{Sweet | Good Morning! Good For Me Pancakes}

I have learned that bananas are pretty magical and versatile.

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Magical because for certain recipes, they add certain degree of natural sweetness without always tasting overly banana-y.  Versatile because they can mixed with quite a few different ingredients to create some delicious desserts.  They also have a lot of good for me nutrients and fills me up without weighing me down.
I’d like to introduce to you the dairy-free, gluten-free, high protein – low carb pancakes made with only 2 ingredients: bananas and eggs!
{Good Morning Good For Me Pancakes}
  • 1 banana (peeled, chopped)
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • sprinkling of stevia (optional)
In a food processor or blender (or you can do this by hand if you have more time), blend banana and egg together until you have batter consistency. Add the other optional ingredients if you desire.  The resulting mixture will look like regular batter, there should be no banana chunks.
Use this batter like regular pancake batter. Heat up a pan and pour into pan silver-dollar style, flip once you start seeing it lightly bubble.  Add maple syrup to serve if you like.
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{Savory | Kale Chips}

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Everyone has been raving about how Kale chips are “just like potato chips”. They’re nothing like potatoes chips. Seriously. Nothing can every really replace the deliciousness of a potato chips. That crunch! The salt! The mouthful of soul shattering oil!

Kale chips are made from…kale, a vegetable. There’s no comparison!

BUT!

That doesn’t mean Kale Chips aren’t good. They are delicious in fact! Just a different type of deliciousness from potato chips.

Making Kale Chips is also super easy, and you can customize the flavor to however you want. I like a good old fashioned salt and garlic Kale Chip.

Here’s my method:

{Kale Chips}

Preheat over to 350

1) Tear Kale leaves into bite sized pieces (wash them, and dry them really really really well, not a lick of water on them or they won’t crisp up right)

3) In a bowl, throw in the torn off kale leaves, add in a little oil (coconut oil, olive oil, whatever you want), just enough to cover the leaves.

4) Then sprinkle in a little dried garlic, a pinch of dried onion, and some salt. I don’t have any measurements, because I leave the amount and intensity of flavor up to you. You can munch of leaves as you go, so you know just how much of the spices you want to put in

5) Take a cookie sheet, and lay out all the kale leaves on it in one layer.

6) Put it in the oven for about 7 minutes (I start checking it at 5 minutes), and let it cook until it has “crisped” up to your satisfaction. Take it out and let it cool.

Please know, the kale chips, will never be as crispy as a potato chip. But, they are fast, easy and healthy snack to have on hand!

{Not Vegan |Omakase Dinner At Ushiwakamaru}

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Is it rude to call up a five star restaurant and ask for delivery? Cuz Ushiwakamaru had some drool worthy pieces of sushi that I currently want in my belly, but I do not want to trek downtown to eat it and pay the exorbitant eat-in prices.

Here is a link to the restaurant, so you can read the reviews and details yourself and come to your own conclusion of the place: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ushiwakamaru-new-york

It was Day 6 of 5 day Vegan, so it was a definite eat-whatever-I-want night. I had been craving sushi, and I am on a quest to compare Ushi against Sushi Yasuda (the latter being the heavyweight and sushi places of all sushi places). I snagged a reservation for Carnivore Man and myself and ordered the omakase.

There were some definite winners: white shrimp, Japanese Uni (which is different than west coast Uni), red snapper, and needlefish – these were all new for me and they WERE DELICIOUS!

Ofcourse I’ve had sushi before, but I’ve never had omakase sushi like this. Omakase is where you set a price, and you let the sushi chef pick different pieces of fish for you to eat. Most of the Ushi’s fish is flown in directly from Japan, daily.

The meal and the ambiance (and company) was definitely a fantastic night out and memorable.  Sushi Yasuda is next, and once I go there, I will do a comparison. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a photo:

{Savory | Vegan Low Carb Soup}

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I just threw a bunch of left over veggies into a pot and let it simmer a few minutes and to it I added delicious kimchi. Here’s what I made:

1) 3 cups of water to boil

2) Added gluten free soy sauce (Tamari) – I eyeballed the amount and tasted the broth until it was salty enough for it

3) Once everything came to a boil I added mushrooms, green beans, watercress and arugula (basically whatever greens was left in the fridge, so use whatever you want!), and let everything boil for about a minute or so – again, I eyeballed it

4) Turned off the heat and put everything into a bow, and to it added a solid dollop of delicious kimchi

Terrific, easy low carb vegan weekday dinner!

{Sweet & Tangy | Almond Butter Upgraded!}

We all know how good almond butter is, especially over peanut butter. Here is a comparison chart

peanut vs almond

Here is a full length article on peanut butter vs. almond butter : http://www.livestrong.com/article/262281-the-benefits-of-almond-butter-vs-peanut-butter/

Both types of nut butters aren’t bad for you, but I personally prefer almond butter, it’s less “tacky” in my mouth, and I like the smoother taste.

I buy regular almond butter (nothing added to it) from Trader Joes. Then the magic starts. From the jar, I pour a little out into tupperware to start making my “custom” almond butter. To have something sweet on hand, I add a little Brown Rice Syrup to the almond butter, a pinch of vanilla extract, and mix everything about, and there ya go! Slightly sweetened almond butter.

