Tag: healthy eating

Walnut Tacos with Dairy-Free Sour Cream

I originally wrote this post in February 2014, but since then I have made some tweaks to the recipes to make them my own and improve them. I served these at a workshop I did today, and my coworkers LOVED them. One person even said she likes them better than regular tacos 🙂

——————————————————————————————————-

My husband Bill and I saw The Lego Movie last week, which inspired me to bring a raw taco recipe to work this week for our Real Food Challenge and to celebrate Taco Tuesday!LEGO Taco Tuesday Guy Set 71004-12

When I think of tacos, I think of the crunchy, salty Old El Paso shells filled with seasoned ground beef and variety of other toppings, like cheese, salsa, and sour cream. Some of those toppings are healthy, but others aren’t. Instead of giving up tacos, why not put a new, healthier spin on them?!

One of the things I enjoy most about what I do is reinventing our favorite comfort foods, so they are healthier but just as (if not more!) delicious and flavorful.

I prepared the “meat” and “cream” for today’s Taco Tuesday lunch for my coworkers, and it was a HUGE hit! Skeptics and believers alike raved about these tacos and dairy-free sour cream, so I’m going to share with you the recipes for how to make them!

The secret ingredient in the “meat”? Walnuts!

raw walnut tacos taco meat closeup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch cayenne powder
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) – You can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores or online. Use coconut aminos to make this dish paleo.
  • 1 head of baby Romaine lettuce (use one leaf as the taco “shell”)

Add your own toppings, including but not limited to the following:

  • Dairy-free sour cream (below!)
  • Black or pinto beans
  • Brown rice
  • Diced onions
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Diced avocados
  • Diced tomatoes

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it resembles the size and texture of ground meat!

Now, on to the sour cream! 🙂

whole taco

Since I stopped consuming milk products a few years ago for health reasons, I’ve had to find alternatives to the creamy goodness of dairy, and I’ve been happy with the recipes and options I’ve tried. I will be devoting several blog posts in the future to some of my favorite deliciously dairy-free recipes, but for today, we’re going to spotlight a recipe for sour cream…without the cream.

The secret ingredient? Cashews!

Cashews can be used as a base for creamy, dairy-free sauces, dips, spreads, and even cheesecakes (Zia’s makes the best!). When you soak cashews overnight in water, they get really soft and can be blended together with savory ingredients to create a delicious, dairy-free alternative to sour cream.

words sourcream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and then rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water

Directions

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. I had to use the tamper for my Vitamix to push it down.

**If you don’t have a high speed blender, you will likely need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides and might need to add a bit more water to thin it out.

The taco “meat” should be able to last a few days in the fridge, since there are no cooked ingredients in it, and the sour cream will likely be good for up to a week.

Enjoy!

It’s Taco Tuesday! Walnut Tacos & Dairy-Free Sour Cream {Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free}

I originally wrote this post in February 2014, but since then I have made some tweaks to the recipes to make them my own and improve them. I served these at a workshop I did today, and my coworkers LOVED them. One person even said she likes them better than regular tacos 🙂

——————————————————————————————————-

My husband Bill and I saw The Lego Movie last week, which inspired me to bring a raw taco recipe to work this week for our Real Food Challenge and to celebrate Taco Tuesday!LEGO Taco Tuesday Guy Set 71004-12

When I think of tacos, I think of the crunchy, salty Old El Paso shells filled with seasoned ground beef and variety of other toppings, like cheese, salsa, and sour cream. Some of those toppings are healthy, but others aren’t. Instead of giving up tacos, why not put a new, healthier spin on them?!

One of the things I enjoy most about what I do is reinventing our favorite comfort foods, so they are healthier but just as (if not more!) delicious and flavorful.

I prepared the “meat” and “cream” for today’s Taco Tuesday lunch for my coworkers, and it was a HUGE hit! Skeptics and believers alike raved about these tacos and dairy-free sour cream, so I’m going to share with you the recipes for how to make them!

The secret ingredient in the “meat”? Walnuts!

raw walnut tacos taco meat closeup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch cayenne powder
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) – You can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores or online. Use coconut aminos to make this dish paleo.
  • 1 head of baby Romaine lettuce (use one leaf as the taco “shell”)

Add your own toppings, including but not limited to the following:

  • Dairy-free sour cream (below!)
  • Black or pinto beans
  • Brown rice
  • Diced onions
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Diced avocados
  • Diced tomatoes

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it resembles the size and texture of ground meat!

