Basic Congee

congee

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I am so excited to say that after being with my boyfriend for 11 years I have finally found something he likes to eat for breakfast. This is the perfect food to serve to someone who doesn’t want something sweet for breakfast.

Congee for me is very much a comfort food. It’s warm, it’s flavor is mild and lets be honest you barely have to chew.

Called Jook in Chinese and Okayu in Japanese, Congee is a breakfast staple many eastern countries enjoy. Basically, its a rice porridge. It’s very common to see it flavored with soy sauce or tamari (I actually like to use Bragg liquid aminos) and umeboshi plums, which is how I eat it. It takes a while to cook so unless you are a very early riser I would recommend making a batch at the beginning of the week and then having it in the fridge to re-heat as you wish.

Health bennies:

  • Great breakfast choice in the winter to warm, nourish, ground & energize the body.
  • By eating something savory for breakfast instead of sweet you curb your cravings for sugar throughout the rest of the day.
  • Enhances circulation.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Great to eat when you are ill (think chicken noodle soup)

 

Basic Congee

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Long grain rice
  • 5 cups Chicken stock
  • 1/2 inch piece Ginger peeled and smashed
  • TT Bragg liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)
  • TT Umeboshi plum paste

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice, place in a pot with the stock & ginger and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Serve bragg liquid amigos and umeboshi plum paste on the side and season your bowl of congee to your desired taste.

Recipe Notes

Need Chicken stock? Try this!
Need Bragg liquid aminos? Try this!
Need tamari? Try this!
Need Umeboshi plum paste? Try this!

 

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Coconut-chia pudding with cocoa nibs, pomegranate and mint

Chia pudding

Chia pudding

Chia seeds used to be these things that you soaked in water, spread on a garden gnome and a few days later it grew a beard. Then we come to find out these things are actually incredibly good for you and we started putting them in our smoothies and sprinkling them on our salads. Then people started to figure out that when you soak them they turn to jelly like consistency and expand and therefore can be used as a thickener. Enter chia pudding. A wonderful dish invented by God knows who. I started messing around with this stuff about 9 months ago and discovered there are so many ways you can go with a good basic chia pudding recipe. Below I have my basic recipe that I have added cacao nibs to. If you don’t eat cacao nibs feel free to omit them. I used pomegranate and mint to garnish but feel free to use whatever you like. Nuts, seeds, any type of fruit, fresh herbs and spices are all great options. This dish can be eaten at breakfast, as a snack or as a healthy dessert.

Health bennies:

Chia Seeds – Extremely rich in fiber, omega-3s and anti-oxidants, a complete protein, high in nutrients but low in calories. Chia seeds absorb liquid, which for your body means they makes you feel full and are very hydrating.

 

Coconut-chia pudding with cocoa nibs, pomegranate and mint

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 can 13.6 oz Coconut milk unsweetened
  • 5 Tablespoons Chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • TT Kosher salt (use himalayan pink or celtic grey to benefit from their minerals)
  • 2 Tablespoons Raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Cacoa nibs

Garnish:

  • 1 Tablespoon Cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup Pomegranate seeds
  • 2 sprigs Mint chopped

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into serving cups and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To serve garnish the cups of chia pudding with more cocoa nibs, pomegranate seeds and mint.

Recipe Notes

Need Coconut milk?  Try this!
Need Chia seeds? Try this!
Need Vanilla extract? Try this!
Need himalayan pink? Try this!
Need Cacoa nibs? Try this!

 

Awesome acai bowls

classic acai bowl

Acai (pronounce it ah-sigh-ee) is the fruit of a palm tree native to the Brazilian amazon. Once a staple of the indigenous amazon tribes, now a favorite amongst surfers, hippies and foodies. Here in the U.S. you can find it in the freezer section, already pureed and packaged in individual portions. There are usually two types available, unsweetened and sweetened with guarana, another plant native to the amazon, used for its potent amount of caffeine.

Acai bowls are most commonly made by pureeing acai with milk and other fruits. They are basically really thick smoothies, plated in a bowl and then garnished with whatever ingredients your heart desires. The sky really is the limit with this popular breakfast dish. They are an excellent way to get powdered superfoods into your breakfast like maca, spiralina and cacao or your daily dose of fiber by adding ingredients like chia seeds, granola or ground flaxseed. Pack in some protein by garnishing with nuts and seeds and kick up the antioxidant level with cacao nibs and berries. I like to keep bananas, mango or berries in my freezer at all times to blend up with the acai.

Health bennies:

Acai is high in antioxidants, vitamins A, B & K, fiber, potassium, omega fatty acids and is an anti-inflammatory,

Here are three acai bowls I like to make at home. Garnishes change depending on what I have in my pantry & fridge.

