SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘food’

Potato Leek Soup with Dill Oil

In Nutrition, Recipe on December 24, 2014 at 3:03 am

“The point is to write as much as you know as quickly as possible.” -Kurt Vonnegut

disco joy

Go where the joy is

I’m not sure in what context he said the above quote but I thought it was inspiring and could be applied to almost any creative pursuit.

There can be this palpable rush of needing to get it all out of you already.

I’ve always liked to write but I used to be confined, as an environmental consultant, to the rigid rules of technical writing. It feels so liberating to blog about food and nutrition and yoga; however, I hold back from doing much writing and mostly stick to presenting recipes. I am self-conscious about the fact that I have neither an English degree nor experience in journalism and editing. Jeez, I was even terrible about keeping up a diary as a young girl. I now journal regularly but that doesn’t necessarily make you a writer, right?

Kurt Vonnegut’s formal education was in biochemistry and he also obtained a Master’s degree in anthropology: “I’m on the New York State Council for the Arts now,” he told The Paris Review, “and every so often some other member talks about sending notices to college English departments about some literary opportunity, and I say, ‘Send them to the chemistry departments, send them to the zoology departments, send them to the anthropology departments and the astronomy departments and physics departments, and all the medical and law schools. That’s where the writers are most likely to be… I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.”

butter in dill oil

Every good soup begins with butter…and dill oil.

Reading this single quote by this one author inspired me to just do it already. Just start writing about anything and everything that popped into my head. It’s OK that I didn’t get my degree in English Lit. I feel aligned with Vonnegut in that I have two science degrees, so why not pursue writing?! I’ve always been a voracious and quick reader and have consumed so many books in my lifetime that you would think I’d have absorbed decent sentence structure and a vast vocabulary.

For my trip to India last fall, I decided to list “writer, nutritionist” as my occupation when filling out my visa forms. This was an attempt to start establishing myself as a writer in my subconscious while actually attempting to become a working writer. This proved to be problematic as I was then labeled a journalist and had to fill out additional paperwork stating that I would not be acting in a journalistic capacity while in India and, although I requested a 10-year visa, I was only awarded a 5-year visa. Apparently, I’ve got to reach enlightenment by 2018 and then I’m on my own.

potato leek soup

Drizzled, topped, and sprinkled with dill oil, toasted almonds, and Gruyere cheese

So, on to the soup…obviously there are a TON of potato-leek versions out there but they aren’t all good or even all that simple (which I feel like this humble soup should be). This is a really quick and easy soup for the busy holiday season. It’s perfect to make when you are tired of preparing all the fancy holiday dinners and just want something nourishing. A bonus is that you probably already have all the ingredients on hand.

I think this soup caught my eye b/c of the toppings. I am sucker for garnishing and embellishing my food. So the addition of a drizzle of dill oil, toasted almonds, and Gruyere was more than I could resist. Plus, this soup requires few ingredients and can easily be made vegan (sub olive oil for butter). I simplified the preparation a bit without sacrificing taste (I think) and feel free to get creative with the toppings. Pureed soups sometimes need a bit of embellishing in order to give them depth and texture.

potato leek soup - ingredients

Leeks, dill, and red potatoes…and not much else.

I used red-skinned potatoes which are perhaps not the most “thin-skinned” potato but look prettiest in pictures so, thus, were chosen. Yukon Gold potatoes are perhaps the creamier and thinner-skinned choice for this soup. Experiment.

The following makes a large pot (8-10 servings):

1 small bunch of fresh dill
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3.5 pounds leeks
6 TBSP unsalted butter
Sea salt
3 medium-sized, or 4-6 small, potatoes, thinly sliced
4-8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the flat side of knife

4 cups veggie broth, for cooking, and up to 4 cups more for thinning the soup

Toppings: almond slices, toasted and Gruyere cheese, grated

Use a hand blender to puree the dill and olive oil into a creamy green emulsion. Set aside.

Cut the dark, tough green leaves from the leeks, trim off the roots, and wash/rinse well. Use a food processor to chop the leeks in two batches. 

In a large soup pot, heat the butter and 5 tablespoons of the dill oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, stir in the leeks and a couple big pinches of salt. Stir well, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks soften up, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and garlic and 4 cups of veggie broth. Simmer until potatoes are soft and mushy. Puree with a hand blender and then continue to add veggie broth until the consistency suits your taste.

