2015/04/22

QUINOA, BROCCOLI & RAMSONS CAKES w/ RAMSONS PESTO

Theme of this month: Growing!
Growing up as the eldest child of three has made me a care taker and a bit of controlling at times ( my sister will nod in agreement if she reads this)! I had this on my mind a lot lately, stumbling upon related stories of sibling stories. It's fascinating how much alike you are to a person who is born as an older sister etc. too. Most of the time how you think and react in a situation - it is not you alone - but the position you were born and grew into. I made peace with the sister role, I am able to see the qualities I gained and own. But since I am more independent now I think more and more of the other part of me that is hidden under the many roles you play as a person. 
Being a daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, granddaughter, niece, babysitter, cook, salesperson, teacher, neighbor...and so on. Where is me? It is a part in all of that, roles you are put into, how you behave in them is the way that you are. How can you reach that inner truth?
Sometimes you have to be by yourself, letting go of all the other roles, thinking about pleasing others, taking care of others, maybe playing an extra role by playing nice when you are the complete opposite inside. Maybe then it is time to just be alone and listen to yourself. Deep within. That is the only way to grow and become yourSELF! And it is the only way to be authentic and grounded in all the other roles. 

I have two siblings with whom I have lived together under one roof for the last 16-22 years. 
Of course I have grown to become the annoying controlling sister, who else would it be? I have struggled with the way they see me and wanted to change me and situations constantly. Tried to shut my mouth when I saw they made a mistake or were about to make one. Especially tried hard not to say the most annoying sentence of all 'I told you'! 
I remember the time when my brother was about the age of 3, my sister and I took care of him together, dressed him funny, went out to get ice cream and all sorts of fun childhood stuff. I did not yet feel pressure of being the older/wiser sister, it was more of a thing we did together. My sister and I shared the role of a care taker and it was all fun and relaxed. 
Growing older I had more pressure of being a good example, annoying them with good advice, phases of not wanting to take care of them all the time, I felt like taking care of everything and everyone. I felt left out in this role. It didn't matter what my intention was, nice or not, they did not want to listen to me or even considered seeing me as an inspiring bright person. 

Maybe that is why I started to reflect and seek truth in myself to release me from a role. To be seen apart from that. I guess I don't want it to be any other way than it is now. Being a big sister to those beautiful souls who fill out my heart completely, made me the way I am today. Turning all the flaws of early responsibility into positive skills. I know how to take care of others, how to listen, how to sometimes speak up and tell someone the truth they need to hear, sometimes just be still and let them figure it out by themselves. I can nourish them, their bodies, minds and souls. Maybe I can teach them a bit along the way. Sibling or friend, I believe the more I am myself, not feeling trapped in a role, I can give and share my love and happiness. A part that I always want to be able to live out!

Growing is also the theme of Kapha season. Ayurveda divides the year according to the most prevalent dosha during each period. One of the qualities of Kapha is stability, the healthy habits you form this spring can stick with you all year 'round if you let them. Kaphas qualities in late winter through spring are heavy, slow, cold and oily. Like its elements water & earth. 
Kapha promotes anabolism, the process of building up the body, growth and creation of new cells.
There are many ways to stay balanced in this season and one way is through food. Focus on foods and activities that are light, dry and warm. 
Signs you have excess Kapha are colds, allergies, congestion, flu, fatigue, grief, sadness, depressions, dullness of mind, weight gain. 
Growing healthy habits in the spring, the perfect time to detox and lighten up.
A Kapha Balancing list for spring

Move - to balance out the slow, sluggish feeling of kapha, you should get moving. Do whatever makes you feel good and gets you breathing deeply. Dance, run, ride a bike, jump, do yoga. You name it. Shake the heavy winter coats and moods off!
Sleep - to counter the dullness of sleeping to much, it is best to go to bed early by 10 pm and rise early 6 am. Those are the Kapha times of night and day, when you get a deep and restful sleep, to have more energy for the day. Avoid naps.
Eat - eating light and warm to maintain a balanced digestion, more bitter, pungent and astringent taste. Spice things up with cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Avoid food that is heavy, oily, cold, salty, sour.
Body - do some breathing exercises, try dry body brushing, a full body sesame oil massage, warm showers. 
Mind - seek a variety of activities, people to be around, conversations to be stimulated. Learn new skills, grow new habits, learn to let go of things.



