The Classic Acai Bowlclassic acai bowl

The Classic Acai Bowl

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Sambazon Acai puree unsweetened (200g)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut milk organic
  • 1/2 each Banana frozen or fresh, organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maca powder
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries organic

Garnishes:

  • - strawberries sliced
  • - blueberries
  • -granola
  • - raw honey
  • -chia seeds
  • - bee pollen made from local bees, can be purchased at your local farmers market or health foods store
  • -hemp seeds
  • -goji berries

Instructions

  1. - In a high speed blender puree the acai, coconut milk, banana, maca powder and strawberries until smooth.
  2. - Pour puree into a bowl, sprinkle the garnishes on top and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Need Sambazon Acai puree, unsweetened (200g)? Try this!
Need Maca powder? Try this!
Need granola? Try this!
Need chia seeds? Try this!
Need hemp seeds? Try this!
Need goji berries? Try this!

The Chocolate Lover’s Acai bowlchocolate lover's acai bowl

The Chocolate Lover's Acai bowl

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Sambazon Acai puree unsweetened (200g)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Almond milk
  • 1/2 each Avocado organic
  • 1 each Banana frozen or fresh, organic
  • 1 teaspoon Cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground flaxseed organic
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey

Garnishes:

  • -cacao nibs
  • - almonds chopped
  • - blueberries
  • - coconut shredded, unsweetened
  • - sunflower seeds
  • -chia seeds

Instructions

  1. -  In a high speed blender puree the acai, almond milk, avocado, banana, cacao powder, ground flaxseed and honey until smooth.
  2. - Pour puree into a bowl, sprinkle the garnishes on top and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Need Sambazon Acai puree, unsweetened (200g)? Try this!
Need Almond milk? Try this!
Need Cacao powder? Try this!
Need Ground flaxseed? Try this!
Need cacao nibs? Try this!
Need chia seeds? Try this!

Tropical Acai Bowl

tropical acai bowl

Tropical Acai Bowl

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Sambazon Acai puree unsweetened (200g)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Coconut milk organic
  • 1/2 each Banana frozen or fresh, organic
  • 1/2 cup Mango frozen or fresh, organic
  • juice from half  a lime

Garnishes:

  • - mango diced
  • - pineapple diced
  • - banana sliced
  • - avocado sliced
  • - coconut shredded, unsweetened

Instructions

  1. - In a high speed blender puree the acai, coconut milk, banana, mango and lime juice until smooth.
  2. - Pour puree into a bowl, sprinkle the garnishes on top and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Need Sambazon Acai puree, unsweetened (200g)? Try this!

Make your own almond milk

Almond milk

Almond milk

Making your own almond milk is easy to do. It’s tasty by itself, poured over cereal, added to smoothies and used in desserts. There are health advantages to drinking homemade almond milk too!

It’s a good alternative to processed cow’s milk. 

Processed (homogenized and pasteurized) cows milk has been depleted of it’s beneficial enzymes that are good for digestion, A, C and a large portion of B vitamins, many minerals, and are from factory farmed cows that have been pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. There is a large majority of people who have difficulty digesting processed cow’s milk because the enzyme needed to digest it properly has been destroyed by the pasteurization and homogenization process.

Some store bought almond milks have unwanted ingredients.

Some almond milk brands contain an ingredient called carrageenan (used as a thickening & stabilizing agent) which can cause inflammation in your digestive tract. Also, some brands can contain unwanted additives or sweeteners.

Health bennies: Almond milk is low in calories compared to other milks (exp. cow’s, rice and soy), full of good plant based fats that can help lower cholesterol, high in antioxidant vitamin E and contains A & D vitamins. Raw almonds contain enzyme inhibitors so soaking them first removes the inhibitors exposing their health benefits and making them easier to digest.

 

Almond Milk

Servings 1 pint

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Raw organic almonds
  • 8 cups Filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of Sea salt

Instructions

  1. - Soak the almonds in 4 cups of filtered water at room temperature overnight.
  2. - Drain the almonds, discard the water and rinse thoroughly.
  3. - Place the almonds, 4 cups of fresh filtered water, vanilla extract and sea salt in a blender and blend on high speed for 45 seconds.
  4. - Strain through a nut milk bag or double layer of cheesecloth. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Recipe Notes

*** Remember your homemade almond milk doesn't have any preservatives in it, so the shelf life is going to be about 3 days. You will know it has gone bad because it will start to smell sour.

Almond Milk

 

Mo maca please

maca smoothie

maca smoothie

Maca root, native to the Peruvian mountains, has been used for thousands of years. It has been known to increase stamina & energy, balance hormones, enhance sexual libido, ease menopause symptoms and is good for metabolism, stress & improving your mood. Maca is a great alternative to caffeine (hello coffee drinkers) being that it won’t give you the negative side effects of “jitters” or “crashing” that caffeine can.

For more on using maca to treat menopause read this article.

