Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Fresh CarrotsSummer is the best time of year to find fresh, crisp, delicious carrots at your local farmers’ market. While they are available year round, there is nothing like the taste of picked-today veggies; not to mention these wonderful foods are at their peak nutritionally during the summer months.

Some people think carrots are not very exciting.  They often see them as low-calorie snack foods to endure or merely some “color on a plate” rather than the incredibly versatile food they truly are. Carrots are indeed a great snack food (and they are certainly a low calorie option) but they are also excellent when made into soup, included in a stew, roasted with some herbs as a side dish, added to muffins and, my personal favorite, as the lead actor in my Carrots, Cumin & Coriander raw summer salad that is so full of flavor you’ll want seconds.

For my salad recipe, I happened to use the more common orange carrots; but you can certainly use a variety of colors: red, purple, yellow, white and orange to make your salad a beautiful rainbow of color on  your plate.  Make sure you select the freshest, brightest carrots available – the ones with the tops still on are a good bet!

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated (covered) for up to 24 hours. This will allow the flavors to blend together and will save time when ready to serve. Make sure the avocado is not too soft - you want it to be a little firm so it will hold up. While the cayenne or chili pepper is optional, it does add a lovely little kick to this salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh carrots
  • 4 stalks fresh crisp celery
  • 1 medium avocado
    For Dressing
  • 1/4 cup organic EVOO
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 Tsp chili powder or pinch of cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim carrots. There is no need to peel. Shred in food processor and remove to large bowl.
  2. Finely chop celery and add to bowl.
  3. Chop avocado into small pieces and add to carrots and celery IF serving immediately. Otherwise, prepare avocado just before serving and toss into salad at last minute to avoid any browning.
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Add dressing to veggies and toss.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/carrots-cumin-coriander-salad-a-trifecta-of-flavor/

Why Carrots Make a Healthy Food Choice

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A – especially important for eye health as well as having overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, 1 cup of carrots provides 113% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Carrots are also a very good source of biotin (an important B Complex vitamin that helps convert food into energy), Vitamin K for cell health (particularly brain cell health), molybdenum to help our bodies detoxify, 14% of our daily requirement of fiber to keep our digestive tract in good shape, 11% of our daily potassium requirement, and 10% of our Vitamin C requirement.  Carrots are also a high water-content food so they make a great addition to your hydration needs. NOTE:  Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated – foods like carrots, celery and watermelon are awesome supplements.

BONUS:  Carrots are a low calorie, nutritionally awesome, very affordable food. They are easy to prepare and very portable.  Take them on a picnic, add them to your lunch, enjoy them after fitness class or school…. they are a healthy whole food to enjoy every day.

It’s Heating Up – Hydrate Your Body With Plant-Based Foods

 

The best, most efficient way to keep your body hydrated is to drink water. As I discussed in my blog post “Infused Water – Stay Hydrated this Summer”, drinking water is a good thing to do but not very exciting so most of us don’t drink enough. Still, water does its job and has no calories, so if you want to hydrate your body and watch your calorie intake, plain old water is for you.

HOWEVER, if you want to add a little zest to your daily water requirements, here are some great ways to hydrate your body with plant-based foods. Just clean and enjoy. It’s just  that simple.

