Spinach Basil Pesto

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, Northern Italy. The full name of this sauce is Pesto Alla Genovese. It’s traditionally made with crushed garlic, pine nuts, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), Pecorino Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk) and salt, all blended with olive oil.

My recipe is 100% plant-based. It’s made with spinach, basil, parsley, walnuts, salt and extra virgin olive oil. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts to save on the cost. This pesto can be  paired with crostini, bruschetta, mixed with pasta or poured over a baked potato. It can also be used as a salad dressing or eaten with vegetable crudites. Buon Appetito!

Spinach Basil Pesto Mise en Place

Spinach Basil Pesto

Spinach Basil Pesto
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of spinach
  2. 2 cup of fresh basil leaves
  3. 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
  4. 1/2 cup of raw walnuts
  5. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  6. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. few pine nuts for garnishing ( optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well combined.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

{Vegan} Creamy Cauliflower Soup

I came across this delicious soup while completing Dr. Mark Hyman’s “10-Day Detox Diet” last fall. You can read more about this “challenge” by clicking on the image / link below.

My experience with the 10-Day Detox Diet by Dr. Mark Hyman

Since then, I have prepared this recipe at least six times. It is creamy, thick and delectable. You will never guess that it’s dairy-free and gluten-free. It almost tastes like a vichyssoise. It can be eaten hot in winter and cold in summer.

Cauliflower Soup Mise

{Vegan} Creamy Cauliflower
Serves 4
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Prep Time
25 min
Prep Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  2. ½ medium onion, diced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  4. 4 cups of water
  5. 1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
  6. ¼ cup raw cashews
  7. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds or 1 tablespoon tahini (preferable)
  8. 1/4 avocado (optional) **
  9. 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley or chives, chopped
  10. salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add 4 cups of water, the cauliflower, cashews, and sesame seeds or tahini.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Garnish with parsley or chives
Notes
  1. Serve warm or chilled with your favorite salad and protein of your choice.
  2. ** Dr. Hyman recipe suggests blending 1/4 of avocado with the cauliflower. Since avocados are not in season, I omitted this ingredient. It still tastes delicious.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Enjoy it!

 

{Ayurvedic} Cumin, Coriander & Fennel Tea

Several year ago, I discovered two Ayurvedic remedies while traveling in India: CCF Tea and Golden Turmeric Milk. I recently shared my recipe for the delicious turmeric drink and its benefits. You can read more about it here.

Delicious Golden Milk #ayurvedic #almondmilk #turmeric #cinnamon #cardamom #ginger #nutmeg #vegan #vegana #vegano #vegansofig #goldenmilk #plantbased #plantstrong #plantpowered #solarplexus #antiinflammatory #digestive Follow me in FB too!

{Ayurvedic & Vegan} Golden Milk 

This week I want to share the Cumin, Coriander & Fennel Tea, aka CCF Tea. This is a very simple but effective remedy, great for your digestion, weight loss, mental clarity and detoxification.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds are rich in iron and are thought to help stimulate the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas which can help absorb nutrients into the system. It has also been shown to boost the power of the liver’s ability to detoxify the human body.  You can read more here

Fun facts – Superstition during the Middle Ages cited that cumin kept chickens and lovers from wandering. It was also believed that a happy life awaited the bride and groom who carried cumin Seed throughout the wedding ceremony.*

Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds have a health-supporting reputation that is high on the list of the healing spices. In parts of Europe, coriander has traditionally been referred to as an “anti-diabetic” plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. In the United States, coriander has recently been studied for its cholesterol-lowering effects. The health benefits of coriander include treatment of swellings, high cholesterol levels, mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, blood sugar disorders, etc. You can read more here

Fun Facts Coriander has been around since biblical times.  In the Bible, Exodus, XVI, 31 mentions coriander.  You can find medical and culinary uses for coriander in texts from India, Egypt. Ancient Rome and China dating back seven thousand years.  The ancient Egyptians believed coriander could be used in the afterlife as a food for the departed.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds contain significant amounts of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. It’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B and C. 

