Anne’s Amazing Antioxidants

On Friday, I realized I talked to Anne via IM while eating breakfast, lunch…and then dinner. She’s down in Louisville and despite the distance, I do my best to get my full Anne-quotient filled everyday.

I could not figure out what to make for dinner. Sometimes, we are dinner twins. I planned to make the carrot soup she’d also made (her dad’s recipe, to be featured on here in the very near future), but discovered only one carrot in my fridge. ONE. I confessed I kept opening to the fridge and staring into it, blankly, without a single thought in my head.

Anne: Do you have spinach, blueberries, couscous and almonds?

Me: All. Wait, I have only cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts for nuts.

And so, this is how it usually goes. She instructed me on a salad (I used the cashews I had) with a honey and white balsamic dressing. It was nothing short of amazing. Anne had a good point too: while I’m over here halfway through my marathon schedule, she’s busy cranking out miles on her bike (read: a LOT) and we both could stand some extra carbohydrates. Good call on the couscous!

I’ve made it 4 times since then. Yes. I used all the blueberries in the house, too. Whoopsie.

Here’s how it happened:

  • 1/2 cup cooked couscous
  • 1/2  cup blueberries
  • a lot of spinach…maybe 2 cups or so
  • handful of cashews (or whatever you’d like)
  • 2 stalks of celery (I had to use it up, and I like extra crunch)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp good quality white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to tast

Cook your couscous according to directions. I made extra, so I could make another round of this the next day. Anne started with cold couscous, but since mine was freshly cooked, I just went with that.

Place spinach, blueberries, cashews and celery in a bowl. Dump the couscous on top. In a small bowl, whisk together your dressing. Pour over everything and mix well. Add salt and pepper if you’d like.

So, this makes (if you’re me) one serving. I am eating everything in sight, and right now, I prefer gigantic amounts of produce. I feel so much better when I have a lot of vegetables. I’m just going with it.

Vegetables: It’s what’s for dinner.

I have had gazpacho on the BRAIN. Caps, for emphasis. As in, I mentioned to Michael several times that I might make it, would make it, was planning on making it.

On Sunday, we stopped by a farm stand post-beach, and I bought a pound of tomatoes. These were not just for salads. These were my gazpacho tomatoes.

We also had kale. And Michael was asking for kale chips, again. We really do love them! I know lots of bloggers make kale chips (and green monsters, and overnight oats, and the like…and yes, I like them all!) and it’s KIND OF overdone, but hey. I’m showing mine off anyway.

This gazpacho was inspired by The Curvy Carrot. I like my soups kind of chunky and stew like – even in a gazpacho. Certainly puree yours more if you don’t.

Here’s what I did:

1 pound of tomatoes
1/2 cup cucumber
1/2 cup kohlrabi, sliced into matchsticks
1 ear of corn, with kernels cut
1/2 large avocado, sliced into bite sized pieces
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup of water
1 tbsp each: parsley, basil, mint
1/8 tsp each: chipotle pepper, smoked paprika (I used Penzey spices for both)
salt and pepper to taste

In food processor, combine tomatoes and cucumber and pulse until desired consistency. Pour into bowl. Add remaining ingredients, spices and water. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. I let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.

For the kale chips:

~ 6 large kale leaves, destemmed and cut into pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil
smoked salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. In a large baggie, throw in all your kale and coconut oil. Seal bag and shake it up to coat all the leaves. Line a baking dish with parchment paper or tinfoil, and invert the bag and spread out the kale.

Cook about 8-10 minutes, and keep checking on them – they go from crispy to burnt very quickly! Remove and top with salt. 🙂

Carrot Tahini Heaven (Or, The Healing Salad)

We should talk about this. Now, this little baby? I make it a lot. The first time I made it for Michael, he asked me to make it again, immediately. As in, for lunch the next day. If you know him, you’ll know he doesn’t like repeating foods that often.

The reason I love this is multi-fold: 1) It’s just really good. It’s crunchy, salty and sweet. 2) It’s versatile. I have subbed out the carrots for everything from kale to cucumber and broccoli and mixed up everything in between and we love it every time. 3) It’s really good for you. The properties in this salad are very healing. Let me extol the virtues.

Carrots are full of vitamins A and C. These are good for reducing inflammation, increasing bone metabolism and of course, it’s good for your eyes. (Remember when Michael had laser eye surgery? I fed him this for sure. It’s no joke that carrots are good for your eyes!).