Quinoa, Broccoli and Ramsons - abundant in spring and stars of this recipe.
I am lucky to have a friend with a garden full of ramsons. So last sunday we met in her garden, harvested a huge pile of ramsons with some others and made pesto. It was a perfect sunny afternoon and the combination of harvesting and then eating the freshly picked food was incredible. It should always be that way. After the garden gathering in the evening sun we joked about when to meet next to forage & harvest the future seasonal abundance. But nothing is quite abundant and a multitude of leaves as ramsons. Heart and belly nourished I came home with two glasses of pesto and bundles of leaves. My mind full of ideas. Since I had to use the leaves pretty fast and had a busy packed week ahead of me, the only reasonable thing to do was soup and baby cakes. I just had to look in the fridge, see the leftover quinoa, a lonely broccoli and it was decided. Quinoa and broccoli are also great kapha pacifiying foods. I added some pesto to the cakes, later added more of that pesto and the cakes to a salad lunch box to bring to work ( that is my food-planning-role acting out).
The plant has been used as a spring tonic to cleanse the blood and boost the immune system.
Ramsons leaves boost the functioning of the internal organs, are high in vitamin A and C, contain manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Go do some spring activity in the kitchen! Make some tasty pretty green baby cakes!

QUINOA, BROCCOLI & RAMSON CAKES
makes 12 baby cakes

1 1/2 cups quinoa 
1 bundle of ramsons, leaves
2 middle-sized potatos
1 broccoli
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp ramsons pesto ( recipe below)
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp raw honey ( or maple syrup)

Directions
Cook the potatos until you can mash them with a fork. Use leftover quinoa or cook 1 cup for 15 minutes in a small pot. In the meantime chop the broccoli in small pieces. In a large bowl combine the mashed potatos with the oil, pesto, salt and honey. Add the quinoa, broccoli, flour and flax seeds. Stir and mix until a thick formable dough develops. Chop the leaves very thinly and slowly fold them in. Preheat a large pan on medium to high heat with some heat resistant oil. Form little flat baby cakes with your hands and bake them in the pan, 3 minutes on each side. Let them cool down a bit to harden.

RAMSONS PESTO

1 bundle of ramsons leaves
3/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 cup cashews
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup

Directions
Put all ingredients in a food processor for a few minutes until it reaches your desired pesto consistency. Store in a glas jar with some extra olive oil on top in the fridge.


I hope you can grow out of old habits that you want to get rid off. Maybe now is the right time. Start to plant a little garden of herbs and salad, so you can nourish & balance yourself!
Play whatever role you want, how about the role of YOU? 

Wild & happy spring time,
with love,
Gina

2015/04/11

BLACK BEAN BIRTHDAY CAKE

Iiiiiiit's my Birthday! 25! BIG number! BIG celebration & a BIG moon!
A quarter of a century. You could leave it at that. But I was so lucky to turn 25 in the night of the lunar eclipse and full moon. 
April’s energetic theme of 'expect the unexpected'! Energy is recycled and reformed….
Birthdays and full moons are the days to reflect and set new intentions. Constructed to tune in and expand our own hearts to transform into more authentic versions of our self.
A powerful and charged time to shed our false identities and live from our passion and truth.
Change is the only constant. Our task is to be who we really are. We are here to thrive.
My birthday weekend was full of energy, love & warm hugs! All one could ask for.
The moon lit night before gave us energy to prepare the birthday brunch. For the brunch the sun came out bright and warming, my dearest friends came to celebrate and fill their bellies with good food. The day was filled with laughter and the night with dancing.

I finally feel like I am my true self, before it was more of an in between state. The past held me back, the future too big and scary - and I was kind of stuck. Now everything feels aligned and right. I know where I am heading. Doors keep opening up, so many opportunities and offers that I never thought would happen. You KNOW when you are on the right track. It is electrifying and just feels SO good and liberating! 
I am more than happy! 25 will be a BIG year with welcomed changes and freakin' amazing things to happen. 
Cheers to that!

The cake is a combination of a decadent dense dough paired with a sweet and slightly salty chocolate ganache that resembles the taste of halva & crispy sesame brittle pieces.
A perfect cake to celebrate and share!

























Black Beans
Powerful balancing supporters! Did you know?
Black beans have a great health-supportive mix of protein plus fiber. In numbers it is 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber for a one-cup serving. There is no other food containing this high and good balance of protein AND fiber combination.
They also provide a special support for our digestive tract health. In helping to balance out the digestive processes, they prevent excessive sugar release from the digestive tract and also insufficient simple sugar release. That speaks for their benefits for blood sugar regulation.
Another benefit is their role as a standout food in the phytonutrient area. The high amounts of said nutrients which are both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, are great for the cardiovascular system.
We want antioxidants, to shield us ( especially our blood vessels) from being exposed to chonic and excessive risk of oxidative stress or inflammation.
And to complete their beneficial characteristics, the black beauties contain a good source of magnesium, folate, zinc & omega-3 fatty acids. 
Grab a pack of dried black beans from the shelves next time, will ya? 





BLACK BEAN BIRTHDAY CAKE
serves 14-16
Black beans should be presoaked. Simply soak the beans in water overnight, before cooking drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.
Do not add any salt until after the beans have been cooked, since it will make the beans tough and increase cooking time. 

