FOOD & DRINK

EAT THIS: KIMCHI SPRING ROLLS

08/31/2017

KimchiSpringRolls_BleubirdKimchiSpringRolls_Bleubird2One of my favorite restaurants here in Nashville is a vegan spot called Avo. I eat there almost weekly because I just can’t get enough of the avocado margarita and kimchi spring rolls—both highly addictive and a must-try if you’re ever visiting Music City! I crave the spring rolls and Thai dipping sauce so often that I decided I needed to try to crack the recipe, so I could enjoy these insanely delicious, yet healthy, finger foods at home. After posting about my obsession with them on Instagram Stories, an angel of a follower shared the original recipe with me. HALLELUJAH!!! I immediately ran to the store to scoop up the ingredients and got to work in the kitchen. They were spot on and now I am sharing the recipe here, so you too can enjoy this fresh and bold flavored kimchi and cashew blend of goodness. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Thai Dipping Sauce:
1 cup raw almond butter
1 Tbsp freshly chopped (and peeled) ginger
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 small jalapeno (seeds removed)

Kimchee Filling: Yields 2 quarts
4 cups cashews (soaked for 1-2 hours and drained)
1/4 cup Liquid Aminos
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup raw tahini
1T agave (optional. I omitted, since I prefer sugar-free)
1 quart pre-made kimchi

Fresh veggies of choice
Collard Greens and/or rice paper wrappers

Process cashews, liquid aminos, sesame oil, tahini, agave (if using), and ginger in food processor until chunky consistency is achieved. Mix with roughly chopped kimchi and set aside. Using rice paper wrappers (or try collard wraps!) roll 2 Tbsp of kimchi filling, organic spring mix and julienned veggies (cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, and purple cabbage are best!) For the dipping sauce, blend all ingredients in high-speed blender. So easy and incredibly tasty!

I hope all of you non-Nashvillians will give them a try. Seriously, you need these in your life! If you’re afraid of the kimchi being too spicy, have no fear—I don’t like too much heat and these are quite mild. The chef at Avo is pure genius! I will also be sharing the oh-so creamy and boozy avocado margarita with all of you soon! xx

EAT THIS: PEANUT TEMPEH

08/10/2017

PeanutTempeh_BleubirdA friend of mine suggested I try tempeh as a protein alternative, since I am no longer able to eat red meat. For those of you who may be scratching your head as to why I can no longer eat red meat, I have Alpha-Gal, which is a sudden and serious allergy to most mammal products. There’s a great podcast about Alpha-Gal on Radiolab if you want to know more about it. Anyway, back to the tempeh. While at the farmer’s market on a Saturday, I found a little stand that makes and sells tempeh called Short Mountain Cultures. I tried a sample that was prepared with a peanut-y marinade and really liked it, so I bought some to try and make at home. The dish was a success and for the next three days, I piled my delicious peanut tempeh on top of various bowls and salads. I’ve made this several times now and am obsessed. Try it! I think you’ll like it.

Ingredients:

One package tempeh (8 oz.)
3 Tbsp Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
2 tsp chili garlic sauce (add more to taste)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp un-sweetened, natural peanut butter
1-2 Tbsp coconut nectar or honey, depending on how sweet you like (I used 1)
A good squeeze of lime juice (about 1 Tbsp)

First things first. You need to remove the bitterness from the tempeh—a pro tip! Cut your tempeh into squares. Place it into steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes. While the tempeh is steaming, combine the rest of the ingredients above into a bowl and mix well. Once tempeh is done steaming, pat dry and coat with sauce. Let tempeh marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. Pre-heat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange tempeh on baking sheet and pour excess marinate on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

Tempeh will keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

PeanutTempeh_Bleubird3PeanutTempeh_Bleubird2PeanutTempeh_Bleubird4PeanutTempeh_Bleubird6Recipe adapted from here.

SUNDAY MEAL PREP

08/09/2017

MealPrep_BleubirdMealPrep_Bleubird_2In order to start my week off on the right foot and to ensure that I am eating clean and not skipping meals, I spend most of my Sunday afternoons in the kitchen, prepping my food for the five+ days ahead. My meal prep routine technically starts on Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market. I like to stock up on local produce and other locally made must-haves like tempeh and bone broth. I usually hit the grocery store next or Sunday morning to complete my list and then, while I’m putting everything away, I start prepping all of the veggies.

