Friday, July 20, 2012

mango gazpacho

It seems like we're all fighting to stay cool in this summer heat! With temperatures over 100 degrees, we are getting quite the summer. I love feeling the warmth, though...especially when I can relax with some summer snacks or a refreshing meal. 

So, gazpacho for dinner it is! Gazpacho is a chilled, tomato based, chunky soup that you typically find in Spain. It is filling and refreshing at the same time. I used a couple of mangoes in mine to add some sweetness and brighten up the soup. I also had a huge heirloom tomato from the garden that I was excited to eat. This recipe was incredibly easy to create, but had some really great flavors. I'm excited to share it!

mango gazpacho:
2 mangoes
1-2 large tomatoes
2 cups spring mix
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 red bell pepper
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup cilantro

If you can, chill all ingredients in the fridge before preparing. Chop up all ingredients and blend together in your Vitamix (or blender). I preferred my soup a little chunky, so I blended on the low setting until everything was mixed up. Pour into a bowl and top with avocado, red onions, and more tomato. A little hot sauce would be nice, too. I used spring mix today, but spinach would also work.

This recipe makes about 2 bowls. Since it is LFRV, you could eat both... or share with a friend. 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

basil & peach salad

Peaches! I cannot get enough of them this summer. I've been eating them for breakfast and dessert, so adding one to dinner seemed like the next step. When making a savory or salty dish, adding some sweetness helps balance out the flavors. As you know, I'm all about adding lots of color to each meal, too. 
Since I've made it the last three nights in a row, I decided it was a recipe worth sharing.

Your best bet is fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from your local farmer's market. If you cannot get to a farmer's market, be sure to buy organic when buying foods like greens, herbs, and fruits that you eat the skin. 

The quinoa is optional for this recipe. It definitely makes it heartier and can add a little more depth to the meal, but if you're eating completely raw leave it out. Quinoa is a great substitution for a rice or grain because it is gluten free, full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, and it is a superfood! It is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. It is full of fiber and has been proven to help prevent and treat breast cancer and diabetes. So, if you're craving bread or rice... skip it and go for the quinoa instead.

Before slicing, dicing, and mixing, start cooking the quinoa. You'll want about 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa for this recipe, so follow the instructions on the back of your package for cooking information. I buy the Whole Foods brand and it takes about 15 minutes to cook. If you cook a larger portion, just store the leftovers for tomorrow.

for the salad:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. raw tahini
1 tsp. garlic powder
Mix the ingredients together until smooth consistency. Pour over 2 cups of chopped spring mix and stir until each piece is coated. I like to add arugula to my spring mix for an extra kick. 

for the peaches:
finely slice 1 peach 
finely slice about 1/8 cup of red onion
chiffonade 4 big leaves of fresh basil
Toss all ingredients together.

Once the quinoa is cooked, you're ready to put it all together. Start with the mixed greens on the bottom, then add your quinoa, and top with the peaches. Top with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. 


Thursday, July 5, 2012

new york, new york

Ben and I went to NY last month and had a amazing time. It just might be my favorite city. I usually travel to the big apple a couple of times a year for work or to visit friends - but it was a lot more fun going with my love rather than traveling alone. We walked all over the place, visited the MET, saw a show on Broadway, and ate amazing food. In a city like New York, it is so easy to be vegan. 

So, here were some of the restaurant highlights...

pala pizza:
Gluten free wood-oven pizza? yes! I got the Etna pizza made with vegan cheese, tomato, and eggplant. For dessert, we split a gf vegan apple tart. The restaurant has a whole list of gf pasta dishes in addition to the pizza, and they use Daiya cheese which is soy free. I will definitely be going back whenever I'm in the city. 

pax wholesome food:
Pax is a chain restaurant with convenient locations close to Central Park, Broadway, and mid town. Their salad bar has the biggest selection of toppings and dressings & comes in two you know I got a large. They also have fresh squeezed juices. This is a great place for a quick and inexpensive meal. 

cafe lalo:
Remember the scene in "You've Got Mail" when Tom Hanks realizes that his email love interest is Meg Ryan? Well, that cute restaurant she's waiting in to meet him is Cafe Lalo. I've been here numerous times to enjoy their decadent desserts and pastries, but I was pleasantly surprised to find they have a great gf and vegan menu, too. When traveling to NY, you must go here!

yaffa cafe:
If you're looking for a unique restaurant with an amazing outdoor patio, Yaffa Cafe is the place to go. They are open 24 hours and their menu features several great salads and vegetarian options. Located in the lower East Side, it was within walking distance to the apartment we were staying in. The service was great, the food was even better, and we loved it. 

An entire bakery dedicated to gluten free, vegan desserts... is this a dream come true? Not only is this bakery incredibly cute and quirky, they have amazing treats. I got this banana coconut donut, but I also had my eye on the rosemary lemon coconut cookie. It's not everyday that a vegan can chow down on baked goods. 

one lucky duck:
This restaurant is all completely raw vegan and has so many delicious options for gourmet vegan food. Their take-away menu makes it easy to get raw food on the go. I got the falafel with tabouleh and tahini/spicy dipping sauce, walked a block to Union Square Park, and had a nice picnic. 

What are your favorite places to go in New York? 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

mini fig pie

I have quite the sweet tooth, which is probably part of the reason I love a LFRV lifestyle...unlimited fruit! Summertime is great for fresh figs since they are in season and easy to find at most every grocery store. I bought a big bag and have been adding them to my smoothies, salads, and pie! 

mini fig pie:
1/2 cup raw almonds (ideally soaked for 4 hours)
1/2 cup mejooled dates
3/4 cup chopped figs
3/4 cup chopped strawberries

In the food processor, blend the almonds and dates until finely ground. Using your hands, mold into pie shape. Using the food processor again, blend the strawberries and figs until smooth. Pour the fruit mixture into your pie crust, drizzle with local honey, and enjoy! 

Easy as pie!