthier than it is now days with all the strange additives.

I have been craving this salad for a while and I happened to have all the right ingredients to whip up a batch except the mayo... I have looked online a few times for vegan mayo recipes and experimented a bit. A lot of mayo recipes call for cashews since they whip up amazingly creamy. And I love cashew, cashew is great for vegan sour cream, cheese sauce, cheesecake, ohhh so many things, but I was getting a bit tired of it. I also believe that to be healthy, you need to eat a variety and using cashew for every creamy thing is not optimal. Anyway, I have been using a little hemp here and there, and discovered how creamy its texture is when blended. Plus it is less sweet than cashews, more "herby" flavored. So, needless to say this "experiment" came out exactly as I planned! And what a great healthy mayo recipe I have now!

The great thing about making your own mayo is that you can flavor it any way you like... oh the ideas in my head... Not to mention it is super easy with a decent blender, I mean it doesn't really get much easier than this! Anyway, here is my take on a raw vegan Waldorf Salad!

3 gala apples diced with skins on (or whatever sweet apple you like)
2 celery stalks diced (use the leaves too!)
1/2 cucumber diced
1/4 cup diced red onion (or any sweet)
1/4 cup match stick or grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins or fresh grapes halved
1 cup soaked raw walnuts
2-3 sprigs cilantro

Hemp Mayo:
1/2 cup hulled hemp seed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp real maple syrup
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 small garlic clove (or half of a larger one)
1 1/8 inch slice fresh ginger root

For the salad, dice salad veggies/fruit and add to a large bowl. For the dressing add all ingredients to a blender and puree for around 3 minutes. You will feel the mayo start to warm a bit. It should be rich and creamy at this point. Spoon over the salad a little at a time for the desired amount and mix.   The dressing should be about the right amount. Place a large scoop on a bed of mixed baby greens and fresh sprouts and serve! This recipe serves about 8-12. I make up a batch and keep it in the fridge.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sun-dried Tomato Biscuit Poppers - Gluten Free

Since I have cut out gluten I am missing my crackers, biscuits, crispy breads, etc. Sure you can find gluten free, organic, whole food crackers, breads etc, but you will pay for them, they are quite pricey. Even still, many "healthy" brands include things that I don't want to put in my body, so I am constantly reading labels and more than naught, I will be making my own if I want something. So, I have been experimenting and these came out so tasty they are a definite do-over. Now, I made these with the idea that I'd eat a couple with a meal, but they ended up "being" my meal! They were that tasty! (No worries, I ate a huge salad earlier in the day!) They were exactly what I was hoping for, dense, crunchy, flavorful, I ate mine dipped into a tiny drizzle of olive oil with some sea salt sprinkled in it.

The great thing about buckwheat is that it is not a grain, it is a seed. I know it sounds like it's related to wheat, but it is actually completely different and contains no gluten. It is nutrient dense and is a complete protein like quinoa and hemp. To add to that it has high levels of manganese, magnesium, fiber and antioxidants, quercitin and rutin. Here is a great article on buckwheat.

Sprouting buckwheat is easy! I started mine the night before. I soaked the buckwheat overnight, drained it and rinsed it and let it sit in the colander over a bowl draining until later in the day when I was ready to use it. The buckwheat already had tiny tails! You can eat the buckwheat just like this too, they are crispy and tasty. Anyway, onto the good stuff!

2 cups of buckwheat (sprouted)
2 soaked dates
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp milled flax or chia
1 tbsp sea salt (plus some for sprinkling on top)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
5 sun-dried tomatoes diced

The night before soak 2 cups of dry buckwheat in twice as much water. The next morning, drain and rinse your buckwheat and leave it in the colander so it can drain well until you use it. It will continue to sprout.

Add the sprouted wet buckwheat, pitted dates and garlic clove to your food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until it breaks down to a sticky dough type consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and process again for a few seconds, or until all ingredients are blended and you have a doughy texture with small chunks of sun-dried tomatoes. Spoon teaspoon size biscuits onto a baking sheet, sprinkle poppy seeds and sea salt over the tops, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. You could also dehydrate these on a telflex dehydrator sheet instead of baking if you want a raw version! Another option is to roll these out flat and make them into crackers or even a crispy dense pizza crust! This recipe makes about 2 dozen bite size biscuits. Enjoy~