Hi, dear ones!
Thank you so much for the love on last week’s post. I am deeply grateful to those of you who read, shared, and commented. The more we talk about it, the greater chance the post has of reaching our frontline workers, to whom it is lovingly dedicated. Please keep it going so that we can humbly lift them up with our love and support.
Today, I am inspired to share with you something that has been bringing me joy throughout the last few weeks of quarantine. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to find a way to support local businesses, and I was inspired by my beautiful mother to seek out local farmers offering virtual services and no-contact delivery. When a sweet friend led me to Miami’s Urban Oasis Project, I knew I had found what I was looking for!
It’s a great way to support local business, purchase produce with minimal packaging (they literally threw all our fruits and veggies in a cardboard box and called it a day – LOVE that), and feed my mind, body, and soul with some beautiful, organically grown plants.
In the past few weeks at home, I’ve gravitated towards four VERY doable fruit- and veggie-based recipes that I am excited to share with you today.
Now, before we get started, I want you to know that I do NOT consider myself a chef. I am not one of those kitchen gurus who experiences sudden strokes of enlightenment when presented with a spread of flavorful ingredients (though I wish I was!). On top of that, spending too much time in the kitchen wears me out.
If you are anything like me, or if you’re a busy person who isn’t able to spend lots of time whipping up gourmet meals, these recipes are for you! Or, if you are simply a lover of feeding your body with delicious plant foods, they are for you too ;) They are as no-fuss and low-maintenance as could be.
All you need is basic household ingredients like salt, pepper, bread of choice, and EVOO, and access to some beautiful fresh fruits and veggies! If you are able to track down a local farmer’s market offering safe, socially distanced services, I highly recommend it! If not, grocery store produce is wonderful as well. If possible, shop organic to avoid yucky pesticides. If you’re not able to shop organic, wash your produce well and bless it with love, asking it to nourish and serve your body and soul.
Let’s get to it. First on the list is…
Sweet Goddess Beet & Blueberry Smoothie
I made this one by accident. I typically throw whatever fruits that need to be used up into the blender and hope for the best. Usually, it turns out alright, but nothing to write home about. THIS, on the other hand, was a game changer. This vitamin-packed smoothie tastes like mother nature’s organic version of candy. Sweet, smooth, and delectable, I guarantee you will want to make this smoothie every day! I just ran out of beets yesterday and I am devastated to say the least.
All you’ll need is….
· 2 cups almond milk (or plant milk of your choice)
· A heaping handful of spinach (or two)
· Three baby beets
· ½ cup of frozen blueberries (I like to get wild blueberries – more antioxidants!)
· A handful of chopped strawberries
· One banana (the riper the sweeter!)
· Drizzle of maple syrup (or more than a drizzle…)
Combine all ingredients in the blender, and blend until soothe and frothy. Enjoy in a Mason jar or with an environmentally friendly straw if you want to make it extra fun!
The Easiest Avocado Toast
We all know and love avocado toast. But here’s the thing about trendy foods… they can be a little intimidating. Scrolling past many a pristine avocado toast picture on Instagram made my easily-daunted-by-kitchen-tasks-self feel like I’d never be able to put something together that looked or tasted quite as delicious. It wasn’t until I ended up with a dangerously ripe avocado on my hands that I decided it was time to buckle down and figure this one out.
It turns out that when it comes to avocado, simple is best. In a quick dive down the Internet rabbit hole, I discovered that the best way to balance out avocado's alkaline nature is with a healthy dose of citrus. With that tidbit of wisdom and some of my favorite Trader Joe’s seasonings at my disposal, the world’s easiest avocado toast was born!
All you’ll need is…
· 1 ripe avocado
· The juice of about ½ lemon or lime
· Sprinkle of nutritional yeast
· Red pepper flakes to taste
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (optional)
· Bread of choice (I highly recommend the Trader Joe’s Everything Ciabatta Rolls)
Slice avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop all the good stuff into a bowl. Mash with a fork (or an actual masher if you’re fancy) until the texture becomes guacamole-ish. Squeeze in the juice from your lemon or lime. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and 21 Seasoning Salute to your heart’s content. I highly recommend taste testing as you go.