Into another tupperware I will add a combination of dried cumin, lemon, salt, garlic, paprika, onion, parsley and mix it all around.  This creates a deep savory version, which I use as the binder for vegan sushi. IT IS SO DELICIOUS. I can eat this by the spoonfuls.

IMG_4341[1]So from one simple jar, I can make so many custom almond butter variations. You can use any type of almond butter you like, but of all the types I’ve sampled (Whole Foods, Justin’s, Wegman’s), I love Trader Joe’s the best. For me, it has just the right amount of crunch left in it, and the price is reasonable.

If you guys make any of you own almond butter concoctions, please let me know in the comments below!

{Healthware | Lemon Water Benefits}

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I read somewhere that Hugh Jackman’s doctor told him the best way to prevent colds is to drink a cup of warm lemon water every morning – before the coffee.  I did some online research on this and this is actually highly recommended by a lot of nutritionists. A slice of lemon in warm water first thing in the morning soothes the stomach, and supposedly alkalizes the intestine preparing it for breakfast (I’m a bit suspicious about this claim). Further, a bit of lemon in water is a great source of simple Vitamin C (this I do believe), which your body loves and needs to boost immunity.

Now, I pre-cut slices of lemon, put it in tupperware, and every morning take a slice and put it in a cup. To it I pour in some boiling water, let it cool a tiny bit and drink it before I drink my coffee.

I’ve found that it has definitely soothed my stomach (I have a rather sensitive stomach), has the tiniest gentle-ist laxative effect to cleanse out my system before I start eating for the day, and an unexpected perk – it’s really made my skin look brighter and healthier.

{Grocery Haul | Chinese Groceries}

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 I think most of the groceries are pretty self explanatory. The two greens I got are watercress (upper right hand side)  $0.99 for a giant bundle and xs baby bok choy(lower right hand side ($1.50) for a giant bushel.  They aren’t always organic though, so if that is important to you, then you will still need to go somewhere like Whole Foods and pay the up price.

But Chinese groceries stores can be a great resource to get lots of different vegetable types. For example, Baby Bok Choy comes in FOUR sizes there, it’s like clothing! xs, s, m, l.  There are more veggie technical names for it, but basically you can buy different stages of bok choy. I got the xs kind because they are cute.

Watercress is super pricey at Whole Foods, but super cheap at Chinese grocery store.  Watercress is also pretty awesome for a woman’s body. If you Google “Watercress nutrition” you can find a ton of info on it. Here is a quickie condensed list:

– may help with skin & breast cancer prevention

– rich in iron, iodine, vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants and folate

– may help with anti-inflammatory

– generally contributes to healthy skin

* but I also read some warnings, which I’ll add here: should not be used by children under 4 years old, people with stomach or intestinal ulcers, or those with inflammatory kidney diseases.

I usually add it soups (Asians love adding watercress to brothy soups), or make a watercress salad: add some sliced avocado, and a pieced of grilled/broiled/salmon on ontop and maybe a hint of miso dressing or just a simple squire of lemon + garlic juice.

Do you watercress? Tell me how!

{Savory | Vegan Sushi}

And it’s easy to make!

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I first had this at a local vegan place. But…I thought $15 for 5 “rolls” was a bit much, especially since it was vegan and didn’t contain any fancy fish.

 

I looked at the ingredient list and felt that I could make something similar at a much lower price point.  I love being right!

{Ingredients}

Almond butter (walnut butter works too)

onion powder (or finely freshly ground)

garlic powder (or finely freshly ground)

parsley power (or finely freshly ground)

carrots (julienne)

cumin powder

lemon juice

sea salt

sprouts

nori (seaweed wraps)

sushi roller (optional but helpful)

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{Prep}

1) the almond butter needs to cover most of the seaweed wrap, so scoop out enough in a bowl that will do so. Eye ball it. To make 3 rolls, I used half a jar of almond butter.

2) To the almond butter add a little bit of water, about half a little less than half a cup. This breaks up the consistency so it isn’t so thick. Then add in onions, garlic, parsley, cumin, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt — add more or less to taste. This isn’t exact science. Then stir! stir! stir!  

3) Peel, cute, julienne carrots

Unroll the sushi roller and place single piece of seaweed onto it.

4) Spread almond butter onto the seaweed. Cover all the way to the edges.

5) Add carrots in a single layer, on top of carrots add the sprouts, then if you want to go a big mac effect, add another layer of carrots onto of the sprouts.Image

6) Commence rolling. Using the sushi roller, start creating the roll, pushing down slightly as you roll forward. Roll firmly. 

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7) Once you have your sushi log, use a cerrated knife to cut into pieces

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{Tips}

– It’s hard to describe sushi rolling. It’s much easier to show. I had to youtube how to do a simple sushi roll, there are a ton of video’s on it, I would recommend doing this if you’ve never rolled sushi before.

– Once I’ve made the final roll, sometimes I use a dab of water on the sushi to make the seaweed seam stick together

– I will mush and pinch along the final log to make sure everything is tightly packed together

– After the rolls are cut, if there is room, I will use a chop stick to stuff in some more sprouts (be gentle so it doesn’t make the roll pop)

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Ta da! Vegan Sushi Rolls!  Let me know how you made yours and if you made any variations!