Thursday, April 24, 2014

Superfoods Month: Chocolate Chip Flax Cookies

I don't know about you guys, but it has been the never ending week here, and right now all I want to do is eat some cookies. Lots of cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are my all-time favorite thing. They're so comforting and wonderful, especially with a giant glass of milk. This recipe from the marvelous Lauri Boone takes a classic recipe and gives it a superfoods spin by adding flaxseed meal.

Be sure to enter our giveaway below.

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Chocolate Chip Flax Cookies
Excerpted from Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods by Lauri Boone

Flax is a great addition—both for health and its binding properties—to this modified version of the traditional chocolate chip cookie I grew up on. I use an all-purpose, gluten-free flour in this recipe (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour is my favorite), but if you don’t have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, feel free to use an equivalent amount of regular whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

1 tablespoon (7 g) ground flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
1 cup (136 g) all-purpose, gluten-free flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (113 g) coconut oil, liquefied
½ cup (96 g) cane sugar
¼ cup (48 g) brown sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (170 g) dark chocolate chips
½ cup (60 g) walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the flaxseed meal and water. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the coconut oil, sugars, vanilla, and flaxseed mixture at medium speed. Gradually beat in the dry mixture at low speed until a ball of cookie dough forms.

Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts (if using) and drop by tablespoons (15 g mounds) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, let cool on the cookie sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, and then transfer to cooling racks.


Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods

Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods is your definitive guide to 50 of the leading superfoods for optimal health and vitality. Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are a fundamental part of a healthy diet, but plant-based superfoods are the power elite. Revered by many ancient cultures for their ability to heal and energize the body, plant-based superfoods are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods features 50 top superfoods and discusses their unique benefits and how they can be integrated into your diet for incredible health and amazing taste. From local superfoods—like greens, berries, and garlic—to more exotic superfoods—like maca, cacao, and yacon—Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods also includes 50 nutrient-rich recipes that are all naturally vegan and gluten free.

From Berry Lavender Ice Cream and Mesquite Sweet Potato Hash to Luscious Cashew Cream Spinach Soup and Carob Bark, you can begin to work superfoods into your daily diet—effortlessly and deliciously—one meal and snack at a time. A beautiful compilation of information, tips, recipes, and photos, Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods will inspire you to start working with superfoods in your own kitchen to upgrade your diet and your health.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Superfoods Month: Blueberry Basil Kefir

I had my first backyard picnic dinner last night thanks to the warm weather and my grill not being covered with snow. It was wonderful. It got me thinking about planting fruits and vegetables and canning, preserving, and fermenting. I'm a huge advocate of fermented beverages, not only because they taste great (and they really do), but because they're also great for you. If you're just getting started in the world of cultured and fermented beverages, you should give this blueberry basil kefir a shot. It's perfect for sipping on a hot summer's day.

Have you entered our #superfoodsmonth giveaway yet? You could take home an entire collection of superfoods cookbooks. Just think what you could make!

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Blueberry Basil Kefir
Excerpted from Superfoods for Life, Cultured and Fermented Beverages by Meg Thompson

A wonderful flavor combination makes this drink refreshing and delicious.

1 cup (235 ml)  Coconut Water Kefir (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons (18 g) blueberries (preferably organic)
12 small fresh basil leaves

Place all of the ingredients into a glass jar, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space at the top, and put the lid on. Keep the jar at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for 2 days.

Strain out the blueberries and basil and enjoy right away, or store in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Yield: 1 cup (235 ml)

Basic Coconut Water Kefir

4 cups (946 ml) coconut water
2 tablespoons (about 20 g) water kefir grains

Equipment you will need :
Glass jar (no lid required), plus a jar with lid for storage
Small piece of cheesecloth, or a paper towel or coffee filter
Rubber band
Fine-mesh strainer

Add the coconut water and water kefir grains to the first glass jar, cover with cheesecloth and seal with the rubber band, and leave to ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours.

Strain the kefir grains through the mesh strainer and transfer the fermented kefir to the lidded glass jar, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space at the top. Add any flavorings you like (fruit, herbs, juice) and
allow to ferment for 1 to 3 days (usually 2 days, but this depends on the temperature of your home).

After fermentation is complete, keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Transfer the kefir grains to a new jar to start a new batch.

Makes 4 cups (946 ml)


Superfoods for Life, Cultured and Fermented Beverages

Maintaining good bacteria is critical to a healthy gut—unfortunately our modern-day diet, replete with sugar, caffeine, processed foods, additives, toxins, stress, and common medications wildly disrupts that balance. Probiotics found in these cultured beverages that you can brew at home will help to add the good bacteria back into your system—and they’re delicious!

