Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
— Dalai Lama

Guess what?? I'm back and so happy to share this little space with you again! However, this week won't offer any respite from the busyness and excitement that is my absolute existence right now. With this crazy tornado of wonderful, big life moments and teeny pesky nuisances that've got me whipping about, the recipes for the next few days will be quick to prepare and most importantly, easy, and fairly hands-off too. 

The first morning I was back, I went to the store in the bleak, early hours before work to get coffee creamer. Duh. Forget food, I need just need vanilla soy creamer to survive apparently. Let me tell you what. That is the best time to go to the store. It's totally stocked, there's no one around except other tired, zombiesc, antisocial people like myself who don't want anything to do with anyone else. And...I found the most gorgeous organic beets with their luscious, velvety greens still attached! Jackpot! My little hands couldn't snatch them up fast enough!

In a rare moment of clarity, I decided to dress the beets and their greens in an quick, miso balsamic reduction and pepper them with warm and crunchy walnuts. This humble dish is a nutritional powerhouse that will hopefully catapult me into the chaos that's lurking in the future and help me battle the wretched and regrettable four hour time difference between Alaska and Ohio. My bedtime is now 6pm sharp (instead of the usual 10pm). It's all I can do to walk to my car on my way out of work with my eyes actually open as I'm just about asleep! A day off when we got back would have been most helpful. Lesson learned.

Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

I love, love, love beets and I'll eat them pretty much anyway at all, but this dish was absolutely, incredibly delicious! A new favorite way to eat up those red little gems...and their greens too! 

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Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
An easy and impressive side dish. Layered, sliced steamed beets are adorned with crunchy walnuts and their own sauteed greens, then drizzled with a miso balsamic reduction. NOTE: Beet greens tend to age very quickly, so be sure to try to use the day they are purchased.
Ingredients
  • 4 medium red beets, with greens
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown onion, diced small
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 heaping cup of walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. miso paste (I like red)
Instructions
First, prepare your steamer to steam the beets.Cut off the leaves of the beets, leaving about one inch attached to the top of the beet. Scrub the beets very well and place whole in the prepared steamer for about 30-60 minutes. My beets only took 30 minutes, but time will vary depending on the size. Remove when fork tender and allow to cool.In a very large rimmed frying pan, heat the walnut oil over medium-low. Add the garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, and walnuts. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to brown. Meanwhile, wash the beet greens. Rip off the stems to discard (or feed to a furry companion) and tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a towel. Add to the frying pan and sauté for an additional 5 minutes until wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat and allow to rest until the beets are done steaming. In a microwave safe 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or medium bowl), heat the vinegar for 1 minute. Then, continue in 30 second intervals until about half has evaporated. Be sure to allow the microwave to actually stop in between the intervals. Careful not to let it burn! This should only take about 2 minutes total. Remove from the microwave and allow to cool until the beets are ready, then whisk in the miso paste. When the beets are done steaming and have cooled slightly, cut off the top and the end bit, and then slice. You can peel them if you like but I prefer not to. To serve, arrange one sliced beet in a small bowl. Top with ¼ of the cooked greens and drizzle with a little of the miso vinegar glaze. A little goes a long way!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

German Word of The Day

Balsamic --> balsamisch (bah-zal-misch)

Good Deed of The Day

Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean? Have we seriously learned nothing? Help urge Secretary Jewell to say no to offshore oil drilling in these remote waters that provide critical habitat for polar bears, whales, walrus and more, who are already suffering the effects of climate change!  

Super Vitality Truffles

Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
— Arthur Schopenhauer

So, whenever Todd and I fly we usually bring a lot of yummy, travel-friendly vegan food. I am sure you do too. Vegans in the house raise your hands to the heavens and can I get a soulful "Uhhhh Huhhhh!" You know what I mean. Good Buddha, there just ain't no tasty food to be found! Unless you want to be buying a severely under or over ripe $6 banana, you better be packing food yourself. It's a shame. I know there are some exceptions though. I even heard LAX has it's very own vegan restaurant! 

We aren't flying through LAX...poo... 

Thus, I made us some super healthy & nutritious Vitality Truffles! Normally our goto travel snacks are my Birdseed Cookies and banana chips. But this time, I wanted something a bit more healthful. These little guys have no added sugars or sweeteners, no added oils, and use only whole food ingredients. They have the texture of a coarse fudge and they're fun to customize too. I made mine an "Apple Spice Cinnamon" by adding in half a tea bags contents. 

Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles

This is a great recipe for substituting in what you like and what you have on hand. If you don't like a particular nut, seed, or fruit...just use what you do enjoy! Be adventurous!

Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles
Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles

Will you take a gander below? Look at all those amazing, nutritious little beasties who are going to somehow seriously pump you up to be squeezed into a middle seat with two nine foot Texans on either side of you, a surly teenager incessantly kicking your seat from behind, and a booger-flinging-eye-staring-contest-bratface turned around, bug eyed in front of you. I know it's going to happen. I'm prepared. "Om, om, om...*munch munch*"


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Super Vitality Truffles
Bites of super vitality! These little guys have no added sugars or sweeteners, no added oils, and use only whole food ingredients. They have the texture of a coarse fudge.
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans
  • 6 whole Brazil nuts
  • 1/3 heaping cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup dried goji berries
  • ¼ cup dried blueberries
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • Half the contents of an Apple Cinnamon Spice teabag (optional or ½ Tbsp. of favorite tea leaves)
  • 6 (about ½ cup) pitted dates
  • 6 (about ½ cup) dried figs
  • ¼ tsp. xanthan gum
  • Dash of kosher salt
Instructions
In a food processor, add the pecans through and including the tea. Process until granular and the sides begin to stick and turn heavy. Now, add the remaining ingredients and process for about five minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough should be very well combined and sticky. It should hold together when pressed.Form into bite size balls. Some oil from the nuts might be expelled onto your hands, and if you put tea in the dough, it will be colored! Store in the fridge or freezer. I put mine in the freezer because I like them super firm.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 30 Balls
Just my little animal foodie friends,  hanging out and jammin'.

Just my little animal foodie friends,  hanging out and jammin'.

Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles

German Word of The Day

Vitality --> Lebensfreude (Lee-beens-Freud-eh)

Good Deed of The Day

Did you guys see this article on a vegan cheese project that aims to replicate cheese from cow's milk by using caseins? So weird! Kudos for finding a way to replicate cheese without harming cows (kind of similar to those test tube burgers I suppose) but casein really isn't that great for us. Read up on The China Study, if you haven't already. As an animal advocate this makes me happy, but as a consumer I think I might pass. What about you? What do you think of this innovation?

Sweet Potato & Orange Herbed Soup with Spicy Sausage

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
— Isaac Asimov

On this edition of "Get Rid of All The Food Before Our Trip!", sweet potato and orange are the stars with supporting roles from fresh cilantro and parsley, as well as spicy chipotle sausage. It's a good one, and just look how pretty this soup is! 

I had a few potatoes I knew were aging a bit and a several oranges leftover from giant bag of clementines that we'd bought from Costco a couple weeks ago. When I delved into my trusty Flavor Bible, I found that they pair beautifully together! I was pretty psyched. Two plants with one stone, if you know what I mean. Though, I've never been much a fan of citrus, specifically orange, in my soup...this was darn delicious.  

It's funny, when the herbs are blended in, the soup becomes a bit frothy which I found to be delightfully amusing for unknown reasons. It did dissipate after a short while though. 

I decided to make a sweet potato soup after learning that boiling the sweet taters is actually by far the best method of cooking for retaining their nutritional prowess. Now usually I try to stay away from boiling vegetables because I had always thought the opposite was true. Apparently with sweet potatoes, boiling is actually best. Roasting, in fact, wrecked havoc on them in regards to retaining their nutrition. Boo that!

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If you want to learn more about the best way to cook sweet potatoes (trust me you do!), check out this totally interesting video from the scientific, nutritional genius that is Dr. Michael Greger at Nutritionfacts.org. Do I get excessively excited by things like this? The answer is an emphatic yes

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A creamy, sweet potato soup enlivened with fresh-squeezed orange juice that's complemented by green cilantro and parsley, and studded with browned Mexican chipotle sausage. 

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Sweet Potato & Orange Herbed Soup with Spicy Sausage
A creamy, sweet potato soup enlivened with fresh-squeezed orange juice that's complemented by green cilantro and parsley, and studded with browned Mexican chipotle sausage.
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, sliced
  • dash of kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 small oranges, juiced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • dash of ground black pepper
  • 2 Mexican Chipotle Field Roast Sausages, chopped
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Instructions
Add the sliced sweet potato to a large pot. Pour in just enough water to cover the slices, add a dash of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Then, cover and boil for about 25 minutes.Meanwhile, in a large rimmed frying pan heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions have browned.Juice the oranges and add the juice to a blender along with the broth, allspice, and pepper. Transfer the onions to the blender when they are done browning. Add the chopped sausage to the frying pan and brown for about 5 minutes. Once the sweet potatoes are done boiling, remove with a slotted spoon and place in the blender. Blend all the ingredients in the blender on high for several minutes until smooth and creamy, excluding the sausages and herbs.Now, add the herbs and blend until well incorporated. Heat in a high speed blender, or in a large soup pot until just heated through. You don't want to cook the fresh herbs. Serve hot and topped with 1-2 Tbsp. of the browned, chopped sausage and additional fresh herbs.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6
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German Word of The Day

Orange juice --> Orangensaft (o-rongen-zahft) "Saft" means juice! 

Good Deed of The Day

This is a big one. Wool isn't really that cruel, right? "Investigations of sheep shearing found that workers in Australia, the world's top wool exporter, and the U.S. killed, beat, stomped on, kicked, mutilated, and threw sheep around as they sheared them."

Wrong. Big time wrong. These sheep aren't pets, don't be fooled into thinking that just because they aren't slaughtered (which they usually are later) means they are treated as nicely as you'd treat your animal companion. They are nothing more than a commodity in the eyes of the wool business and if you think anything other than that...it's time to open your eyes and bring an end to blatant ignorance and apathy. Help ask J.Crew and Ralph Lauren to use cruelty-free materials in place of wool!