Now, on to the sour cream! 🙂

whole taco

Since I stopped consuming milk products a few years ago for health reasons, I’ve had to find alternatives to the creamy goodness of dairy, and I’ve been happy with the recipes and options I’ve tried. I will be devoting several blog posts in the future to some of my favorite deliciously dairy-free recipes, but for today, we’re going to spotlight a recipe for sour cream…without the cream.

The secret ingredient? Cashews!

Cashews can be used as a base for creamy, dairy-free sauces, dips, spreads, and even cheesecakes (Zia’s makes the best!). When you soak cashews overnight in water, they get really soft and can be blended together with savory ingredients to create a delicious, dairy-free alternative to sour cream.

words sourcream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and then rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (start with 2 T then taste and add a third if needed. I prefer just under 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water (or more for desired consistency)

Directions

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. I had to use the tamper for my Vitamix to push it down.

**If you don’t have a high speed blender, you will likely need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides and might need to add a bit more water to thin it out.

The taco “meat” should be able to last a few days in the fridge, since there are no cooked ingredients in it, and the sour cream will likely be good for up to a week.

Enjoy!

What's Your Eggplant? Confessions of a Picky Eater

I haven’t always eaten this way.

Kale, millet, hemp seeds, quinoa, tahini, coconut oil, kombu, adzuki beans, cacao. 

What do all of those foods have in common? Well, I had no idea what they were for most of my life and would have refused to try any of them 10 years ago, but they have become staples in my diet.

I grew up enjoying the typical foods that many of us loved as kids – Kraft Mac & Cheese, Beefaroni, Spaghettios, Rice-a-Roni, Doritos (Cool Ranch, anyone?), Cheetos, Little Debbie cakes, Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups, Funyuns, Bugles, chicken fingers (BK > McDonald’s), hot dogs, yogurt, and, who can forget, pizza?

book it

Pizza Hut had it down – read lots of books, get free pizza. Well, I read a lot of books as a kid…so, I ate lots of pan pizza. Mmmm. The Book-It Program was my friend.

As a general rule, I avoided unfamiliar foods and was very picky.

To put it simply, I didn’t eat salads, soups, sandwiches (ok, except grilled cheese), seafood, sauces, or “weird” vegetables like eggplant, cabbage, or asparagus. Which left me with…well, the list above….and buttered egg noodles (with parmesan cheese, of course!). I did like certain cooked veggies, and I’ve always loved fruit…and plain chicken. Other than that, I didn’t exactly have a ton of variety in my diet.

I hit a turning point in 2004, my junior year of college, when I decided to study abroad in Granada, Spain.

What gave me the most anxiety about going abroad?

Not the travel, being away from home for 4 months, or fitting in with my host family…it was the food. I was terrified of trying new food.

IMG_0674

I read a book called Spain Is Different before leaving, and one of the things the author said was it was rude to reject food, even if you didn’t think you would like it. You HAD to at least try it and then say, “It’s not my favorite.”

Oh no. Bad news for the picky eater.

One night at dinner, my host mom, Matilde, put a dish in front of me. It looked kind of like thicker fried potato or squash slices, but I knew it wasn’t. I asked her what it was, and she told me, but speaking very little Spanish, I had no idea what she said. 

I hesitantly but bravely tried it…I had never tasted the flavors before, but I LIKED it. I was excited about my revelation but still curious about what I had just consumed.

After dinner, I went to my room and consulted my Spanish dictionary to find out what I had just eaten…I looked up “berenjena.” Shock overcame me as I read the definition…eggplant. Eggplant?! But I HATED eggplant…didn’t I?

That was a turning point in my picky eating tendency.

As I opened myself up to trying new foods, I realized I had written off so many that were actually delicious. While in Spain, I was introduced to lentils, fish, calamari, and other tasty food and am now a huge fan.

I’m really into lentils right now and just made this rich, hearty and yummy lentil chili last week (SO good!). Lentils are an awesome protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral source. They fill me up more than almost any other food…AND they are super cheap!

The transition to an unprocessed, unrefined whole food way of eating takes time and happens gradually.  But we have to be willing to at least TRY new things – to open ourselves up to the possibility that we might actually like them.

