Friday, June 28, 2013

Super Sweet Kale Goodness!

Wait... Kale?... SWEET?? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Ok, I'll let's make a deal. You drink this smoothie, and then you let me know if kale and sweet are meant to go together in a sentence.

I mean, just look at it:


Beautiful, emerald goodness in a glass. 

This recipe was inspired by a kale shake recipe by Tess Masters (Healthy Blender Recipes <-- check it out). She wanted to create a healthy pistachio ice cream flavor smoothie with lacinato kale, frozen bananas, cashews, and dates (and a couple other things). Well, it tastes pretty darn amazing, so she succeeded. Not sure if it tastes like pistachio ice cream, but it is sweet, creamy, and delicious. 

This morning, I remembered that kale shake and I decided that I would attempt to create my own sweet kale smoothie shake. 

The result???


YUM!

In this recipe I use both lacinato and curly kale varieties, but feel free to use any variety. In my opinion, lacinato is a bit stronger, but I still think it's good in the smoothie.

Isn't it beautiful? 


Ok, ok, onward to the recipe!


Super Sweet Kale Smoothie

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients
* 5 leaves curly kale, stems removed
* 2 leaves lacinato kale, stems removed
* 2 frozen bananas (more if you want a thicker shake texture)
* 1-2 Tbsp. coconut cream
* 1 Tbsp. almond flour
* 4 large medjool dates
* ~ 3/4 cup almond milk (add more if needed)
Directions
1) Add all ingredients to blender and blend until thoroughly combined and very creamy!
2) Pour into a tall glass (or two) and enjoy!!! 

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I hope y'all enjoy the recipe. Made with love. <3


Peace, love, and KALE!

Much love,


~ Natalyn










Thursday, June 27, 2013

My New Spiralizer + Mexican Cold "Chocolate"

Hey y'all!

It's been quite a while. In case you were wondering what took me so long to actually post another recipe, I've been super busy working for the last two weeks. The project is coming to a close, and though I feel excited to finish, I also feel bittersweet because I'm going to miss the young people I worked with.

Now for the exciting recipes! So guess what I FINALLY decided to buy on Amazon?


Woohoo! A spiralizer! So to celebrate, I made me some noodles. These were "test run" noodles, and they turned out pretty good, but the sauce was too watery. I want to fix it before I post it on here. In the meanwhile, you can enjoy this beautiful photo. ;)


Ok, now here's a recipe that I will be sharing today. 

Ready for this??? 

On a HOT summer day in Southern California, what would be better than a piping hot mug of Mexican hot chocolate?

...


... An icy cold glass of Mexican COLD chocolate straight out of your Vitamix!

This recipe doesn't taste 100% like chocolate.. well, because it doesn't use real chocolate. It uses carob. If you're not a fan of carob, feel free to use the real thing (cacao powder), but be sure to put a little less at first. If it needs more, add it. 

That being said, if you love the idea of a sweet, cold refreshment that is reminiscent of a favorite chocolate drink, you will LOVE this recipe. 

Cold "chocolate" mixing in the vitamix

... And if you don't, then.. um.. then I didn't make it! ;)


Raw Mexican Cold Chocolate (or Carob)

Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients
* 3 cups original almond milk (slightly sweetened)
* 2 generous Tbsp. carob powder 
* 4 medjool dates
* 4 shakes cinnamon
* 1/4 cup soaked raw cashews
* pinch of salt (optional)
Directions
1) Soak cashews (30 min.) and dates (if not using vitamix) and then add to the blender.
2) Add all remaining ingredients to your vitamix and blend until thoroughly combined and very creamy. 
3) Enjoy nice and cold. Mmmmmmm.

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Lately, I've found that I do better without much cacao in my life. I do miss it sometimes, but I don't miss the sleep issues I would get with all of that caffeine. I mean, I still use cacao, I just use it way less. I use it as a garnish on desserts or only in breakfast foods (which usually don't call for cacao). Now that I have been substituting carob for cacao, I've been sleeping better, plus I also have had better digestion! Can you believe it? Carob must be some type of super food too!

Ok, well, I hope all of you enjoy the recipe. Talk to you soon!

Much love and hugs!

~ Natalyn











Friday, June 14, 2013

Raw Blizzard Awesomeness + my jackfruit adventure!

Hey everyone! Happy friday! :)

As of yesterday afternoon, I'm officially a sophomore in college. *fist pump*

So I celebrated.


What is that, you ask? 

Oh, nothing too fancy. Just a simple RAW BANANA DATE BLIZZARD WITH PEANUT BUTTER SWIRL AND COCONUT CREAM!!!!!

Did I mention I topped this amazing creation with some cacao powder? No, I don't think I mentioned that yet, did I? You know what that means, right? Pure banana-date-coconut-peanutbutter-chocolate goodness in a glass, that's what it means!


I guess I should give you the recipe before you kill me through the screen right now. 

