Archive | Vegan RSS feed for this section

My Favorite Season: October

14 Oct

IMG_7031

 

October in San Francisco is magic. Magic, I tell you. The sun is out and the days are actually warm (OK, its been pretty hot). It was even warm AFTER the sun went down this weekend. Magic. The almost ever present fog that hangs out in the city takes a hiatus in October. The almost ever present buses of tourists slow down in October and of recent super magical note: the San Francisco Giants have been playing baseball well into October.

SO. MUCH. MAGIC.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

 

The thing about living somewhere that is so magical, full of sun with a great baseball team is that I have a job. A job that requires me to be indoors, not frolicking in the warm, less crowded streets (or beaches) of San Francisco. Said job also leaves me with very little time for blogging, running, haircuts, a social life, and cleaning my apartment. It’s a good thing that I happen to love my job.

Go Giants

Go Giants

 

So with keeeping in that recurring theme around here at NOTASC (yeah, I went there and gave myslef an acronym) I have a quick recipe for some of us who would rather be outside enjoying some nice weather. Consider this your to-go salad.

This is my (almost) daily green smoothie. It’s quick and healthy for on-the-go kinda’ folks. I make this in one of those easy  Magic Bullet blenders, I usually take a few minutes on a Sunday and prep out the ingredients for the week. Dice pineapple, wash and bag greens, you get the idea. Then each morning I throw in some kind of variation of this smoothie. I like to keep my ratio of veggies to fruit  pretty high. More veggies than fruit. The only rule.

IMG_7040

Sometimes I use coconut water, sometimes almond milk, other days I might use plain yogurt as the liquid base. Some weeks it’s just banana for the fruit, sometimes its banana AND pineapple. I always have a protein powder or hemp or chia seeds. I like Tera’s Whey protein powder. And usually buy chia or hemp seeds in the bulk section, I store those in the freezer so the volitile oils stay fesh. There are times I throw in a spoon of flax oil or coconut oil. I think you get the idea by now? This smoothie is freestyle; grab a lot of greens, some kind of fat or protein, maybe one sweet thing and voila!

Why you should drink this? 

Kale.

This ought to make some of you hippies happy, kale is a superwondermiracle food. Let me start by saying that by blending raw kale into your smoothie you are maximizing the superpowers of this titan cruciferous vegetable, the available fiber helps maintain proper detoxification. By supporting our cellular detox process, nutrients in kale can give our body an “edge up” in dealing with toxic exposure, whether from our environment or from our food.

The health benefits of kale are pretty typical of leafy greens; full of anit-oxidents, anti-inflamtory and anti-cancer nutrients. In a strange and untypical twist, I think that kale will also be running for President in 2016. Look out Hillary.

October Is The Best Green Smoothie

1 Banana
1/4 cup Pineapple (optional)
1 cup Kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup Frozen Spinach
1/2 Avocado
1/2 cup Coconut Water (or any other liquid you prefer)
1/2 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
2 teaspoon Chia Seeds

Smoothie goods

Smoothie goods

Throw all of this into a blender and blend until really green and really smooth.

Trust me, so good,

Nichole

Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Jam

7 May

IMG_0314

It’s spring. I know where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday I was talking about Pumpkin Pie smoothies. Mmmm pumpkin pie smoothies.

While there are so many things that I love about spring: strawberries and rhubarb are what make it delicious.

The other part of spring that I love, should be no surprise to anyone in the world that knows me: baseball. In particular the World Champion San Francisco Giants. strawberries, rhubarb, and San Francisco Giants make this continuing relationship with life really worth it. I tell ya.

Lookit.

Two championships in three years. Go Giants.

Two championships in three years. Go Giants.

So this jam. It’s sweet from the strawberries, tart from the rhubarb, and the little bubbly texture from the chia makes it fun. I like to leave mine a little chunky so when people eat it they know what they are eating. Alright, I ate this whole batch by myself, but IN THE FUTURE if I choose to share, people will know what they are eating.

