Detox Veg Noodles – Two Ways

Apologies for the radio silence.

While you weren’t looking, I snuck away to England and Wales and started a new job as a pastry chef in Santa Monica (which requires waking up at 4:30 am).

Now it’s no excuse for me to neglect my blog, however, I hope you guys let this one slide. I promise I will never abandon you again!

Bonus: since I’m a little behind on my posts, today you’ll be getting a two-fer!

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Pros.

Traveling is one of my most favorite things to do, especially when it’s traveling to magical storybook land. The Moors of England and the southern coast of Wales were so unbelievably beautiful, relaxing and dreamy, I kept pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Everything is green. London and Bristol were jaw-droppingly incredible as well.

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Cons.

Despite all the amazing pros to world travel and a new career, I was and am completely off track, digestively speaking. Stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of routine have taken a major toll on me and I’m paying the price. I feel like I’m starting from square one all over again!

When eating at restaurants for every meal, it was pretty much inevitable for some sugar, gluten, corn or any other allergen to make it’s way into my food. There was one point when I was drinking a cider at a pub (watching England vs. Iceland) when I turned completely red and itchy from head to foot! And England lost!

If you’re like me, when our digestion is off it affects every inch of our lives. Acne, brain fog, stomach cramps, major bloating, and overall “clogged” feelings are no fun.

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The plan of action.

Getting back on track has been my number one priority.

So, my plan of action since I have been home has been to 1.) clean up my overgrown garden, 2.) eat all the vegetables from my overgrown garden, 3.) stick to a mostly plant-based diet, 4.) exercise, and 5.) avoid any and all restaurant food.

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Giant vegetables.

While I was away, my vegetable garden produced some gargantuan sized specimen worthy of winning first prize at the county fair (check my instagram). Blessed.

The amount of zucchini and cucumber that one must eat to keep up with growth is ridiculous and delicious. In effect, I have explored many, many recipes and have discovered that the zoodle/cucoodle route has been my absolute favorite. Who doesn’t love eating vegetables that taste exactly like pasta?

If you haven’t done so already and you can spare $40, buy a vegetable spiralizer! I bought this one. It will instantly become an essential kitchen gadget because it is such a time saver and total game changer. You can even use it to rice your cauliflower. I mean…

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Faux and fabulous noodles.

Let me just start off by telling you guys, these recipes are so yummy, you may make a specific night of the week for them.

The zucchini noodle dish tastes like spaghetti, really. It is salty and briny and so satisfying. The cucumber noodle dish is refreshing and light and takes on a rice noodle salad vibe. Perhaps the perfect summer picnic accompaniment.

Are you excited to try these deliciously fresh detox meals?!

Let’s get to it.


Zoodles With Vegan Parmesan


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Tools:
-Spiralizer or julienne mandoline
-Medium cast iron skillet

Ingredients:
-1 large zucchini (or 2 small)
-2 teaspoons salt
-1 cup pitted and halved kalamata olives
-6-10 anchovy filets (or 1 + 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste)
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
-1/2 cup raw cashews
-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Steps:
1. Pulse cashews, 1 teaspoon of salt and nutritional yeast in blender or food processor until mixture resembles grated parmesan. Set aside. (Extra vegan parm may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two months.)

2. Using your spiralizer tool, make your zucchini noodles. Sprinkle zoodles with salt and place on a layer of paper towels to absorb the moisture.

3. In skillet on medium heat, add oil and anchovies. With a wooden spoon, break up the anchovies until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Toss the zoodles, olives and red pepper flakes in the pan with anchovy sauce, just to warm through. Top with vegan parmesan. Serve immediately, devour and enjoy!

Note: For best and tastiest results, consume this dish immediately after making. If not, the zoodles will become soggy and no fun!


Asian Cucoodle Salad


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Tools:
-Spiralizer or julienne mandoline
-Strainer or colander

Ingredients:
-2 medium to large sized cucumbers (I used one regular cucumber and two small lemon cucumbers.)
-1 large tomato
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon tamari or liquid aminos
-1 teaspoon hot sesame chili oil
-1 teaspoon regular sesame oil
-1 teaspoon safflower oil
-1 teaspoon of rooster sauce or sriracha (recipe coming soon)
-juice of one lime (about 1 tablespoon)
-1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
-1/4 cup fresh rough chopped cilantro
-1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
-freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steps:
1. Using your spiralizer tool, create your cucumber noodles. Sprinkle with salt, toss, and place in strainer over a bowl or sink. Let drain for about 10-15 minutes.

