Yoga and Yum

Nourish Your Self From the Inside Out

Month: January, 2013

Lavender Macadamia Chocolate Bark

This chocolate bark makes and excellent Valentine's Day Gift...If it lasts that long.

This chocolate bark makes and excellent Valentine’s Day Gift…If it lasts that long.

I recently made the dangerous discovery that it is extremely easy to make one’s own chocolate bark. I find myself fantasizing about all the different flavor combinations one could make, all the toppings and essential oils one could include, to create supremely delectable confections. The possibilities are truly endless. I’ve tried a host of combinations and this one is a favorite. What’s better is you will make someone’s day (and save your burgeoning buttocks) if you hand deliver it to a friend’s doorstep. Enjoy and they will too!

Ingredients:

8oz dark chocolate mini chocolate chips

1 bar 70-88% organic fair trade bar chocolate, broken into small pieces
(*note: the higher the cocoa content, the less sweet your finished product will be)

2/3-ish cup macadamia or hazelnuts, skins removed and coarsely chopped

1 drop doTerra lavender essential oil

*Optional: edible dried lavender blossoms and/or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Method:

Line a 9×13 baking sheet with wax paper.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Place chocolate chips in the pan and melt slowly, constantly stirring to ensure even melting.

Add the chocolate bar pieces and stir until completely melted and smooth. Turn off the burner.

Add the drop of lavender essential oil and stir until well-blended. Mix in half the nuts.

Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet. With flexible rubber spatula spread into an 8×10 rectangle about 1/4 inch-ish thick.

Sprinkle with remaining nuts and optional blossoms and salt.

Refrigerate (or put outside in the snow!) to chill until firm (about 30 minutes)

*Refrigerate up to 5 days (if it last that long…which it won’t).

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per batch. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

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The Easiest Homemade Hummus Ever…

They could call this "yummus."

They should call this “yummus.”

This week I had the absolutely delightful experience of hosting a few young cyclists at my house in preparation of the USA Cycle Pro Challenge, Tour de Colorado (which started in Durango this year…boo ya!). Long story short, I needed to find a way to feed some grande appetites without hours of preparation. One of my staple recipes for such an occasion is hummus. See below for the base recipe, but keep in mind that you can add whatever you want. This recipe is the standard hummus, dressed up with a few other fresh ingredients to kick up the flavor quotient. I added chopped Greek olives, basil, pine nuts and paprika to this batch, and it was gone in minutes. Happy creating!

In other news, I totally enjoyed being “cycle Mom.” Who knew how much fun it could be to have four 20-ish-year old sons. I cooked a massive spaghetti dinner, they cleaned, and we all jammed out to Notorious B.I.G. Yes, Biggie Smalls is the illest, but team Bondrager/Livestrong, the feeder team for Team Radioshack, is pretty bad ass too. Good luck this week, guys!

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed (or you can use a hefty sprinkle of garlic powder)

1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans (or soak your own and cook according to package directions which I think is waaay better)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil

2 heaping tablespoons tahini

1 heaping teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons-ish olive oil

Method

Rinse garbanzos and pour into blender, reserving a couple tablespoons for garnish.

Place lemon juice (and/or essential oil), tahini, chopped garlic, and salt in blender.

Blend until creamy and well mixed. (Add a little water and/or olive oil if not blending easily.)

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.

Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans and other tasty and pretty items for an impressive flavor and presentation.

Serve with bread, crackers, crudite, or your fingers…kidding.

*Optional items to put in and/or on your hummus: paprika, Greek olives, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, or rosemary, pine nuts…the list goes on. Just use your imagination.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Health Benefits

This bean/seed combo makes a complete protein, which means that all the amino acids your body needs are present in this combination. See here for other complete protein combos to get the most out of your nutrients. Enjoy!

