Breakfast: A rather tropical smoothie inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme of 1 large frozen banana, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 huge leaf of green kale, 1 tbsp Green Superfoods Powder, 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, and 1/2 cup Edensoy Extra soy milk topped with a chopped-up slice of Rosemary Sweet Potato Cornbread leftover from my Thanksgiving feast.
I don’t usually enjoy fresh mangoes—their stringy texture displeases me and their orange flesh leaves an off-putting aftertaste. However, after pureeing up this surprisingly tasty smoothie, I’ve re-contemplated the mango’s place in my diet and believe its sunny flavor lends itself well to blended drinks. Rich in vitamins A, C, B6, and E as well as potassium and antioxidants, mangoes also harbor an impressive nutritional profile. Yay for warming up to a previously disliked fruit!
Breakfast Checklist: Protein—soy milk. Whole Grain—mixed gluten-free flours in cornbread. Fruit—banana, mango, orange juice. Leafy Green—kale. “Power Food”—green powder, chia seeds.
Local Ingredients: Alas, none! Would you believe that all of my favorite kale vendors at the winter farmers market decided to take the Saturday after Thanksgiving off? How dare they prefer spending time with their families to selling me leafy greens.
Morning Tea: Equal Exchange Organic Vanilla Rooibos. To which their website attests and with which I completely agree: “It’s almost like dessert in a cup.”
Lunch Box: Mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, and chickpeas (home-cooked, not canned!) tossed in Liquid Gold Dressing, topped with leftover Thanksgiving wild rice-sweet potato pilaf and seaweed sauerkraut.
May I just take a moment to attest to the sheer wonder of home-cooked chickpeas? If you’ve only had the misfortune of noshing on canned chickpeas, you’ll have no doubt grown accustomed to their mushy texture. However, simmering your own batch sheds new light on the little garbanzos, somehow increasing my adoration of my already favorite legume, by invoking into them a newfound toothsome texture and maximizing their nutty flavor. Delish!
Meal Checklist: Protein—chickpeas. Whole Grain—wild rice. Vegetables—sweet potatoes, onions, garlic (all in pilaf), alfalfa sprouts. Leafy Green—mixed salad greens, sauerkraut (cabbage).
Local Ingredients: Mixed greens from GittOrganic, seaweed sauerkraut from PowerKraut, sweet potato from the Plahnt Farm, alfalfa sprouts from Troy Gardens, yellow onions from Driftless Organics, garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm.
After-School Snack: A bottle of GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha in Gingerberry flavor.
Dinner: Leftover gluten-free pizza crust topped with Choosing Raw’s sweet potato hummus, 1/2 avocado, and a couple kalamata olives accompanied by a handful of super-sweet carrots and lightly steamed broccoli.
Bookmarked since this June, the Amazing Vegan Gluten Free Pizza from Clean Green Simple had tantalized my culinary senses for far too long. Pizza-making intimidates me enormously, but I finally decided to confront its challenge by hosting a “Make-Your-Own Vegan Pizza Party” for my gymnastics team this Sunday. After mixing up triple batches of crust dough, “cheeze” sauce, and tomato sauce, I portioned out and rolled 18 three-ounce dough balls onto individual plates then pre-baked each one for a minute. My guests arrived, ladled the two sauces onto their very own crust, and chose their toppings from a wide array of veggies (mushrooms, kalamata olives, corn, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, basil, thyme, cherry tomatoes, and roasted kabocha squash) before I slid each mini pizza onto an inverted cast-iron pan in a blazing 500°F oven for three minutes. The pizzas turned out absolutely delicious and pleased everyone but my oh my, had I exhausted and positively frazzled myself by the end of the night! The moral of the story: I’m a terrible hostess. Especially because I completely forgot to document any of the vegan/gluten-free extravaganza with photos. Luckily, I must have counted the number of crusts I needed to make incorrectly in my state of utter confusion and ended up with four leftover pizza bases to use for dinner throughout the week, so you can still see the scrumptious crusts in action. I used my own gluten-free flour blend (composed of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth flours with arrowroot as the binder) instead of just the amaranth and brown rice flours called for in the recipe, but otherwise followed the instructions with great results—the herb flavor shines through the almost nutty flours while the texture is pleasantly chewy, creating a top-notch vehicle for all sorts of yummy toppings.
Meal Checklist: Protein—hummus (chickpeas). Whole Grain—gluten-free flours in crust. Vegetables—avocado, olives, sweet potatoes, carrots. Leafy Green—broccoli.
Comment Provoking Questions: How do you feel about mangoes? Does hosting dinner parties completely frazzle you? If not, do you have any suggestions for hosting a stress-free party? Does pizza-making intimidate you? What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Until next time, Ali.