March 28, 2017

Avocado Tomato Salad

This EASY, 7-ingredient salad is a summertime hit! Creamy avocado, sweet tomatoes, and crunchy cucumber play so nice together 😊 The beauty of salads is they're pretty forgiving. Don't feel like to have to follow the recipe exactly. Toss in some extra tomatoes, beans, herbs, whatever you'd like! There are SO many variations - you can check out more ideas below the ingredients, get creative with your own, or change up the dressing. Here I use simple lime juice to flavor, but it'd be great with lemon juice or white wine vinegar as well. Would love to hear what you guys come up with! It's great for picnics, summer gatherings, or just a snack. (Ever notice how food seems to taste even better when eaten out in the sunshine? 🌞) Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

PS - come join me on instagram and share a pic if you make this! I love seeing what you guys are cooking up 🌿

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Serves about 4-6 as a side

2 avocados (mostly firm work best)
8 oz. grape tomatoes (or 3 romas, etc.)
1/2 large hothouse cucumber
1 cup garbanzo beans
1/3 cup red onion
1/3 cup cilantro
1 lime, juiced (more/less to taste)
Salt to taste
Other ideas: jalapeno, bell pepper, grilled corn, different herbs, etc.

Dice cucumber, halve/quarter tomatoes, and finely dice red onion.
Roughly chop cilantro, stems removed.
Rinse and drain garbanzo beans.
Peel avocados and remove pits. Dice into medium chunks.
Place all ingredients in a bowl. Add lime juice and salt.
Lightly toss to coat.
I like to let it sit for about 20 minutes so the flavors blend a bit before eating. You can also cover and refrigerate until ready to eat! (Best served the same day otherwise the avocados get a little creamy/mushy. We usually finish within 1-2 days.)

Works best with avocados that aren't overly ripe so they don't get too mushy.
If you're not a fan of raw onion, leave it out or sub with milder green onions!
Limes come in different sizes (and juiciness!) Cater the amount of juice to your liking.
OR, swap out the lime juice with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, etc.
If you're not a fan of cilantro, try parsley, dill, etc.

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March 19, 2017

Super Immunity Power Salad

I've been SO excited to share this post!! In my February Updates, I mentioned a book called "Super Immunity" by Joel Fuhrman (thanks to the awesome recommendation by @happilygreenvegan on Instagram). AMAZING!!! I've read many health-focused books and this is one that truly stands out from the crowd. It's an easy read with a wealth of incredible, vital information on boosting our immune system. I've been sharing it with everyone I know! 😊 (Seriously... check it out! --> Super Immunity)

 Dr. Fuhrman is a family physician and nutrition researcher, specializing in preventing and reversing disease through natural and nutritional methods. He created the acronym "GBOMBS" (haha, yes!) to help us remember the immune-boosting foods he believes are the best anti-cancer and health-promoting foods on earth. It's like a powerful special forces unit helping protect our bodies from everything from the common cold to cancer. Through his years of research, he's found these foods to be extremely effective at both preventing chronic disease, and promoting health and longevity. So what are GBOMBS?

Greens - Beans - Onions - Mushrooms - Berries - Seeds

G - Greens
Green vegetables are pretty incredible. They contain anti-cancer compounds, especially in the cruciferous family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy.) Leafy greens on the other hand, such as kale, watercress, and spinach, are shown to be the most nutrient-dense of all foods. They are truly the ultimate plant-powerhouses! 🌿
B - Beans
Beans (including lentils, peas, and other legumes) have been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50% and provides significant protection against many other cancers as well. They're the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source and are packed with fiber. (A quick note: fiber is only found in plant foods. No animal products contain fiber. Alternatively, cholesterol is only found in animal foods. There is no cholesterol in plant foods.)

O - Onions
The Allium family (which includes, onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, chives, and shallots) have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, and anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. Their potent organosulfur compounds, which can slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells, are released after cutting or chewing (pretty cool!)

M - Mushrooms
Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. White, cremini, portobello, shiitake, oyster, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer activity. In a recent study, women who ate about one mushroom a day had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic were premenopausal women who ate one mushroom + drank green tea daily had an 89% decreased risk in breast cancer... WOW. (And postmenopausal women who did this had an 82% decreased risk). Mushrooms & matcha for the win! πŸ˜‰

B - Berries
Dr. Fuhrman calls berries true super foods (especially strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries). They're among the best foods you can eat. Their vibrant colors are not only gorgeous, but full of antioxidants. In fact, berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods on earth. They're awesome for the brain, improving memory and cognition, preventing DNA damage, and of course boosting immunity and providing anti-cancer effects.

S - Seeds
Countless studies have shown the cadiovascular (heart-healthy!) benefits of nuts and seeds. They're incredibly rich in a spectrum of micronutrients. And bonus: they've been shown to aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables - awesome! I LOVE the wide-range of seeds and that each one is nutritionally unique. Sunflower, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, and flax are ones that I always try to have on hand and mix in when possible. (Great for tossing on salads, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.)

I was SO inspired after reading the book, I wanted to create a recipe with a variety of these powerful plants. (It covers each one except mushroom since Dr. Fuhrman suggests we don't eat them raw, so I guess technically it's a "GBOBS" salad. πŸ˜‰) For the dressing suggestion, I sneak in a couple more power foods from the list - garlic and chia seeds. However, feel free to dress it however you'd like! I often just quickly drizzle a bit of balsamic or red wine vinegar on my kale salads. (I add it to the kale after massaging and let it "marinate" while I prepare the rest of the toppings.) Either way, hope you enjoy the salad as much as we do! Be sure to check out the book and let's get our GBOMBS on! 🌿πŸ’ͺ

PS - I'll be back with another post soon showing tips on building your own "Super Immunity" Power Salad!

