Living the WELL Life

Year-Round Beach Body - by Christina Pirello

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer is on her way out and the bikinis will soon be tucked away.  But that doesn't mean you have to give up your beach body!  Staying in shape never tasted so good.  In addition to regular exercise and a meditative or spiritual practice, plant-based nutrition will keep you looking (and feeling) like a million bucks!  Check out these dishes and those around you will be checking you out.  And don't worry, eating right doesn't mean skimping on dessert.  You can make the cake and eat it too!

Watercress, Jicama, Orange and Grapefruit Salad
Gazpacho Salad
Tempeh Salad
Black Bean Tacos
Steamed Broccoli Rabe
Chocolate Ginger Cake
Watercress, Jicama, Orange and Grapefruit Salad
1 bunch watercress, rinsed well
1/2 small jicama, peeled, cut into thin matchstick pieces
2 oranges, peeled, sectioned
1 ruby grapefruit, peeled, sectioned
1 red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, sliced into ribbons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 small shallots, finely minced
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
Sea salt
Crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. (To prepare the fruit, slice off the tops and bottoms, revealing the flesh. Set the fruit on a cutting board and slice the skin and pith away, revealing the flesh of the orange and grapefruit. Release the fruit from the membranes into sections.)

Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients, except lemon juice in a sauce pan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes to develop flavors. Remove dressing from heat and stir in lemon juice. Just before serving, toss salad with enough dressing to coat. Serve immediately.  Makes about 4 servings.

Gazpacho Salad
6 cups whole grain sourdough bread-crusts removed and diced
2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber-peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper-roasted over an open flame, seeded and diced
Several scallions-diced
Fresh flat leaf parsley-minced

2-3 tomatoes, peeled
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 cloves fresh garlic-minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar

Prepare the vinaigrette by pureeing the tomatoes, onion and garlic until smooth. In a small saucepan, warm the oil with a pinch of salt to make it a bit more digestible. Whisk in the vinegars and mix with the tomato puree. In a mixing bowl, toss the bread with half the vinaigrette and let it marinate for about 30 minutes. Just before serving, mix together the vegetables, marinated bread and balance of vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Tempeh Salad
1 8 oz. package of tempeh, steamed for 10 minutes.
1/4 cup each diced carrot, red onion, celery
2-3 tablespoons organic sweet relish (found in any natural foods store)
Generous pinch dried dill
Vegan Mayo

Cool steamed tempeh to room temperature and crumble into a coarse meal. Toss with diced vegetables, relish, several pinches of dill and vegan mayonnaise to form a creamy salad. Serve chilled over a bed of lettuce or in your favorite sandwich.

NOTE: Some people like to toss in some powdered kelp to create an authentic tuna salad taste in this recipe. Also remember that if you would like the veggies to be tenderer, simply blanch them before using them in the recipe.

Black Bean Tacos
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 red onion, diced
Generous pinch of dried basil
1 carrot, diced
1 to 2 cups button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
2 cups cooked dried black turtle beans
Spring or filtered water
2 tablespoons barley or red miso, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
Several chapatti breads, lightly steamed, or taco shells
Shredded romaine lettuce

Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, chili, and onion and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add basil, carrot, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Partially mash beans and add to skillet with chili powder. Add about 1/8 inch of water, cover, and simmer over low heat 15 minutes. Stir miso mixture into beans. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes more. Spoon beans into chapatti or taco shells and garnish with shredded lettuce. Serve warm.  Makes 5-6 servings.

Steamed Broccoli Rabe
2 bunches broccoli rabe, rinsed well

Steam until bright green and crisp. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Chocolate Ginger Cake
2 1⁄2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
3 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 cup light olive oil
1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1 1⁄2 cups vanilla soy or rice milk

Chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup vanilla soy or rice milk
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 cup grain-sweetened, non-dairy chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a standard bundt pan. Instead of flour, dust the pan with cocoa powder, so that the cake doesn't have white deposits on it. Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, coconut and spices. Whisk briskly. Mix in oil, rice syrup, vinegar and vanilla. Slowly add Blend to create a smooth, spoonable batter. Spoon evenly into the prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake springs back to the touch or an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before inverting onto a platter. Allow to cool completely.

To make the glaze, simply combine Blend and rice syrup in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off heat and stir in chocolate chips, stirring until smooth and satin-like. Immediately spoon a thin glaze over cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Allow to set for a minute or so and repeat with another layer of glaze, continuing until the cake is glazed as you like.  Makes 8-10 servings.


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