An easy way to get maca into your diet is to put a spoonful into your shakes and smoothies. The recipe below was inspired by a milkshake I had at Cafe Gratitude. It’s really delicious and makes you feel like you are ready to take on the day after you drink it.

Health bennies:

Maca – High in calcium, protein, many essential minerals & vitamins, contain antioxidants, amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, dietary fiber and plant sterols.

* Favorite brand – Nativas naturals maca powder

Maca-coconut-almond smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Organic coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Raw almond butter *Favorite brand - Justin's classic almond butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Maca powder
  • 1/4 cup Organic Medjool dates chopped
  • pinch Salt
  • 2 cups Ice

Instructions

  1. Place everything in a blender in the order provided. Blend on high until smooth.

Recipe Notes

Need Justin’s classic almond butter?  Try this!
Need Maca powder? Try this!

Not Your Grandma’s Oatmeal

hot cereal

hot cereal

On cold mornings when I have a little extra time I like to make this breakfast. It’s comforting and really fills you up. The hot cereal that I use is Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Cereal which contains whole grains. It is important to choose whole grains because when the germ and bran in the endosperm remain in tact during processing they retain all their nutrients. As opposed to highly processed wheats like bleached white flour where 40% of the wheat grain (the outer brown layer that contains the bran and germ) has been removed, thus losing more than half of it’s vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Heath Bennies:

Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Cereal – 

Whole grain oats – High in fiber, low calorie, high in protein, lowers bad cholesterol and it’s filling so you can eat less and still feel full (true for all 5 of these grains).

– Whole Wheat – Contains vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, copper, zinc, iron, and many other minerals. High in fiber and omega-3s.

– Rye – High in fiber, protein, many important minerals, vitamin B1 and antioxidants.

– Barley – High in fiber, minerals, vitamin B1, create helpful bacteria in the gut.

– Triticale – A hybrid of wheat and rye. Contains more protein, minerals and fiber than both wheat and rye alone.

– Flaxseed – Full of healthy fats, fiber, omega -3 fatty acids. (Flaxseeds should be ground or chewed thoroughly in order to release all of the nutrients. They can also spoil quickly so it is best to store them in your freezer)

 

Not your Grandma's oatmeal

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup Water
  • pinch Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Hot Cereal
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw honey
  • 1/4 cup Organic raw walnuts
  • 1/8 cup Organic blueberries

Instructions

  1. - Bring water and salt to a boil, add the cereal, lower to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes.
  2. - The cereal is ready when almost all the water has been absorbed and the cereal is soft.
  3. - Remove from heat and mix in the honey, walnuts and blueberries.

Recipe Notes

Need Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Hot Cereal? Try this!

My Go To Breakfast

home-made granola

home-made granola

I’ve been making home-made granola for years. Once it’s made it stays fresh for weeks and can be used to make the quickest breakfast. This size batch lasts me right around 3 weeks and tastes great sprinkled over plain greek yogurt and fresh berries.

Health Bennies:

Whole grain Oats – High in fiber, low calorie, high in protein, lowers bad cholesterol and it’s filling so you can eat less and still feel full.  *Favorite brand Bob’s Red Mill. They have many different kinds of oats to choose from such as organic, gluten free, extra thick, quick cooking etc. 

Organic Almonds – High in protein, alkalize the body, good source of vitamin E and contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids.

Raw organic honey – High in vitamin C, calcium and iron, an antibiotic and great for the immune system.

Organic Coconut – High in fiber, contains healthy fats, high in omega-3s and iron.

Cinnamon – Improves circulation, can lower blood sugar, antibacterial, strengthens immune system and improve cholesterol. (Ceylon cinnamon is safer in high doses than the more popular and widely available Cassia cinnamon, which can cause liver damage if used in high doses.)

Dried Ginger – Anti-inflammatory, good for digestion and an antioxidant. (Can be harmful if used in very high doses).

Dried fruit – High in fiber, nutrient dense, antioxidant. (Choose fruits that contain no additives. Eat sparingly if you are trying to lose weight because they do contain more calories than fresh fruit.)

 

HOME-MADE GRANOLA

Servings 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Bob's Red Mill organic regular rolled oats
  • 1 cup Coarsely chopped organic raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened organic coconut shreds
  • 3/4 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup Raw organic honey
  • 1 cup Assorted dried fruits bite size

Instructions

  1. - Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. - Mix everything except the dried fruit together and spread evenly on to sheet

Recipe Notes

Need Bob’s Red Mill organic regular rolled oats? Try this!

 

My go to breakfast:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain organic greek yogurt *Favorite brand - Straus Organic Plain Greek Yogurt.
  • 1/4 cup home-made granola
  • 1/8 cup fresh organic berries I usually use blueberries

Recipe Notes

Need Straus Organic Plain Greek Yogurt?  Try this!