Recipe: Saving Strawberries 🍓

We’re using the ‘recipe’ term loosely here because you’re not immediately transforming the strawberries into a dish – what we’re doing is saving these strawberries from an early death caused by the dreaded white fuzzies (which could be a noteworthy name for a rock band) so that you can use them for other recipes on the blog. See below for four, strawberry-inclusive recipes.

How long do strawberries last?

On the counter, strawberries will only last a mere day or two.

Strawberries typically last 5-7 days when kept in the refrigerator.

If storing properly in the freezer, you can expect them to about 6 months. Use an air-tight container for best results.

Why should we rinse/soak berries?

You’ve probably heard about the recent outbreak of hepatitis A linked with strawberries. Because berries are picked by hand, there are a couple main routes for this virus to travel.

1. Infection + improper hand washing. In this case, someone who has hepatitis A could have a bowel movement, not fully their wash hands, and then go out to pick your berries. Gross, we know.

2. Watering with waste water. It’s very possible that sewage-contaminated water could have been used to berry crops. Also super-gross.

Pair either one of these with the fact that blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries have many little crevices where a virus could effectively hide out and there’s a problem.

Those crevices also are a sneaky place for mold to grow.

How can I save my strawberries from mold?

Ah yes, the dreaded white fuzzies. Well, remember the saying of “a bad apple spoils the whole bunch”? Same with strawberries. If you see one with some mold growing on it, remove it so it doesn’t start to contaminate the others.

Here’s another way to save your strawberries: in a vinegar bath. Here’s what you’ll need:

Time: about 20 minutes (most of it is passive, waiting time where you can do something else)

Ingredients

1 carton of strawberries

1 part white vinegar (we used 1/2 cup)

4 parts water (we used 2 cups)

Instructions

Place strawberries in large bowl and fill it with the water and white vinegar. Berries should be submerged in the vinegar bath. Leave for about 20 minutes to soak, remember to occasionally rotate the ones floating at the top. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry with paper towels or set strawberries on top of paper towels to air dry. Use a clean container to store your berries in the fridge.

Success! You’ve saved your strawberries from an early death at the garbage or compost bin. You can use them in some of the following recipes:

Royal Coco-cacao Smoothie Bowl

Red, White, and Blueberry Tart

Amaranth for Breakfast

10TV Summer Mocktails

and many more. Enjoy!

Kiwi? Oui Oui! 🥝

Nope, it’s not about the flightless bird or New Zealanders today – we are all about this tiny, overlooked fruit in grocery store that has so much to offer you. What are its nutritional credentials exactly? Well, here’s a start:

  • It has about twice the vitamin C of oranges, per serving
  • Constipated? There’s more to help than prunes and psyllium – kiwi contains fiber and an enzyme that maybe help move things along, if you get our drift
  • Folate – this B vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects in pregnancies but is also important for building red blood cells and reducing homocysteine levels
  • Antioxidants to help neutralize free radical damage

A common question is whether one can eat the skin or not. Yes, you can eat the skin. It’s fuzzy and can kind of tickle the mouth a bit, but it has fiber and the skin doesn’t have much of a taste on its own. In terms of the fruit, the texture is similar to that of a banana but with crunchy seeds in the middle (similar to chia seeds). We think these elements come together to create an interesting and sweet snack.

How to eat kiwis:

The easiest way is to slice it up and enjoy it on its own.

We love it in our Red, White & Blueberry Fruit Tart and Spiced Vanilla Chia Pudding.

How will you eat your kiwi? Share in the comments below.

Recipe: Coconut Almond Smoothie 🥥

After chilly rain earlier this week, the Ohio weather gods have bestowed 60-degree weather upon us. Time to break out your blender and get some chocolate & spring greens in.

Join us in relishing this delicious, anti-inflammatory smoothie that is great for gut health!


Ingredients
2 cups almond milk
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
2 tsp chia seeds
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup spinach
2 medjool dates
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp shredded coconut

Instructions
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well. Add additional non-dairy milk or water
to reach desired consistency. Enjoy!