Bring back to a simmer, then serve topped with almonds, grated cheese, and a generous drizzle of the remaining dill oil.

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Broccoli-Apple Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on October 20, 2013 at 2:57 am
broccoli-apple soup2

Only 5 ingredients: broccoli, apples, onion, olive oil, and broth.

A shockingly simple and delicious soup. I toyed with the idea of adding a few herbs and spices here and there but decided not to complicate the beautiful simplicity of this soup. That’s all I’m going to say. Try it out for yourself.

Ingredients:

3 apples – peeled and cubed

1 head of broccoli – separate florets from stalk, slice stalk thinly

6 cups veggie broth

1 large onion

Olive oil (couple swirls around bottom of pot)

broccoli-apple soupDirections:

Once you’ve prepared apples and broccoli, assess to see that you’ve got an approximately equal amount of each. Adjust accordingly.

Saute onion and apples in olive oil.

Add broth and stalks. Simmer 20 minutes until soft.

Add florets. Simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Puree with a hand blender and assess consistency. I believe you’d want to avoid the consistency of baby food (a danger with cooked apples!).

Add more broth as needed. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve topped with cashew cream or greek yogurt and cayenne.

The Hunger Games

In Nutrition, Yoga on October 2, 2013 at 12:00 am
beet juice and avos

Veggie juice and avocados

September was Hunger Action Month (as well as World Alzheimer’s Month, Whole Grains Month, National Literacy Month, and National Preparedness Month!). And, yes, that was last month but I’ve finally finished this post and I won’t let the small factor of time affect the publishing.

figs n goat cheese2

Figs and herbed goat cheese

It’s hard to believe that, in an overweight and obese nation, there are those that struggle with hunger; however, 1 in 5 kids live with food insecurity, meaning they are not sure from where their next meal will come. Let us contrast that with the well-known fact that I like to cleanse and restrict the types of food I eat during a particular time period. I’ve also been known to fast (or “play famine victim” as a clever friend of mine prefers to call it) only consuming water over a 48hr time period. This is not some dangerous or irresponsible game I am playing. My choices are backed by the logical (the science of metabolism and nutrition) and the mystical (religious traditions and spiritual paths). I’ve been blessed with the abundance to not have to worry about whether I will have enough food to eat. In fact, I am spoiled in that I can afford to be choosey about what food I consume going to great lengths and costs to acquire exactly the type of food that I deem fit for my body. In theory, I have unlimited access to food. This is an outrageous luxury that I don’t believe I fully appreciate as often as I should.

As I settle into my dietetic internship, which begins in food service systems management, I see a wide gulf between what I consider nutritious and fit for consumption and what is being served in the school cafeterias and eateries. I’m not the first to feel this way and I’m certainly not going to solve the complex conundrum that is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) during my 13 week rotation. The struggle to reconcile all of the contradictions and figure out where I fit into this mix is occupying way too much mental and emotional space. I want to let it all go. As such I’ve decided to take a different tack and see the issue from the practical, macro-level of scarcity and hunger.

retreat pantry

Retreat Pantry: organic, gluten-free, soy-free, blah, blah

In September, I attended a silent yoga retreat with Swami Ritavan at Questhaven, an esoteric Christian training and retreat center. When asked if I would do the menu planning and food preparation for the 18 participants, I quickly agreed then panicked, fearing I would give everyone food poisoning or have them running off-site to the nearest restaurant. As the menu-planning process began, the food restrictions, intolerances, and dietary requests from the participants started pouring in…gluten-free, vegan, no grains, soy-free, etc. I modified the menu accordingly carefully read labels as I spent many hours and loads of cash purchasing and prepping the organic groceries for the weekend’s meals. It was quite delicious to buy such high quality ingredients and lovingly prepare nourishing meals to support each participants’ spiritual journey inward. It’s also quite freeing to cook for a captive, voice-less audience who can’t complain about the food or make additional special requests!

