Living the WELL Life
Since we’re at it…let’s hit dessert two days running.
What’s the old saying? Oh, yeah…eat dessert first.
These cupcakes will impress even the fussiest dessert eater. They are moist and sinfully chocolate-y. Smothered with a rich ganache, they feel like a special occasion dessert, but are easy enough to make the most ordinary of days feel special.
The Perfect Chocolate Cupcake
1 ½ tablespoons Arizona chia seed
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup semolina flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder (organic, fair trade, if possible)
Generous pinch sea salt
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup Olivado avocado oil
2/3 cup Suzanne’s Specialties Maple Rice Nectar (brown rice syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
Unsweetened almond milk
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup coarsely chopped dark, non-dairy baking chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 12-cup muffin tin or use cupcake papers.
Soak chia meal or seed in almond milk for 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
Mix together all dry ingredients, whisking to ensure the ingredients are well-combined. Mix in oil, syrup, vanilla and vinegar. Stir in chia-almond milk mixture. Slowly mix in additional almond milk to create a thick smooth batter. Fold in nuts and chocolate. Spoon into prepared cups to fill ¾ full. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back to the touch. Cool before serving…if you can! Makes 12 cupcakes Read more
Observations from the Grocery Check-Out Line - by Tambra Riddle
Bleep. Bleep….bleep, bleep! That’s the sound of each item passing through the scanner at the checkout counter.
Bleep! There go the crackers.
Bleep! A block of organic cheese.
Bleep! Bleep! Two candy bars…followed by some goat milk, organic chicken nuggets, sourdough bread, frozen meals, and natural doughnuts. No sign of any fresh produce. Poor broccoli, taking the backseat again. Read more
November 29 - Christina's Indulgent Almond Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Okay, it’s been five days of yummy recipes, so let’s get to dessert, shall we?
This cake is moist, yummy, decadent, healthy, good for you, packed with nutrients and so easy, it could bake itself. Its dense texture and silky chocolate glaze make even the thinnest sliver feel like an indulgent treat. I will guarantee that this confection will keep your hands off the donuts and out of the cookie jar…if there’s any left once your loved ones taste it!
Almond Cake with Chocolate Glaze
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup semolina flour
½ cup almond meal*
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch sea salt
scant pinch cinnamon
scant pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup Olivado avocado oil
1 cup Suzanne’s Specialties Maple Rice Nectar (brown rice syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½-1 cup almond milk
1 cup non-dairy, grain-sweetened chocolate chips
3 tablespoons Suzanne’s Specialties brown rice syrup
Scant pinch cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil and flour a standard bundt pan.
Whisk together flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix in oil, sweeteners and vanilla. Slowly stir in almond milk to create a smooth, pourable batter. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake springs back to the touch, 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Cool completely before glazing with chocolate. Slice into wedges. Makes 8-10 servings.
To make the glaze, place chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring syrup, cinnamon and almond milk to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Gently spoon glaze over cake allowing it to run down the sides. You can garnish with berries, coconut or almonds.
* You can either purchase almond meal or grind blanched almonds into fine meal in a food processor. Read more
November 28 Recipe - Christina's Apples, Oranges and Olives on Endive
Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean salads are off the menu. Throughout the year, we need the freshness that a crisp salad brings to our bodies. Even as we struggle to stay cozy, the foods of winter can leave us feeling weighed down and lethargic.
Cool weather salads are a bit different than those of summer. Just as refreshing, we change the ingredients to create a salad that works with the season to keep us comfortable as the weather changes.
Apples, Oranges and Olives on Endive
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Suzanne’s Specialties brown rice syrup
¼ cup Chef Salvatore’s extra virgin olive oil
2 granny smith apples
7-9 ripe oranges
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4-5 Belgian endive, halved, sliced into strips
2 stalks celery (tender, inner stalks), thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ (one half) cup pitted oil-cured black olives, slivered
2 stems fresh basil, leaves removed, left whole
Whisk together vinegars, rice syrup, sea salt to taste and oil until smooth. Slice apples and remove seeds, but do not peel. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges to expose fruit. Then, resting the fruit on a cutting board, slice off peel, including the pith. Cut segments free from inner membranes and mix with apple slices and lemon juice (to prevent browning).
Toss together endive, celery, olives and fresh basil together in a mixing bowl. Toss oranges and apples in with endive. Finally, toss with enough dressing to coat. Makes 4-5 servings. Read more
November 27 Recipe - Christina Cooks Crispy Tempeh with Sweet Mustard Sauce
Looking for a meatless main course that’s sure to please the pickiest eater? Here it is!