I enjoyed mine with my morning steel-cut oats, spread on some toast with butter, in greek yogurt, and by the spoonful. I would never eat standard jam or jelly by the spoonful because it is SO sweet, but this one tastes like what it really is: fruit. Which makes it heavenly and palatable by the spoonful. As with all of my recipes, let your imagination soar. Looking to the future where there may be a chance this ends up on ice cream.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly easy this is to make. It might be more work than buying a jar of jam, but just barely. If you’ve never made a jam before, no worries! This won’t require canning, keep this in the fridge and use it within two weeks (mine didn’t last that long, no surprise) if you’d like to freeze the jam, let it cool completely and freeze in a Ziploc bag. Then defrost and store in glass.

Why you should eat this? 

Chia Seeds can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

Chia Seeds can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

Chia seeds are a whole food that can easily be absorbed by the body. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. And sometimes they are used to grow grass like hair on a rendition of Homer Simpson’s head. Don’t use those ones.

IMG_0321

Quickly: strawberries are best when bought organic. They are such a delicate fruit that they really absorb a lot of the chemicals from standard growers. They are also MUCH much more flavorful when organic. Look for farmers markets this time of year to get great deals.

Darling little strawberries are significant in vitamin-C which is a powerful antioxidant. They also contain vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. They are an anti-inflammatory food that has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and improve the regulation of blood sugar to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Strawberry Rhubarb and Chia Jam (Yield: 1 ¼ cups)

  • 1 cup stemmed and diced strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup rhubarb, small dice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

IMG_0322

Dice strawberries and rhubarb to about the same size. Maybe a 1/4 inch each.

IMG_0317

Add all ingredients except the lemon juice  in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.

IMG_0316

Continue to cook for 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice.  Stirring frequently and breaking up any larger pieces of fruit along the way with a spatula.

IMG_0305

When the jam thickens significantly, a spatula will leave a clear path along the bottom of the pan. Like so.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool; jam will thicken as it cools. Spoon cooled jam into a jar. Enjoy as you will and go Giants.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers

11 Feb
Black bean and quinoa patty with avocado and cilantro.

Black bean and quinoa patty with avocado and cilantro.

I recently stabbed myself in the hand. Like, a good one. Needed a few stitches and an update on a few vaccinations. My left pinky still does not open all the way.

I won’t get into the story, just know that every day that I do not set myself on fire or slice off a finger is a good day in the kitchen for me. Why am I even telling you about this then? Because I had to delay my Bikram yoga practice. I wasn’t going to take an open wound into a room full of other peoples sweat (read: germ) particles floating thru the almost non-existent air. And no, I did not stab myself in the hand to get out of Bikram yoga (or did I)?

So I went after my run miles with gusto, because I don’t need hands for that.  I’m back to starving all of the time. How does one person cook all day and not find time to sit down for a meal? I am quit the specimen.

The view during my runs. No problem.

The view during my runs. No problem.

These here veggie burgers/patties are so stinking good. I think I ate an entire batch in less than 24 hours. The pain in my arm from all the shots makes the timeline fuzzy…

Anyhow, they are savory and delicious. They are incredible with a big dollop of guacamole, or a few slices of avocado and tomato. You can eat them on top of a salad, sandwiched between a bun like a burger, maybe wrapped in a leaf of romaine: protein style. Even straight out of the pan and over the sink. Did that. One handed.

They also happen to be highly portable. These patties make a great snack or lunch or dinner. You can make a big batch and freeze them, so that you have something  healthy in times of need. I’m totally going to toot my own horn here and say that these are better than any frozen veggie burger I have ever tried. I’ve tried a few.

Why you should eat this? 

Quinoa: learn it, love it. A seed that cooks like a grain, Quinoa is a true superfood (and I hate that term). Quinoa is highly regarded for its protein content, which is about 14% by weight. It is a complete protein making it ideal for those who eat a vegetable based diet (or people who should eat more Quinoa). Its full of fiber, high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium.  For Pete’s sake: whole South American civilizations subsisted off of Quinoa as their main source of nutrition for centuries!

Quinoa cooks at the same 1:2 ratio as rice, but this bionic seed cooks faster. That alone should get you to swap out your brown rice habit for a quinoa one.

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers (Servings: 8-10 patties)

  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F

Diced onion and sun-dried tomato.

