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Monday, January 14, 2013

Vanilla Chia Tapioca Pudding

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today I wanted to share a snack/dessert that I made last night and which I think is terrific! It's super easy and can be made with things you probably already have in your house (if you're veggie, that is!). I skipped the vanilla beans because I didn't have any, but have no doubts they'd only make it tastier!!Also, the recipe I listed here is halved from what Kris wrote - otherwise it wouldn't have fit in my blender! Even half the recipe will be dessert for the rest of my week!

Vanilla Chia Tapioca Pudding, from Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
3.5 cups milk (brazil nut, hemp seed, cashew...I used almond)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (without alcohol)
1/2 vanilla bean
1/6 cup agave nectar
small pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup chia seeds

Blend all the ingredients (minus the chia seeds) in a high-speed blender and pulse. Place the chia seeds in a large bowl and pour the mixture over them. Whisk. Continue whisking periodically so that the tapioca does not clump. My pudding took just under 1.5 hours to set, and I whisked a few times the first hour and that was it.

Get your Omega-3s...and enjoy them too!

For more recipes and information on Kris Carr and Crazy Sexy Diet, check out

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Massaged Kale & Avocado Salad

On Tuesday, something I've been waiting a while for arrived on my doorstep: Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. I've heard so much about this book and I was so excited to read much so I finished it by Tuesday evening! I'm looking to start the 21-day adventure cleanse after this weekend's camping trip, so I thought I'd try a simple recipe from it today. The recipe below I adapted from Kris's Shaved Kale Avocado Salad (contributed by Chef Sarno,  It was simple, quick, and delicious! A little bit surprising with the cayenne, but I really liked it!

Massaged Kale & Avocado Salad (serves 2)
1 head kale, shredded
1 avocado, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons olive or flax oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used the juice of 1/2 lemon)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
(Kris recommends 1 cup tomato or red bell pepper, diced...I would've added this if I had any, but enjoyed the salad anyway).

In a mixing bowl, toss all ingredients, squeezing as you mix (hence the title word "massaged") to wilt the kale and cream the avocado. Serve immediately.

Green & tasty! Pictured above is the recipe halved, since I was only making lunch for myself.

Bottom Line: A yummy, quick salad that fills the tummy with raw greens and healthy fats!

Learn more about the Crazy Sexy Diet and 21-Day Adventure Cleanse at

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Quick Black Bean Burgers + Southwest Chop Salad

Okay, I'm on a Happy Herbivore roll! These two recipes, served together, were a perfect lunch that I'd love to serve to friends or family. I've always been slightly afraid to make my own veggie burgers as I've heard they're difficult to hold together (the main reason so many premade ones, such as Morningstar, use eggs as a binding thanks!). I was thrilled to now be able to make my own, as one of my goals is not to buy any more highly processed meat substitutes. These burgers are easy, fast, and so yummy! Served with the salad, which could also be a meal on its own, it was a meal I will be making again soon, and definitely a boyfriend-pleaser =)

Quick Burgers (makes 4 burgers)
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (or, even better, make your own beans ahead of time!)
2 tablespoons ketchup (try to find organic condiments with no HFCS)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/3 cup instant oats

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but with some half beans and bean parts left.
4. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined, then mix in oats.
5. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, carefully flip over, and bake for another 5 minutes, or until crusty on the outside.
7. Put on a bun with desired condiments and serve! (I toasted my bun, used a small amount of Vegenaise and ketchup, and served with lettuce, onion, and avocado).

Southwest Chop Salad
4 cups chopped lettuce
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
2/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup yellow corn
1/2 cup chopped tomato
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons chopped green onions
Dressing (see #2)

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. For dressing, Lindsay recommends hot sauce with fresh lime juice or salsa. I just squeezed a lime over the salad and thought it was perfection on its own!


Bottom Line:  A traditional, crowd-pleasing meal that was easy and refreshing! Perfect for a family gathering, or when you're craving a burger! Also, the salad is a great go-to, complete lunch for one if you halve the recipe as I listed it.

Lemon Basil Pasta

This pasta is an easy, quick, one-pot meal from Everyday Happy Herbivore. I thought it was refreshing and tasty, but in the future would add more lemon (probably zest) for a bigger zing. I served it with roasted asparagus and a simple mixed greens salad with blackberry vinegar.