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend. There was plenty of food and plenty of warm smiles and plenty of full bellies and plenty of nourished souls. On Monday, I quickly changed gears as I jumped into Day 1 of my dietetic internship at a high school district. There was neither a chia seed nor an organic berry to be found. I’ve spent the last month watching (and helping) prepare food – some highly processed and some made-from-scratch – on a much larger scale for growing, learning students. school food showEveryone who works in school food service is striving to do the best they can with the resources they are given. Putting together a balanced meal that kids will actually eat while factoring in labor costs makes ready-made, processed foods very appealing. With some schools having as much as 80% of children qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches, the costs for food, labor, equipment, and benefits must be recovered through the children that can afford to pay full price. This is an important service that schools provide to improve the learning capacity of their students and should not be de-valued. School food vendors are doing their best to provide foods that meet the new guidelines for whole grains and lower fats but still, at the end of the day, it’s mostly highly-processed, pre-cooked, flash-frozen, and very low in nutrients.

During my first week, I attended a school food product show and met up with grad school friends who appear to be thriving in this atmosphere even though I am aware of their personal philosophies regarding food and nutrition. I’m introduced to quite a few people in this type of dietetic work and I’m careful to remain neutral and friendly even though I feel conflicted and confused by the fact that I would rather be teaching yoga or developing a new soup recipe.

labryinthThe next evening I hosted SoupAsana attended by a group of women I met at the silent retreat. One of participants brings her sister who (how amazing is the universe in giving me answers to my questions and doubts??) happens to be married to one of the school nutrition directors I met the previous day. He too struggles with the quality of the school lunches and strives to provide the healthiest meals possible for the children who may only get one decent meal a day.

That’s all I needed. I am exactly where I should be. Doing exactly what I should be doing. On all levels and in all places of my life. No matter that it may seem contradictory from the outside. It’s all falling into place in the cosmic realm. And it will all be OK.

Perhaps Hunger Action Month is a good time to evaluate how much of your resources go towards food, how much volume you eat, where can you increase the quality while decreasing the quantity, and, most importantly, in what ways can you contribute to organizations that support other humans in their struggle with hunger and food insecurity?

Check out these top hunger organizations: Feeding America, UNICEF (my personal favorite), Share Our Strength, World Food Programme, Generations United, and Meals on Wheels. Hunger is a year-round problem so please take action even though it’s now October.

Watermelon-Jalapeño Gazpacho

In Nutrition, Recipe on September 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

watermelon gazpacho ingredientsThis sweet & spicy soup is nicely layered and nuanced with ingredients such as honey & ginger and mint & cucumber. I like savory, tomato-based, gazpachos but they also tend to be a bit acidic and dense. Using a lightly-sweet fruit as the main ingredient is so refreshing and hydrating during a heat wave. At my son’s request we planted mini, sugar watermelons in our garden along side the cucumbers. I fantasized about indulging in watermelon/cucumber recipes and juices all summer long. But, alas, we had very little sun this summer. The watermelon vine went rogue choking out the cucumber and producing very little fruit (we are still waiting for them to ripen). It’s finally hot and sunny so the weather is perfect for a sweet & spicy cold soup. Sadly, NONE of the ingredients came from my garden, but it’s delicious regardless.

I prefer to do as little chopping as possible, especially on a hot day, so I recommend using a food processor first and then transferring to a blender when you add the last ingredient, the watermelon. Or use a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix, for everything.

watermelon gazapachoTo begin: Throw all ingredients EXCEPT WATERMELON into food processor or high speed blender and puree until everything is itty-bitty shreds. Next: Add watermelon (if not using a Vitamix, this is the time to switch from processor to blender or your soup will be all over the counter – I’ve done this many times!) and pulse a few times. I like the watermelon to be slightly chunkier than the other ingredients for a nice texture contrast.

Taste it to see if it needs an adjustment but I don’t recommend adding more ginger and jalapeño. This soup gets yummier and spicier over time! Chill for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry.

Ingredients (4-6 servings):

8 cups watermelon, or about 1/2 of a mini watermelon

1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks

1 red bell peppers, big chunks

1 small onion, quartered

1/2 -1 small jalapeño pepper, w/ or w/out seeds depending on your ability to take the heat!

1/4 cup lemon, juiced

1 TBSP olive oil

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 piece of fresh ginger, about thumb-sized

1-2 TBSP  honey

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on August 22, 2013 at 6:01 am

watermelon-cucumber saladI recently returned to hot yoga after swearing it off (for all of eternity) years ago. I optimistically bought a 10-class series (does anyone want to buy the remaining 5 classes?). In August. And I consistently went to late evening classes after long summer days. I honestly don’t remember thinking too deeply when I made these decisions. Shocked, right? After class I would find my dripping wet self, standing at my kitchen counter, chugging water and shoving blue corn chips in my mouth like I’d been lost in the desert for 3 days. And, I thought, there must be a better way to recover from this torture. As opposed to, you must never go back to those classes (for a hilarious account of one’s first hot yoga class, read this).

