Friday, October 10, 2014

When life gives you cauliflower, make reubens.

Nom nom nom. 
Monster cauliflower! Sweet pie pumpkins! Hearty kale! Oh my! Locally grown loveliness is bountiful as our CSA for 2014 is still going strong. In fact, despite the cold weather, we've been getting more veggies than this entire season! And they are beautiful.

Last week we got these massive cauliflower heads. It had big leaves attached, which I had to remove just to get it in my bag so I could get it home. I'm sure everyone has a million things they can do with cauliflower: Roasted with turmeric, raw cauliflower spanish rice (thank you Lori for bringing this to my attention!), roasted cauliflower & garlic soup, steamed cauliflower with garlic "butter". So, I'm not going to talk about the part of cauliflower that you typically eat. I'm here to talk about those leaves I cut off. 

We are always so quick to disgard leaves. But, when you think about it, lettuce is leaves. Kale is leaves. Chard is leaves. Collards are leaves. And if you can eat those, you can eat cauliflower or broccoli leaves. They are in the exact family as kale, you know. 

I've been known to fill & roll them with some soaked and cooked black beans, avocado and tomato and lightly sauté in a pan. Or just use them as a wrap for your sandwich. They are extremely low in calories, unbelievably high in nutrients and minerals and help you (and me) look younger than our years. Greens are the fountain of youth ... both inside and out. So, throwing them out is not an option for me. Here's a quick idea for lunch this week. Put the turkey sandwich down (I'm talking to you, my husband). Open your mind & your mouth. Taste the goodness.

Reubens, revisited
Vegan reuben: Plant based, full of probiotics & enzymes, vitamins, minerals and protein.

  • Cauliflower leaves
  • Grain free tempeh (this is literally the only way I will eat soy products ... fermented)
  • Real sauerkraut (I make this myself. It's super easy!)
  • Homemade Thousand Island (I literally will just mix mayo/vegenaise with organic ketchup and relish or homemade chopped pickles). Alternatively, you can use Hummus or Tahini, which I also LOVE.
  • (Optional) Wilted spinach leaves

  • Trim center stalk out of leaves.
  • Lightly brown tempeh in a cast iron skillet.
  • Roll spinach leaves in your hands until they are wilted and soft.
  • Place tempeh, spinach & sauerkraut in your leaf & top with thousand island, hummus or tahini. 
  • Roll the leaf around the goodies & eat your heart healthy.
Trim the tough center vein out of the leaf & toss that vein in your freezer for veggie stock later.
Add the tempeh, sauce, sauerkraut & wilted spinach. 

It looks divine and your cells (and energy levels) will say "thank you". 
 I can't talk while my mouth is being stuffed full of deliciousness.
Happy lunching!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Break(fast) outside the box.

If you haven't noticed, I just took a little hiatus. The fam and I went on a little extended vacation to the East Coast. We always go to the beach the third week of September, when all the kids are back in school (except mine), the rates are cheaper (you know I love that), and the weather is a perfect low-mid 80s with bath water temperature ocean water. The only thing I don't like about taking vacation that week, is that it seems we leave Ohio in summer weather and come back to 50 degree fall weather. I don't know how this happens in a 1-2 week window, but it does. So, we go from sweaty sunny beach days to ... fall.

Now, I'm not anti fall. I'm not. I'm anti winter and spring. If fall went straight back into summer, well, I think I would never complain about anything ever again. Fall is cozy. I want to light candles all day, diffuse earthy essential oils and wrap up in a blanket and a good book with a cup of nettles tea and a bowl of pumpkin fauxtmeal.


Yes, pumpkin fauxtmeal.

I never intended for this blog to be all about food, and, trust me, it won't be. But I do love food and spend probably more than half my life creating it. Which makes it natural for me to have a lot to say about it. And I think we get caught up in food ruts. So, I like to share different ways of doing the same old ... same old. Now, ditch that lectin filled oatmeal and give this a try. You will be deliciously excited. Your digestion will thank you. And your cells will be full of immune boosting vitamins and antioxidants. (Flu shot, who?). I've had this for breakfast every morning, and it's time I stop being stingy and let you in on my morning indulgence (is it still an indulgence if it's much lower in calories than oatmeal and very high in nutrition? Probably not, but your taste buds will never know).

Can I get a spoon high five?

Finished fauxtmeal with ceylon cinnamon, chia seeds and coconut milk on top.
  • 1 Pie Pumpkin (or acorn squash, butternut squash, alternative winter squash)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut (more or less depending on preference)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter, earth balance, etc.)
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • Big pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Sweetener of choice (I used coconut nectar and stevia together, but honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar would all work deliciously too!)
  • Toppings of choice (chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, etc.) 
  • Heat oven to 400. 
  • Half the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds (throw them out or roast them), and place (cut side down) in a baking dish with 1/2" of water in the bottom of the pan. 
  • Roast in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes (or until a fork will go through the skin). 
  • While this is cooking, melt coconut oil (or butter) with sweetener (the amount will vary depending on what you use) and spices/salt.
  • Once pumpkin is soft, flip it so cut side is now up. Drizzle with the melted mixture of oil, sugar and spices and put back in the oven (still cut side up) for another 20 minutes. 
  • Once pumpkin is a nice golden color, remove from the skin and puree in a blender or vitamin (I've even used my bullet blender). 
Blended roasted pumpkin, ready for the fixins!

You can use the shredded coconut as is, or you can toast it. Toasting it gives it a warm nutty flavor that is unmistakeable to coconut. I'm a big fan. The coconut also gives it the "oatmeal" texture. So, add more or less, depending on your preference. Too much might make it a little chewier. So, start with less and work your way up through taste testing. 
Warm toasted coconut.
  • Stir about half the amount (depending on your appetite and the size) of the pumpkin in with the toasted coconut. Taste for seasoning and add more spices/sweetener to your liking. Top with chia or pumpkin seeds, coconut milk, a dash of cinnamon, maybe some raisins. Sit back and enjoy!
  • Save the leftover pumpkin for tomorrow! But be sure to keep the coconut separate as to keep it's slightly crunchy texture. 
Your pumpkin will be too much for one meal.
So, save the pureed pumpkin in the fridge, and heat up in a pan tomorrow morning! 

This week, I roasted one acorn squash and a pie pumpkin, pureed it and kept it in the fridge. It's fed me for 4 mornings so far, and I still have another serving for tomorrow. Not bad for $2, which was the total I paid for the squashes at the local market. And the pumpkin, cinnamon, raw honey, coconut are all cold and flu bug fighters. So ... breakfast for the win!

Now can I get that spoon high five?