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lemon

Pasta with ZERO guilt

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Pasta with ZERO guilt

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There is a laundry list of reasons why pasta is not on my dinner plate these days (low nutrient value, contains gluten, inflammatory, high glycemic load, etc). I follow an anti inflammatory diet plan so for me pasta just doesn’t work well for my body. If I eat gluten I immediately feel my joints swell and ache so its just not worth it. I had written off pasta a long time ago until this happened…

I made a vegan creamy sauce from avocados, basil, garlic, olive oil, and lemon and tossed it with zucchini noodles aka zuccasta! Crazy right??? This sauce is so creamy and satisfying you wont even notice that its made from veggies and totally vegan! I pair this with a nice side salad with some of the extra sauce mixed with coconut aminos as a dressing, top it with pumpkin seeds and sliced strawberry and BLAMO, low inflammatory, vegan, deliciousness in under 30 minutes.

How do you make zuccasta you ask? Well, you will need some special equipment to make this but trust me this will be the best $35 you have ever spent (well at least for a kitchen utensil). I use the paderno slicer because its way better than any of the other brands out there, trust me on this one.

Lemon Basil Avocado Zuccasta

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, pit removed cut into small pieces
  • 15 basil leaves chopped into ribbons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic clove finely minced
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5-10 turns of black pepper or to taste
  • 2-4 Zucchinis (see notes)

Optional

  1. 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved for garnic
  2. lemon zest for garnish

Equipment

  1. Veggie Spiralizer

Instructions

  1. In a blender add the avocado, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, basil, and blend until smooth adding more olive oil to thin if needed.
  2. The sauce should be very thick like a pudding and not move if you hold the blender upside down.
  3. Spiralize the zucchini into pasta noodles (I like the paderno brand slicer) set aside.
  4. In a medium saute pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat until it just starts to shimmer.
  5. Add the zucchini in one layer into the pan and allow it to brown. Do don't move the "zuccasta"
  6. Once the zucchini has gained color turn it over and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Add a few heaping spoonfuls of the avocado sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. You can add more sauce to the amount of your liking.
  8. Allow the sauce and pasta to cook together until the sauce starts to lose a little bit of its green color and has heated throughout.
  9. Transfer to plates and garnish with tomatoes and lemon zest.

Notes

  1. You may have leftover sauce. I like to keep mine covered in the refrigerator for the next time I make this dish. I like to make it fresh every time rather than have it as leftovers but thats a personal preference.
  2. Use 1-2 zucchini per person for a full dinner portion.

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Spring cleaning.... of your diet - Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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Spring cleaning.... of your diet - Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto

I need to catch you up to speed here. So it is day 4 of a 10 day raw whole food juicing/smoothie cleanse that is being run by the beautiful and talented Dr Rhea of RAWjuvenation. I have chosen to go completely raw,  blending all of my food to give my digestion and body a break from the heavy foods of winter. So far, so good. I start my morning with a probiotic, oil pulling, a huge glass of lemon water, then I fill my day with superfood smoothies, nutrient rich, low sugar, green juices, more lemon water, and the occasional blended raw food like this:

This was inspired by one of Dr Rhea’s recipes up on her Facebook page. The best part is that this recipe is a dump and puree method and this pesto is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a dip for a crudite platter, a spread for sandwiches, or even thinned out with some additional olive oil as a sauce or salad dressing. Basically, it is good on everything! 

How are you cleaning up your diet for the Spring? 

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Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto 

Yields 2

Vegan - Raw - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 large handful of parsley (about 1 cup packed)
  • 1 large handful of cilantro (about 1 cup packed)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbl lemon juice
  • 1 capful of apple cider vinegar (brand Bragg's)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a work bowl of a food processor and blend until a well combined and blended to the consistency of your liking.
  2. Taste for seasoning and keep covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

Notes

  1. The seeds can be substituted for any other nut like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts etc
  2. The herbs can be substituted for other herbs like basil, dill, chives etc
  3. For a richer pesto use 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup olive oil
  4. Thin with extra olive oil for a salad dressing or sauce

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Pain Relief Tea - For aches, pain, and inflammation

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Pain Relief Tea - For aches, pain, and inflammation

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Are your bones and joints feeling the effects of this winters cruel weather like mine are?

