Asian at Home

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One great thing about the American melting pot is the way our immigrants and our refugees have introduced us to the cuisines of other cultures. In cities like Los Angeles you can find within any random sampling of urban blocks anything from Syrian to Mexican to Vietnamese to Israeli to African food. We have unbelievable choices in the things we eat and better yet, ethnic markets are now commonplace so that we can try to make those savory Lebanese labne kabobs or that tangy Thai Thom Ka Gai soup at home. Also, we don’t need to adopt the American diet we grew up with just because it was what was served to us growing up in the childhood home. My kitchen cupboards are an interesting fusion—one peek into them and you might think I was a third East Indian spice, a third Planetary Herbalism and a third Armenian.

One of my favorite things to enjoy is Asian at home, (and no, I’m not talking about the Japanese Cute Gardener). In the old days before my palate was properly aged, I was a big fan of onion pancakes cooked in Chinese restaurants. Over the past year, spurred by an L.A. Times article touting seven places in the San Gabriel Valley with the best versions of those, the CG and I began an onion pancake hunt. After a few unsuccessful tries (yes, at one of the article’s restaurants) we came to the conclusion that they just weren’t all that good. In concept, yes, but in orchestration they tended to be too hard, too thin, too dense, too absent of green onion, or too oily for our liking. Which brings to mind one of the recurring conversations in our household about the difference between authentic and good. Something might very well be authentic but if you can make it better by stepping a wee bit off tradition than why not do just that? We often wonder why chefs in various cuisines aren’t that compelled to improve on old standards.

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In any case, I was still craving the kind of onion pancake I used to love so I bought a pack of frozen, raw onion pancakes from the Chinese market and decided to experiment on a simple lunch time wrap. Not only were these pancakes a one hundred percent improvement over the restaurant ones, they were simple to make. You simply take the flattened disk from between the fruit roll-up reminiscent cellophane and put it into a hot pan for two minutes per side. It fluffs up in a nice, flaky, and soft buttery (!) fashion. I like to grab some bitter greens from the garden for a one-minute sauté in the same pan, and sometimes if there is left over ground meat in the fridge like pork, I will throw that in the pan too. Then I squeeze a zigzag of hoisin sauce on the pancake and spoon the filling in and fold it in half to look like a Chinese taco. This dish goes wonderfully well with fragrant oolong tea.

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These pancakes are good all by themselves as well. So good that I had been making regular trips to the Chinese market just to buy them. Imagine my surprise when I found them in the frozen aisle of Ralph’s last week in a new large section of foreign foods. At least in the food sphere, we know how to be properly grateful for the richness our immigrants bring.

Birthday Cake Truffles Bliss

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Warning: If you are going to read this entry further you must admit to being one of those children who would soak the Lucky Charms in milk for fifteen minutes before eating breakfast so you could drink the white creamy juice down afterwards like a sweet bubble of sin. Or alternatively, be one of those children who wadded up pieces of Wonder bread and rolled it between your dirty palms to produce dense balls of doughy, snack goodness. If you have gotten this far without throwing up you will appreciate the rest of this story.

Last week the Cute Gardener and I did something we NEVER do … drove to Koreatown’s Line Hotel during rush hour traffic simply for the chance to stand in line and buy some of Christina Tosi’s baked goods. As co-owner of Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC along with celeb chef David Chang, she is renowned for desserts like Crack Pie that causes sugar addicts to relapse. We aren’t star fuckers, so Tosi in person signing her new book of savory recipes did nothing for us … it was simply the opportunity to buy compost cookies on the West Coast that baited us out of our normal hermit-tude. While she penned autographs five feet away with L.A.’s most famous POThead Roy Choi we stood in line for the baked goods, knowing where our priorities lay. We were of the lucky set that was able to order multiple menu items before the growing demand topped the orders off at three items per customer. Which is great, because I not only wanted my favorite cookies of Tosi’s which the CG picks up on his annual business trips to New York but also, I was craving a chance to taste the Birthday Cake Truffles.

With a load of sugar bombs in a brown paper bag, we left the mob of Tosi groupies and went for ramen downtown before heading home to our couch and ripping open the box of bizarre sprinkled truffles that would come to ironically steal my heart.

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As I share the beauty of the Birthday Cake Truffles, I am reminded of my saucy Aussie friend Charlotte who I’ve spent many an afternoon with during my life cooking food curiosities. On one occasion I was quite taken with a mythological, traditional food from her Australian upbringing called Fairy Bread, which she was making en masse for her daughter’s birthday party. This concoction was basically a sandwich of rainbow sprinkles on smeared butter on white bread. It sounded so utterly gross that I knew it had to be good. Birthday Cake Truffles are the grown up version of Fairy Bread.