It’s time to get back into balance with Superfoods for Life, Cultured and Fermented Beverages. Join author Meg Thompson as she explains to powerful benefits of this amazing superfood. This book also contains 75 enjoyable recipes for cultured drinks like Kombucha, Kefir, Fermented Nut and Grain Beverages, Herbal and Medicinal Ferments, Ciders and Ales, and Cultured Smoothies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day: An Organic Tequila Cocktail

It's Earth Day and we are going green! Lime-green to be exact.

With Cinco De Mayo on its way, Tales of the Cocktail coming up, and several little samplers of Casa Noble organic tequila in our hands, we thought we'd create a classic margarita. We opened up our favorite little blue book that has the stars of the MTV Movie Awards talking. Architecture of the Cocktail has amazing illustrations just perfect to help us to build a perfect margarita. And with the organic alcohol, Earth Day cocktails just got so much better!

Casa Noble Organic Margarita 
2 oz Casa Noble Crystal
1 oz fresh lime juice(or the juice of 1 whole lime)
¾ oz La Sierra agave nectar
Garnish- lime wheel optional kosher salt rim

Casa Noble's blanco, reposado, and anejo.  All organic, all delicious.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, strain, serve up or on the rocks. Garnish with a lime wheel. To salt rim- moisten rim of glass with lime, gently roll in a plate of kosher salt.

Now you can win the little book that everyone loves, plus a gorgeous poster depicting the illustrations from the book!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Superfoods Month: Collard Wraps with Spiced Aioli Dipping Sauce

I picked up some seeds to grow my own collard greens this season at the Mother Earth News Fair (thanks to Botanical Interests). If they come up at all (fingers crossed), I now know exactly what I'll make first. These collard wraps from Heather Connell's newest book are a healthier option than your typical bread-based wraps and add a distinctive flavor that will have you polishing them off in no time.

Collard Wraps with Spiced Aioli Dipping Sauce
Excerpted from Powerful Paleo Superfoods by Heather Connell and Julia Maranan

These wraps make a perfect lunch or light dinner, and if the only greens you tend to eat are spinach and romaine lettuce, collards are a fantastic way to diversify. Be sure to include the spiced dipping sauce to give these wraps an extra kick.

For Wraps:
4 large collard leaves
2 pastured-raised organic chicken
breasts, grilled and cut into strips
1⁄2 raw zucchini, cut into small strips
1 carrot, shredded
6 large strawberries, thinly sliced
1 medium avocado, sliced
1⁄3 cup (13 g) fresh basil, chopped

For Spiced Aioli Dipping Sauce :
1⁄3 cup (75 g) homemade mayonnaise
1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
Juice from 1⁄2 lime
Sea salt to taste

To make the wraps: Wash the collard greens and use a knife to carefully cut out any big stems. Don’t cut the leaves in half—only remove as much as you need to get the thick parts out. Then steam the collard leaves for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until tender.

Divide the remaining wrap ingredients except the basil evenly among the collard leaves. Sprinkle the chopped basil over the all. Fold the bottom edge of the collard leaf over the filling, followed by the sides, then roll as
tightly as you can—still being gentle—until you get to the end of the leaf. Hold in place with a toothpick and cut in half on a slight angle.

To make the dipping sauce: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Serve the wraps with the spiced aioli sauce for dipping.

Makes 4 wraps


Powerful Paleo Superfoods

Unlike other superfood lists you may have seen that include things like soy, legumes, quinoa and goji, the Paleo community has a very different idea of what constitutes nutritional power foods. With superfoods like grass-fed bison, bone broth, and coconut oil you are on your way to amazing health benefits including reduced incidence of diabetes, autoimmune illnesses, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Paleo expert Heather Connell will guide you through the top 50 Paleo superfoods from power proteins like salmon and locally farmed beef to super fats and Paleo-approved fruits and vegetables.

Powerful Paleo Superfoods is your essential guide to getting the best out of your caveman lifestyle.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Passover Recipes: Mashed Potato, Kale, and Feta Cheese Pancakes

We thought we'd switch it up today and share some of our favorite Passover recipes. These are not superfood recipes, but are sure to satisfy those keeping Kosher and those just wanting to try something new and exciting. Enjoy! And happy Passover everyone.

These recipes are a sneak peek from the upcoming cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein. It publishes November 2014. You can preorder your copy today.

