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Raw Collard Green Wraps

I got the idea for these gems at this amazing little raw food restaurant, in Huntington Beach, CA, called Good Mood Food. Sadly, it’s no longer there, but their collard green wraps will live forever in my heart! This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an inspiration for your own creations. Collard greens are quite bitter, tough, and not so fun to eat raw. Stuff them with some rich ingredients and their bitterness is balanced. These are great for picnic meals and quick lunches for school or work.

-Gluten Free – Raw – Low Calorie – Supermarket Friendly –

Note: If you’re making these to take with you on the go, wrap ’em up in parchment paper or foil so that the greens don’t fall apart.

Kitchen Tools Required:

  • Knife
  • Your hands!

For the Wraps:

  • Fully intact collard greens (no holes, cuts, or tears)
  • Sandwich fillers (ideas below)

Take the collard green and cut the bottom stem off**. Layer yummy ingredients on top of the green and wrap like a burrito – fold the two narrow sides over the stuffing, then fold one long side over, and roll until fully wrapped. You may have to snap the stem on the side with the stem to get it to fold. Voila! Collard green wrap – beautiful, easy, delicious, AND nutritious.

**Don’t want to waste? Throw the stems in a steamer with some broccoli! Then toss them in this dressing. It’s a great side to accompany this wrap for a full meal. If you’re going totally raw, you can shred the broccoli and collard stems for a side slaw.

Ideas for Insides:

(RAW)

  • Cucumbers, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, raw vegan cheese, vegan pesto, arugula
  • Marinated mushrooms, shredded zuchini, shredded squash, shredded carrots, lettuce, oil and vinegar
  • Avocado, red bell pepper, crushed pecans, pico de gallo, spinach

(COOKED)

  • Chickpea salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach
  • Rice and chickpeas cooked in vegetable broth and seasoned with lemon juice and tumeric
  • Black beans, quinoa, jalapenos, tomatoes, and arugula; sprinkled with oil and vinegar, salt, cumin, and coriander

Of course, the possibilities are endless. Get creative!

Why is this good for me?

  • Collard greens have been shown to reduce cholesterol by binding bile acids so that they are more easily eliminated.
  • Collard greens support anti-inflammatory and detoxifying systems in the body.
  • Collard greens are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Collard greens contain tons of folate.
  • 200 calories of collard greens contain 85% of your daily fiber intake!

Fun food facts found at WHFoods.

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Tips on using all your grocery perishables

Do you end up throwing away a bunch of food every grocery cycle? Have trouble keeping up on all of that produce buried in your crisper? When you’re buying groceries, it feels like you’re not over-buying, so why can’t you use up all of that food?

Right after a trip to the market, a lot of us get excited about trying new recipes, cooking each meal for each day, creating an elaborate meal plan, etc. The problem is, the week wears on us and we begin to get less and less excited, we forget why we bought that fennel, and eating out looks way more appealing than sitting in a hot kitchen waiting for those veggies to roast themselves. Below are some tips that I find helpful in reducing my waste. I don’t claim to be an expert at utilizing everything in my kitchen before it expires. So don’t get down on yourself if you find this hard at first. Sticking to these things is hard, and I usually give advice to others because I need to reinforce it myself 😉

PRODUCE:

  • LIST IT: As soon as you get back from shopping, create a dated list of all the fruits and veggies you just bought. Stick this to your fridge so that you have something easy to reference when looking for a snack or things to throw in a stirfry. Do it RIGHT when you get back; you’ll still have all that energy from grocery excitement. It’ll only take you seconds to do, but the longer you wait the harder it will be to get yourself to do it.
  • PREP IT: If you have really busy weeks, choose your least busy day to do your grocery shopping. When you get home, chop up all your veggies/fruits and contain and label them. You can keep them fresh or flash fry/stir fry them first. The rest of the week will require very little time for cooking so you can enjoy your free time rather than plan meals when you’re starving and tired – and more likely to opt out for restaurant fare.
  • STEW IT: If you find that your veggies and/or herbs are going bad despite your best efforts to use them in a timely fashion – make stew! Simply throw your veggies, soup base/broth, herbs/spices, a grain, and a protein in a large pot or crock pot. Lemon and Lime juice tastes great in most veggie soup, so use those if you see ’em going bad. Freeze whatever you don’t anticipate eating within the week.

