Turkish Cacik

Turkish Cacik

Hello loves! I feel like it’s been ages since I was last in this space, yet sitting down to write this post feels as natural as ever. I have been very busy these last few months! I am very proud to say that I manifested my hearts desire to move my family back up to Mendocino! It took about a year and a half to fully realize this dream but it has been worth every moments wait. We are staying with our beautiful and gracious friends until we find a place of our own. We are just so very grateful for them. Every morning I step outside to the sound of birds chirping and wind rustling through the leaves of towering redwood trees. My breaths are full and complete and the air that fills my lungs is clean, filled to the brim with oxygen. When the wind is blowing just so you can even taste the salty ocean from a few miles away. I’m blessed with a family of deer that graze in our front yard and a special secret clearing in the woods that Marvel and I visit many times a week. Life is good here. My heart is home. My heart is happy.

I have been filling my days connecting with friends, doing the occasional massage and mothering my little Marvel. I have also been working on an exciting new project. I won’t get into much detail until it’s farther along in it’s process but I will tell you that my husband and I are working together (which I’m just beyond thrilled about) and that we are creating beautiful Mediterranean food. This is something that we’ve been wanting since we first fell in love and we are finally making something happen. It feels damn good. 🙂 I’d love to share a little recipe from the project with you. It is called Cacik, pronounced Jajik. It is the Turkish version of the Greek dish, tzatziki. It is often served as a dip or dressing but some people eat it on it’s own. I like to use mine as a sauce inside a falafel wrap or as a dip for chicken kebabs.

Cacik is traditionally made with yogurt but I find it a bit too soupy that way. We’ve substituted Labne, Mediterranean yogurt cheese which is very simply yogurt with the water strained out. Imagine sour cream and cream cheese’s love child. Have I peaked your interest? I thought so. It is as scrumptious as it sounds. It is a staple in our home and it is perfect in this dish.

Cacik is made with wholesome ingredients and although it has a rich creamy flavor, it is high in healthy fats, calcium, protein and vitamins A and C. Eat this and you are simply winning all around.

Turkish Cacik

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Ingredients

  • 16 oz labne (Mediterranean Yogurt Cheese)
  • 1/2 English Cucumber, grated
  • 2 tbsp mint, minced
  • salt to taste, I used approximately 1 tsp
  • olive oil, drizzled on top
  • paprika, sprinkled on top

Process

  1. Place labne, english cucumber, mint and salt in a bowl, stirring with a spoon to combine
  2. Drizzle olive oil on top
  3. Sprinkle paprkia on top
  4. Serve as a dip for pita bread, falafel, chicken… or simply eat alone as a snack
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Vegan Strawberry Banana Sherbet

Vegan Strawberry Banana Sherbet

It’s starting to feel like summer in Fremont. Temperatures have been hitting 90 nearly every day and the sun has been relentless. I got a burn after only 10 minutes in my backyard! It’s true I am pretty pasty but usually I can go at least 20 minutes before becoming a lobster. 😉

What do I crave on hot summer days? An ice cold beverage, maybe a dip in the ocean and always ice cream. I’ve been staying away from most dairy lately as I’ve noticed it stuffs me up and makes me a little sluggish. I do however still enjoy my butter/ghee. It is one of my favorite things on this earth and I must have it on my toast in the morning. It makes me too happy inside to give it up. Besides, I believe good quality grass fed butter is a health food… in responsible quantities of course. Butter is loaded with the vitamin K-2 and the anti-inflammatory fatty acid, Butyrate. These are very important nutrients for heart and bone health.

That was a bit of a tangent wasn’t it? … you can tell I love my butter. 😛 ANYWAY, since I’ve been avoiding most dairy I have been satisfying my hot day ice-cream craving with homemade vegan sorbet instead. It is so easy and delicious you guys, if you haven’t tried it, you MUST. All you need for homemade sorbet is any combination of frozen fruit and a blender. Seriously. It’s amazing.

