Quicker Than Instant Chocolate Pudding!

They (I don’t care who!) say it is beneficial to eat a little dark chocolate every day, so here is my “go to” recipe when the need for something chocolatey arises.  My Vitamix allows me to whip up this delectable dessert in less than 1 minute, but if you haven’t made the investment in this powerful machine yet, any high speed blender or food processor will do.  What makes this pudding recipe so unique, aside from being dairy-free, vegan, and devoid of artificial flavors and sugar, is the Grade B maple syrup and avocado.  Although agave and other grades of syrup will work, Grade B maple syrup gives the pudding a richer, almost caramel-like, flavor.  As for the avocado…don’t let it scare you.  Once blended, all that is left of this fruit is the creaminess and all of its healthy, healing properties.  Prepare to be amazed!

Quicker Than Instant Chocolate Pudding

Vegan, Dairy-free

Ingredients:

2 medium avocados (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Grade B maple syrup (not raw)
1/4 cup filtered water*
2 Tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa (not raw) or raw chocolate powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Remove avocado pits and scoop avocado into Vitamix or your preferred blender/food processor.  Add remaining ingredients and blend.  This pudding freezes well.  Just thaw, stir, and serve.  Serves 4-6.

*Sometimes I omit the water and freeze the pudding to make chocolate ice cream.

Recipe Highlights:

  • Dark chocolate, especially in a raw state, may alleviate depression, regulate chemicals in the brain, reduce blood pressure and much, much more.  Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, which is the same chemical our body releases when we fall in love!
  • Grade B maple syrup is richer in vitamins and minerals then the more common Grade A, and is a good source of manganese and zinc.

Enjoy,

JILL-O

Fresh Corn & Avocado Salad

What better time to share this simple salad recipe then when the farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and grocery stores (if you must!), are brimming with tender ears of sweet corn.  I created this recipe last year after learning from a local farmer that you can eat sweet corn raw without it ever touching a grill or a pot of boiling water.  This experience even inspired me to grow my own.  I was able to convert many naysayers last summer, and now it’s time for me to make a believer out of you! 

Fresh Corn & Avocado Salad

Raw Vegan

Ingredients:

3 ears of fresh sweet corn, husked and cut from cob (or 3 cups frozen, thawed)
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 small avocado, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

After husking and cutting corn from cob, pull out as many corn silks as possible.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or allow to marinate.  This salad is even better the next day!  Serve as a side, with tortilla chips, or as a topping for tacos.  Serves 4-6.

Recipe Highlights:

  • In addition to adding bulk to our stool (as we all know;), corn contains B vitamins, including folate, as well as Vitamin C, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which are thought to lower
    cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. This fruit is also
    high in fiber, Vitamin E and C and has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
  • Red onions contain the elusive antioxidants only found in purple foods.  Onions, in general, are also high in sulfur (said to improve hair, skin and nail health), are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and contain anti-cancer properties.
  • Basil also has anti-bacterial an anti-inflammatory properties and is high in vitamin K (necessary for proper bone formation and blood clotting).

 

 

 

Boosting Your Immune System

With the fear of swine flu running rampant, I’m sure, like me, you were reminded more than once how to properly wash your hands.  My hands are so chapped from the recommended 20 seconds of scrubbing, multiple times per day that it is painful to even write this post!  Just in case you missed this rousing lesson in hygiene, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website to learn how you too can become a hand washing pro.  Indeed proper hand washing is one of the best defenses against catching the swine flu, standard flu, or even the common cold, but what else can be done to protect our precious bodies against invaders?

  1. Eat your greens!  Alkalizing greens provide your body with blood building and cleansing chlorophyll, phytochemicals (think “fight-all-diseases”, cancer, osteoporosis and aging) along with nutrients needed for tissue repair.  Serve sauteed greens, onions and garlic over a piece of crusty bread or make a quick green smoothie!
  2. Speaking of garlic and onions…both contain high amounts of disease-fighting sulfur and are antiviral and antimicrobial.  Garlic, in particular, has been used medicinally for thousands of years to prevent and fight disease.  Found in the tombs of Pharaohs, it should also be found in the cabinets of our homes at all times!
  3. Eat brazil nuts!  Brazil nuts contain high amounts of the mineral selenium, which increase killer T cells.  I make brazil nut milk, when I can afford a little extra fat in my diet, by soaking 1 cup raw brazil nuts overnight then blending in a Vitamix with 4 cups of water, dash of sea salt and raw honey, agave, or stevia to taste.  Strain mixture in a bowl using a sieve or nut milk bag.  Other sources include: egg yolks, brown rice, sunflower seeds, molasses, and garlic.
  4. Up your inflammation and immune boosting omega 3s.  Some sources include:  Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, nuts, greens, eggs, and cold water fish.
  5. Sleep.  Adequate sleep allows the body to cleanse and detoxify the system and prepares the mind and body for the next onslaught of germs and toxins that will inevitably come our way.  Strive for 7-8 hrs per night.
  6. Drink immune boosting, antioxidant-rich green tea.  Green tea contains polyphenols that protect our cells against free radical damage.  In other words, it cleans out the bad stuff that causes disease in the first place.
  7. Spice up your life!  By spice, I mean, cinnamon and turmeric.  Both of these spices are antiviral and anti-inflammatory.  I include 1 tsp of cinnamon in my green smoothie or fresh apple juice and take a shot of water with 1 tsp of turmeric every morning.