Diced onion and sun-dried tomato.

Saute onions and sun-dried tomatoes. (The oil from the tomatoes should be enough to saute the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ of the black beans, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. Make sure that the onions get a little brown on them. You want that depth of flavor. Believe it.

IMG_2969

Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth.

IMG_2970

Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and remaining black beans. If the mix is dry, add a little water. If it is too watery add more Quinoa. The consistency should ‘hold up’ in the shape of a burger.

Season with salt and pepper, if needed and cool.

Beauties ready to go.

Beauties ready to go.

Shape bean mixture into 8-10 patties, depending on how big or small you’d like them. In order for there to be consistency you can use either a 1/4 or 1/2 cup dry measure to scoop the mix out of the bowl. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are nice and brown.

Serve how you’d like and enjoy!

I will get back to Bikram once my hand heals. I will finish out the package that I bought and get back to you guys about it. Promise.

Trust me. So good,

Nichole

Green Smoothie Goodness

23 Jan
No leaks in your smoothie please.

No leaks in your smoothie please.

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution raise your hand. Notice that mine are firmly planted to the keyboard. Wait a second, you can’t see me. THAT is the beauty of the interwebz. I might have my hands firmly planted to plate of cookies for all you know.

I am not much of a resolutions maker. I’m more of a immediate fix kinda gal. If I am not happy with something I getter’ done real quick. Call it a lack of patience or a pursuit of excellence, I enjoy being thorough. Want to play therapist for a second? I have a standing day on my calendar each month to clean out one drawer in my house. Whether its the sock drawer, top shelf of my pantry, or the cabinet under my bathroom sink: something is getting cleaned out and thrown away (or donated if possible). What is this mental health condition called?

Any how, this year, I have created a New Years Challenge for myself. Because my competitive spirit responds better to challenge then resolution. (send therapist recommendations to ChefNicholeMayer@gmail.com) My new years challenge: try one new thing a month. In my immediate view – new thing is new activity. As the year goes by maybe I will try a new food or try a new cocktail? That hardly seems adventurous enough.

First up: Bikram yoga. Stay tuned for the results, they will not be pretty. I have two classes under my (very sweaty) belt and 18 more to go. The results so far is that I am now combining my morning green juice with my post workout smoothie: green smoothie. Boom.

I have had an on-again-off-again relationship with green smoothies in the past. Lately I have been hard into green juice and as always have loved my post workout smoothie, but the timing of my Bikram class and the importance of pre Bikram hydration (water, lots of water) have forced me to consolidate the two. So far the only good thing to come out of this experience.

Can you tell my review of Bikram will be glowing?

Potential smoothie goods

Potential smoothie goods

Why you should drink this?

Fresh green juice is loaded with enzymes, oxygen, minerals, and vitamins. Because blended fruits and vegetables are fresh, this makes them easier to absorb into the intestinal wall. Blending the fruits and vegetables, as opposed to juicing them also leaves you with all of the beautiful water soluble fiber. Everyone needs fiber. Think blending vegetables is weird? Invest in a really good blender that blends them very well. Also consider that the blender is ‘predigesting’ the vegetables for you – less work! OK, that sounds strange, I know.

This is not an exact kinda recipe. You can use pretty much any greens you would like. Substitute the apple for pears or cucumbers instead of celery. Add seasonal fruits during warmer months etc. Want your smoothie to be a little more rich? Add a few slices of avocado. Like fresh herbs? Add a handful of cilantro or parsley.

I always have frozen bananas ready to go for smoothies, but if you don’t have them frozen, use a few ice cubes. OR a few frozen cubes of coconut water. As with most of my recipes – let your imagination run wild here.

Green Smoothie Goodness (servings 1 -2) 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 apple, peeled & cut – I like a tart one like Granny Smith or Honey Crisp
  • 1 c. spinach leaves
  • 2 stalks celery
  • ½ head kale or romaine
  • few splashes of coconut water, almond milk, juice, or water.

Blend all ingredients really well and enjoy.

Trust me. So good,

Nichole

p.s. Go 49ers!!

San Francisco City Hall lit up in Red and Gold.