Lately though I’ve been craving more of a sherbet, something with a little creaminess to it. So… I just added a little coconut cream to my frozen fruit and voila! A vegan sherbet with no refined sugar and a whole lot of hot day ice cream craving satisfaction. My ice cream maker is in storage so I needed to use a little elbow grease to get this creamy but I’ll tell you it was well worth it.

Vegan Strawberry Banana Sherbet

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IngredientsMakes about a pint

  • 1 1/2 frozen bananas
  • 15 frozen organic strawberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (I skim the cream off the top of a chilled can of coconut milk) 
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and process until combined and creamy. This took me about 5 minutes because the strawberries were so hard.
  2. Pour sherbet into mixing bowl and place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Take bowl out of freezer and vigourously whisk for a minute,
  4. Place back in freezer for another 30 minutes
  5. Repeat the process another 2-3 times
  6. Let sherbet harden in the freezer for another 2 hours or so
  7. Using an Icecream scoop, doll out your deliciousness!
  8. Keep sherbet in an airtight container in the freezer

I would recommend taking your sherbet out of the freezer about 15-30 minutes before enjoying (depending on the temperature of your house) The consistency is softer and creamier when it’s a little less frozen. Just make sure you don’t let it become a smoothie. Unless of course you feel like one! ❤

XO ~ Sam

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Devilishly Delicious Angelic Eggs 

Devilishly Delicious Angelic Eggs 

I’m a big proponent of morning rituals. Starting my day with healthy routines can calm and center me for the busyness that lies ahead. I begin nearly every morning with at least 5-10 minutes of Vipassana meditation. I then enjoy a glass of room temperature water with lemon to get my digestive juices flowing. Next is breakfast. My daughter and I both adore eggs. She prefers hers scrambled, I prefer mine over medium. Two eggs with a thick golden runny yolk, dripping over a slice of perfectly toasted whole grain gluten free bread, slathered with ghee and chia seeds? Oh baby. My belly is happy, I’m happy, everyone around me is happy. 🙂

Although a nice consistent morning routine centers me, the adventurer in me gets restless every once in awhile. So this morning I was inspired to get a little creative. Wanting to stick with eggs, as I’ve noticed they provide me with the best fuel for my morning, I decided on deviled. I adore me some deviled eggs. If you ever happen to find yourself at a party with me and a platter of deviled eggs and you fancy a few for yourself, I’d advise not leaving them sitting around for too long. I have absolutely no self control around those things. I’ll have popped 6 of them before you take your first bite. I may have a bit of a problem. Is there a Deviled Eggs Anonymous? No, I think not. That acronym’s already been taken after all and I doubt advertising a DEA meeting would attract very many attendees. ANYHOO…

Although I do love the little buggers as they are, in all their mayo slathered glory, I decided to play around with a more wholesome version that would still dazzle the taste buds. I think what I came up with will excite you, I’m certainly a little twitterpated by them.   😉

Devilishly Delicious Angelic Eggs

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Ingredients

  • 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup plain goat yogurt
  • 3 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 5 pepperoncinis finely chopped, I like this all natural brand

Process

  1. Once hard boiled eggs are cool, remove egg yolks from egg whites and place in a medium bowl. 
  2. Add in all other ingredients except pepperoncinis.
  3. Using a hand mixer on low, beat until smooth and creamy
  4. Add in pepperoncinis and gently incorporate with a spoon. 
  5. Fill the hollow egg white halves with egg yolk mixture. If you have a pastry bag, this will look the most refined. If you don’t, no worries, a spoon will do the trick. 
  6. Sprinkle the tops with a touch more of any or all of the spices used in the recipe. 
  7. Voila! Serve these with a slice of toast for breakfast or next to a big salad for lunch/dinner. 

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Happy Eating friends! 

XO~Sam

 

Raw Olive Bread

Raw Olive Bread

I remember the reactions I got when I first went gluten free. Mild annoyance was the most common reaction but certain loved ones looked at me like I had shot them through the heart. These days not only am I gluten free but the amount of refined sugar I eat is practically nil, I barely touch red meat and I’ve upped my raw foods by a large margin. The eye rolls I endure are many but the bottom line is, I eat what makes me feel good. Period.