Cake
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour 
1 cup light spelt flour 
2/3 cup cacao powder 
1/2 cup coconut sugar 
1 tbsp baking powder 
1 tsp vanilla  
a pinch of sea salt
2 cups black beans + 4 cups water
8 tbsp maple syrup 
8 tbsp plant based milk   
8 tbsp virgin olive oil 

Directions
Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. Cook for at least 1.5 hours. In the meantime prepare the ganache and the brittle. Then start to prepare the rest of the cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 175c / 375 F. Grease a 7″ spring form baking pan with coconut oil.
In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a larger bowl mix the wet ingredients and add the beans.Take a hand blender and mix until it becomes a thick bean mousse.
Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl. Carefully fold them into the mousse.
Add the batter to the spring form and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool down for a bit before removing from the spring form and addind the ganache.

Ganache 
1 cup black tahini
2 tbsp light tahini
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of sea salt

Directions
In a small bowl, combine both tahinis with the syrup. Slowly add in the oil, cacao, vanilla and salt. Spread around and on top off the cake once it has cooled down.


Sunflower Sesame Brittle 
slightly adapted from Sarah Brittons My New Roots Cookbook

Prepare the brittle while the beans are cooking. Break up pieces and add them on top of the cake as the last step. Enjoy! 


























No excuses to not eat dessert. Or treat yourself to a bite of this black moon cake for breakfast. You heard me right. The health benefits of black beans, sesame and cacao are a boombastic boost which provide you with energy, nutrients and antioxidants. All packed in a pretty cake! A gift for me & you! Your welcome!

All the love & full moon power to you,
Gina

2015/03/27

PROBIOTIC SMOOTHIE & CASHEW YOGURT


Sometimes I feel bewildered and not centered at all & I have NO CLUE why.
You do too?
And when I can't seem to get it, because technically everything is good, I look at the bigger picture.
Another transition phase. Winter to spring.
I was joking with a friend the other day, comparing myself to a plant ( yes sometimes we can go that far with our hippie mind conversations) and how you can witness the transformation of the plants day by day, coming alive, sprouting, changing, growing. How much resting, energies, sun, good soil and water are essential in this process. Aren't we kind of doing the same?
Resting during the cold months, recharching our energies, nourishing our bodies, keeping us warm and centered.
All of this is essential to be able to shift and be ready for a new season. Fresh start! Spring cleaning! 
Maybe in our case it is all more subtle.
Little changes, a sprout of a new feeling or idea, a growing desire to be outside or dance around, growing out of that heavy winter coat ( like a plant we are breaking out through the earth, metaphorically speaking obviously) fueling ourselves with the first sun beams & the first of springs harvest.
We come alive in a different way, yet it is the same day by day action and a transformation maybe only you yourself can witness if you look and listen. But honestly, that glow and feeling of lightness you have when the sun is finally out is highly visible and saying it all!



To celebrate the first sprouts of spring of course I jumped in the kitchen, with all that sudden energy and good vibrations to do some magic. A pretty hippie flower smoothie bursting with sun energy, plant power & live bacteria! Kapow! If nothing else had given you that effect by now, the smoothie will do the trick!
Last summers harvested sun ripened berries, sprouts, seeds, homemade almond milk & probiotic cashew yogurt / Cashewgurt!  Smoothie on a whole new level!


Cashewgurt & bacteria

A quick chat about fermented foods.
Important all year long, for everyone - but maybe even more so in the transition phases between the seasons when you are in the need of a little support for your nervous,- immune & digestive system.
Memorize this: every single cell in your body is affected by the gut! Fermented foods are key to support the gut! 
They cover it all and thats why it is so potent and incredibly good for you.
Jam-packed with natural antibiotics, alkalizing compounds it improves immune function and digestion, regulates blood sugar levels, skin conditions and so much more goodness! 
In the need of a mood lifting, supporting, strengthening and calming tool? Load yourself up with millions of good bacteria ( beneficial bacteria) in any form of fermented food.
My staples are kombucha, plant based yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, pickles, nut cheeses… there is a lot and to include it to your diet through these various forms is an amazing health boost and so valuable! The larger the variety the better the outcome for your overall health!
I have experienced with a lot of different nuts/seeds over the years and the cashewgurt has never been outperformed. Its decadent richness and creamy texture just won me over. 
The yogurt is enhanced with probiotics and gets better batch by batch as you keep adding a starter culture packed with bacteria from the yogurt before. 
I like it most for breakfast, in a bowl topped with homemade raw granola ( recipe soon on the blog) and fruits or as a base for probiotic ice cream or like todays recipe added to smoothies. Which you could also expand as a breakfast bowl topped with yummy crunchy things or as a berry yogurt ice cream. Just some ideas where you could go with this plant powered cashew baby! 
Yup, I know, plants are cool! 