San Francisco City Hall lit up in Red and Gold.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

26 Sep

The seasons are changing right?

If I never went outside or didn’t look at a calendar, I would know that it is Fall from the posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram about a certain pumpkin spice flavored latte from that one coffee place. People really love that super sweet, cinnamon-y, slightly pumpkin flavored drink.

I’m no fan. Coffee is coffee. Let it be coffee.

What am I a fan of? Well, Fall. And I LOVE me some pumpkin pie. The rich creamy, spicy flavors of a pumpkin pie = pure love. In fact when I make a pumpkin pie (near future), I will post a picture of it and proclaim my love across all social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all of them. Because that is how you show something you really love it.

** Fall in San Francisco is apparently prime surf season. I literally learn something new about this city every day. These guys look like they can use a smoothie.

Recently I read about a pumpkin spice milkshake (by read, I mean I saw it on the menu at a burger joint) and I immediately thought about this as a smoothie. Frankly, these days, the line is really blurry between milkshake and protein smoothie. I have come to really look forward to my smoothies as a treat. I believe that I actually run at a better (faster) pace because I SO look forward to my reward at the end of the run. It’s this kind of rich and creamy deliciousness that has made me a better runner. Quote me on it.

Oh and in case you guys are keeping track – I did really well at the Giant Race. Now I am training for the Nike Women’s marathon on October 14th.

I know, I can’t believe it either.

Why you should eat this?

It’s better than that latte.

Ok, ok, ok. PUMPKIN!! Get it off your porch and into your smoothie.

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, C, and E. Vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining healthy, glowing skin! So you can go ahead and use the remaining pumpkin puree on your face. This smoothie is so good, you might want to just rub it all over your face too.

No? Just me?

Rich in B-complex vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. This smoothie is great source of B vitamins for those who eat little to no animal proteins.

What are we waiting for?

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie (Servings: 1 pretty big smoothie)

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (if using vanilla flavored – skip the vanilla extract)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey (can also use agave)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (your choice – I like hemp protein)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger

Blend it all together and enjoy! Add more almond milk if you want to loosen the consistency, more spices if you want an extra kick. Get some adventure in your life.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Roasted Tomato Soup

13 Sep

This is my favorite time of year – end of summer beginning of fall: tomato season.

You say tomato, I say tomato soup. In a bittersweet twist, gone are the days when I dip a grilled cheese sandwich in a steaming bowl of this sweet and tangy goodness. Gone. Way gone. So gone.

Thanks a lot, dairy-induced-chin-breakouts.

These days, my skin seems to prefer a chunkier version of the broth-y classic. I like to load up on various toppings, mix them in and enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. This roasted version is just that – small chunks of roasted veggies – topped with MORE roasted tomatoes, goat cheese (troublesome skin friendly cheese option), scallions, nutritional yeast (remember that), and a spoonful of sirachup. You heard me, sriarcha + ketchup = srirachup. A spoonful to finish off this soup is just the right amount of spice to kick things up a bit.

My good friends at Sosu ketchup knew exactly what they were doing (magic) when they came up with the winning combination. They were also the very generous souls who gave me the tomatoes that I used to make this soup. Picked them up fresh from their kitchen – urban farming!

You can find their all-natural artisan ketchups here: www.sosuketchup.com  or very soon at a farmers market near me (San Francisco).

Why you should eat this? 

Tomatoes, guys: they’re like really good for you. Such a pretty fruit.

Loaded with so many good things – let us (and my limited attention span) focus on just one. Antioxidants. Vitamin C, E, and beta- carotene. Antioxidant super stars.

Why are antioxidants so important? Let’s get science-y.

Oxidation from our everyday environments can produce free radicals. The free radicals (bad guys) can cause chain reactions in your cells that will harm or kill them. Antioxidants (good guys) step in by terminating the chain reactions and helping to prevent damage to your cells. This is a very basic explanation, but just know that tomatoes are not the ‘fountain of youth’ – maybe like a ‘slow leak to a more youthful you’.

Eat tomatoes, guys. Right now while they are at their taste/nutrition peak!

