Saturday, January 23, 2016

Roasted Beet Hummus

This recipe is inspired by my trip to Denmark.  This last summer, I went to Copenhagen to visit my sister.  On one particularly slightly hot day in August, I found myself craving fresh clean food and a healthy smoothie.  My sister took me to one of her favorite cafes, Botaniq.  There, I had a wonderful salad that I will reveal later in another recipe :), a Lavender infused smoothie, and a humus that was made with beets and sprouted chickpeas that was divine.

Today was a very nice temperate sunny day in Seattle; very rare for this time of year because we're usually slightly chilly, grey, and rainy for roughly 6 mos. out of the year.  Anyway, while I was enjoying the resonable winter temperatures and the sun, I found myself reminiscing about my summer and longing for the colors of spring that are still a few months off. I was craving the beautiful hues of flowers, the freshness of spring blossoms, and longing for some invigorating color in my life, then I remembered this dish.  It's a beautiful pinkish red color with an earthy, slightly sweet flavor.  Even better, it's healthy, high in protein, and made with a wonderful, often underused winter root vegetable that is full of vitamins A, B, C, minerals, and phytonutrients.  The beet pairs well with the chickpeas, which are sprouted to increase enzymes and protein.  Together, they create a harmony of flavor and color that is reminiscent of three seasons combined.  This dish is perfect to boost your mood, bring back memories of summer, and still support your New Year's resolutions during these midwinter grey days.  If I ever achieve my dream retirement and am able to open my cafe, this will definitely be a dish I serve.  Now for the recipe.

For starters, you need to sprout your chickpeas.  This is done by repeatedly rinsing and soaking your chickpeas until they start to grow slightly and tails appear.  This can take roughly 48 hrs, but it's worth the wait for the added nutritional benefits you get.  If you want instant gratification, just use canned organic chickpeas that are thoroughly rinsed.

Recipe  Ingredients:

  • 2 large roasted organic beets, divided
  • 2 cups soaked, sprouted organic chickpeas, cooked (You'll start with a 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas if you followed the link above, but the final measurement may very slightly depending on how much your chickpeas grew when you soaked them).
  • zest of 1-1/2 large lemons (preferably organic to prevent pesticide residue)
  • juice of 1-1/2 large lemons, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 1/4 c + 1 TBS olive oil, divided
  • salt to taste
  • 1 TBS finely chopped organic cilantro, garnish

Rinse and scrub beets to remove dirt.  Cut off greens removing only the very top part of the beet**.  Cut beets in half, place beets in a pan, drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil and roast beets at 375 degrees until tender (about 30-45 min). Place cooked beets in a bowl in the refrigerator until they cool to room temperature. Peel beets once cooled.  This should be fairly easy after they are cooked.  Set aside 1/2 a peeled beet to chop and use as a garnish.

At the same time you are cooking the beets, cook sprouted chickpeas by placing them in a large sauce pan filled with about 3-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover pan with lid, reduce heat to medium and cook until tender (about 45 min). Add water as necessary to keep chickpeas covered. Once tender, drain chickpeas, rinse and place in a bowl in the fridge to cool to room temperature.

When beets and chickpeas have cooled, place all ingredients, except remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, cilantro, and 1/2 beet in a food processor. Pulse the processor making sure to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.  Process until all ingredients are combined, drizzling in olive oil as you puree. If it's too dry, feel free to add a little extra oil until smooth.  Once pureed, scrape your roasted beet hummus into a dish; sprinkle on your cilantro garnish and top with the remaining chopped beet. Serve with fresh sliced cucumbers and/or other veges, whole grain seeded thinly sliced baguette, pita bread, or whatever your heart desires.  In Copenhagen, they served this dish alone as a salad, but I prefer to use veges as my humus carrier for the added fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.

**Beet greens are edible. You can use your beet greens in fresh juices, smoothies, soups, or salads.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Energizing Quinoa Salad

Get your New Years resolutions off to a great start with this recipe for an Energizing Quinoa Salad.

1-1/2 c cooked rainbow quinoa
1/4 of English cucumber chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 c of cilantro minced
1 ripe avocado, cubed
3-4 pieces of Dino kale stemmed and cut into slivers
2 TBD sesame oil
Juice 1/2 a large lemon
Kosher salt to taste
1 Tbs sesame seeds to garnish

Mix all ingredients together.  Toss and serve cool.

***For an extra protein boost or to make this an easy stand alone lunch ,  you can serve this with 4-6 Oz of grilled chicken breast.***

Happy eating!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Are you setting Smart New Years Resolutions?