Anyway, when you sweat to the extent that most people do in hot yoga or football practice in Southern Florida or watermelon juice on beachcinder block-laying in Mainland Mexico you lose a TON of water AND salt! Coconut water and Kombucha will not properly rehydrate you under these circumstances, people. You must drink a lot of plain water and replenish your sodium and chloride stores (with actual salt!) thus rebalancing your electrolytes and your blood pressure. That’s what Gatorade is – salty water with a bunch of sugar to cover the saltwater flavor – and harmful food dyes. Contrary to popular belief, coconut water is not “Nature’s Gatorade” as it lacks (in large enough quantities) the two electrolytes actually lost during sweating – sodium and chloride.

This quick recipe is exactly what you need to rehydrate and refresh after a long day in the sun or an ill-timed, hot yoga class. Watermelon and cucumber are two of the highest water-content fruits and paired with some salt, crunch, and spice…you can’t go wrong.

Combine the following:

1/2 mini watermelon, cubed

1 english cucumber, peeled & cubed

salt and lemon1/2 lemon, juiced

1-2 TBSP olive oil, drizzled

Himalayan salt (pinch or 2)

Pepitas (tamari toasted are even better!), tossed on top

Cayenne (shake or 2)

OR – to simplify and tone it down the heat – substitute Seaweed Gomasio for the salt, pepitas, & cayenne

A little bit of fat and protein but mostly water, sugar, fiber, and salt. Serves 2-4 people depending on dehydration levels!

Practical Gratitude

In Mindfulness on July 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm
shrimp n celery
“…to me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every inch of space is a miracle…” -Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman’s Poem of Perfect Miracles appreciates the miracles in everything. The light, the dark, the space can refer to something different to everyone depending on experience, beliefs, and perspective. I’ve come to realize that nature is my muse and the place where I recognize the light, the dark, and the miracles. My early years were very grounded and earthy and rhythmically natural and yet there was the ever present and mystical influence of Native Alaskan culture. Whitman’s work walked the line between humanism and transcendentalism. He was practical and real and embraced all religions equally while not being a believer or follower of a particular one. I have a lot of that in me and I take a lot of pictures of food (where is this going, you ask?).

figs n goat cheeseIf you have a meal with me or follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, you are painfully aware of my constant need to document my plate before consumption. I recently said (to an exasperated dinner companion) that my meal tastes better if I’ve taken a photograph of it first. At the time, I was making a joke but then I started to think about this idea more. And I actually wasn’t kidding. My meal does taste better because I am present with all the flavors and textures AFTER I snap a quick photo of it with my phone.

wine, cabbage, carrotsThe act of stopping to take a picture and capturing the beauty of the food is an act of GRATITUDE. It really just occurred to me today. It’s been my unconscious way of saying Grace before meals. Praying before meals was not a habit I grew up with but I was certainly taught, through example and lifestyle, to be grateful to the earth for the food I was consuming. Respect and appreciation for hunters and fishermen was automatic and celebrated. Native Alaskan culture is deep in respect and gratitude toward the earth and it’s resources. These were my influences during childhood and it shines through much more than I’ve realized. It’s just so beautiful that gratitude can come through no matter the method, strategy, practice, belief system, faith, deity…how do you put practical gratitude into practice on a daily basis?

Perfect Parfait

In Nutrition, Recipe on July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm
fruit, yogurt, go raw

Fruit, yogurt, Go Raw Original Granola

Please step away from the acai bowls! They are loaded with added sugars. Sugar is added to those little, frozen packets of smashed berries and to the nut milk that is blended with it and, finally, the granola that gets tossed on top. No wonder they are a big hit – you might as well be eating dessert!

You can do a much better job by BUILDING YOUR OWN breakfast bowl with fresh fruit that hasn’t been processed, packaged, and flown in from Brazil. I eat a lot of fruity, nutty, yogurt-y concoctions. Some might call them parfaits, others might call them fruit salad. Either way, the hot summer months, with their abundance of fruit, call for cool, juicy breakfasts with enough fat and protein to keep you satisfied and nourished. On the outset it appears that the parfait is ‘healthy’ but there is much variance as to the value of each ingredient so I think it merits a discussion.

papya parfait

Papaya, yogurt, hemp seeds, coconut, & sunflower seeds.