Roasted Tomato Soup (Servings: 4)

  • 5-8 tomatoes (medium sized), cored if the seeds are large- otherwise OK, quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock or water
  • Srirachup to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or if you’d like – rub pans down with olive oil.

Arrange the tomatoes, skin side down, on a baking sheet.

Coat the bell pepper and onions with olive oil and put them on the other baking sheet along with the garlic (UNPEELED), place the pepper skin side down as well.

Give both baking sheets a sprinkle of salt.

Bake until onions get a bit of brown (you can turn them if you feel like they are getting too brown)….

and the tomatoes start to collapse a bit, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Be careful to check on the garlic here, if they are getting brown and a super soft by now, pull them from the oven.

Peel the garlic, dump all of the roasted vegetables (set aside some of the tomatoes to top the soup with. Do it! They are like candy at this point) into a big pot, and puree with a hand blender.

You can also use a conventional blender or food processor and work in batches. Blend in a cup of the stock, and keep adding the rest 1/2 cup at a time until the soup is the desired consistency.I like a chunk and texture to this soup, but smooth or chunky is your call. If the soup is not in a pot, add to a big pot and heat it back to a boil.

Serve in big bowls. Add the nutritional yeast (if you like) and  srirachup or your favorite hot sauce – adjusting it to your taste.

Top with goat cheese, reserved roasted tomatoes, and scallions. Maybe a big green salad on the side.

Slurp away.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Raw Zucchini Hummus & Veggie Chips

28 Aug

 

I’ve stepped up my training for an upcoming race.

I’m running about 25 miles per week. In my mind I can do more, my body on the other hand? Beat up. Considering I stand all day for work, my conditioning is pretty good and I supplement my runs with yoga to help keep my muscles limber and avoid them from seizing up in agony…. I don’t want to be THAT photo during the race: the red-faced runner grabbing their calf after it cramps up and  they fall over in pain. Fellow racers jumping over the felled runner to avoid trampling her. Chaos all around.

PLEASE don’t let that be me. PUH-LEEEZE.

This is my normal run route. Not too shabby, huh?

With the increase in miles, my calorie burning is at a frantic pace. I am constantly hungry. So it is important to have easy, quick, healthy things to eat before my blood sugar totally crashes and I threaten to cause harm to puppies if I don’t get a pizza delivery.

This is something I have been into lately. Its easy to tote around with some cleverly cut veggies. Deceptively creamy and satisfying.  This is a really basic recipe. Try it once and then get creative. If you have fresh herbs throw them in, basil or cilantro come to mind. If you are not sticking to the idea of this being a raw recipe, then sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers work wonders.

Being that this is the end of summer, you should be able to find a lot of zucchini (at really good prices) this is something that you can make a lot of and freeze in serving sizes, then thaw out over night in the fridge. Take it to work the next day and boom – delicious. You can also thin this out with some really good extra virgin olive oil and use it as a salad dressing. If you are tired of your old vinaigrette routine, this is a creamy treat.

Why you should eat this?

Zucchini is a vegetable that is low in calories, it’s high in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. Which are great for athletes recovery, but the star here is the nutritional yeast.

People, meet nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast, meet people.

Nutritional yeast is grown on mineral-enriched molasses and is pasteurized at the end of the growth period. The yeast is then inactive, so it is safe for those with candida, but if your case is bad, I’d just avoid it. Nutritional yeast is wheat and gluten-free, which makes it different then the baking yeasts that most of us think of when we hear the word “yeast”. Nutritional yeast contains 18 amino acids and is rich in 15 different minerals and the B complex vitamins. Because of its amino acid and mineral content, nutritional yeast is an important part of a vegetarian or vegan diet.

I buy it in the bulk isle at Real Foods here in SF, you can certainly get it at Whole Foods too. It stores nicely in a jar with a tight lid in the cupboard.

The flakes will impart a cheesy flavor. So it is great in dips, dressings, soups, and pasta dishes.

I like this dip as opposed to a garbanzo bean hummus before runs because beans are heavy and can make you gassy or bloated. Both feelings that you don’t want to have while on a long run. OR while you are sitting in your cubicle.

