Sunday, March 9, 2014

Red Grapefruit and Quinoa Breakfast Salad

Greetings Friends!
Breakfast doesn't have to be boring...and it doesn't have to be centered around gluten-full carbs!
Check out this healthy breakfast's easy to make ahead and take with you wherever the
day takes you.

A colorful way to start your day!

My favorite goji berries, they're delicious straight out of the bag!

Red Quinoa and Grapefruit Breakfast Salad 
2 cups red quinoa (sprouted or cooked)
1 large stalk of celery
3-4 carrots
1 cup of yellow beet, diced
3 cups of kale, shredded
1 1/2  grapefruit sectioned and cut in bite size pieces
1/2 grapefruit, juiced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
*optional- 1-2 tbs olive oil, or flax seed oil
garnish with goji berries and sunflower microgreens

If you are cooking: prepare quinoa according to directions. Generally, 1 cup of quinoa + 2 cups of liquid =4 servings. To cook quinoa-
rinse quinoa under cold water, until water runs clear. Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and the germ has spiraled out (about 20 minutes). Allow quinoa to cool before adding in the raw salad ingredients.

To sprout Quinoa:
Soak desired amount in cool water over nite. Rinse in the morning. Set aside in a fine mesh colander to sprout for 24 hours. Sprouts are ready when the tail is as long as the seed!

Meanwhile, prep veggies as recommended above. Add in the sectioned, cut grapefruit. In a mason jar, mix the salad dressing ingredients- give it a gentle shake! Blend all ingredients together. Garnish with goji berries and sunflower microgreens. The salad will last 3-5 days in your fridge...ready for breakfast or a light lunch.

I am  excited about our upcoming "Cooking-for-Peace" workshop, Sunday May 18th !
The registration form is now up and ready to share! This workshop will be a mix of raw and cooked vegan dishes.

 Here's a peak at the menu for: " Eating for Healing with Anti-Inflammatory Foods".

Main Events:
-Raw Everything Bagels with cashew cream cheese
-Raw Coconut Curry Soup
-Raw Cultured Veggie Salad
-Raw Jicama/Pineapple Salsa
-Gluten-free raw spaghetti with No-mato Sauce
-Vegan Shepherd's Pie with mashed No-tatoes and Smokey lentils

-Raw Mango Chia Pudding with fresh Berries
-Raw Cherry-Almond Cobbler
-Raw Chocolate Surprise

We'll be working for The Holistic Life Foundation a Baltimore based 501 (c)3 non-profit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in under served (at risk) communities, through the practice of yoga, mindfulness and self-care. For more info on HLF watch the wonderful TED talk-
"So what are we gonna do about it?"
Print out the registration form and mail in your slip to reserve your spot. Space is limited!

Registration forms are available under the  "Upcoming Classes tab!"

Monday, February 3, 2014

Soup's On!

I love raw food…but cooked soup is what I crave when the temperature dips below freezing. This winter has been especially cold and snowy,
Our backyard!
which inspires me to keep a pot of soup simmering on the stove.
A view from the kitchen window!
 Each week I make a large pot  which supplies days of simple  lunches or dinners.
 That said, variety is a nice thing too! So, don't hesitate to change it up. Make two smaller pots and trade off.  We all need inspiration!
Vegan Lentil/ Miso ready to eat!
Here’s how we like to eat our soup. Fill your bowl to the brim with greens and ladle warm soup over greens.
baby chard, kale and spinach

soup over greens!

 Use what you have on hand. Our favorites are kale, collard, chard or spinach. If you are pressed for time, or looking to keep things easy, there are nice blends available of baby organic greens. No chopping required!
my favorite blend of baby greens!
Just fill up your bowl and you are good to go!
Any vegetable, green or grains can serve as the star of your soup.Just go for variety and you'll never get bored. We love lentils in any form: red, green or black, they are all delicious, quick to cook and easy to digest. Lentils love cumin, garlic and brown rice miso. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong. In general, use fewer ingredients. Too many ingredients make it difficult to taste and appreciate individual flavors. Featuring a single ingredient with some basic background players works best for us. Try  roasting onions  to bring out their sweet nature and creates a yummy base. Leaving the skins on allows you to roast onions whole, or you can chop and roast them diced.
(roasted diced onions)
Either way, we never add oil to our soups. So, every bowl is fat-free, nutrient packed -goodness!
Kombu makes lentils easier to digest!