I do understand why some people have an aversion to health food. When not done properly, healthy often means bland, dry and boring. So this weekend when I offered my good friends my Raw Olive Bread, I wasn’t surprised when they were a bit skeptical. I’m sure the word ‘Raw’ immediately conjured up an image of flavorless cardboard. One bite is all it took to change their mind.

I had a hankering for some olive bread a month or so ago and decided that I would try to make my own raw version. I tried a recipe that I found online and I wasn’t crazy about the results. So I played with it quite a bit and came up with a version that I am super proud of and completely in love with. I now have this bread in my fridge at all times. It’s a wonderful texture, packed with flavor and is so high in fiber that your bowel movements will become more regular from eating just a slice or two a day. Hooray for pooping!

Raw Olive Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ground flax seed
  • 1 cup ground sunflower seed
  • 1 cup sun dried tomato
  • 30 olives
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup psyllium husk
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Process

  1. Grind flax seeds in coffee grinder
  2. Grind sunflower seeds in coffee grinder
  3. Add ground seeds together in a large bowl
  4. Combine all ingredients, except for a large handful of olives, to food processor (if you don’t own a food processor, a blender will work just fine) and process
  5. Transfer above mixture to bowl with seeds and stir until well combined
  6. Now add the handful of olives that you set aside earlier and gently mix everything together with your hands
  7. Allow mixture to thicken for 20 minutes or so
  8. Shape mixture into a loaf with your hands.
  9. Cut into slices and place in your dehydrator on 105.
  10. Dehydrate for 6 hours.

*NOTE: If you don’t have a dehydrator but have an oven with a ‘warming’ setting that allows you to set the temperature below 115 degrees, you can do that instead!
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Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Chia Pudding

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Chia Pudding

My man requested chia pudding. I’d never made chia pudding but I felt confident I could knock one out with an online recipe as inspiration. He wanted vanilla pudding, gelatinous and chewy in all it’s soaked chia glory. My finished product was scrumptious, so scrumptious in fact, that we ate it immediately before I could snap any pictures. Don’t worry though, I’ll definitely be making it again and will be sure to share it with you all when I do.

In the meantime, I was so blown away by how easy, healthy and decadent chia pudding could be that I started to play with other flavor combinations. Chocolate pudding is my favorite so I knew that would be my next conquest. The recent chilly weather is eliciting cravings in me for toasty beverages. Naturally, hot chocolate sprang to mind when musing over flavors for the pudding. Then the lightning bolt hit. Mexican hot chocolate. Booyah!!

This version of chia pudding isn’t gelatinous as I blend the chia seeds, so even if are a little squeamish around texture and don’t like the viscosity of chia pudding, I promise, you will love this. I sweetened the pudding with dates. It’s incredibly healthy. So healthy, you could eat this pudding guilt free for breakfast. Chocolate pudding for breakfast? Excuse me while I do a happy dance.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Chia Pudding

• 2 cups almond milk
• 4 tbsp cacao powder
• 1/2 cup chia seeds
• 10 pitted medjool dates
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2- 1 tsp chili powder (depending on how spicy your chili powder is)

1. Soak dates in warm water for 30 minutes to soften.
2. Once dates are soft, place them along with all other ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until well combined and pudding is smooth.
3. Pour into a sealable container (I used a mason jar) and refrigerate overnight to set.

Voila! Enjoy your healthy chocolate indulgence. Go ahead, lick the bowl and feel good about it. 😊
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Savory gluten free sweet potato pancakes

Savory gluten free sweet potato pancakes

I’m a sweet potato nut. I always have a couple varieties in the house. They have a long shelf life so I don’t worry about spoilage and they have a myriad of uses in cooking and baking. They are especially useful for making gluten free goodies more moist and fluffy. Not to mention they are high in magnesium, potassium, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, the list goes on. Simply put, your body is stoked when you ingest sweet potato.