Garbanzo Beans: Also known as “chickpeas,” these beans are particularly high in insoluble fiber, which means you have a squeaky clean colon and feel fuller for longer when eating these legumes. They are also extremely high in lots of nutrients such as manganese, folate, and tryptophan. They are a great source of plant-based protein. If you find legumes make you gassy, try pre-soaking them for easier digestion. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tahini: Sesame seeds (of which tahini is made) are jam packed with manganese and copper, and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon Juice: Lemons (and limes) are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad

We had too many carrots. And I needed an excuse to get over my fear of the Cuisinart food processor that our chef friend thought would come in handy in our kitchen. And it only took me seven months to work up enough courage to plug it in. Then another half an hour and a few spare brain cells to put it together. But the results were totally worth it!

This salad makes a delicious side dish and packs a massive dose of beta carotene. Yum!

Ingredients:

1 pound-ish carrots, coarsely grated or food processed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 cloves garlic, mashed or minced (or more if you’re really brave)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Pinch of salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

*Optional ingredients: 1/4 cup raisins or currants, 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans

 Method:

Mix all ingredients but the carrots in a large bowl.

Add shredded carrots and mix thoroughly.

Cover and let marinate in the fridge for a couple hours (or up to a couple days to let the flavors really cross-mojinate).

Served chilled or at room temperature.

Cobb-ish Salad

Have some leftovers? Put them in rows on a plate for a beautiful gourmet treat!

Have some leftovers? Put them in rows on a plate for a beautiful gourmet treat!

(A.K.A. Use Up All My Leftovers in a Pretty Way Salad)

Aah, the beloved Cobb…Vegans, plug your ears for the next sentence…This standard American favorite traditionally boasts the artery-clogging (albeit delish) combo of chicken, Roquefort cheese, bacon, hard boiled egg, and some vitamin-packed (NOT!) iceburg lettuce, just for good measure. But if you’re not in the mood for a triple bypass heart surgery, then this salad can come in many delicious and flavorful combinations that your body will less likely to reject.

I like the Cobb salad because it’s a nice excuse to play with your food, creating color and flavor combinations to suit your mood and dietary requirements. It can be tailored to any diet: paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, fun-free, flavor-free…anyway, you get the idea. The ingredients below are just what I had on-hand this evening, so feel free to get creative! Kick it up a notch with meat, egg, or cheese, fresh or dried fruit, and perhaps a sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs to embolden all the flavors. Please share your favorite combinations. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 medium/large avocado sliced or chopped

1 medium large tomato sliced or chopped

2 cups chopped greens (spinach, or head lettuce)

1 cup shredded carrots (Or Moroccan Carrot Salad)

1 cup green peas or the legume of your choice

1 cup grain of your choice (I used black rice with chopped greek olives, olive oil and pepper)

Method:

Arrange all ingredients in clean rows on your plate to suit your color and texture preferences.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, or your favorite salad dressing.

Admire the pretty rainbow of ingredients.

Then mix them up and eat!

*Note: If you’re a meat, egg, or cheese eater, those make welcome and tasty additions to this delightful salad. Otherwise the “grain and legume” combo makes a complete protein.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Black Rice: Known as “forbidden rice,” black rice was only eaten by nobles in Ancient China. It contains high levels of antioxidants known as “anthocyanins,” which have been linked to decreased rates of heart disease and cancer. Black rice is also high in other vitamins, fiber, and protein. See here for more health benefits.

Carrot: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Green Peas: Green peas are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as Vitamins K, C, A, and B1, as well as manganese, folate, and fiber. As “nitrogen fixers” in gardening, green peas can provide the soil in which they are grown with nutrients, and thusly are considered an environmentally friendly food. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Temple of Health Juice Numero Uno

And God said, "Let there be green juice!" And there WAS green juice. And it was good.

And God said, “Let there be green juice!” And there WAS green juice. And it was good.