Well actually, one more thing before I share this recipe. I want to thank my sister for introducing me to the magical world one enters through the marriage of frozen bananas and sweet medjool dates. I was indeed an unbeliever until I finally took her advice and made this epic raw blizzard. 

In my personal opinion, this delightful thing is reminiscent of all that sweet creamy goodness from places like Dairy Queen, Mcdonalds, and Wendy's, except it's healthier and it's vegan and it embraces beautiful, wholesome flavors and textures. Oh, and did I mention it's practically guilt free?? 

Ok, ok, I'm sorry, I did say I would give you the recipe before I continued talking. *dodges your fist* 


Raw Banana Date Peanut Butter Blizzard with Coconut Cream

Serves 1-2 (I personally don't recommend sharing)

Ingredients
* 2-3 frozen bananas (about 2 cups frozen banana chunks)
* Young thai coconut water (little by little, as needed)
* Large piece of young thai coconut meat 
* 2-3 large medjool dates
Swirl and Garnish
* Healthy sweet n' salty peanut butter of choice
* whipped coconut cream (this blogger explains how to make it - very easy)
* cacao powder
Directions
1) In vitamix blender or food processor, combine frozen bananas, coconut water, and coconut meat and pulse/blend until thoroughly combined.
2) Add dates and pulse until mostly combined or until date chunks are at desired size. 
3) Grab a tall glass. Stick knife into peanut butter jar, then swirl peanut butter around the inside of the glass in a somewhat diagonal fashion. 
4) Spoon the banana-coconut-date ice cream into the decorated glass, then top with whipped coconut cream and a sprinkle of cacao powder. 
5) Eat it up!!! 

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I think you guys will LOVE this recipe. :)

Ok, now on to other subjects. 

JACKFRUIT!


Perhaps you remember that picture from my previous post and were probably thinking okayyyyy, Natalyn is the most random person in the blogosphere. Of course, you have good reason - I am pretty random at times - but I really did eat a jackfruit yesterday! 

I was so stoked when I held it in my arms for the first time. It was a gift. One of my mom's piano students and his parents brought this big, beautiful jackfruit into the house. My jaw dropped and they got to experience one of my plant rants first hand. I hugged that student, and I hugged his mom, and his dad, and his older brother. Then my eyes glazed over with bliss as I started dancing around and saying how long I've had to wait for a jackfruit and how I had reached a new milestone in my life and yada yada yada. I don't even remember half the stuff I said. I was just downright happy! 

Poor kids. They probably thought I was a weirdo. 


Ok, that pic is indeed slightly creepy. Oh, by the way, I'm sporting the trash bag in this pic because the jackfruit is notorious for its white sap that sticks on anything and everything. It doesn't come off clothes, and the only way to get it off your hands is with a little oil. I didn't want to mess with.. that mess. 

Anyway, I got too excited and didn't really know how to cut it, so my mom took over. Thankfully, she did a much better job than me. 


I mean, look at it! It's gorgeous!


You eat the yellow pods that hold the seeds. And apparently the seeds are edible as well once you boil or roast them (future blog post on that, perhaps). 

Oh, and here's a fun fact: Juicy fruit gum flavor is actually derived from the jackfruit. Bet you didn't know that! 

And yes, jackfruit tastes pretty much like juicy fruit gum. It's fantastic. Like candy. 


Healthy candy. 

Ok, well, I need to go downstairs now and clean the mess in the kitchen (tried making a big ginger cookie earlier... that didn't go so well). 

Much love and hugs! I hope you all enjoy the epic raw blizzard recipe!

~ Natalyn















Thursday, June 13, 2013

Life lately!

Hey everyone.

Well, first of all, it's 11:38 at night and I really should be asleep, but I really missed writing in here, plus I wanted some relax time before bed.

Here I am. Oh by the way, if I say anything stupid, bear with me. I'll make more sense in my next blog post when it's not the middle of the night or whatever.

So, you know what? Let's start with a recipe. Near the beginning of this week, I steamed some potatoes and purple yams and threw together a simple breakfast idea.


Breakfast Potatoes - Natalyn's Way

Ingredients
* Steamed potatoes
* Sweet corn
* Sweet onion chives, chopped
* Dried herbs of choice (I recommend dried sage, dill, and thyme).
* pinch salt (I used a combo of pink himalayan and black truffle sea salt)
* pinch black pepper
* dab of Earth Balance (optional, gives buttery taste)

Directions
1) Steam potatoes.
2) prepare corn, chives, herbs, etc. and place in small, pretty bowls.
3) Place desired amount of each ingredient item in your bowl of freshly steamed potatoes and enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Potatoes, check. 

I also made a lot of those recipes that look gorgeous but don't taste the best or you know, vice versa... Like these donuts:

Going..


Going...!!



Annnnd gone. 

As you can see, these didn't look the best, but they tasted pretty good. I was experimenting with coconut flour donuts for the first time. And boy, let me tell you that it is hard to use coconut flour when you're eating a plant-based diet. All those eggs make baking so easy. Why can't there be a vegan egg that grows on trees??? *pouts*

Anyway, so I tried making them again, this time with chia seeds for the "egg", and well, at least they held together! So, I guess there's no need for that egg tree after all.


