Healthy Lifestyle Blog

May 17, 2014

Creamy Kale Salad

I love kale. I grew up loving kale. My mother used to make kale soup (not my favorite) and then she’d take the cooked kale and prepare it with garlic and eggs, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I no longer eat eggs, but kale is still a staple.

It is easy to grow, and I have had kale winter over in southern Vermont for 3 years. Sadly last year the kale plants became infested with aphids and I had to pull them out. I now have some new plants growing and look forward to harvesting some for smoothies, salads and kale chips.

Curly Kale in the Garden

Kale likes cool weather, but I have never had a problem growing it in the northeast throughout the summer. I have even seen it growing as an ornamental (and I’m not referring to the plant that is in a tight head for that purpose), planted among flowers. The curly green leaves add much beauty to the beds, and then you can eat it!

I typically add some kale to my smoothies and soups. Here’s a recipe for a creamy kale salad. Because kale may be difficult to digest raw, it is best to massage it with salt and an acid (in this recipe I use lemon juice) until it “cooks.” The salt and acid break down the cellulose walls and make it more digestible.

Creamy Kale

1 large bunch of kale
1-2 tomatoes
1-2 lemons
2 ripe avocados
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil (optional – drizzle in if too dry)
Optional: cayenne, scallions or onions

  1. Strip kale off the stems, then cut or tear into small pieces (you may save the stems for juicing). Or, use a food processor for this, pulsing gently in small batches. Do not liquefy the kale.
  2. Sprinkle with some salt and hand process, massaging the kale until it takes on a cooked appearance. It will greatly reduce in volume. The salt actually cooks the kale by breaking down the cell walls.
  3. Squeeze one or two lemons onto the kale and massage again. The acid in the lemon juice will continue “cooking” the kale.
  4. Cut the avocados in half and score in a criss-cross fashion. Scoop out with a spoon and mix it thoroughly with your hands, “smooshing” (a special culinary term) it well to create a creamy texture. (Kids love to do this!) For a chunkier salad, reserve half an avocado and toss in without smooshing.
  5. Toss in the diced tomatoes, and the (optional) chopped scallions and cayenne.

Dark, leafy greens are among nature’s most beneficial foods. Kale is a great food if you’re looking to protect your health and enjoy a delicious food at the same time. The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables such as kale kelp detoxify cells, clearing free radicals and potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to be able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers and also provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well. Studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, bladder, breast and ovarian cancer.  Kale is also known for its carotenoids, which prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, offering a protective effect against cataracts. Kale is an excellent source of traditional nutrients, as well, including vitamins A, C, B, and manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, and potassium. The benefits go on… Kale is helpful for immune support, reducing inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis, preventing colds and recurrent ear infections. Kale is also a very good source of calcium, important for bone health, and vitamin E, shown to slow the loss of mental function. The combination of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients makes kale a health superstar!

Nutrition information source: World’s Healthiest Foods

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 1:47 pm

July 3, 2011

A Green Smoothie for Interdependence Day

In honor of Interdependence Day, I prepared a green smoothie to represent the wonderful abundance our earth provides for us.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


July 2, 2011

Got Weeds? Make Dessert!

You may recall my Garden of Weedin’ from last summer. This year, I heavily mulched the garden, and I planted it on Memorial Day. When when I returned after a month (I live in NY and my garden is in VT) there were weeds, but it was certainly manageable.

One of the most abundant weeds that I found is commonly known as lemon clover. I remember a housemate who would pick it and eat it right from the garden, so rather than discard the mounds of lemon clover, I decided to make something with it. At first I thought I’d make a pesto, but as I worked in the hot sun, a frozen dessert seemed more appropriate. Here’s a video showing you what I did.

 

Lemon Clover Granita

lemon clover – remove roots – all other parts are edible
water – enough to blend
honey or other sweetener to taste

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed. Adjust for sweetness.
  2. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer or nut milk bag.
  3. Pour the strained liquid into a glass pan and place in the freezer.
  4. After about an hour, run a fork through the mixture, loosening it from the edges. Repeat every hour until all the liquid is frozen.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.