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Through some online research, I learned that these truffles are basically the remnants of white frosted birthday cake that get all squished together at the end of the day. The squishy mess is then soaked in vanilla milk, rolled in melted white chocolate to create a shell coating and then dusted with sand (sugar and rainbow sprinkles). The box of 12 was 16 dollars and after eating one I was worried that we had bought too many. Biting into just one was like injecting liquid cane syrup directly into the veins. It was super sweet with a crumbly shell and a mushy middle that tasted like a supreme cake pop center when frigidly cold. But within days, the balls had mysteriously all rolled themselves down my throat.

That’s what Christina Tosi does best though—takes us on a stroll through the latchkey kitchens of our youth where we did the best we could with those convenience ingredients we had. All the leftover Golden Grahams cereal bits thrown into a batch of cookie dough for crunch and texture? Absolutely brilliant idea! Tang on toast? Of course! When you’re twelve that sounds divine. Mushed up cake with bleeding sprinkle color trails? Makes perfect sense. It is a good thing for me that her creations are normally the length of a continent away.

Chocolate with a Conscience: Endangered Species

IMG_9548I am a chocolate snob. You will never catch me buying a bar from a grocery store nor will you find me ordering a chocolate dessert out on the town. Every once in a while I step into an artisanal chocolate shop out of curiosity but nine times out of ten you will see me walk out just as quickly because my nose has already caught whiff of that generic confectioner’s waxy cocoa smell that I know translates to a lack of richness on the tongue. What you WILL find is my ever present and strange collection of Tupperware containers underneath the living room coffee table with their traditional three types of Valrhona cooking ovals: blondie, caramel and fruity dark Manjari. That’s right, I eat the chef’s variety straight from the shelves of Epicure Imports’ yearly warehouse sales.

But last month while sitting in my Adirondack chair and enjoying my latest issue of Yoga Journal, I noticed an ad for Endangered Species chocolate bars. My interest was piqued because of the packaging printed with photos of adorable sea lions, mischievous baby foxes, sassy red nosed parakeets and honey colored bees. That and the words “Coconut Crème Filled” on one of the wrappers—coconut being an instant magnet for my tongue—were enough to build my curiosity. I contacted the company to learn more.

What I discovered was that Endangered Species donates 10% of their net profits to organizations that fund species and habitat conservation as well as other humanitarian efforts. They choose different partner entities to receive money for a three-year period thus allowing for a multitude of causes to benefit from their altruism. Currently this includes the African Wildlife Foundation, the Xerces Society, and See Turtles (which is particularly wonderful to me as turtles of all kinds hold a special place in my heart!). If that weren’t enough reason to give this company support, they just announced that they are now, proudly, America’s first chocolate brand made with fully traceable fair trade cocoa from West Africa.

So I decided to step out of my candy box and try the crème filled varieties of which the coconut and almond butter were delightful. I am not a person who typically likes fruit with chocolate but was impressed that the lime filled bars actually tasted tart like real lime rather than sweet and medicinal like citrus-flavored chocolate so often does. I think I might even take a further step into the dark side and try the dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds next before heading back under my coffee table for my tried and true Valrhonas.

In my opinion, it is always nice to push ourselves out of the familiar routine every once in a while to do something nice for the world around us.

G.T.’s Kombucha Delivers Grape Glee

IMG_9343In my early twenties as I stepped onto my personal journey through the alternative healing modalities, I heard about a beautiful woman who made miraculous tea from a mushroom in her kitchen. I sought her out and would spend the next two years of my life visiting her monthly in the afternoons to gain wisdom, an education in various systems of spirituality and a nice glass of the most, sparkling and effervescent kombucha.

Sanandra owned a company called Sea Chi Organics. She would raise batches of kombucha culture in her tiny condo kitchen, tending over her brood like true earth mother, and then funnel the life-affirming juices into bottles for the local health food restaurants and stores. She would also put the juice into creams for the skin, and proudly spoke of the way her creams had healed skin conditions in people who had all but given up hope.

The first time I tried kombucha while we were sitting on her living room floor pulling tarot cards and sniffing essential oils, I felt like I had snorted a shot of Vitamin B to the skull only better. Energized and tingling for the rest of the afternoon, I knew I had found a lifelong elixir.