PROBIOTIC SMOOTHIE
makes 1 glas

1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup cashew yogurt ( recipe below)
1 cup almond milk ( or any plant based milk )
1 handful mung bean sprouts
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp sauerkraut 
1 medjool date, pitted
a few sprigs lemon balm 
a pinch of vanilla

Directions
Add everything to a high powered blender for a few minutes until combined and creamy.
Top it with some fresh blueberries, lemon balm and yogurt. Enjoy immediately! 


CASHEW YOGURT
makes about 3 cups
Important note: Use only wooden spoons and clean hands while working with probiotic foods

3 cups cashews
3 cups water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp probiotic powder
1 cup filtered water
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp rice syrup ( any liquid sweetener or stevia works fine)
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt 

Directions
Soak the cashews over night in water and the vinegar. 
Rinse in the morning. Add the cashews to a high powered blender, add 1 cup of water and slowly start to blend and add more water if the mixture is too thick, but be careful that it does not get to runny as it will solidify a bit while fermenting. Add the probiotic powder.
Put the yogurt into a bowl and cover with a damp towel at a warm place ( the top of a working dehydrator for example) for 3 days. Stir with a wooden spoon once a day.
When it tastes a bit sour like yogurt should you will know when its done, retain some basic mixture in the fridge for future yogurt as a starter culture - blend the rest with vanilla, sweetener, salt and the juice of one lemon. Store in a glas jar in the fridge. Lasts a few days. Enjoy!


I hope you enjoy the first signs of spring - sun, sprouts, flowers, fruits - and the ones inside, whichever they might be. New found energy beams that end in dance parties in the kitchen, stripping off dark and heavy layers of thoughts and worries, try out something new! ...ehem making plant based yogurt is really the bomb to welcome spring & get you excited! 

Love & happy cells,

Gina

2015/02/22

SWEET POTATO KALE MUFFINS


What an intense year it has been so far? Hasn't it? Energies floating around and bringing things into perspective. Sometimes you can really feel that a shift is coming, first its slow and quiet but then one day it can be loud and overwhelming. Through a dream or a big sign, knocking at your door ' hello I am here, now go flow and create/learn/do/make/change things!' Ever since I am back I have experienced a lot of those moments, small & big and it blows me away everytime. 
Grabbing opportunities and ideas and making them to reality is huge and intense! A whole new world can open up, if you take the leap. I could feel it over the past few months which had some exhausting and difficult transition phases. But once you pull through it ( being given that it is also winter...duh) you have all that energy and creativity wanting to be adressed and expressed! Not to lie, I had something good happening to me every single day in the last seven weeks of this year! taking me further with new directions and awareness! Counting little & big blessings along the way. 
A powerful new moon action going on here for sure! 

To put it into other words, heartybite will become a real website with posts in both english and german, much more to explore and see, I have secret projects that are soon to be revealed that include raw vegan delicacies, there are workshops in the making & promising collaborations! Thats the sum up, of course there is SO much more going on, like teaching yoga classes ( which is huge on its own! & so much fun)...

I am so grateful for the difficult transition season last year, and being two months away had boosted change and shifting 10 times! So of course I had to dedicate this post to 
a.) a person I miss, without I would not have grown the way and amount I did and 
b.) to a delicacy I miss and connect to the experience ( ...we ate and spoke about A LOT)! 
A luscious sweet potato muffin! 
Mmh, oh the memories are too good. What do you remember and miss the most after a vacation? The smells, tastes, the feeling of freedom & happiness, hugs & new friends! So it is only a logical thing to try to relive as much of it as you can through making something that smells and tastes just like that. Plus you can sometimes really relive the feelings you had! It can be that magical. And since I am still not able to beam me over the atlantic, or beam my dearest soul friend over here, I have to find peace and make the best of it with those muffins! (... not that hard, to be honest) Because they are something else! 
Speaking of which, onto the recipe. These little muffins are a very delicious breakfast or snack! They are rich, luscious and dense with a sweet and hearty flavour, which really satisfies. They have a slight marzipan taste to them through the almonds, there is pureed sweet potato and the kale pieces on that muffin top are crunchy! 
Did anyone notice the beautiful colour? 
Plus the fact that they come as a comfort food with a load of nutrients? 
Get into the kitchen now ( ok, or after you are done reading).

