Merry’s Hemp Truffles

At the beginning of the summer we added another new member to our family, Hermione’s nanny/best friend/partner in crime, Merry. I cannot express enough how lucky we are to have her in our lives. Not only does she adore my baby girl, shower her with love and affection, read to her, play with her, and cuddle her but she is also a very talented vegan chef! This summer while the little nugget was sleeping we would have tons of conversations about food and health. I always found myself anxious to try what she was making herself for dinner!

One afternoon I saw Merry snacking on these delicious Hemp Truffles and asked if she would share the recipe on my blog. They are the perfect sweet bite, incredibly easy to make and loaded with energizing fuel. As a runner, Merry’s inspiration for this snack came from a desire to fuel her training:

I came up with the recipe because first and foremost, I am always trying to come up with yummy raw snacks.  I also wanted it to be perfect because of training for running longer races. As my runs get longer and longer, I wanted to be able to tote along one or two of these to keep my energy up after 10 miles! I love dates as a source of carbs and potassium for those longer training runs.  The types of snacks they sell for long distance runners are crap, so I wanted my own nutrient-dense,  easy-to-eat energy bite while on the run (literally.) :) Sometimes you just need that little boost to avoid hitting the wall.

Merry’s Energy Balls

  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup dried mulberries
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Add everything into the blender/food processor except for the hemp seeds
  2. Pulse or blend on low until ingredients are well mixed.  It should be sticky enough to form into bite sized balls.
  3. Form tablespoon size balls and roll in hemp seeds.  Makes approximately one dozen.
Tomato, Watermelon, Basil Bites

It’s August which means tomatoes! I wait most of the year to eat local tomatoes in their peak. You really have not eaten a tomato until you have had one straight from a Long Island farm in August. Yum! I plan on spending the rest of this month eating as many tomatoes in as many different ways as I can.

A few weeks ago Doug and I hosted some friends for casual Saturday night cocktails. I love hosting gatherings but have to admit it has become a lot more difficult to pull off since Hermione. I no longer have hours to spend in the kitchen preparing hors d’oeuvres for my guests. Instead I have to make simple things that can be prepped ahead of time and pulled out of the fridge when our guests arrive.

These tomato, watermelon and basil bites are the perfect combination of summer flavors. Paired with a chilled glass of rose they are my new summer party go to!

Tomato, Watermelon, Basil Bites

  • 1/4 of a watermelon cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (grape, pear or baby heirloom tomatoes will also work)
  • 1 bunch basil
  1. Spear one watermelon cube on a toothpick followed by a rolled basil leaf and a tomato
  2. Devour!
Pronut Holes

I am a sort of, kind of, semi superstitious person. I will not panic over a broken mirror or a black cat. I do refuse to call my unborn daughter by the name we have chosen for her. Doug calls my belly by her name all the time and it freaks me out a little bit. This may seem strange since I have fully finished her nursery, stocked closet and all but to each her own right?

One superstition I have grown more attached to recently is that full moons can bring about labor. I have heard stories from friends, nurses, and my own doctors about babies being born on full moons. Some say it has to do with a change in air pressure, tide and gravitational pull. Some say it is more primal than that. Either way tonight is a full moon so we shall see if baby girl decides to make a slightly early arrival!

As my pregnancy draws to a close I have been trying to really focus on preparing myself for labor and delivery. I have been resting as much as I possibly can and eating for strength and energy. Recently I have become very dependent on healthy snacks. The bigger my baby gets, the less room I have to fit big meals. Eating for two? Forget about it! My stomach and the rest of my digestive system is so squished that eating a full meal is nearly impossible.

These protein bites or Pronut Holes (protein doughnut- get it?) as Doug named them are the perfect pregnancy nibble. I keep a batch of them in the fridge and grab one or two whenever I need a little pick me up or protein infusion. I definitely plan on having some on hand to eat during early labor, whenever that may be!

Pronut Holes

  • 1 cup Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein Powder or other vegan protein powder
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, coconut water or water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • stevia to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Add more liquid if needed to get a thick dough to form.
  3. Roll into small balls.
  4. Allow to set in fridge.
Spicy Sweet Express Guacamole

Despite my best efforts my fridge is not always perfectly stocked. Ideally, I try to always have a good supply of greens, raw veggies, fruit and staples such as lemon juice and almond butter on hand. In reality a busy week and no time to get to Whole Foods sometimes leaves my fridge lacking. This has been happening a bit more recently. As I get bigger and more tired a trip to the store sometimes feels like just too much to handle. Putting my feet up and reading is much more appealing! There are many days when I peek inside, ready for a snack, only to find random fruits and vegetables such as one avocado, a red pepper, some pomegranate seeds and a bit of lemon juice. Not quite the perfect lineup for my favorite Pomegranate Guacamole. Well, as they (who they are I don’t know) say necessity is the mother of invention. When an eight month pregnant lady wants a healthy snack, sometimes she just has to invent one!