Fast-forward to today and kombucha has become a household name. Just visit any Whole Foods refrigeration aisle and you will see shelves devoted to bottle of kombucha from a myriad of companies in flavored with everything from fruit to coconut to chai. After moving from the desert to Los Angeles where I was privileged enough to enjoy Sea Chi’s version regularly, I was grateful to know that I could still drink my favorite probiotic and antioxidant serum on a regular basis.

After trying my share of brands, I have settled on the company G.T.’s as my favorite. Not only do I like the company’s story of a young man named Dave bottling kombucha in his home as a teenager after seeing it heal his mom of breast cancer, I also like that it is a local company. I always prefer sourcing and consuming locally so as not to expend unreasonable resources. I also like that they offer a classic, stronger kombucha tea and a lighter line. Their flavors are bountiful and range from multi-green to gingerade to original to citrus and more.

But my favorite thing about this company is that they have a line of kombuchas stuffed with chia seeds. Aside from kombucha, chia is my next favorite health additive. Chia acts like a sponge going through the intestines, absorbing all the crap that lines our colons and injecting our bodies with Omega 3s. The chia varieties are super fun to drink and my favorite is the Grape Chia which tastes exactly like the super sweet, beloved Welch’s grape juice of my childhood without the processed sugars. The ingredient list states: raw kombucha, raw chia seeds, Concord grape juice and 100% pure love. Can’t get any better than that.

Sugar Rush for Adults

IMG_1399They had me at the chocolate typewriter …

I admit that I am a true blue snob when it comes to my sweet tooth. For example, I have been telling the Cute Gardener for the past two years that I love candy but he’s yet to see me eat anything other than dark chocolate Valrhona baking squares from the upscale foodie warehouse sales we frequent twice a year, which basically provide the mainstays for dessert in our household.  I have no desire to purchase waxy, tasteless candy bars or jelly beans at the grocery store but I am always on the look out for good quality marzipan, caramels, honeycomb and watermelon or grapefruit slice sweet and sour gummies. In Los Angeles, I have only found good varieties of this on a whim at Bottega Louie. I simply can’t find good candy so I never buy it even though I am a self-admitted sugar addict. Maybe this rarity of quality is a good thing.

IMG_1389All of that went out the window when I was invited to a party at Sugarfina in Beverly Hills, which touts itself as a candy store for adults. At the front door we were greeted by a smiling woman holding a tray of black cherry centered balls and fruit loop reminiscent crunchies and told that the back room had Champagne and whiskey waiting for us. I think I, along with all the other ladies in the room, released a communal swoon.

IMG_1391But seriously, as far as candy stores go, this one has the chops to back up its overwhelmingly Tiffany-blue, girlie bling on-site seduction. The store’s periphery is lined with shelves carrying multiple varieties of all things sugar that you can buy on average for $7 or $14 bucks a pop in a see-through, toy-like box. A high price to pay for dollops of sweet stuff? Not when it’s good and it was. There were so many things to choose from but the immediate objects of my affection were tiny lemon-infused, white chocolate covered marzipan ovals called Lemon Cakes; crystal sugar-coated brown gum drops that tasted exactly like apple pie and gummies that swirled flavors of Bourbon and Coke onto the tongue. I was also itching to try the various forms of licorice from fruity to sweet to salty as well as the many forms of small chewy balls covered in flavored chocolate like green tea and cinnamon.

IMG_1390The owner Rosie O’Neill explained that the inspiration for the store came on her third date with her co-owner and husband while they were watching Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They wanted to create a candy store for adults.

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On that note the CG and I went home, broke out the honey whiskey, Bourbon and LEGOs and enjoyed an R-rated evening with Sugarfina’s candy while creating our own individual versions of Pasadena’s Gamble House.  

Pasta for Grown Ups – Time for Homemade

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The first time I experienced the beauty of homemade pasta, it was served to me in flat, clean strips of thin fettuccine tossed lightly with pesto and juicy cherry tomatoes– a simple and fresh rendition that allowed the strands to shine through. I was hooked on the delightfully light taste and airy chew and honored that my friend would make such a vast, flour-dusted mess of his kitchen in a small San Francisco apartment merely to create a meal for me. He insisted that the non-boxed taste always made the mess worthwhile. I found myself with a similar mess a few years later while looking to hook the Cute Gardener inches deeper into my web with a special meal of homemade butternut squash ravioli in sage brown butter for Valentine’s Day. My attempt at mastering the basic egg “well” (which is elemental in good pasta dough-making) was disastrous, turning a neat hill of flour into a mountain ridge complete with overflowing rivers on my counters. Needless to say, as much as I started to mention how much I loved fresh pasta, and to tell the CG endlessly that we needed to get a pasta roller, I was secretly intimidated by ever undertaking the daunting task again myself.

