When you think spinach and artichoke dip, you most likely imagine something warm and gooey, bubbling to the brim with cheese and mayonnaise. While that style of cooking has it’s place, this is a totally different kind of dip.
Think of this as a much more interesting version of hummus. It is cool, tangy and bright with a beautiful green hue from raw spinach. It goes perfectly with cold crudites or warm, toasted bread, or slathered on a sandwich.
This is an incredibly easy and impressive spread to have on hand as the more languid summer days become distant memory and the weather works to figure out how soon to cool off. This dip is good with warm or cool accompaniments and takes a mere 5 minutes to throw together (if you soak your cashews, that does extend the total time, but adds a mere few seconds of effort).
Did you know you can make creamy sorbet using applesauce as a base? It’s true!
There are lots of recipes on the internet for banana soft serve- essentially blending up frozen bananas until they reach the texture of ice cream. If you haven’t tried this out yet, definitely give it a whirl. This method totally works because bananas are both sweet and starchy. Apples don’t have starch but they do have a fiber called pectin, which acts as a thickener. They also have a much more neutral flavor, making applesauce a great base for any fruit flavored sorbet.
You may not think to pair blueberry and rosemary together, but it’s a fantastic combination. You can, however, think of this recipe as a blueprint. You could swap the rosemary for lavender (another great combo) or omit the herbs altogether. If you’re not a fan of blueberries, try raspberries or cherries.
After every orthodontist appointment I had growing up, I would get a gift certificate to the McDonalds two doors down for a McFlurry. But what was my preferred post-dental treat of choice? Carrot juice. Yep, carrot juice from the crunchy, kitschy vegetarian restaurant next door.
I absolutely love carrot juice and it still feels like a special treat to me. But juice can be expensive to buy, and I don’t really want to invest in a DIY juicer (I have neither the patience to clean it, nor the space to store it).
Then the other day, when my carrot juice craving struck, Eric suggested I just make it in the blender. Brilliant! This juice uses a nut-milk style method and is totally genius. Not only does it allow me to have fresh juice whenever I want, but I can customize the flavors. To this batch I added a hunk of ginger and a dash of cardamom. Holy of holies was this delicious. Smooth and creamy and sweet and spicy. And it only cost $0.89 to make.
Carrot juice for the win!
Love and Weird Hippy Treats,
P.S. Wondering what to do with the leftover pulp? Stay tuned!
You know that intoxicating aroma of chocolate that wafts through your house when you make a batch of chocolate chip cookies? Ever noticed that you don’t get that same heady perfume when you open a jar of cocoa powder? That’s because the wonderful chocolate aroma we all know and love comes from cocoa butter, the fat from the cocoa bean. It is a special ingredient that is great for homemade foot creams and even better for homemade chocolate.
But if you’re going to go through the trouble of making your own chocolate, why would you punctuate that gorgeous scent with cardamom? First of all, it is super easy to make your own chocolate. No special equipment is required and I guarantee you can whip it up in less time than it would take to go the store and buy a bar.
Although this is not a classical combination, the results of combining these two flavors are incredible. Cardamom is a gorgeous, cooling spice that has an almost citrusy flavor. It adds lightness and surprise to the chocolate. It adds that special extra layer that makes people ask “what is in these?”
It also has some incredible health benefits.Cardamom is not only delicious, but acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound in the body. And the other ingredients contribute essential nutrients, too. Cacoa is one of the best food based sources of magnesium, and contains some zinc and selenium. Cacao nibs have all that plus crunch. Coconut oil is a heat stable fat that reduces oxidative stress in the body. And maple syrup is a vegan-friendly sweetener with a yummy smoky flavor and manganese, an enzyme activator that helps your body synthesize cholesterol.
So is chocolate a health food? No. It’s a special treat. But it’s definitely healthier (and more fun) to make it at home. Not only can you switch up the flavors (in case cardamom is totally not your thing) but you also avoid unnecessary refined sugars and emulsifiers like soy lecithin. So don’t hesitate to order some cocoa butter from Amazon and get cooking!
I have a confession: I don’t really like Nutella. I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, but Nutella itself is just too sugary. Plus it’s not vegan (it contains milk powder). Luckily, these truffles make a perfect dessert to unite the 98% of the world who does cartwheels over Nutella with weirdos like me who can’t stomach it’s saccharine sweetness.
They require just a few simple whole food ingredients: toasted hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder and sea salt. If you’re feeling fancy, you could throw in a little vanilla extract and a handful of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips for good measure. The nuts, dates, and cocoa are high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a healthy treat to share at any time of day. These are so healthy you could eat them for breakfast.
And these are perfect to share with friends of every dietary persuasion. If you or a loved one has a nut allergy, feel free to use shredded coconut (unsweetened). It will taste more tropical, and less like a French crepe, but it will still be delicious.
PubMed is my new favorite website. Since my lovely friendKaitlin was diagnosed with ALS, I have been spending a lot of time browsing through the National Library of Medicine, reading every peer-reviewed article I can find about non-drug based interventions to autoimmune disorders.
What I see echoed again and again through the pages of these articles is this: food is medicine. Whole plant foods have an incredible power to heal the body. Of course, there is no known cure for ALS. But there is a wealth of information available about cellular similarities among people with autoimmune diseases and food-based therapies that may offer meaningful interventions.
Turmeric is one of these seemingly magical, medicinal foods. It has a wonderful ability to help neutralize free radicals- those pesky extra electrons floating around which create a cascade of volatility in your body. Antioxidants, like those found in turmeric, stop oxidative stress in it’s tracks by grabbing those extra electrons. And if you eat turmeric with a dash of black pepper, it increases the bioavailability of the available nutrients, magnifying it’s impact.
