Spring in my step

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Great run Mommy!

 

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”

—Robin Williams

 

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I love spring. 

I love the blue sky. 

I love the birds chirping in the morning. 

I love the fresh warm sun. 

I love the cherry blossoms. 

I love running in the afternoon.

I love it all.  What do you love most about spring time?

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Really, really great 15 minute workout!

I found out yesterday my little man has two ear infections. Poor baby! He’s already feeling much better and his fever has broken. Phew! Thanks to basil and peppermint oil!

After dealing with my clingly little monkey, I felt I needed a good workout…from home…while he’s napping. Give this video a shot, you won’t regret it. But, nobody ever regrets a good workout right? Follow along with Zuzka – she is beautiful and motivating! Who wouldn’t want to look like her?

I don’t have a kettle bell, so I just used a 20 lb weight. My legs are burning and I worked up the sweat I needed. Now I’m gonna hit the showers!

xoxo,

Crystal

Spicy Sesame Coleslaw

Recently I ordered Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive Foods on Amazon!  It felt like Christmas to me when the Amazon box arrived.  I’m slightly obsessed with him and his philosophy about nutrition.  (I highly recommend you order it now it you don’t already have it.)  When I first learned about Brendan I was uber excited because he used to be a professional Ironman Triathlete like my husband Joe.

My husband Joe, in the red cap.

I thought it would be helpful when trying to persuade Joe to adapting a strictly plant based diet.  Turns out Joe didn’t need any convincing at all and the switch for him was just natural.  Phew!

Now, back to Brendan…I finally tried one of his recipes last night, his South of the Border Coleslaw.  This was my first time trying one of his recipes…there are so many yummy looking ones to choose from…but I chose this one simply because I happened to have two head of cabbage needing to be eaten.  It was just OK on it’s own. But, the whole time I was eating it, I just thought it needed something.  My step-dad had some with me while we watched American Idol…go Phillip Phillips!  He also thought there was something missing – he suggested adding pineapple asking…isn’t there pineapple in regular coleslaw?  Baahaha, that made me laugh out loud!  No, not in any recipes I’ve seen.

Don't you dig my fancy iPhone photography!

 

Here’s the recipe:

South of the Border Coleslaw

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 1-2 hours

1/2 cup cashew soak water

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 large Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

1/2 tsp sea salt

8 cups finely shredded green cabbage (shredded as thinly as possible)

1 cup shredded carrots

Directions:

When cashews are soaked and soft, place in a blender with water, vinegar, dates, cilantro and salt.  Blend until smooth and creamy (this may take a couple of minutes).  In a bowl, mix together the cabbage and carrots.  Pour the blended mixture on top and toss until well coated.  Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.

What I added:

To a bowl of coleslaw I simply drizzled sesame oil, sprinkled sesame seeds and squirted some Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce on top.  This totally made the dish beyond delicious!

I’d be curious to hear what YOU think about this recipe and how you changed it if at all.

xoxo,

Crystal

Black Rice and Orange Lentils with Avocado Salsa

Lentils are one of my favorites.  I love making a huge pot and eating it leftover meal after meal.  Lentils get better the next day…well at least I think so.  I’ve never tried the colorful varieties so I was excited when I bought some orange lentils in the bulk section at the health food store.  Buying this was is cheap and very non-committal.  You can get just enough for one meal…I love that. I always find that when I buy in bags I have enough for two meals plus a teeny bit extra and I find that annoying.   Because of this the bulk section is my new favorite place in the health food store. It’s the bargain smart way to buy.  Actually, yesterday was all about bargain shopping for me.  My local store gets delivery of their produce on Tuesday’s so I went to get some of the fresh goodies…well, I got there too early and the delivery hadn’t arrived yet.  But, what I did get was great prices on their existing produce – the organic broccoli was still in good condition and marked down to $.99 (normally $3.99).  Awesome, right?  I thought so!  I also bought a handful of vegan carob chips just to try.  They were good enough that I might commit to buying more to try in a recipe someday.  Watch out for that…

Here’s the vitamin packed meal we had last night…PS, orange lentils cook quite fast…I was surprised.

Black Rice and Orange Lentils with Avocado Salsa

Rice:

1 cup black rice (or brown rice)

1 3/4 cup water

1 clove of garlic chopped

salt to taste

Directions:  Combine ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down heat to low and cover.  Cook for 30 – 40 minutes.

Orange Lentils:

2 cups orange lentils

5 cups water

4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

salt to taste

Directions:  Rinse lentils and discard any funny looking ones. 🙂 Add lentils, water, garlic, cumin and pepper to pot.  Don’t salt yet as it will make the lentils tough.  Bring to boil and then turn down heat to low simmer.  Cook approx 20 minutes or until lentils are done.  Then add salt. (I usually like to add onions to my lentils, but I didn’t have any…they were quite good without)

Avocado Salsa:

1 tomato

1/2 avocado

1 Tbsp chia seeds (for good luck and extra nutrients)

2 limes juiced

chopped cilantro

salt

Directions: Dice tomatoes and avocado.  Combine all ingredients.  I usually like to add chopped radish to my salsa, but I didn’t have any.  You need to make this fresh at every meal as it doesn’t keep.  Especially if you use radish.

Serve over a bed of organic spinach… and enjoy!  PS, Lennox loved the lentils too!

A few reasons why this meal is good for you…

Black rice is high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene, anthocyanin and several important vitamins.