NON-PRODUCE PERISHABLES:

  • DATE IT: I tend to cook my weekly staples and then contain them in my fridge so I can throw together quick meals. However, if I do not label them with dates, I’m more likely to let them go to waste. Here are some common things that I keep readily available in my fridge for use throughout the week: tofu scramble, quinoa, rice, vermicelli noodles, kelp noodles, tempeh “bacon”, chickpea salad, coconut-chia seed “pudding”. Some of these things go bad faster than others, but a good rule of thumb is to smell it if a week has gone by…
  • POST IT: After looking at recipes, print/write out your favorite ones and stick them to your fridge. A lot of times, we bookmark pages in cookbooks or food blogs and then forget about them 30 seconds later. If you’re forced to look at them every time you go for a quick bite, you’ll be more likely to make something new. In this way too, you’re less likely to get burnt out on cooking and resort to spending that rainy day cash on restaurant meals.

WHEN TO EAT OUT:

  • CRAVE IT?: If you find yourself looking for somewhere to eat simply because it will be more convenient – stop yourself. Unless you know exactly what and where you want to eat, cook something for yourself. Likewise, if you’re with friends and you absolutely can’t come up with a restaurant to eat at, make dinner! The time it takes to decide on a place, walk/bike/bus/drive there, be seated, order, and wait for your food is probably longer than it would take you to cook for yourself or with a friend. Cravings should be indulged every once in a while, but limit them to a couple times a week.

GOLDEN RULE:

  • GET EXCITED AGAIN: Sometimes it feels like you just don’t have any energy left after a day of work or play to make a meal. That’s ok, take a minute to yourself; but don’t let that feeling dictate your decision. Start chopping some garlic or onions and see if you can get inspired to make something. If it just isn’t working, at least you’ve got yourself some prepped food for later! Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself, but usually, once you start you won’t want to stop. It’s similar to getting on the mat in yoga. If you need a little extra push to cook on those super exhausting days, try some kapalabhati breathing. Maybe that energizing breath will get your creative cooking juices flowing!
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Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

I got some lovely produce from Johnson’s Backyard Garden today at HOPE Farmers Market. Shishito peppers are finally back in season and I couldn’t be happier! I got so hooked on them last summer. I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for cold green bean salad and it inspired me to make my own for my very first installment of Alpha Kitten Recipes. It’s super simple, light, and refreshing. Great as a side salad, or as the main part of a snacky lunch on those hot summer days. I had this salad with a large carrot, some hummus, and a peach for lunch today. Mmmmmmmm…

Note: Shishitos add a simultaneously bitter and buttery flavor to the salad that I found interesting. If you want to nix the peppers and go for a smoother flavor profile I’d suggest adding avocados, peaches, or honeycrisp apples in place of them. You will have leftover dressing to do whatever you’d like with. It’s certainly not required, but if you make the dressing a day before, this salad is even better!

– Serves 2 – Gluten Free – Low Calorie – Supermarket Friendly –

Kitchen Tools Required:

  • Pot
  • Pan
  • Blender/Food Processor
  • Strainer
  • Mixing Bowl

For the Salad:

  • 2 big handfuls of green beans
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Optional: 3-4 Shishito peppers, chopped and pan-fried in coconut oil with a dash of salt

For the Dressing:

  • 1 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1/4 – 1/2 lemon
  • 1 – 2 handfuls of basil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and boil them for 3-4 minutes; they should be bright green and still a little crisp. Immediately transfer them to cold water and set them aside. Put all dressing ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until you have a consistency that’s a little thinner than pesto. If you add too much basil, you can add water to thin it out. In your mixing bowl, combine chilled green beans with chopped tomato. Pour half of the dressing over it and toss. Serve garnished with browned Shishitos (if using).

Why is this good for me?

  • Green beans have the highest antioxidant capacity compared to their other pea and bean friends!
  • Green beans contain the mineral silicon, which promotes healthy bones.
  • Tomatoes have been known to reduce cholesterol and other heart issues.
  • Basil fights bacterial growth and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Lemons contain powerful antibiotics as well as limonoids which are anti-carcinogens.
  • Lemons contain tons of Vitamin C which has so many benefits that it’s linked to reducing risk of death from ALL causes!
  • Shishitos are also called “Wrinkled Old Man Pepper” which is just really adorable.

**All fun facts about food found at WHFoods.