Fun Facts – Ancient roman texts mention the value of this herb for its aromatic seeds and succulent edible stalks. The ruler Charlemagne (745-815 AD) promoted fennel’s use during the medieval time. He cultivated the herb on his imperial farms.  Romans introduced the herb to Britain during the Roman occupation. The Americas were introduced to the herb in the 1700’s.

The Greek name for fennel is marathon (μάραθον) or marathos (μάραθος), and the place of the famous battle of Marathon (whence Marathon, the subsequent sports event), literally means a plain with fennels [Wikipedia]

 
CCF Tea,jpg

 

Enjoy it!

{Ayurvedic} Cumin, Coriander & Fennel Tea
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
  2. 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  3. 1/2 tsp of coriander seeds
  4. 3 cups of water
Instructions
  1. Boil 3 cups of water.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds.
  3. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain and serve.
  5. Sip the drink throughout the day.
Notes
  1. It's important to take this tea hot or at lukewarm temperature.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
* “Antioxidant Properties of Spices, Herbs and Other Sources” By Denys J. Charles

{Raw Vegan} Lasagne with Walnut Bolognese, Basil Pesto, Marinara and Macadamia Cheese sauce.

This raw vegan lasagne is a feast for the senses! It’s so rich and decadent, it will make you scream for more!

Raw Lasagne

With Victoria

This is me (on the left) with my friend & yogi sis Victoria, celebrating New Year’s Eve with some delicious food: A Raw Vegan Lasagne with 5 layers and 4 sauces ( Walnut Bolognese, Basil Pesto, Marinara and Macadamia Cheese sauce),  Cuban food ( black beans with garlic rice and vegan “ropa vieja” made with jackfruit) and Raw Date Energy Truflles.

 This recipe was slightly adapted from Russel James, aka The Raw Chef

Raw Vegan Lasagne with Walnut Bolognese, Basil Pesto, Marinara and Raw Macadamia Cheese sauce.
Yields 12
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Layer 1 - Walnut Bolognese Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup of walnuts, soaked 1 hour or more
  2. 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  3. 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  4. 2 teaspoons of dried sage
  5. 1 tablespoon of tamari
  6. 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  7. Combine all the ingredients of in the food processor and set aside.
Layer 2 - Basil Pesto Sauce
  1. 2 cups of basil leaves
  2. 3/4 cups of pine nuts
  3. 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 garlic clove
  5. 1 tablespoon of lemon
  6. a pinch of salt.
  7. Combine all the ingredients of in the food processor and set aside.
Layer 3 - Marinara Sauce
  1. 1 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  2. 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  3. 2 pitted dates
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  6. 2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  8. Combine all the ingredients of in the food processor and set aside.
Layer 4 - Macadamia Cheese Sauce
  1. 1 cup of macadamia nuts, soaked for 4 hours
  2. 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  3. 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  5. 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
  6. 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  7. 1/2 cup water, as needed
  8. a pinch of salt
  9. Combine all the ingredients of in the food processor and set aside.
Layer 5 - Marinated Spinach layer
  1. 6 cups torn spinach
  2. 5 tablespoons of dried oregano
  3. 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  4. a pinch of salt
  5. Place all ingredients in a bowl to marinate and wilt for 1 hour or longer.
Instructions
  1. Cut the zucchini lengthways into 2 mm strips, using a mandolin or a sharp knife.
  2. In a deep-dish baking pan, assemble the lasagne by alternating layers of zucchini with walnut bolognese sauce, basil pesto, marinara and macadamia cheese.
  3. Finish with a layer of marinated spinach
  4. Place the dish in the fridge for several hours until it firms up.
  5. Serve with cherry tomatoes, basil and pine nuts. Buon Appetito!
Notes
  1. This recipe keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  2. Hint: It tastes better the second day, if you can resist not eating it all the first day!
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
 Happy 2016, everyone! Enjoy it!

