Monday, April 29, 2013

Baby Ruby Salad with Blood Orange Cashew Dressing

A baby greens salad with blood orange sections, strawberries, dried apricots, pistachios in a blood orange cashew dressing.

This post is dedicated to my lovely niece, Claire who asked me the other day what to do with the baby kale she just bought. First of all let me just tell you how excited I am that she bought kale in the first place. She is a young mother with two precious little ones and she actually is making green smoothies for them now.... with kale! Woot Woot! and little  2 1/2 year old Victor is asking for "more." Love it!

See it's really adults that freak out over green looking drinks in the beginning, not the kids.

So this is a recipe I put together when I stumbled across a new looking container in our store:

Baby Kale Medley

I am really partial to tender baby greens, and this baby kale medley is no exception. It's not as hard core as the big leaf kale, in case you are new to the more powerhouse greens.  And also because it's a baby leaf, you don't have to worry about bitter stems, like the full leaves.

While you may not have a Sprouts/ Henry's Farmer's Market where you live, I think baby kale is catching on in the stores, especially ones like Whole Foods.

But if not, any baby greens (spinach or romaine) would work fine and mix them up for more variety too if you feel like it.

Raw Coconut Vinegar

I also stumbled across this new-to-me product:
Raw Organic Coconut Vinegar by Coconut Secret,
which claims to be even more nutritious than organic apple cider vinegar, so I decided to give it a spin for something different.  I do like it.

So this recipe I'm about to share moves away from oils in the salad dressing. Since I am new to this idea,  I turned to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book, Eat For Health for recipe ideas.

I LOVE this book as it covers not just the nutritional research side and lots of recipes but also explores the emotional component of food addictions and how to stop their control over our diets.

This book was just recently republished from what I have as a two book set into a single paperback.  Highly recommend!

Dr. Furhman is an advocate of a low fat diet but is a big fan of using nuts (in limited amounts) in the diet for the good fats and benefits. His research shows that nuts are especially beneficial to consume with greens, as they help you to absorb more nutrients from them. So his plan is to use the nuts in place of oils in salad dressing and not as snacks.

So that's what I did. This recipe is adapted from Dr. Fuhrman's MishMash Salad with Orange Cashew Dressing in Eat For Health.

Baby Ruby Salad

Baby Ruby Salad with a Blood Orange Cashew Dressing

I decided to call it this because of the baby greens, and then because of the beautiful ruby colors of the blood oranges and the berries. Dr. Fuhrman's recipe calls for using his Blood Orange Vinegar but since I did not have any, I decided to go for the real thing and add the blood oranges directly to the salad and in the dressing.

Baby Ruby Salad Ingredients


Blood Orange Cashew Dressing:

2 blood oranges (regular is fine too), peeled and seeded
1/4 cup cashews
2 tablespoons organic vinegar (apple cider vinegar, like Bragg's would be good too)
2 carrots grated (for sweetness) 
orange juice (optional)


1 container of baby kale medley or mixed greens of choice
1 cup of blood orange sections
1 cup sliced organic strawberries (organic is important as these are like little sponges for pesticides.)
1/4 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons raw pistachio nuts, unsalted and shelled


Blend dressing ingredients in a high power blender until smooth and creamy. This should be fine in a regular blender too. It may just take a bit longer to get creamy. Add some orange juice if necessary to thin it a bit.

Toss salad ingredients in a big bowl and use dressing to taste. Extra dressing should keep in a covered container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Baby Ruby Salad Close Up
So there you have it. A lovely and colorful salad brimming with all the goodness of kale and other greens but in tender bites. I'm a sucker for the ruby color of the veins in the swiss chard. 

I hope you give it a try.  Do you use nuts in your dressing to replace oil? It gives it a creamy texture don't you think? Would love to hear from you.

Until next time, Happy Healthy Eating.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Super Soup Sunday Kickoff- Marrakesh Express Red Lentil Soup

Happy Super Soup Sunday!

Around here we have begun a little habit of making a big pot of soup on Sundays that we keep both in the fridge and freezer to make for easy lunch or dinner additions for the upcoming week. It really has taken the pressure off figuring out something for meals when in a time crunch.