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Recipe: Plant-based Taco Tuesday 🌮

You definitely don’t need it to be a Tuesday to enjoy these tasty tacos, but “Sunday Tacos” doesn’t exactly have the desired alliteration. We like to call these the Anytime Tacos – the ‘t’ sound is still in there and it’s much more freeing – but social convention is a powerful thing. Regardless, have this crunchy, delicious, and nutrient-dense meal whenever you’d like. Remember the “Got Milk” slogan? Well, this calcium-rich meal actually does a body good. Enjoy!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes, depending on number of condiments offered

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients

1 package of 12 hard taco shells (we used Siete grain-free ones)

1 head of lettuce, romaine or green leaf, chopped

1 can, 15oz of black beans and/or our cauliflower & walnut crumble recipe (if time allows)

1 tsp taco seasoning

2 tomatoes, diced

2 avocados, sliced

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jar of salsa to share

2 limes, sliced (optional)

Instructions

Rinse beans from a can and then put in a small pot over low heat. Add taco seasoning and stir; simmer for about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the tacos. While waiting, prep lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and limes. Follow directions on hard taco shell box for how long to heat them up in the oven (about 2-3 minutes). Plate tacos and allow each dinner guest or family member to decorate their own tacos with the condiments provided. Lime juice provides a nice splash of flavor and acidity to the meal. Your taste buds might just shout ¡olé!

Recipe: Hasselback Potatoes by Mr. Chef

As the lucky recipient of Mr. Chef’s iterations of Hasselback potatoes, we couldn’t wait to share the deliciousness of this recipe. Beware: you may be used to our quick, delicious, and nutritious options and this is not how Mr. Chef operates; he pours a half-hour into making a salad and a few hours of labor and slow-cooking for a curry soup. What can we say? Opposites attract. If you have the patience of a saint or an oyster, give it a try. The pearl is worth it.

Ingredients:

Russet (or other) Potato – one per customer
Olive oil (or butter, for non-vegan customers)
Herbs – rosemary or thyme preferred – to taste
Vegan feta OR goats cheese (again, that would be non-vegan)
Oregano – a must in my mind


Step-by-step instructions: 

1. Make an oil/butter infusion: low temp heat oil/butter with herbs for as long as you can bear
2. While that’s going,
    a) put a potato on a cutting board, put chop sticks (or some other “stop” on the cutting board along its longest dimension
    b) Slice along the longest dimension to make a flat surface for the potato to stand firm while
    c) begin cutting at 1/8″ or 1/16″ intervals straight down (the thinner the better!).  The chop sticks prevent cutting it into separate slices.  The goal is to slice downward finely but not to cut the potato into slices – keep it whole.
    d) This will represent a lot of slices – as always, prep is the labor-intensive part.  Be careful to keep the blade perfectly perpendicular to the cutting board as you slice.  This might tax your knife skills a bit.  It’s worth it.  Carry on.
3. Cover potato(es) with oil/butter infusion, place in pre-heated oven at ~430 degrees Fahrenheit.  A parchment paper-covered flat baking sheet is best.
4. Wait an excruciatingly long time, like an hour or perhaps more depending on the volume of potato(es).
5. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, apply vegan or anti-vegan cheese.  Cover in oregano.  Try to sort of “push” herb topping into the crevices formed by slicing.  Serve.

The outside should be crispy, with a circular gradation into the center becoming almost as smooth and soft as mashed potatoes.  While eating, the layers should fold into interesting patterns as the knife/fork scoop them up.

I’d never eaten one but discovered it while researching thanksgiving sides.  I am somewhat obsessed now.  It won’t be on the menu this year because it takes so long and requires a cooking temperature way over what’s recommended for a turkey.  Maybe save this for a quiet night in when time is no object.  But do it!

Recipe: Homemade Chai Mix & Drink

Photo by Lauren Emond

It’s our inaugural guest recipe blog! So many of you have great recipes you’ve created – if you want to share your whole-foods and healthy recipes (especially the gluten-free, dairy-free ones), please reach out.

This recipe is really two-in-one: chai mix itself and then the drink you make with it. It’s simple, creative, and warms the heart. With a week left until Christmas, you still have time to make a few gifts to be enjoyed by loved ones over these upcoming winter months. Here Lauren Emond (@heart_appetit) shares her love of crafting homemade gifts, especially those including food!