If you answered no then that’s great! For the rest of us injured, arthritic, or just plain ol tired folks out there who said yes I have something that may help.

I make this tea when I am fighting inflammation and especially when my back is bothering me. I don’t take pain killers, over the counter NSAIDS or Tylenol because of the effects they have on the liver and stomach. In addition to the harms I am allergic to most other drugs so I have had to become pretty resourceful in how I fight pain after 3 back surgeries. Now you may say “oh but I only take Tylenol sometimes and its sold over the counter so it can’t be that bad”. I thought the same thing and ended up with esophageal burns, ulcers, stomach and intestinal bleeding that I am still trying to heal. 

An excerpt from Natural News regarding Tylenols dangerous effects:

“Even when taken at recommended doses, acetaminophen, the primary active ingredient in Tylenol, can cause major damage to the liver, potentially leading to liver failure and even death…The drug is so toxic that as many as 80,000 people are rushed to the emergency room annually due to acetaminophen poisoning, and another 500-or-so end up dead from liver failure.”

Read more from this article about the deadly effects of Tylenol

Ok so enough of the scary talk , lets talk natural solutions to pain that you can make with food right from your kitchen.  

Here are the active ingredients in my pain relief tea:

Turmeric-  Is a natural anti-inflammatory due to its content of curcumin (this gives turmeric its famous orange color). In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.  Turmeric may also benefit your digestive system by stimulating your gall bladder to make bile, speeding breakdown of dietary fats.

Ginger- Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger has also been shown to aid in gastrointestinal issues and very effective in aiding the symptoms of nausea, motion sickness, and sea sickness. *

Cayenne – Gets its heat from large concentrations of a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers. Capsaicin also effectively opens and drains congested nasal passages.

Lemon- An excellent source of vitamin C which not only helps strength the immune system but it also neutralizes free radicals in the body. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes, and cause a lot of inflammation, or painful swelling, in the body.*

Black pepper- Due to its analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties black pepper has been shown to aid with poor muscle tone, arthritis, muscle and/or nerve pain. The oils in the black pepper has these properties which is why I strongly suggest you use freshly ground or buy black pepper essential oil. 

Both ginger and turmeric are generally considered safe and without significant side effects, and both are available as capsules from health-food stores. However, each may interact with certain prescription medications, and neither should be taken if you are pregnant. Always check with your physician if you ever have any concerns about adding a new food or supplement. 

Pain Relief Tea

Serves 4

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 40 oz filtered clean water (about 5 cups)
  • 4 - 1'' coins of ginger (or use 1 Tbl powdered ginger)
  • 1 Tbl + 1 tsp Powdered Turmeric (organic high quality if you can)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 Tbl Maple Syrup or Raw Honey to taste (see note)

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into a large sauce pan.
  2. Squeeze the lemon into the water and place the squeezed lemons into the pan too.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and warm over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  4. Whisk to combine the spices.
  5. Remove from the heat. (This can be left overnight to infuse further with the ginger too)
  6. Strain into mugs and stir in raw honey or maple syrup to taste.
  7. Keep stirring while drinking this because the spices will settle to the bottom.
  8. You can also stir the spices together and pour hot water over while whisking for a quicker version without the ginger. (see notes below)

Notes

  1. I drink mine unsweetened because I like to keep my sugar levels low and I consume this drink regularly. Adding raw local honey will make this a great immunity boosting drink. Feel free to add your sweetener of choice according to your taste.

If you need a quick single serving

  1. Mix 1 heaping tsp of turmeric, pinch of cayene, tiny pinch of black pepper, 1/2 tsp powdered ginger (optional but recommended) and pour hot water over while whisking to combine. Squeeze half of a lemon and drink immediately

*References

 

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Raw Vegan Frozen Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

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Raw Vegan Frozen Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

Its Summer time baby so now is the time for no bake healthy recipes and oh man do I have the recipe for you…

I am so obsessed with this crust so stay tuned because tomorrow I am going to do another no bake recipe with it but I digress…

This recipe is for two 5’‘ pie tart shells but if you double the recipe you can use a 9’‘ springform pan for a full size cheesecake. 