  • Watermelon has a very high water content – 92%. And, it is so sweet and delicious. And, it is very nutritious, And, it is very affordable this time of year. Best part: watermelon is very, very low in calories. So what’s not to love about watermelon? Need more: it is an excellent source of lycopene – a carotenoid that has been found to help protect against free radicals, enhance the functioning of our immune system and promote eye and lung health. (kind of important, right) AND it is an excellent source of vitamin C. Boom!
  • Canteloupe has a water content of 90%. It, too, is incredibly delicious and nutritious; and also low in calories – 1 cup = 56 calories. Awesome! Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A & C and beta-carotene (another carotenoid phytonutrient).
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, to name a few, also have high water content – from 88% to 91% – and are rich in vitamins, fiber, and phenolic phytonutrients. Berries are convenient, readily available, versatile, and extra-super delicious. They are perfect “little finger” foods for children, are just right for a mid-day snack, fit nicely into a packed lunch and are one of the best “sharing” foods.
  • Cucumbers are one of my favorite veggies. They are crisp, cool and refreshing. Cucumbers have a whopping 96% water content; that must be why they are so compatible with revitalizing drinks such as infused water. Additional benefits to eating cucumbers include: they are high in vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin A, folate, potassium ad manganese; and, if you need more incentive to choose this scrumptious plant-based food, they are low in calories. 1 cup = 14 measly little calories.
  • Celery is another favorite summertime plant-based food that will help keep you hydrated. Celery is 95% water and is an excellent source of vitamins K and C. I love the crunchy nature of celery and it serves as the perfect vessel for almond or peanut butters. It is a portable snack perfect for dipping and, BONUS, it is really low in calories – almost hardly worth counting!
  • Radish is the little veggie that is often overlooked; but when you discover how uniquely tasty it is, you’ll wonder its not always in your fridge. I love the peppery flavor it adds to my salads. Radishes have many great nutrients such as vitamin C & B6, copper, manganese, and folate and is an incredible source of fiber. Again, I sense a theme here, radishes are very high in water content – 95% – and a calorie-watcher’s friend; only 9 calories in 1/2 cup. I recently enjoyed some black radishes. Their flavor profile was not much different from the red radishes we see commonly in grocery stores, but I loved them for the color they added to the plate.

There are plenty of other delicious, nutritious, low calorie, plant-based foods that can help you hydrate your body. Spinach (91%), cauliflower(92%), tomatoes(94%), broccoli(90%), sweet peppers(92%), zucchini(95%), apples(84%), grapefruit(91%), eggplant(92%) Add some to your meals every day along with drinking some fresh, clean, delicious, infused water, and you’ll have no problem meeting or exceeding your body’s water needs.

Got some great suggestions for hydrating with plant-based foods? Share them with Jazzed Up Veggies and our readers by commenting below.

****Please take a moment to open and view the graphic below. It contains some important food safety tips for fresh produce.

Tips for food safety of fresh produce

Jazzed Up Tabouleh – Plant Based Deliciousness

We love finding new ways to enjoy old favorites, like this jazzed up version of Tabouleh. A tasty summertime favorite, full of fresh, delicious herbs and veggies; our version of Tabouleh uses cauliflower instead of the traditional bulgur wheat and kicks things up a bit with the addition of coriander and sea salt seasonings. These add great flavor to an already delish dish. Of course, the great thing about these types of recipes is you can make them your own by incorporating seasonings that appeal to your palate.

We believe a refreshing summer salad is made even more enjoyable with a glass of crisp, cool organic white wine or some sparkling water. We are writing a post next week on the availability of vegan organic wines so stay tuned for that! For now, to be sure you are choosing vegan friendly wine, check out www.barnivore.com or do a little online research of vineyards that use only plant-based fining in their wine production.

Here is a little vignette we put together about the making of our Tabouleh. The recipe follows

Jazzed Up Tabouleh

Jazzed Up Tabouleh

Using the freshest ingredients available will ensure this lovely dish is at its best. Don't limit yourself to the more common white cauliflower; have some fun and substitute beautiful purple or orange cauliflower. I especially love the texture and color of Romanesco cauliflower. Whichever cauliflower you choose, the crunch and flavor simply elevates Tabouleh to a new level. Coriander is the unexpected ingredient here and adds a lovely, unique flavor. I use the sea salt with sea veg because it adds additional nutrition; but regular sea salt will also do the trick.The BONUS feature of this salad is it is very low in calories and high in nutrition. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower florets (remove tough core)
  • 2 cups tomatoes - we used red, yellow & white cherry & grape tomatoes sliced in quarters and halves
  • 2 large bunches of fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 4 green onions - white part for salad green part for garnish
  • 1 large English cucumber - diced (no need to peel)
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint - chopped
  • 1/3 cup organic olive oil - extra virgin
  • 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (add more to taste if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp Maine Coast Sea Seasoning (sea salt & sea vegetables)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop parsley, mint, cucumber, and green onions.
  2. Slice tomatoes
  3. Pulse cauliflower florets in food processor (S blade) until desired consistency. Do not over process.
  4. Transfer above ingredients to large bowl.
  5. Add olive oil & lemon juice. Toss gently.
  6. Mix salt, coriander, and pepper together, Add to bowl. Toss gently.
  7. Refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors.
  8. Sprinkle with green onion garnish.
  9. Serve.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2015/07/jazzed-up-tabouleh-plant-based-deliciousness/