Lentils are high in protein, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals.  Serving with rice makes it a complete protein.

xoxo,

Crystal

 

Strawberry Lemongrass Smoothie

Yesterday I finally made it to the gym. Yay!  These days I’d choose an hour at the gym over an hour at the day spa (well really I would pick both).  Lennox doesn’t particularly like the day care at the gym and I’m right there with him on that, so I sneak off to the gym when my family is available to hang out with the little dude.  Unfortunately, because I don’t get to go as regularly as I would like, I tend to go a little overboard.  Yesterday was no exception.   In my book there isn’t much that is better than that day after soreness from a good workout…to a point.  So to combat what I felt was a little too much of a good thing I made this smoothie.

Strawberry Lemongrass Smoothie

1 banana

7 strawberries

1 cup coconut milk

1 handful of ice

1 tsp chlorella(high in protein and B12)

1 tsp chia seeds (helps speed recovery)

1/2 tsp to 1 tsp agave nectar (or sweeten as you choose)

4 drops doTERRA lemongrass

Directions: Whizz in blender and thank me later!

As an athlete, lemongrass is one of my favorite essential oils.  Not only does it smell divine (at least I think so), it is awesome in so many ways.  It’s an anti-inflammatory, after exercise it promotes relief of lactic acid build up (great for rubbing on sore muscles), it can increase athletic performance by increasing blood circulation, and it enhances energy.  Lemongrass is a mild diuretic and cleansing to the bladder and kidneys.  It can reduce cholesterol, relieve chronic fatigue symptoms, it stimulates and strengthens the nervous system.  Lemongrass is a great way to wake up the lymphatic system and it invigorates and strengthens the entire body.  Doesn’t is sound like the perfect addition to a morning smoothie?  I thought so too!

Now, be careful though.  Not all essential oils are safe to take internally.  Even most therapeutic grade essential oils clearly state on the bottle – not safe for consumption.  That is why I only use doTERRA’s CPTG (certified pure therapuetic grade) essential oils.  doTERRA’s oil are beyond therapeutic grade, they are beyond organic and 100% safe to take interally for this reason.  They even have a FDA supplement facts label on the bottle.  I get my oils at wholesale prices, if you are interested in finding out more about doTERRA’s fabulous oils message me at veganfamila(at)gmail(dot)com.  I’ll happily send you some to try out in your own recipes.

xoxo,

Crystal

Vegan Oatmeal Cassia Muffins

Yesterday was a super windy bone chilling day.  Just looking outside made me shiver. It’s quite embarrassing for me to admit that I didn’t even leave the house.  I caught up with friends and family over the phone and email and fully took advantage of not feeling the pressure to “do something”.  It was raining in LA (which we all know almost never happens) and I made the comment to my friend (hi Jen) how much I loved rainy days in LA.  It’s like the universe is just giving you permission to stay inside curled up on the couch, watching sinful TV…shows that you would never admit to watching… while having a nice cupa tea.  So I had my own LA rainy day in blustery Utah.  I needed something yummy to go with my tea so I came up with these.Image

Vegan Oatmeal Cassia Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup quick oats

1/4 cup date sugar (that is what I found hiding in the cupboard – but any sugar will do)

1/4 cup golden flax meal

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cup coconut milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

4 drops doTERRA cassia oil

1/4 cup oil (coconut is best, but whatever you have will do)

1/4 agave nectar (or maple syrup)

1/4 to 1/2 cup dried fruit or nuts (I used chopped dried prunes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl add vinegar to coconut milk and let sit for a few minutes.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  After vinegar and coconut mixture has had time to sit, add the cooking oil, cassia oil and agave nectar and stir together well.  Combine wet mixture with dry ingredients and then fold in dried fruit.  Add to muffin tin or silicone baking cups.  I had enough for 11 muffins.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

These aren’t overly sweet but they are delicious and moist….and Lennox approved!  Enjoy!

xoxo,

Crystal

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I seem to be on a baking kick lately.  No one at home seems to be complainingly though.  Here is the latest creation:

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup brown rice flour

1/3 cup almond flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup sugar in the raw

2 Tbsp golden flax meal

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients.  In a sauce pan, add peanut butter and coconut milk, stir till peanut butter is melty.  Add vanilla to mixture.  Combine wet ingredients with dry.  Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Crystal

Easy Homemade Vegan and Gluten Free Crackers

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After I ran out of cauliflower, I needed something to eat my hummus with so I made these.  I’m been wanting to make a cracker for days now and finally did.  I don’t know what I was waiting for…these are so easy!

Easy Homemade Vegan and Gluten Free Crackers

2 cups almond flour (you can make your own by grinding almonds in a food processor)

3 tsp golden flax meal

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper (more if you like)

2 Tbsp chopped parsley (or any herb, parsley is what I had and goes well with hummus)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp water

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients and herbs.  Add oils and water and mix well.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Using parchment paper, one sheet on top and one on bottom, roll till dough is approx 1/8 inch.  Place on cookie sheet and remove top layer of parchment.  Score dough with pizza cutter into desired cracker size.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until crispy and golden.

These paired perfectly with the herbed green hummus I made earlier today.

Let me know what you think and what you did differently!

xoxo,

Crystal

Herbed Green Hummus

Green is my favorite color…when it comes to food.  I add greens to almost anything…why not pack in some extra nutrients here and there, right?! Using organic greens is key see what produce you should also buy organic here.

Herbed Green Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans

2 handfuls organic baby spinach

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp tahini paste

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

4 drops doTERRA thyme oil

4 drops doTERRA lemon oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Water to achieve desired consistency.

Directions:

Place all ingredients in food processor and whizz!  Easy peasy!

Personally I love dipping broccoli and cauliflower in hummus…bell peppers are also delish too!  Oh, also I love adding a few spoonfuls to my salads.  Yummmy!

(You easily make this recipe raw by using sprouts chickpeas instead.)