{Vegan & Gluten-Free} Christmas Mini Puddings

Christmas pudding or plum pudding is traditionally served on Christmas dinner in Britain. It’s made out of dried fruits held together with egg and suet, moisturized with golden syrup or molasses, and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and other spices. It is normally prepared with thirteen ingredients, to represent Jesus and his twelve disciples. It’s usually stirred from east to west in honor of the three wise men that visited baby Jesus. Each member of the family traditionally stirs the pudding mixture and makes a wish secretly. A silver coin is then placed in the mixture and the person that finds it is supposed to find wealth. Sometimes, a ring is placed in the mixture, instead of a coin, to foretell a marriage or a thimble for lucky life.

christmas-pudding

In Spain, we follow a similar culinary tradition to celebrate Epiphany or the Three King Days, on Jan 6th. We prepare a cake called Roscón de reyes or Rosca de reyes (kings’ ring). It’s a brioche-like sweet bread topped with figs, cherries or dried and candied fruits. Like in the Christmas pudding, there is usually a trinket hidden in the cake. The person that finds it has good luck for the next 365 days. However, they have to pay for the next year’s roscón or Epiphany party.

Roscon-de-Reyes

These traditions are beautiful and the desserts are delicious but let’s be honest, preparing these pastries is time-consuming and not necessarily healthy.

This year for Christmas, I am preparing something equally delightful and healthy. I am making Christmas Mini Puddings, a la British style but with a twist. They are vegan, gluten-free and very easy to make. It only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare. Can you believe it? The original recipe was published by Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef, for the Natural Awakenings magazine. I then added a (vegan) maple vanilla frosting to cover each Christmas pudding. This is easily my new favorite Christmas treat! Enjoy it!

Merry Christmas! !Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten!

No-Bake Christmas Pudding Cake

 

{Vegan & Gluten-Free} Christmas Mini Puddings
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Ingredients
  1. 10 Medjool dates
  2. 8 oz dried apricots, chopped
  3. 1 ½ cups almond meal
  4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  5. 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  6. ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  7. ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
  8. 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  9. grated zest from one orange
Instructions
  1. Combine dates, orange zest, apricots, vanilla, almond meal, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor. Process until mixture is combined and looks like fine crumbs.
  2. Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons orange juice then mix again. Your pudding mix should come together in the hands when lightly squeezed. Divide puddings into 6 small puddings ( or 12 mini ones).
  3. The best way to do this is to line the base of your desired mold with plastic wrap and press the pudding mixture into it firmly. Invert the pudding and remove the glad wrap. Repeat until all the puddings are formed.
  4. Pour a little bit of maple vanilla frosting** or melted white chocolate over the top of each one of the puddings You can garnish them with dried cranberries, goji berries, nuts or more orange zest.
  5. Arrange onto a serving plate and set aside until needed. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
Notes
  1. ** To prepare the maple vanilla frosting, combine the following ingredients in a blender until smooth: 1/2 cup of raw cashews ( soaked for at least 4 hours), 1/4 cup of (melted) coconut butter, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  2. Store any leftover frosting in the fridge.
Adapted from The Healthy Chef
Adapted from The Healthy Chef
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Some people have asked me what the difference is between a (British) Christmas pudding and what they call in the US Christmas fruitcake. The main difference is that the Christmas pudding is steamed and the Christmas fruitcake is bake. Also, Christmas pudding is usually flamed after Brandy has been poured over it. This is an ingredient that you could be easily incorporated into my maple vanilla frosting for the adults in the family! Bon Appétit

The Force Awakens – Star Wars Cookies

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is set to be released on December 18th, just one day away. My little Storm Troopers at home have been waiting for this movie with great anticipation, so last week when I walked by William Sonoma and saw these Star Wars cookie cutters I couldn’t say no. 

Star Wars Cookie Cutters II Star Wars Cookie Cutters

There was just one itsy bitsy problem: I am a cook, not a baker. Give me three random ingredients and a knife and I’ll make something delicious for you. Now, give me flour and baking powder and I am lost. To me, baking is a science. You add an extra 1/2 of a teaspoon of baking soda to your mix and your cookies will end up with the wrong color, flavor or texture.  I usually follow my instinct when I am in the kitchen. I hardly ever follow instructions to a T. When I want to try new recipes, I tend to read the instructions twice, memorize them and start cooking without referring to them. You can’t do this when you are baking, unless you have extraordinary talent or lots of experience preparing desserts.

For this Star Wars project, I not only wanted to bake cookies but I wanted them to be vegan and gluten-free.  Let the force be with me!