Say Adiós swine flu!

Jillian Rose

Cherry Avocado Salad

Love was in the air when I served this seductive salad, brimming with nature’s aphrodisiacs, this past Valentine’s Day.  Adapted from a recipe found in The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge, this continues to be one of my most shared and complimented recipes.  My sister first served the original version of this salad to me 4 years ago, and the flavors and sensations that aroused my palette then, continue to hold steady each and every time I make it.  Use this salad to reignite the flame in your relationship, and if not, well at least you’ll have a damn good salad that is sure to make you scream out for more!

Cherry Avocado Salad

Vegan

For Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar 
1 1/2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper

For Salad:

Baby romaine or mixed greens
1/2 cup dried cherries (preferably with no added sugars)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted or candied pecans
1/2 avocado, sliced
Alfalfa sprouts, optional

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in glass jar and shake.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Construct salad and top with half the vinaigrette, serve remaining on side or save for another day.

Recipe Highlights:

  • Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which are thought to lower
    cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. This fruit is also
    high in fiber, Vitamin E and C and has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
  • Cherries are the richest fruit source of iron, and are also high in beta carotine, potassium, folate and antioxidants.  This super fruit is also thought to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and gout, and protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Pecans have the highest antioxidant content of all the nuts, and are thought to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Fennel is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and niacin.  It is high in vitamin C, which is antimicrobial and helps to boost the immune system.
  • Alfalfa sprouts are teeming with life and contain many vitamins and minerals, including B12!  The chlorophyll that comes from the sprouts exposure to sun helps build and cleanse the blood.
  • To your health,

    Jillian Rose

    My (and Dr. Oz’s) Love For Chia Seeds

    Seeing that February is Heart Health Awareness Month, I thought it would be fitting to share with you one of the foods that keeps my ticker happy…chia seeds.  Being touted as one of the latest superfoods, these pint-sized seeds are being used to treat many health conditions, ranging from blood sugar disorders to acid reflux.  Best of all, chia seeds are flavorless and can be added to virtually anything.  I’ve had many friends sneak them into their children’s, and even health food phobic husband’s, meals to give them a boost of nutrients without them even knowing!  Pick up a bag the next time your at your favorite health food store and read on to learn more about these magical seeds!

    Chia Seed Highlights:

    • Richest plant source of omega 3s
    • Have 5 times as much calcium as milk!
    • Excellent source of fiber, magnesium, and protein
    • Used as an inexpensive way to treat GERD or acid reflux
    • Called the “Dieter’s Dream Food” because it adds bulk without adding unwanted calories
    • Slows the release of sugar into the blood stream, benefiting diabetics and other blood sugar disorders
    • Binds to excess cholesterol and toxins and pulls them out of the system
    • Helps treat digestive issues and regulate the bowels
    • Endurance and strength builder
    • Maintains fluid balance
    • Gluten-free
    • Need I go on!?! 

    How to use chia seeds:

    Chia Gel

    Mix 1/3 cup chia seeds with 2 cups water.  Stir.  Let sit 15 minutes.  Store in refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks.  Add to oatmeal, blend into smoothies, or just take a couple of tablespoons of chia gel plain.

    Dry chia seeds can be soaked in any liquid.  Try mixing a tablespoon into your favorite juice!

    “Rice” Pudding

    Soak 3 tablespoons dry chia seeds in 1 cup vanilla rice, almond or hemp milk.  Stir in a pinch of cinnamon (powerful antioxidant and also helps to regulate blood sugar levels), and your preferred sweetener, if needed, and let sit for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

    Chia Seeds As An Egg Replacer

    I haven’t tried this myself yet, but chia seeds can be used as an egg replacer in recipes.  To replace one egg, simply mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit 15 minutes.

    Chia Greens

    Last year I planted a small amount of chia seeds in my garden, and after 8 weeks I had large chia greens that I added to green smoothies, and also sauteed with garlic and olive oil.  Delicious!

    To your health,

    Jillian Rose

    Are you ready to cleanse?!