Happy New YEAR! How are your New Year’s resolutions coming?  Do you need a little help to get you more focused or to help you get on the bandwagon? I love New Year's with its virginal new beginnings and the idea of out with the old, in with the new.  New Years is a great time to clean up everything emotionally, mentally, physically, and to let go of the past.  It's a great time to start fresh. My niece does not understand what the big deal about the new year was, but I guess at 12, you're not celebrating too many new beginnings or enjoying that you survived another year of the challenges of life.  For me, I actually start planning for the new year right around Thanksgiving and begin implementing small changes in my life in an effort to do damage control at the onset of the holidays. In this way, I can optimize my holiday experiences. In November I added 1 extra day of working out to prevent the weight gain that the holidays tend to bring with all it's sugary sweets. I created an action plan to avoid completely blowing all the health successes that I achieved through out the year, then I use the momentum of the New Year to refine my goals and set new ones, to reflect on what I learned the past year, and to physically write down my goals and place them somewhere that I can see them everyday (like my bathroom mirror).  This keeps me motivated and focused daily on what I'm trying to do.  Sometimes I fail and drop the ball, or I lose momentum as the year continues on, just like everyone else, but the point for me is to try and improve at every opportunity possible because even if I do not achieve the full goal I originally set, my small changes and small achievements tend to stick around, so that the next time when I try to reach the same goal, I am one step closer. That being said, there are ways to set goals to help improve your chances of finally reaching what you set out to do.  Writing them down is a big step.  This can give you a chance to see the goals on paper and help you to clarify what you're trying to do.  Setting an action plan for achieving those goals helps you plan step-by-step the path that you're going to use to get to your success. There are other steps used by medical practitioners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs to help them to actualize their goals.  I have included the steps for setting S.M.A.R.T. goals to help you improve your odds, so without further ado, here's some information to follow as you set your New Year's resolutions.

S=Specific: What exactly are you trying to achieve?  I will use the example of weight loss because that is my goal this year.   My specific goal this year is to lose some of the extra weight I gained while I was in grad school.

M=Measurable:  How much do I actually want to lose?  For me, it’s 15 pounds. Goals should be measurable so that you know you’re heading in the right direction, and you know when you have achieved your goal.

A=Action-oriented:  What steps am I going to take to reach this goal?  Am I consulting with a nutritionist to get a grasp on how to eat better?  Am I going to run or go to the gym?  What action am I going to take?  For me, I feel like I have enough nutrition information to eat well, so I’m going to go to the gym 3 times a week and consult with a personal trainer to make sure I am maximizing my workouts.  Later, if I’m not reaching my goals, I will reconsider a nutritionist.

R=Realistic:  Are my goals realistic?  Seriously, this is something I see every day at the clinic I work at.  Not all goals are realistic. For example, if you make $50,000 a year as your annual salary, you’re not likely going to set a goal to save $100,000 with in the next year, so be realistic.  For weight loss, the question is, do I really have 15 pounds that I can lose?  For me, the answer is a resounding YES!  I am over weight, but that may not be true for everyone, so be realistic and seek outside help from professionals if you’re not sure if your goal is realistic.  If it’s saving money, see a financial planner; if it’s weight loss, see a doctor, you get the point.

T=Time bound: When do you want to have this goal accomplished?  There needs to be a time limit so that you know there’s a deadline for what you’re trying to do.  This also holds you accountable to yourself, and gives you a chance to check in with yourself and make sure you are on track for your deadline. 

So there it is.  My S.M.A.R.T. goal for 2016 is to lose 15 pounds in 6 months by cutting refined sugars and working out at the gym.  In addition, I can do other things to help myself achieve this goal, like tell some friends, so they can check in with me.  I can break this down into smaller bite size goals or write it down and post it on my mirror and refrigerator to remind me what I am working towards when I want to mindlessly munch food.  I can also cut myself some slack if I slip and eat a chocolate chip cookie, and remember, anything worth doing is going to be challenging.  The key is not to give up.  Remember if you slip, it’s not the end of the world because tomorrow you get a fresh start.

I hope this helps to assist you in reaching all of your goals this year.  Whether you are just starting, getting back on track, or continuing what you have already began, this can be another tool to help you along the way.  For more goal oriented information or health information, check out  more of my blog. You can also find me on Facebook at Noor Holistic Health.  

Remember, before starting any new weight loss programs or changing your diet, please consult with a physician.


*** In an effort to avoid plagiarizing myself, it should be noted that much of the information contained here has been submitted for publication in The Points Living, Feb. 2016, magazine.