I love this dish for all the flavors it brings to the table, so to speak. The richly flavored tempeh is balanced by the yummy mustard sauce and the delicate bitterness of the watercress helps you digest the dish and provides the most excellent backdrop for this lovely main course.
Crispy Tempeh with Sweet Mustard Sauce
Olivado Avocado or Chef Salvatore’s extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces tempeh, 1-inch triangles
2 teaspoons Chef Salvatore’s extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thin half-moon slices
1 carrot, thin match stick pieces
1-2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 bunch watercress, rinsed well, coarsely diced
Sweet mustard sauce
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon Suzanne’s Specialties brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon kuzu or arrowroot, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
Heat oil in a skillet, over medium heat and pan fry tempeh, turning to brown on both sides. Drain on paper.
Wipe out the skillet and heat added oil. Sauté red onions, with a pinch of salt, until limp, about 2 minutes. Stir in carrot and celery, season lightly with salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Finally, stir in watercress, cover and turn off heat. Allow watercress to steam for 2 minutes. Stir well and arrange vegetables on a serving platter.
Make mustard sauce by combining juice, mustard, rice syrup and soy sauce in a sauce pan. Cook over low heat until warmed through. Stir in dissolved kuzu and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and clears, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir tempeh into sauce.
To serve, spoon tempeh and sauce over top the vegetables. Serve hot. Makes 4-5 servings. Read more
November 26 Recipe- Christina's Curried Corn and Quinoa
With a whole grain like quinoa in the pantry, there’s no excuse for not eating well. Delicious and packed with complete protein, this little seed cooks in about 15 minutes and will give you stamina and endurance to burn.
This dish, served with a crisp fresh salad can serve as a light lunch or dinner…and will keep you going and going and going…just like you know who.
Curried Corn and Quinoa
2 tablespoons Chef Salvatore’s extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
2 cups spring or filtered water
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2-3 sprigs cilantro, finely minced
Place oil and scallions in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the scallions begin to sizzle, stir in coriander, cumin, curry, red pepper flakes and quinoa. Add water and bring to a boil. Stir in lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cook until quinoa has opened and the water has been absorbed.
Stir in corn kernels, season to taste with salt and cook, stirring often. Finally stir in cilantro, transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately. Makes 4-5 servings. Read more
Surviving the Holidays…with Your Health Intact
Hang onto your hot cocoa, holiday revelers! In honor of the joyous days and weeks that we call the holiday season, we at Christina Cooks have decided to help you celebrate in true style…all while still living the well life!
There’s no need, even during the busiest of holidays, to leave your health abandoned like a crumpled piece of wrapping paper.
My gift to you, from today until Christmas Eve, is a daily recipe that will help you sail through the season, sparkling like the lights on your tree…vibrant, happy and healthy…from soup to dessert…with some natural living tips thrown in for a special treat.
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter…as well as right here…post pictures of your holiday feasting to my wall so we can share the joy and see you get your holiday groove on, well life style!
I wish you a joyous season of abundance and health, surrounded by those you love and cherish the most! Read more
November 25 Recipe - Christina's Comforting Millet Sweet Vegetable Soup
The holidays are joyful and busy, but when you add them to your usual over-scheduled days, you end up more stressed than blissful. If you find yourself thinking, “Joy to the world, my butt,” then you need something to help you chill…even just for a minute.
This soup is sweetly satisfying, comforting and oh, so warming. The millet, with its high protein content, keeps you strong and the root veggies and winter squash join forces to keep you warm, relaxed and grounded.
Joy to the world…indeed!
Millet Sweet Vegetable Soup
1 tablespoon Olivado Avocado oil
¼ cup yellow onion, finely diced
¼ cup each carrot, cabbage, winter squash finely diced
2/3 cup yellow millet, rinsed well
5-6 cups spring or filtered water
2-3 teaspoons white miso
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal, for garnish
Place oil and onion in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, sauté for 1-2 minutes. Layer carrot, cabbage, squash and millet on top of onions. Gently add water and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and simmer soup until vegetables are tender and millet is creamy, about 35 minutes. Remove a small amount of broth and dissolve miso. Stir into soup and simmer, uncovered for 3-4 minutes to activate enzyme activity. Serve garnished with scallions. Makes 6-7 servings. Read more