We’ve had a lot of house guests lately. Which is wonderful, but it also inspires me to indulge in the occasional scone, breakfast burrito, glass of wine, and decadent chocolate item…sometimes all in the same day. (This is some form of Tantric Yoga, not pure gluttony, I assure you.). Soooo, in order to counterbalance any moments of excessive conviviality, I will be offering a series of green juice recipes to cleanse your bod. You can throw pretty much any fruit, veggie, or herb in the blender and your body will benefit. But here is one staple “green juice” that is sure to cleanse your guts and nourish you cells. This one is not for the faint of taste bud, so stay tuned for future, sweeter, green juices. But if you’re a green juice veteran, this’ll be right up your alley. Kick it up a notch by adding a larger pinch of cayenne. ¡Ay Caramba!

Ingredients:

½ cup water or aloe juice

1 handful spinach

1 medium carrot (peeled and/or chopped if your blender is finicky about hard items)

1 medium tomato

1 small handful cilantro

Juice from half a lime

Pinch sea salt

Pinch cayenne

1 small handful ice

1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil for purification and delicious flavor purposes

Method:

Place all items into blender and blend to smithereens (about a minute).

Drink immediately.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Health Benefits:

Aloe Juice: The aloe vera plant abounds with vitamins, minerals, proteins, polysaccharides, enzymes, and amino acids. It is particularly helpful to aid with digestive ailments (constipation, gas, bloating), and inflammation (internal and external). Research also shows that aloe vera juice can help deter cancer (particularly colon cancer), stroke, and heart attack. See here for more health benefits.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Carrots: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a powerful cleansing agent which helps remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body. It’s also beneficial for the digestive tract due to its production of digestive enzymes, acids, and juices. Its essential oils stimulate peristalsis, relieve gas, and aid with digestion. Cilantro also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and helps to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Cayenne: Cayenne pepper is a powerful detoxifier and has anti-irritant/fungal/bacterial/inflammatory/allergen properties. It can also help with digestion and relief from intestinal gas. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Carrot Ginger Cashew Bisque

Carrot Ginger Cashew Bisque with vegan pesto and basil leaves.

Carrot Ginger Cashew Bisque with vegan pesto and basil leaves.

If the eyes are the windows of the soul, then this soup is soul food. Packed with beta carotene, turmeric, and healthy fats and proteins, this soup is wonderful for your eye and gut health. I had a similar soup during my yoga therapy training at Mount Madonna Center, so I’m flooded with happy memories every time I taste it. It may be served warm or chilled, and is delightful when accompanied by pesto, fresh herbs, creme fraiche, or by itself. Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cups veggie or chicken stock

1 tbs. ghee

*1 cup chopped onion

*2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs. freshly chopped ginger

3/4 cup toasted (or soaked!) cashews

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon dried mint

*Denotes optional ingredients. Onions and garlic disagree with some folks’ digestion, so you can leave them out for a different flavor.

Method:

Heat the ghee in a medium/large stock pot. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until translucent and fragrant.

(If you’re nixing the onions and garlic, then just skip to the next step.)

Add carrots, salt, and spices. Lower the heat and continue to sauté for another 8-10 minutes.

Add the water/broth and bring to a low boil. Allow to simmer until the carrots are tender (10-15 minutes).

Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth.

Add cashews to the mixture and puree until creamy.

(Serves 8-10)

Health Benefits:

Carrots: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Ginger: Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as gas, bloating, motion sickness, and morning sickness. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What’s more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or “good fat” found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the “feel good” amino acid”). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Vegan Pesto

Farm-fresh vegan pesto!

Farm-fresh vegan pesto!

Adapted From allrecipes.com

This pesto is dee-darn-licious. It is high in protein, thanks to the nutrtional yeast, and can be used to dress up soups, salad dressings, spreads (like hummus), or slathered in mass quantity on crackers or bread. You can also replace the nutritional yeast with Parmesian cheese if you’re a pesto purist. This pesto can also be frozen in batches to bring summer flavors back in the wintertime. Try it with spaghetti squash or tossed with your favorite root vegetables for a summery tasting treat.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup pine nuts

2/3 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves crushed or minced garlic (more if you’re warding off vampires or a cold, less if you have a meeting in the following 24 hours)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Sprinkle pine nuts into a skillet over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.

