What I Ate Wednesday #24

Upon Waking: A cup of warm water mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice to stimulate metabolism and digestion (unpictured…I’m sure you can imagine a cup of slightly hazy water).

Breakfast: A very green, very vegetable-filled, very springlike smoothie of 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, a large handful of watercress, 2 baby cucumbers, a handful of cilantro, a small knob of fresh ginger, another large handful of baby kale, 1 tbsp each of chia and hemp seeds, a squirt of lime juice, and 3/4 cup hazelnut kefir topped with (unpictured) 1 cup brown rice puffs, 2 tbsp toasted almonds, and a handful of sliced strawberries.

The March farmers market, unexpectedly exploding with early spring produce due to the premature warm weather, has introduced a cornucopia of lovely green produce—all of which blend perfectly into refreshing (and nutrient-dense!) smoothies. Watercress especially deserves a special mention: related to the cruciferous family of broccoli and kale, watercress contains rich amounts of iron, iodine, sulfur, zinc, potassium, and vitamins C and A, among others, and has diuretic as well as antibiotic properties.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—hazelnut kefir, almonds. Whole Grain—brown rice puffs. Fruit—banana, mango, pineapple, strawberries. Leafy Green—kale, watercress. “Super Food”—hemp seeds, chia seeds. Added Veggie Bonus!—cilantro, ginger, cucumbers.

Local Ingredients: Watercress from Blue Valley Gardens, baby cucumbers from Canopy Gardens, baby kale and cilantro from Blue Moon Community Farm.

Morning Tea: Tazo Green Ginger tea. I normally don’t like to buy non-organic, corporation-owned (coffee giant Starbucks owns Tazo) products of any sort, but my mother brought this home one day at my request for ginger tea and I certainly couldn’t just throw the box away in anti-corporate disgust. Thus, I’ve enjoyed a couple mugs of this zingy tea (though not without mild guilt), described as having smoky, earthy notes of ginger, lemon, and peach.

Lunch Box: Tender mixed lettuces, wild mixed greensalfalfa sprouts, farmhouse mix sprouts, 1 medium yellow carrot, and 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans tossed in Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with a hearty dollop of cortido as well as a mash of 1/2 cup red quinoa, 1/2 of a roasted sweet potato, and 1 tbsp dulse seaweed.

Meal Checklist: Protein—sprouted mung beans. Whole Grain—red quinoa. Vegetables—alfalfa sprouts, farmhouse mix sprouts, carrot, sweet potato, cortido veggies Leafy Greens—mixed greens, dulse seaweed.

Local Ingredients: Alfalfa sprouts from Troy Gardens, carrots from JenEhr Family Farm, farmhouse mix sprouts from Garden to Be (no website), cortido from Fizzeology, mixed lettuces from Blue Moon Community Garden, mixed greens from Don’s Produce.

Afternoon Snack: A glass of NessAlla Kombucha in Raspberry flavor.

Dinner: A bowl of Green Tea Sunchoke Soup with Lemon and Rosemary over a small serving of quinoa accompanied by lightly steamed broccoli.

Meal Checklist: Protein—none. Whole Grain—quinoa. Vegetables—sunchokes, fennel, carrots, leeks, parsnips, garlic. Leafy Greens—broccoli.

Local Ingredients: Sunchokes from Harmony Valley Farm, carrots and leeks from JenEhr Family Farm, garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm.

Dessert: A Raw Chocolate-Nettle Cupcake with Pistachio Crust.

Local Ingredients: Spinach from Snug Haven, nettles from Brantmeier Family Farm.

Comment Provoking Questions: What sorts of greens are you putting in your smoothies lately? How’s your local farmers market doing right now? What’s cropping up in your area?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #23

Upon Waking: A cup of warm water mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice (unpictured).

As per Gabby’s suggestion along with further convincing from this cleanse article, this Sunday I began drinking this alkalizing beverage, purported to stimulate metabolism and digestion, immediately after waking up in the morning. I certainly have no intention of embarking on a full cleanse (for what is there to cleanse of on my whole-foods vegan diet?), but I always like to have an extra guarantee of a healthy, functioning digestive system.

Breakfast: A bright green smoothie (belated from St. Patrick’s day, I suppose) of 1 frozen banana, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 3/4 cup frozen peaches, 2 stalks of celery, a generous handful of kale, 1 cup almond milk kefir, and 1/2 tbsp lucuma topped with 1/2 cup Beet and Hemp Granola from Choosing Raw.

