Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer in May - Smoothie Time

It was Sunday morning, Mr. Sun already up by the time I was. Just the month of May but felt like mid summer - breakfast served accordingly! 

For my lovely morning smoothie I only needed:

- the juice from 2 freshly squeezed grapefruits
- 1 small banana
- 2 nectarines
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds

And voila! Joy in a glass!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Raspberry Filling Pancake Cake

Sunday again. Therefore: pancakes! But with a touch of raspberry. And in the shape of a cake. 
Super easy recipe, serves 4, and turns breakfast into celebrations. No need to look far for reasons to celebrate: it's Sunday, gorgeous rainy morning, clear sunny afternoon, it's quiet and nice, finished my book for the Forest City (doesn't 'Forest City' sound simply lovely?) Bookclub first meetup, got a chance to be walking in the rain with Dog, and even got a chance to continue reading through the book I was reading at the time the meetup was announced. It's barely past noon and feels like entire day of lovely!

On to the pancake cake with raspberry filling:

For the pancakes: 
In a large bowl, add together and mix well:
- 1 cup plain yogurt (Balkan or Greek style)
- 2 tbsp Agave syrup
- pure vanilla extract
- 1 whole egg
- 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Pour ~ 1/4cup of the batter into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbles start to form and the bottom is golden brown. Flip over to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned.
Repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 7 pancakes.
For the filling, mix together until smooth and fluffy:
- 1/2 package (~225 g) ricotta cheese
- 1 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen)
- a little bit of honey (agave syrup will turn the mixture brown)

Divide the mixture into 7 equal part and spread over each pancake. Stack the pancakes one on top of the other. Decorate with raspberries. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Creamy Peach Tart

Sunday night and reading The Help (by Kathryn Stockett) for the first meeting of a brand new book club in town. Minny was peeling peaches in my book, page something, and the crave hit me - and manifested itself in the form of Creamy Vanilla Peach Tart.

Started by preheating the oven at 350F.

For the shell (classical tart shell), used a medium bowl and added the following:
- 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt (Balkan style)

Formed the dough, shaped it into a ball and pressed it firmly into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 10-in tart pan. (oh, and poked the bottom using a fork). set aside.

For the filling:
- puree 1/2 cup of sliced peaches
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Balkan style)
- pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

Mix well until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the mixture over the unbaked tart shell. Optional: add extra peach slices on top.

Bake for ~ 45-50 minute, until set. Let cool before cutting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raw Vegan Challenge - Days 4 & 5

Both day 4 & 5 went by so smooth, bet they were passing by on their tippy toes. 

On day 4 I had a fruit salad to start the day (banana, orange, shredded apple, hemp seeds).
I moved over to some walnuts for snack.
Launch came and it was: cauliflower, broccoli, baby carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. I bought them at the market while shopping for a birthday present for one of my friends. Took me a while to convince the vendor I didn't want any dip with that.
For the next snack I had the most amazing and sweet muscat grapes. Oh, the flavor!Added a handful of cashew nuts to them.
For dinner, my detox took a bit of a detour again, since I've attended a birthday dinner, and the salad came with vinaigrette and crumbled cheese. Fighting those proved pointless so I gave up when the server brought it to the table. Oh well...

Day 5 started with just a banana on my way to the bus station - I was in such a rush so my plans for carrot-celery-apple juice seemed like a sweet fantasy at the moment - barely had time to prepare my lunch.
Luckily, the rest of the muscat grapes were waiting for me in the fridge at work. Oh, the flavor again, such joy!
For lunch I had the 'summer salad' I was craving so much, one of my favorites when I was a kid: tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley leaves. Nothing else! So simple and so good!
Quick snack: a handful of cashews from my desk drawer at work.
Dinner started with grapefruit juice. Continued with shredded carrot, shredded zucchini, finely chopped dill, Brussels sprouts.
I have my hopes high - day 6 will bring me the carrot juice!

And bonus happiness for today: few days ago, my beautiful and talented friend from far away sent me one of her creations from her online store, Wool Bangle Bags by Rodica and I was so surprised that it got here so quickly! I was counting days, and never thought I'd have it so soon. Can't wait to wear it, mine is the white one with brown ribbon, so pretty - pictures just don't make them justice!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Challenge - Raw Vegan Detox Day 3

Weekend's over, Monday's here, back to work - treasure my lunch break and all the 'me time' I could steal for myself in tiny little bits during the day.