Raw Zuchini Hummus  (Servings: 6-8)

  • 2 Italian Zuchinis, Chopped
  • ¾ c. Raw Tahini
  • 3 Garlic Cloves , Chopped
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 ½ tsp salt

 

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend. Doh. This picture kills me… sorry about the blurry.

Easy, right?

 

While that is going, you can cut up some veggies like this. Makes for a nice dipping “chip”. I do this with cucumbers and carrots. You can also eat it with baby carrots, celery, or pita chips, anything that you’d eat with normal hummus.

Then, eat up!

SO good. Trust me,

Nichole

P.S. Guys, I am running the SF Giants race and raising money for Project Open Hand. Donate tomorrows coffee money here or meet me at the finish line with a sandwich. Either one works for me.

Donate here: http://www.race-sfgiants.com/TheGiantRace2012/GetThisGirlaSandwich

 

Chunky Mango Guacamole

3 Aug

Hear me out on this one.

I inherited a box of mangos recently. They were given to me and they were ripe and ready to go. They were not organic, not local, but they were free. And gorgeous. I couldn’t let these go and I couldn’t throw them away. As much as I believe in organic, local, and sustainable, I am also a firm believer in not wasting food. I mean forget the old adage that there are starving children in Africa (still true), there are starving children down the street from me here in San Francisco. Don’t throw away good food.

So here I was, with a few pounds of pungent, juicy, sweet mangos ripe, and waiting to meet their destiny. My initial urge was to cut them up and toss them in lime juice and chili powder, pretend like I was on the beach in Mexico. Unfortunately, the weather here in San Francisco is NOTHING like being on the beach in Mexico, dream dashed. Tired of hearing me whine, yet?

Sure, I ate one right away. Cut it up and ate it off of the skin. The stringy bits stuck in my teeth, not my favorite part. So I came up with a few ways to make the most of these sweet treats without having to grab dental floss.

Here’s one. Chunky mango guacamole. Aye ye ye.

Why you should eat this?

Guys, AVOCADOS! They’re so good and SO good for you. Avocados are especially high ranging in anti-inflammatory benefits. So much so, that research suggests that these green beauties can help to prevent and ease symptoms of arthritis, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Avocados are also very high in omega 3 fatty acids which promote heart health. The good fats in avocados also make them a really easy way to get fat into your healthy diet. Fat is what makes us feel full while eating. So if you are dieting or training for a 1/2 marathon (ahem, moi) and find yourself super hungry – a healthy way to ease the hunger pains – fill up on good fats, like those in avocados.


Mango Guacamole (Servings: 4)

  • 2 Hass Avocados , Diced
  • 1 Mango , Diced
  • ½ Red Onion , small dice
  • 1 Jalepeno, small dice **If you like really spicy – try a fresh habanero (orange guy)
  • ½ c. Cilantro , chopped
  • 2 Limes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

I like my guacamole to be chunky, so that you get a good bite when you dip a chip or a good dollop in a taco. SO dice your mangos as so.

Then with a large spoon scoop out the good stuff like this.

Same story with the avocado.

When it comes to the onions and jalepenos. Try to get them as small of a dice as you can. If your afraid of their strong flavors. Add them in gradually, until you get the desired amount of spiciness that you can handle. Be brave.

Add in the juice of 1 lime. Save the other for the end when you are adjusting flavors, some limes have more juice than others, so you’ll want to be able to adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Add in cilantro, salt and pepper.

Mash with a fork. Yes, this is a proper culinary technique. We are making our guacamole CHUNKY people. The fork is our chunky facilitator.

Give it a taste. Does it need more salt, more pepper, more lime juice, more jalepeno? Maybe a splash of tequila? Maybe you need a splash of tequila? Go ahead and test the flavor by dipping a chip in it. Since chips are normally salty, you can tell whether or not you’ll need the extra salt.

Then, boom. Done. My personal preference/torture method? I like to let this chill for an hour or so before I serve. Gives it time to develop the flavors and something about chilled avocado is just pleasing to the palette.

But, really. Good luck keeping this around.

So good! Trust me,

Nichole

Chipotle Bourbon Marinade

26 Jul

Make this. You will wonder how you ever lived without. No, really.