In my granola, I prefer to pack the most nutritional variety possible, so I expanded a bit on Gena’s original recipe by using 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, 1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp pepitas, 2 tbsp hemp seeds, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 1/4 cup flax meal, 2 small beets (one red and one golden, about 4 oz worth), 6 dates, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp cardamom. I also omitted the goldenberries since I like my granola fruit-free. May I also pontificate on the genius of adding beets to granola? Honesty, what will this girl think of next? I’ve added carrots, but the bright red roots imparted a subtle earthy-sweetness, mellowed out by the dates, to coat all that nutty, grainy, crunchy goodness. Gena instructs baking at 375°F for 25 minutes if you, like me, live in despair without a dehydrator, but I found that the granola took about an hour to fully dry out in the oven.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—almond kefir, sunflower seeds and pepitas in granola. Whole Grain—GF rolled oats and buckwheat in granola. Fruit—banana, peaches, avocado, mango, dates in granola. Leafy Green—kale. “Super Food”—hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax meal, lucuma. Added Veggie Bonus!—celery, beet in granola.

Local Ingredients: Beets from Primrose Community Farm.

Morning Tea: Kukicha Twig Tea from Eden Organics.

Lunch Box: Mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, 1/2 cup butter beans, a handful of roasted brussels sprouts, and 1 small cooked red beet topped with a mash of 1/2 a roasted sweet potato, 1/2 cup wild rice, and 1 tbsp dulse seaweed.

Meal Checklist: Protein—butter beans. Whole Grain—wild rice. Vegetables—alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, beet, sweet potato. Leafy Greens—mixed greens, dulse seaweed, brussels sprouts.

Local Ingredients: Alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts from Troy Gardens, carrots from Tipi Produce, beets from Primrose Community Farm.

Afternoon Snack: A glass of NessAlla Kombucha in Raspberry flavor.

Dinner: A chickpea tortilla stuffed with wild rice, black beans, and veggies (inspired by Sketch-Free Vegan’s burrito recipe), with a side of lightly steamed broccoli and a handful of Cabbage Chips from V.K. Rees Photography.

Dividing Jac and Jenn’s original recipe by four and roughly following it produced one chickpea flour tortilla and enough filling for two burritos—but hey, I’m sure not complaining; the filling tastes just as yummy inside the tortilla as it does piled on top of it! My filling included 1 shallot, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 of a jarred roasted red pepper, 1 medium-sized carrot, 1/2 cup wild rice, 1/2 cup black beans, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp tomato sauce (I had no salsa on hand, but this substitution worked well!), a small handful of cilantro, and 1 tbsp lime juice. The saute turned out absolutely deliciously—succulent, hearty, and with just a hint of spiciness—while I achieved a very substantial milestone by successfully wrapping a burrito for the first time! Thank you, Bill Grady, burrito-wrapper extraordinaire.

I also experimented with Vanessa’s play on kale chips—red cabbage chips. Unfortunately, I completely butchered the recipe, originally intending to halve it, but forgetting this fairly important detail halfway through. Thus, I coated a mere half a head of cabbage in a much-too-thick batter of 1 cup carrots, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp nutritional yeast (should have been 2 tbsp), 4 tbsp tahini (should have been 2 tbsp), and 1 cup cooked quinoa (should have been 1/2 cup). Oopsies! Thanks to my absentmindedness, the cabbage required close to two hours in a 375°F oven to adequately dry out, though even after that there still remained a couple over-battered, soggy chips. I quite enjoyed the pleasently pungent flavor, though, augmenting the batter with 1/2 tsp each of fennel seeds and garlic powder, and fully anticipate attempting this recipe again…perhaps paying a bit more attention next time!

Meal Checklist: Protein—chickpea flour, black beans. Whole Grain—wild rice, quinoa in cabbage chips. Vegetables—shallots, red pepper, carrot, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, red cabbage. Leafy Greens—broccoli.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Tipi Produce, garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm, shallots from the Plahnt Farm.

Comment Provoking Questions: What is the first thing you eat or drink in the morning? What are your favorite granola ingredients? Your favorite vegetables to roast? Are you adept at wrapping burritos?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #22

Breakfast: A gorgeously mauve smoothie of 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 cup frozen shredded zucchini (stored from summer), 1 tsp lucuma, 1 tsp hemp seeds, 1 tbsp carob powder, a large handful of kale, and 1 cup almond kefir topped with 1 cup brown rice puffs and a couple chopped rings of dried pineapple, accompanied by two mini versions of the Coconut Lime Avocado Pies from Vegan Yack Attack.

