Thursday, December 6, 2012

SUPERFOOD KITCHEN by Julie Morris, and GIVE AWAY Annoucement

This Saturday is the one-year anniversary of BYOL! It’s been a great year of research, reviews, and nutritious vegan recipes. As a big thank you for the tremendous support and generosity you have all shown, I’m excited to be announcing my second give-away! 

A while back, I posted about a new cookbook I had picked up at a cooking demonstration with the author. That was the start of an ongoing friendship with one of the most talented chefs I know, Julie Morris.

(Fritz and Julie)

Not only is she the brilliant brain behind most of Navitas Naturals’ fabulous smoothie creations but she is also the author of the recently released Superfood Kitchen. Over the months we’ve gotten to know one another a bit better, but I’ve always had a slew of “professional” questions for her. Julie is such a cool person she not only agreed to answer my questions, but she offered an amazing superfood recipe that is perfect for cooler months and has agreed to give one lucky reader a copy of her new book. Personally, it is my go to cookbook when I’m feeling inspired and want to make something new. The book is packed full of nutritional information, delicious recipes using some of the healthiest foods found on the planet (and thanks to Navitas Naturals, who Julie is partnered with, readily available) and even has stunning photos of each recipe!

If you enjoy healthy cooking, this is one cookbook you do not want to miss out on!

1) Lets start with a simple definition of what a superfood is, what makes a food a super food in your mind?
“Superfoods” is a term that describes the most nutrient-dense, benefit-rich foods found in nature. This can range from everyday superfoods like spinach or leafy greens, to exotic ones like acai berries and maca root. Looking for foods that have a high nutrient density – an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals per calorie – is a good way to determine what foods earn the “superfood” star.

2) What are some of your favorite superfoods? Is there one that reins supreme (extra credit if you say lentils :)
Love lentils. Because there are so many different nutrients that are required for holistic health (and every food contains its own alchemy of these nutrients), it’s very difficult to call one superfood better than another. But a couple others I love would be chia seeds for their ease of use and valuable healthy fats; hemp seeds (or hemp powder) for their exceptional source of plant-based protein; and cacao for it’s tremendous antioxidant content, important minerals, and so much more!

3) In your book and talks, you stress some of the more exotic superfoods such as goji berries and wheat grass. Are there slightly more common super foods? If so, what are some of them?

Definitely. Leafy greens are a great example of a “common” superfood: inexpensive, local, fresh, and abundant in benefits… an ideal everyday kind of superfood. Quinoa is another good one, as one of the most nutrient-dense “grains” available. You certainly don’t have to use “exotic” superfoods to garner impressive health benefits, but the goji berries and the wheatgrasses of the world will do nothing but further enhance your health. They’re basically healthy extra credit.

4) What is the one kitchen appliance you couldn't live without?
A blender - I can’t imagine not being able to make a daily smoothie.

5) Are you aware that you share a name with a christian weight-loss motivational speaker? Have you ever been confused for her?
I have been made aware of this, yes! Luckily there’s been no confusion up to this point.

6) Why/when did you go vegan (or plant based)? Is there a difference between plant based and vegan in your opinion?

I became a vegetarian at 14 for compassion reasons, and began my vegan journey several years later because of the health benefits. The vegan effort took a little while to get into balance, mainly because, like your question suggests, there is a big (health-related) difference between plant-based and vegan! Although I’m not big on semantics, I do feel like “plant-based” is a more appropriate term for the kind of work that I do, as it implies a focus on more natural and whole food forms within the vegan category (as opposed to simply vegan, which mainly implies “anything that doesn’t come from an animal”). You won’t find any vegan marshmallows in my books, lets put it that way.

7) What is your favorite snack?
I love keeping soft Medjool dates around for a grab-and-go bite, which I’ll stuff with cacao nibs for a real energy boost. (note: I tried this with Navitas Naturals' Sweet Raw Cacao Nibs, and it is amazing! Better than any cookie I've ever had!)

8) Any advice for people looking to incorporate more whole foods into their diets?
Try and do as much of your shopping as possible at farmers markets, which will ensure that you’re bringing home “real” ingredients, and get you inspired about cooking with them. A practice I have followed for years is making a rule that once a week, I have to bring home something I’ve never used before – it can be a superfood, a strange produce find at the market, or even just a local brand of hot sauce. Then I do some light research on it to “learn” my new food and how to use it. This simple practice keeps cooking exciting, and expands your natural food horizons in a very organic manner.

9) Care to share a favorite recipe?
Of course!

There’s always something exciting about a pot of good stuff bubbling away on the stove. Especially whenthat “good stuff” includes powerful ingredients providing a balanced array of minerals, protein, and fiber. Adding the kale at the very end of the cooking ensures that it’s softened enough to be enjoyed, withoutdestroying all of its nutrition through heat. This is the kind of stew that eats like a meal.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups white onions, diced (about 1 medium onion)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons wakame flakes, ground/crushed into fine pieces
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1 head kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
½ lemon, juiced
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
sea salt to taste

In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes longer. Stir in the herbs and spices, cooking for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetable broth, water, wakame flakes, black-eyed peas, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, adding more water if needed. Taste, and adjust salt if desired. After the soup is fully cooked through, stir in the kale and keep over the heat for a minute longer—just enough to wilt the kale. Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat. Top with parsley and serve.

Variation: Add 1 cup diced smoked tofu when you add the black-eyed peas.

Using smoked ingredients like chipotle powder and smoked paprika add an impressive depth of flavor to recipes without compromising nutrition through overcooking. Find these spices in most supermarket.


Here are the rules. First, the winner needs to live in the United States (sorry international readers, no disrespect). The contest will end next Friday, December 14 at midnight. To enter, you must be a subscribed reader to BYOL. To increase your chances of winning leave a comment on this post or/and "like" Superfood Cuisine with Julie Morris" on facebook. 

Good luck and cheers

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. cacao powder added to my smoothies is my fave!

  2. My favorite superfoods are pomegranate and edamame

  3. I'm up for stuffing cacao nibs into just about anything, but clearly you're not eating the right cookies!

    1. hahaha! you maybe you're right, but dates and cacao is seriously tasty!

  4. I LOVE cacao, goji berries, kale, and spinach!

  5. Chia Seeds, Kale, Ginger, and Hemp Seeds.

  6. I love goji berries, pomegranate, spinach, and broccoli!

  7. Definitely a HUGE pomegranate and kale fan, always use chai seeds when I make smoothies, and flax seeds to add extra crunch to recipes!

  8. Beans, avocado, and all kinds of greens are my daily superfoods. Can't live without them! :)

  9. BYOL,

    If I don't win this contest, I'm going to order the book. Thanks!

  10. Julie Morris' recipes are SO tasty & simple! I never feel guilty after eating her food! :D

  11. My favorite superfoods - dark chocolate, maca, and kale!

  12. There are so many superfoods I still don't know about and/or have yet to try. Thanks for always introducing new ones!! Some simple favorites are quinoa, kale, chia seeds, cacao, and goji berries. And lentils of course =)

  13. Very good soup. Thanks for sharing! I wrote about mine here: