Sunday, May 29, 2011

My heart is smiling!

     My dear friend, Kara, came to visit me from Indy for the weekend!! We had such a beautiful time together! We volunteered at an organic, vegan, macrobiotic restaurant, Casa de Luz, and enjoyed a lovely meal after our hard work as chefs. :-) We also shopped at the amazing Whole Foods (the global headquarters - right here in Austin!!), attended a phenomenal Indian dinner hosted by one of my culinary instructors, and simply relaxed at what Kara called "Katie's Oasis." She commented on how relaxed and peaceful she felt the last few heart is full of smiles! :-) It may appear that all we did was eat this weekend...well, maybe we did...that's what cooking buddies do though! blessed...
Watermelon Wonder! Our favorite treat! ;-)

Sun-Brewed Tea!
Simply put a few tea bags in a jar of water and
let the natural light & energy of the sun brew your tea!
Delightfully refreshing!

Our Sensational Sunday Brunch for the Soul Sistas! - Macrobiotic Style! Blanched greens seasoned with ume vinegar & avocado; Sweet Potato Hash;
Oat & Buckwheat Pancakes (flourless!); and Terrific Tempeh Patties (recipes below)

"Chocolate Pudding Paradise Parfait"  
delightfully eaten with a Celery Spoon!
(the celery helps to balance the sugar from the pudding
as celery has naturally occurring sodium)
Treated like a Queen & loving it!

     I feel so blessed - a part of home came to visit! :-)

     Please try making these pancakes & patties - they are delicious!!
Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Oat & Buckwheat Pancakes (flour-free!)

2/3 cup oat groats (the whole-grain!)
1/3 cup buckwheat groats (the whole grain!)
1 1/2 cups non-dairy "milk"
1 Tbsp brown rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp flax seeds
1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup (or other natural sweetener)
1 Tbsp safflower or coconut oil
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine the oat groats, buckwheat groats, and "milk" in a blender container (do not blend). Let soak in the refrigerator overnight, covered. After soaking, blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients & blend well.

Heat a griddle & brush lightly with oil. Drop the batter by 1/4 cups and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm with fresh fruit or a drizzle of natural sweetener.

Terrific Tempeh Patties

8 oz organic tempeh
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour (I used 1 Tbsp chickpea flour & 1 Tbsp quinoa flour)
2 Tbsp shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce)
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp filtered water
2 Tbsp sesame oil

Cut tempeh in quarters and steam for 20 minutes (improves digestibility). Once steamed, mash tempeh with a fork and place in a separate bowl. Saute the garlic and onion in 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil until translucent. Add the onion/garlic mixture, flour, herbs, and spices to the tempeh. Stir until well-combined.

Add enough water to form patties (about 1/8 cup for each patty). Heat the rest of the sesame oil in a heavy skillet. Saute the patties and brown on both sides (about 3 minutes each).

**Serve in place of sausage or store-bought veggies patties. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Coolin' Carrot-Raisin Muffins!

     Not sure why I decided to describe these as "coolin" but...I whipped these up this evening since I had carrot pulp leftover from my carrot juice yesterday morning - no waste here! :-) Perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack...not too sweet, but just right! Whip up a batch in no time for a delicious, guilt-free treat (unless you eat too many of them - hehe)! :-)

Recipe adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance

You, the baker, will need:

1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups flour (I used spelt flour - lower in gluten than other flours)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of cloves & ground ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup non-dairy "milk"
1/4 cup mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot

How to carry out baking these delicious muffins made with your love:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F and prep your muffin tins by using a non-stick cooking spray.

To have "plump" raisins, soak the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain water once raisins have plumped.

In a large bowl, sift and combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. In another bowl, combine the agave nectar, "milk", mashed banana, and vanilla extract. Add the wet mixture to the dry to combine. Fold in the carrots and the raisins.

Fill your muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes depending on your oven. Cool on a cooling rack.

*Spread with applesauce or a smidge of Earth Balance (non-dairy butter).
*Some optional add-ins : shredded coconut, substitute dried cherries for raisins, chopped nuts, etc.
With love,
Kate the Cook (or Chef, either or)...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A plentiful week in life!

     30 = the number of mosquito bites I so lovingly received while I volunteered on a farm this Saturday! Ah - itchy & swollen!!! I must be allergic or something...or perhaps, just so sweet the mosquitos couldn't help, I don't know if I'd go that far! :-) Anyhoo, I had a great opportunity to spend Saturday morning at Urban Roots Farm. This farm is dedicated to sustainable farming and provides an experience for highschoolers to help manage the grounds. It's energizing to watch these kids take time out of their week (especially Saturdays) to learn more about sustainable agriculture and how to live off the land...amazing! What a great time I had - I felt blessed to be a part of the day!