Prep for this recipe by soaking 1/2 cup raw macadamias or cashews (or 1 cup for a full size cheesecake) in just enough water to cover them for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.

Also place one can of full fat coconut milk into the fridge overnight for later use (If you can get your hands on a can of Coconut Cream then you can skip this step).

Start by placing 1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios and 4 medjool dates with pits removed into the bowl of your food processor along with 1/4 tsp fine sea salt and the zest of 1 lime. (again double this if making a full version) 

Pulse the mixture until it is coarsely ground and becomes sticky. 

The mixture should stay together when pressed in between your fingers. If not process with 1-2 more dates until the desired consistency is achieved. 

Grease the tart shells or pan you are using. 

Press the nut-date mixture into the bottom of the tart shells/pan and firmly pack to make it as flat as possible. A flat bottomed greased glass is the perfect tool for this. You can bring the crust up the sides if you want but that is a personal choice. 

Place the prepared crusts into the fridge while you assemble the remaining ingredients. 

Open up the chilled coconut milk and scrape the cream off the top leaving the coconut water in the can. We just need the cream for this so feel free to drink the water  or save it for a smoothie. 

Drain the nuts and place in the workbowl of a blender along with 2 Tbl of the coconut cream, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 ripe banana. Blend until very smooth and taste for sweetness. If you need it sweeter add 10-15 drops liquid stevia or 1 tbl of maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or sweetener of choice. 

Fill the tarts almost to the top with the filling and place in the freezer to chill for at least 6 hours but overnight is best. You can add the pistachios later if you want. 

Top with sliced strawberries, pistachios, and extra lime zest right before serving. I like to let it sit out on the counter for 15 minutes (30 minutes for a full size pie) before serving so it has a creamier texture. 

Strawberry-Lime-Banana Frozen Cheesecake with Pistachio Date Crust

Serves 2

Raw - Vegan - Paleo - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw Macadamia or Cashews (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Cream (or place one can coconut milk in fridge overnight and scoop cream off top)
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 tbl maple syrup, wild honey, yacon syrup or sweetener of choice to taste 

Crust

  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 4 Large Medjool Dates (pits removed)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Prep for this recipe by soaking the raw macadamias/ cashews in just enough water to cover them for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.
  2. Place one can of full fat coconut milk into the fridge overnight for later use.
  3. (If you can get your hands on a can of Coconut Cream then you can skip this step)
  4. Start by placing the raw shelled pistachios and medjool dates with pits removed into the bowl of your food processor along with the fine sea salt and the zest of 1 lime.
  5. Pulse the date-nut mixture until coarsely ground and it becomes sticky.
  6. The mixture should stay together when pressed in between your fingers. If not process with 1-2 more dates until the desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Grease the tart shells.
  8. Press the nut-date mixture into the bottom of the tart shells/pan and firmly pack it to make it as flat as possible. You can bring the crust up the sides if you want but that is a personal choice.
  9. Place the prepared crusts into the fridge while you assemble the remaining ingredients.
  10. Open up the chilled coconut milk and scrape 2 tbl of the cream off the top leaving the coconut water in the can.
  11. Drain the nuts and place in the workbowl of a blender along with the coconut cream, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 ripe banana.
  12. Blend until very smooth and taste for sweetness. If you need it sweeter add 1 tbl of maple syrup or sweetener of choice to taste. 
  13. Fill the tarts almost to the top with the filling and place in the freezer to chill for at least 6 hours but overnight is best.
  14. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, pistachios, and extra lime zest right before serving.
  15. Allow to sit on the counter for 15 minutes (for small tarts) 30 minutes (for full size pie) before serving to defrost.

Notes

  1. For a full size cheesecake double this recipe and use a 9'' springform, grease lightly with oil, and line the sides with parchment paper.

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