Dried pineapple has fast become my new favorite dried fruit for its tendency to pleasently dissolve upon contact with the tongue and its tropical flavor. Yum!

As for the avocado pies, I followed the recipe almost exactly, only replacing the maple for date syrup and omitting the coconut oil. I also seem to have lost my regular-sized muffin tin, and ended up once again resorting to my favorite mini pan for elfish, though still absolutely delicious, versions of the pies. Who couldn’t love a dessert with kale in it?

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—almond kefir, pumpkin seeds in pies. Whole Grain—brown rice puffs. Fruit—banana, cherries, dried pineapple. Leafy Green—kale (in both the smoothie and the pies). “Super Food”—hemp seeds, lucuma, carob. Added Veggie Bonus!—zucchini.

Local Ingredients: Zucchini from my neighbor’s garden.

Morning Tea: Comforting Tea from Aveda. I feel like I’m being pampered in a spa every time I sip on it.

Lunch Box: Mixed greens, 1/2 cup black beans, and alfalfa sprouts topped with my take on the Red Cabbage Salad with Wakame, Marinated Mushrooms, and Sweet Miso Dressing from Sweet Potato Soul and two mashes: one of 1/2 cup black japonica rice and 3 tbsp Cannellini Bean Pesto from Oh She Glows; the other of 1/2 an avocado, 1/4 of a roasted sweet potato, and 1 tbsp dulse seaweed.

For the salad, I used 1/2 small head of red cabbage, two medium carrots, 1/2 head of fennel, and 2 stalks of celery. My marinade for the mushrooms consisted of 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 2 tbsp coconut aminos. Finally, in the dressing, I omitted the mirin and soy sauce (since I already included a sodium-heavy condiment of coconut aminos in the mushroom marinade), substituted date paste for honey, and used 1 tbsp of tahini in place of the sesame oil.

As for thepesto, I followed the recipe exactly with lovely results! Fresh, summery basil tastes oh so wonderful as we enter springtime.

Meal Checklist: Protein—black beans, cannellini beans in pesto. Whole Grain—black japonica rice. Vegetables—alfalfa sprouts, basil, garlic, red cabbage, fennel, carrots, celery, mushrooms, ginger, sweet potato. Leafy Greens—mixed greens, dulse seaweed, wakame seaweed.

Local Ingredients: Alfalfa sprouts from Troy Gardens, carrots from Tipi Produce.

Afternoon Snack: A tall glass of NessAlla Kombucha in Peach Blush flavor.

Dinner: A big bowl of the Roasted Vegetable Chowder from Gluten-Free Goddess over 1/2 cup quinoa and a side of lightly steamed broccoli.

I would happily bathe in this chowder. Honestly, sprint to your kitchen immediately and start a pot of it. My veggie mix (the recipe is very flexible) consisted of 1/2 medium yellow onion, 5 large cloves of garlic, 1/2 a fennel bulb, 4 carrots, 4 parsnips, most of a small head of cauliflower, and 6 plum tomatoes (frozen and stored from the summer). I also omitted the wine, but the chowder ends up so deeply flavored anyway that I didn’t miss the extra taste layer at all.

Meal Checklist: Protein—chickpeas. Whole Grain—quinoa. Vegetables—onion, garlic, carrot, fennel, parsnips, cauliflower, tomatoes. Leafy Greens—broccoli.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Tipi Produce, garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm, parsnips from Driftless Organics.

Comment Provoking Questions: What fruits and vegetables do you store in the freezer from the summer? What is your favorite type of dried fruit?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #21

Breakfast: A smoothie of 1 frozen banana, 3 stalks of celery, 1 golden beet, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 honeycrisp apple, 3 large leaves of lacinato kale, 1/2 tbsp lucuma powder, and 3/4 cup almond kefir with 2 Coconut Muffins and 2 Carob Quinoa Fig Bars chopped up and stirred in.

Bars and muffins ready for chopping!