    January is the time I trade in 3 C’s, cookies, candy, and cake (who were regular guests on my plate throughout the holidays) for 1 C, cleansing.  I have completed numerous cleanses over the past couple of years, and although I head into each one with trepidation, I quickly forget all apprehensions as I begin to reconnect with my body, shed unwanted toxins and weight, and regain the mental clarity and vigor that is lost when I become overindulgent.

    This year I have decided to combine two, of what I feel, are the most effective cleanses, and will be consuming 16 ounces of green smoothies and 32 ounces of freshly juiced apples for a minimum of 3 days.  To enhance my cleanses, I adopt a vegan diet (meaning I will avoid eating any animal products, including eggs and dairy) a week prior to the cleanse.  To aid the body in detoxification during the actual cleanse, I sit in saunas, perform body brushing and deep breathing, and engage in light exercise.  To break the cleanse, I eat lightly for about three days and include foods like brown rice, salads with homemade vinaigrette, and plenty of fruit in my diet.  Feel free to join me!  You won’t regret it!

    For the apple juice (makes 32 ounces):

    Juice one, 3 pound bag of organic apples* (any variety) and add 1 tsp cinnamon

    * Although fresh is best, store bought organic apple juice can be substituted

    For the green smoothie:

    Blend 2 large handfuls of greens (spinach or kale, removed from stem, work well) with 2 apples, 1 mango or banana, and 1/2 cup water for an extra thick smoothie (I like to eat mine with a spoon!).  I use a Vitamix to blend my smoothies in seconds!

    Please note:  Both the apple juice and green smoothies should be chewed to release digestive juices in the mouth, thus beginning the digestive processes of the body.

    Recipe Highlights:

    • The apples provide your body with malic acid.  A chemical that helps the liver heal, has anti-aging properties, relieves muscle pain and stiffness, and boosts energy levels.
    • Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant, regulates blood sugar levels, and also heals the liver.
    • Greens oxygenate and purify the blood and remove toxins from the body.

    Vegan Shitake Stir-Fry

    In preparation for the liver cleanse I am starting in January, I have been increasing consumption of the food sources that are thought to heal the liver. Shitake mushrooms being one of them. Here is a simple recipe that I created that even the non-vegans in my life enjoy!

    Vegan Shitake Stir-Fry

    3 cups shitake mushrooms, cut in half, stems removed
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    2 tablespoons Namu Shoya (unpasteurized soy sauce) or low sodium soy sauce
    ½ cup green onions, chopped
    2 cups packed baby spinach
    Pinch of cayenne pepper
    2 cups cooked brown rice

    Heat oil in skillet or wok over med-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Reduce heat and add shitake mushrooms, green onions and cayenne pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Serve over brown rice. Serves two as main dish.

    Recipe Highlights:

  • In addition to treating liver ailments, shitake mushrooms are a powerful anti-cancer/anti-tumor food that boosts the immune system and have also been used to lower blood cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, and treat many other health conditions.
  • Brown rice is a good source of protein, fiber, magnesium, and manganese, and contains high amounts of selenium, a trace mineral that reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Cayenne pepper is anti-inflammatory, improves blood circulation, aids in digestion, and helps the body detoxify and heal.
  • Green onions or scallions are anti-viral an anti-inflammatory and high in vitamin C.
  •  

    From An Aspiring Locavore

     Can you believe it?!  Here we are with only a few weeks until Christmas, and I’m still enjoying collard greens that were harvested from my own backyard!  You can’t get more local than that! Now, they may not be as perky as they were when the summer sun was beating down on them, but neither am I once the winter chill sets in. Now what to do with all of these lovely greens… 

    Collard Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
    Raw Vegan

     

    For Vinaigrette:

    ¼ cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon honey, agave, or maple syrup
    1 heaping teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground pepper
    Dash of cinnamon
    Dash of cayenne (optional)

    For Salad: 

    1 bunch collard greens, stripped from stems
    1 avocado, sliced
    ½ cup red onion, sliced

    ¼ cup hemp seeds

    ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    ¼ cup goji berries, raisins or other dried fruit

    Roll collard leaves into a cylinder and slice very thin.  Pour enough dressing on top of greens to saturate them, then gently massage leaves to make them more tender.  Top with avocado, red onion, hemp and pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.  Mix.  Add more dressing if needed.  Enjoy!

    Recipe Highlights:
     
    Collard greens, and any green for that matter, decrease
    inflammation, detoxify and oxygenate the blood, and slow the aging
    process. They are also a great source of protein and calcium.
     
    Hemp seeds are a superfood that supply your body with all the amino acids,
    making them a complete protein, and contain the perfect balance of
    essential fatty acids.
     
    Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which are thought to lower
    cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. This fruit is also
    high in fiber, Vitamin E and C and is anti-inflammatory.