We have started calling it Super Soup Sundays.

Now there are some that think soup is only for the cold of winter, but just like ice cream can be enjoyed any time of year, so can soup. It's an easy way to get your veggies and fiber in (and if you make it right, lots of them) without having to chew. That's what your salads are for right? Plus who wouldn't like to know that dinner and some lunches aren't already made ahead of time ready to grab and go?

Our first Super Soup Sunday recipe is adapted from 
Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.'s book, 

This is a great book covering the 20 year study he did effectively stopping the progression of and in some cases reversing heart disease in critically ill patients with a low fat plant based vegan diet. Bill Clinton was so impressed (and in terrible shape), he adopted the lifestyle as well. 

This book also has a great collection of recipes gathered and tried by his wife and patients. This is one of those recipes.

Marrakesh Express Red Lentil Soup

This is so easy and full of healthy goodies, plus the smell is amazing!


6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or homemade
4 celery ribs, or 1 cup chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup red lentils, uncooked
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas (garbonzo beans)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
water or broth (for stir frying the onion and celery)
1 bay leaf
1-2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
bunch of cilantro (for garnishing bowls)

First in the soup pot, stir fry the onion and celery in a little water or broth until soft.
Add the bay leaf, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, veggie broth, tomatoes, lentils and chickpeas to the pot.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer covered for 45 mins.

To serve, add a slice of lemon for that flavor enhancing substitution of salt and top with chopped cilantro to taste. (Can you tell we picked up parsley by mistake?) A side salad is what we pair it with but if you are still eating bread and/or gluten, a nice crunchy loaf would go perfectly.

By now your house smells delicious too! My dog was going crazy the whole time this was cooking.

Marrakesh Express Red Lentil Soup

Let me know if you start your own Super Soup Sunday. Come back and look for a regular soup post here every Sunday.

Until then,

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Breakfast of Champions and Firefighters

I have been trying to decide what recipe to be my first post of the blog and so this morning as I was preparing breakfast it became clear... 

Breakfast should be first, of course!

Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue
Recently at the suggestion of my good friend, Marjorie I was watching a film, The Forks over Knives Presents The  Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue with Rip Esselstyn. Highly recommend.

If you are not familiar with any of these names: Forks over Knives, Engine 2, Rip Esselstyn or his dad Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, II, I highly recommend googling them (or keep checking back as I will eventually be sharing more about all of these.) They all are worth learning more about but let me just start with Rip, his dad, and the Engine 2 diet.

Rip is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, II of the renown Cleveland Clinic, who did a land mark 20 year study with reversing "incurable" advanced stage heart disease in a group of patients. He did this with a strict plant based low fat diet. These patients that were given less than a year to live are still well and thriving 20 years later, (actually all but a couple that slipped back into a Standard American Diet and did indeed die of cardiac complications.)

Rip, who was raised on this diet is not only an accomplished athlete and Iron Man competitor, is now a firefighter in Austin, Texas. After learning than some of his fellow firefighters had some unhealthy cholesterol and blood pressure issues, he decided to do his own study using buddies from the station, Engine 2 along with some local citizens that were willing to take the 6 week challenge. The results were remarkable. Not only did they all lower their lipid numbers and blood pressure in a short amount of time, they lost weight and became much agile.

Rip's book, The Engine 2 Diet
Rip's Book
has become a phenomena proving that real men do indeed eat and thrive on plants and now their firehouse has a steady stream of book fans (and media) knocking on the doors looking to meet these veggie studs.

But let's get back to the film I first mentioned, shall we?

So in this documentary, Rip travels to two households wanting to make the switch to a plant based diet to give some tips on how to do it.  In one, he was working with a family with 4 kids and showed them how to replace the cupboard full of sugary cereal with a high fiber cereal they would all like. It was a hit with all the kids and parents. This looked so good, I knew we would have to try it.