Very green smoothie with goodies stirred in.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve begun increasing the veggie:fruit ratio in my smoothies, including anywhere from one to three vegetables and two to five fruits. So far, my favorite smoothie vegetables are kale (a staple ingredient since the very beginning of my smoothie obsession), celery, beets, and carrots, while I turn most often to bananas (always a must), mixed berries, mango, pineapple, peaches, and apples to fulfill my fruity needs. Fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro also work well in morning beverages, as does fresh ginger. Honestly, if you throw any combination of fruits, veggies, herbs, nuts, spices, and “superfood” powders into a blender with some nondairy milk and a smidge of culinary intellect, you’ll produce one heck of a nutrient-dense commencement to your day.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—almond kefir, chickpea flour in muffins, almonds and hazelnuts in bars. Whole Grain—quinoa in bars, brown rice flour in muffins. Fruit—banana, mango, pineapple, apple, coconut in muffins, figs in bars. Leafy Green—kale. “Super Food”—lucuma, chia seeds in muffins and bars, flax in bars. Added Veggie Bonus!—celery, golden beet.

Local Ingredients: Golden beets from Driftless Organics.

Morning Tea: Cinnamon Plum from Rishi Tea.

Lunch Box: Mixed greens, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, 2 small carrots, and mixed bean sprouts tossed with Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with Popcorn Cauliflower as well as a mash of 1/4 avocado, 1/2 roasted sweet potato, and 1 tbsp dulse seaweed sandwiched between Kabocha Squash Flax Flatbread with alfalfa sprouts, and finally a dollop of “Ferment of the Month” sauerkraut.

Kabocha flatbread sandwiches in the making.

Finished lunch box.

All throughout my morning classes on Wednesday, I eagerly awaited the lunch bell to dig into this lunch box of supreme yumminess, which certainly did not disappoint my elevated expectations. I must admit that I’ve replicated this lunch box three times already this week. Hey, who can mess with perfection?

The beginning of March introduced a new “Ferment of the Month” from Fizzeology (a small lacto-fermentation business based in Viroqua, WI owned by Mike Bieser, who strengthened his immune system with probiotics to overcome Lyme disease. Pretty amazing, huh?), chock full of basically every winter vegetable fathomable. Just take a gander at the ingredient list:green cabbage, carrot, red and white onion, parsnip, daikon and red beauty radish, shallot, sunchokes, yellow and red beet, butternut and heart of gold squash, apple, leek, rutabaga, cumin, turmeric, and sun dried sea salt.Holy sauerkraut, that man will ferment anything! I’m surely not complaining, though, for his probiotic madness benefits both the efficiency of my digestive system and the deliciousness of my lunches. A win-win situation if I ever witnessed one.

Meal Checklist: Protein—flax seeds in flatbread (not a very protein-filled lunch, I must admit). Whole Grain—buckwheat flour in flatbread (nor a grain-laden one). Vegetables—“farmhouse mix” sprouts, carrots, mixed bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, cauliflower, sweet potato, kabocha squash in flatbread, sauerkraut veggies (but packed to the brim with veggies!). Leafy Greens—mixed greens, dulse seaweed, cabbage in kimchi.

Local Ingredients: Kimchi from Fizzeology, alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts from Troy Gardens, “farmhouse mix” sprouts from Garden to Be (no website).

Afternoon Snack: A tall glass of NessAlla Kombucha in Blueberry flavor.

Dinner: One of my new favorite recipes, courtesy of the always stunning (both in culinary endeavors and impressive photography) Roost blog, of Braised Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts with Thyme augmented with 1/2 cup cannellini beans, served over 1/2 cup germinated brown rice, and topped with a spoonful of marinated mushrooms.

 

In regards to tweaking Roost’s original recipe, I used 1 cup chestnuts, 12 oz brussels sprouts, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 cup vegetable broth and no white wine, and 1 tsp dried thyme, as well as including cannellini beans in the braise and finishing the dish with a squirt of lemon juice for freshness.

As for the marinated mushrooms, I’ve developed quite the taste for the chewy, hearty, succulent fungi that soak up every ounce of flavor in which they marinate. Hooked by Cucina Libera’s Rosemary Marinated Mushrooms (a key ingredient in my recent bowl recipe), I played with my own mushroom marinade of equal parts coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and dried basil, yielding fantastic results. Marinated mushrooms will certainly remain a kitchen staple of mine for a long while, I’m sure.

Meal Checklist: Protein—cannellini beans. Whole Grain—germinated brown rice. Vegetables—mushrooms. Leafy Greens—brussels sprouts.

