Healthy Veggie Burgers.

Finding a healthy “veggie” burger is a lot harder than it sounds. Sure, you can find one on just about every menu. But when is a veggie burger not really a veggie burger? When the ingredients look something like this:

water, soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, contains less than 2% of methylcellulose, salt, caramel color, dried onions, yeast extract, sesame oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, natural and artificial flavor (non-meat), disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate

These are the ingredients in one of the better burgers out there. For most the list of ingredients gets longer and a lot harder to pronounce. When it comes to food I have to agree with Michael Pollan, if I can’t pronounce it, I certainly don’t want to eat it. For most of these burgers soy in some form is a key ingredient. Many non-organic soy products contain traces of the neurotoxin hexane. Soy processors use hexane to divide the beans into fat and protein. The beans are cracked, heated, and rolled into flakes, which are then soaked in a hexane bath to extract the oil. All of these products are made from gmo soy. Which raises an entirely new set of concerns. I looked at the countless options of “meat-free” products in the grocery store and couldn’t find one brand that was both organic and used non GMO soy. Ditto for the health food store.

So what is a girl to do when trying to find a worthy healthy companion for the carrot dog? You guessed it: make your own.

The following recipe is a slightly modified version of the slider burger recipe from Raw Soul. The great thing about this burger is that it can be eaten raw or cooked. Either way, absolutely delicious.

Burgers
3 cups soaked walnuts (soaked overnight)
½ cup sprouted green lentils
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked 2 hours)
½ minced onion
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 large minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup flax meal
Water as needed

In food processor, pulse all ingredients, except parsley and flax meal until smooth, adding water if needed. Move to bowl. Add parsley and flax meal. Mix well and form into burgers.
Dehydrate for about 6 hours on a teflex sheet. Turn over and dehydrate for about 2 more hours. Don’t over dehydrate, they should still “give a little” and be moist on the inside.
If you want to cook these, the best way is to pan sear them on each side and then cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes each side.
They keep in the fridge for about a week.

To Sprout Lentils:
Soak lentils in a bowl of water overnight, rinse
Drain into a colander with a fine mesh screen
Place Colander over a small bowl and cover with a dish towel. In a day or so they will have sprouted little tails like the photo above.

Carrot Dogs on the Grill

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy……… It wouldn’t be summer without hot dogs and hamburgers right? No, not your traditional variety

something a littler fresher, a little healthier, and so much more delicious: Carrot Dogs. I must confess,these are not my invention. I tasted my first dog almost 5 years ago in the Brooklyn backyard of my dear friends Kristina and John. These were John’s specialty and I have to say they have haunted me ever since. So hot dog like (but in a good way) and so easy. John generously shared his recipe which I think originated at a place called Mr M’s pub in Omaha Nebraska. It isn’t a crunchy veggie place just a regular pub that happens to have carrot dogs on the menu.

Seeing these on a traditional menu is one of those things that makes my heart sing. I have tweaked the marinade a bit, so that it has just the right amount of salty and spicy. One of my favorite ways to have these is with homemade sauerkraut and mustard. Yum. They can be grilled or not it is up to you but it IS summer after all, so fire up the barbie while you can and enjoy this happier healthier dog.

Carrot Dogs
6 medium sized carrots, with the ends cut off
Marinade:
Whisk together
1 cup Nama Shoyu (available at most health food stores) you can sub low sodium soy sauce if Nama Shoyu is not available
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove of minced fresh garlic
Directions:
Steam the carrots until they are tender; you should be able to pierce them with a fork.
They should be cooked through but still be a little “al dente”
When tender, drain the carrots and place in an ice bath. Drain again.
Transfer the carrots to a glass storage container. Pour the marinade over the carrots and refrigerate. 4-6 hours or overnight is best.
Remove from marinade and serve, or place on grill for about one minute.