Mashed Potato, Kale, and Feta Cheese Pancakes

I think I could eat a hundred of these! They’re soft and creamy inside, with that vaguely mineral-y mashed potato taste, but there’s that crispy, golden brown surface too! And tangy cheese and bitter kale! I like them plain for lunch or brunch, but for a bigger meal, I serve them with eggs or roasted vegetables.

2 cups (145 g) matzo farfel
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups (140 g) chopped fresh kale
2 cups (450 g) mashed potatoes
6 ounces (170 g) crumbled feta cheese
1 large egg
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying

Place the matzo farfel in a bowl, cover with very hot water, and let soak for a few minutes until soft. Drain the farfel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Return the drained farfel to the bowl.
While the matzo farfel is soaking, heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for a minute. Add the kale, cover the pan, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the kale has wilted.

Spoon the mixture into a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the vegetables. Add to the matzo farfel and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the mashed potatoes, feta cheese, and egg and mix ingredients thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Shape the potato mixture into patties and fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Makes about 16 to 18 pancakes, or 6 to 8 servings

Serving Suggestions and Variations: Change this to a pareve dish by substituting ground cooked meat or sausage for the cheese and frying the onion/kale in olive oil.

Baby Fudge Cakes

These are ultra-rich and chocolaty.

Raspberry Sauce, optional (see below for recipe)
1/4 cup (56 g) Passover margarine
1/4 cup (56 g) coconut oil
5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (43 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Passover confectioners’ sugar and crushed candied ginger, optional

Make the Raspberry Sauce, if desired. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2). Generously grease 12 muffin tin cups, preferably nonstick.

Place the margarine, coconut oil, and chocolate in the top part of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is uniform. Remove the top part of the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs for about 1 minute at medium speed, until well blended. Add the cocoa and beat it in thoroughly. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat for about 3 minutes, or until all the sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is thick. Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract and beat them in thoroughly.

Spoon equal amounts of the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Place the muffin tin in a bain-marie. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cakes are set and have risen slightly (they may look slightly broken on top). Remove the muffin tin from the bain-marie.

Place the muffin tin back in the oven without the bain-marie. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Invert the pan over a cake rack. Let the cakes cool upside down on the rack. Once cool, use a knife to loosen the edges of the cakes around the sides of the cups. Shake out the cakes.

Serve the cakes with the Raspberry Sauce and sprinkled with Passover confectioners’ sugar or crushed crystallized ginger, if desired.

Makes 12 cakes

Raspberry Sauce:
2 cups (250 g) fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons (40 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange flavored liqueur or orange juice

Place the berries, sugar, and liqueur in a blender or food processor and purée for a minute until the ingredients are well combined. Strain if desired. Makes about 11/2 cups (450 g).

This isn’t your traditional kosher cookbook.

Whether you’re new to the kitchen, or new to keeping kosher, you’ll love the array of creative and interesting recipes found in The Modern Kosher Kitchen.This modern cookbook includes recipes for preparing a family meal, hors d’oeuvres, vegetarian entrees, budget-friendly dishes, and new takes on holiday favorites for Passover and Hannukah.

Don’t worry about needing the talent or equipment of a professional chef. Ronnie Fein’s recipes are creative and interesting, but never intimidating for home chefs. Throughout the pages of this cookbook, Ronnie also provides suggestions on what to serve with her dishes; how to change the dish from dairy to parve to meat (and vice versa); or how to change the recipe to suit a different need. You’ll learn valuable tips on recipe shortcuts, information on unusual or new ingredients, and receive advice on product usage.
Recreate your favorite family dishes and learn some new tricks with the help of The Modern Kosher Kitchen.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Superfoods Month: Tamarind-Chocolate Chili

Cacao isn’t your run-of-the-mill healthy food; it’s a superstar among superfoods. We have heard quite a lot about the phytochemical content of tea, wine, and blueberries, but cacao has more than all of them. And though these foods are great, you can consume them in only so many ways. How many dishes can you make with tea or wine? There are probably more culinary uses of cacao than there are ways to eat blueberries!

We are talking about a nutrient-dense, phytochemical-rich food that can be eaten in breakfasts, desserts, and every way in between. You don’t need to be a super-adventurous eater or fringe chef to use cacao in new ways and reap the benefits of this superbean. Check out this amazing recipe from Matt Ruscigno that helps you to get cacao into your nutrition plan in an easy and delicious way. Matt's new book, Superfoods for Life, Cacao publishes in July 2014. We thought you'd enjoy this sneak peek.