Happily weeding the fields!

Awesome bunch of youth doing some seeding, planting, & weeding!

All the love and care that goes into the farm allows
beautiful food to be produced! Eggplant!
     My dear friend, Allison, came to visit me this weekend! It was so great seeing her and catching up on life! We made homemade tamales with a filling of black beans, onions, scallions, cumin, & chili powder; alongside a fresh batch of corn tortillas, guacamole, and a garden salad! Yum! She said it was one of the tastiest meals I've made for her... good to hear that my education is paying off! :-) And we can't forget to mention our trip (in the downpouring RAIN) to Redbox to pick up our chick flick (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and our fancy schmancy sorbeto! ;-)

Thanks for coming my friend! :-)
     Last week in my little culinary world, we started our Raw Food portion of the program. Raw food is not only uncooked fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts & seeds, but it is living food that if planted - it will grow! It is definitely a lifestyle that takes much preparation, but what healthy lifestyle doesn't take time?! That's the fun part of it anyway...put your love and energy into your food so you can feel at your best!

     Our instructor & Raw Food Vegan Chef, Alicia, taught us so much this week! We sprouted wheatgrass, sprouts, legumes, nuts & seeds. She made us superfood smoothies & soups and showed us how to make more non-dairy beverages along with dehydrated seed snacks and kale chips! Everything was so flavorful & delicious! She is a new instructor to the school & her passionate energy for healthful living is beautiful!

     Fresh squeezed juice is also recommended by Raw Foodists as the benefits are immediate - the nutrients go right to the blood stream for energy & it is easily digested by the body! *Note - I said fresh squeezed juice ... not juice from juice box that is about 4% juice. :-) Thankfully, my roommate has a really nice juicer (p.s. I scored on my present living situation - love it here - what more could a girl ask for - a vitamix & a juicer - nice! Oh and of course, a really wonderful roommate!). So I picked up some organic carrots, celery, greens, and fruit for my first fresh squeezed juice that I enjoyed this morning! It turned out very tasty! If you're interested, this is a Centrifugal Juicer that is pretty simple to operate & to clean.

Organic Carrot, Celery, & Apple Juice...and some lemon too!

     Well, I'm on my way into another week of learning about Raw & Living Food! My list of kitchen ware and ingredients just keeps growing!!! Blessings to you all - be kind to your bodies!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunshine in the Rain!

      Yes, we finally got rain here in Austin last week - we needed it! Perhaps not during the best time for me and Alison, my bike riding buddy, though! We were 10 minutes into our ride to school when it started to DOWN POUR on us! Yikes - I could barely see! After turning back around to head home (so we could drive my car to school), we were soaked to the bone...including my phone! Ah, well... We had some good laughs and considered it a symbol of being showered with blessings in the upcoming days! :-)

Still smiling though... :-)

     We learned how to make naturally-leavened breads this week - such a neat learning process. Who knows - maybe I'll start my own bakery! :-) It really was fascinating to learn and I hope to make some fresh loaves of bread in the upcoming weeks...stay tuned!

     What better way to start a Saturday morning off than a special breakfast with friends?! I made these two "French" toast (so simple - dip your choice of bread in a blended mixture of 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1 banana, and spices to taste - so yummy - and grill until cooked), Rainbow Chard & Leek Saute, and the little patties are Veggie Morningstar patties.

Lovely Roommate of mine :-)

Matt described the Rainbow Saute as "Friendly!"
It is full of such friendly-good-for-you ingredients! :-)
     Be creative this week with your eating plan! May you all be well....hugs!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Take a moment...

     ...sometimes I feel like I just need to take a moment and take it all in. Pausing. Breathing. Remembering to give thanks over and over to the Lord who has brought me where I am today. Although I am truly enjoying my time here in Austin, there are many individuals I miss dearly, yet distance keeps us a part... for instance, whose heart wouldn't melt when their 1-year old niece blows a kiss to them over skype...or a phone conversation with their 2-year old niece who says, "I yuv u!" Ah- so precious! Thinking happy thoughts to continually bring joy to my heart!

     Also, Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mothers in this world! I have several women in my life who have devoted their hearts and minds to serve as godly women. Thank you to all...especially my own Mom! :-) Hugs!!