As enlightening as these research articles may be, they don’t come with recipes. In reading about the health benefits of turmeric for all people, and especially those with autoimmune disorders, I wanted to come up with a delicious antioxidant power latte. This latte not only uses turmeric in it’s most bioavailable form, but it also takes advantage of the antioxidant powerhouse, the goji berry, which contains high concentrations of melatonin– a powerful antioxidant for the brain (especially wonderful for those with ALS).
This latte is medicinal and delicious. It uses a combination of medicinal herbs and whole plant foods to offer a yummy, antioxidant boost to your daily diet.
Is it just me, or do you also occasionally just want a giant pile of mashed potatoes for dinner? If so, this is your dish. It’s steamed vegetables whipped in a food processor with a heavy drizzle of truffle oil until it becomes a silky smooth pillow of plant powered goodness.
This is an amazingly fast, versatile and delicious vegetable mash. Since most of us are used to the pale, creamy color of mashed potatoes, I’ve used cauliflower and turnips in this recipe. But you could truly use any starchy vegetable: celeriac, jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes, etc.
Steam the cauliflower and turnip until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Transfer your steamed veggies to the food processor. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until silky smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times in order to blend everything thoroughly.
My beautiful friend Kaitlin loves cookies more than anyone else I’ve ever met. In our thrifty college, we would take cups of butter from the cafeteria back to our dorm room kitchen to whip up shortbread cookies and jam thumbprints. And every year for the past 10 years we’ve made hundreds of cookies and other sweet treats to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
For health reasons, Kaitlin is experimenting with a gluten-free diet. At first, she was reluctant. After all, food is more than food. Food is comfort and culture, familiarity and family. Sure, you can buy expensive, highly processed gluten free cookies at many grocery stores and coffee shops, but they often taste like a mere shadow of the real thing.
So I wanted to make Kaitlin the most amazing, delicious cookie imaginable that just happened to be gluten-free. I played with this recipe, modifying and tweaking it, in the hopes of creating the simplest and most delicious cookie imaginable. And it worked!
When she first tried them, her whole face lit up like a Christmas tree. These are soft, chewy, buttery, rich, chocolatey and delicious. And they happen to be vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and free of refined sugar.
In a bowl, stir together almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
Mix in maple syrup and vanilla and stir until the dough forms a sticky paste.
Fold in chopped chocolate.
Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough. Roll it between your palms to create a little dough ball, then flatten slightly. These cookies will not spread; they will be the same shape when you take them out of the oven as when you put them in.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
I love the clean slate feeling of a fresh year. I love the opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things that happened the year before and wonder, with anticipation, what new friends and new adventures the new year will bring.
And I love new years resolutions. I first became vegan because of a new years resolution. I was doing a different challenge every month for a year, and my friend Julie asked if I’d like to go vegan with her for a month. It sounded fun, so I figured I’d give it a try. And that was the starting point of this beautiful adventure.
Many people use new years resolutions to set unrealistic goals and then self flagellate when they don’t achieve them. I really see no point in this. You have this blank page of a year- why muddy it with your own self loathing? If you want to set a new years resolution at all, think about something you are curious about. What would it look like to start exploring it? What would be the first step? Start there and see where the journey takes you.
This Avocado Shake is something I’d forgotten about until recently. I was flipping through images from early drafts of my cookbook (another new years resolution project). This shake didn’t end up making the final cut, but it’s the perfect type of new years recipe: healthy, fast, easy.
It may sound strange, but I promise you it isn’t. It’s actually a very common Brazilian recipe. Brazilians blend avocados with milk and sugar; I blend them with coconut milk and a little agave or coconut nectar. This is a great recipe to make the morning after a long, indulgent night. Avocados make the shake thick and creamy, while adding lots of fiber, vitamin k and vitamin e. Coconut adds lots of medium chain triglycerides and a tropical flavor.
It’s a perfect recipe, no matter what diet you’re on. Though it is an especially great recipe for my loved ones who are managing their neurological diseases through diets rich in veggies and coconut!
This makes quite a thick shake. But the beauty of the recipe is that you can adjust any ingredient to suit your preferences. If you like it thinner, add more coconut milk. If you like it sweeter, add some ripe banana, one medjool date, or a little extra coconut nectar. If you want to add some extra veggies, through in a handful of spinach- it will yield a bright green color. Enjoy!
1 ripe avocado, pitted
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
handful of ice
1/2 tablespoon agave, coconut nectar, or maple syrup (optional)
Blend all ingredients until totally smooth.
For a paleo diet: use coconut nectar.
For a whole foods plant based diet: replace the liquid sweetener with a medjool date or 1/2 ripe banana.
For a raw foods diet: use the meat and water from one young coconut.
A few weekends ago, Eric and I went to Governor’s Island for a Unicycle Festival. We discovered the festival around 11:48am on a Saturday, and the festival began at 1pm. Now, usually I am a snob about jarred peppers. But we had some on hand, and I wanted to quickly whip up a picnic lunch so we could get on our way. I threw everything in the blender, grabbed some bread and a few cut up veggies, and we were on our way.
The Unicycle Festival turned out to be disappointingly tiny, but the dip was delicious! And given how ludicrously simple it was to make, I have since been persuaded to change my snobbish ways.
This makes a delicious accompaniment to the Chesapeake Cakes, but it’s also a fantastic picnic or party dip.