Crumbled Tempeh Curry Stir-fry

The other night Topher and I both got home late and were more or less starving, we took a quick inventory of what we had around and came up with this concoction — fast, easy, delicious, makes for great leftovers — perfect, right?! I love keeping tempeh and tofu on hand to create fast meals with. I estimated our ingredient amount here (sorry, I didn’t know it’d turn out so good so I didn’t capture it as we made it! ), so please feel free to adjust according to your liking. Really, almost any veggies that you have around would make a great addition to this dish. It’s great as is, or over a grain (we had it with quinoa; basmati or jasmine rice would work well too).
tempehcurrystirfry

Ingredients:
Serves 4

red curry paste, about 2 tablespoons
1 can of coconut milk, about 1 cup
organic unrefined coconut oil, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
1 package of organic tempeh (I like to use the Lifelight flax variety ) , crumbled
1 package of green beans, cut into halves
2 carrots, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
red pepper flakes
sea salt
fresh cilantro (optional )

The tempeh crumbles very easily; break it apart into bite size pieces and set aside.
Heat the coconut oil on medium high heat. Once it’s melted add in the garlic and onions and cook until the onions become translucent.
Add in the tempeh crumbles and mix well. Add in the zucchini, carrots and green beans.
While the vegetables are cooking,  in a separate bowl mix the coconut milk and curry paste until the paste has dissolved. Take the coconut milk and curry mixture and add it to the pan. Stir thoroughly so that it’s all mixed together well. Add a bit of red pepper and sea salt to taste. It’s nice to leave the vegetables a little crunchy so be careful not to over cook them. Heat through and serve! I like to add a bit of fresh cilantro as a garnish.

with love and healthy-quick-meals,

Jackie

Spiced Scrambled Tofu

I’ve had scrambled tofu before but never tried to make it myself. After coming home from work the other night, I wanted to throw something together quickly, so decided to experiment with a little scrambled tofu. I was inspired by the chili seasoning that Amanda incorporated into her simple black beans recipe the other day, and had picked some up at the store so I had it on hand. Although scrambled tofu is mostly served for breakfast in place of eggs, I though it’d be nice to spice it up a bit to make it a little more savory and appealing for dinner.

Tofu is a great source of protein and iron. What I love about it is that due to it’s neutral flavor it’s very versatile and can be seasoned in so many different ways.scrambledtofu Since it’s so easy and fast  to cook up it’s a great staple to have in your fridge.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

7-8oz of extra firm organic tofu, crumbled*
1/2 yellow onion (or 1 small), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups chopped kale
1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetarian chili spice mix
1/4 cup chopped parsley
sea salt, to taste

To crumble the tofu, first drain it and then use a couple of paper towels to squeeze out any excess liquid. Then crumble the tofu into bit sized pieces. Set aside.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a skillet. Add in onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions soften and become translucent. Add in chili mix and stir into the onions and garlic. Add the crumbled tofu and stir. Cover for about 4 to 5 minutes until it’s heated throughout. Add in the kale and salt and stir for about a minute until the kale starts to wilt. Taste it, if you feel you’d like some more flavor add in a bit more seasoning and a bit of salt, continue to do this until the flavor has popped to your liking!

I had this with some arugula salad and a delicious piece of spelt bread. As I mentioned, tofu really takes on the flavor of whatever you mix it with so feel free to experiment with flavors (seasoning, herbs, sauces, etc)  you like!

with love and tofu,

jackie

*It’s important that you make sure to buy organic tofu, this ensures that your tofu will not be made from genetically modified soybeans.

Parsnip Carrot Coconut Soup

I had some parsnips in the fridge that I purchased at the farmers market a couple of weeks back and knew I had to use them soon before they went bad …. since it’s about 20 degrees in New York, I figured what better way to use them then to make soup?! I decided to do a little experiment and combine some other ingredients I had on hand to make a tasty little pureed soup. Root vegetables are in season this time of year; parsnips, carrots, turnips, beets, etc…. they are all super healthy and great for roasting and soup making.

Serves 2parsnipsouping
Ingredients:
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
3/4 cup of vegetable broth
1 can of light coconut milk (regular coconut milk is great too)
sea salt and white pepper to taste

In a soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat and then add in the chopped onions. Add a bit of salt and pepper and stir.  Saute the onions for a few minutes, stirring frequently until they begin to soften and become translucent. Then add the carrots and parsnips, stir thoroughly so that they are coated with coconut oil. Stir frequently until the parsnips and carrots start to soften a bit,  about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and coconut broth and bring to a boil. Add in a bit more salt and pepper. Then cover and simmer on low for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft. Transfer to a blender and blend until pureed.
I garnished it with a bit of parsley, because I had it and it looked pretty 🙂 … chives or spring onions would be great too.

This soup is definitely of the sweeter variety, so if you love soups like butternut squash I think you’ll love this!
ParsnipSoup

with love and soup making,

jackie

Hemp Dijon Salad Dressing

hempdressingingredientsThe salad dressing aisle at supermarkets is a crazy place , there are an insane amount of options and truth be told none of them are as good a choice as making your own at home. Many of them use cheap, unhealthy ingredients (such as cheap oils) and add unnecessary sugars and sweeteners. Making your own can be really simple and take your salad to a whole new level of health (who doesn’t want that?!). I chose to use hemp oil as my base here because of its many benefits (plus it’s a pretty cool green color 🙂 ). You can certainly switch it out with quality olive oil if that’s what’s available to you.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of hemp oil
1/4 cup of raw apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Use over salads or mix some in with cooked grains such as quinoa for added flavor.

hempsaladdressing

with love and healthy salad dressing,

Jackie

Magical Maca drink

We love having superfoods in our smoothies but what about when it’s cold and you just want to cozy up to a nice, warm drink? I have just the thing for you! After I made some cashew milk, I was inspired to make some sort of warm Maca drink since I had it on hand,  so I poked around the internet a bit and came up with this Magical Maca hot drink. Although Maca has a pretty unique flavor it has been described as slightly nutty and butterscotch-ish, which I think is accurate. You can purchase Maca Powder at most health food stores and online.

Maca is known as the Superfood of the Andes, as it’s native to the Andean Mountains in Peru and Bolivia. An interesting fact is that it’s one of the only food plants in the world that can thrive at such a high altitude. It’s said to help boost stamina and maintain energy. It’s loaded with health supporting vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and plant sterols. It’s also a good source of plant protein and is rich in fiber.

MagicalMaca

Ingredients:
1 cup of cashew milk (or store bought almond milk, unsweetened)
1 teaspoon Maca Powder
1 teaspoon Maple Syrup

Place ingredients in a blender and blend briefly to mix everything together. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and heat it on low. It’s ready to drink once it’s warm and starts to bubble. I thought about this after I already drank it but it would be delicious with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top!

with love and magical maca,

Jackie

Cashew Milk

I’m not vegan but I often try to have non-dairy products take the place of dairy products in what I eat and drink because I know it’s better for me (i.e. nutritional yeast instead of parmesan and nut milk over cows milk). When it comes to nut milks (he he, i know… it’s a funny name 😉 ) I’m not a huge fan of the packaged ones, mostly because I don’t love how they taste and I have an allergy to soy milk (which is one of the better tasting ones). Ever since I got the Vitamix blender I’ve been wanting to make my own milk, specifically, cashew milk. Not sure why it took me so long to try it because it’s so easy, and now I think I’ll have it on hand often. When purchasing cashews for this please be sure to get them raw and unsalted as they make for the best milk and are healthier than the roasted,salted nuts. I didn’t sweeten mine because I like it pretty basic, but you can definitely add in a bit of natural sweetener if you’d like. Some great ways to use Cashew Milk is to add it smoothies, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. I really enjoyed it as the base of this Magical Maca drink.
CashewMilk

Ingredients:

1 cup of cashews
3 cups of water (add another cup if you like a thinner consistency)
optional: 1 teaspoon of sweetener (maple syrup or local, raw honey)

If you have a Vitamix (crazy powerful blender) then all you have to do is add the water, cashews
and sweetener into the blender, blend on high for about 1 minute and done!

If you have another type of blender this is the best way to make it: place cashews in a bowl and cover with water, allow them to soak for at least one hour and drain. Then add the cashews, water and sweetener to the blender and blend for a minute or so, until it looks smooth and creamy!

with love and cashews,

Jackie

30 days of Meditation

So far fall has brought a lot of changes, a big move, the loss of my grandfather and most recently the incredible force of Hurricane Sandy. In times of flux and change I know it’s important to remember to practice as much self-care as you can, as well as make to-do lists that don’t leave you feeling too overwhelmed. 😉 While busy with these things I haven’t been able to post over the last few weeks but luckily my awesome friend and Crafted Wellness partner, Amanda, has provided you with some amazing blog posts filled with recipes and inspiring musings. She’s the best. 🙂

Another area of change has been around my yoga practice. Since enrolling in teacher training, I’ve really been able to submerse myself in the philosophy behind the practice and what it means to bring yoga into your everyday life. As part of the training I’m also learning the importance and impact that meditation can have on one’s life. We move through the Asana’s (poses/postures) in yoga so that we can let out energy and through that help to still the fluctuations in the mind, all the while we’re working towards being able to sit still in meditation. Our teachers urge us to sit still in meditation for 18 minutes a day. To take that time to clear the chatter of the mind. While in the scheme of things, 18 minutes doesn’t sound like much time, for many people it’s quite a challenge to dedicate 18 minutes a day to sitting still and quiet — we have email to check, friends to call, pictures to instagram, work to do, etc. It’s easy to find many things to do before actually sitting to meditate. I’ve tried many times to get in the habit of meditating daily, but for one reason or another it hasn’t stuck. After the reminder in teacher training about the benefits that can come through a regular meditation practice, I’ve decided to try again, this time creating my own 30 day meditation challenge, which is basically finding 18 minutes to meditate every day for 30 days.  During Hurricane Sandy when I was without power, it was a nice time to create a little visual reminder of the goal I’m working towards. It was also a great time to have some fun with crayons. 🙂