Lemon Basil Pasta
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (or rice spaghetti to make it gluten-free)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
black pepper, to taste
1 basil leaf for garnish (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. A minute before pasta is done, add the tomatoes to the cooking water to cook with the pasta. You want the tomatoes to soften only slightly.
2. Drain and rinse the pasta in cool water briefly.
3. Return pasta to the pot and add the lemon juice, fresh basil, and capers; mix to combine. You can add more capers if you like the taste.
4. Garnish with fresh black pepper and a basil leaf.

I served a small amount of pasta on a plate loaded with veggies!

Bottom Line: A fairly basic but light, tasty pasta dish sure to please any crowd.

Sweet Potato Dal

Christmas was good to me this year...I got a total of four new vegan cookbooks, several geared towards quick meals that I am so far absolutely loving! The recipe I am sharing today is for Sweet Potato Dal, from Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon. This book is chock full of delicious, easy recipes mostly made from staples in your pantry and that can be thrown together in 30 minutes or less! Plus, Lindsay's recipes are low fat or fat free, without added oils...this is something I am trying to get used to as a die-hard stir fry fan, but she is showing me the light! A little water or vegetable broth instead of oil and you can cut the fat and calories in your meal in a big way!
This dal, I thought, was absolutely perfect! A little spicy, pretty sweet, and with just enough flavor to pack a, it's full of veggies, fiber and protein! I served it over brown rice because it was less soup-like and more of a stew. I loved it!!

Sweet Potato Dal
1 small sweet potato, skinned and diced into 1/4 inch cubes (I actually snuck in two potatoes out of sheer love for them!)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 pinches red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup dried red lentils
4 cups spinach
salt, to taste

1. Line a medium pot with a thin layer of water and saute onion and garlic for a minute. Add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and continue to cook until all of the water has cooked off.
2. Add turmeric and garam masala and stir to coat.
3. Add 1 cup of broth and uncooked lentils. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
4. Add sweet potatoes, bring to a boil again, and reduce heat to low and simmer, until lentils are fully cooked (they expand and the sauce thickens), about 5 minutes more. Check periodically to see if you need additional broth (I had to add about 1/2 cup more).
5. Once lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are fork-tender, taste. Add more garam masala if desired (mixtures differ in their strength).
6. Add spinach, continuing to stir until spinach cooks down and softens.
7. Season with salt to taste and serve (I did not need any additional salt, and as mentioned before I served this oven brown rice).

Colorful and delicious!

Bottom Line: If you enjoy Indian food, curries, or similarly-flavored dishes, make this ASAP! I know I'll be making it again soon!

Happy 2013!

Hi everyone,
So clearly the holidays had me swamped...I've neglected yet again to post regularly, but I have been cooking! I am hoping, as one of my resolutions of this year, that I can get back on track with the blog and share the deliciousness with you all!
A few things I've been pondering before I launch into a new recipe...I have been going absolutely documentary-crazy lately and reading as many books as I can get my hands on. I'm feeling a lot like an information sponge that's dry..I just want to keep soaking up more!! That may sound lame, but I am seriously getting inspired and learning so much on a daily basis.
I've decided to embark, first of all, on a juicing adventure. My juicer arrived yesterday and I've already used it twice, last night to make orange juice and carrot juice, and this morning to make my breakfast, consisting of two apples, two oranges, and about five handfuls of kale. It's been yummy so far, and I am excited to experiment more with recipes. I'd ideally like to juice twice a day, once for breakfast and later in the day as well...I just can't think of a better way to get raw plant nutrients without having salad coming out my ears =) I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!
I've also decided to quit buying any sort of bottled water. This is something I've struggled with for a while since I don't particularly like the taste of the tap water in my area, and this keeps me from staying hydrated enough unless I buy big jugs of water at the store. But I've realized it is cheaper and easier for me to stay hydrated, not to mention better for my health and that of the environment, to just fork some money over for a good on-faucet water filter and drink away! So I've more plastic bottles!
Lastly, I'm going to be trying to incorporate more raw and high-raw food into my diet, as well as trying to go gluten-free for a period to see if it helps my digestion. I don't think I have Celiac disease, but do feel pretty strongly that I have some sort of intolerance to gluten and want to see if I can clear it up and get my internal machinery running as smoothly as possibly. So look for some GF and raw/high-raw recipes in the future..I will mark them as such!

Happy new year to you all, and may you find the strength and inspiration to meet all your resolutions this year!