Shaved Fennel Salad

Hey hey,

For years I have seen people on cooking shows make fennel salads and it all looks so fun and different, but I had never done it before.  UNTIL NOW.  I was surprised at the taste – it’s a little bit sweet, but still yummy.  It definitely added a unique flavor.  Kinda fun to try and I want to do it again with a different dressing.

Oh and don’t mind the photos- I went a little overboard with the feta cheese. 🙂

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Shaved Fennel Salad (original recipe from 101cookbooks.com)

  • 1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
  • 2/3 cup loosely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
  • Honey, if needed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (I used almonds)
  • 1/3 cup  feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and pour most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with pine nuts and feta.

Serves 4 to 6.

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Broccoli Blitz Smoothie

Do you ever get in a green smoothie rut?  Smoothies are the main way I get my kiddos to eat green vegetables, especially leafy greens, but sometimes it gets a little monotonous to use the same ingredients every time. I looked up some recipes from Green Smoothie Girl and wanted to try one new smoothie a week.  The first one I tried is called Broccoli Blitz.  It’s from her book, “Green Smoothies Diet” book found here.  I was a little hesitant because you know broccoli’s reputation with the digestive system…haha.  BUT it actually turned out to be pretty tasty.  Tornado sees me drinking these and then begs for mine (mostly because I think he likes the cup I have with a straw and it’s fun to drink out of).  But he DRAINS it every time.  This time was no different.  It makes a huge batch, and I just kept the remainder in the fridge until the next day and we all divided it among ourselves.  Even cool Aunt Zoe got in on the action.  Everyone liked it – you can’t even really taste the broccoli.  Without further adieu  here is the recipe:

Broccoli Blitz Smoothie

  • 2 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw agave
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups berries

Combine water, agave and broccoli and blend until smooth.  I did not have agave, but you can use sugar, or a little bit of sugar.  Next add spinach until it reaches the 6 cup line (about 2 cups of spinach), and blend.  Then add oranges, pineapple, bananas, and berries.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Desert Gems

Howdy y’all from the great southwest! I am visiting my parents’ desert oasis in Arizona and wowzers it has been some kind of wonderful (aside from the scorpion encounters and my littles boycotting naps…minor setbacks). The highlight for today was visiting my new friend, Lissette and tasting all kinds of wonderful morsels.

She started eating whole foods and learning and changing 30 years ago, when it wasn’t as trendy and it was much more difficult without the resources we have today. I am so inspired by her and she taught me so much in our short little visit. I told her next time I am down here I’ve got to move in with her for a bit and become her protege :). As she puts it, we are all learning and growing together, which is true, and how I like to do it on my blog.

More updates to come soon from some awesome recipes I sampled today, but here’s a few iPhone pics to tide you over.

Me and the master, Lissette!!

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Yummy spinach pasta

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Brownie bites- delicious!!

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The kids went nuts!

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Vegan feta cheese, 2 bean dips, and lemon hummus. All to die for and recipes coming soon!

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Almost stepped on this little bugger 2 nights ago. Got a small case of the heebie jeebies!

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More AZ news to come!

What’s For Snack Time Wednesday: Plum Jam (3 ingredients and sugar free!)

So…turns out jam making is a chore!  Woah Nellie, I am wiped out!  But, it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it.  I just made one batch in case it turned out awful.  But it didn’t!  It was just time consuming.  3+ hours of cooking on the stove, and my friend said to me, “I bet you could make it in the crockpot.”  Genius.  Has anyone ever tried that?  My biggest surprise about the whole thing was how much it cooked down.  I used 24 plums, and it filled a big pot.  By the time it was done, it probably made about 1 cup of jam (see that jar back there?).  I’m learning all kinds of lessons here.

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Plum Jam (original recipe found here)

  • 3-4 lb. ripe, Italian plums
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Wash the plums and cut them into small pieces (1/2 inch or so), removing the stone as you do it. Place them in a heavy pan and pour a little water in the bottom, no more that a half a cup.

Bring the plums to a boil, stirring often so that they don’t burn on the bottom. Add the cinnamon stick and the cloves.

Boil gently for 3 or more hours, stirring often.

Place the cooked plums in a ricer or sieve and stir to remove the skins and spices. Bring the jam/butter back to a boil until it has reduced as far as you want it and is very thick. Ladle the butter into clean, boiled, preserving jars or into freezer bags. Freeze or can, as you wish.

I just put mine in a jar and plan on eating it throughout the week.

Consensus:

Me:  It’s bitter since it doesn’t have any sugar, but it’s pretty good!

The Mr.:  Says it is TART, not bitter (excuse me).

The Uncle:  Says it reminds him of Christmas

The kiddos:  Ate it like it was normal jam.

From the Garden: Sauteed Veggie Pasta

We’re back We’re back We’re back We’re back We’re back!!!!  We took a red-eye flight from New York back home, and less than 48 hours later we drove 10 hours to San Diego.  We are finally home and I am officially sick of traveling.  I came home to find a beautiful, humongous garden bursting with fruits and veggies in our backyard (our landlords have amazing greenthumbs).  We have plums, pumpkin, watermelon, tomatoes, tomatillos, zucchini, corn, carrots, beets, cucumbers, peaches, etc. etc.  I am in heaven.   There is so much food I literally cannot pick it and eat it fast enough.  Tonight I had no plan for dinner, so I just went out to the garden and picked what was ripe and then tried to figure out what to do with it.  I ended up with zucchini, tomato, corn, and cucumbers.  I put some olive oil in a pan, added garlic and onion, and sautéed the zucchini, and tomato til they were nice and flavorful.  Meanwhile I boiled some pasta, and added corn on the cob for the last 2 minutes.  I threw it all together with some salt and pepper, tossed in a few sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top and we had a perfect meal!  For some reason I never think to put veggies over pasta, but it totally works.  Such a yummy meal and we got so many veggies in!  I also sliced up the cucumber and cut up some honeydew.  Man I love summer.  What am I going to do when all this yummy produce is gone?

What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Kidney Bean Burgers

Happy Wednesday everyone!  We had a delicious meal – I am excited to share it.  Who says meatless dinners can’t be fun and delicious?  This was a hit for the whole fam.

Kidney Bean Burgers (original recipe from Whole Food Mommies)

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups canned kidney beans, low or no salt
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ cup minced red or green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS ketchup, low or no salt
  • 1 TBS stoned ground mustard (optional)
  • 1 TBS wheat germ or oats
  • ½ tsp chili powder

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop the sunflower seeds in a food processor or hand chopper.  Mash the beans with a potato masher or food processor and mix with sunflower seed meal.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and form into six patties.  Lightly oil baking sheet with a little olive oil.  Place patties on the pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool, about 10 minutes, until you can pick up each patty and compress it firmly in your hands to re-form the burger.
Turn patties over and bake another 10 minutes.
Serve on top of whole wheat bun or Romaine lettuce and add your desired toppings.
Consensus:

We all loved it and gobbled it up!  Give it a try!

The Best Movie of All Time

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch this documentary.  It will change your life!

I am a HUGE believer in this type of eating (and am almost there) and this documentary is extremely motivating.  I recently finished reading The China Study by Robert Campbell, and this is the video version of his book.  The Mr. was even excited to watch it with me.  We are not perfect, but have noticed significant changes in ourselves since we started eating a more plant-based diet.  Some people make fun of us, but trust me we are so not deprived.  We’ve never felt so good or tasted such good flavors, or had so much energy.  When you make a commitment to eat REAL whole foods, you will see instant results.  That is the best hour and a half I have spent in a long time. 🙂  Watch it!  Let me know how it goes.