Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kale and Collard Greens
Kale chips — an easy raw food snack produced with a dehydrator, a little interesting dressing and fresh kale leaves.
I recently received a four tray dehydrator as a gift. Kale chips were high on my 'first to experiment with' list. I'd watched AnnMarie Gianni make these on a weekly Wednesday food episode of the Renegade Health Show. You can watch AnnMarie prepare this healthy snack on You Tube.
I snacked on the kale chips while preparing lunch today. A colorful, cooked plate of yams and collard greens followed a big, fresh salad of mixed greens, sweet onion, sliced radishes, raisins, sunflower seeds and avocado, dressed with olive oil and a splash of raw apple cider vinegar.
Yams and Collard Greens

I indulged in Crescent Dragonwagon's* holiday yam preparation: mashing the vibrant orange flesh with a little freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest and a splash of Grand Marnier. This is a wonderful counterpoint to the spicy collard greens, cooked with lots of garlic, onion, crushed red pepper and a generous dollop of apple cider vinegar.

An occasional cooked meal, comprised of colorful vegetables, is a nice way to round out a week of raw greens— green smoothies, both sweet and savory, fruit and vegetable salads and shredded cruciferous veggies. Choosing some lightly cooked grains, beans or root vegetables offers a treat to the palate as well as providing a wider nutrient variety.

* The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon offers a complete compendium of ideas and instruction for preparing vegetables, legumes and grains.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

How Green is My Smoothie?

Actually, a very nutrient dense green smoothie rolled out of the blender a rich, deep, royal shade of purple. Amazing the change that took place when nine frozen blackberries were added to a vibrant green mixture in my blender.

It's Christmas morning, to celebrate the occasion I chose to make a thick, luscious smoothie for breakfast. Sweet with extra fruit, nutritious with dark, dinosaur kale leaves, softened with a big handful of young spinach leaves.

The Purple Passion
One large navel orange, peeled
One juice orange (Valencia) peeled
One banana
5-6 dark kale leaves (stems removed)
Big handful young spinach
One frozen banana
Frozen berries to taste (I used 9 large blackberries).

Blend the soft, juicy ingredients first, then blend in the greens. Finish with the frozen fruit. The oranges I used provided enough juice to make a great smoothie. Add a bit of water if needed.
Note: I don't have a very high-powered blender. Adding the ingredients in layers allows my Kitchen Aid blender to do an admirable job.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Leafy Greens

After listening to another enlightening talk by Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren, I've embarked on a plan to add more greens into my daily diet by including a savory green smoothie as well as the fruit based green smoothie I have each day.

I've been adding a variety of dark, leafy greens to my morning smoothies for quite some time and I've certainly increased the amount of greens incorporated into each drink. While I've increased the quantity of leafy greens, I've also decreased the amount of fruit to keep my sugar intake to a minimum.

Here is an example of a sweet smoothie and a savory green smoothie.

Morning Fruit Based Green Smoothie
1 whole orange, peeled

1 banana (fresh or frozen)

3-4" slice of fresh pineapple (cut into segments)

2 hands full spinach leaves

4 kale leaves (without stems)

vary the types of greens

(a bit of water if needed)

Dinner Savory Green Smoothie

1 large ripe tomato

1/2 Haas avocado

1 Kirby cucumber

1 small zucchini

1 slice sweet onion

2 hands full spinach leaves

4 kale leaves (without stems)
vary the types of greens

dash of sea salt

splash of filtered water as needed

Here's my quick take on Dr. T's advice regarding the essential elements of a green smoothie or green savory:

1. Greens are the key ingredient. Use dark greens, vary the type, use plenty.

2. The base - use soft fruit such as melon, pineapple, ripe pear, banana. For a savory, use tomato or avocado, cucumber or a combination of soft veggies for a base.

3. Dates, raisins or berries can be added for a sweetener with fruit smoothies. Herbs and spices make nice additions to savory smoothies while adding additional health benefits. Think garlic, onion, oregano, basil, chervil, cilantro, etc. A little cayenne, or ground chili to add a little kick?

CAUTION: Dr. T admonishes us to use as little added water as necessary to prevent diluting these important nutrients.

Check out The Truth About Your Food with Dr. Tel-Oren. Here are important facts and information that give us the tools we need to take charge of our lives, our health, our well being.

It's there for the taking (or the listening) free to the public.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Arugula Reigns
Sunday lunch time rolled around before I knew it. One of the advantages to the raw food lifestyle is when hunger strikes, satisfaction can be immediate. While instant gratification has been the bane of many of society's current ailments, in this case it has much merit.

With the raw food lifestyle, instant gratification ranks closely with wonderful flavors, good health and super energy — food preparation is fast, and easy on the budget, too.

To please a lunch guest, who isn't into just high water content food, I also provided an interesting take on the turkey dressing that was such a hit last year.

The bread dressing was simply half an Asiago baguette, tossed with a diced onion and a half cup of walnuts. The onion and walnuts were given a light sauté in cultured, organic butter with a generous pinch of dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

The stale bread was processed into small chunks then tossed with the onions and walnuts. Place the mixture in an 8" or 9" cake pan, and roast off in a 350° for about 20 minutes. The salad was simply fresh corn kernels cut from the cobs, sliced grape tomatoes and arugula. The tomatoes were dressed with the juice and zest from half a lemon then tossed with the corn and arugula. This salad contained no oil, but a drizzle of olive oil or better yet, walnut oil, would certainly be a nice touch.

Frugal, fresh, fuss-free. . . with richly colored, full-flavored fresh produce just let your imagination run wild. Recipes really aren't needed. The combos are endless and the rewards are great.