Healthy Lifestyle Blog

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 7, 2010

Busy Weekend Ahead

After having a wonderful INTERdependence Day weekend, and a media holiday for 4 days, I am busy prepping for two events coming up this weekend. I highly recommend taking media holidays from time to time – it really helps to clear your head. I find myself giving too much attention to the negative energy that is so typical of media broadcasts. Spending a weekend learning about decentralizing the food production and bringing gardens to our own communities was so refreshing and inspiring. I only wish I had enough produce ready to harvest for this weekend’s events.

The first event is this Friday, July 9. I call it Raw Vegan Dinner Party+ because it is a dinner party PLUS a class in raw food preparation. I will be making a four course dinner, and demonstrating how to prepare all the courses. What’s on the menu? Stuffed mushroom appetizer, followed by “braised” spinach in a mustard lemon dressing. The entree is my version of raw lasagna, stuffed with basil pesto and cashew cheese. For dessert we will have a chocolate chia seed pudding parfait.

On Saturday, I am teaming up with Lorraine Aguilar, yoga teacher and physical therapist extraordinaire and founder of Yoga Flow Studio, at the monthly Cinema Night. This month, we will be screening Food Matters, and I will be doing a raw food demo and sampling.

It’s not too late to register for either event. Call me to reserve a spot.

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, 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 future articles about health and the
environment, 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,Vegan — Marilyn @ 10:35 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.

* * *

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

June 27, 2010

ChiChi’s Chocolate Chia Pudding

Last week I wrote about the history and benefits of chia seeds in the post, Chia Seeds: Natures Powerhouse. Today I have a recipe for a delicious chocolate chia seed dessert. ChiChi is a nickname that I friends called me when I was in high school, and to this day a dear friend still calls me ChiChi. Hence, the name of the recipe. (I guess you can tell I like alliteration – just couldn’t think of a good alternative for the word “pudding.”)

ChiChi’s Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

3 cups nut milk* (see recipe below)
2-3 Tbs. raw cacao
3-5 Tbs. raw honey, maple syrup or agave
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup goji berries (optional)

Equipment:
blender, large mixing bowl, whisk

  1. Place all the ingredients EXCEPT the chia seeds and (optional) goji berries in the blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  3. SLOWLY add the chia seeds, stirring constantly with a whisk until all the seeds are coated in the milk mixture. Wait a few minutes and add (optional) goji berries. All to sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. The pudding will thicken.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. I prefer to leave the pudding overnight, as it continues to thicken and the berries soften and get nicely plump.

Nut Milk

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds or Brazil nuts
3-6 cups water (depending on desired creaminess – I use about 3-4 cups for the pudding)
1-2 dates or other sweetener (optional)

Equipment:
blender, large mixing bowl, nut milk bag or fine strainer

  1. Place nuts and water in the blender.
  2. Blend until the nuts are completely ground.
  3. Pour the mixture through a nut milk bag or very fine strainer over a large bowl.
  4. Gently squeeze the nut milk bag to express all the liquid. If using a strainer, keep stirring the mixture so the liquid drains out, removing excess pulp as you go.
  5. If adding sweetener, pour the milk back into the blender and add the dates or other sweetener. Blend again until dates are fully incorporated into the milk.
  6. Stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator, nut milk will keep for 2-3 days.

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, 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 future articles about health and the environment, 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 @ 3:11 pm

June 23, 2010

Chia Seeds: Nature’s Powerhouse

Chia Seeds, Nature’s Little Powerhouse

We all remember the Chia Pet, and how you simply mixed the seeds with some water and they became like glue and could be spread on a terra cotta form to grow green “hair.” Well, a healthy use for these tiny seeds is to eat them and reap the benefits as our predecessors did in ancient times.

Chia seeds have been around for thousands of years. Domesticated by ancient Mexicans in 2600 B.C., the little seed was used as a staple food by indigenous people in the Southwest US and Mexico. These tiny seeds were known as the “running food,” and used for subsistence by Aztec warriors during conquests. Banned by the Spaniards because of their role in pagan religious ceremonies, the chia seed almost disappeared. Today the tiny seed is emerging once again as the superfood it truly is.

Chia seeds are packed with nutrients. They are an excellent plant-based source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids – more than flax seeds. Low in calories, high in fiber, they contain uniquely balanced ratios of macronutrients – better than most grains, seeds and other foods. They are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese and antioxidants. Plus, they are gluten-free, and there is no evidence of any other allergic responses to chia.

