Saturday, February 16, 2019

mocha chia pudding + coconut yogurt

Need something to look forward to in the morning? Something that makes you want to jump out of bed? How about a breakfast that is healthy, hearty, chocolatey, and caffeinated? I had you at caffeinated, didn't I? This mocha chia pudding is just what you need then. Use chilled espresso shots or cold brew coffee to jazz up this new take on an old recipe (chocolate mint chia snack pack).

mocha chia pudding
  • 1/2 cup cold brew coffee or espresso
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or sweeten to taste)

Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined and starting to thicken. Transfer into containers or jars, cover and place in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably overnight.  For a complete breaky top with fresh fruit, granola, or coconut yogurt.

Want to make your own coconut yogurt? I did! Find the recipe on Minimalist Baker and read through her suggestions for coconut milks and probiotics. I have been using any full fat coconut milk and Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic 50 billion (look for it in the refrigerated probiotics section of your health food store). Two capsules for one can of coconut milk and 48 hours later, you are ready to enjoy. A little goes a long way with this co-yo because it is super rich and full fat so use sparingly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

lentil meatballs + coconut curry sauce

Coconut curried lentils is one of my all time favorite meals. Along the same theme, with a different method and texture, another variation was born. Which is good because there are only so many nights you can eat a lentil stew with brown rice. Don't get me wrong, I could literally live on lentils. But finding new and fun ways to eat these little nutrient power houses is a serious obsession.

I have made vegan meatballs before using white beans and bread crumbs with a classic marinara sauce and zucchini noodles, drooling yet? You can check out that recipe here. These lentil meatballs are next level. They are perfect for meal prep, you can cook them all and throw them in the fridge to put on salads, in wraps, or in this case smothered in coconut curry sauce and served with greens and brown rice for a complete dinner. Another option is to roll the balls but keep them raw and throw them in the freezer for a quick but rather impressive midweek dinner later on. Get creative with the sauces and serving suggestions and let me know how yours turn out!

lentil meatballs
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (I cook my own french green lentils with water and salt)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp flax meal
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Olive oil for cooking ~ 1 Tbsp

For this recipe I cooked my own lentils but it would work fine with canned lentils too. The consistency may vary so be prepared to add either a bit of water (1 or 2 Tbsp) if its too dry, or some sort of flour if its too wet. Coconut flour and garbanzo bean flour are both excellent choices given that a small amount will absorb a lot of moisture. But any kind of flour, almond meal, more flax meal, or even breadcrumbs would do the trick.

In a food processor add the garlic and walnuts, process to chop, this will ensure you aren't left with any big chunks of either. Add the lentils, cumin, salt and pepper. Process until almost completely smooth, scraping down the sides when needed. At this point only a few full lentil should be detectable. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the flax meal, nutritional yeast, and finely chopped celery and parsley. This is when you may notice if your mixture is too wet, or too dry. Adjust accordingly as you fold to combine.

The consistency you are looking for should be sticky enough to hold together in a ball, but not too wet that it doesn't hold it's shape.

Roll into balls, about gold ball size or smaller. In a pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the lentil balls and lightly fry on a few sides, using tongs or a fork to rotate throughout the process. Set the balls aside to make the sauce, if using the same pan for the sauce, place them on a separate plate.

coconut curry sauce
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh turmeric
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1/2 cup water
This curry sauce is irresistible! Every curry powder will have a slightly different combination of spices, but with added ginger, garlic, and turmeric, you can't really go wrong. 
Heat the olive oil and add the onions and minced garlic to sauté. After a couple minutes add the grated ginger and turmeric and the curry powder. Spices are always better after being toasted so rolling the curry powder around with the onions and garlic will really deepen the flavor. 

Add the can of coconut milk and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring the sauce back to a simmer. If the thickness is to your liking, its time to add the balls back in. If not, simmer until desired consistency. Heat the meatballs in the sauce for a few minutes, garnish with fresh herbs, either more fresh parsley or as pictured here, fresh cilantro, and serve.

Pictured here is a half batch of the lentil meatballs + a whole batch of the coconut curry sauce. There is plenty of sauce for all of the meatballs but it is fun to split it up into two meals, maybe with a different sauce? We had this for dinner one night with greens and brown rice, then cooked up another batch of the sauce to bring the rest of the balls to a dinner party to enjoy tapas style. Have fun with this one and I'd love to hear your feedback!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

turmeric hot chocolate

I'm back on Maui! After three and a half years on Oahu, I'm living in Haiku again and it's good to be back, even though it's been raining for days and I'm feeling a bit chilled and soggy. Nothing a warming cup of hot chocolate can't fix.

I went for a little jog today, in between squalls, followed by some stretching and foam rolling, but my muscles needed something more. A hot shower and a hot drink did the trick for me.

Golden milk is all the rage these days, giving turmeric a little taste of fad fame, but with good reason. Curcumin, the powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory compound found in turmeric, is what gives it it's bright orange or yellow color, and it's nutritional hype.

But did you know about cacao? Raw cacao is another champion superfood, touted for a high concentration of minerals and magnesium, as well as it's antioxidant profile. And it's CHOCOLATE! Raw cacao is unsweetened and cold pressed, helping maintain that nutrient density. You will need some sweetener when working with cacao powder, but this way you are in charge of those added sugars, so sweeten to your liking.

I used fresh turmeric root from a friend's garden, but dried powder would do fine. To increase the solubility and bioavailability, or your body's ability to use and access nutrients, of the turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil are added. This recipe makes enough for two, so share the goodness.

turmeric hot chocolate
  • 2 cups milk (any kind of alternative milk will work, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh turmeric, or dried ground
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • pinch of black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a steam, being careful to not burn the bottom. Heat for about 5 minutes, enough time to let those curcuminoids seep into the liquid. Strain out the grated turmeric and serve. Pro tip: quickly whiz your hot choc in the blender to avoid an oil slick on the surface from the coconut oil. A quick blend will incorporate the oil and leave a frothy finish.

This recipe was revised and inspired from Happy Foods Tube.