     So I guess this is a culinary blog as well, so perhaps I should shed light on that aspect! :-) What a fantastic week I had...I have learned so much! We learned how to make non-dairy beverages, amasake & mochi (both made from sweet brown rice), mexican cuisine, indian cuisine, healing desserts (using natural sugars from vegetables & grains to tantalize the taste buds - really, it's yummy!), masa (mexican tradition using homemade corn flour), nabe (japanese style of cooking vegetables) ... the list goes on!

     Ooo and I went to the farmer's market on Saturday! What beautiful produce!! It's amazing what people can grow on their land - and I get to reap the benefits! :-) I would have taken a picture, but I have to face it, I stink at taking pictures - I simply don't keep the camera handy - argh! Anyhoo...the "google" photo below captures the image of the produce I took home! These blessed goods made a fantastic salad I served at my pizza party on Saturday night. I hosted a small get together with some friends - let's just say when you get a handful of chefs in the kitchen making homemade pizza - you won't want to order domino's pizza ever again! Fresh, organic, full-of-life, and flavorful ingredients makes amazing & good-for-you food!

Recipe of the Week:

Tempeh Italiano and Toasted Pine Nuts over Seasonal Greens

This recipe is absolutely fantastic - may be served as a side or a main dish - you will love it - give it a try this week ... and as always, let me know how it turns out!

(Serves 2-3, add more greens if desired)

4 oz tempeh (Light Life Organic Three Grain Tempeh is a nice brand)
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1Tbsp shoyu (raw unpasteurized soy sauce)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (this is a must - don't emit - lots of flavor here!)
1 tsp dried Italian herb blend, oregano, basil, thyme, etc.
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp pine nuts
2-3 cups seasonal greens (such as kale, collards, chard), washed and stems and leaves separated
1/4 cup water
pinch of sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon, optional

Steam tempeh for 15-20 minutes (to make more digestible). While tempeh steams, combine vinegar, shoyu, oil, red pepper flakes, herbs, and garlic in a medium size glass bowl. Set aside.

After the 20 minutes, carefully remove steamed tempeh and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place tempeh cubes in marinade for at least 10 minutes.

While tempeh is marinating, toast pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown and fragrant. Stir pine nuts frequently and do not leave unattended. Remove from skillet and set aside. Chop leaves of greens into bite size pieces and set aside.

Saute tempeh and marinade in skillet over medium high heat to brown all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan. Add the water to the pan to deglaze (removing all the yummy flavors to be incorporated into the rest of the dish). Add greens stems and saute 1 minute. Add remaining greens and a pinch of sea salt and saute until tender and vibrant. Remove from heat. If desired, squeeze lemon juice over greens and toss with tempeh. Sprinkle pine nuts over greens just before serving.

Love & good health to all!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"May" you be well this spring!

     Happy May - perhaps you noticed my reference to the new month in my subject heading! Or "may"be I'm just corny sometimes! :-) I hope you enjoyed the last week of April to the fullest! I sure did! We had a fantastic week in my little culinary world - making flatbreads, Indian & Mediterranean Cuisine, party foods, and learning the production processes of tempura, miso, natto, seitan, & kinpira! Phenomenal moments of learning...and many more ahead!

     Inspiring individuals...what a great group I get to hang out with everyday! :-)

A fun food-filled day! :-)

      The curriculum the past month has been focused on the philosophy of Macrobiotics - the study of living a great, healthy, and long life! It's been inspirational and I've been doing my best to take my own personal steps to living a healthier life. I'd like to share with you a few steps Microbiotics highlights...

"May" we step together toward greater health!

1. Sit down to eat regular meals everyday - this stabilizes blood sugar, decreases stress on organs, improves digestion, and decreases cravings.
2. Eat slowly and chew your food - prevents overeating and increases satisfaction.
3. STOP eating 3 hours before bedtime - improves sleep, allows the body to rest, clean, and repair itself...this is a very important step - personally, I'm specifically working on this one! Give your body the rest it needs from the digestion of food!
4. Eat WHOLE grains, whole grain products, and vegetable dishes at every meal!
5. Eat a variety - beans, vegetables, grains, tofu, tempeh, fish, nuts, seeds, healthy snacks.
6. Have 1-2 bowls of soup everyday (examples - miso, vegetable, grain soups) - improves digestion and circulation.
7. Enjoy a Daily Body Scrub - cleans the skin and activates circulation/energy! This particular link goes very indepth, but don't be scared -it's an easy process - it's actually pretty quick and very refreshing! I like it! :-)
8. Walk/Exercise 30 minutes every day - improves digestion, energy, heart health, bones, clarity, etc.
9. Wear pure cotton - harmonizes imbalances in the body.
10. Surround yourself with green plants! This encourages bright and positive energy!

Enjoy this new week we have been blessed with!