May 14, 2018

Bedtime Golden Turmeric Milk (Vegan)

Have you tried golden milk? We LOVE this warm, soothing, nighttime (or anytime!) beverage. I was pleasantly surprised to notice I actually do sleep more restfully and deeply when I include it in my bedtime routine. (Usually drinking it a couple hours before sleep.) The nutritional benefits are awesome, and it tastes so comforting - earthy turmeric with a hint of sweetness and notes of cinnamon-vanilla. Play around to find your own favorite flavors! Add the optional ginger, cardamom, more/less sweetness, etc.

Turmeric has really been picking up momentum in the United States lately. Historically it's been a staple in Indian cuisine and for centuries it's been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for a huge variety of conditions. It's been said to support digestion, enhance immune function and liver function, contain antioxidants, and reduce inflammation. (I absolutely love it in my 20-Minute Healing Turmeric Noodle Soup as well!)

On the topic of sleeping better, I've also noticed eating an earlier dinner so my body has time to fully digest before bedtime definitely helps promote better sleep. (And also not snacking before bed.) It doesn't always happen, but I strive to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime, and drink more water during the first half of the day and taper it way down the last few hours. This turmeric milk has been the perfect solution, helping both curb my appetite for late-night snacking as well as providing all the sleep-enhancing benefits - win/win!

Quick sidenote: if you're interested in learning about Ayurveda medicine and lifestyle, I really enjoy these two books:

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom
The Ayurveda Way

Traditional Ayurvedic medicine incorporates meat & dairy in the diet, but I adapt the methods and recipes to stay aligned with my plant-based lifestyle. There are many things I've put into practice from both of these amazing books and am really enjoying the benefits. Would love to hear if you've tried any Ayurvedic methods as well!

Now back to the turmeric milk... this color just makes me SMILE! 💛

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Makes 2 servings
Adapted from Nutrition Stripped

2 cups soy milk (or other plant-based milk)
1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-3 Tbsp. maple syrup (depending on desired sweetness)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of black pepper
Optional: 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (or freshly grated), cardamom

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients and whisk to combine.
Heat for about 5-6 minutes until milk is hot, whisking occasionally.
Take care not to boil (only warm & lightly simmer until the spices are dissolved).
Carefully pour into a mug and enjoy! Sip, breathe deeply, be well :)

I use plain, unsweetened soy milk, so adjust vanilla and maple syrup to taste if you're using a sweetened or flavored milk.
The pinch of black pepper is said to aid in the effectiveness of turmeric (not necessary, but helps.) As for absorption, I've read when eaten with fats & oils, it helps absorb turmeric in the gut. (Anyone with more info on this, I'd love to hear!)
Turmeric can stain, so pour & use cautiously.

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April 30, 2018

Tomato Spinach Orzo Soup

Sometimes it's the simplest meals that are best! This may be super quick and easy (only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes) but it's FULL of delicious flavor and fun texture from the orzo. I may be a bit biased since I'm a soup year-round kind of girl, but this lighter take is great all year, even if you don't normally prefer soup in the summer. Plus it's another great use for that beautiful, fresh basil! 💚 Topping off this soup with a small mountain of basil (if you have any available) adds so much bright, summery flavor and fresh goodness. This recipe is based off my Orzo Salad with Spinach & Tomato - I was inspired to put a different twist on it using the same simple, base ingredients. I'm pretty anxious to try this with fresh, ripe tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes once they come in season. (If you give that a try, let me know how it goes!) Hope you enjoy!

Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this! I love seeing what you guys cook up.

Vegan, oil-free (gluten-free options below)
Serves about 4-5

1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup orzo pasta
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil (or other herbs - oregano, thyme, rosemary)
Salt to taste
Recommended: fresh basil for serving
Other additions: zucchini, garbanzo/white beans

Dice onion.
In a large stockpot over med-high heat, saute onion in 2-3 Tbsp. water/broth for about 8 minutes.
While onion is cooking, mince garlic.
Add garlic and dried basil. Saute for 1 minute.
Add vegetable broth and diced tomatoes with juice.
Cover and bring to a light boil.
Add orzo. Stir, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until orzo is cooked.
Stir in spinach during last couple minutes of cooking.
Salt to taste and serve with fresh julienned basil sprinkled on top if you have it!

For gluten-free, substitute the orzo with your favorite gf pasta, quinoa, or rice.
I like my soups on the thicker side, so feel free to slightly reduce the orzo if you don't want yours as thick. (It will also keep thickening upon sitting or for leftovers since the orzo soaks up more liquid.)
For a super thick & rich tomato broth, add a 15 oz. can tomato sauce (when adding the veggie broth and diced tomatoes.)
If you're a garlic lover, feel free to add another clove or two!

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April 26, 2018

Curried Rice Salad with Orange

Curried Rice Salad with Orange, yes! I've been working on this recipe for a while trying to get it just right and am finally so happy to share it with you guys. I got pretty excited about the idea of combining flavorful curry with a bright, citrusy orange and I love how the flavors compliment the chewy texture of the rice. The cilantro and currants can easily be replaced with parsley and raisins (depending on your taste and what's available), and the pistachios are optional but highly recommended - they add such beautiful crunch! This recipe is super easy, and only 9 ingredients. It's basically done in the time it takes your rice to cook which is always awesome. Plus it's a great dish for making ahead (think picnics, potlucks, take-along lunches, etc.) Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this! I love seeing what you guys cook up.

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

1 cup brown rice, uncooked (I used jasmine)
3 green onions
1/2 cup currants (or sub raisins)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
Recommended: 1/3 cup pistachios, or more

{For the orange-curry dressing}
Juice from 1 orange (about 1/3 cup juice)
1 Tbsp. curry powder (I use Simply Organic brand)
1-2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

Rinse and cook rice according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, slice green onions and roughly chop cilantro, stems removed. Place in a medium-large mixing bowl with currants and pistachios (if using).
Make the dressing: in a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the orange (I use about 1/3 cup juice). Add the curry powder, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and salt. Whisk to combine.
Add cooked rice to large bowl and stir.
Pour dressing over top and stir well to thoroughly combine.
Can serve immediately or refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors mellow and combine further.

I use zante currants which I find in the bulk food section of our co-op and grocery stores. If you can't find them near you, raisins are a great replacement.
If saving for later, feel free to make it a full day ahead of time. (Sometimes I like to squeeze a little extra fresh orange juice on top right before serving to brighten it a bit). After a couple days of sitting, I find the rice starts to dry out a little.
I haven't tried this yet, but I bet this recipe would work well with other grains - just swap out the rice for farro, quinoa, kamut, wheat berry, etc.

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If you're looking for another curry-flavored recipe, try this Vegetable Curry Soup with a silky golden broth. It's only 30 minutes - quick & easy for busy weeknights!