Image

Perfect summer pina colada

I am always dreaming of the ocean, and what better way to whisk you away than a pina colada! SUPER fresh and easy. Coconut milk has medium chain fatty acids, which helps to support metabolism. Unfortunately the brand I picked up has carageenan in it, so I will need to find an alternative for next time.

image

blend together:
1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup of frozen pineapple
1 frozen or fresh banana
quarter to half cup of coconut water

enjoy!

Advertisements

Be Fit for Ramadan

By Ayesha Akhtar, MPH, CPT

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (Surah Al-Baqarah: Verse183)

With Ramadan approaching in just a few weeks, many of you, like myself, are wondering how to maintain a level of fitness throughout the month of Ramadan, so as not to lose endurance and muscle tone (neither are completely true). Fear not! There are several habits you can adopt throughout your day, and can maybe even enhance the spiritual aspect of fasting by giving you a little extra energy here and there. I’ve share below some of my own lessons learned. Feel free to share your own!

For my readers who are not familiar with the logistics of Ramadan, allow me to share. Fasting for 30 days during the month of Ramadan (one month on the lunar calendar) is one of the five main pillars of Islam. This year, Ramadan begins at the end of June. Physically and mentally able Muslims (there are several exemptions) will fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food, water, smoking, and sex during those times. At sunset, it is tradition to break fast with a date, which is essentially a superfood, water and the company of others. It is such a beautiful time of togetherness and camaraderie. Many faiths participate in fasting on some level. The first few days are tough, then your body gets into a groove, the last 10 days are hard, knowing the end is near. It is a time for physical cleansing, and spiritual resetting. Many will attend the Mosque for prayers more often than, others prefer to stay at home. We end the month of Ramadan with Eid ul Fitr, a celebration lasting three days, with gift giving galore!  Continue reading

Quote

Ultimate Veggie Burger 

I really liked this recipe, and the chickpeas make a nice base. It’s also a nice change from black beans.

It makes a lot… halve the recipe for 4 good sized servings.

Recipe from 101 Cookbooks, adapted by Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) OR canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
Grated zest of one large lemon (or omit, if you’re not a fan)
1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try broccoli)
1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until just tender, about 10 minutes.

Most of you will be using canned beans, so jump right in and combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts.

Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. The mixture should be moist enough to easily form and hold a patty shape. Add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter. Form mixture into 12 patties.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Serve on buns topped with avocado, tomato, onion, and more sprouts, if desired. Alternatively, you can make extra-thick patties (1 1/2 inches), and slice them in half after cooking. Put the filling inside the patty, and you have a self-bunning-burger.

Lean, clean & green

There are endless possibilities for a lean, clean and green meal, here are some ideas to get you started with what you already have in your kitchen:

Lean protein with greens. Lean chicken breast or fish pan-seared or baked. The meat will be 1/3 of your plate. To prepare the chicken or fish, use any marinade that is light and just a few ingredients. I like lime juice, olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper. Prepare any green to represent 2/3 of your plate. My favorite is roasted brussel sprouts. Slice and toss them in a bowl with olive oil, paprika, red pepper, salt and rosemary. Towards the end of roasting, I add sliced almonds.

Quinoa bowl. Cook 1 cup of quinoa as directed (serves 2) and portion between bowls. I love this because it’s quick, easy, and can be eaten cold or warmed up. The ingredients you add are endless. The best part is the presentation of the bowl (you can have a theme!) Here are some that I like:

  • roasted chick peas (seasoned with red pepper & paprika — do you spot a theme yet?)
  • fresh or roasted fennel
  • cucumbers
  • fresh peppers
  • carrots
  • roasted corn
  • avocado
  • tofu
  • chicken breast
  • fresh spinach / kale
  • tomatoes
Cauliflower mac & cheese

Cauliflower mac & cheese

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

  1. Boil the whole cauliflower in stock for 5-7 minutes, remove it from water and break down into little florets.
  2. Boil 1 cup of pasta in the same water. (or could use quinoa). When you finish the pasta you can toss all but 1 cup of water.
  3. Place florets & pasta in a lightly oiled baking dish.
  4. Next saute onions, garlic in a bit of butter/oil. Add to it 2 cups of milk of your choice and about 3 tbsp of flour (some people use nutritional yeast). I added about 2-3 tbsp of dijon mustard, some salt & pepper. Add about 1 cup of grated cheese, whatever kind your heart desires.
  5. Pour this into the baking dish, add the remaining cup of water, and sprinkle bread crumbs all over the top and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until you get that nice brown crust.

A Turkish Vegan Affair

Image

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey Photo: A. Akhtar

I visited Istanbul a few years ago and fell more in love with the culture. I loved Turkish food (and coffee) even more after visiting cafes, spice markets, Doner kebab stands, and restaurants where your food is cooked in a clay pot and cracked for you at tableside.

When your food arrives at the table and the server cracks it open, you don't ask any questions. Just eat.

When your food arrives at the table and the server cracks it open, you don’t ask any questions. Just eat. Photo: O. Akhtar

Continue reading

Recipe: Banana date almond milk smoothie

During Ramadan, I consume a lot of dates. I enjoy them whole, but one day it occurred to me to try and blend them in a smoothie. What followed was probably the best tasting smoothie I had made to date (no pun intended).

Ingredients:

4 dates

1 banana (fresh or frozen)

4 oz almond milk

1 tbsp chia seeds.

Add ice if you like.

And a scoop of protein powder! I use a brown rice based powder by Perfect Fit Protein. 

Banana date almond milk smoothie

Banana date almond milk smoothie