This Spicy Sweet Express Guacamole is super fast to make and cannot be messed up. If you don’t have pomegranate seeds you could add some other diced fruit such as pineapple or just omit the fruit altogether. If you are not a spice junky like me feel free to leave out the hot sauce. It will still taste just as good! Hey, even just an avocado mashed up with lemon juice and sea salt is a delicious and incredibly good for you snack! Recently I have been enjoying this guacamole inside of red pepper halves but it also works great as a dip for carrots, celery, romaine leaves or any other other raw vegetable you may have on hand. After all this is snacking and should not be taken too seriously!

 

Spicy Sweet Express Guacamole

  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (pineapple or other sweet fruit would also work well)
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sirarcha or other favorite hot sauce ( some brands of sirarcha contain fish sauce, make sure to read the ingredient list before purchasing to get a vegan version)
  • sea salt to taste
  • liquid stevia to taste
  1. In a small bowl mash together the avocado, lemon juice, sirarcha, sea salt and liquid stevia until smooth.
  2. Gently fold in the pomegranate seeds.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve inside red pepper halves or as a dip for raw vegetables.
One Sexy Fruit- How To Open a Pomegranate

Pomegranates are a sexy fruit. The juicy red arils (seeds), the way they exploded in your mouth, the sweet tart taste. Mmmm. No other fruit seems more suited to Valentine’s Day than pomegranates. However sexy, they can also be a messy pain to open if not done properly! No one likes red stained hands, cutting boards and countertops!

No need to avoid this antioxidant packed beauty food for fear of ruining your manicure! Check out this video to learn how to quickly and cleanly de-seed a pomegranate to seduce your loved one in Valentine’s Day perfect recipes such as Pomegranate Guacamole, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters, Cauliflower and Pomegranate Tabbouleh, and this Valentine’s Salad!

Holiday Party Food and Drinks

I hope you enjoyed my video on How To Throw a Healthy Holiday Party! Over the next few days I am going to be sharing more details on the tips featured in the video starting with party food and cocktails.

A great party is nothing without delicious food for your guests to enjoy. Sadly, most holiday party fare tends to be rich and heavy. Nothing makes me feel lees like celebrating than being put into a food coma! Instead of the typical bloating holiday bites try some of my healthier ideas. You want your guests merry, not miserable!

All of these recipes are easy to make and can be made either entirely or partially ahead of time. In the hours before you party you should be focusing on getting yourself gorgeous and party ready, not catering! The one exception is the guacamole which tastes and looks best when made fresh. However, as long as you have all of your ingredients ready to go it can be thrown together right before your guests walk in the door.

Black Truffle Salted Almond Bark 

Instead of traditional holiday cakes, candies and cookies try making this Almond Bark. Dark chocolate is low in sugar and there is an added bonus of healthy fats and protein from the almonds.

Pomegranate Guacamole

I like to update guacamole for the holidays with the addition of pomegranate seeds, one of the few fruits in season during the winter.  They are packed with antioxidants, have a wonderful sweet-tart taste, and the color is oh so holiday appropriate. I serve my guacamole inside of a romaine leaf, and as a dip for crudités!

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms 

Stuffed mushroom caps are a party favorite. Most recipes call for breadcrumbs and tons of cheese. Gross! I stuff mine with a delicious dairy free pesto, which can be made days or weeks ahead of time and frozen. The day of your party just defrost the pesto, stuff the mushrooms and pop them in the oven a few minutes before your guests arrive. You may want to go easy on the garlic in your pesto when making these for a party. Nothing is worse than being caught in an intimate situation with garlic breath!

Food is great but let’s be honest, most people go to holiday parties for the drinks! Instead of a full bar I always serve a signature drink or two at my parties. Picking one or two speciality drinks saves you the time and money of offering a fully stocked bar. Everyone loves a great cocktail!

Almond Nog 

While delicious, traditional egg nog is loaded with sugar and fat. For my holiday gatherings I make Almond Nog with OMilk Almond Milk and a few extra spices. It’s a delicious alternative that is great on it’s own or for a more “adult” beverage add a few ounces of rum!

Prosecco with Pomegranate

While festive, champagne is quite pricy. Instead, I like to toast with glasses of Prosecco. A few pomegranate seeds at the bottom of the glass make for a very merry glass of bubbly!

Rosemary Ginger Lemonade

I always make sure to have a special non-alcoholic drink on hand for any guests who are not drinkers. Drinking plain water at a party just doesn’t feel special. Adding fresh ginger to homemade stevia sweetened rosemary lemonade gives a spicy, savory twist!

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed  lemon juice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 6 springs of rosemary
  • 1″ knob peeled ginger chopped
  • 2 squirts liquid stevia
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or large bottle
  2. Allow to “steep” for 30 minutes or so
  3. Adjust sweetness to taste and serve!

 


 

11/29
0
Vegetable Ceviche

I have many habits that most people would consider odd. I call them quirky. I won’t wear my heaviest winter coat until at least January. My thinking is if I break out “the big guns” in November I will be too used to the extra warmth come January when it is REALLY cold. If I start a book or TV series I always stick with it, even if it is really cheesy or just bad because I feel guilty abandoning fictional characters.  I only drink white wine never red (rose in the summer) no matter what I am eating or what time of year. I can eat ceviche, which most people consider a summer food anytime of year. While I prefer my ceviche served with margaritas on the beaches of Mexico I am happy to get my fix in freezing cold New York City as well!