The health benefits of sweet potato are numerous ( & lets not forget the superpowers of kale!) And I have already spoken about some properties, confessed my love and whatnot in this post BUT they are just too good to be true!
Be sure to add the sweetest of them all to your meals throughout the year! Compared, they are one of the most nutritious vegetables around, got way more vitamin C, fiber ( improving blood sugar regulation) and more of the key antioxidant Vitamin A ( beta-carotene, the color intensity of the sweet potato's orange flesh is directly correlated to its beta-carotene content) than a regular potato!
In ayurveda it is recommended to eat warm, heavy, sweet and oily foods in the vata season that is fall and winter. Since you want to balance out the cold and dryness in that time, you may have noticed that you naturally crave hot & heavy grounding and warming soups, enjoyed on the couch. It is exactly that what you need. Sweet potatos are very good during vata season since they are an ideal digestive food, soothing for the stomach -  and I ate consciously more of them than I ever did before. Vata season is pretty dominant and does need very much attention. Practice sacred eating and mindfulness, introspection and pamper yourself. Yummy food (especially sweet potatos) in hearty or sweet dishes make the dark times more bearable.

a dry, cold and windy winter tends to increase Vata. - See more at: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/healthy-eating-habits/warm-foods-balance-vata.html#sthash.1114AAsr.dp
a dry, cold and windy winter tends to increase Vata. - See more at: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/healthy-eating-habits/warm-foods-balance-vata.html#sthash.1114AAsr.dpuf
a dry, cold and windy winter tends to increase Vata. - See more at: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/healthy-eating-habits/warm-foods-balance-vata.html#sthash.1114AAsr.dpuf
a dry, cold and windy winter tends to increase Vata. - See more at: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/healthy-eating-habits/warm-foods-balance-vata.html#sthash.1114AAsr.d
a dry, cold and windy winter tends to increase Vata. - See more at: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/healthy-eating-habits/warm-foods-balance-vata.html#sthash.1114AAsr.dpu
a dry, cold and windy winter tends to increase Vata. - See more at: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/healthy-eating-habits/warm-foods-balance-vata.html#sthash.1114AAsr.dpuf


I knew that there are a few human beings on this planet, that are connected to you on a deep soul level - to actually be that lucky and meet one was just beyond what I had ever imagined!
You only feel and know it when you stand infront of each other! And I am realising now, it is really not easy to put into right words.
Like I said the muffins are something else, my encounter with my dear friend from brooklyn was something else too! Only thinking about it makes me smile and shiver at the same time. The whole trip would not have been this crazy wonderful rollercoaster without you! 
Sometimes it can be scary to share such raw and honest words through the 'interspace' - but it can also act to manifest, express and share so so much! 
So to express my gratitude and share why luscious sweet potato muffins will always remember me of that one time my sister picked us up after yoga class with three muffins in her hand and we ate them while strolling around union square ( and after secretly thinking about them nonstop during class!).
We had many of these simple yet meaningful moments! 
'...we just looked and grinned at each other, hearts and bellies full of all that happened over the past months and was happening right at this moment. It all came together right there'
 
And I think the awareness about its meaning and how we felt made it all so intense and magical! Because we were aware of it in that exact moment! Sometimes you miss a period of time in your life, a person or a place, when you are already out of that moment, gone, away and after some time has passed. You don't know what you got until its gone! ( Janet got it right
But the thing with being aware and knowing what you have in the present moment, a dear friend, a conversation, your surroundings, your emotions, a smile or a taste is what it makes it all so darn amazing. And then you can be in a moment when you can not grasp its weight of power, because you feel and see, smell, taste so much and so intensively - and that can take you to a place where you realize and reflect faster. The time in new york was like that almost everyday, every minute. Powerful feelings and thoughts unlimited
Meeting such a person is a gift. It can take you somewhere. It brings you further. It makes me feel inspired, grateful, connected and loved!
I knew that it meant something on a level I could not really explain. Sometimes you don't have to!
J, you know who you are, this is for you, to forever float around in space, so that these words can reach you across the atlantic. To call you a friend means everything! All my love and muffins to you!
























SWEET POTATO KALE MUFFINS
makes 9 small, 6 big ones

1 large sweet potato
1 cup almond flour ( leftover almond milk pulp)
1 cup spelt flour
2 stalks kale
1 cup juice pulp ( carrot, apple, ginger etc)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp cacao butter
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 small orange, juiced ( optional)
1 tsp vanilla 
1 chai tea bag
a pinch of salt
one handful walnuts 

1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda

Directions
In a small pan, boil the sweet potato in water for about 10-15 minutes. Until it reaches a softness that you can easily mash with a fork. Strain and mash.
In a big bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, soda and salt. 
Melt the cacao butter and coconut oil in a bowl over the pot with the sweet potato.
In another bowl combine juice pulp, almond milk, maple syrup, butter and oil, chai tea, vanilla, juice of orange and add the mashed sweet potato. Mix this bowl with the dry ingredients. Add chopped kale and walnuts. Stir slowly only a few times. Fill the dough into a muffin form.
Bake at 175c / 350 F for 30 minutes.



................................................................................