Spring Planting

Spring has officially sprung. The bulbs are peaking up through the cold ground, buds are visible on the apple trees, and the birds have started chirping. From the moment we spring forward into daylight savings time, my mind turns to thoughts of planting our vegetable garden.  There is nothing quite like walking out into the garden and eating something freshly picked.  I could not LIVE without it. At this time of year cold hardy seeds can start to be planted. Cold hardy seeds would be any kind of pea or lettuce, leafy greens like kale or spinach.  It is a great way to get out of winter hibernation and start thinking warm weather.  Bartlett’s Farm has a wonderful selection of all kinds of organic seeds to choose from.  With the garden center now officially open, browsing though the seed packets and chatting with some of the super knowledgeable garden staff is sure to inspire.  If you haven’t done so already think about designating a small corner of your garden to edible plants.   It is easy to build a raised bed from scrap wood or a pre made kit, then start planting your favorites.   Maybe you don’t have room for a raised bed and can’t bear to give up your flower bed?   A dear friend of mine plants his flower garden by intermingling his favorite herbs and vegetables throughout the patch.  It is a truly beautiful and unique way to plant.  It is easy to be overwhelmed at first when thinking of planting a vegetable garden, start small and branch out from there.  If seeds aren’t your thing, think about edible landscaping.  Why not plant a fruit tree, or a blueberry bush?  The time and effort spent digging will be well worth it when you can pick a fresh apple and taste the difference.  I was asked once to name my favorite vegetable.  I started by saying asparagus.   Of course anyone who knows me knows that it is impossible for me to choose just one.  My favorite is ususally the one that I have just finished planting or eating.  I probably picked that initially because when I think of asparagus I remember digging the trenches with my husband ( it took hours), I remember being covered in mud (it was cold and wet),  I remember seeing the first stalk emerge in the spring and I remember waiting 3 years to eat any (I forgot about that part).  The first stalk I ate was the most delicious stalk of asparagus I had ever tasted.  We planted it together, we waited, we were patient.  There is a real joy in growing your own food.  Great stories emerge, laughter ensues, and a delicious meal is sure to be had by all.   Happy Spring. Happy planting! A great resource for pre-made raised beds: http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Link-Product?sku=34-381RS

Happy Thanksgiving! A Raw Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

pie1

Pumpkin Pie

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving, a holiday that revolves around EATing?  A day where we get to gather around the table and take a moment to reflect on all that there is to be thankful for.  There are no presents to buy, not much to do (except maybe watch a football game) so we really get the opportunity to enjoy each others company and just be.  My mother started a wonderful tradition many years ago.  Before we dig in to the feast, we go around the dinner table and talk about what we are thankful for.  When we first started doing this my sisters and I were much younger and we and would roll our eyes a little bit and play along to appease her.  Now it has become a most meaningful moment in the day.  It is so easy to focus on what is wrong in our lives or in the world.  By taking a moment to pause and share what there is to be grateful for, we embrace the true meaning of the holiday.

pie2

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pie and what better way to celebrate than with the quintessential Thanksgiving treat; pumpkin pie?  Try this raw version and you will be amazed at how delicious it is.

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups of soaked and dehydrated pecans
1 cup of pitted medjool dates
½ cup of raw coconut oil
½ teaspoon of cinnamon

Filling

2 cups of cashews soaked overnight
1 cup of sugar pumpkin juice
(To make the pumpkin juice: run ½ of a small seeded sugar pumpkin through a juicer)
½ cup raw agave syrup
½ cup melted raw coconut oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of cloves

Blend pecans in a food processor until ground into a fine flour like consistency. Add the dates and cinnamon and blend until it forms a sticky dough.  Press the dough into a 9 inch pie plate.  I like to flute the sides with a fork for a traditional old fashioned look. Place the crust in the freezer to set for about an hour.

pie3

Place all of the filling ingredients in a Vita Mix or other high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into the crust and return to the freezer at least 2 hours or overnight.

Once the pie is set, you can store it in the fridge until dinner.

Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Raw Cacao and How To Make Raw Chocolate Candy.

cacao

Raw Cacao

It is that time of year when all thoughts turn to chocolate.  Halloween and chocolate candy, they just go together.  Even with all of our trick or treating many of us have  have never eaten “real chocolate”.  Most commercially produced chocolate bars, (think Hershey’s) only contain about 10% actual chocolate, the rest is sugar and fillers.