Please let us know if you decide to make this recipe and we’d love to have you share your photos.Don’t forget to register your email address with us so you won’t miss a single post. We promise you won’t get spammed! Thanks for joining us.

Farmers’ Markets – A Feast for the Eyes

Walking around the best farmers’ markets is like gazing upon a Monet – it is a feast for the eyes so rich with color and texture it takes your breath away. Markets don’t have to be big to be good. What really makes them special is the freshness and variety of the farm offerings and the friendliness of the people. Some markets have begun to include non-food vendors, which can be good I suppose, depending upon what the products are; but for me, I want to support local food producers, to fill my bags (cloth of course) with fruits and vegetables picked only a day or two prior and from the people who grow it, and really know where my family’s food comes from.

Baskets of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Fodor’s Travel published a list, in 2014, of the top 15 Farmers’ Markets in the United States. Some I have been to and they didn’t disappoint. It might seem odd, but I have a visit to the rest of the markets on my bucket list. Here is a link to the list: http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/americas-15-best-farmers-markets#!1-intro

Top of the list is Portland’s Farmers’ Market – not surprising really! Portland is at the top of almost every good list I’ve seen and Oregon is an incredibly small-farm friendly state. I’ve visited the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan (awesome) and Pike Place Market in Seattle (a real adventure). You know when you see chefs from the best restaurants purchasing their produce from these markets that the food is fresh and delicious! I’ve also enjoyed the Charleston Famers’ Market near the Citadel and will be spending as much time as we can at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market in San Francisco next month. As you can see from the Fodor’s list, farmers’ markets can be found all across the country; some are big, some are small; but all are worth at least checking out.

Bag of Fresh ProduceFor my readers living in Southern Nevada, I’ve prepared a graphic of local famers’ markets I’m aware of. They are worth a visit. Don’t forget to take your cloth bags with you. When you find a market you like, you’ll want to add their market day to your regular grocery shopping schedule. Farmers’ markets are really much more than a grocery destination – they are an experience, one everyone should get out and enjoy whenever possible.

Farmers Markets in Las Vegas and Henderson as of June 2015

Information as of June 2015

Off to the Market – A Plant-Based Grocery List

For some, grocery shopping is a pleasure; for others a chore. I actually love grocery shopping. I enjoy taking my time looking at all the beautiful colors and textures the produce section has to offer. I get excited when I discover an unusual fruit or vegetable and love talking to the produce manager or other customers about how they prepare certain foods. Today there are so many varieties of fresh organic foods to chose from it is often hard to decide. I do, however, make every effort to buy what is locally in season; being cognizant of supporting area farmers, being mindful of the carbon footprint left by transporting foods from other parts of the world to my city, and being aware of the importance of sustainable practices in agriculture.

I’m probably going to make “list makers” uneasy with my next statement; but I have to say I am not a fan of traditional grocery lists. I know they can be good tools to keep us from buying more than we need, but I prefer to be inspired by what I see at the grocery store – especially because 80% of my basket is fresh food. For the other 20% of my basket I keep a reminder in my phone of things I need like TP, parchment paper, cheese cloth, soaps, backup canned or frozen foods, etc. so I can take advantage of special prices or ensure I don’t run out. Having said this, here are some very general suggestions of things you may wish to purchase on your next excursion to the grocery store (or better yet, Farmers’ Market).

