Cucamelon Salad – What’s a Cucamelon!?

They’re tiny, they’re adorable, and they’re downright delicious.

Cucamelon recipe

These itty bitty cucumbers are a little bit lemony tasting, and pair perfectly with ripe cherry tomatoes and grapes.

Also known as Sanditas or Mexican Sour Gerkins, these little babies are being grown around the US now, and I’ve seen them in well-stocked grocery stores and farmer’s markets on both coasts. Check your local store now, or order seeds for next year here and grow your own!

Cucamelon Salad

 

Cucamelon Salad Recipe Alexandra Jamieson

Serves 6-8 as a side

2 cups cucamelons (aka sanditas), washed, dried & halved (or chopped Persian cucumbers)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed, dried & halved
2 cups red grapes, washed, dried & halved
8 leaves fresh basil, washed, dried & torn
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch sea salt

Combine the cucamelons, tomatoes and grapes in a bowl.
Tear the basil and add to the bowl.
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Whisk well.
Pour olive oil mixture over the cucamelons and toss gently. Serve immediately and enjoy the happy sounds of delighted guests.

 

Inspired by Elise Kornack’s Tomato & Sandita Salad in New York Magazine October, 2013

My 1-Minute Lunch!

I’m busy, so I eat simple food most of the time.

This week, between phone calls, I cut open an avocado, filled it with leftover gigante beans (aren’t they gigantic!?), and  a light olive oil vinaigrette.

Boom. Done.

Delicious.

(And YES, I ate both halves of the avocado filled with beans – I was HUNGRY!)

This is the kind of simple, delicious food I share with my Cravings Cure members – want to check it out?

Click here to learn about the Cravings Cure Group Detox Program!

 

Oats, redux: 2 new ways to enjoy hearty grains at breakfast

I’m usually a protein girl in the morning. Long gone are the donut days where I could swill a cup of OJ and chomp a croissant and still make it to lunch. If I tried that now, I’d be in a sugar coma by 10am!

Now I like to mix up my morning meal with protein rich almond butter on sprouted grain toast, or a green smoothie with added nuts.

But the weather is cooling, the mornings are darker, and I want something warm and rib-stickin’.

Here’s how we do “oatmeal” in the morning:

Quinoa Porridge

Recipe:

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk with 1 cup washed and drained quinoa.

Bring to a  boil over high heat.

2. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon,

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup raisins, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.

3. Top with chopped pears.

HEMP OATMEAL

Recipe:

1. Bring 2 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk to a simmer, whisk in 1 cup oat bran. 

2. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and any fruit you like.

3. After 2 minutes, turn off the heat and add in 1/4 cup hemp seeds.

4. Stir well and serve with maple syrup and extra milk.

5 Tips To Get Kids To Eat Salads At Schools

A friend of mine, who works in the Department of Education here in NYC, sent me a copy of this memo that hit his inbox this morning:
“Mayor Bloomberg AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET OPEN NEW STORE AND ANNOUNCE donation of 57 salad bars to City Public Schools AS PART OF CITY’S NEW PLAN TO INSTALL SALAD BARS IN ALL SCHOOLS” (emphasis theirs)“Task Force Will Bring Salad Bars To All Schools by 2015; More Than 1,000 Already in Place City’s Bold Initiatives Have Driven Progress on Childhood Obesity

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley, Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler and Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi today joined Whole Foods Market and their Whole Kids Foundation as they celebrated the opening of their new East 57th Street store located at 226 East 57th Street by donating 57 salad bars, valued at more than $300,000, to New York City public elementary schools… Increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables help children develop food preferences and the new salad bars will give thousands of children exposure to fresh produce, helping them learn to make healthy choices for life. The Mayor”

But how do you get the kids to choose and EAT the salads?
Here are 5 tips on making salads more appealing to the kids once the salad bars are in place:
1. Put Salad Bar FIRST: 
Studies show that putting the salad bar at the front of the line, BEFORE the a la carte fast food-like options, gets kids to choose more salads. Easy.
2. BYOS: Build Your Own Salad
Let kids pick the lettuce, protein and fruit/vegetable combination for an exciting custom salad.3. Half-Size Combos
Offer meal deals by featuring half-size portions of salads, soups, entrees and sandwiches. 