Local Ingredients: None. *Frowny face.*

Comment Provoking Questions: What are your favorite smoothie stir-ins? How about your favorite vegetables, herbs, and spices to include in smoothies? What’s a vegetable you never thought of pickling/fermenting before but would now like to try? How much do you absolutely adore chestnuts?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

The Defeat of Cook’s Block

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I have successfully freed myself from the evil clutches of cook’s block with the help of an elightenting dinner and an end to my 2-hour-every-night gymnastics season. Now with a tad more leisure time to devote to kitchen activities, I hope to brainstorm a couple fun recipes of my own, cross off a couple tantalizing recipes idling on my “Recipes to Try” Word document, and scribe a couple new posts.

This past Sunday, I dedicated the better part of three afternoon hours to a rather intensive bout of recipe experimentation, every recipe of which yielded absolutely stellar results. The Chocolate Quinoa Protein Bars from VGANJAR and the Coconut Muffins from Cucina Libera replenished the wholesome-baked-good-shaped hole in my heart (I hadn’t baked anything for a good long while!), while the Curried Kabocha Squash and Flax Flatbread from Choosing Raw and the Popcorn Cauliflower from VegObsession prepared my lunch box for an inspired week of midday deliciousness.

Recipe One: Carob Quinoa Fig Bars—Adapted from VGANJAR.

Tweaks:

  • Replaced the 2-3 tbsp agave with 1 tbsp yacon syrup.
  • Used 1/2 cup almond pulp and 1/4 cup hazelnut pulp (frozen after making nut milk kefir) in place of the almonds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Substituted carob powder for the cacao.
  • Omitted the optional maca powder.

Lessons Learned for Next Time:

  • Frankly, I’d probably stick to this exact same adaptation if I make this recipe again! Not overly sweet, as my tastebuds have come to prefer in baked goods and desserts, the bars’ flavor teemed with a pleasant nuttiness from both the quinoa and…well, the nuts (obviously), as well as a yummy bittersweetness from the carob and cacao nibs. The quinoa also offered a unique pop-in-your-mouth texture accentuated by the crunchy cacao nibs.
  • I’d love to experiment with the addition of maca powder…though first I’ll have to actually obtain said powder. Perhaps another order from the Raw Food World is in order?
  •  Would another grain instead of quinoa lend itself to this recipe? Millet or amaranth, maybe?

Recipe Two: Coconut Muffins—Adapted from Cucina Libera.

Tweaks:

  • In place of the sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch, I used 1/4 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot, and 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp chickpea flour.
  • Substituted 2 tbsp yacon syrup for the coconut nectar.
  • Reduced the total amount of oil to 2 tbsp olive oil, omitting the coconut oil.
  • Used canned organic light coconut milk instead of So Delicious brand.
  • Miniaturized the recipe with my favorite mini muffin tin!

 

Lessons Learned for Next Time:

  • While I adored the muffins’ intense coconut flavor, I suspect from their slight dryness that they spent a bit too long in the oven. While the original recipe called for 17-20 minutes at 350°F for regular-sized muffins, it completely slipped my mind to reduce the baking time to accommodate my mini versions. Next time, I’m checking at 15 minutes.
  • I realize that the fat in this recipe actually benefits your health more than hinders it, though I could certainly not deem this recipe low fat. I’d like to try replacing the oil with a mashed banana to lower the fat content a smidge.

Recipe Three: Berbere-Spiced Kabocha Squash and Flax Flatbread—Adapted from Choosing Raw.

Tweaks:

  • Replaced the curry powder and cinnamon with homemade berbere seasoning (an Ethiopian spice mix).
  • Baked at 300°F instead of 325°F.
  • Cut into 16 pieces instead of 8.

 

Lessons Learned for Next Time:

  • Playing around with the seasonings works well with these flatbreads (I mean, what on earth DOESN’T taste good with Kabocha squash?), so I’d have a bunch of fun swapping them out to create subtle flavor nuances in this already impeccably scrumptious recipe.
  • I baked the flatbreads at the same time as my quinoa bars above, which called for an oven temperature of 300°F, for the same amount of time as called for in the recipe. They turned out perfectly textured—soft and chewy yet still firm enough to adequately support a generous amount of toppings. I suspect that if I had added the extra 25°, the texture would have been crunchier than I prefer, perhaps overbaked.