There are usually 3 components to a parfait: (1) yogurt (dairy or vegan), (2) the fruit, and (3) the ‘toppings’ (hopefully nuts & seeds). What I find is that most parfaits resemble dessert in that they are much too high in sugar and other carbohydrates. Let’s leave the job of providing sugar and fiber to the fruit (choose a colorful variety) and do our best to eliminate it from the other two components.

Begin by choosing a sugar-free – yes, that means PLAIN – version of yogurt, whether it be a Greek dairy yogurt or coconut milk kefir or soy yogurt. This is not always easy, especially with the diary substitutes, but it can be done. Also, choosing a FULL-FAT version is essential for 2 reasons: (1) the balance of protein/fat/carbs is more supportive of health (nonfat yogurt is heavy on carbs) and (2) the plain flavor is not as sour b/c the fat is still included (hence less sugar needed to make it palatable). Even if you are trying to lose weight, a full-fat version is more supportive of satiation, smaller portions, and weight control (I promise!).

go raw simple

Go Raw brand granola – unsweetened or sweetened with dates & raisins

End by choosing toppings that include healthy fats and no added sugars. Sorry, folks, but ‘granola’ is not going to do it here. Yes, it’s delicious but it’s usually very high in added sugars. Low sugar varieties are available, such as those from Go Raw that are sweetened with dates and raisins, and, yet, this healthy choice is still adding unnecessary carbs to the balance. It’s much healthier to take a deconstructionist view of granola as a topping. Say what? Sprinkle on sunflower seeds or almonds or walnuts or hemp seeds or coconut flakes or chia seeds or pepitas or sesame seeds…you get the idea. These toppings add healthy fats and protein as opposed to more carbs.

Finally, add a little shake of cinnamon or cocoa or fresh mint to up the flavor factor without adding more volume or calories.

Building your own breakfast bowl ensures you get ‘good’ carbs, a healthy amount of (the good) fat, and plenty of fiber and antioxidants. Have fun and get creative!

Salmonberried

In Mindfulness, Yoga on July 8, 2013 at 2:32 am
salmonberry breakfast

Inspired by my business name.

When I first began handing out my business cards, one friend in particular (a very funny dude) immediately starting using Salmonberry as a verb. Such as “I salmonberried some shrimp on the grill” or “Let’s salmonberry this yoga class and get coffee and a scone instead” or “Why don’t you salmonberry some greens and garlic and pair it with brown rice?” Even as a verb it has many different meanings with most people not realizing that salmonberries are an actual fruit.

salmonberry lunch

Lunch break during Salmonberry photo shoot. Smoked salmon, avocado, and watermelon juice.

I like the anonymity of my business name in that it’s not tied to a particular industry. I could design motorcycles or develop a line of lip gloss under this name. Salmonberry Consulting was inspired by my childhood in Bristol Bay. Salmonberries are a tart, coral-colored (reminiscent of wild salmon flesh), raspberry-looking berry that grows wild in the Pacific Northwest of North America. And two of my favorite foods are salmon and berries, both of which are uber-healthy superfoods, so “Salmonberry Consulting” was born.

me looking at salmon

At 3 years old checking out sockeye salmon caught in set-net.

Speaking of born, I was literally built and grown on salmon. My parents would throw salmon and veggies from their garden in a blender and feed the puree to me in my high chair. The salmon was obtained by casting set-nets on the beach in front of our home. The 25-foot tidal surge would bring a bumper crop of king and sockeye salmon that would feed us all winter long. As I child, I didn’t realize this privelege and begged my parents to buy canned tuna at the store for a change of pace. They would just laugh and now I get why. Many of my friends growing up came from families of commercial fishermen (and are now fishermen themselves). Bristol Bay and the Nushagak River (to which the spawning salmon return each year) is the largest sockeye salmon run in the world accounting for over 50% of all wild-caught sockeye salmon. This fishery is heavily regulated with oversight by Alaska Fish & Game to ensure the runs are sustainable and both subsistence and commercial needs will be met for generations. You can feel good about purchasing wild Alaskan salmon as this wild fish has all the uber-healthy qualities we expect from seafood without being over-fished.

me meditating

Me. Pretending to meditate.