IMG_7903But when you eat as much pasta as we do, it started to seem ridiculous that one whole cabinet in our pantry was devoted to box upon box of dried pasta in every shape and form. For such true pasta aficionados, it was verging on sacrilegious that we didn’t attempt to create our own fresh batches at least every once in while. So this past Christmas in exchange for my gift of a long-drooled after cherry red Le Creuset Dutch oven, I bought the CG a KitchenAid pasta maker. Unlike regular pasta rollers this came as an attachment to place right onto a traditional stand mixer in which dough could be pushed through to create various shapes of pasta depending on which plate you have affixed.

IMG_7905I have long been afraid of convoluted food machinery, mostly because I have a hard time reading and following rules and get overwhelmed by parts and pieces that require assembly, usage and proper cleaning. But cooking with the CG has opened up this side of me to realize half the battle lies in understanding what you are doing and the rest unfolds like clockwork. This machine couldn’t have been easier. Once we followed instructions in the accompanying book to make the crumbly, stiff dough, it was easy to feed through the cranking machine and fun to watch the rigatoni form.

IMG_7908Within minutes we had a pound of beautifully dense, ridged tubes.

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Within six minutes in boiling water, our pasta was done. We tumbled the rigatoni into leftover tomato sauce with chunks of tender pork. It was delicious: the ridges were firm enough to gather bits of herb, the bite of the pasta was strong yet pliant and the taste was better that something similar out of a box.

I am itching to make new pasta dishes every week now from macaroni and cheese to spaghetti Bolognese to an old school ragu – that is if the CG will allow me; up until now he’s been the pasta king of the kitchen but this new machine is inspiring new hankerings within me to add more Italian to my repertoire.

Trixi’s Treasures Magical Dust Coated Snacks

IMG_2678-Version-6When ex-registered nurse Tricia Wong was at the wit’s end of battling her lifelong asthma and in a severe sense of depression, she turned towards listening to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins to help her get by. One day she decided to listen to the message she heard woven through the bottom line of all these inspirational leaders, which was to find something she had ultimate passion for and follow it through. This is when she became an entrepreneur and began the snack food company Trixi’s Treasures with the help of her aunt – a small boutique business that specializes in “Shantelyn Treasure Dust Mixes” for a bevy of customizable snack blends.

The Treasure Dust mixture is a 100% all natural powder mixture that you cook with a cup of oil or butter and then pour onto your favorite nosh goodies in a Chex Mix-like fashion: for example, a combination of cheese curls, cheerios, pretzels, peanuts, dried fruits, etc. What results is a strangely magical blend of sweet, salty and savory that is confounding in its ability to be equally addictive on a cheese coated item as it is on a sugar coated one.

I have not been a purveyor of boxed and bagged snacks in my adult life only because I overdosed on Cheez-Its alongside my mom on the lounge chair in the backyard of my youth where we used to tan and munch with trashy magazines on Saturdays. I binge on a bag of Doritos three or four times a year and blame it on college football season  and consider that a dirty little secret. So, when I received my box of Trixi’s Treasures in the mail to sample, I was sure I would be as unaffected by them as I am by the Cute Gardener’s perpetual stock of buttery appetizer crackers or Planter’s nuts under the coffee table. Instead of sending me the mixes, they sent me bags of specialty snack blends packaged up like regular bags of chips that covered the original blend of Treasure Dust all the way through more daring versions like a jalapeno, spicy variety and a berry version.

It only took a few weeks to dust off four of the highly-addictive bags that truly seemed like treasures in all the different things I would uncover in each bag: toasted rice or corn cereal squares might crawl up from the bottom of one while roasted green peas might swim in another while rye or baguette chip slices might emerge in the last.

And the “dust” coating in itself – definitely a winner for those who a have a sweet tooth. It makes these snacks hard to put down, definitely difficult to not finish in one seating once you start.

You can buy your own dust or order your own customizable snack blends online. Otherwise, you’d have to find the ladies at a country fair, which they tour with relish.

Momofukud Up

Momofuku Milk Bar 131210-01I spent four days on a Chinese macrobiotic cleanse a few weeks back while the Cute Gardener went to New York City for a business trip. When I told him I was all clean from the Thanksgiving food onslaught, he told me I better be ready to get dirtied up again because he was bringing home cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I just spent all this time clearing out my organs, skin and pores so I will go light on the cookies when he brings them home,” I immediately starting feeling the joy a cocaine addict gets knowing he’s going to score later in the evening while imagining just how many cookies I could possibly stuff into my newly minted and hollowed out gut.