2. In your serving bowl, whisk all liquids with finely grated garlic. Set aside to let the flavors combine.

3. Dice tomato and add to the serving bowl with dressing, discarding the gooey tomato center and seeds (it will dilute the dressing). Add your cucoodles, cilantro, sesame seeds and black pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Note: You may refrigerate this dish prior to serving. I have made it three hours in advance and it has kept well.


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I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as Annie the Shetland Pony enjoys her carrots.

Cheers!

Killer Chocolate Chunk Cookies

FULL DISCLAIMER:

I almost named this post “TRUE LIFE: I don’t have any natural light in my basement apartment kitchen so I take pictures of all my food on my bed so it at least looks somewhat decent”.

WTFSTFUTCASFGHS was the second contender. For those of you over 28 years of age, that stands for “What the f***, shut the f*** up, these cookies are so f***ing good, holy s***”. You’re welcome.

Ancient History.

When I was growing up, my mom always made cookies from scratch. Chocolate chip was her specialty. My mom was different. All my friends’ moms bought Toll House pre-made cookie dough. They got to eat Lunchables – I got homemade lunch. They got Fruit By The Foots – I got fruit leathers. Pre-made, store bought foods were sooo cool. Why couldn’t my mom just buy me packaged foods and call it a day?

Jokes on me. Now I look back and think, I’m so lucky to have been raised by a woman that took no short cuts, and that believed in knowing exactly what she is feeding her children. Love you, mom.

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COOKIES.

So here we go.

Let’s start with the chocolate. After removing cane sugar from my diet, chocolate was at the top of my list of things to create and conquer, and was the first sweet I had re-created. Raw chocolate, to be exact. It’s fairly simple to make. You melt down a little raw cacao butter and raw coconut oil in a glass bowl over low steam, mix in a little raw cacao powder, salt, maple syrup, whisk and done.

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Raw cacao is a pretty incredible super food – packed with heart-healthy essential fats like oleic, stearic and palmitic acids, a ton of fiber, proteins like glutamine (essential to repair leaky gut), arginine, and leucine, polyphenols with antioxidant properties, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B9, vitamin E, and last but not least, pretty much every mineral you can think of.

Of course, gluten free, corn free, dairy free, sugar free, egg free cookies were on the list as well. I read several recipes for gluten-free cookies, but I just kept going back to the basics. This recipe is very similar to the one my mom made growing up. Mix your dry ingredients, mix your wet ingredients, mix them both together, bake, viola.

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Other than the lack of wheat and real butter, the only other difference is that these cookies use ground flax seed in place of eggs. I know, this sounds strange, but trust me. When ground flax is mixed with a liquid, it becomes a sticky gel and almost the same consistency as beaten eggs. Kitchen miracles, man.

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Plus, flax is one of the most powerfully nutritious and medicinal ingredients known to man. We’re talking omega-3s, lignans, soluble and insoluble fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, and many other wonderful little micronutrients and antioxidants.

Eating ground flax daily has been proven to regulate elevated estrogen levels and balance hormones in women. Also, consuming ground flax can stop breast and prostate cancers from growing, it can lower cholesterol, regulate digestion, regulate blood sugar and help ease menopause symptoms. Tip: If you want to get on your mom’s good side, make her a batch of these cookies and you will thank me. Cookies + no hot flashes = happy mom.

 Fun fact: Flax seeds were once cultivated by the ancient Egyptians.

Now that you know these guilt-free cookies are fun for the whole family, bake away!

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One more tip: You may omit the chocolate altogether and replace with some chopped fruit and nuts. Some good combos would be dried apricot and walnut, wild blueberry and almond, or even raspberry and macadamia nut. Yum! Make it your own.

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Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Sugar Free / Egg Free / Corn Free
Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 Ingredients:

2 sticks (8 ounces) vegan butter – room temperature and soft

2 heaping cups of gluten-free all purpose flour

¼ cup arrowroot starch/powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups of coconut sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

6 tablespoons filtered water

2 tablespoons coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ – 1 cup of chocolate chunks or chips of choice

Directions:

  1. Mix flax and water together in a small cup. Set aside to gel.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients (except for the chocolate).
  3. In a large bowl, mix vegan butter, sugar, and maple syrup together until well mixed and creamy in texture.
  4. Add the flax gel, vanilla extract and coconut milk to the butter and sugar. Whisk until mixture is cohesive.
  5. Fold the dry mixture into to the wet mixture about a cup at a time until combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  7. Place mixture in the refrigerator to set for one hour.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 375º F.
  9. Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. I bake 6 cookies at a time.
  10. Bake for about 9-13 minutes, or until cooked through.

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Enjoy!

The Easiest Thing You Will Ever Make: Almond Milk

For my first post, I wanted to share something that was easy to make and that could be used every day as a kitchen staple. What better than to make some homemade nut milk?