Anyway, the point of all this is an exercise for me to fully wrap my head around the fact that the scope of my business will be changing this summer as well as over the next year. And, it’s all going to be OK. I won’t be teaching as much yoga or meditation…in person…as I am evolving to doing online-coaching for both. I’ll be teaming up with a personal trainer from Vancouver whose fitness coaching is entirely online – Anthrophysique. I’ve dismantled my yoga studio for the summer so I could rent my home as a vacation rental and as I took it apart, I got this overwhelming feeling that I would not be putting it back together again in the fall. I immediately got this scary I-don’t-want-anything-to-change feeling. I’ve since reviewed that fear and I realize that my studio will be back in the fall but it will be used less for teaching groups and more for filming and documenting the goings-on at Salmonberry Studio. Online yoga coaching involves me demonstrating poses for my clients and for them to have access to repeated viewing (as opposed to a Skype session); therefore, the need to film myself. Scary stuff. For me at least. It’s a whole new way of putting myself out there.

nametag

I’m going to have to wear a name tag.

 Let’s also add in that I will basically be going back to school in the fall. Beginning in September, I will be a full-time dietetic intern doing clinical and food service rotations at various locations around San Diego…working 9-5, 40hrs/week. I’ll have to wear shoes and a bra. I won’t be able to take yoga breaks or eat lunch by the water on my favorite bench. This next year will be a time for enormous growth but I’m resisting. I am enjoying the current structure from which I will now have to release my grip. I’m feeling quite childish and stubborn. And scared. I am embarking, yet again, into the unknown to do things that I’m not quite comfortable with. I know I need to let go and relax into the experience because it is exactly what I have called into my life for a specific purpose. But, wow, I can feel my body resisting! Any chance you are maintaining a tight grip on an out-dated structure that may need to be let go?

Cool, Summer-version of Pad Thai

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 30, 2013 at 4:31 am

pad thai kelp noodlesThis cold, kelp noodle salad has a terrible name. I wanted to call it “No-cook, No Peanut Pad Thai” but that was pretty lame too. The good news is, this recipe requires NO cooking or processing only soaking, chopping, and whisking. I used an alternative to the ubiquitous peanut butter to make it accessible to everyone and change up the flavor a bit. The whole point of developing this recipe was to find a use for kelp noodles other than in soups. I have been struggling with a decent avocado sauce and now feel vindicated that I’ve finally put kelp noodles to good use with this Pad Thai-inspired sauce. Insanely low-cal kelp noodles pair perfectly with high-calorie nut-based sauces. I’m not a calorie-counter but it’s just common sense not to overload your palate or belly with a cocktail of high-calorie items…let’s keep it all in balance, people.

kelp noodles

No caption necessary…the bag says it all.

Kelp noodles are practically calorie-free (<10 calories per serving), gluten-free, and raw. Just soak in water with an acid (citrus, vinegar) and they remind one of glass noodles. Kelp noodles are made from brown seaweed, sodium alginate (a seaweed-derived salt therefore high in iodine), and water. Clear in color and quite bland, they are al-dente-like crunchy until soaked. Kelp noodles are low in fiber so if you are using them in place of whole grain noodles, up the veggie content of your recipe for balanced blood sugar levels.

This recipe is vegan and I would love to call it ‘raw’ because it’s very, very close; however, for bestowing the raw title you must drop the tofu, sub agave or raw honey (but then it wouldn’t be vegan…so many rules!) for the maple syrup, and the canned coconut milk is suspect (I believe there are raw versions of coconut milk available). Anyway, if you are a raw foodie, I’m sure you are aware of the appropriate substitutions. If you are not, carry on…

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients2

Tofu, red pepper, lime, and mint.

Ingredients:

1 bag kelp noodles, soaked overnight in water and juice of 1 lime

8oz tofu, extra firm, drained, squeezed, and cubed

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup shredded/grated carrot

Handful of bean sprouts

(Experiment with the veggies: sliced snow peas, shredded cabbage, grated beets, etc.)

Pad Thai Sauce (enough for 2 batches of noodles & veggies):

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients

Kelp noodles, ground/crushed red pepper, tahini, shredded carrot, and ginger root.

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup canned coconut milk, light

3 TBSP tamari, low sodium

3 TBSP maple syrup (agave or raw honey)

1-2 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

Place drained kelp noodles, tofu, and veggies in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Combine 1/2 of the sauce into bowl of noodles, tofu, and veggies. Mix well and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds when ready to serve. Cool, creamy, and layered with flavors and textures…yum!