I tried several recipes and failed miserably. Then, I came across Erin McKenna’s book “BabyCakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles”.  For those that don’t know Erin, she is the owner of Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC ( originally called Babycakes), the world’s premier vegan gluten-free bakery in Lower East Side Manhattan. Her bakery focuses on the under-served people with gluten, dairy, egg, and soy sensitivities, the health-minded, and, most importantly, allergic kids who are often unable to indulge.

Star Wars Cookies - In Progress

I reached out to Erin to make sure it was fine to share her recipe since it’s copyrighted. I forwarded her the pictures of my final product and she replied almost immediately with   “Permission granted–nice work!!” .  I feel honored!

Enjoy this treat, everyone! I know… I know, there is sugar in the cookies but you have to put a little bit of life into living sometimes.

DISCLAIMER: These cookies might transport you to a galaxy far far away!

Star Wars Cookies DONE 

Star Wars Sugar Cookies
Yields 24
These cookies might transport you to a galaxy far far away!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 cups rice flour, plus more for dusting
  2. 1 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  3. 1/4 cup arrowroot
  4. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  6. 1 teaspoon of salt
  7. 3/4 cup melted coconut oil or canola oil
  8. 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  11. 1/2 cup of cold water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice flour, the sugar, arrowroot, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Add the melted coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla extract, and lemon extract to the dry mix. Stir with a rubber spatula until a very thick dough is formed. Gradually add the cold water and stir until the dough is slightly tacky.
  3. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Dust a clean work surface with some rice flour. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
  5. Cut out the cookies with your desired cookie cutters** and transfer from the work surface to one of the prepared baking sheets with a spatula, placing them 1 inch apart. Repeat with the remaining of the dough.Bake for 7 minutes, rotate the baking sheets, and bake for 7 minutes more, or until slightly golden.
  6. Let the cookies cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. **I used William Sonoma's Star Wars cookie cutters
  2. *Recipe from BabyCakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles by Erin McKenna. Published here with permission from the author.
  3. Photo Credit: Ciry DG aka @sunshineandkale
  4. Enjoy
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

{Vegan} Delicious Golden Milk

In 2004, I was introduced to the world of Ayurveda (an ancient system of life [ayur] and knowledge [veda]). I had just moved from New York to San Diego and landed a job five minutes from The Chopra Center at Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad. I visited this center several times during my lunch breaks and started reading Deepak Chopra’s books. The morning I finished reading Deepak’s Synchrodestiny, I received a call, an invitation to a wedding in India. This was an offer I couldn’t resist!

La_Costa_ChopraCenter

I traveled to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam with four close friends. During our trip, we consumed large amounts of turmeric and dairy. This was my pre-vegan era. We were often asked, “What kind of tea do you want? “Chai Tea”, we would usually reply. I learned on my second day in India that the word “chai” means (plain) tea. Saying “I want chai tea” is like saying “I want tea tea”. No wonder everyone would smile at me. What we really wanted was “masala chai”.

Agra

In India, I discovered two Ayurvedic remedies: CCF Tea (made with coriander, cumin and fennel seeds) and Golden Turmeric Milk. Both drinks are incredibly powerful and good for the digestion (especially if prepared with nut milks).  In addition to this, turmeric has proven of value as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive aid, skin remedy, an adjunct treatment for cancer as well as a prevention for heart disease, diabetes, and certain auto-immune conditions (Source: http://www.blessedherbs.com/resources/turmeric-curcumin-herbal-remedy)

After the wedding in India, I continued following an Ayurvedic lifestyle for many years. I still do many of the morning rituals (aka dinacharya) like drinking a warm glass of water as soon as I wake, daily self-massages (aka daily abhyanga), tongue scraping, etc… I also drink CCF tea regularly.