Momofuku Milk Bar 131210-02Because you see, these weren’t ordinary cookies but indeed more like crack. In fact, the Momofuku Milk Bar actually makes a dessert called Crack Pie, served in a small cardboard sheath akin to an alcoholic’s brown paper liquor store bag made of nothing but brown sugar, copious amounts of butter and cream.

I stumbled upon the Milk Bar and its noted pastry chef Christina Tosi while watching an addictive television series called Mind of a Chef about the creative genius of Chef David Chang. Chang is one of my favorite chefs because he takes every day ordinary things and makes them extraordinary. It’s not that watching him make gnocchi out of cheap, grocery store ramen or doing amazing things with dried milk powder makes me drool; it’s the crafty thought process behind taking things that he was forced to eat growing up and then turning them into wizardry combined with new ingredients from his grown up palate that stokes my admiration. Non-pretentious and joyous creation is what made him famous more so than being just another guy cooking up delicious dishes. His zest for the craft shows and takes me back to the days when I sat in my own bedroom with a Ready Bake Oven, powder chocolate bags, an adjacent science laboratory kit and lots of bottles of lotions, oils and half used lipsticks. I loved pouring them all together and lighting them on fire in ways only a former latchkey kid can truly grasp the bliss within. Only Chang’s grown up combinations have landed him with over half a dozen restaurants where the fun continues.

He chose a perfect person to hold court at Milk Bar in Tosi because she does equally zany, fun in the preschool playground things such as making ice cream flavors inspired by the taste of leftover cereal milk and banana cream pie from the gross, black rotten bananas that her experimentation has taught her produces the absolutely best flavor.

This is why I wanted to taste her cookies so bad, especially the odd pure corn version that was touted as a densely, sugared, sweet creamed corn bread. That and the blueberries and cream beast that was so moist it had the heft of a baseball in my hand. And the double chocolate sin fest that held the perfect ratio of crispy outer crunch to inner, soft and mushy core. The crack pie never made it back to California, which is probably best because by the time I downed the three baked-to-perfection cookies (still amazing after two days in a plastic bag and a flight across the states) not an ounce of my internal cleanse perfection remained – only a severely worthwhile sweets high and a desire to visit New York City soon if only to lap up the Milk Bar’s mile high cakes next.

The Algae Buzz of EnergyBits

energybits_with_bits_best_small_I have never been a fan or a follower of products claiming to deliver energy to the body. In my experience, everything that brings you up eventually either has you come crashing down or has a less that natural effect on your internal system that is completely opposite my normal holistic philosophies of ingestion. I cringed when my girlfriends were going through the Fen-Phen dieting phase, when others started drinking Red Bull and using taurine religiously and find most things claiming to “boost” a human simply poisonous.  So I was very curious when I discovered the company EnergyBits and came to find out that their product, which they coin a “tool for fitness” claimed to be made out of 100% green algae—spirulina to be exact.

I am a huge believer in algae and have been for years. There’s no denying that every time I have algae powder in a smoothie or pop a spirulina pill, I feel better like a river of crystal blue water has entered my bloodstream. On further investigation into algae, there is no rush or crash or stomach distress because it is an actual harvested food crop unlike a lab made supplement and is the highest edible protein in the world. It’s like super green organic power.

I immediately contacted the company and requested a sample. In the literature sent with my sample, it stated that when algae is taken prior to any activity, including a fitness class or workout, it improves your energy, increases your stamina, clears your mind and eliminates your fatigue or hunger.

I recently embarked on a three times a week hour long run schedule that spiked my normal fitness routine up a level and on week two of this endeavor I was feeling the usual lull that happens once you realize that routine has hit. Getting out the door was becoming tough because I had lost the element of surprise with my routine and knew the hills that were ahead of me as well as the heat of summer that would bear down. I had started to learn about foods like apples with a swath of peanut butter that I could eat an hour before my run and hopefully gain a bit of a boost but I wasn’t so excited about taking in extra calories just to work out. So I was in prime mode to try these odd little algae Energy Bits that are one calorie a pop and that you are supposed to swallow in servings of 30 at a time.

