Friday, April 27, 2012

The Big Kale Contest by Yum Universe

I have been incredibly busy with work, finishing school and searching for a new job. As such I don't have any tidbits of brilliance for you this week. Rather I will simply leave you with this link to The Big Kale Recipe Contest by Yum Universe. I personally haven't tried any of these recipes, yet they all look divine! As Rip Esselstyn recently wrote in the New York Times, "It's a piece of kale to become plant strong in 2012."

In good health,

The Big Kale Contest

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

All About Julie! and no-bake brownies

A while back, I blogged a Pesto recipe which I recently discovered is actually from the creative mind of Julie Morris. Three weeks ago Julie Morris, author of Super Food Cuisine, gave a talk about plant-strong nutrition and did a smoothie demo at the Chelsea Whole Foods. I’ve followed her in the past and was pretty excited for the event. However, Whole Foods really dropped the ball by failing to prepare for the event. Starting about 45 minutes late, with only a small crowd, it was still an excellent demo and I learned several new ways to incorporate “super foods” into my daily diet (not only was Whole Foods unprepared, but their customer service team was telling people the event was at a different Whole Foods, which helps explain the small turnout). Julie is an incredible chef and her recipes are amazing, but she is also an incredibly warm-hearted, knowledgeable, and fun person to be around!

Among other things, Julie talked about chocolate. To me, this sounds like a chef after Abby Bean’s heart, rather than my own, but Julie quickly clarified that raw cacao has one of the highest antioxidant counts of any food as well as an excellent source of magnesium, which can help relieve muscle cramping. As such, raw cocoa is an excellent addition to anyone’s diet, particularly females and athletes. 

After her talk, she was kind enough to sign my cookbook and even gave me a few other goodies. A few weekends ago, I finally got the chance to crack the spine of the book and go to work. Keeping her message about cacao in mind, I decided to make Julie’s incredible-looking raw and gluten-free, No-Bake Brownies!

Right off the bat there was several things I liked about the recipe. It appeared to be very easy and only required a handful of ingredients. I also like that it required only a short prep time and no cook time. Too often raw deserts require exotic, nearly-impossible-to-find ingredients and two or three days in a dehydrator. These brownies take a total time of 10 or 15 minutes and the ingredients can be found almost anywhere. As Julie notes, if you cannot find raw versions of some of these ingredients, you should simply substitute raw for the least processed you can find. 

To make these delicious little morsels, do as follows:

    1 cup soft dates, pits removed
    1 cup raw walnut pieces
    ½ cup cacao powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
    1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I used Navitas Naturals)
    pinch of sea salt

Place the walnuts into a food processor and grind until they are a coarse flour. Then while the machine is still running, add the dates, cacao powder and the sea salt. Keep the food processor running until all the ingredients are well mixed. If the dates are a bit dry, you may need to add a bit of water. Add just enough so that the mix sticks if you pinch it together between your fingers.

The mix

Now transfer the ingredients into an 8x8 pan (or a pan of similar size) sprinkle in the cacao nibs and begin pressing the flour and the nibs together with your hands. They are now ready to serve although I found that letting them chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so is best, as the oil from the walnuts gets reabsorbed. 

The brownies are truly remarkable! They contain only natural sugar from dates, are filled with good EFA's from the walnuts and are packed full of anti-aging antioxidants! Perfect for after hard workouts or as a scrumptious dessert! 

I should add my sister-in-law and I made these again last weekend while I was in North Carolina and I can now say these brownies are also three-year old approved!

see you out there and a special thanks to Julie!