My meditation challenge visual

Regular meditation practice is known to have some powerful effects of one’s health. Primarily it’s used as a stress management technique. When one can better process and handle the stress in their life, the impact it can have on their health is: decrease in blood pressure, better sleep, decreased depression, hostility and anger, better chronic pain management, reduced frequency of migraine headaches, and many other benefits. Energetically, I’ve heard many people note that they are more tapped in with the flow of the universe and universal conciousness and knowledge when they practice meditation regularly. Pretty cool. 🙂

I’m two days into the challenge, and I admit it really isn’t easy for me to sit still. I find that when I meditate in the morning I’m more likely to actually do it. I would like to experiment with practicing before bed because I think it will ease me into a beautiful, peaceful sleep. Stay tuned for updates on how it’s going! Do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, I’d love to hear more about it and what helps you stay committed to a regular practice.

with love and stillness,

Jackie

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Sautéed Kale

Farmers Market Squash

Squash is abundant this time of year and they are all pretty cool looking if you ask me; luckily they’re not just beautiful to look at, they’re delicious too!

Butternut squash is very low in calories but contains a good amount of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. It’s naturally rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and minerals. Kale is one of the most nutritious leafy greens around so why wouldn’t I add it in here? 😉 This dish is a nice mix of savory and sweet; I didn’t even crave dessert after it (and I always crave something sweet after dinner 🙂 ).

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups of chopped kale
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
2 tsp. organic, unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp local, raw honey
1 tbsp dried tarragon
sea salt
black pepper
nutritional yeast (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chopped squash in a bowl and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over it. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly so that the olive oil coats all of the squash. Lay it in a baking dish. Once the oven is heated, place it in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. Be sure to check on them after 20 minutes and toss them around, then place back in the oven. Squash is done once it’s nice and tender. Set aside when done.

While the squash is cooking, rinse the quinoa and then place it in a pot and add 2 cups of water. Place the heat on high. Bring this to a simmer, then place the heat on low and cover it. Let this cook for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat, once the oil is melted add the sliced onions, and sauté for 4-6 minutes until they become soft and translucent. Then stir in the kale and walnuts. Once the kale has softened, add 1 teaspoon of honey. Give it all a final stir. Cover and set aside.

Take a large mixing bowl and add in the quinoa and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Mix together until the coconut oil has melted. Then add in the butternut squash and stir. Lastly take the kale and place it on top of the quinoa and squash.  If you like nutritional yeast it’s great sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

Mark Bittman on Eating More Plants

This past Sunday I was honored to attend The Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Live Conference, which was held in NYC, as part of the blogger team. It was a day of inspiration and a reminder of what a strong and vibrant community Integrative Nutrition has and creates. To be in a room with like-minded people who have the same goal: to help people live healthier lives, is incredibly powerful. I’ve been to a few live conferences and each one brings new motivation, inspiration, curiosity and admiration.

At this conference, I had the pleasure of seeing Mark Bittman speak. Mark is an award-winning food writer and author. He writes ‘The Minimalist’ column in the New York Times and is well-known for his cookbook How to Cook Everything. He shared a lot of important and valuable information, along with some shocking statistics such as:

  • In a 12 ounce soda there are 9 teaspoons of sugar!
  • As a nation, 7% of our calories are from soda.
  • We eat 8-9 billion animals per year (if you strung them all together it would go to the moon and back!).
  • Only 10% of our calories come from unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
  • Only 1 in 4 meals contain an unprocessed vegetable.

    Mark Bittman

While these statistics are important in understanding some of the current problems we face as a nation regarding our food choices,  it also leaves the question, what should I do? What’s the best way for me to eat? Mark shared his personal story which helped to illustrate how on an individual level we do have control of our health based on what we choose to eat.  There was a time when Mark was suffering from sleep apnea, knee problems, high cholesterol and an overall need to lose weight. When the doctor told him that there was one thing he could do to help himself, Mark got nervous. The doctor told him ‘become a vegan’ …not exactly music to a food writers ears. But Mark decided that he would put his own twist on it; he would be a vegan until 6pm every day and after 6pm it was up to him to decided what he wanted, and there were no regulations. Guess what? Not long after sticking to this plan Mark lost 35 pounds, his cholesterol went down, his sleep apnea went away, and his knees were no longer a problem. He found a way to eat more plants that worked for him; this was crucial in his healing. He didn’t feel deprived or angry about what he was eating because it was on his terms. And in the end since he felt better eating this way he’s stuck with it. Important to note is that the vegan foods he ate weren’t fritos or soda, they were whole, unprocessed foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. He mentioned that some of his friends did other things such as; vegan all week but not on the weekends, only eat meat 4 times a month or 4 times a week.  They met themselves where they were and started from there, which helps to make a goal successful.

As a health coach, I work with clients and help them determine what the small changes are that they can start making to reach their health goals. It’s a gradual process and doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. Remember, little changes are more likely to stick and will add up over time!

Change the proportion of the things in your diet. Eat more plants. See how you feel. 🙂

with love and plant-eating,

Jackie