The health benefits of chia seeds are numerous:

  • They provide super-energizing power due to a blend of protein, essential fats, fiber, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants.
  • They are excellent for helping to maintain healthy body weight: the high quality protein in the seed help build lean muscle; they reduce cravings for sweets and junk; and they help curb the appetite by stabilizing blood sugar, making chia good for hypoglycemia and diabetes.
  • Their high omega 3 content helps to: improve cardiovascular health; improve mental focus and concentration; and boost brain power.
  • Chia’s soluble fiber massively retains water to keep you well-hydrated
  • Chia supports healthy elimination and detoxification.
  • Chia’s minerals (calcium, phosphorus and manganese) support bone health.

There are many ways you can enjoy chia seeds daily. One delicious way is to make a chia seed pudding. I will be posting my favorite chocolate chia pudding recipe next week.

You can also make chia gel and keep it on hand to take as is or to add to food. It is good practice to take at least 1 tablespoon of gel every day. Or add the chia gel to food. It will displace calories and fat without diluting the flavor. To prepare chia gel, start with 2 cups of water in a small bowl. Slowly add 1/3 cup chia seeds while mixing with a whisk. Be sure to add the seeds to the water while stirring, or the seeds will clump together. Wait a few minutes and mix again. The seeds will grow in size and become quite gelatinous. You may store chia gel in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Unlike flax seed, the oil in chia seeds is very stable and does not turn rancid readily.

Another way to enjoy chia is to add it to smoothies. Start with 12-16 ounces of water in blender. Grind 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds in a coffee grinder. Turn blender on low speed and slowly add ground chia. Add the other smoothie ingredients and blend. Let the smoothie sit for 5 minutes before drinking.

Chia seeds can be found in some health food stores or online. I have seen a wide range of prices. I buy organic chia seeds in bulk from a wholesale distributor for about $7 per pound. They are worth their weight in gold!

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, 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 future articles about health and the environment, 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 — admin @ 3:11 pm

June 22, 2010

Basil Pesto, Vegan Style

I love basil. I remember as a child there was always basilico (Italian for basil) growing in our backyard, and I loved picking leaves for my mother to use in tomato sauce. The smell of fresh basil reminds me of those days.

If you are growing basil and want to harvest from the same plant throughout the summer, keep pinching off the flowers so the plant doesn’t go to seed. Also, be sure to pick the leaves before they get too large – they are much more tender when they are smaller. At the local farm, basil is pulled root and all and bundled that way. When I take it home, I place it in a vase with water and place the vase of basil in the refrigerator. It keeps fresh for several days that way. Cut basil (without roots) may be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel.

Basil has many health benefits, and its most abundant nutrients are similar to many other leafy greens – very high in Vitamin K, and moderately high in iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. There is also a wide array of additional nutrients that are not often cited, and are seldom (if ever) present in processed foods even when “enriched.” It seems that no matter how much we strip nature’s bounty of its nutrients, we can’t seem to put them all back in. So why not eat the food straight from the source?

Research has shown unique health-protection properties of basil due to its flavonoids and volatile oils. The flavonoids in basil offer protection at the cellular level, protecting our cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Basil also has anti-bacterial properties due to its volatile oils. One component of basil’s volatile oils, eugenol, is being studied extensively because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Got arthritis? Eat basil!

To retain all the nutritional value in basil, it is best eaten raw. If you do add it to a cooked dish, then it is best to add at the very end so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor.

Here is a recipe for a vegan basil pesto that I adapted from a recipe I found in The Raw Revolution Diet, by Cherie Soria.

1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
1 Tbs. flax seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons light miso
1-2 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
1/4 cup walnuts

  1. Place the garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until finely ground, scraping down the sides.
  2. Add chopped zucchini and process until smooth.
  3. Add basil, oil, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, salt and pulse a few times to coarsely chop the basil.
  4. Add the walnuts and process until the desired consistency is achieved.

This pesto is delicious over spiralized zucchini pasta, as a filling for a rollup, in raw lasagna, or layered with fresh heirloom tomatoes over a bed of lettuce.

Enjoy!

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, 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 future articles about health and the environment, along with recipes, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/. The sign-up box is in the right sidebar.


Filed under: Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — admin @ 12:35 pm

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