Cleanse – Day 4

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on May 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm
tea

All tea. All day.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~Albert Einstein

I awoke feeeling rested on Day 4, aka All Tea, All Day, and, as a I made tea and sat down to meditate, I had every intention of writing (well, maybe I ‘planned’ it…) after I got up from my meditation cushion. Instead I ended up checking email, facebook, twitter…anything but starting to write. Although I was rested, I didn’t feel super sharp or motivated. At my morning yoga class I had a deep meditative experience and found myself very present with all that I was doing and with whom I was interacting. It’s an amazing experience. I felt so full and engaged and “ON”. Like everything I’m feeling and doing at that moment is exactly what should be happening and all of my energy and attention is a laser beam to the present moment. It’s the elusive “FLOW” and I want to live there always.

As a result of my amazing yoga class, I felt very energetic and alert when, after a quick stop for avocados and lemons, I returned home and started on food prep for the next 3 days of the cleanse. The 3 days following All Tea, All Day are known as the Raw Days where I would be eating only raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, a bit of raw honey and cold-pressed plant oils, as well as plenty of fresh-pressed fruit & veggie juices. Additionally, I would be entering that 1/2 of my week know as “full-on, single-parenting” and I needed to have a stocked fridge or I wouldn’t eat often enough to keep me pleasant towards my children or have enough variety to keep me interested in sticking with the cleanse.

stocked fridge

Prepared for the raw days of the cleanse.

While making my raw food staples, Chakra Salad and Salmonberry Spread, I rocked out to the Sgt. Pepper’s album. Who didn’t love the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ when they were a kid? I thought it was the most imaginative and wacky adult song I had ever heard (it all made sense once I got to college!). And it is still a fun song to sing along to even with all that talk about tangerine skies and marshmallow pies fueling my appetite.

yogi teabag

Yogi Tea tags are my fortune cookies.

I felt very productive as I admired my stocked fridge and satisfied that I was able to kill 2-3 hours. And then it crept in. Now what? Sure, I could’ve filled my time with any numerous productive activities that may or may not have needed to get done. But they would have been distractions, another opportunity to not still myself, to not feel the feelings that I’d stuffed inside yesterday or last year or the last decade. I had wanted to cleanse myself physically and emotionally but I was also scared of truly letting go. My mind was saying “your kids will be back in 4 hours, get some stuff done before then. Make sure you’re ‘prepared’.” What does that mean anyway? Prepared? Isn’t it part of the Boy Scouts’ motto? Prepared means you are focused on the future. You are anticipating how it will turn out and what ‘things’ you will need for these future expectations. If you are prepared, you’ve done some planning.

I consider myself in recovery from ‘excessive planning disease’ which reached epic proportions when I become a mother twice within 18 months. I do believe some planning and preparation is necessary in life (I had just finished food prep for the next 3 days!) but it is so easy to get all self-righteous and control-freaky about planning. And, for me, it takes some serious mindfulness to ACTIVELY NOT PLAN my entire life away. Allowing myself the freedom for spontaneity and synchronicity to bubble up, taking equal precedence in my life, has opened me to some of the greatest opportunities for joy and playfulness that I’ve experienced since becoming so ‘adult’ about everything. This excerpt from the poem “What to Remember When Waking” by David Whyte sums it up for me: “…what you can plan is too small for you to live…”.

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Listen to your heart. Eat chocolate.

When my heart said to me “the best way you can ‘prepare’ is nurture yourself right now”, I followed my heart’s advice into a steaming, hot, bubble bath at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon! As I soaked in the bath I was conscious of how my body felt as it was supported and surrounded by the hot water. The scalding heat. The tickle-y bubbles. The slippery wetness. Conscious breathing took me deeper into my body as I inhaled the lavender scent of the bubbles and felt my muscles release and relax into the bath.

My mind, trying to rationalize as always, said, “of course! this is exactly what you needed to ‘prepare’.” But I wasn’t taking the bath to prepare myself for anything. I was taking the bath because it was most supportive thing I could do at that moment. Letting go and slowing down my breathing, along with my mind, allowed to me uncover messages, insights, epiphanies, aha moments, knowing, whatever it is that you want to call those magical, heart-centered moments, and then I could continue to stumble along…a little bit closer to those desires to which I’m being guided.