So long sweet peach…

I’ll miss your fuzzy, sunset-hued skin. Your cheery presence in my morning bowl of muesli and yogurt. And eating you like candy.

Sweet, juicy candy, made from pure sunshine.

No matter what grocery store tries to fool me mid-January, I know no look-alike can compare to your genuine summer sunshine-ripened perfection. But that only makes you sweeter come July, when I take my first blissful bite. I’ll soon be longing for that day, I’m sure.

Before I say goodbye for now, though, let’s look at some of the tasty moments we shared this summer…..

A typical breakfast.. (homemade muesli recipe coming soon)

Golden peach soup with crab ‘ceviche’ – from Cooking Light

This was delicious, but too sweet to eat as a whole meal in my opinion. It would work better as a cute appetizer / hors d’oeuvre served in mini cups.

A breakfast or dessert-worthy Yogurt Peach Tart – from Anja’s Food 4 Thought

This one’s definitely a keeper. So simple to put together, and every ingredient is 100% nutritious! no shame eating a big slice of this for breakfast :)

Peaches & ginger cheesecake – shared on the blog recently…

And last but perhaps best, my spicy peach lassi – recipe below.

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juicy, crisp & super sweet raw corn salad.

Sweet summer corn in its raw state is totally under-appreciated.

Chomping down on a freshly husked ear from the field across the street; your teeth bursting a mouthful of crispy kernels into sweet, milky juice that runs down your chin….

There’s something so rich and pure and earthy that I feel is lost when the ears are cooked.

SO. If you have not experienced the sensation that is sweet summer corn, fresh from the field and raw, try out this easy recipe for corn bhel, a sweet and tangy Indian street snack. Give your traditional boiled/baked/grilled corn-on-the-cob a break, and enjoy all the extra nutrients from the raw stuff!

I first had corn bhel at Chai Pani, an amaazing Indian street food-inspired restaurant in Asheville, NC (highly recommend it if you’re in the area!). It was love at first taste… love that quickly turned into addiction. How could such simple ingredients combine to create something so brightly flavorful and complex?

As expected, I’m pretty sure the flavor owes much to the “corn milk,” as I like to call it, which is plentiful and so rich and pure on an uncooked ear. Be sure to slice the kernels off as close to the cob as it allows, and then scrape again and again til you’ve milked the cob for all it’s worth.

MMM mmmm. Then spoon it onto a green salad, grilled fish or chicken, scoop it like salsa onto corn chips, serve it over a fried egg with salsa and black beans, provide as a healthy side dish, or eat it straight out of the serving bowl when you want to snack on something awesome. Did I mention it’s incredibly addicting……

Corn Bhel (sweet raw corn salad), inspired by Chai Pani’s dish

  • 2 ears sweet corn, raw + kernels sliced fresh off the cob
  • ‘corn milk’  (the juices from the cob, every last drop scraped off :)
  • 1  red or white onion, diced
  • 4 small-medium tomatoes, diced (this is just an estimate – I used what we had from the garden)
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 t roasted coriander powder
  • 1/2 t cumin powder
  • salt + pepper to taste

Hold each ear of corn on its end and slice the kernels off with a knife. Then continue scraping the cob ’til you get every last drop of juice. Combine all ingredients together in a pretty bowl and let sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld into deliciousness. Eat.

enjoy :) –mich

This post is linked to Wellness Weekends and Healthy Vegan Fridays :)

lemon + zucchini corncakes

Limón y calabacín, or lemon and zucchini as you may know them, were the flavors of my summer. Working at a Montessori school’s garden all season, we had an overflowing crop of zucchini and lots of time to mess around with new recipes and get creative.

…zucchini ice cream, anyone? ;)

I’ve never been a huge fan of lemon flavor in desserts, but this summer my taste buds must have changed on me. ‘Cause now it’s all I crave. With the help of the Montessori kids who came to work in the garden, we started experimenting with some lemon-rosemary zucchini bread, then progressed to Martha’s lemon-zucchini cornmeal cookies *veganized* (Mom’s faaavorite), and from there I decided to add the tasty combo to my favorite cornmeal pancakes that I posted here last summer.

Fluffy and buttery cornmeal cakes with shreds of bright green zucchini and tangy lemon zest, spread with maple syrup-greek yogurt….. it’s summer bundled up into a little pancake.

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a well balanced cookie

It’s been a while since I’ve made a good, wholesome, nutritious cookie — one that I can feel good about snacking on for a boost of energy first thing in the morning, or as a perfectly sweet treat after dinner.

As a self-professed cookie monster, I’ve embraced the art of “healthy cookie” making so I’d always have something slightly more nutritious than a box of nutter butters when the monster decided to come out. But lately my cookie baking has been less-than-healthy, and I’m longing for those guiltfree goodies of my past….

Some may laugh at cookies for breakfast, but to that I say simply compare the ingredients & nutrition facts to a your typical banana-nut bakery muffin and thennn we’ll see who’s laughing….