Walnuts may be high in fat, but it’s “good” fat. And depending on how you like your diet macros to be, you’ll need some fat anyway. It keeps you feeling full longer and fat in the form of walnut is full of antioxidants.

Turmeric is what gives curry powder its distinctive yellow color. The benefit (depending on what you read) is vast. My dad’s oncologist even suggested he eat more turmeric, curry and ginger because of their healing properties, anti-inflammatory qualities, and possible increase in cell reaction to chemotherapy. Studies have shown a reduction in alzheimer’s disease in populations who consume turmeric, and it’s been known to help with arthritis.

What’s the wonder in tahini? Hidden source of calcium. I know, and I thought it was just a plain old delicious fat source and an ingredient in hummus. Not so. It’s full of B vitamins and a tablespoon is about one third of your daily requirement of calcium. With bones to heal up in our house – we need more calcium!

Aside from that, I pretty much always have these ingredients in the house – including raisins and parsley. I love fresh herbs. So, this is my go-to meal when we have nothing else left in the cabinet. Tends to happen on Wednesday, because Thursday is shopping day, of course.

And if you don’t have carrots, I recommending chopping up whatever you have on hand and just slathering on the tahini dressing. It’s so good, I can’t even really contain myself.

I got the recipe about a year ago from Lunch Box Bunch. I have made it just as directed, with and without tofu, with and without nutritional yeast and so forth. I mainly make it the way I’ve listed below.

Here’s what you do:

  • carrots, cut into matchsticks (how many depends on how many people you want to feed. You can just adjust the dressing accordingly later)
  • raisins
  • chopped walnuts
  • parsley

I kind of use a ratio of 5 carrots to 1/4 of raisins and a couple tbsp of walnuts and a palmful of parsley. That would feed both of us, with a protein of some sort on the side (I usually go for hard boiled eggs. My choice for muscle repair.). Adjust as you need to. Put everything into a salad bowl and get working on your dressing.

I use this ratio for one serving of dressing. Increase as you need to.

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sweet curry powder (I prefer Penzy’s, but you can use any kind you like – even hot curry)
  • salt and pepper
  • water (to fluff the tahini)

Add tahini, maple syrup, curry, salt and pepper (a pinch of each) to a small bowl. If you haven’t fluffed tahini before – it’s FUN! Add a little water and wisk it up. If it seems like nothing is happening, just keep going. The color will get lighter and the tahini will become thicker and…fluffier. Ha. I add as much water as I need to get a thick dressing consistency. Pour over the salad and mix it up.

That’s about it!

Party On My Plate

There’s not a heck of a lot to say about this except it was so good, I made it two days in a row. I am a dirty repeater like that. I found myself rationing out the radishes and strawberries so I’d have enough for more salads. Mission accomplished. Oh, and it kind of looks like a little party, I think.  It’s a very celebratory salad.

The inspiration for this came from So Good and Tasty‘s blog, and I basically took the core ingredients from it, and then did a little tweaking.

Change the proportions as you like, of course.

  • ~2 cups of romaine, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  • 5 large radishes, quartered
  • 1 scallion, diced (I used white and green parts)
  • 2 tbsp cashews, roughly chopped
  • good handful of basil, thinly sliced
  • mozzarella cheese, diced into small pieces

For the dressing, I mixed together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and grapeseed oil with a pinch of salt and pepper each. I don’t measure a lot, but it’s easy to adjust to taste and whisk up.

So, combine your salad, top with dressing right before serving. I love the sweet, salty, bitter, crunchy combination. Truth be told I can eat the whole thing myself (though it’s probably 2 servings). And the 2nd day I made this, that’s  just what I did.

Beauty Food

I think of this greens and quinoa salad as a beauty food. Kale and broccoli are wonderful for your skin: it’s all the Vitamin C, A, and K. Add in some quinoa and all those happy amino acid chains, and you have a lovely lunch. I chopped up some tomatoes for lycopene, and a little mozzarella for….fun. But let’s call it calcium.

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup kale, deveined and cut into strips
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1 good fistful of basil (I have really no idea how much that is), julienned
  • 1 tbsp really good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add kale and broccoli. You’ll want to blanch for one minute, then drain. I rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process (mainly because I never have ice cubes for an ice bath). Combine quinoa, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad. Makes 2 servings.