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Serves about 4 (or 8-10 as a side)

1 large bunch organic kale
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts

{For the chia seed balsamic vinaigrette}
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 clove finely minced garlic (or shallot)
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. salt

Make the dressing: in a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. The dressing will thicken a bit after sitting. (Tip: for an even smoother/thicker dressing you can pulse in a blender.)
Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl and lightly massage. Pour desired amount of dressing over top, and lightly toss to coat. (If you have any unused dressing, store in a covered container. It stores in the fridge for about 4-5 days.)
Rinse and drain beans. Add to kale.
Thinly slice onion, and strawberries. Add to salad with blueberries.
Sprinkle sunflower seeds and hemp hearts on top.
Keeps in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

Note: I currently use these organic sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, and chia seeds.

Come join me on Instagram and share a photo if you make this! 😊

For more salad inspiration:
12+ Fresh, Healthy Salads!

Disclosure: The Garden Grazer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. I only share things I LOVE and personally use! (There is no additional cost to you in clicking the affiliate link.) The money earned helps me continue sharing my passion, and I thank you very much for your support!

February 27, 2017

February Updates!

Hey guys! It's been a little quieter around the blog lately as I haven't been posting as much. BUT I'm still recipe testing and can't wait to share some new stuff with you over this next year. You may know how picky I am about the recipes I post here - if I don't have any that fit my strict requirements, I just don't post. (I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity.) First and foremost, the recipes have to be EASY; meaning an ingredient list that doesn't overwhelm, with simple-as-possible steps. It's a fun challenge taking a recipe idea and seeing just how simple I can break it down without sacrificing flavor. I love highlighting the natural, delicious flavors of plant-based foods in an easy, approachable way and I truly hope that shines through in the recipes! πŸ’š (If you have any suggestions or feedback, I always love to hear!) In the meantime, I've also been taking a little more time to just enjoy life. Here's what I've been up to!

Skiing in Yellowstone
The park transforms into an *unbelievable* winter wonderland and I'm totally in awe of mother nature every time I journey outdoors. But that also means...

Shoveling. All the shoveling.
This is a typical scene from our driveway... and this photo was taken only late-December! The town gets an average of 220 inches of snow each year, but with views like this and standing among a tranquil forest of snow-covered pines, it's hard not to love. (Plus the benefit of a built-in arm workout every week haha.) I honestly never thought I'd love winter as much as I do here... such weird, confusing feelings πŸ˜‰

Reading More
I made a goal to read more this past year and here are a couple that have stood out from the crowd:

"The Book of Joy" by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu - this book is a true gift to humanity and one of my all-time favorites. Highly recommend to everyone, regardless of faith or location 🌎 It guides us to embrace the oneness of humankind, cultivating more love, joy, and compassion even in the midst of adversity. So much beautiful wisdom in these pages!

"Super Immunity" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman - this book came recommended by the lovely @happilygreenvegan on Instagram. It gives incredible insight about optimal nutrition and gaining protective immunity against all things from the common cold to cancer. A truly powerful read and I urge you to check it out for yourself and your family! πŸ’ͺ🌿

Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
We've had many animal sightings out in the wild lately (moose, bison, fox, coyote, bald eagle, marmots, big horn sheep, etc.) but we also love spending time at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. Unlike a zoo, it's a not-for-profit wildlife park and educational facility that takes in animals that, for various reasons, are unable to return to the wild (wolves, bears, and an assortment of birds-of-prey). They take amazing care of these beautiful creatures and I love supporting a place like this. If you're ever in the Yellowstone area, I recommend checking it out!

Matcha Whisking

Yep. Still love matcha! My favorite part of the morning is still whisking a warm bowl for my daily dose of zenergy and antioxidants! So incredibly thankful for companies like Encha - they have the BEST organic matcha straight from farm in Japan 🍡 (Check out my matcha page for more matcha info if you're interested!)

Desert Walking
Back in December, we got to spend a week and a half in the bright desert sunshine during the holidays 🌡 I came across this big fella on a hike one day in Catalina State Park near Tucson, AZ. (Fun fact: saguaros don't grow their first side arm until they're 75-100 years old!)

Superbowl on an IMAX Screen
For reals. This was an awesome experience... except I was really, really rooting for Atlanta. Which I think made it all the more crushing to watch their collapse unfold on a 6-STORY TALL screen πŸ˜†πŸˆ

I try to get up early enough to catch the sunrise... and on some mornings, Mother Nature treats you with sights like this ✨

The Garden Grazer on Instagram
Even though I haven't been posting as many recipes on the blog lately, I stay pretty active on my instagram page with posts and stories if you'd like to follow along there. And I absolutely LOVE checking out what you guys are cooking! It's a fun place to connect 😊

Yellowstone Love on Instagram
If you're interested in checking out our "not-food" adventures, feel free to follow along on my other instagram @YellowstoneLove sharing my love of nature, animals, and all things Yellowstone! 🌲 It makes my heart so happy to share nature's beauty!!

Favorite Quotes & Pinterest
I find quotes inspirational and have been sharing a collection of some of my favorites on a Pinterest board. (If you'd like to follow along with me on Pinterest, you can find my main page here.) I'm pretty active on there, sharing my new blog recipes, and many awesome recipes from other talented vegan bloggers! πŸ’œ

I hope this finds you well and wishing you all a happy, healthy March! Spring is near!!
🌷 -Kaitlin

Disclosure: The Garden Grazer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. The two book links above are via my affiliate account, but I only share things I LOVE and personally use! (There is no additional cost to you in clicking the affiliate link.)