“I may have ordered Chai from coffee shops over the years, but it wasn’t until I had a homemade cup of Chai, or Yogi Tea as she called it, offered by my Kundalini yoga teacher did I truly learn to slow down and enjoy this warm spicy beverage. After every class, she would pull out her mug of hot homemade Chai concentrate, and invite students to gather around in a circle and enjoy a cup.

Years later, I learned something new about Chai. In Hindi and many other languages spoken throughout India and Pakistan, “Masala” translates to spiced. “Chai” translates to tea. Therefore, masala chai is spiced tea. So Masala Chai, or Chai for shorthand, is one of the homemade gifts I like to make for friends and family.

I prefer to make a large batch so I can store it in my fridge and have a few cups throughout the week. This is what inspired my homemade gift for friends.”

Photo by Lauren Emond

Homemade Gift – Chai Mix

Ingredients for 1 quart of Chai:

  • 1 T cardamom pods, crushed so they split open
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (I prefer Ceylon Cinnamon)
  • 1 black tea bag
  • *1/2 tsp fennel
  • *3 star anise leaves
  • Mason Jar and ribbon to decorate
  • Printed or handwritten instructions

*Optional

Add spice and black tea bag into a mason jar & add a ribbon or cloth to decorate. Include these instructions:

Homemade Chai

Makes 4 cups

  • Remove black tea bag and set aside.
  • Chop a 1 ½” piece of ginger root (washed and unpeeled)
  • Add spices and ginger to a pot with 1 quart water.
  • Bring to boil, then cover and simmer 60 minutes.
  • Turn off heat, add tea bag and steep 5 minutes.
  • Strain and store in a quart mason jar.

To serve, heat chai and add milk of choice and sweeten with maple syrup or honey.

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies 🍪

Do you miss chocolate chip peanut butter cookies? Well, with peanuts out-of-the-picture for many school kids (and adults), what can we do instead? Tahini to the rescue!

What is tahini? It’s sesame seed paste that is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and is reminiscent of peanut butter’s taste. With the 90% chocolate chunks and lower amount of maple syrup, this struck us a “healthy cookie” (i.e. not very sweet). Also, amaranth is a come-back grain (really a seed) after a rather sordid history of being banned because it was considered blasphemous (it also strengthened the people to fight against the invaders). Feel free to use chocolate with a lower percentage of cacao and a little more maple syrup, if desired, to fit your sweet tooth.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 11 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1/2 cup tahini

3 oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup amaranth flour (for extra protein; or use gluten-free flour of your choice)

3 tbsp gluten-free oats

1/3 cup maple syrup

1-2 tbsp water (if batter becomes too thick)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine tahini with maple syrup and vanilla. Then add in amaranth flour, gluten-free oats, cinnamon, and salt. Mix and then add chocolate chunks. If batter is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of water or maple syrup (for those who want this sweeter). Scoop onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 11 minutes. Cookies should be chewy and look underdone in the middle (they are vegan and perfectly safe to eat this way). Let set and cool for 10 minutes and then dig in!

Recipe: ‘Nacho’ Average Nachos

nachoaveragenachos

These nachos don’t follow the bell curve to the top. Oh no, they are at the tail end in the small, exceptional A+ pool. What makes them more amazing than ‘average’ nachos?

They are, perhaps surprisingly, dairy-free. They are also a good source of fiber, thanks to those black beans, AND they utilize cilantro, rather than more salt, to create a tasty and craveable meal. Ready to give it a try?

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: that’s up to you, it fills an entire sheet pan 😀

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission

Ingredients

1/2 bag of organic tortilla chips

1 cup black beans, canned

1/2 cup of salsa

1/2 bag of Violife shredded cheddar

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp jalapeño, diced (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread tortilla chips on baking pan and top with black beans and non-dairy cheese. Place in oven and bake until heated through and cheese has started to melt, about 6-7 minutes. Serve immediately with toppings of salsa, cilantro and other desired toppings such as diced jalapeño. Enjoy!