Tonight a good friend and I are checking out another friend’s brother’s new Mexican restaurant (whew!), El Toro Blanco. I am always excited when a new Mexican spot opens as I sometimes feel my options in New York are limited. While it seems like there is a lot of Mexican food to be had, most of it is Tex-Mex or just not authentic enough for my taste.

In celebration of my impending guacamole and ceviche feast I wanted to share this recipe for Vegetable Ceviche. You could use almost any vegetables you like but I find the combination of mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, turnips and radishes works best. Serve this alongside My Favorite Margarita, Pomegranate Guacamole, and some Spiced MexicanTruffles and you will have quite the feast of your own!

Vegetable Ceviche

  • 1 turnip diced
  • 6 radishes sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 medium oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 5 thin slices of jalepeno seeds removed
  1.  Combine all vegetables save the tomatoes  in a bowl and mix with lemon juice,  lime juice and olive oil.
  2. Allow to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Drain any excess citrus juice.
  4. Gently toss vegetables with tomato, jalepeno and cilantro.

 

Truffle Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Happy almost Thanksgiving! We are celebrating with Doug’s family at a restaurant this year instead of cooking at home. While this may seem like an a-typical choice I am very much looking forward to it. It means we get to dress up, be served delicious food…and no body has to do dishes! Since I do not have the opportunity to contribute to the Thanksgiving meal this year I have been making some of my favorite dishes for dinner this week to get my fix! Lot’s of pumpkin pie, roasted sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts!

If you ask me Brussels sprouts get a bad wrap. I don’t remember exactly but when I was growing up there was a television show where the punishment for doing something bad was eating Brussels sprouts. Pee Wee’s Playhouse maybe? Not sure. In any case, if Brussels sprouts were a typical punishment I probably would have been much more of a rule breaker growing up!

I like my Brussels sprouts roasted until slightly crispy, yet still tender on the inside. The addition of truffle sea salt (found at most gourmet markets) and truffle oil really makes this a special treat! I have been known to eat a whole bowl in one sitting.

Whatever your plans are tomorrow I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday.

Truffle Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts halved
  • 1 T black truffle oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 tsp black truffle sea salt
  • 1/4 cup low sodium organic vegetable stock
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a bowl to throughly coat.
  3. Spread brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast 30 minutes or until just starting to brown.
  5. Serve hot.
10/18
0
Ten Hour Tomatoes

All good things come to an end. Vacations, deep tissue massages, Gilmore Girls. Like my favorite tv show I am sad to say that tomato season is officially over. Yes, I realize we said goodbye to Stars Hollow years ago but I still miss it!

I have stopped seeing heirloom tomato salads on restaurant menus, and Whole Foods no longer has an abundant supply of organic local tomatoes. Usually at this point in the year I stop eating tomatoes, with the exception of sauces. However, recently I discovered a new trick for turning out of season tomatoes into an easy to grab snack. The tomatoes currently available at most markets are not ones I would want to eat raw, but cooking them for a very long time at low heat turns them into a new treat altogether. Doug calls these Ten Hour Tomatoes because of their long cooking time. Don’t worry; they don’t actually take ten hours to make!

I like to make these in huge batches and store in the fridge. They are delicious on top of a salad or on their own. They have a subtle salty/sweet combination that is very satisfying!

Ten Hour Tomatoes

  • 2-4 pints assorted small tomatoes (cherry, grape, pear etc)
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting (about 200-250).
  2. Spread tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Bake for 2-3 hours or until the tomatoes start to shrivel and decrease in size.
  4. Eat warm or store in the fridge for about a week.
10/16
0
Banana Sushi

I get asked a lot about breakfast. What do I eat for breakfast? What do I recommend eating for breakfast? Personally my morning goes something like this: wake up, drink warm water with lemon juice, work out, drink 32 oz of green juice. I don’t really start eating until about noon when I have some fruit. After years of experimenting I have discovered this is what works best for me and my system in the morning. My body just isn’t ready to start digesting food until the afternoon.

I realize not everyone is a green juice for breakfast type (although I would urge them to try!). Some people need a little more bulk in the morning and I totally respect that. While there is no better way to start your day than green juice, sometimes it is not enough.

Last week at a party a friend asked me for some vegan breakfast ideas. She was trying to make the transition to a more plant based lifestyle but was getting stuck at breakfast. I suggested a nutrient dense green smoothie, but she did not seem quite ready for that. She wanted a breakfast she could chew.

This banana sushi is a quick, easy and filling breakfast. You could easily make it at home and take it to work with you. The healthy fat and protein from the almond butter will satiate you without bloating, and the collard leaf will give you body a little boost of green goodness!

Banana Sushi

  • 2 medium banannas
  • 1 collard leaf
  • 2 T creamy almond butter

 

  1. Cut collard leaf along rib so you are left with two halves.
  2. Spread each half with 1 T almond butter.
  3. Place a banana at one end of leaf and roll away from you.
  4. Repeat with other banana and collard leaf.
  5. Cut each roll into six pieces.

 

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