I also attempted the Popcorn Cauliflower from VegObsession, but don’t think it merits a full-blown recipe experimentation since I forgot to snap a photo and followed the recipe almost exactly, merely substituting coconut aminos for the Braggs. The recipe proved to have a wonderful savory flavor, surprisingly redolent of actual cheesy popcorn (but without the negative health or animal rights implications!), and effectively tenderized the raw cauliflower—a potential worry for me since I usually find raw brassicas off-putting.

Stay tuned for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday to see my implementations of these culinary creations (hey, a rhyme!).

Comment Provoking Questions: To what extent to you tend to tweak recipes to suit your personal preferences–a lot or do you usually stick to the instructions exactly? What kind of things to you change?

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #20

Breakfast: A smoothie of 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1 medium golden beet, 1/2 avocado, 1 medjool date, 4 leaves of purple kale, a handful of cilantro, 1 tsp lucuma, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, and 1 cup hazelnut kefir all topped with 1 cup brown rice puffs and 2 tbsp toasted walnuts.

For the past two days, I’ve experimented with blending a beet into my morning smoothie. Yesterday, a red one augmented a mixed-berry-based breakfast with carob powder whose bold flavors far outshined the beet’s earthy sweetness. The fruits in today’s smoothie, however, imparted subtler flavors and allowed the beet to nudge its way to the flavor forefront, resulting in an astoundingly complex morning beverage.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—hazelnut kefir. Whole Grain—brown rice puffs. Fruit—banana, mango, pineapple, avocado, date. Leafy Green—kale. “Super Food”—lucuma, hemp seeds. Added Veggie Bonus!—golden beet, cilantro.

Local Ingredients: Golden beets from Driftless Organics.

Morning Tea: Organic Double Dark Chocolate Mate from the Republic of Tea.

Lunch Box: Mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, 2 small purple carrots, and 1/2 cup black beans all tossed with Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with Creamy Seaweed Salad, 2 patties of a mushroomy variation on my Sprouted Green Burgers, and a dollop of kimchi.

Earlier this week, I prepared a batch of Desi’s absolutely delicious Creamy Seaweed Salad (using 3 tbsp of tahini and omitting the olive oil and sesame seeds). The salty oceanic flavor of the wakame along with its surprisingly hearty, chewy texture provided a strong base for the texturally contrasting celery and scallions as well as the smooth dressing.

Eager to employ the remainder of last week’s sprouted quinoa and buckwheat, I revisited my recent recipe for Sprouted (Almost) Raw Green Burgers and altered it slightly to accomodate the contents of my refrigerator by replacing the parsley with about 3/4 cup white button mushrooms and using dried basil instead of oregano, yielding tasty results.

Meal Checklist: Protein—black beans, tahini, sunflower seeds. Whole Grain—sprouted quinoa and buckwheat. Vegetables—alfalfa sprouts, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, carrots, celery, scallions, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, kimchi veggies. Leafy Greens—mixed greens, kale, wakame seaweed, cabbage in kimchi.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Harmony Valley Farmkimchi from Fizzeology, alfalfa sprouts from Troy Gardens, “farmhouse mix” sprouts from Garden to Be (no website).

Afternoon Snack: 1 tall glass of NessAlla Kombucha in Raspberry flavor.

Post-Workout Snack: 1 bottle of Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water.

Though I’ve previously attested to noticing an off-putting bitter/sour taste from the VitaCoco brand of coconut water, Harmless Harvest’s astoundingly refreshing brand of the tropical beverage has transformed me into a coconut water convert. Perhaps it’s the purity of their 100% raw and unprocessed promise, or their dedication to sourcing sustainably grown coconuts from small eco-farms, or their coconut water’s impressive nutritional profile (generous amounts of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium all in an 8-oz bottle? Count me in!), but Harmless Harvest has undoubtedly cracked the code to producing impeccable coconut water.

Dinner: A bowl of Curried Cauliflower and Squash Soup accompanied by three Garlic and Curry Quinoa Flatbreads (both recipes courtesy of the Queen of Quinoa), and some lightly steamed broccoli.

Following the soup recipe to an absolute T produced less than stellar results, though I place the blame completely on myself for not reducing the amount of curry powder even though I’m well aware of my incredibly low tolerance for the potent Indian spice mixture. Difficult to consume an entire bowlful thanks to its intense heat level, this soup would have benefitted enormously from a less enthusiastic hand with the curry powder. I intend to attempt this recipe on another occasion to allow its gorgeous medley of winter vegetables to shine.