And according to my sister, the ones with chia tasted better. Should I post this recipe??? Hm... you know what? I'm gonna wait on posting it. I really want to master it before I put it in here. 

Let's move on to kale.

The KALE in the garden is just gorgeous right now, and we have SO much of it!!! 


Simply gorgeous. 

As I picked my kale, a plan formulated in my head. I knew what I wanted to make: kale and sun-dried tomato ravioli. You heard me. Ravioli. From scratch. With my hands.

So I made a simple whole wheat dough that kind of sucked (very hard to handle) but still tasted pretty amazing. Then I started to roll it out. 


Then I started to fill and shape the raviolis.


This took me FOREVER. But on the positive side of things, aren't these ravioli so cute??? 



After shaping them, I had to run over to work. When I got back home, it was late, but I wanted to finish my ravioli.

I boiled them for two minutes...


And then I froze them. 

Have I eaten them all yet? Nope. I'll get back to you on that sometime this or next week, whenever I get to buying some marinara sauce.

I did taste them, though, and they weren't too bad for my first time making ravioli. 

What you need to try is the filling:


But because I'm mean (insert evil laugh here), and because I'm legitimately tired, I'll share that one another day. 

Now on to other subjects.

Update as of today: exercise plan is going great. I have a new system that's working well for me - I may explain that in a future post, especially if it continues to be successful.


Enjoy the recipe - those potatoes are delish!

Peace, love, and JACKFRUIT!


~ Natalyn ^_^ 















Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Green drinks, Rock Climbing and an Unusual Pudding Flavor

Hey everyone! It's been a little while, hasn't it? Well, not super long, but I still missed writing to y'all.

Ok, so today, I'm going to share a large green juice recipe with you. But first, I need to share the link to this amazing green smoothie:



Man, that smoothie was fantastic. 

Now for my juice recipe: 


Come on, does that not look beautiful to you??? Let's try again:


Yeah, got you convinced on that one, didn't I? :)

Now this is not a sweet juice, but you can make it sweet by adding one large fuji apple.

The Greenest Green Juice

Fills one large mason jar

Ingredients:
* 6-8 leaves romaine
* BIG handful curly kale (or other variety)
* 1 cucumber
* 2 small apples (I never use the cores)
* 2 oranges
* one small piece of lemon rind (or wedge of lemon)
Directions
1) Run all ingredients through juicer. 
2) Taste juice. Add a large fuji apple if sweeter juice is desired.
3) Enjoy!!!

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One more recipe! Ok, so this pudding is VERY unique, and to be honest I was debating if I should post it on here because I was afraid no one would like it. But then I realized, "well, heck! It's my blog, and I thought it tasted delicious. Therefore I shall post it and if they do not enjoy, then let them eat cake." Ok, I didn't say that last part, but you get the idea: I'm posting it. 


Sweet Durian Pudding
(with Carob and Guava)

 Serves 1-2 (depends on how much you enjoy durian)

Ingredients:
* 1 wedge of frozen durian
* 2 guavas, outside only (omit the seeded portion)
* scant 1 Tbsp. carob powder
* 6-8 stevia drops (or more if desired)
Directions:
1) Combine all ingredients in vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. 
2) Spoon into a bowl and enjoy immediately!

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Got the pudding idea from Megan Elizabeth. Check out her recipe, it looks pretty amazing too!


~~~

Ok, now for some pics. So, lately, I've been digging rock climbing. I really love it, and I'm excited to see my progress as I continue practicing this summer. I go three times a week to Hangar 18. It's a very nice gym, and has a lot of wall climbing and belaying, which is my favorite. In the middle of the gym, there's a giant bouldering rock, which is also fun, but a bit too daring for me to climb all the way to the top. Perhaps someday... 

Well, here are some pics:


This last pic was blurry, but I just had to share it, because I find it funny for some reason:


Yep, I fell! Haha, that was fun (don't worry, these ropes lower you slowly enough that you don't hurt yourself. Otherwise, it wouldn't be so funny). 

I didn't make it to the top, but each time I go, I get closer and closer. Next time, I plan to get past this one green rock that gets me every time. It's crazy! Rock climbing is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. You need to be constantly planning your next move as if you were playing a chess game or something. Pretty stinkin' awesome, if you ask me. 

Well, that's pretty much it. I have to go to school soon (two more weeks left! CHOWWWW!), so I'll talk to you all tomorrow, or maybe the day after, or I guess whenever I have a recipe or an update that's interesting enough. 

Much love,

~ Natalyn

P.S. Try the durian pudding. I dare you. 

P.S.S. Small update on my health journey: still not at my desired weight, but slowly over time have been seeing a small difference (family sees it more than me). Digestion is doing fantastic at this time, which is awesome. Mentally and emotionally, not so well because I'm very stressed out, but yoga last night helped a lot!