Have you enter our #superfoodsmonth giveaway? If not, here's your chance.

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Tamarind-Chocolate Chili
Excerpted from Superfoods for Life, Cacao by Matt Ruscigno (with Joshua Ploeg)

This is an easy and tasty way to have a hearty chocolate stew. Lentils are a nutrition powerhouse, chock-full of protein and minerals, and are low cost, quick to cook, and extremely versatile! Enjoy them here with the additional benefits of cacao and vegetables.

2 cups (396 g) cooked lentils or other legumes
1 cup (150 g) chopped seasoned tofu or cooked tempeh
½ cup (80 g) diced onion
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable broth (more as needed)
1 cup (240 g) crushed tomatoes
2 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced ginger
⅓ cup (82 g) tamarind purée
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon (9 g) minced chile pepper
½ cup (75 g) diced bell pepper
¼ cup (27.5 g) minced carrot
½ cup (75 g) corn, fresh, frozen, or canned
2 tablespoons (18 ml) tamari
½ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup (27 g) cocoa powder or 2 to 4 ounces (55 to 115 g) chopped dark chocolate
¼ cup (4 g) chopped fresh cilantro
Sweetener of your choice, to taste (optional)

Garnish options: diced red bell pepper, cocoa powder or crushed cacao nibs, minced scallions, chopped cilantro, chopped pineapple, diced onion

Cook everything except the chocolate and cilantro at a simmer in a large pot, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Add more broth or water if needed to keep your desired texture. Add the chocolate and cilantro and cook for 10 minutes more.

Yield: 5 servings


Superfoods for Life, Cacao

Are you craving chocolate? Go ahead, give in! Cacao—raw chocolate—often referred to as "food of the gods", is high in antioxidants. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, and copper. A good source of omega-6 fatty acids and rich in heart-healthy oleic acids, it will boost your mood, improve cognition and help lessen stress! Sounds too good to be true.

But it isn’t, as author Matt Ruscigno explains, this hot superfood has powerful benefits. Then Matt gives you what you really want—recipes for chocolate! Superfoods for Life, Cacao contains 75 recipes for sweet and savory cacao recipes—from main dishes to desserts—including Huitlacoche-Chocolate Empanadas, Cocoa Buffalo Tempura Vegetables, Dolmathes with Currant-Chocolate Rice and Cacao Tzatziki.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Superfoods Month: Sweetheart Juice

Looking for the perfect thing to add a little romance to your evening? Why not try out Tina's Sweetheart Juice? A clever combination of immune-boosting and mood-enhancing, this cup of juice is ideal for any night of the week.

We have a new #superfoodsgiveaway going on. Enter below for your chance to take home ALL of our superfoods books. Tell your friends.

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Sweetheart Juice
Excerpted from Superfood Juices & Smoothies by Tina Leigh

Tangy, succulent, and full of nutrients, this juice will leave you puckering in delight. Red beet oxygenates and purifies your blood, while grapefruit and camu camu powder deliver immune-boosting and mood-enhancing
vitamin C. Ginger reduces inflammation in the body and aids in digestion. The apple provides a sweet balance to the juice and delivers nutrients that nourish the gut and support healthy elimination.

Time: 10 minutes
Equipment: Juicer
Yield: Approximately one 16-ounce (500 ml) juice

1 (1/2-inch, or 1 cm) piece fresh ginger
1 medium Ruby Red grapefruit, peeled, with pith intact, and quartered
1 medium red beet, trimmed and halved
2 medium sweet apples (such as Red Delicious), halved
1/2 teaspoon camu camu powder

Pass ginger, grapefruit, beet, and apples through the juicer in the order specified. Transfer to a serving glass and garnish with camu camu powder. Enjoy immediately and sip slowly.


Superfood Juices & Smoothies

Mom always told you, “Drink your juice!” But let’s face it— the choices in the grocery store can be boring, full of sugar, and getting more expensive every day. Well, move over orange and cranberry cocktail! This looks like a job for superfoods like kale, chia, coconut, goji, and cacao!

Never heard of things like sacha inchi or yacon? Not to worry—Superfood Juices & Smoothies offers an easy-to-follow guide that anyone interested in getting healthy will love. Author Tina Leigh breaks down each nutrient rich food and provides you with taste, texture description, health benefits, storage and more!
Juices and smoothies are so fun and simple to make and with the 20 key superfoods found in this book, you can start to enjoy 100 delicious and nutritious recipes!