The thing is, they actually REALLY worked. I popped the forest green balls that tasted like trees and under the sea funk (which I particularly like and I know that makes me strange) and had an amazing run. A run in which I energized throughout and in which I ran faster than before. I also felt strong, like my muscles were coursing with an enhanced push. But I didn’t feel chemically altered or sped up in a tweaky amphetamine way. Afterwards I went about my normal business with no side effects.

Like everything in life, I don’t know if I would want to take them every single day. I don’t want to be that dependant on something nor do I want to risk too much of one thing in my system on a regular basis without having more information about potential long-term effects. But I will definitely be using these when it’s a low time of the month or I am particularly unmotivated or I’m coming back from a vacation or otherwise lull in my pace. They work.

Blasting My Way to Health With the Nutribullet

IMG_6870The way I eat has gone through an incredible transformation over the past five years, as I have become a serious student of holistic health. Today, Hippocrates famous words “Let your medicine be your food and your food, medicine,” float over my daily diet as the basis of everything I consume. I have become a huge fan of greens and grains and fatty Omega 3s as well as knowledge imparted by such food philosophies as Chinese macrobiotics and Ayurvedic energetics. It doesn’t mean that I don’t splurge on the weekends or indulge in the pleasure of dairy creams and sweets now and again (I will be the first to admit my love of rich cakes topped with butter cream frosting and buttery, French cream dishes), but in general I stick to healthy fare because it simply makes me feel better and that’s all the motivation I need.

I’ve wanted to incorporate juicing into my routine for a few years now but have been baffled by the choices in machines and blenders. Do I spend $400 on a trendy Vitamix knowing it can create juice, smoothies, butters and other raw food delights or do I go with an old fashioned machine that cold presses juice and leaves out all of the pulpy bits? I love the taste of fresh celery and apple pressed into a nice clear green tonic but I also love the taste that was created in my sister’s simple Magicbullet one summer consisting of whole stalks of kale, apples, chia seeds and water. After much deliberation and word of mouth from friends, I decided to plunk down $107 at Bed, Bath and Beyond for the Nutribullet and I have never been happier.

IMG_6842Considering I used to spend $7 to $12 a pop for superfood smoothies at my favorite Venice eatery Local 1205, in less than a month of owning this machine I have already drank enough smoothies to bypass my money’s worth. In its most basic form the Nutribullet touts an every day recipe of throwing fifty percent vegetables, fifty percent fruit, and a nut, seed or superfood (chia, flax, goji, acai) boost into the cup with water and blasting the smithereens out of the lot to create a luscious, life-affirming drink. You would think that there would be some strategy in the items you place in the mix for this simple recipe in order to get a good tasting drink but the miracle is in the fact that no matter what blend of fruits, veggies or boosts you choose, you always end up with something that tastes good. Which makes sense if you think about it. If all we did from the beginning of earthly time were to eat the natural things that grew on the earth, we would be blessed with the benefits of things that are natural including good taste and vital health.

After a few weeks of daily drinking these blasts, I feel like I have ten times the amount of energy in a single day, my skin is glowing, my work outs at the gym seem to carry more power and strength, my hair seems to be growing faster as are my fingernails, and my entire disposition has become more calm.

My favorite creation so far has been this:

East Indian-Worthy Spicy Coconut Smoothie:

Ingredients:
6 raw cashews, soaked
¼ cup coconut milk
1 scoop green superfood powder
1 leaf and stalk of Swiss chard
1 leaf and stalk of kale
1 cup of almond milk
1 peeled dime-sized coin on ginger
1 celery stalk
1 small red delicious apple
2 sweet red peppers

Combine all in Nutribullet and blend.

Calorie count: 400
This is a great lunch, filling and revitalizing at about 200 calories less than is the normal healthy allotment for lunch for women.

IMG_6846All things green are good!

Click here for some other useful recipe ideas.

 The possibilities are really endless but here are some tips I have learned:

  • Using almond milk and/or coconut milk makes things more shake-like and creamy and works equally with bitter greens or with dessert-like yogurt and honey blends.
  • Apples and celery make bitter greens taste sweet.
  • Lemons and ginger brighten up most mixes and the peel/rinds can go in too to enhance the cancer-fighting properties of the drink. Try them with fresh tomatoes for a virgin bloody Mary that is divine.
  • Dates and cacao nibs make drinks taste like chocolate.
  • Matcha powder is great in breakfast drinks that include milk and fruit for an extra superfood boost.
  • Soaked cashews thicken any drink and don’t conflict taste-wise with most ingredients.

My next endeavor is going to be working on a string of cold pureed squash and stone fruits soups. More to report on that later.