This year why not EAT some delicious real chocolate candy made with simple raw ingredients?  Making raw chocolate is probably one of the easiest things you can do. As a bonus it just happens to be good for you.   In fact, Raw Cacao is considered a super food. It contains theobromine which invigorates our entire system, phenylethalamine which increases our sense of happiness and well being, trytophan which elevates and stabilizes our mood, anandamide, the “bliss” chemical which relaxes the body and the mind. It is higher in anti-oxidants than green tea and wine. It also contains protein, good fats, calcium, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, magnesium, folic acid, and the vitamins A, E, K.  It is rich in iron.  Super food indeed!

The most important part of this indulgent experience is to make sure that you use truly raw cacao. The health benefits are only derived from cacao in it’s raw state.  One of my favorites is Pacari from Ecuador.  It is organic, heirloom (never heated above 118 degrees), and single origin (not blended with cacao from other countries or regions).  These are 3 important things to look for when you are purchasing raw cacao.

The next part is to have fun choosing a mold.  There are thousands to choose from, ranging from bugs and spiders to hearts and flowers.  They are very inexpensive and can be used over and over again.

Basic Raw Chocolate

  • 1 cup of raw cacao butter
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons of raw agave nectar

Melt the cacao butter over low heat.  Either in a dehydrator, in a double boiler with hot water, or in a sauce pan over the lowest heat.  If using the stove top method, you can keep an eye on the temperature with a candy thermometer making sure not to bring the cacao over 118 degrees.  Once it has liquefied, whisk in the cacao powder and agave until smooth.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and then fill the molds.  Set in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes until set and then pop out of the molds.  Because are no chemicals or stabilizers in this yummy chocolate keep them in the fridge until serving time.

From there get creative!  You can add chopped nuts, coconut, or dried fruit.  Add pure mint extract for a chocolate mint.  Play with flavors and textures to recreate your favorite candy bar.  Indulge in a little raw chocolate and Have a Happy Halloween!

Pacari Cacao can be found at:

http://www.therawfoodworld.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=100148_100215_100335

Chocolate molds can be found at:

http://www.amazon.com/ keyword: chocolate molds

Delicious Young Thai Coconuts.

coconut

The young thai coconut is one of my favorite things to eat.   In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning “tree which gives all that is necessary for living”   Both the liquid and the meat inside are very different from a traditional brown skinned mature coconut.  The liquid is almost clear with a faint scent of almonds and the meat can vary from thin and soft  to a thicker meatier texture. Coconut meat is an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fresh coconut water contains lauric acid, b vitamins, potassium, and electrolytes. Eating a coconut can prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol.  It can instantly rejuvenate you when you are feeling dehydrated.

Where to find them?  That can be the tricky part.  If you live in a city you are in luck as they are readily available in any Asian market. Whole Foods and Fresh Direct are now carrying Young Thai Coconuts every day in the produce section.  Most major grocery stores can order them for you if you ask.  You can also order on line, but the shipping cost due to the weight of the coconuts makes ordering this way extremely expensive.

Do something wonderful for your health, drink fresh, delicious coconut water.  Use the meat in smoothies instead of dairy or soy for a rich creamy consistency.  Seek them out, it is worth the effort.  Happy coconut hunting!

Practice. Eat. Live. All Things Yoga.

Welcome.

Welcome to Ahum.

A weekly blog where we will discuss all things yoga.  On the mat and off the mat.  Here you will meet great teachers or discover a new pose.  Find recipes for yummy nourishing food.  Discover the perfect pair of yoga pants or an excellent new book.

Thank you for joining me.  I look forward to our travels along the path and welcome your feedback.

Namaste.

(The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.” —Aadil Palkhivala

PRACTICE

“Practice and all is coming.” —Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

EAT.

“Relate to your food so that you can relate to each other.”—Eddie Robinson

LIVE.

“Dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt before, sing as though no one can hear you, live as though heaven is on earth.” —Souza