So it all started with these:

Whole Grain Cereals with a variety of textures
I actually purchased all these from Trader Joe's, since we do not yet have a Whole Foods, but you can probably find similar cereals anywhere. What you are looking for is whole grain (must say "whole..." in the list of ingredients and be the first listed) also low sodium, and low fat and as little sugar as possible, better if you can find no sugar added.  And no oils. You want any sugar or oil to be one of the last ingredients if you can't find a cereal box without either.

These grains will be the little brooms that clean out your cholesterol as well as your digestive system. To be honest, I could not imagine eating any of these on their own- plain.

Whole Grain Cereal Mix

I mixed them all in a big bowl and then put it into a giant well sealed jar for storage. This should last a while.

I know what you're thinking: Yeah, okay but how's it taste? And how am I going to get my kids to eat twigs?

Just hold on... here comes the sugar.

Fruit  Cereal Toppings
This is the important part: Flavor.

Chop up an assortment of fruits (or use frozen if you have to) into bite sized pieces. You can get really creative here. The more variety the better. Think of them as fruit loops! They will taste better the more flavors in there and I promise your kids will love this.

I used, apple, blackberries, strawberries, banana, kiwi. I even used raisins and cran-raisins but make sure to look for unsweetened. We are trying to leave the processed sugar out. I also added some heart healthy walnuts. This is brimming full of antioxidants in a tasty way.

Let's talk about milk here for a second. If you do nothing else please give up the cow's milk! Please?
There is so much that is dangerous in cow's milk. I don't want to go into all the ugly things linked to milk in the presence of such pretty pictures and spoil your appetite. Later I promise! But please for your kid's sake give it up. Spare them the health complications associated with it (development of type 1 diabetes is the most shocking! and also lowfat milk implicated in prostate cancer...but I did promise.)

I prefer nut milks. Almond being my favorite. Look for unsweetened in your stores or better yet make your own. It's very easy and tasty.

So here it is! The new Breakfast of Champions and Firefighters. It will give you a great start to your day, keep you satisfied until lunch and do wonderful things to your body.

And your kids, big and small will love it! Promise!

Give it a try and then come back and tell me what you think.

Have a beautiful day!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Hello and Welcome to Purely Nourished!

I am so excited to have a fresh new place to journal my culinary creations and health journey. If you have joined me from my previous blog, you will know that it has been quite an experience so far. I have learned so much about natural health in the last few years and have fully come to believe that what we eat is really the root cause of health or illness. We really do have a choice. Most of us, myself included, have life long eating habits and tastes that have not served our better health.  I plan to explore a more plant based side both raw and cooked and hopefully learn to make this an easy and effortless habit.

If you are a fan of The China Study, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Engine 2 Diet, Food Inc, Food Matters, Forks over Knives, or any of the other recent books or films depicting the health that can be ours by following a plant based diet, then you might enjoy this blog. I plan to follow these plans for a heart healthy eating plan that focuses on low salt and fat and high nutrients centered around fresh whole foods.

As I have quite a collection of health books with recipes both raw and cooked, and more are arriving all the time, I thought I might work my way through some of these recipes, do reviews and also create some of my own. I also plan to explore some of the ingredient options available.  For instance is there such a thing as a good and healthy vegan cheese? If you've ever wondered this and about some of these books and whether their recipes are any good, I can fill you in from our perspective of course.

And what is our perspective?

Neither Rich or myself have been vegetarians, and have been mostly raised on the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) with several years on high protein diets. We also have had a habit of eating a lot of restaurant food, so we are really coming from a highly processed food background (as most restaurant food is.)  So if we can do it, anyone can.

But will we like it? That's already happening. Our tastes are changing and we just feel better. Good start!

If you are not ready for a fully vegan diet but are open to incorporating some more plant based dishes into your meal routines, then I am happy to have you a long for the ride. Even if it's a side dish made with whole foods you are considering, you are taking a step to better health. Good for you!

I saw a show of Jamie Oliver's, Britain's Naked Chef, where he went to a preschool and showed kids fruits and vegetables and asked them if they could name them. They couldn't. That's how few real foods are in the American kitchen these days. It's very sad. Grocery stores have grown in size but the departments of real food have been shrinking.

So step away from the boxes and packages of "food," and join me for a journey into real and whole plant based food.

It's going to be fun!