To stay in the spirit of love and gratitude, this is my 100th post & I have reached 100.000 clicks. Wow!
Thank you, every single one of you!
Whisper some new moon intentions.
Make some muffins.
Hug a friend whose existence means a lot to you.

Sweet love,
Gina

2015/01/13

WINTER CABBAGE FRUIT SLAW









Hey folks, what about a little colour and brightness in this time of the year? All the grey and white, shivers and colds, wind and runny noses call for intense colorful food which bring a little light back into your life! Obviously bursting with colour and beauty, the flashy fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamines and minerals which also tend to make you happy and healthy. Who doesn't need a little extra of this? Increased happiness until spring will take over from that, so that the sun shines out of your face, maybe a citrus-y smile // attention, as it may be that your counterpart smiles back!

Vitamin C!
Nutritional powerhouse & cold fighter!
Yep, heard it a trizillion times yet it stays an important vitamin to not overlook. Especially when you are in a cold climate. Safeguarding us from colds and flus. 
And kumquats, which I used in this slaw are a vibrant addition for getting a dose of vitamin c as well as flavonoids, copper, potassium and iron. Taking care of iron levels prevents us from fatigue and depression. Don't be shy to eat the peel, it's all in the peel baby!
Grapefruits - I could not imagine a winter without them! Tart, tangy, juicy, excellent source of vitamin c and lycopene. A big glas of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice saves a day!
Also jam-packed with the C and other mood lifters is the pomegranate
Queen of antioxidants! Anti-inflammatory, helps with sore throats. Immune supporting and high in phosphorus, calcium, zinc and iron. Also magnesium - it plays a large role in the development of serotonin, which is a major contributor to feelings of happiness!
Savoy cabbage removes toxins due to its high content of vitamin c and sulphur. It is high in vitamin B6, essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions. A deficiency in B6 may cause anemia, depression and a weakened immune system. 


// Eat your cabbage and the vibrant coloured citrus fruits that are abundant in the winter for valid reasons!

























WINTER CABBAGE FRUIT SLAW
a tangy spark to green salads & grey winter skies
serves 2

1 small savoy cabbage
1/2 head of radicchio
1 grapefruit
a handful of kumquats
2 radishes
1 pomegranate, seeded
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp hemp seed oil
1 lemon, juiced
a pinch of each
sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, turmeric

Directions
Chop the cabbage and radicchio into thin long slices, throw them in a large bowl, add some salt and a few drops of lemon juice and massage with your hands for a few minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the pomegranate ( you can read a fun how-to here, without making a mess).
Peel the grapefruit and cut into thin slices, leave the skin on the kumquats and just slice as they are, as well as the radish. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing with the rest of the lemon juice and the other ingredients. Go easy on the cayenne! To serve, start with the greens, then the fruit, garnish with the pomegranate seeds and drizzle of the dressing on top! Enjoy the goodness!

























I am off to enjoy some screen free time with the rare sun & nature outside. Another habit (besides eating healthy) to prevent me from colds and feeling depressed. Movement and fresh air! Go outside, take a walk in the sun if possible, jump, smile, kiss somebody, breathe the longest and deepest breaths, come home, turn on your favourite song, dance around and eat this slaw! Pure medicine! 
You will most likely feel strength & so alive! Trust me on that, it will make you feel oh so good! Mood lifted by nature!
Why not make the best out of this month with all the energy of the new year?!


Tangy kiss & loads of happy vibes to you,
Gina

2015/01/02

PISTACHIO PEA PATE























What would life be without all the dips, pestos, sauces, dressings, butters & pates to spread and drizzle all over our beautiful food? Not the same, thats for sure! It can transform a simple meal in something interesting and special. I tend to overdo a newfound flavor a bit - but there are always new things to try out, mix together, experiment with. Another bonus is to incorporate healthy stuff in a pate or desired dressing. Maybe the leftover parsley that you had no idea how to finish otherwise, especially the greens and fresh/dried herbs can be used here. Good for you, the food you pair it with & your wallet. 
If you are not into the green ( juices, smoothies, salads) craze, start with a homemade green pesto or pate which richness and creaminess will totally seduce and meet your demands! 

I was after a creamy & nutty pate to spread on toasted bread. But later it made its way into veggie quinoa bowls, over pasta, in a wrap, rice rolls and the last bits landed over a spinach salad. Again, I like my creations to be versatile yet simple. It came true. Say goodbye to boring overused sauces and spreads! 
Let's begin this new year with something really delicious - green & healthy in disguise, shall we?

























PISTACHIO PEA PATE
wonderfully versatile for crackers, veggie sticks, on bread, in sandwiches, wraps, over pasta or salads 

2 cups cooked peas 
1 cup pistachios 
2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
1 tsp black pepper 
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp miso paste 
2 tsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup 
3 tbsp olive oil 
one handful fresh parsley
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp chili flakes

Directions
Toast the pistachios in a pan ( if bought untoasted). Cook peas in a little water, make sure to not overcook them.
Combine all ingredients except the water in a food processor ( or a bowl, if you use a hand blender) slowly add the water until it reaches a thick pate consistency. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Decorate with chopped pistachios, fresh pepper & chili flakes. Store in a glas jar in the fridge.