NOTE: Choose organic and NonGMO Certified foods whenever possible. Many people have heard about “The Dirty Dozen” – a list of foods you should always buy organic because of the high pesticide loads found in these foods. The list is available at http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ALB00035/The-Dirty-Dozen-Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html. For a list of NonGMO Certified Foods check out this website: http://www.nongmoproject.org.


Awesome Sources of Plant-Based Proteins

    quinoa
    buckwheat
    beans & legumes (ex: soy,chickpeas,fava beans,black beans)
    spiralina
    nutritional yeast
    seeds (ex: sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin)
    nuts (ex: raw almond, raw cashew, raw walnuts)

Amazing Sources of Vitamins & Minerals

Vit A: carrots, spinach, kale, parsley, bell peppers, romaine lettuce,Swiss chard, sweet potatoes,collard greens,winter squash, broccoli, tomatoes

Vit B1: romaine lettuce, asparagus, Crimini mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, brussels sprouts

Vit B2: Crimini mushrooms, spinach, romaine lettuce

Vit B6: spinach, bell peppers, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, asparagus, cabbage, kale, watermelon

Vit C: bell peppers, parsley, broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, lemon juice, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kale, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, cabbage, tomatoes, swiss chard, collard greens raspberries, asparagus, celery, spinach, pineapple, green beans, summer squash

Vit E: sunflower seeds, almonds, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, olives

Vit K: parsley, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, basil, tomatoes, celery, sea vegetables, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage

Zinc: Crimini mushrooms, spinach, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds

Magnesium: Swiss chard, spinach, summer squash, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, cucumbers, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, ginger, quinoa, buckwheat, black beans, beets, tofu

Calcium: spinach, collard greens, basil, cinnamon, kale, rosemary, romaine lettuce, celery, sesame seeds, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, tofu, oranges

Chromium: romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes

Copper: Crimini mushrooms, Swiss chard, spinach, sesame seeds, kale, eggplant, cashews, ginger, pumpkin seeds, asparagus, summer squash

Manganese: cinnamon, romaine lettuce, pineapple, spinach, turmeric, black pepper, collard greens, raspberries, kale, garlic, brown rice

Other Great Foods

Fats: avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nut oils, seeds, soy

Carbs: teff, bulgur wheat, barley, buckwheat, brown & black rice, beans, fruits, most vegetables

****These suggestions are not exhaustive. Have some fun, read, & explore your market. Variety is the spice of life so try new foods and prepare those you love in a different way

****Keep in mind when shopping that the vast majority of your grocery basket should be filled with fresh foods. Many canned foods such as beans and frozen foods such as peas and fruits are also very nutritious so keep some of these on hand for days when you can’t get to the market.

****Most importantly, remember that nourishing your body with the best foods available is your ultimate goal. Be good to yourself.

My Name is Cate and I’m a Vegan

Image of Chicken with an apron stating I Love Vegans Several new studies declare veganism is going mainstream which is important and exciting news as it means people are beginning to realize how we fuel our bodies really matters. Perhaps the epidemic of obesity in first world countries has really jolted us into realizing it is critical we change our diet. I hope, however, that people choose to live a vegan lifestyle because it is good for them; not because it is the latest trend. The adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is simply not true: I am learning every day and I understand that my vegan lifestyle is a lifelong journey. I don’t expect myself to be perfect, but I am working to be conscious of every choice I make. It is rather liberating to be in such control.

My lifestyle choice doesn’t only impact me in a very positive way, but it also impacts our planet in ways I’ve never considered. The bigger picture is: a plant-based diet is the best thing for our Earth. Several recent, revealing studies show the stunningly negative impact the production of animal-based foods has on our world. First is the catastrophic depletion of our water resources, then the enormous consumption of petroleum products necessary to make it all happen, and last but not least, the damaging impact of all the chemicals, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals used to make the industry highly profitable. These realities of the animal-based food industry contribute in a monumental way to the downward spiral of our planet.

