This weekend was warmer than expected, but as the pattern has gone the past few weeks, it’s going to drop back down… only into the twenties for this week, much better than this past week’s negative degrees. But, I guess I’m still just internally frozen because my mind was made up today – make loads of greens! Not just collard greens, but all things green! Many nutritionists rave about the benefits of green vegetables – loaded with vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber. They not only fill you up, but make your skin glow, given you calcium and vitamins needed for your body to repair the massive amounts of damage you may do to it every day – especially if you’re on a workout plan like myself getting ready for a bikini in Florida in T-minus two months (AH!). Also, maybe too much info, but swiss chard is loaded with magnesium which is good for us women when that time of the month comes around, or even if you just have a headache.
So for this week, I focused on my greens… and a few other things. First, something I made for dinner Saturday night that was to die for… brown rice with asparagus and mushrooms tossed with an avocado cashew cream. Obviously, this was inspired by the paleo breakfast I had which I’ll mention later, but otherwise… something I totally just made up. I love asparagus in everything, I love mushrooms in everything, and I love brown rice… so why not put them all together?
I sauteed the asparagus and mushrooms with onion and garlic – tossed them with the brown rice & then for the avocado cashew cream – 1/4 cup cashews, a splash of almond milk, and 1/2 avocado all in the ninja. Mixed the veggies and rice in the cream sauce and topped it all off with some fresh ground black pepper. With a glass of red wine, a winner!
I also made some killer peanut butter banana granola last night – 3 cups whole wheat oats, 1/2 flax seeds, 1/2 almonds chopped, 1/4 cup pecans chopped, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, and 1/4 cup cashews. Then tossed with 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup applesauce, and 1 large banana mushed up, tbs cinnamon and tsp nutmeg. Baked at 300 degrees for 30 mins, stirring every 10 minutes. Nice and toasty with the perfect light peanut butter flavor. Served with homemade almond milk (oh you wait until you read on…) – perfect breakfast or late night snack!
So today, I focused in on those greens. I started with the asparagus I had left. I wanted some type of salad so I made my own version of this roasted strawberry farro. Instead of farro I used kamut – much higher protein content, with a 6g per serving (1/2 cup cooked kamut berries). My Auntie Lorie bought me the kamut for Christmas and it’s become one of my favorite go to grains! I also didn’t have fresh strawberries so I used frozen and tossed it all together with a homemade lemon vinaigrette. It was truly yummy – a little fresh little flavor to go along with all of this heavy, filling cooked greens to come. Put some over the top of arugula and spring mix greens for lunch tomorrow – increasing the nutrient content even more… always!
Saturday morning at the market with my friend, Dani B, we enjoyed a paleo breakfast from “Effortlessly Healthy” – hidden in the Boulder building. Amazing sweet potato hash with a fried egg and avocado cream. Delicious! A must stop from now on, for sure! While there, I picked up some organic collard greens and red chard – baby, it’s cold outside…still…and the ground hog saw his shadow (such a silly tradition I think), so it’s time for some soup! Time for some greens and beans…
My Greens and Beans…
*saute 1 chopped onion, 1 leek chopped, and 3 cloves garlic in a tiny bit of olive oil with black pepper, sage, and thyme. Add 1/4 cup of vegetable stock & simmer. Add this to 1 cup of mixed beans in crockpot. Add enough water to cover beans & cook on high heat for 3 hours.
*Triple wash collards and red chard by rinsing in luke warm water, cut, steam in steamer basket, rinse, steam, rinse, steam, rinse & then cut into smaller pieces (my momma’s method – always works, never had grit in my greens!). Simmer green in vegetable stock and Sriracha (really how ever much you want – I use about 1/4 cup) until tender. Oh, and I had one bunch of collards and one bunch of chard.
*Add greens to beans in crockpot and let set for 2 more hours on low heat setting. And ta-da!
I’m on a red wine kick if you couldn’t tell. It’s been a rough past few weeks. But, red wine is really good for you! I will always be able to justify a glass of red wine with dinner – full of nutrients and antioxidants that fight off disease and help my blood running smoothly through my arteries carrying that needed oxygen to my cells and returning that toxic carbon dioxide through my veins and out through my lungs. Oh, science. It is such a pleasantly wonderful thing.
So while these greens and beans were in the crockpot, I multi-tasked (even though many say it’s not possible… I’m superwoman and I can multitask like no other!) I made homemade almond milk! I’ve been dying to do this forever and finally grabbed some cheesecloth from the craft store the other day. PS- If you don’t have cheesecloth many bloggers have said to use new panty hose or paper towels (the paper towels scares me, what are they even made out of? what chemicals are in those things? ah, my mind goes wild) Anyways, I took 1 cup of raw almonds and soaked them in water for about 20 hours (again, bloggers say at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours). I rinsed them off and tossed them into my ninja storm with a cup of fresh tap water. I pulsed for about a minute and added another cup of water.
I then set up mason jars with cheesecloth for straining. This got slightly messy but only because I was multitasking and on the phone with my mom at the same time… hey now, I didn’t say I was a perfect multitasker. The product, oh…my…god.
I will never buy almond milk from the store again – again, what do they put in there!? I know it says almonds on the ingredients list, but come on, there must be some type of preservative and I just don’t like putting unnecessary chemicals into my body. The flavor was super rich and I didn’t add any vanilla or sweetener like some people do. I cannot wait to have this on my granola tomorrow morning for breakfast! I may be even wishing for Monday to come sooner just because of it… well, maybe not.
The best part of making almond milk… you have almond pulp left over! And the endless possibilities for almond pulp on recipes… from cakes to cookies to almond butter to raw fudge to crackers to pizza crust. As I am a woman and I love chocolate, I obviously choose to make raw chocolate fudge…
In my ninja, the almond pulp I had left over (about 3/4 cup), 12 medjool dates, handful of goji berries (super high in antioxidants), 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and tsp cinnamon – yum, chocolate. Put this in mini muffin tin & stuck in freeze. Need to keep them here or in fridge as they are super soft and gooooooey!
Lastly, but definitely not least… bok choy. Insanely high in vitamin A and vitamin C along with other phytochemicals, bok choy is very high on the ANDI list for nutrient density. Bok choy is a chinese cabbage that holds its shape and crispness like kale would, but has a soft sweet, yet bitter flavor. It’s one of my favorite new vegetables and I’ve started eating it every week. My typical dish for bok choy is sauteing it with mushrooms in aminos and Sriracha (obviously).
I start with onion, garlic and mushrooms in the pan with a bit of sesame oil. Cover and simmer – let everything really sweat out their sugars, and then turn the pan up so that they brown and caramelize. Then I add the aminos and Sriracha with some water and the chopped bok choy, cover and lower heat. I let this simmer for about 20 minutes & eat it just as it is, or over brown rice.
I think I have more than enough food for the week. Although I did also get some rutabaga from the market and need to use that later this week – I’m thinking rutabaga and sweet potato fries :-) And just think, in all of this time of writing this blog post, the Seahawks have dominated the Broncos on the field. I mean really, Denver, how did you even get here?!