Here’s a simple recipe you can easily embellish… (This makes a large pot of soup just  perfect for sharing!)
Lentil/Miso  Soup
4 cups of lentils, rinsed
8 cups of water
4-6 bay leaves
2 inches of kombu (seaweed)
4 onions diced and roasted
4 carrots, diced
4 sticks of celery, sliced
3 tbl brown rice miso (or your favorite miso)
8-10 cloves of garlic

1 ½ cups of millet, rinsed and cooked in 3 cups of filtered water * (directions below)
Greens, cut in thin slivered ribbons-  or use mixed baby greens or baby spinach

Rinse lentils and place in a large pot. Add water, bay leaves and kombu. Simmer on medium heat until lentils are tender but not mushy (about 25 minutes). While lentils cook, dice the onion and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Roast at 325 degrees until tender (20 minutes). Chop carrots and celery, set aside. When lentils are tender, remove the kombu. Kombu helps tenderize the lentils and make them easier to digest. Add the carrots, celery and onions. Simmer an additional 15-20
minutes. Peel garlic and place in a 4 cup mason jar. Add 3 tbl of miso. Remove 2 cups of broth from the lentil pot and pour into the mason jar. With an immersion blender, blend the garlic, miso and water. Pour that mix back into the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning. Feel free to add more miso or garlic.  This recipe makes lots of soup! If you are cooking for yourself, or a small family you may want to cut the recipe in half or freeze half in smaller portions.

To Cook Millet:
Some people prefer toasting the millet first. This is optional.
Rinse and drain the millet. Dry  roast in a skillet, stirring constantly until it turns golden and smells nut-like. Bring water to a boil, add grain then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook about 25-30 minutes until water has been absorbed and the millet is tender.

To serve:
Fill your bowl with greens and cooked millet. Ladle soup over raw greens and millet. Allow the soup to rest 1-2 minutes so greens get soft.
Here's a photo of Harry trying to keep warm his way!

 Check out our upcoming  class-
Cooking-For-Peace class scheduled for  Sunday May 18, 2014
at The Patapsco Friends Meeting,  at Hebron House in Ellicott City, MD.

 We will be sponsoring The Holistic Life Foundation.
 Here's a little bit from their website, or go directly to:  for media coverage and  much more!
 We can't wait to work with them! 

 To Read about Holistic Life :  

About the HLF Founders:holistic life foundation portrait

"Hi! We're Andy, Atman, and Ali, the co-founders of the Holistic Life Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization bringing yoga & mindfulness to under-served communities for over 12 years, both in our hometown of Baltimore, Maryland and internationally.
Growing up, our father taught us (Ali & Atman) about yoga and mindfulness. When we got to college, we met Andy, and together we came up with the idea to bring our experience with holistic practices to the community. (That's the short version of the story, which you can see on TEDxTeacher's College here).
Patterson High serves a number of really at-risk students, just look at the following statistics:
  • End-of-year suspension rates up to 16% of students
  • A 4-year graduation rate of only 86% of students
  • More than 60% of students are absent more than 20 days each year
  • The school's state testing falls far below the average in Maryland.
What we aim to do, with your help and the help of some of our partner organizations, is take our own, proven yoga & mindfulness curriculum into Patterson High School with hopes to improve participation in class, academic scoring, and graduation rates, while helping the 1,000 students find some inner peace of their own."

Stay warm,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Joys of Sprouting!

It's always a joy to share our passion for live foods. Sprouting invites your inner gardener to bloom!
There's something magical when ordinary seeds and beans burst into life with the help of just a bit of water and attention.  Here's a peak at some of the sprouts  we've  grown lately:
clover, broccoli, buckwheat, lentil, fenugreek and radish sprouts- as well as sunflower, sweet pea and
 radish microgreens. (Kenny regularly grows these along with wheat grass).

We are both fans of the "Easy Sprout" cups.(  They are inexpensive, simple to use and clean.

Have you seen the documentary "A Place at the Table"? It is a powerful look at hunger in America. To watch the trailer go to: . .
 One of the important issues they touch on in the film is the lack of fresh vegetables and fruit in low income  diets. I was shocked to learn that over 40 million Americans fall into the category of "food insecure". These are often people who are employed but  still can't afford sufficient food. Another issue is access to raw produce. Too often, small rural corner stores stock tons of dry goods (read: chips,cereal,bread and soda) which are chock full of corn, soy and wheat ...( which are coincidentally ingredients that are heavily subsidized by the US government). Many times distributors of produce don't want to deliver to small stores. In addition,  dry goods last longer on shelves than fresh raw fruit and vegetables.
This documentary got me thinking about the beauty of sprouting. It's cheap, easy and local. (Doesn't get any more local than your kitchen counter!) You don't need tons of sun or a green thumb. Just a simple container (a glass jar, a screen,  hemp nut milk bag, or a stainless steel colander), a cloth to block the light (clean dish towel or cloth napkin will work)- and some seeds or beans and water.
For less than a dollar you can have a full container of fresh greens like alfalfa, clover or broccoli