 

 

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


May 15, 2011

Zucchini Rollatini

This is a favorite among raw newbies and raw foodies alike. I had the pleasure of serving samples of this recently and received rave reviews. It consists of thinly sliced zucchini filled with cashew cheese and topped with Marilyn’s Marinara Sauce and Basil Pesto.

Cashew “Ricotta” Cheese
(recipe adapted from Raw Food Real World. by Matthew Kenny & Sarma Melngailis)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2 hours or more
1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped
zest of one lemon
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/2 to 1 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (depending on desired consistency)
2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley

Procedure:

  1. Place all the ingredients EXCEPT the water and parsley in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until as smooth as possible.
  2. Add water, small amounts at a time to achieve the desired consistency. If making lasagna, you will want a softer consistency so it is easier to spread.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice if desired.
  4. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the minced parsley.

Stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator, cashew ricotta will keep for 3-5 days. Tastes best served at room temperature.

Zucchini Rollatini

Ingredients:

1/2 zucchini per serving
batch of cashew ricotta

Procedure:

  1. Cut off both ends and peel the zucchini if desired (or if not organic).
  2. Using a mandonile or a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise very thinly.
  3. Lay three slices side by side, overlapping a little. Cut the overlapped strips in half. This will make two rollatini.
  4. Place a spoonful of cashew ricotta across the sliced zucchini at the end closest to you. Roll the zucchini around the cheese. Repeat until you have three to five rollatini per serving.

Top with Marilyn’s Marinara Sauce and Basil Pesto.

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


September 15, 2010

Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes => Gazpacho

This  year in the Northeast, it seems that the tomatoes are abundant and exceptionally delicious. I learned from my neighbor, who is a farmer, that the drought we experienced contributed to the abundance of tomatoes – it seems that tomatoes like dry conditions.

My neighbor’s farm is one of the only farms left in Nassau County. Rottkamp’s Farm is a real gem. Although the farm is not an organic farm, I believe buying locally grown can be more important in some instances than buying organic, especially when you can enjoy produce picked the same day – the flavor is one benefit, but considering that most of the produce we purchase is picked anywhere from 5-7 days before it gets to the store, the nutritional value of fresh picked produce can’t be beat. Buying locally grown food also is much kinder on the environment. There is no need for all the energy that is used for packaging and transporting, and the diversity of crops typical of local small farms is much healthier for the environment for many reasons. And of course another benefit is that you are supporting the local economy.

One of the first things you see when you get to the farm is a field of corn, with rows of sunflowers growing in the distance. The corn is amazing. The first summer after I adopted a raw vegan lifestyle, I missed running down to the farm to get 4-5 ears of freshly picked sweet corn for dinner. It was not until later that year that I learned that I could eat the corn raw. And how delicious it is! I don’t know why anyone would eat it any other way, especially since I typically burned the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the fresh cooked corn.

The heirloom tomatoes are also amazing. This year’s crop was so abundant that my neighbor gave me a box of “seconds” because they were going to end up in the compost. I decided to make marinara sauce and gazpacho. In my quest to find a good gazpacho recipe, I came upon the one below, which I modified a bit to make it raw vegan.

There’s much much more at Rottkamp’s farm. Some of my favorites are their melons, particularly the watermelon (sweet and crisp), kale, basil (huge bunches with the roots intact), zucchini – both green and yellow, “cheese” peppers – very sweet, and an incredible variety of squash.

I’ll return with some ways to enjoy raw squash, but for now, here’s something you can do if you can get a few pounds of freshly picked tomatoes.

Andalusian Gazpacho
adapted from Epicurious.com

1-2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
2 Tbs. Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon organic raw sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend again,
  3. Optional – pass the soup through a sieve. This step is unnecessary if you are using a high-speed blender.

Transfer to a covered glass container and chill until cold – about 3 hours. Garnish with diced cucumber.

Note: This soup freezes well. I pour it into gallon zipper bags and lay it in the freezer. Thaw it out and then blend it again before serving.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Garden,Health,Kitchen,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan,Videos — Tags: , — Marilyn @ 4:59 pm

August 16, 2010

Green… It’s the New Black

It’s becoming fashionable to be green. More and more of us are becoming more aware of  ways to have less impact on the environment. We’re driving hybrid cars, using compact fluorescent bulbs, and recycling our garbage.