The flatbread, however, proved wildly successful, even after futzing with the recipe a bit. My box of quinoa flour contained about 1/8 cup less than needed, but I failed to reduce the amount of water in a silly culinary faux pas. I also replaced the psyllium husk, an extremely powerful binder, with the gentler flaxseed meal. Combined, both of these missteps resulted in a much too watery batter. Thus, I whisked in 1/2 cup chickpea flour to firm up the mixture and followed the directions as written. The slightly improvised flatbreads boasted a lovely, not overpowering, curry flavor complemented by the garlic powder, and a satisfying (dare I say…) breadlike texture with a crispy edge. I’ll certainly keep this recipe close at hand for future meals.

Meal Checklist: Protein—garbanzo bean flour. Whole Grain—quinoa flour. Vegetables—acorn squash, cauliflower, red onion, carrots, parsnip. Leafy Greens—broccoli.

Local Ingredients: Garlic powder from Brantmeier Family Farm, red onions from Blue Valley Gardens, parsnips from Driftless Organics, carrots from Harmony Valley Farm.

Comment Provoking Questions: How do you feel about beets in smoothies? What is your favorite variety of seaweed? How about your favorite brand of coconut water? What is your heat tolerance level for curry powder? Have you ever ruined a dish by over-spicing it?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #19

Breakfast: A smoothie inspired by Healthy Blender Recipes of 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1/2 avocado, 3 large leaves of lacinato kale, 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Green Superfood Powder, 1 tbsp carob powder, 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and 1 cup homemade cashew kefir all topped with 1 cup brown rice puffs (unpictured).

Cherries had never before struck me as a particularly tasty fruit—their awkward flavor flitting between sour and sweet confused my taste buds. However, after picking up a bag of frozen sweet cherries from Cascadian Farm Organic on a whim at my home-away-from-home the Willy Street Coop, I blended them into a thick, creamy, carob-y mass of amalgamated fruit deliciousness. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a cherry convert yet!

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—cashew kefir. Whole Grain—brown rice puffs. Fruit—banana, cherries, avocado, coconut. Leafy Green—kale. “Super Food”—chia seeds, green powder, carob.

Local Ingredients: None.

Morning Tea: Equal Exchange Organic Vanilla Rooibos.

Lunch Box: Mixed greens, alfalfa sproutsbean sprouts (including lentils, chickpeas, and beluga peas), 3 small purple carrots, one red and one yellow roasted beet, 1/2 cup kidney beans, and 1 tbsp dulse seaweed all tossed with Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with a mash of 1/2 cup wild rice and 1/2 roasted sweet potato plus a dollop of Fizzeology’s Ferment of the Month sauerkraut.

Mashing various creamy foods into whole grains has become one of my favorite components of my daily lunch boxes. Some of my favorite combinations include tahini with millet, avocado with short-grain brown rice, hummus with quinoa, and the one you see featured here, wild rice with sweet potato. Marrying the two ingredients creates a fascinating depth of flavor, all for about three seconds of effort. Second #1: Pour whole grain into bowl. Second #2: Add creamy mix-in to aforementioned bowl. Second #3: Mash together with a fork. How utterly simple.

Meal Checklist: Protein—kidney beans. Whole Grain—wild rice. Vegetables—carrots, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, beets, sweet potato, sauerkraut veggies.  Leafy Green—mixed greens, cabbage in sauerkraut, dulse seaweed.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Harmony Valley Farmsauerkraut from Fizzeology, alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts from Troy Gardens.

Afternoon Snack: A tall glass of NessAlla Raspberry Kombucha.

Dinner: A heaping bowl of Creamy Fennel and Kale Soup from The Spiced Plate served over wild rice and garnished with toasted walnuts.

Eating to alleviate her carpal tunnel syndrome, Lauren offers this anti-inflammatory soup chock full of turmeric (two whole tablespoons worth!), ginger, and garlic as a joint-friendly pot of comforting veggie delight. I augmented the recipe with a can of navy beans for added protein and calories, but otherwise followed her recipe. As I suspected, I found the massive amount of turmeric a tad overpowering, but verily enjoyed the soup, nontheless.

Meal Checklist: Protein—navy beans, walnuts. Whole Grain—wild rice. Vegetables—red onion, fennel, cauliflower, garlic, ginger. Leafy Greens—kale.

Local Ingredients: Garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm, red onions from Blue Valley Gardens.

Comment Provoking Questions: How do you feel about cherries? Have you tried mashing together grains and other creamy ingredients? If so, what’s your favorite combination?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.