Blendtec Giveaway

Blendtec Giveaway & New Review!

***BLENDTEC HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT***

This is the ultimate high-speed blender from Blendtec. The most powerful, easy-to-use and intuitive consumer model they’ve ever designed – and it can be yours this Holiday season! Enter now to win your own Blendtec Designer Series 725 model (a $650 value) in the new giveaway on my blog and prepare to take your recipes to a whole new level of flavor and fun in the New Year!

Before you enter the giveaway below, be sure to check out my new, in-depth video review of the incredible Designer Series 725 model and all of its fantastic new features. The video also includes recipe demos for my #1 all-time Superfood Smoothie and fresh Hazelnut Butter:

And now… drumroll please… the long-awaited epic Blendtec Holiday Giveaway!

Remember – the more entry requirements you complete, the higher your chance to win the giveaway. The winner will be selected on Friday, December 12th at 12:00 a.m. PST. Good luck and may the smoothie force be with you!

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Lusty Vegan Slider

How to Date Vegans & Feed ‘Em Well!

I recently had the pleasure of checking out Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg’s new plant-based cookbook and dating manifesto, “The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manual for Vegans and Those Who Love Them”. First of all, I’ve NEVER seen a book concept like this before and had my initial reservations about how well it could accomplish both objectives. I mean – a dating guide AND a vegan cookbook?!? It’s kind of like… Dr. Ruth and Tal Ronnen walk into a bar to start discussing the esoteric carnal symbology of figs and clams… (ahem)… I digress. Back to the book review.

To my delight, not only is this new book chock full of useful advice for navigating a relationship with a vegan (or advice on how to co-habitate peacefully and deliciously with someone who eats differently than you) – it also gives mouthwatering recipe recommendations based on different stages in the relationship. I found myself simultaneously drooling and laughing at the same time flipping through the pages. Speaking of the pages, the eye-popping food photography by Geoff Souder is enough to make you resign to a lifelong diet of Mac n’ Yease (Ayinde’s veganized family classic), Kale Salads and Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes. Not a bad way to live for the next 50 years, if you asked me.

Speaking of the aforementioned Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes, I’ve got the super-dank and amazingly authentic recipe from the uber-talented Mr. Howell to share with you! My mouth has been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of this recipe and I can tell you that the texture, taste, smell and mouth feel are nearly IDENTICAL to the old-school crab cakes that I enjoyed in my youth growing up in the Midwest. Ayinde nailed this one, y’all.

If you’ve got any skeptical eaters at home that are still hooked on seafood, give this recipe a shot and get ready to post their reaction shots on Instagram. And, for more insanely innovative and easy-to-prep recipes, you’ve got to check out “The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manual for Vegans and Those Who Love Them” which drops worldwide on October 7th. Click here to order it on Amazon now:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Lusty-Vegan-Relationship-Manifesto/dp/0985466294/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412546148&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lusty+vegan

And now… for the hella good Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes Recipe!

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Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes

(From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2

Maryland crab cakes are traditionally oversized, and I wanted to recreate them using hearts of palm and traditional seasonings. I make them gluten-free and pair them with a garlicky dill aïoli. I don’t know if it’s spot on, but from what I hear, it’s pretty darn close. Use a soy-free mayo to make this soy-free.

GARLICKY DILL AÏOLI

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon minced garlic

CRAB CAKES

3 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided, plus more for frying

1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, (not packed in sugar), roughly chopped to the consistency of crab meat

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

BREADING

1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

Lemon wedges, to serve

1. Garlicky Dill Aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.

2. Crab Cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning, cornstarch, and mayo.

5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into four round patties.

6. Breading: In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

7. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium- high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot, topped with the aïoli, with lemon wedges on the side.

Soy Food Blog Pic

Soy it ain’t so: the ongoing soy foods debate!

It seems that nowadays the topic of soy foods is a hot button issue. You’re either on one side of the fence or the other. After a great deal of research, I’ve found that the dividing line in the soy debate actually comes down to the genetically modification of soy and not necessarily the nutritive properties of the food itself. You see, soy has been a medicinal plant ally for thousands of years in Asian cultures, and in many studies today, it’s still proven to be a very powerful superfood when used in moderation and the proper intention. However, when it becomes genetically modified, as 93% of U.S. grown soy is today, it loses much of its nutritional value as well as becomes a toxic intruder to our bodies.

Soy GMOs

Let me put it this way, an allergy is described as “the body’s response to a foreign protein” and a genetically modified organism (GMO) is technically a genetically modified protein. So, according to those definitions, it should come as no surprise that food allergies and sensitivities became an epidemic at exactly the same time that foreign proteins were introduced into our food supply in the mid 1990’s. The health issues associated with soy are all linked to unfermented GMO soy, which is coated with copious amounts of pesticides and contains “antinutrients” such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, trypsin inhibitors, goitrogens and phytoestrogens. Quite a mouthful, indeed.

Soy Products Overview

Usually, when you read about the effects of soy, you’ll come across a lot of data about phytoestrogens and hormonal imbalances. While phytoestrogens are inherent in soy, they are increased exponentially when they are genetically modified to levels that are detrimental to our unique human physiology. Because phytoestrogens can be found in over 300 natural food sources, we are likely consuming them on a daily basis, and studies show that its only harmful when consumed in large quantities, hence the problem with GMO soy.

Fermented Soy Products

However, when soy is fermented in its organic form, it become a powerhouse of lush, assimilable nutrients for our body. Most of the bodies immune system is found in a complex array of trillions of bacteria in our intestines. When we ferment foods it chemically transforms soy into simpler compounds by the action of enzymes, which are produced by microorganisms and bacteria. Enzymes act by hydrolysis – a process of breaking down or predigesting complex molecules to form smaller and more easily digestible nutrients. In other words, a lot of the natural “antinutreints” found in soy dissolve away, leaving behind highly-activated, potent healing nutrients as well as healthy bacteria to replenish your digestive tract!

Another wonderful fact about soy: it’s one of the few plant sources that has ALL of the essential amino acids, making it a complete plant-based protein source. Plus, it can help lower your cholesterol and improve overall heart health. Studies are even showing that it may help fight certain forms of cancer, like colon cancer and breast cancer.

usda-organic-non-gmo-project

So the next time you’re shopping for soy, be sure to check the label for organic, non-gmo certifications and try to go for a fermented soy product like tempeh rather than a cookie cutter pre-made soy patty with loads of preservatives and artificial flavors.

Personally, I cut out soy for a few years due to personal concerns over the estrogen issue. But I found that fermented, organic, non-gmo soy foods like tempeh, natto and miso actually feel great in my body and, in moderation, supply essential nutrients that I can feel enhance my healthy lifestyle. For me, it came down to listening to my body and paying attention to how I was using soy products. Today, I use them medicinally and sparingly, much like traditional Shoji Ryori Japanese cuisine (probably my favorite style of food ever!)

Kris Carr Soy Guide Pic

Kris Carr (one of my all-time favorite wellness warriors) has an incredible article and vlog about the soy foods debate on her website. Click this link to check out this awesome resource for more detailed information and her personal viewpoint on the soy debate:

http://kriscarr.com/blog-video/are-soy-foods-healthy/

For great ideas on how to use organic, non-GMO soy foods in your recipes at home, click on the image below to watch one of my all-time favorite tempeh recipe videos for a mouthwatering  and easy-to-prep Supreme Kale BLT Salad!