Prepare your toast. Scoop avocado mixture on top, and finish it off with a pinch of nutritional yeast for a hint of cheesiness. Yum!
The Yummiest Way to Eat Kale
I have a confession. I’m not crazy about kale. (*wellness world gasps in horror*) I find that the texture makes it difficult to chew and the taste is a little too earthy for me. The few times I bought kale from the grocery store and tried to incorporate it into smoothies, I didn’t love how they turned out.
I had all but given up on kale before remembering a recipe my mom tried out when I was in high school. Because my father and I are both big foodies who don’t tend to gravitate towards snacks of the green variety, the recipe didn’t exactly take hold. But I did remember being pleasantly surprised by how crunchy, yet melty, and tasty that kale became when alchemized into chip form.
Now, a little spiritual tangent here. I promise it relates to kale.
I firmly believe that the body, mind, and soul are one, and that when we nurture one, the whole trinity thrives. When we tend to our bodies with whole plant foods from the earth, our minds become clearer and our souls become lighter and better connected to the high vibrations of Divinity.
So, as my spiritual journey and desire to connect to Universal Energy becomes a greater priority in my life, my commitment to retraining my body to crave and be nourished by plant foods deepens. Known for their immense healing properties and connection to the heart charka, greens have been an essential part of that. During quarantine, I finally got brave enough to give kale another shot.
Turns out it’s freaking awesome.
Here’s how to make kale easy to chew and positively delicious. All you’ll need is…
· About three large stalks of kale, washed and dried
· Salt and pepper to taste
· SMALL drizzle of olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (yes, I know, low heat!) Tear kale leaves into bite sized pieces and combine in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste (I think I’ve been averaging about 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of pepper). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. When oven and sheet are prepared, drizzle kale with A LITTLE olive oil and massage with hands until kale is evenly coated. Transfer kale to baking sheet and place in the oven immediately (if the kale sits around with its olive oil coating, it might not crisp up as well). Bake for 15 minutes, flipping half way through.
Ta-daaaaa! Enjoy eating your easy, crispy, delicious, not-hard-to-chew kale.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
I wouldn’t be giving an authentic representation of my quarantine cooking if I didn’t add a little comfort food to this post. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how simple, delicious, healthy, and nourishing sweet potato fries are. These make me feel like I’m at a restaurant enjoying a side of fries, when really I’m eating a grounding root veggie, baked with simple, organic ingredients.
You are more than welcome to enjoy these fries with a classic side of ketchup, but I’d be remiss not to tell you about my most recent sauce creation: homemade Sriracha mayo. If you are not into creamy dips or don’t like spicy foods, you can skip this part! But if you’re like me and love a delicious treat-yourself moment, this one is for you. It couldn’t be easier to make, and it really hits the spot if you like to dunk your fries into something decadent and fun!
All you’ll need for the fries is…
· Two sweet potatoes
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 tsp rosemary (dried or fresh)
· ½ tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into, well, the shape of fries. Combine in a large mixing bowl, and add olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Mix together until potatoes are evenly coated. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping them around with a spatula every 10 minutes or so. You’ll know they’re done when they’re crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
If you’re interested in my homemade Sriracha mayo, all you’ll need is…
· 3 tbsp Organic mayo or vegenaise
· 1 ½ tbsp Sriracha
Combine in a bowl and marvel at your beautiful pink creation. Dunk those fries to your heart’s content.
My hope is that these recipes bring you a little joy. I hope they inspire you to nourish your body in fun, simple ways. I hope they debunk the myth that eating healthy plant foods has to be time consuming and complicated. And if you are content with your current recipe arsenal, I completely understand and admire you. I hope even still that this post brought some lightness to your day.
I feel deeply called to speak about the importance of the unique, difficult, and transformative period of time our planet is undergoing. At the same time, I believe that choosing positivity when we can, seeking joy in everyday things, and leaning into our creativity will carry and heal us through this.
Maybe cooking isn’t your joy. Maybe it’s dancing. Maybe it’s reading. Maybe it’s sewing. Maybe it’s gaming. Maybe it’s laughing with a loved one. It can be anything, as long as it’s authentic to your beautiful soul.
May we seek the joy. May we nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits by creating consciously and lovingly. May we use our creations to lift those around us.
And may we laugh in the process.