Believe it or not, almond milk (or any other milk for that matter) has been on my “list of foods I am indifferent to” up until a few months ago.

Probably because whenever I drank it, it was from one of those little foil lined, rectangular cartons with the little spouts on top, sitting on the shelf of the grocery store for who knows how long, and filled with lots of crazy stuff to thicken, preserve, and extend the shelf life of the milk.

Oh, how I am a changed woman! This homemade version tastes so creamy and delicious, you will never buy the pre-made version again. I promise.

The beginning.

When I first got the maker spark, it was in huge part to Miss Sarah Britton of My New Roots. She makes yogurt all by herself! She makes raw chocolate! She is amazing! Electric! Sparkly! Pretty much every single one of her recipes I could make despite my dietary restrictions.

So, Sarah had this quick video on how to make fresh nut milk and I was compelled to give it a go. It looked too easy. It looked so white and creamy. I could literally smell frothy cream through my computer screen. I was hardcore salivating. I needed that milk.

She simply soaked one cup of nuts overnight, rinsed the nuts in the morning, put them in the blender with four cups of water, gave is a whirl, poured it through a bag into a pitcher, squeezed that bag like a banshee, and viola! The milk of the nuts.

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Two minutes after watching the video I bought an organic cotton and hemp fiber nut milk bag ($16)  online here . I wanted to save a few dollars so I picked standard ground shipping, hah, which took one week to ship. I had never been so excited to receive a package before. Seriously, when I was five my parents gave me a full on barbie makeup set and I was like 100 times more stoked than that day.

The package arrived! Love at first sight. The bag was given a nice warm initiation bath, and it was officially knighted into my kitchen. Since I had been stalking the package delivery every single day since I placed the order, I knew when it was coming. I already had some nuts soaked prepared for the arrival.

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ABOUT ALMONDS:

This is very important! I use organic “raw” almonds, which are pasteurised with a flash steaming process, so they are not truly raw, although they are the closest thing to raw we will find here in the States, Canada, or Mexico.

If you buy “conventional” almonds, they are guaranteed to be gassed with carcinogenic PPO, propylene oxide, a chemical that is well known to cause cancer!

Almonds from the United States, Canada and Mexico cannot be sold truly raw due to two isolated outbreaks of salmonella.  This article  and  this article  have great information on why almond fumigation and pasteurization occur and the consequences of each.

Give your nuts a good soak. When nuts and seeds are soaked, they are being “activated” and are at the beginning stage of sprouting. This means the nuts will be easier to digest, have a lower glycemic index and are anti-nutrient degraded. Also, the nutrient, vitamin and mineral content of the soaked nuts will be increased over three times compared to unsoaked nuts! Kitchen miracles.

Back to the milk.

Do yourself a favor and purchase a nut milk bag today. I’m drinking a glass of it right now and it is heavenly. Once you make your first batch, you will be hooked!

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Tips.

When making the milk, just remember that the nut to water ratio should be 1:4. For making one litre (about four cups), use one heaping cup of almonds and four cups of filtered water. If you’re like me and prefer your milk to be on the creamier side (an excellent coffee creamer), use one and a half to two cups of almonds per litre of water.

Leave the almond skins on – the skins contain more nutrients! Your results will be just as white as any nut or dairy milk.

Do not use tap water. Tap water contains hard metals, pharmaceuticals, and fluoride, all of which do not belong in your nut milk or body.

Feel free to use any kind of nuts for your milk. Hemp seeds would be delicious as well. Often times when I am cleaning out my cupboards, I do a combination of nuts like cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts. Go crazy!

Save your nut pulp for other recipes or dehydrate to use as almond meal. Just spread the layer of pulp on a baking sheet, place in oven on lowest temperature possible until completely dry, run through the blender for a fine meal or leave as is for a coarse meal. Store in airtight container.

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Here we go…


Almond Milk

Tools:
-Blender with steel blades
-Pitcher
-Nut milk bag
-Glass container to store milk

Ingredients:
-1 cup raw organic almonds
-4 cups filtered water (do not use tap water)
-Pinch of kosher salt (optional)

Directions:
1. Soak nuts overnight up to 24 hours.
2. Rinse and drain nuts. Place in blender.
3. Add water and salt. Blend on medium power for about 2-3 minutes until nuts are completely pulverized and mixture is frothy.
4. Secure nut milk bag to pitcher. Pour almond mixture through bag. Untie bag and squeeze from the top of the bag down until milk is completely extracted.
5. Pour milk into the storage container and enjoy! Keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.


It’s easy as…

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Tell me how it goes. Thanks for reading!