Monday, August 27, 2012

Homemade Almond Milk (with coconut water)

Almond coconut milk

This article in Veg News magazine inspired me to try making my own almond milk. Mylkman founder, Jeff Leaf delivers fresh almond milk made with almonds and coconut water to customers in the Los Angeles area ($14 for 32-oz delivery). Since I don’t live in LA and was really curious how the mixture of almond and coconut milk would taste, I made my own!

The whole process is relatively easy. The most time/labor is spent straining out the almond bits with cheese cloth. The taste is super delicious. Next week, I’m going to try making plain almond milk (sans coconut) to determine how much of the deliciousness is because it’s homemade vs. because I added coconut water.

2 cup blanched almonds
water for soaking nuts
2 cups filtered water
2 cups coconut water
2 dates

Soak the almonds in water overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Drain the water from the almonds and discard. Blend the 4 cups of coconut/water, almonds and dates until well blended and almost smooth.
Strain the blended almond mixture using a cheesecloth or other strainer.
Homemade almond milk will keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Cheese cloth straining
Read my part II - how to blanch almonds

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quinoa Cranberry Salad

Quinoa Cranberry Salad
Dried Cranberries
Salad dresssing

Bring water to boil (about twice the amount of quinoa), add quinoa, simmer for ~25 minutes or until tender
Chop spinach
Top spinach with quinoa, dried cranberries, salad dressing

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

Healthy meal with minimal prep =  Spaghetti Squash topped with pasta sauce, sauteed Smart Ground veggie protein crumbles and daiya mozzarella cheese.

Spaghetti Squash has 1/5 the calories of regular pasta and 1/4 the amount of carbohydrates. You can read more about the nutritional comparison here.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cut squash in half (lengthwise), scoop out and discard seeds
Lightly grease a baking sheet
Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet
Bake for 30 minutes or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance
Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled
Spoon out spaghetti strands and add toppings

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baked Zucchini Fries with Sriracha Sauce

Baked Zucchini Fries
Fry making station
We had a lot of zucchini left over from last week's CSA so I googled the words "zucchini" and "bake" to figure out what to do with them. I found a great recipe on Vegan Happy Hour's site for Zucchini fries. I decided to bake them instead and made a spicy dipping sauce.....

Baked Zucchini Fries
~ 2 medium sized zucchinis cut into spears (leave the skin on)
~ 1/2 cup flour
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 1/4 tsp pepper
~ 1 cup breadcrumbs
~ 3/4 cup water
~ 1 tbsp ground flax seeds combined with 3 tbsp water microwaved for 45-60 seconds (mimics an egg)
Preheat the oven to 350*F degrees.

Put the cup of water/flax mix in a bowl, the flour, salt and pepper into another bowl, and the bread crumbs in a larger bowl or shallow dish.

Dip the zucchini spears into the water/flax mix, letting the excess run off, then dredge in the flour mixture and let dry for about 2 minutes.  Dip the zucchini spears into the water/flax mix once more then dredge in the breadcrumbs until the entire surface of the spears are covered.

Oil the baking dish with vegetable oil. Place the zucchini fries in the dish and bake for 45-55 minutes.

Dipping Sauce: mix Vegenaise (I used Follow Your Heart's reduced fat vegan mayo) with Sriracha.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kirani "Jaguar" James, making all Grenadians proud

Kirani James post victory
My father is from Grenada, a beautiful country in the Caribbean. Although it's a small country of ~110,000 people, it's famous for its picturesque beaches (including the rare black and white sand variety), rivers, waterfalls, rainforests and mountain lakes. I've always loved and embraced my Grenadian side, the majestic Island of Spice (one of the world's largest exporter of nutmeg and mace).

Watching Kirani James represent Grenada in the 2012 Olympics over the past few days has brought great pride and happiness to not just Grenadians but sports fan around the world. Not only did Kirani's superb 400m performance win Grenada our first medal in history, a gold one at that......but Kirani did it was such class and grace.  Sunday, immediately after winning his heat for the 400m semi-finals Kirani "Jaguar" James asks Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorious (the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic games) to exchange bibs with him. Today, directly after winning the 400m final in 43.94 seconds Kirani shakes every racer's hand before beginning to celebrate his victory. 

James said of Pistorius, “He’s very special to our sport. He’s a great individual - it’s time we see him like that and not anything else.”.... Pistorius called James a “phenomenal competitor” and said that trading the name bibs was “what the Olympic spirit is all about.”  (Today in London)

400m semi-finals: Kirani and Oscar exchange
I just go out there and just try to do my best in terms of representing my country in a positive way. As long as I do that, they are going to be proud of me, and as long as they are proud of me I’m happy with that. But just being there and this being an Olympic gold medal, this is a huge step for our country in terms of stepping up to the plate in track and field, just going out there and putting us on the map.” (NY Times)

Kirani is now the only sprinter from outside the United States to break the 44-second barrier. At 19, Kirani has a very promising career ahead of him. As some focus on if he will be able to beat Michael Johnson’s 13-year-old world record of 43.18 seconds, I'm already so proud I'm bursting at the seams ;)

Kirani won by a sizable margin

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do you have enough?

Great article on The Atlantic: What My Son's Disabilities Taught Me About 'Having It All'. The author encourages us to stop asking "Do I have it all?" and instead ask "Do I have enough?"

Reading Marie Myung-Ok Lee's article reminded me of a quote that I memorized to say whenever I need to remember to be joyous/positive: "If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look?...Be calm, be strong, be grateful, and become a lamp full of light, that the darkness of sorrows be annihilated, and the sun of everlasting joy arise from the dawning place of heart and soul, shining brightly." ~`Abdu'l-Bahá

My favorite snippets from Marie Myung-Ok Lee's article:
"When I look at friends and acquaintances, many with perfectly beautiful children and wonderful lives, and see how desperately unhappy or stressed they are about balancing work and family, I think to myself that the solution to many problems is deceptively obvious. We are chasing the wrong things, asking ourselves the wrong questions. It is not, "Can we have it all?" -- with "all" being some kind of undefined marker that shall forever be moved upwards out of reach just a little bit with each new blessing. We should ask instead, "Do we have enough?" 

[W]hat bothers me is the implicit expectation: that people are waiting for our inevitable breakdown, a breast-beating howl against fate that is sure to come once we realize we'll truly never "have it all" -- because of our imperfect son.........For all the people who are puzzled by my seeming happiness, I'll be glad to let them know my "secret." I'm not in denial, I'm not on antidepressants, and I don't live in a fantasy world. I have a wonderful husband and I am pursuing a career I've dreamed of since I was nine years old. I have a beautiful son, friends, and a working stove. I am not paraplegic. I have parents who, through luck and fate, had me here in the United States, and not in North Korea. I live in a time where my awful vision can be corrected with glasses. I am a college graduate. I am never hungry unless I choose to be. Do I have enough? Resoundingly: yes. And I ask you to take a moment: I suspect you might, too."