Spread some love & pate, 
HAPPY YUMMY NEW YEAR to you all! So grateful for this place and you who take the time to come here. It means a lot to me. Thank you for your support and everyone whom I met in the last year! Here's to more culinary adventures in 2015, feasts and health!

.:Gina  



Oh and by the way, you can find me in the new magazine ilikeblogs! A wonderful inspiring read for all diys, interesting bloggers, homemade stuff - now in real to hold in your hands and skim through with your afternoon tea. Thank you ilikeblogs!

2014/11/24

MISO RAMEN SOUP w/ SHIITAKE AND OYSTER MUSHROOMS

Guess what? I am back, packed with a loooot of memories, lessons learned, fullest heart & nourished with the most amazing and diverse food new york could offer! We had an incredible time connecting to the city, its people and exploring the streets & delicacies. But most of all we explored ourselves - a huge part of traveling, if not one of the most important ones. Being there you can be anyone you want to be, reinvent yourself new with every day, be at a new place every day and night. No day is like the other! Talk about stimulating? The mind, heart and tastebuds were on a constant rollercoaster ride! 

Fast forward to a sunday, one of those magical rollercoaster nights.
It has gotten a little cooler than the weekends before but sundays meant outdoor-dance -party, so that sunday end of october, again, we went dancing under the night sky. It was a meditative bike ride, a clear sky, dearest people, a fresh breeze which signalized the end of summer. And making it even more special, it was our second to last night plus the last of the 'mistersunday-party' event nights. So a feeling of 'good things coming to an end' and saying goodbye layed in the air. Big smiles, warm hugs and deep tunes followed and made our hearts burst with sadness, joy and gratitude. This night will be forever loved and cherished in which I felt connected to every single human dancing next to me - but more so, feeling connected and whole within myself. Movement, siiigghhh! Magical beyond words! 
And to top it off, we had to nourish our bodies with something warm & flavorful, like an embrace which comforts you after a brisk night ride. The party ended, the floor and our bodies were still vibrating with energy, the group spreaded. As I always say, unexpected events turn out to be the most changing and wonderful. Later we found our little group of people in the midst of an already closed (and propably overlooked at another occasion) small japanese restaurant. I caught myself thinking worrying - you would have never planned on going here for the last night in brooklyn, yet alone choosing a cuisine you have so little experience with. What if... My mind responded immediately. Wait a minute? Didn't the whole trip teach you one thing? That nothing can be planned? And with a still vibrating heart from feeling free and loved while reaching your hands into the sky one hour prior to standing here...you should realise that it is all meant to be and it may be possible to in fact get even better? 
Just allow it.
And I did. 

Obviously my crazy foodie mind speaking, yet it stopped me once again from worrying about nonsense and just allowing good things to come my way. This is how I have come across ramen soup and another little yet important life lesson and got wiser and happier with every single bite. 
We started with phenomenal roasted brussel sprouts which my dearest brooklyn friend and I had a thing for and ordered at every restaurant throughout the weeks. And of course every order prior to that was only preparing us for this delicious experience. Then the ramen soup came and blew my mind. How could I have not tried this before? Once again I was deeply in awe of traditional, fresh produce and natural cooking culture. I learned so much this night. We were present and truly enjoying, just like being on the dancefloor. Having the same present mindset behind your actions, can turn any small or big event into an unforgettable happy memory. 

One thing was the saying and experiencing of the phrase: 'put your fork down' as the soup was this good! Even though we did not actually had a fork in our hand, we just looked and grinned at each other, hearts and bellies full of all that happened over the past months and was happening right at this moment. It all came together right there. But more of that in another post. 
A magical miso ramen soup with a kapow! effect of flavour, mushrooms and sprouts & not to forget the noodles, of course the noodles!
I was hooked!
The smell of garlic, miso, ginger and herbs can send me off to bali in a minute if I want to or from now on it will beam me to a corner in brooklyn on a brisk fall day. Not a place one would expect to fall in love with yourself ( or an asian meal). But then again who can predict who you are in any given minute? As long as the heart says yes! ...you can be anywhere in the world and it will make sense! 