However, It wasn’t until recently that I re-discovered Golden Milk. It seems like a popular recipe nowadays. Ayurveda is going mainstream! Now that I eat 100% plant-based, I decided to give it a try with homemade Brazil Nut Milk (2 cups of Brazil nuts, 4 cups of water, 1 vanilla bean and a pinch of salt). I also tried it with homemade almond milk. It tastes good both ways.  My recipe was adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Masala Dabba

My masala dabba

{Vegan} Golden Milk
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of non-dairy milk (I used homemade Brazil Nut Milk but you can use almond, coconut or cashew milk)
  2. 2 Medjool dates
  3. 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  4. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  6. ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom
  7. ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)
  8. a pinch of black pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat gently for a couple of minutes.
  3. Pour into your favorite cup and enjoy it.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Some interesting facts about turmeric:

  • Turmeric, called Haridra in Sanskrit and Haldi in Hindi, goes by the botanical name Curcuma longa. The herb grows to a little more than 3 feet in height. It produces both a rhizome and a flower. The rhizome being the most used part of the plant and the source of both the yellow dye and the spice.
  • In both Hinduism and Buddhism, turmeric is linked to fertility, luck and the sun. Because of this, turmeric is traditionally used in wedding ceremonies and the roots of its plants are often a gift to pregnant women. In nuptial customs, turmeric may be applied to the bride’s skin as part of purification ritual before the ceremony. Turmeric’s use is forbidden in a house in mourning.
  • In southern India, the dried rhizome is often worn in an amulet as protection against evil and to bring about healing or good luck.
  • The robes of the Hindu monks were traditionally colored with a yellow dye made of turmeric. Because of its yellow-orange coloring, turmeric was associated with the sun or the Thirumal in the mythology of ancient Tamil religion. Yellow is the color of the solar plexus chakra which in traditional Tamil Siddha medicine is an energy center.
  • India is one of the largest producers of turmeric. On average India exports approximately 50 thousand tons of turmeric every year. Pakistan is the second largest producer of turmeric. There are around 30 varieties that have been recognized in the type of Curcuma in which turmeric belongs. ‘Alleppey Finger’, ‘Salem turmeric’, ‘Rajapore’, ‘Erode’ and ‘Sangli turmeric’, ‘Nizamabad Bulb’ are some of the popular varieties of India.
  • Turmeric is popularly used in the cosmetic industry for preparing herbal products and natural hair dye.
  • The Assyrians knew about turmeric too. This orange root was described in a book of herbal remedies from 600 BC. The Greek physician Dioscorides used it in the first century AD during his time as “army doc” for the Roman Empire.

For more information on turmeric, click Blessed Herbs,  Wiki and Ayurveda College. If you want to explore more about Ayurveda, check Maharishi Ayurveda. I have purchased many Ayurvedic products from this site. They are truly the best!

{Raw} Date Energy Truffles

♪ Talk to me, baby
I’m going after this sweet-sweet craving, whoa-oh
Let’s lose our minds and go crazy-crazy
I-I-I-I-I-I keep on hoping we’ll eat DATE TRUFFLES by the ocean ♪

Yogi Runner

A little bit of stretching before running the RnR Seattle Marathon

These Raw Date Energy Truffles will jump-start your day. I usually eat them before my long runs on the weekends or as an afternoon snack to replenish my energy levels. For the endurance athletes out there, if you are looking for an alternative to GU Energy gels, Clif Bar Shot Bloks, etc… give this recipe a try! It will keep you going! Of course you don’t need to be an endorphin addict to enjoy these delicious energy truffles. My kids love it too!

Truffles2

{Raw} Date Energy Truffles
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Ingredients
  1. 20 medjool dates, pitted
  2. ½ cup of raw almonds
  3. ½ cup of pecans
  4. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  5. 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract
  7. 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, grind the almonds and pecans until fine.
  3. Drain the dates and add to the food processor with the peanut butter, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Process until the mixture forms a ball.
  4. Roll into small bite-size truffles.
  5. Roll the truffles in shredded coconut, chopped nuts or coconut powder.
  6. Let your date truffles refrigerate for an hour or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. It makes about 24 small truffles.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Easy Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mousse

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend in the US! This means, we are busy in the kitchen preparing family meals!

We usually celebrate Thanksgiving as well as New Year’s with Cuban food. In the menu, this year we have:

Tostones rellenos – Stuffed green plantains
Frijoles con arroz – Black beans with rice
Yucca frita – Fried yucca with garlic and lemon
Vegan “Lechon” – Made out of jackfruit and Cuban seasonings.