We don’t often think of the way we eat as a way of being “green,” yet our food choices can have a greater impact on the environment than any of the other actions we take. One way to green your diet is to eat greens!

Dark leafy green vegetables are among the healthiest foods on the planet, and some believe they should be designated as a separate food group because of their high concentration of nutrients. Sometimes called “nature’s scrub brush,” greens are an abundant source of insoluble fiber that acts like a sponge, gathering toxins from the colon and transporting them out of the body. Greens also alkalize the body, which helps prevent and reverse inflammation and disease.

Greens – Beyond Salad

For most of us, the only greens we eat on a regular basis are found in a tossed salad. Typically, these salads contain some kind of lettuce, baby greens and/or spinach. But there are many ways to enjoy your greens beyond salad.

One of the simplest ways of eating substantial amounts of greens is in a blended form. The benefit of blending greens is that they can be consumed raw, thus retaining all the nutrients and enzymes, and they are more digestible because the cellulose is broken down in the blending process.

My favorite way to get daily servings of greens is in a green smoothie. This is a delicious, nutritious way to start the day. Green smoothies typically consist of fruit, greens and a liquid. You may add other ingredients, but these are the basics.

When you are new to green smoothies, I suggest using small amounts of mildly flavored greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, baby bok choy, mesclun mix, Swiss chard or collard greens. Try not to be put off by the color, especially if you add a red fruit, which will cause your green smoothie to turn brown! (Think about what happens when you mix red and green paint.) If you can’t get beyond the color, pour the smoothie into an opaque cup with a lid, and sip it with a straw. Actually this is a good way to introduce resistant children to this healthy alternative to sugar laden breakfast cereal.

Green Smoothie Smile
(to go with the green shirt and balloon!)

Here is one of an infinite number of ways to prepare a green smoothie.

Chef Marilyn’s Green Orange Julius

1 banana
1 orange – cut off peel, leaving some of the white pith
1/4 lemon, peel and seeds removed
1 – 2 medjool dates, pitted (optional)
1/2 – 1 cup water, depending on how thick you want your smoothie
small piece of ginger, peeled (optional)
large handful of coarsely chopped greens – if using kale or collards, strip the leaf off the stem

  1. Place the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend at the highest speed until smooth. You may add ice for extra thickness and to chill the smoothie.
  3. Be sure to “chew” your smoothie – digestion begins in the mouth. Savor the flavor in your mouth for about 10 seconds before swallowing and allow the enzymes in your saliva to begin the digestive process.

This is just a basic recipe. You may vary the fruits based on what’s in season or personal preference. You may also add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds for a dose of omega 3s.

So green up your life with some greens!

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MarilynChiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address by clicking on the link in the sign-up box at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


Filed under: Environment,Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 3:00 am

July 31, 2010

Peach Cobbler

Every month I demonstrate several raw dishes for the Creating Wellness Center of Commack. The purpose of these dinner demos is to introduce people to more enzyme rich foods that are easy to prepare.

I usually decide what to make by what is available. Of course, summer is wonderful for the abundance of fresh produce, and the peaches were particularly inviting, so I bought several pounds and decided to make a peach cobbler. After searching for recipes online, I came up with my own version.

Enjoy!

Crust and Topping

2 cups walnuts, soaked, drained and dehydrated
1/2 cup raisins or Medjool dates (or combination)
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade.
  2. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped and the raisins and/or dates are mixed in. Texture should be crumbly. Remove about 1 cup of the mixture and set aside for topping.
  3. Continue processing the remainder of the mixture until the texture is fine and it sticks together easily when pressed.
  4. Pour into a 9-inch square pan and press firmly to form a crust on the bottom of the pan.

Peach Filling

7 thinly sliced peaches
2 Medjool dates
1 Tbs. honey or agave
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
zest of one lemon
1 Tbs. psyllium husk powder (for thickening)

  1. Set aide about half the sliced peaches in a large bowl.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process thoroughly.
  3. Taste for sweetness and add more sweetener if desired.
  4. Pour mixture into the bowl with the sliced peaches and mix. (Note: you might want to reserve several slices to decorate the cobbler)
  5. Pour mixture into pan with the crust.
  6. Top with reserved crust crumble.

Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 1:25 am

July 28, 2010

Marilyn’s Marinara Sauce

original recipe from A Taste of Light

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water for 60 minutes and drained
1 Tbs. finely minced onion

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

  1. Place the tomatoes in a colander and allow any liquid to drain. (Drink the juice or add it to another recipe.) When the tomatoes are thoroughly drained, transfer them to a food processor fitted with the S blade and pulse to process until slightly chunky.
  2. Add the soaked and drained sun-dried tomatoes, minced onion, crushed garlic,Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
  3. Allow the sauce to sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow it to thicken. Drain off excess liquid, if any.
  4. Stored in a tightly sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, Tomato Sauce will keep for up to 3 days.
  5.  

     

Serve over spiral cut zucchini – you will need a spiral slicer for that, or create fettuccine style noodles with a vegetable slicer. Just keep rotating the zucchini to get narrow “noodles.” Delish!

 


Filed under: Garden,Raw Food,Recipes — Marilyn @ 4:18 pm

July 12, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

On Friday, I hosted a Raw Vegan Dinner Party+ at my home in Glen Head, NY. I served an Italian menu that was very well received by the guests. The Dinner Party+ is a four-course dinner PLUS instruction in preparing all the courses. Guests enjoy a sit-down dinner and receive a packet of recipes and a gift. You may view comments from this dinner party and a recent tasting party at the LI Raw Vegan Meetup Site . You may also join the meetup and receive notifications of future meetup events there.

For the appetizer I served Marinated Mushrooms stuffed with Spinach Patè. Here is the recipe:

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
     Original recipe from ChefMarilyn

2 pounds fresh stuffing mushrooms

For the Marinade

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs. tamari
½ tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

  1. Clean the mushrooms with a soft brush or paper towel.
  2. Carefully remove the stems and set the caps aside.
  3. Prepare marinade by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly to blend. Or blend in a blender.
  4. Pour marinade over the mushrooms, and make sure all the mushrooms are coated. Set aside while you prepare the stuffing.

For the Stuffing

1 lb baby spinach
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours
1 cup nut pulp (from making nut milk)*
1 large onion, minced
2 plum tomatoes, cut in large pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
1 Tbs. light miso

 * alternatively use almond meal or whole raw soaked almonds, finelyground in food processor

  1. Drain the cashews and place in a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Process until finely ground. Transfer into a large bowl.
  2. Place garlic in food processor and pulse to process. Add tomatoes and pulse again to process. Transfer to bowl with cashews.
  3. Wash and spin dry spinach and place in food processor (in small batches). Pulse until spinach is cut in small pieces. Do not over process – spinach should be chopped finely, but not liquefied. Transfer spinach to bowl with nuts.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and mix thoroughly.
  5. To assemble, spoon the stuffing into the mushroom cap, creating a small mound.
  6. Arrange the mushrooms in a 9 x 13 pan and place in a dehydrator set at 105° for about one hour. Alternatively, use a warm oven set on lowest temperature with door cracked open for less time.
* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, founder of
ATaste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and
health coach. She offers a variety of services including
health coaching, classes,
dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information,
visit
aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly-Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or
516-671-7037.

If you
would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletters including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/. The sign-up
box is in the right sidebar.


Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 6:17 pm

July 1, 2010

Quick Easy Creamy Lime Custard

Last night I had a wonderful group attend my class, Dehydrating Breads and Crackers. I had prepped all the recipes in advance, so we could have tastings throughout the evening, and served the breads and crackers with different toppings or spreads. For the tortilla, I decided to create a dessert crepe with a fruit filling, topped with a creamy lime custard. For the fruit filling mixed some of the lime custard with diced mango and pineapple. The custard takes minutes to make, and transforms any fruit dish, or can be eaten plain as a pudding.

Creamy Lime Custard

1 avocado
1/4 cup raw light agave or honey (or combination)
juice of one lime
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. water

Place the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. if necessary, add a little more water.

This is delicious alone or mixed with diced fruit. One delicious combination is pineapple, mango and papaya. Top with some shredded coconut for a real tropical treat.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of ATaste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties,consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly -Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

Ifyou would like to receive future articles about health and theenvironment, along with recipes, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/.The sign-up box is in the right sidebar.


Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 4:41 pm

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