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MCLV Mange: Farmer’s Market Fare

Welcome to the second installment of my new reader requested series called MCLV Mange, where I’ll be discussing quick, easy and healthy meal ideas, desserts and snacks, entertaining and even wine pairings. You can read the first segment of this series on using healthy coconut milk to cook your vegetables here. Please feel free to email me with any questions or topic suggestions.

Now let me ask you, is there anything more delicious than a simple meal made from fresh ingredients?

This past weekend I went to the Carmichael Park Farmer’s Market in Sacramento and picked up some fresh produce and when I got back to San Francisco Sunday I made a delicious dinner for myself and a friend.

So what did I make?

A massaged kale salad with Trader Joe’s hummus salad dressing. Your hands get pretty gooey when you massage the dressing into the leaves, but the end result is definitely worth the effort and minimal mess. Here’s a basic How To from the brilliant Gena at Choosing Raw. 

Some people find that kale is an acquired taste, but it is definitely one that you should acquire – kale is high in fiber, Vitamin A, easy to absorb calcium, antioxidants and smaller amounts of Vitamins C and B. Like I said, its worth getting to know!

Brightly colored vegetables are another extraordinarily healthy addition to any salad. Purple cabbage is high in Vitamins A, C, K and iron while radishes are rich in Vitamins C, K, B6 and dietary fiber. They are both also sources of antioxidants. 

Did you get a chance to watch the lecture by Dr. Terry Wahl’s that I included in Sunday’s Links You’ll Love post? If not you should take a quick look at her Minding Your Mitochondria lecture, which will explain just how beneficial kale and bright vegetables are for your health.

Since it was such a chilly night I also wanted to serve something warm so I sliced up some of the multicolored carrots that I had picked up and a sweet potato, and roasted them with extra virgin olive oil, cumin and Himalayan sea salt. Carrots are high in Vitamins A, C, K and potassium and sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamins B6, C, D, iron and magnesium.

What was the final product?

I hope that the simplicity of this meal inspires you to make a trip to your local farmer’s market and try a healthy, fresh, vegetable-based dinner as well.

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MCLV Mange: Coconut Vegetables

Welcome to a new reader requested segment called MCLV Mange where I’ll provide a recipe or meal idea once or twice a month – Something quick, easy, and healthy. As always, feel free to email me with any questions, requests, or topic suggestions.

Let’s start with something extraordinarily basic that I love – Coconut vegetables. It’s a healthy, simple vegetable dish. High in Vitamins A, B6, C, K, potassium, manganese, folate, magnesium and phosphorous – Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are extraordinarily healthy.

What do you need?

You can pick up veggies at your local market, anything fresh that you’re in the mood for, or even take the quick route and grab a pre-cleaned bag of mixed vegetables like I showed below. Any variety will do! I especially like mixes with sugar snap peas or I’ll get some brussels sprouts, chop them in half and throw them in.

{Trader Joe’s and Safeway both have great, inexpensive options to choose from}

Cook them however you’d like – Steam, boil, sautee – Personally I’m partial to steaming, that way they keep more of their nutrients, stay a bright vibrant color, and still have a slightly crisp texture. Now what is it that makes these veggies my favorite? Just add 1/4 or 1/3 of cup of coconut milk! Coconut milk is an excellent, easily absorbable source of vitamins and nutrients like phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Once you’ve fully coated the vegetables in the desired amount of coconut milk, add your seasonings. Sometimes I leave them with just the coconut milk, but other times I’m in the mood for a more complex flavour. I know it may sound unusual, but garlic is a great accompaniment to the subtle sweetness of coconut milk.

Season to taste and you’re done! Sometimes I even add a little Earth Balance to top things off, though it definitely it isn’t necessary.

You can eat the veggies as part of your main dish and add a baked sweet potato on the side or eat them with a grain (brown rice or quinoa) or meat dish (lean chicken breast or white fish).

Want a pseudo-healthy cocktail idea to round out your evening meal? FitSugar has a creative, low-calorie idea to replace a traditional gin and tonic – an Elderflower Gin Cordial.

Happy eating & stay tuned for the next installment of this tasty new series!

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The cookies that passed the test!

I’ve been struggling to find the ideal cookie recipe, one that would be healthy and non-vegan (i.e. boyfriend) approved. Not always an easy feat, let me tell you!

My first attempt at vegan cookies turned out fine. Not awful, not great. My first attempt at vegan, gluten-free cookies was… Not so good. At first they wouldn’t stay together, then they were too dense. It was quite a balancing act to get the right level of sweetness (I balked when I saw a recipe that called for 2 WHOLE CUPS of refined sugar), oil and flour. The coconut flour smelled divine, but the cookies fell apart when you touched them, while the spelt flour with just oil was too cake-y and not light enough.

Finally I had my Goldilocks moment and they came out juuust right.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 tbsp cocao powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar (brown rice syrup will also work quite well)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup carob chips
  • 1/4 cup coconut shreds (unsweetened)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Combine dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt & coconut, and stir until well combined
  • Separately, combine syrup, agave nectar, vanilla and coconut extracts with the apple sauce and stir until well mixed
  • Combine mixtures, add carob chips and stir lightly
  • Spoon batter onto lined baking sheet (these cookies spread so keep this in mind when you’re spacing)
  • Top with raw grain sugar and/or more coconut shreds if desired
  • Bake for 13 minutes & immediately remove from oven
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy

These cookies are soft so be sure to let them cool or they’ll crumble around the edges. And if you want to save some for later, they’re great frozen. The flavor is chocolatey and rich, with a barely detectible hint of coconut .

Good luck mon petits chefs!

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