Marinate chicken or shrimp, grill vegetables, add to quesadillas, slather it on tofu or tempeh, scramble in eggs, make a vinaigrette, rub on steaks, add to ketchup and use in burgers or fries, on and on and on.

Make a lot of this and portion it out into ziploc bags and freeze to have on hand when life/food needs some spicing up. No bourbon on hand? You can use vodka or tequila too!

It’s like the ‘little black dress’ of marinades. A spicy little black dress.

Annnnnddddd, it’s so easy. SO easy. You simply need  the ingredients and a food processor (or blender). What would be easier? I come over and do it for you? Holler, we can make arrangements. I mean, there is booze involved, so it won’t take much else to convince me.

Why you should eat this? 

Be brave. Eat spicy foods.

In general, hot, spicy foods are stimulants. They stimulate the circulation and raise body temperature. If you live in a hot climate (obvs not here in SF), the increase in body temperature can make you feel cooler by diminishing the difference between you and the surrounding air, by inducing sweating, which cools the body when the perspiration evaporates. Perfect summer time sauce, if you are some place in the world where it is hot. If you are here in SF, well the spicy food will warm you temporarily, then there  is the booze.

Chipotle and Bourbon Marinade 

  • 1 can (7 oz) chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 3 tablespoons Bourbon (tequila or vodka)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey (can use 1 tbsp brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend. Tasting is important here, if you think the sauce it too spicy for your liking, add more lime and honey (or brown sugar), maybe more ketchup, blend some more. Keep testing flavors until it is to your taste.

If you don’t like it at all, at least you have booze.

** Marinade should be more thick than it appears in this picture… not sure why it looks so thin here. Clearly, I haven’t been working on my photography skills as promised. Guilty.

I like to marinate chicken drums and thighs in this for a few hours and then bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or so. Serve with rice and beans. That char on the skin – my favorite.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Sun-dried Tomato and Green Olive Tapenade

19 Jun

This is not really a tapenade.

A tapenade would have capers. Looks like a pesto,but a pesto would have nuts and parmesan cheese.

Am I still in your circle of trust?

I guess I could call this a spread, but seeing that word as a headline makes me feel a little generic, somehow kinda cheap.

Great, now I’m shallow.

All of a sudden this whatever-it-is, is totally ruining my credibility.

Let me call it a tapenade, ok?

How about a *tapenade?

*Tapenade – a caper -less Provencal dish consisting of pureed green olives, sun-dries tomatoes, and basil. It is a popular dish in Nichole’s kitchen where it is generally eaten as a sauce for pasta, spread on sandwiches, scrambled in eggs, or by the spoon full over the sink.

Why you should eat this? 

Let’s talk about good fats. The fats in the extra virgin olive oil and the green olives in this *tapenade have incredible health benefits. Anti- inflammatory, heart healthy, improves brain function, protects blood vessels, improves digestion, and the polyphenols found in olive oil are natural for helping us lower our risk of certain cancer types.

Why are we not doing shots of this right now?

If you are on a low-fat diet, it is still really important to consume healthy fats such as extra-virgin olive oil. Fats are what make us feel full at meal times and if you are not consuming enough, you’ll be a walking around a hungry zombie of a dieter.

Sun Dried Tomato and Green Olive *Tapenade  (Servings: 8)

  • 1 cup chopped or julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 cup  medium green olives, pitted
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional – 3/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • Optional – 1 lb Linguine (or your favorite pasta, I used soba noodles)

In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Puree, make sure that the garlic gets chopped up properly. Run a rubber spatula around to make sure that there are no chunks of it left.

Pulse until blended but still chunky (no big garlic chunks, though). Season with salt and pepper, to taste

SO EASY.

This can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks in a well sealed container.

If you are adding this to pasta, cook pasta according to directions and then throw a few heaping spoonfuls into the warm pasta. Keep adding the *tapenade until it suits your taste. This is where you can add parmesan cheese. Lots of it.

I like to throw a few spoonfuls of this into a quick egg scramble too. Super quick, really easy. Eggs full of flavor.

This is so good.

Trust me,

Nichole