4. Menu-Board It
Post salad specials on a menu board at the front of the line, giving salads equal status with hot entrees.5. Seasonal Greetings
Alternate salad ingredients to include seasonal produce.

Do you have a tip that gets kids to eat healthy?
Leave a comment below, or Click Here To Tweet this post to share the ideas with others! 

Shredded Sweet Sprouts! Brussels Sprouts for the whole family

A simple side dish of Brussels Sprouts makes any meal healthier – but what if your kid won’t eat them?

Add a hint of sweetness with sautéed apples and a touch of maple syrup – they’ll be begging for more!

*A touch of maple syrup won’t degrade the overall healthy benefits of these powerful cancer-fighting sprouts, and 1 serving has 8-12 grams of fiber, which is more than many Americans get in a day! (You should aim for at least 30 grams a day, BTW)

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, dried and sliced into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large tart apple, cubed and unpeeled

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons real maple syrup

1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt and sauté for 8 minutes.

2. When the sprouts begin to brighten and turn a nice light green, add the apple, garlic, red pepper flakes, and maple syrup. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Once everything is heated through, but not too soft or mushy, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans, and pepper.

Serves 2-4 people

Inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe in Color Me Vegan

5 Minute “Flat-Belly Lunch” Recipe

If you’re like me, lunch can be an after-thought…

Oh! It’s 1 o’clock, I’m hungry, and I need to keep my energy up to tackle my to-do list!

Most of my clients and Reboot & Refresh members are super busy, mostly moms with a ton on their plates, and they want healthy recipes that give them energy while being easy and delicious. That’s my speciality!

I’ve created the perfect lunch that’s filled with foods for energy, takes 5 minutes to make, and helps keep my tummy in a happy state (read: no gluten bloating, protein rich, and filled with gut-supportive greens):

Collard Wrap “Sandwich”

Ingredients:

2 big collard leaves

1/2 cup hummus

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoons olive paste (or chopped kalamata olives)

2 tablespoons raw sauerkraut

2 teaspoons hemp seed oil

Directions:

Wash and dry the collard leaves. Remove the thick stem sticking out below the leaf.

With the shiny, “front side” of the leaf facing up, spread half the hummus on the center of each leaf.

Top with the remaining ingredients and wrap, burrito style.

Serve and eat raw ~

 

Making Pumpkin Pancakes Gluten-Free: A Friend Asks

My friend Claire, a gluten-free girl, filmmaker and amazing nurse, wrote:

“I found your pumpkin pancakes recipe in your Vegan Cooking For Dummies book and thought YUM!
Now I’m in major pumpkin craving mode, but I have a  couple of questions for the celiacs out there:
1. I have a few GF flour mixes at home but judging from the recipes I’ve looked at I’ll probably have to go buy some xanthan gum and add a little bit of that. Not sure exactly what it does but it’s in all the GF recipes I’ve looked at –  I used to have a collection of flours but they all expired – I don’t bake often enough to make those purchases worthwhile, and there are some good GF flour mixes available (expensive, but available).
2. I have recently switched to almond milk from rice milk (tried hemp milk, not for me; I steer clear of soy milk).
Not sure if I’d still have to curdle it with apple cider vinegar, but I have that in the refrig too…
What should I do?”
Alex Answers: Really – pancakes are really forgiving, so I don’t think you’ll need the xanthan gum. I would try it with a  straight 1-to-1 switch for Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free mix.
If the recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, try 1 cup of Gluten-free mix.
If the batter looks normal after you’ve mixed everything together in this way, go for it. If it looks too thin, add a bit more flour. If it looks too thick or too dry, add a little more rice milk.
I would go ahead and curdle the rice milk with the vinegar ahead of time anyway. I’m not sure it will have the exact same effect as curdling soy milk because there is so much more protein in soy milk, but it can’t hurt. The vinegar is also in the recipe to give the pancakes “lift.”
Let me know how they turn out!