or protein packed sprouted beans like lentil, chick peas or adzuki...or sprouted grains like buckwheat, oat groats and quinoa. Fresh food without the processing, sugar, salt and preservatives. Available year round.
Seems to me this would so improve all of our diets. It puts us in control of growing some of our own fresh food.  Sprouting is nutrient dense- boasting vitamins A,B,C and E...packed with antioxidants and chlorophyll. They are Super Foods without the super price tag.What more could you want!

Add radish sprouts ,sunflower greens and alfalfa to any wrap!
Radish sprouts peaking out of this raw wrap-

Here's a simple sprouting primer:
-soak 1 cup of green lentils overnight in water
-discard soak water in the morning (feed it to your houseplants!)
-place lentils in a stainless steel colander on the counter and cover with a clean dish towel
-every 12 hours rinse the lentils well- swishing them around with your hand so the rootlets don't grow through the bottom of the colander and get stuck!
-when the sprout is as long as the lentil itself- (about 3 days) they are ready!
-store lentil sprouts in the fridge for up to one week
Try them in a salad or cook them into an earthy sprouted lentil soup!
Sprouting makes the nutrients in all foods easier to digest and assimilate.
Here's sweet pea microgreens and clover with humus and olive tapenade!

 Sprouts are so easy we like to travel with them! ...Here's a photo below of our sprouts on vacation!  Don't they look happy and relaxed! We will be using lots of luscious sprouts/microgreens at our upcoming class on November 10th at Renaissance Yoga. Join us for a session on savory appetizers and sweet desserts. Learn how to simplify entertaining for the holiday season. See how practicing mindfulness can improve your cooking and help you savor your food and your company! (For more details and registration info, click on the class tag above!)

                         Grab some seeds and get sprouting!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Chop -n- Chat" Tips and Recipes

Cooking  with Friends
What could be better than hanging out in the kitchen with friends? 
 Recently I had the sincere pleasure to “chop-n-chat” with my friend Candice and her dear Mama, Norweida. Candice is a friend I met when I worked at MOMS Organic Market. She was a regular Monday afternoon visitor. She came to check out the featured Monday Raw Dish I whipped up each week and catch me up on her current antics!  Candice is hilarious and she has a huge, generous heart. She's so much fun to hang out with!
Norweida works on the corn salad

Now, don't get me wrong, it is peaceful to work in silence or with Pema Chodron’s dharma talk CD’s humming in the background. Some days I crave chopping as meditation...but,  it's equally satisfying to work in the company of family or friends.
Candice measures raw cacao for sweet chocolate tarts

  Here’s how it can work…
Each person picks a recipe and collects the ingredients. Gather in one of your kitchens, visit and prep your veggies, whirl those dressings, sauces or pates. While you're at it, sip a cup of tea and sample your dishes. When it’s time to pack up, split the "take" and share the goodies!  Days after you will both feast and benefit from your time together. It’s a win-win! Like chopping wood where you are warmed twice- once when you chop the wood, again when you burn it….in this case, you'll be  nourished twice! Once when you chop-n-chat and again when you eat the delicious food waiting in your fridge.

Here are a few tips:
-make sure your diets or eating styles mesh well
Sweet raw chocolate tarts
-review food preferences or allergies
-consider what your food goals are…raw, vegan, sweet or savory etc
Zucchini pasta with pesto and marinara
-pick a day and time, bring copies of recipes to share
-bask in the blessing of friendship and good food!

Here are a few dishes I’ve prepared recently with friends:
-Zucchini pasta with hemp basil sauce
-Corn and avocado salad
-Sushi salad with pink rice,
 Asian veggies and almond/ginger
-Fennel and grapefruit salad
-Sweet raw chocolate tarts

Fennel/Grapefruit Salad

4 cups of fennel, thinly sliced
3 red grapefruit, peeled, section, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup parsley, minced
1 granny smith apple, diced
¼ cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil (optional)
2 tbs chopped fennel fronds

-Prep all your veggies/fruit  in separate bowls. Squeeze lemon juice over fennel and stir in. Set aside. When all veggies are chopped, blend together in a large bowl. Finish with grapefruit juice as your dressing or blend the grapefruit juice and olive oil together and pour over salad. Stir gently. Top with chopped fennel fronds.  Chill before serving.