Sometimes you have to fly a few miles to find yourself plus some extra insights you were not looking for! Like my neglected love for dancing, your true self when not in fear, your true self when fully loved, your true self when fully understood, lessons in letting go & finding meaning in fewer not as philosophical things like a really good bowl of ramen noodle soup
It all makes sense in a way. 
It can connect you- reflecting can connect you to yourself and to others more, as well as sharing a good meal does connect you. 
Taking care of yourself through trusting life is as important as taking care through a nourishing bowl of food. It both can give you tremendous amounts of comfort and love. And heals you! 
So more of that please. For everyone. 
As I said, life can change at the least expected places or in the most unplanned moments. Let it take you somewhere. It could be magical and so worth the wait or worry! 
Maybe start by making this soup. Just an idea!

Trust me I have put a lot of work and tried my best to recreate the amazingness and the 'put your fork down' ( or chopsticks) experience. But researching for recipes, cooking techniques and learning about health benefits is not actual work for me. More so it is pleasure and enhancing wisdom. And then bursting with excitement and wanting to share it with everyone! So thankful for this space, letting me express and share my enthusiasm and newest discoveries!
The bowl offers so much, ingredients, flavors, textures, steamed and fresh parts. Simplicity was asked and I found it in the basics with which you can never go wrong. Ginger and garlic. Start with them, slowly heating up you have a wonderful base, yes and your kitchen will smell amazing. 
With it come carrot, black radish, napa cabbage, spring onions, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. 
Completed by a rich miso tamari broth, mie noodles, mung bean sprouts and roasted sesame seeds!
I hope by now I have satisfied you enough!
If you need a little more extra then keep reading about the magical mushrooms. ( Magical as in being totally legal, medicinal  and available in your supermarket ) 


Shiitake - pure medicinal and used for over 6000 years, this mushroom comes in fresh and dried form and is said to boost qi / life force. The shrooms were noted in some of the first books on herbal medicine written thousands of years agoPretty magical right? So how and why? 
Brimming with protein, fiber, B vitamines and this list:
thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B3,6,9, C and D!!!, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc.
- it is no wonder they are a symbol of longevity and one of the most researched foods for immune system support. Giving the system a boost or mellowing its activity when needed. Also the content of polysaccharides is unique and immune supportive. 
It is a good non-animal source of iron, the bio availability is very high for humans, especially in the dried state. It has cardio vascular and anti cancer properties, is an antioxidant in protecting us against oxidative stress. 

Oyster mushroom - is one of the most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. It comes in shades of white, gray, yellow ,blue and pink. It provides our bodies with protein, fiber, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, niacin, vitamins C, B1, B2, B6 and iron. The mushrooms are one of the few plant sources for vitamin D which regulates genes that influence cell growth and enzymes in the immune system. It also protects our cells by containing ergothioneine, a unique antioxidant exclusively produced by fungi. Is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Adding low calorie mushrooms to your diet is an easy and flavorful way to supplement and increase your intake of essential vitamines & minerals. All mushrooms have to be heated ( not overcooked) to receive their nutritional value. Stock your pantry with dried mushrooms and watch out for the fresh ones in your local grocery store or farmers market as they are worth the second look and grasp!


MISO RAMEN SOUP w/ SHIITAKE AND OYSTER MUSHROOMS
makes 2 large or 4 small bowls
Prior to cooking soak the dried shiitake in a bowl with water for about an hour or according to the package instructions.

250 gr mie noodles ( spelt or regular)
6 cups warm water
1 piece of ginger 
6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp vegetable broth
5 tbsp tamari soy sauce
5 tbsp miso rice paste
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil 
a heaping handful of each dried and fresh shiitake, oyster mushrooms
1 large carrot
1 small black radish
1 small napa cabbage
1 stalk of spring onion
a handful of each sesame seeds and mung bean sprouts
1 tbsp sesame oil
fresh parsley
freshly cracked black pepper

Directions
Start by soaking the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl with water for about an hour. Set aside. Rinse off.
Cut the ginger and garlic in small pieces and heat them up with the coconut oil in a large wok pan until you can smell the flavor, do not burn them. Cut the carrot, radish, spring onions and fresh mushrooms into bite sized pieces and add them to the pan. Stir fry for a few minutes. Add the maple syrup and tamari sauce. Then add the water and bring to a boil for only 2 minutes. Add the broth, miso paste, wait until dissolved then continue by adding the soaked dried mushrooms and the noodles. Let it simmer for 8 minutes on low heat, covered. Meanwhile heat up the sesame seeds in a pan for a few minutes until you can smell them.
Assemble by filling two large or four small bowls with noodles, miso soup water, vegetables and mushrooms. Garnish with sesame oil, sesame seeds, mung bean sprouts, some fresh parsley and pepper. Use a large spoon ( as pictured) and some chopsticks to make the experience whole and fun!
Enjoy with every bite! Let the magic and medicine do their work!


























From my grateful and full heart & belly to yours!
Sending you tons of love and energy for this dark cold winter days when a hot noodle bowl of medicinal deliciousness is just everything
YES to immune power & connecting to soul mates - equally supportive for the system!

Shiitake-namaste,

Gina