Ten Minutes or Ten Dollars! (Spring 2014)

Is the "lack of time" the reason you forgo a nutritious menu for you and/or your family? You aren't alone. This spring I am pulling a few ideas from my "Ten Minutes or Ten Dollars" series so that you can spend less time cooking and more time enjoying the sunshine. With these recipes you can spend ten minutes and/or ten bucks making a great lunch. 

Spring Salads & Quick Salad Dressings

Homemade Hummus

Raw Super Food Fudge

Spring Salads

Celebrate the spring by eating lots of fresh greens. Greens and proteins make an excellent meal -- and with all the micronutrients and fiber your body will thank you. Remember that "variety is the spice-of-life" so be sure to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies daily.

Protein Options:

Beans & Legumes: Kidney, Chickpea, Lentil, Black, Aduki, Great Northern, and Red Beans (Red Beans have a very high ORAC value!). Home cooked beans and legumes are the best but if you need great 'fast food' a can of prepared beans will still provide good nutrition. 

Meats: Organic, home-cooked grass-fed meats are the best option. Grass-fed animals have a much healthier fat that gets passed on to us. Try cooking extra for your dinner so you will have leftovers for your lunch. The other option is to purchase nitrate-free sliced meats. Fish is great with salad as well. A can of sardines can be a quick protein fix right off the grocery store shelf.

Eggs & Cheese: Buy pasture-raised, Organic, and BHT free if you can!

Nuts & Seeds: I love adding toasted pumpkin seeds and walnuts to my salad for extra protein, good Omega 3 fats, and the extra crunch.

Protein Tip: When using beans as the protein source in a salad, place them in the bottom of your container and add the salad dressing. The beans will marinate at the bottom of the bowl while the greens stay crisp on top. Toss just before eating.

Veggies and Fruits:

Kale, Chard, Lettuce, Grated Beets, Celergy, Avocado, Apple, Pear, Cabbage, Spring Onion, Peppers, Fennel, Parsley, Spinach, Grated Brussel Sprouts, etc. You can also add in leftover cooked veggies such as Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, and Cauliflower. The list goes on and on! Be creative.

Dressings:

Honestly, I usually just throw some oil in a jar along with some combination of vinegars and/or citrus, salt, pepper, and whatever suits my fancy in the moment (garlic, shallots, herbs...). I taste it as I go and change it if I don't like it. Sometimes it turns out amazing and other times it is good enough. For a quick and simple option I just grab some Oil, Lemon Juice, and Salt -- this really brings out the flavor of vegetables. However, I get that this does not work for everyone so here are some actual recipes for dressings: 

Garlic and Herb Vinegarette 

From The Enchanted Broccolli Forest by Mollie Katzen

  • 2 Medium Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
  • 5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 5 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • Black Pepper to Taste
  • Pinch of Celery Seed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of each: Dry Mustard, Dill Weed, Oregano, & Basil
  • 2 Small Scallions, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange or Lemon Juice

Josh's Balsamic Dressing (This is my son's famous recipe!)

  • 8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed in a Press
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Tahini Dressing

This yummy dressing is known as "magic sauce" in my brother's house because it is SO good on many things like salads, beans, grains, and falafel. Below is the basic recipe. I usually add about a 1/4 cup of Olive Oil, a cup of minced fresh Parsley, and/or some fresh Spring Onions. I blend mine in the blender. It will thicken after a day -- you can thin it back out with more water and/or Olive Oil. Maybe we should call it "magic everlasting sauce?"

  • 1 Cup Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini)
  • 3/4 Cup to 1 1/2 Cups Water *
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 to 3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt *
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin (Optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Using a whisk, beat briskly into a smooth sauce -- this takes about 1 to 2 full minutes of beating. This sauce can be served at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerated, the leftovers will keep well for 5 to 7 days. 

* 3/4 Cup Water makes a very thick sauce -- Use 1 teaspoon Salt.

1 Cup Water makes a medium thick sauce -- Use 1 1/4 teaspoons Salt.

1 1/2 Cups Water makes a very thin sauce -- Use 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt. 


Hummus

From The New Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated.

I am picky about my hummus. My favorite on the go pre-made option is Whole Foods -- it offers good value for the money. However, it is way less expensive to make your own. Using dried chickpeas is the healthiest and least expensive method, but a can of chickpeas make a good quick food. Hummus can be made ahead and stays fresh for up to a week in the fridge. For a variation on the recipe below, add other flavors: Roasted Peppers, Dried Tomatoes, Olives, Roasted Garlic, Parsley, or whatever takes your fancy.

Blend the following ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth. 

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas or one 15-ounce can drained
  • 1 Medium Clove of Garlic, Minced or Pressed
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup of Tahini
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Keep Refrigerated.


Raw Super Food Fudge

From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook (buy this fantastic book at Powell's Online).

Full of great fats, medium chain fatty acids and anti-oxidants -- this is a real treat for you and your body!

  • 3/4 Cups Raw Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Butter
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla Powder
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Medjool Dates, Pitted (Make sure they are soft, not hard and dried out)
  • 1/2 Cup Gogi Berries
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons White Chia Seeds

Line a glass bread pan with parchment paper. Place the cashew butter, melted coconut oil, raw cacao butter, vanilla powder and sea salt into a food processor and with "S" blade process until a paste forms. Add dates and process again until smooth. Add the Gogi Berries and Chia Seeds and pulse to combine. For a smoother fudge, add all ingredients to a high-powered blender except for Gogi Berries and Chia Seeds, and blend until spooth then stir in the berries and seeds.

Using oiled hands press into the pan evenly. Transfer pan to the fridge and chill until hardened. Once solid, you can slice the fudge into small squares. Store the fudge squares in your freezer or refrigerator. 

* For an extra tasty treat add 1/3 cup of Cacao Nibs or Coconut Flakes after you have blended the rest of the ingredients.

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