Hemp Basil Pesto Sauce
2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 cup spinach leaves
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup filtered water
2 tbs olive oil (optional)
¼ fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup filtered water, as needed

-Blend all ingredients in a blender . Add water until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors. The spinach leaves will  brighten the  color of the finished sauce- and add excellent nutrients. Serve over spiralized zucchini pasta . You can also omit the water for a thicker texture and serve with cut veggies and raw crackers.

Sharing raw fennel salad with Barbara

Now, grab a friend and get chopping!

Sending peace and Light,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Salad for Breakfast!


This recipe is especially for my friend Sharon McRae, plant based Certified Health Coach extraordinaire!  Check out her website ( She knows more about nutrition then anyone I know and she really does eat salad for breakfast!
 Glorious golden berries (aka: gooseberries) brighten any dish.  It's no surprise, they are considered a “superfood,” since they're packed with antioxidants (carotenes and bioflavonoids) good amounts of vitamins C and A, protein and phosphorus. They are touted to reduce levels of inflammation in the body and strengthen the immune system. Besides that- they taste great! They're tart, like cranberries, with a citrus note.
Here are the core salad ingredients:
                kale, carrots, goldenberries, walnuts, and parsley.

Vary your salad with:
jicama, spinach, golden beets, currants, hemp seed, daikon radish, granny smith apple or orange sections

Dress your breakfast salad with fresh squeezed orange juice-or , if you prefer a heavier dressing, use a blend of  tahini/or almond butter and orange juice. Whatever version you try, this salad makes a nutritious way to start your day!

Recipe: Golden Berry Breakfast Salad
2 cups  carrots, grated
1/2 -3/4 cup   goldenberries, chopped
2/3 cup  walnuts, chopped
 2  oranges, sectioned and sliced in half
 2 cups  shredded kale
 1/2 cup chopped parsley
 1 diced granny smith apple

  1 tbl  raw tahini or raw
                 almond butter
   4 tbs fresh squeezed orange juice

 -or- simply dress the salad with
         1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

 Let’s close  with some tempting photos from our June Raw Summer Picnic class. Many thanks to those who prepared these healthy, light dishes!
Green Slaw with kale, collards and rainbow chard

Raw Summer Corn Salad with lime juice
Here’s hoping your summer is going swimmingly! Join us for our next class-" Living on Live Food" at the Pilates Plus Wellness Studio, Saturday August 10th.  (See the class tab for more info!)

Sending peace and Light,

Friday, May 31, 2013

Chia Delights!

Chia - a gem of a seed!

Chia provides so much versatility and nutrition in such a tiny package.  Chia works well  ground or whole. Unlike flax seeds, you don’t need to grind the seed to absorb the nutrients. High in omega 3 fatty acids, more calcium than milk, plenty of fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, and protein – chia is a nutrient dense choice.  Like flax, the seeds  have a gelatinous quality when soaked in water. In fact, chia absorbs 10 times its weight in water… which is good news for staying hydrated in summer heat.
Summertime and iced tea naturally go together. Whether you prefer "sun-tea," "moon-tea," or traditionally steeped tea, a glass of cold tea is a welcome gift on a hot day. My favorite choice for a decaffeinated chilled drink is Celestial Seasoning’s Blueberry Zinger. Great flavor with a little zing!
You can also buy prepared, fruity chia drinks- but it's much cheaper and more fun to make your own!


Plus, if you make your own you get to control the ingredients; the second ingredient in Mama Chia drinks is agave. You can add chia seeds to any favorite drink (1 tbsp chia seeds to 8 oz of liquid) and that works well for thicker liquids like smoothies or juice with pulp. But I’ve found over time that using chia gel works particularly well in thin liquids. Chia gel creates that "store bought" consistency.  Check out the first ingredient in Mama Chia drinks - it’s hydrated chia seeds - that’s essentially chia gel!  When you add chia gel to a thin liquid the seeds stay suspended throughout the drink instead of sinking to the bottom.  The important thing to sort out is the ratio of gel to liquid. You can also do simple tricks like making your chia gel with brewed tea instead of water and adding “tea” ice cubes for flavor that won't get diluted. Follow the recipe below and you will be “sipping pretty” all summer long!

Chia Iced Tea

Step 1: Prepare your tea
For fuller flavor use 2-3 bags per 8 oz of water. Allow tea to steep up to an hour - or even over night!
Make double the amount of tea if you plan to use it for your gel and ice cubes. I usually prepare about 6-8 cups of strongly brewed tea at a time.

