Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thrive Pizza... Oh So Good

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe, so I am making up for it with an especially delicious one! This pizza is unique in that its crust is made from legumes and vegetables as opposed to flour; therefore, the crust is a complete protein and packed with nutrients, which makes you feel as good as it tastes!

This Buckwheat Sunflower Seed Carrot Pizza comes from the creative-mind of former professional Ironman, Brendan Brazier, and is found in his new book, Thrive Foods. In Brazier’s third book, he turns his attention toward explaining how nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are the best form of proactive health care as well as more environmental sustainability than the standard western diet. Boasting over 200 recipes (all of which avoid common allergens such as wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy, and corn) this book is a must have if you are moving towards a plant strong diet.

The recipe is pretty easy, but takes a bit of prep work (I have made this pizza a few times and each time I make it faster than the last). In total, I’d say the pizza takes about 15 - 20 minutes of prep (including time for a homemade sauce) and then 35 - 40 minutes in the oven depending on how crispy you like the crust.

Homemade Marinara Sauce (raw)
This is a light but sweet tasting sauce that I created by blending a few other recipes together. Makes around 4 cups.

3 or 4 sundried tomatoes (soaked)
2 medium size heirloom tomatoes
¼ cup hemp, flax or olive oil (I typically mix all three)
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 handful fresh basil (dried works as well, but fresh is best)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 date
1 large clove of garlic
Sea salt

Reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes by soaking them in warm water for 15 minutes or until tender. While the sun-dried tomatoes are soaking, blend the rest of the ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. Then add the soaked, sun-dried tomatoes and blend again. Pour into a bowl or container and set aside. (if you do not have a high-powered blender, cut the dates and sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces and use a food processor for a slightly chunkier consistency.)

Buckwheat Sunflower Seed Carrot Pizza 
This pizza is highly nutritious and can satisfy any craving for pizza you may be having. I also really enjoyed a few slices after a long ride last weekend. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days, but the real question is why wait to enjoy something so good?

The Goods for the Crust

1 cup ground sunflower seeds
1 cup raw buckwheat (soaked for 15 minutes in warm water)
1 cup shredded carrot
¼ cup coconut oil (I use less than this)
Parsley, pizza seasoning and crushed red pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste

1 tomato, sliced
1 cup lightly sautéed dinosaur kale
½ cup raw arugula
½ cup raw shredded beats
2 chopped green onions
1 clove diced fresh garlic

The Goods for the Toppings

First, preheat oven to 300˚. In a food processor, process all the crust ingredients. Similar to making a smoothie (see comments section) you want to put the ingredients in from densest to lightest to ensure best results. So start with the sunflower seeds then the carrot and buckwheat. Follow with herbs and salt and finally the oil. Blend until the mixture starts to ball up.

While the mixture is processing, oil a cooking pan with coconut oil (I like to use a cast iron, no chemicals and it gives the food an extra boost of iron!). Remove the mixture out of the processor, and spread into the pan so it is about ¼- ½ thick depending on personal preference.

 Now pour your sauce onto the flattened crust and then spread your choice of ingredients evenly on the crust. I typically add a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast to the top of the sauce before putting on the other toppings. This gives it a light and cheesy taste as well as much needed vitamin, B-12!

Ready for the oven!

Bake your beautiful pizza for 35 or 40 minutes at 300˚. Check the pizza around 30 minutes for desired crispness.

Fresh and piping hot!

Take your pie out of the oven, sprinkle crushed red pepper and garlic salt over the pizza. Add a handful of hemp seeds to add an extra source of complete protein and enjoy!

Bone appétit!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Superfood Smoothology

Since I’ve been getting tons of questions about smoothies, I thought I’d finally do a post on them. Smoothies are great on any occasion. Many people prefer to make a large smoothie for breakfast, others use them for a mid-day boost, but I love them as a way to help speed recover and restore energy levels after a hard workout.

Initially, I figured I would just blog the recipes of a few of my favorite combinations; but then I realized that most of my smoothies are made on the fly with whatever goodies I can get my paws onto. As such, instead of sharing a few rigid recipes, I thought I’d share the basic building blocks to the perfect superfood smoothie and leave it to your own imaginations to do the rest. And so here is my basic guide to creating the perfect blend.

Green Tea (excellent way to boost antioxidants) 
Almond Milk,
Sunflower Seed Milk (high in Omega 3s)
Rice Milk
Apple Juice
Orange Juice

Berries: (I often use frozen berries) (Antioxidants)
Goji Berries (dried) 
Mulberries  (dried)
Acai Berry Pulp (frozen)

Bananas (I often freeze bananas)  

Greens and Veggies:
Beet Greens

Wheatgrass powder (practically tasteless, navitas)

Nuts: (Proteins and Fats) 
Brazilian nuts
Pine nuts

Vega One and Vega Protein
Hemp Powder
Hemp Protein by Nutiva
Pomegranate Powder (made by navitas)  
Amal Powder (Dried Indian Goose Berries. Very, Very High in antioxidants and Vit C.)
Maca Powder (excellent post exercise, helps relax the body)
Raw Cacao (very high source of antioxidants and magnesium which helps relieve cramping)
Cloves (One of the highest sources of antioxidants)
Ginger (excellent for recovery)
Turmeric (Indian spice, helps fight cancer, helps blood circulation for recovery, must take with black pepper to metabolize) 

Oils: (I only use these on weeks were I've trained really hard and never more than half a teaspoon)
Coconut oil
Hemp Oil
Flax Oil
Olive Oil

Chia Seeds (Add a spoonful of chia to every smoothie to add Omega 3s and fiber to keep blood sugar from spiking from the fruit and sweetners)
Hemp Seeds/Powder (excellent source of protein)
Flax Seeds
Sunflower Seeds

Date Sugar
Dried Figs
Lucuma Powder (navitas)
Sweet Palm Coconut Sugar
maple syrup 
Stevia (use sparingly)
Agave (use sparingly)

You may have noticed that I didn't include any algae. I don't use spirulina (except for the small amount found in Vega). While many believe it is a superfood because it is 60% protein, it has recently been found to breakdown muscles rather than rebuild them, and is has also been linked to liver cancer. Instead, I use to take small amounts of Chlorela when I felt I need the extra push but the payoff didn't seem worth the price, as I replaced it with Kale, which is much cheaper and can be found local!
More on Spirulina can be found here:

Now go get out the Vitamix (or any other blender you may have) and mix and match to your hearts stomachs content.