IMG_2659

If I had continued believing guacamole had mayonnaise in it (seriously, I believed this until about 3 years ago…until I saw someone actually make it), then I never would have grown to LOVE it (and avocados!) as much as I do today. I had to be willing to let go of my longstanding beliefs.

So, what’s your eggplant?

The next time you go to the grocery store, commit to picking out ONE healthy food (maybe a fruit, veggie, bean, nut, seed or grain?) that you have never tried before or have been hesitant to try.

A friend just messaged me the other day and said, “I bought some kale today. What do I do with it? Lol.” Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! 

Feel free to post below in the comment section and let me know if you try something new. I would love to hear from you!

What’s Your Eggplant? Confessions of a Picky Eater

I haven’t always eaten this way.

Kale, millet, hemp seeds, quinoa, tahini, coconut oil, kombu, adzuki beans, cacao. 

What do all of those foods have in common? Well, I had no idea what they were for most of my life and would have refused to try any of them 10 years ago, but they have become staples in my diet.

I grew up enjoying the typical foods that many of us loved as kids – Kraft Mac & Cheese, Beefaroni, Spaghettios, Rice-a-Roni, Doritos (Cool Ranch, anyone?), Cheetos, Little Debbie cakes, Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups, Funyuns, Bugles, chicken fingers (BK > McDonald’s), hot dogs, yogurt, and, who can forget, pizza?

book it

Pizza Hut had it down – read lots of books, get free pizza. Well, I read a lot of books as a kid…so, I ate lots of pan pizza. Mmmm. The Book-It Program was my friend.

As a general rule, I avoided unfamiliar foods and was very picky.

To put it simply, I didn’t eat salads, soups, sandwiches (ok, except grilled cheese), seafood, sauces, or “weird” vegetables like eggplant, cabbage, or asparagus. Which left me with…well, the list above….and buttered egg noodles (with parmesan cheese, of course!). I did like certain cooked veggies, and I’ve always loved fruit…and plain chicken. Other than that, I didn’t exactly have a ton of variety in my diet.

I hit a turning point in 2004, my junior year of college, when I decided to study abroad in Granada, Spain.

What gave me the most anxiety about going abroad?

Not the travel, being away from home for 4 months, or fitting in with my host family…it was the food. I was terrified of trying new food.

IMG_0674

I read a book called Spain Is Different before leaving, and one of the things the author said was it was rude to reject food, even if you didn’t think you would like it. You HAD to at least try it and then say, “It’s not my favorite.”

Oh no. Bad news for the picky eater.

One night at dinner, my host mom, Matilde, put a dish in front of me. It looked kind of like thicker fried potato or squash slices, but I knew it wasn’t. I asked her what it was, and she told me, but speaking very little Spanish, I had no idea what she said. 

I hesitantly but bravely tried it…I had never tasted the flavors before, but I LIKED it. I was excited about my revelation but still curious about what I had just consumed.

After dinner, I went to my room and consulted my Spanish dictionary to find out what I had just eaten…I looked up “berenjena.” Shock overcame me as I read the definition…eggplant. Eggplant?! But I HATED eggplant…didn’t I?

That was a turning point in my picky eating tendency.

As I opened myself up to trying new foods, I realized I had written off so many that were actually delicious. While in Spain, I was introduced to lentils, fish, calamari, and other tasty food and am now a huge fan.

I’m really into lentils right now and just made this rich, hearty and yummy lentil chili last week (SO good!). Lentils are an awesome protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral source. They fill me up more than almost any other food…AND they are super cheap!

The transition to an unprocessed, unrefined whole food way of eating takes time and happens gradually.  But we have to be willing to at least TRY new things – to open ourselves up to the possibility that we might actually like them.

IMG_2659

If I had continued believing guacamole had mayonnaise in it (seriously, I believed this until about 3 years ago…until I saw someone actually make it), then I never would have grown to LOVE it (and avocados!) as much as I do today. I had to be willing to let go of my longstanding beliefs.

So, what’s your eggplant?

The next time you go to the grocery store, commit to picking out ONE healthy food (maybe a fruit, veggie, bean, nut, seed or grain?) that you have never tried before or have been hesitant to try.

A friend just messaged me the other day and said, “I bought some kale today. What do I do with it? Lol.” Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! 

Feel free to post below in the comment section and let me know if you try something new. I would love to hear from you!

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