Step 2: Chia Gel
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups tea (or water, if you prefer)
I have found it works best to measure the tea/water in your jar and then add the seeds slowly, whisking as you go. Allow gel to sit for 10 minutes - then shake or whisk again. Let sit another 10 minutes - shake or whisk again. Done!

Step 3: Chia Iced Tea
1 cup tea
1 - 1½ cups chia gel
Stir gently. Add lemon or lime juice to taste.
*Optional: For additional flavor you can add ½ cup of unsweetened pure blueberry juice to your tea - just be sure to add it before you measure out the tea and gel.

To keep it 100% raw- add ½ cup blueberry puree. This is easy to prepare with frozen blueberries. Just let them defrost, blend until smooth with an immersion blender, and add to your tea.


**Be sure to check out new class offerings**

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Nod to Spring

First, welcome to my new blog!   (Thanks to Katie and Kenny!)

A special  thanks to all who attended the Cooking-for-Peace workshop on April 28th at  The Patapsco Friends Meeting. Together we raised $1200 to support The Samaritan Women!  Your generosity and positive energy were deeply appreciated.

Here's a peek at the class... and the yummy desserts we sampled at the end.

Ah, the blessings of Spring are upon us!  A perfect time for planting new seeds and creating new plans.    Although, sometimes change creeps up on us unannounced... regardless of the season!

And that’s where the topic of salad dressings comes in.  Salad dressing can make or break a salad. In the last few months I’ve been experimenting with oil-free dressings using a base of seeds or nuts. To be clear, I’m not talking about “fat-free” dressings, just pressed/processed oil-free dressings.  We need some healthy fat to absorb the nutrients in our greens and veggies.

But, let me back up a bit… my typical dressing for a long time was simple: good quality olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar , one teaspoon of sweetener (one soaked date, coconut sugar, etc.) a pinch of sea salt. Simple ingredients for a simple dressing.

Then I started reading and learning about the advantages of getting your fat in the most whole form possible by blending the nut or seed as opposed to using a pressed/processed oil. Less processing gives you the advantage of the whole package; including the fiber and nutrients that might otherwise be lost. Read more about this in Joel Fuhrman's fabulous book:

This bit of info inspired  me to experiment with recipes and techniques for making simple nut/seed dressings.   How food tastes to us can change over time. It can be a subtle shift or a dramatic one. Maybe your favorite cookies suddenly taste too sweet, or the crackers you once loved now taste too salty.

Last night I was in a hurry. I figured I’d just whip up a quick vinaigrette with my old standbys: olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, and raw coconut sugar. (I like that sweet-n-sour thing!) We chopped our dinner salads, I added the dressing, and then... I just could not eat it!  The dressing tasted like an "oil-slick" . Same dressing I always ate-- but my palate had shifted.  Happily, I had some sprouted lentil/ mung bean miso soup (no oil in there!) and that became dinner!

Every day we train our bodies and minds to desire certain tastes, just by constant exposure. In general,  I think it is easier to abstain from a food you are trying to shift away from before you introduce a replacement. A few months from now your taste buds will forget all about that favorite  food and be delighted with its new understudy! I’ve had this experience numerous times: shifting from dairy  to vegan milk, from dairy cheese to vegan cheese, from gluten-full breads to gluten-free and then to raw gluten-free breads! So, if you are trying to release foods that aren’t serving you, don’t give up hope! We are constantly changing… including our taste buds!

And now-  here's a celebratory salad!

A Nod-to-Spring Salad:
6-8 dandelion leaves
1 cup baby spinach, torn into bite size pieces
4 asparagus spears
½ cup chopped parsley
½ medium golden beet, juilliened
1 medium carrot, cut diagonally
1-2 spring onions, chopped
10-12 wild violet flowers (you can add in some leaves too!)
1-2 purple Easter Egg radishes, cut in thin slices

-Tear greens into bite size pieces. Mix dandelion and spinach well. Dandelion can be bitter (which makes for a happy liver!)
-Using a carrot peeler, peel asparagus into pretty curls. This usually works for about half the spear… chop the remaining half and add to the salad.
-Chop remaining veggies, paying attention to color and shape. Top the salad with wild violets.

 ¼ cup raw sunflower seed butter
2-4 tbsp. lemon juice (to taste)
1-2 tsp coconut nectar (or your favorite sweetener- optional)
½ cup filtered water
1 tsp gluten free nama shoyu/tamari or coconut aminos
(Add your favorite herbs as desired. I choose mint and lemon balm!)

Enjoy, and don't forget to check out the "upcoming classes" tab for the latest info on opportunities to learn more!