Allow to cool.

Gradually mix the pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and basil in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper.

Notes:

*You can replace the nutritional yeast with grated parmesian cheese if you eat dairy.

*This recipe can be frozen in ice cube trays, small ziplock bags or plastic Tupperware containers and used for future reference.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is a staple source of protein, particularly for vegans and vegetarians. It is one of the few non-animal sources of B-12, is rich in folic acid and other nutrients and amino acids. Nutritional yeast is free of the Candida Albicans strain, making it safe for those concerned with candida. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pine Nuts: Pinenuts are excellent source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folate. They also contain healthy amounts of essential minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Black Sesame Encrusted Tuna and Heirloom Tomatoes on Arugula

Black sesame encrusted tuna and truffled heirloom tomatoes on bed of arugula.

Black sesame encrusted tuna and truffled heirloom tomatoes on bed of arugula.

You might as well call this the “healthy heart salad.” All the ingredients have heart helping properties, and as we all know, the heart is a pretty important organ to keep happy and healthy. So give it, and your taste buds, some love. And make sure to say a blessing to the fish who gave it’s life so that you may be nourished. Happy eating!

Ingredients:

Salad:

2-4 cups arugula

1 large heirloom tomato, preferably something kinda dark and stinky like a black krim or ananas noire, sliced into thick slices

Truffle or sea salt to taste

NOTE: If vegetarian, sub avocado and/or your favorite cheese (like this yummy goat cheese, see photo below) instead of tuna. Yum!

Dressing:

3 tbs. grapeseed oil

Juice of ½ lime

Pinch salt

Teeny squirt agave nectar

Tuna and Marinade:

Two ahi tuna steaks (preferably sustainable, wild caught, and fresh)

¼ cup water

Healthy squirt of liquid aminos

1 tbs. sesame oil

1 tbs.-ish agave nectar or honey

½ teaspoon diced ginger root

1 clove crushed or minced garlic

½ cup black sesame seeds

Ghee for searing

Method:

Combine marinade ingredients and tuna steaks and allow to marinate AT LEAST 15 minutes…preferably more like 30.

While tuna is marinating, prepare salads: mix dressing, toss arugula with dressing and adorn with tomato slices, pinch truffle or sea salt over tomato slices.

Arrange black sesame seeds in a thin layer on a plate.

Smoosh tuna steaks on sesame seeds, flip and repeat on both steaks.

When ready to eat, heat pan and ghee to med-high heat.

Put tuna in pan and sear for 1 minute.

Carefully flip and sear other side for one minute.

Add tuna steaks to salad and voíla! Enjoy. (Or see vegetarian option below.)

Truffled heirloom tomatoes, goat brie, and avocado on bed of arugula.

Truffled heirloom tomatoes, goat brie, and avocado on bed of arugula.

Health benefits:

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Heirloom Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later.

Black Sesame Seeds: These little seeds are jam packed with manganese and copper, and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. The black variety is also known in Chinese Medicine (as are all black- and blue-colored foods) as yin builders. More on this later, but see here for more nutrition facts on these mini powerhouses!

Tuna: I know, I know. Yogi(ni)s are supposed to be vegetarian. Don’t even get me started. There are some times in life when flesh is a necessity for some beings…(to be posted about later, dude)…Anyway, IF you are partaking of animal flesh, tuna is a powerhouse of lean protein, tryptophan (the “feel-good” amino acid), and minerals such as selenium, magnesium, and potassium. Tuna is also packed with the B vitamins niacin, B1 and B6, and is a great source omega-3 essential fatty acids. See here for a more detailed look at the health benefits of this super fish.