Cooking With Kids: Apple Pie “Ice Cream”

When my son’s kindergarten teacher asked me to come in and prepare a recipe with the class, my mind somehow came up with a healthy, yet fun recipe that the kids could help create:

Apple Pie Ice Cream!

Apple Pie "Ice Cream"

Apple Pie "Ice Cream"

Now, it’s not really ice cream, but I believe anything you scoop with an ice cream scooper can be called ice cream.

Gluten-free, vegan, and mostly raw, this recipe was actually a big hit, and most of the class ate their entire scoop – even some kids who said “Ew, gross!”

Here’s how we made this healthy snack together:

APPLE PIE “ICE CREAM” ~ Serves 4-6

8 Medjool dates, pitted

3-4 Honeycrisp apples, cored

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Have the kids use plastic or kid-safe knives to remove the pits and throw away.
  2. Cut the apples into quarters and remove the seeds and core. Use the grating/shredding blade in your food processor to grate the apples. Scoop into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Replace the grating/shredding blade with the S-blade and combine the apples, dates, oats and cinnamon together. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Scoop the “ice cream” into the mixing bowl and use an ice cream scooper to give each person a share.

 

With all the oats and apples, this recipe will also add a nice dose of fiber for those constipation-inclined readers!

Autumn Soup: Kale Shiitake Sweet Potato Soup

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of connecting different organs with different seasons, elements, foods, and even emotions.

According to the Five Element system, autumn is the season of the Metal element, governed by the lungs and large intestine. This sets up the conditions for flu or head cold, which comes from your body trying to expel excess mucus, toxins, and inferior fats.

Foods with a sour taste help with this detoxification process, and can be included daily as we enter into autumn. These foods include unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, lemons, limes, grapes, raw sauerkraut and pickles, and whole grain sourdough breads.

 

Pungent foods such as spices, ginger, and black pepper support the Metal element. These stimulate the digestion and help with the assimilation of food. Include pungent taste with seasonal fall foods such as apples, grapes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, grapes, kale, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, and yams.

This soup has  a lot of great autumn ingredients and will help keep your body strong and centered throughout the season:

Kale Shiitake Sweet Potato Soup

4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable stock

1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced

1 small sweet potato, peeled, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 bunch fresh kale, washed and stems removed

1 teaspoon Mellow white miso, per cup

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. In a saucepan combine the water/broth, shitake mushrooms and sweet potato and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, chop the kale into bite size pieces and add to the soup.

4. Cook until tender, another 8 minutes.

5. Dissolve a teaspoon of light miso in a bowl with a small amount of broth.

6. Ladle in the soup and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Yield: 6 servings

Powerful Plant-Based Protein Rich Dishes For Families

I just got home from Rochester, New York where I gave a cooking demonstration at the Greentopia Festival.

Alexandra Jamieson Cooking Demonstration Greentopia

The festival was a smash hit, and the cooking demo was geared

towards families who want to improve their nutrition with healthy, local ingredients.

Thanks to Rochester’s Child Care Council for co-sponsoring the event, and providing excellent green resources to local families.

Alexandra Jamieson and members of Rochester's Child Care Council at Greentopia

Alexandra Jamieson and members of Rochester's Child Care Council at Greentopia

The demo was great, and I wanted to share the plant-protein rich recipes here:

*Download the recipes here: Powerful Plant-Protein Dishes for Healthy Minded Parents

By the way, next time you’re in Rochester, take a yoga class at Open Sky, grab a delicious vegan lunch or dinner at Natural Oasis, and get some snacks at Abundance natural foods co-op!

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