I’m mindful about every aspect of my life. To be healthy, have the energy needed to be an active participant in my time on earth, and to bring my best self to my relationship with others, I need to truly nourish my body, mind and soul. To nourish my body I fuel it with plant-based foods. I buy these foods from local farmers or, when what I need is not locally available, from trusted local organic grocery stores. I choose foods as close to their just-picked, natural state as possible and live by “the-fewest-ingredients-makes-the-best-food” rule. For example, the produce we picked fresh at Gilcrease Orchard this week: garlic, Spring onions, baby carrots and zucchini squash, doesn’t need anything else added to taste delicious. The almond butter and peanut butter we purchased are also “one ingredient foods”. Who doesn’t want to dip a piece of celery into that nutty deliciousness! (BTW: nut butters are so easy to make yourself and you get to control the amount you make as nut butters will only keep in the fridge for about a week.)

If time to visit a farm or farmer’s market is not in the cards for you this week, the produce section of high quality, conscious markets such as Whole Foods is filled with “one ingredient” organic scrumptiousness: kale, spinach, mushrooms…..you get the picture. Frozen organic fruits and vegetables are a good alternative when fresh is not available or if you won’t consume all the fresh food before it begins to spoil. When wholesome, organic foods are frozen shortly after picking, they retain most of their nutritional qualities. In fact, they often retain more than fresh foods that have to travel long distances to market. Whole Foods Private Label 365 Organic, Earthbound Farm Organic, and Sprouts Organic Frozen Fruits and Vegetables are good choices. Whichever market you trust to purchase your foods from, ask the produce manager for information and check labels on frozen items. It shouldn’t be hard to find great foods where you live – you just have to scope out sources then make visiting them a part of your routine.

Probably the most common question I am asked apart from “why” is, where do you get your protein from? This is an easy question to answer because there are so many great sources of plant-based proteins, vegans have no difficulty reaching recommended protein consumption goals. Here are some of the great sources of plant-based protein for vegans: spinach, Crimini mushrooms, asparagus, tofu, broccoli, swiss chard, lentils, nuts and seeds. NOTE: many plant-based sources of protein do not offer the full spectrum of essential amino acids your body needs to operate so it is important to include a variety of plant-based protein sources in your daily intake. One of the great exceptions to this is quinoa.

Quinoa is not only high in protein, it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids. We love quinoa in our home. We use it as a side dish, sprinkled in our salads, as a breakfast food, as the key ingredient in burgers….the list goes on. I make a large batch at the start of the week and freeze in serving sized containers – ready to be added to our busy household’s week-day meals. My favorite source of sustainably grown quinoa is Alter Eco. Check out their website. Even their packaging is sustainable. Got to love that! Another great source of organic quinoa is Bob’s Red Mill. Read up on this incredible seed (yes, it is actually a seed but most people think it is a grain). Give it a try. You will love it.

I’ll leave you with some interesting reading about protein from The Harvard School of Public Health. I’ve included some excerpts and the link so you can read more. It is much easier to make good choices when we have good information, right?

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Here is an article from BBC News about the adverse affects of the animal-based food industry. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26124989
Here is an article from Harvard School of Public Health on the benefits of plant proteins.
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein-questions/

A 20-year prospective study of 82,802 women found that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in vegetable sources of fat or protein had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease, compared with women who ate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets. But women who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in animal fats or proteins did not have a reduced risk of heart disease.

Diets high in plant-based proteins and fats can provide health benefits, so try mixing some vegetarian proteins into your meals. Going meatless can be good for your wallet as well as your health, since beans, nuts and seeds, and other minimally processed vegetarian protein sources are often less expensive than meat. Eating plant protein in place of meat is also good for the planet. It takes a lot of energy to raise and process animals for meat, so going meatless could help reduce pollution and has the potential to lessen climate change.