Started the day with a large smoothie (correction: I always start my day with a huge glass of water):
- banana
- blueberries
- raspberries
- hemp seeds

My day was ~ 85% raw, since I detoured at lunch via some:
- lentils (~ 1/2 cup)
- diced tomatoes
- home made polenta (~ 1/2 cup from organic corn meal)

Indulged in pineapple and strawberries for one of my snacks. Walnuts for the other.

The perfect ending - huge salad:
- spinach
- green beans - finely chopped
- living red lettuce
- diced tomatoes
- diced cucumbers
-parsley leaves & dill, finely chopped
- Chia seeds

Water. Plenty. Rivers of water! Herbal teas as well - but not as much.
Sending strawberry thoughts from my lively colored cloud! Day 4 to come!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Challenge - Raw Vegan Detox, Day 2

Mother's Day inspired me to start my day with carrot juice. Just because my Mom used to make it for me in the morning, took me a while to like it, eventually grew to love it!

Levels of energy - sky high, quality of sleep - amazing.

On to day 2 meals:

First: carrot, celery and apple juice with hemp seeds

Second: pistachios,  almonds

Third: huge salad - spinach, living red lettuce, living green lettuce, parsley leaves, diced tomatoes, zucchini

Forth: grapes, watermelon

Fifth: 'stir and fry' - broccoli (finely chopped), Brussels sprouts (diced), lemon juice, diced tomatoes, spinach (finely chopped), dill and parsley leaves 

Lovely day today, so sunny and gorgeous, dragged Dog & co out of the house for a ~8K hike and they couldn't say 'no' to me on Mother's Day.

Can't wait for day 3 to start!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Raw Vegan Detox - Day 1

Because it's been a while - oh, so past due!
Because April brought Easter baking and anniversary cake. 
Because it's just so tempting - the view from upstairs at Convent Market, while having tea at Tea Haus it's simply breathtaking and makes me wanna dive head first in that colorful wonderland.
Because I was craving it. 

Organic everything - I'm not going to mention this beside each food.
My primary source of inspiration: the Ecopolitan 7-days raw plan. My other sources: oh-so-many. 

My meals today (yes, almost everything goes: "in a large bowl, mix together. Let sit for a while before serving"):

Started with
- bananas
- shredded apple
- Chia seeds.

I usually like caffeine  with my workouts, so today I was following the detox rule - no caffeine, so teaching the Zumba class felt good, but I was honestly missing the wings of awesome. But thought it was worth it!

Meal 2:
- freshly made orange, apple & carrot juice (with a dash of cinnamon)
- almond butter

Meal 3: 
- huge zucchini - shredded
- sweet tomatoes, diced
- broccoli, finely chopped
- parsley leaves, finely chopped
- sea salt

Meal 4:
- walnuts
- watermelon

Caption: the living salads and herbs at the Convent market

Meal 5:
- spinach, finely chopped
- tomatoes, diced
- living red lettuce
- pumpkin seeds
- black pepper

Water. Plenty. Loads. Herbal tea. Same.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Rye Biscotti

Mid-spring diving into fall flavors...

Preheat oven at 325 F.
In a large bowl beat together:

- 1 whole egg*
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple pureed
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- cinnamon
- pure vanilla extract

After well combined, add the following and mix well ( do not over mix):

- 1 cup dark rye flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup corn meal
- 1 tsp baking powder

The dough will be very sticky. Divide the dough in half and 9with wet hands) shape each half into logs. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for ~ 35 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes and use a serrated knife to cut each log into 10 diagonal slices. Place the biscotti on the parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for another ~25 minutes. 

Let cool completely. Can be stored in air tight tin containers. 

Nutrients per 1 of 20 biscottis: Calories: 88, Total Fat: 0.7g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 5mg, Total Carbs: 18.9g, Dietary Fiber: 2.6g, Sugars: 0.6g, Protein: 2.3g
Calcium: 1%, Iron: 5%

* For vegan version: use 1/4 cup unsweetened purees apple or 1 banana instead of 1 whole egg.

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