My kids have requested, in addition to Cuban foods, Thanksgiving stuffing and dessert. I think this will do it:

Fruity Turkey

However, I have the feeling they want a richer dessert so I am making them a delicious vegan & gluten-free pumpkin mouse. This is pretty easy to prepare. It only took me 20 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

Pumpkin Mousse

Easy Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mousse
Serves 8
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Pumpkin Mousse
  1. 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  2. 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  3. 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  4. 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice
  5. 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Cookie
  1. 1/2 cup of raw pecans
  2. 1/2 cup of raw walnuts
  3. 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  4. 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  5. 6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  6. a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and leave it until well chilled (preferable overnight). Scoop out the top layer of fat and transfer to a bowl. You won’t be using the liquid for this recipe but you can save it for a smoothie later.
  2. Whip the coconut cream with a stand or hand mixer until peaks form. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices and vanilla extract. Continue whipping until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. In a food processor, combine the pecans, walnuts, shredded coconut, ginger and salt. Pulse a couple of times. Add the soaked dates and process until the mixture sticks together and starts to form a ball.
  4. In a dessert glass, place 1-2 tablespoons of the date mixture in the bottom, followed by the pumpkin mouse.
  5. Garnish with ginger snaps and chopped salted nuts or shredded coconut and pecans.
  6. Serve immediately; or refrigerate, and garnish with nuts just before serving.
Notes
  1. You can also omit the date mixture all together. The pumpkin mousse is delicious and it can stand on its own! 🙂
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thankful Turkeys

Thai Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

It’s getting a little cold in Souther California lately. This means Mr. Naranjito LeCreuset is out and busy. Yes, I named my bright orange pot after the 1982 World Cup Soccer Championship mascot. What can I say? I am a fan! 🙂

FullSizeRender

With temperatures reaching 60 degrees Fahrenheit, who wants to eat a cold salad, right? It’s time for delicious, nutritious and warm soups!

FullSizeRender2

I’ve made countless variations of carrot soups over the last year, but this is the winner. This recipe was adapted from Joy The Baker. I replaced the  extra virgin olive oil with coconut oil. I also added coconut milk, shredded coconut and orange zest for garnishing. You could also use lime zest instead and some peanuts for a Thai-infused flavor.

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

I hope you enjoy it!

Thai Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  2. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger (3-inch piece)
  5. 1 large red apple, chopped, no need to peel if organic
  6. 1.5 pounds carrots, chopped (~6 cups) - no need to peel if organic
  7. 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  8. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  9. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. Optional
  11. 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut, for garnishing
  12. 1 tablespoon of orange zest, for garnishing.
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes.
  3. Add chopped apple and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the carrots are fully cooked, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a blender ( or use an immersion blender). Blend on high speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and blend for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with shredded coconut and orange zest
Notes
  1. It makes 5 delicious cups!
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Some interesting facts that I learned today about carrots:

  • Before the 17th century, almost all cultivated carrots were purple. The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including yellow and white carrots. These were rarely cultivated and lacked the purple pigment anthocyanin.
  • In ancient times, the root part of the carrot plant that we eat today was not typically used. The carrot plant however was highly valued due to the medicinal value of its seeds and leaves. For instance, Mithridates VI, King of Pontius (around 100BC) had a recipe for counteracting certain poisons with the principle ingredient being carrot seeds. It has since been proven that this concoction actually works.
  • The Romans believed carrots and their seeds were aphrodisiacs. As such, carrots were a common plant found in Roman gardens. After the fall of Rome however, carrot cultivation in Europe more or less stopped until around the 10th century when Arabs reintroduced them to Europe.
  • The largest carrot ever grown was 19 pounds; grown by John Evans in 1998 in Palmer, Alaska.
  • Although the orange carrot was not cultivated before the 16th and 17th centuries, there is a reference in a Byzantine manuscript around 512AD which depicts an orange rooted carrot, suggesting that at least this mutant variety of carrot could be found at this time.
  • Mel Blanc, the voice of cartoon character Bugs Bunny, reportedly did not like carrots.
  • A medium-size carrot has 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. The veggie is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily requirement in just one carrot

For more information about carrots, check here and here and here