These pack serious protein from the egg, protein powder and nuts, a modest amount of healthy fat from almond butter, coconut oil and hazelnuts, slight sweetness from agave nectar, vanilla protein and cherries, and antioxidants from the cocoa nibs.

And in terms of taste, the sweetness contrasts with a peppery kick and tart cherries, nuts and nibs provide bits of crunch, the whole wheat and oats lend a dense and hearty chew, and the gentle scent of vanilla reminds you that you’re nibbling on a delicate little cookie. (For breakfast).

A cookie as balanced in nutrients as it is in texture and flavor. What more could a cookie monster ask for?

Cherry Hazelnut Power Cookies, adapted from the 17-Day Diet Book. Thanks Janet!!

makes ~18 cookies

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 T flaxseed or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 egg or 3 ½ T egg whites
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • ½ t almond extract
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t ground white pepper
  • ½ cup vanilla protein powder (I use tera’s whey bourbon vanilla)
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs (optional) Continue reading

stuffed swiss chard marinara

Having a food blog and all, I know it’s probably assumed I’m an alright cook. But actually.. I gotta confess…. half [if not more] of my attempts in the kitchen are failures.

My creative energy goes to thinking up delicious flavor combinations and out-of-the-ordinary recipes, but not so much to the skill of making it happen. Why? Because something about me refuses to ever follow a recipe exactly. Ever. Whether I’m completely “healthifying” something, making it gluten-free, vegan, substituting ingredients for whatever I have on hand, or leaving an ingredient out completely, I can’t seem to follow anyone’s rules. I also hate using exact measurements and usually eye-ball it or adjust to taste. …Occasionally this rebelliousness works out GREAT, but most times not so much.

Anyway now that my confession is out of the way, I must share with you one of my latest pleasant surprises, a completely made up and guesstimated recipe (if you can still call it a recipe), for stuffed chard marinara, a la my mother and I. Think stuffed shells with greens acting as your shells. Fortunately it’s the kind of dish that’s totally ok for eye-balling measurements and adjusting ingredients & seasoning to your taste. So go cRaAaaazY and make it your own!

stuffed Swiss chard marinara

serves 4

  • 10 swiss chard leaves, washed + patted dry, stem chopped off
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • veggie sausage (chopped into small bits if not ground-sausage style)
  • couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • white onion, chopped
  • shredded zucchini (optional—had some in the freezer so we threw it in)
  • marinara sauce
  • shredded mozzarella

ricotta mixture:

  • equal parts fat-free and part-skim ricotta (we used maybe 1 cup total?)
  • chopped fresh basil
  • chopped fresh oregano
  • minced fresh garlic or garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • squeeze of lemon

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat olive oil in large pan, sauté sausage, peppers and onions until starting to brown. (This is when we added shredded zucchini, but you can simply leave that out!)

Meanwhile, combine ricotta, fresh basil + oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon in a bowl and set aside.  Spread a thin coat of marinara sauce onto a rectangular baking dish.  When sausage mixture is browned, spoon a dollop onto the end of a chard leaf, followed by a dollop of ricotta mixture. Fold in the ends of the leaf and roll up burrito-style.

Line each rolled leaf, seam-side down, on top of marinara in the baking dish in a single layer so you have 2 rows of 5 roll-ups.  Evenly spoon marinara on top, followed by a sprinkling (or a dumping—your call) of shredded mozzarella. Bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through, 20-30 minutes. Allow your delicious dinner to cool for 5 minutes before serving!

yummmmmmmm. Enjoy!

-mich

 

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

why I love summer mornings at home, and happy birthday blog!

Summer mornings at our quiet country home are perhaps the most serene and savored moments of my days.

All is still except the yellow sunlight slowly slipping further through the windows.

And silence is broken only by the voices of chirpy birds and occasional snores of a sleepy dog.

It’s a brief calm before the heat storm that is to come…

I take my time with a good long stretch, a homemade latte, and a slow breakfast including wild black raspberries picked from a neighbor’s farm and sweet, fat blueberries from a friend’s backyard. And my newly discovered favorite granola.

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treats for tara

So I’m not big on posting recipes that I copy exactly from someone else. Writing up my own creations (the few successful ones) or a recipe that I’ve at least adapted to make my own feels much more like an accomplishment.

But I’ll make exceptions when something turns out just so perfect and everyone’s begging for the recipe.

Like these…..

When my family went to Colorado to celebrate my sister’s graduation, she threw a little party featuring sumo wrestling and tasty food prepared by us. Two pretty great things.

Among many other nibbles, mom made cute shrimp gazpacho shooters…..

…and I contributed the sweets, of course. My favorite chili-chocolate-cherry bean cookies emerged from the oven sadly flat (blaming that on the altitude..), but these almond butter rice crisp treats certainly made up for it.

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