This recipe obviously does not have to be gluten free. Simply use whatever flour you have in your home. I personally used buckwheat, which gave it a nice nutty flavor that I loved. This will yield enough for 1-2 servings, depending on who’s eating, how hungry they are and if you are serving this alongside something else. I ate this in the morning, as I prefer a savory breakfast to a sweet one but these could be a great addition to your lunch or dinner as well! I think a spinach salad would pair incredibly well with these. 😊

Savory sweet potato pancake

1 sweet potato (I used Garnet)
3 green onion stalks
1/8 cup of flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp chia powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

•Bake sweet potato at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. I did this the night before to save time.
•Peel potato and place in a medium size bowl.
•Add all ingredients and mix until combined.
•Pour out the batter in any size you like and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes or until they start to bubble and flip to cook evenly on the other side.

Keep an extra close watch on these as they cook; they burn a little easier than regular pancakes.

Super easy right? Super delicious!! If you try them out, please let me know how you like them! 😘

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Raw onion bread. CAUTION: Do not consume before a hot date.

Raw onion bread. CAUTION: Do not consume before a hot date.

I became inspired to experiment with raw foods when my good friend Aurore started sharing her masterpieces with me. This girl has nearly perfected the raw food art and I’m dazzled by the amazing treats she comes up with weekly. If you’d like to indulge in some of her amazing recipes, check out her blog: http://anaboreal.wordpress.com. She gifted me a dehydrator for my birthday a few years ago. I’ve used it a few times over the years but in the past few weeks, I’ve really been putting it to work. You can make a ton of delicious things in a dehydrator. Jerky, fruit leather, dried fruit, granola, raw crackers, raw bread, etc… Dehydrating allows you to retain nearly all of the nutritional content of the food which is incredibly beneficial to your body. My energy soars, my skin glows and I even notice increased mental acuity. I love how my body responds to a meal of mainly raw veggies but I often feel I’m missing substance when I eat just a bowl of greens. A few slices of raw bread leaves me feeling satiated and boosts my omega, protein and fiber intake, as it contains ground flax seed as one of the binding agents. Not to mention the bread can be doctored up with all manner of tasty treats like pesto, mushroom pate, avocado, cheese… The sky’s the limit!

You’ll need a coffee grinder to grind your flax seeds; the hull of a flax seed is so hard that if you eat them whole they will pass through your system undigested and you’ll miss out on the amazing health benefits all together, namely Omega 3. Also, pre-ground flax seed is sup     posedly what’s left after the seeds have been stripped of their oils so you risk missing out on the bulk of nutrients when you buy packaged ground flax meal. Coffee grinders are cheap, you can get an effective one for $20.00 and it can also be used to grind spices like cardamom and clove. I also use it to make my own flour, like oat and almond. It’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances and if you cook at home a lot, I bet you’ll get your money’s worth out of it quickly.

This recipe is best made with sweet onions. They have a little less of a pungent bite, which you’ll want, since you aren’t cooking them.

RAW ONION BREAD

Ingredients:
•2 big sweet white onions
•1 cup raw sunflower seeds
•1 cup flax seeds
•2 tbsp nutritional yeast (omit if you want this truly raw)
•3 tbsp soy sauce (use Nama shoyu if you want this truly raw)

Directions:
– Peel onions, cut into quarters and place 2-3 quarters in food processor at a time. Pulse until onions are finely chopped but not minced as they will start to become mushy onion pulp; this will yield a wet, gummy finished product. I know this first hand as I botched my first attempt. 😝

– Put onions in a large bowl.DSC_0606

– Grind sunflower seeds in coffee grinder put aside and then grind flax seeds.

DSC_0609– Add these to the onions along with nutritional yeast and soy sauce and mix together until well combined.

– Spread mixture out evenly on 2-3 dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper. I used 2 because I like my bread a little thicker, use 3 if you want a crispier cracker like bread.

DSC_0613– Set your dehydrator to 125 and dehydrate for an hour.

– Flip bread and lower dehydrator to 105. Dehydrate for 6-8 more hours depending on how you prefer the consistency.DSC_0625

Enjoy!

And please, if you are going to be in close quarters with anyone who hasn’t consumed large amounts of raw onion, suck on a mint. 😉