The above photos are an example of a typical meal-prep day well spent.

I roast a ton of vegetables in the oven with avocado or coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Here, I’ve roasted small potatoes, sweet potatoes, rainbow carrots, and cauliflower. I added some spicy paprika to the cauliflower. I also made a citrus lentil salad and marinated golden beets (my fave!). These are great additions to salads and bowls. I prepped some shredded chicken, peanut tempeh (another great one!), and quick pickled onions. I usually make a batch of quinoa and/or brown rice, so only a quick re-heat is needed during the week. I then chop up or spiralize a plethora of raw veggies—zucchini, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, radishes, and fresh herbs like mint, basil, and cilantro. Lastly, I prepare some clean dressings, cashew cheese, and sauces that I can dress my meals with for some extra flavor.

I’m usually in the kitchen for 4-5 hours prepping, but this saves me so much time and stress throughout the week. And, once you get your routine down and figure out your strategy, it goes faster. I just turn the music up loud and try to get the kids involved when and where I can—they make great sous chefs. I promise, once you start meal prepping and see what a difference it makes throughout the week, you won’t believe how you managed before.

One last thing: I’ve has a lot of requests for recipes as of late, so I will be sharing some of my favorite ones here, very soon! xx

HOW I MATCHA: MY MORNING TEA LATTE

06/28/2017

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I quit drinking coffee two months ago. As hard as it was to give up my morning java addiction, it is one of the best decisions I have made for myself in a really long time. Since I quit, I have had zero anxiety, except for one nasty spell of jitters I had a couple of days ago, after I took Midol, which has caffeine listed as one of its main ingredients. Into the trash went the bottle. One of the hardest hurdles for me quitting coffee was the familiar and comforting routine of my husband bringing me my morning cup. I take it black, and then sip from bed for the next hour, while I wake up, answering emails, and getting my day started. The sound of the coffee grinder each morning, the smell lingering through the house—I do miss those things—but, I don’t miss them enough to go back to anxiety-filled days and sleepless nights. RIP coffee.

I did, however, find a replacement and I have grown to love (and depend on). Enter the matcha latte. Matcha is everywhere these days, and I am so thankful that it is because I’m completely hooked. But, doesn’t matcha has caffeine? Yes, it does, but Matcha creates a sort of calming alertness that has none of the “rush and crash” side effects that coffee has. Matcha is also loaded with antioxidants and has been linked to numerous health benefits. After much experimentation and trying different concoctions, I found my perfect blend. I look forward to this ritual each morning and sometimes in the afternoon, too.

This is how I matcha:

8 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
1-1.5 teaspoons high-quality drinking matcha (My favorite is Ipoddo Tea recommended by this rad chick Lee or Matcha Ninja)
1-2 tablespoons tocos
1 teaspoon cordyceps
.5 teaspoon mucuna pruiens
.5 teaspoon ashwaganda
a pinch of raw vanilla
1-2 tablespoons coconut butter (or 1 Tbsp coconut butter + 1 Tbsp sesame butter)
a good sprinkle of organic cinnamon
4 oz. boiling water

For those of you wanting to try the Moonjuice cordyceps and raw vanilla I use (or any other Moonjuice products), I have a code for 20% your first order. Just use this affiliate link.

First, add coconut milk to your blender (I have this one from Vitamix). Next, sift the matcha using a small mesh strainer and matcha spoon. Add all other ingredients into blender and blend for 1-2 minutes.

That’s it. Pour, sip, and enjoy!

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SUMMER BAKED SALMON BOWL

06/15/2017

BakedSalmonBowl_BleubirdOne of my favorite things to prepare as of late is salmon. It’s simple, quick, delicious, and healthy. For the longest time, I was intimidated by the thought of cooking fish, but once I tried it and realized just how easy it was, I started making it a few times a week. This bowl is filled with bright and fresh veggies, and is full of nutrients. Of course, you can adapt the recipe to include whatever you have on hand, and many things can be prepped ahead of time, so you can easily assemble your bowls on the fly without the heavy knife-work. Enjoy! xxJ

Summer Baked Salmon Bowl

Ingredients: yields one portion

3 oz. wild caught salmon
sweet paprika
dill
zucchini
cucumber
purple cabbage
lemon
fresh mint
olive oil
apple cider vinegar

Start by washing your veggies. Next, peel carrots and cucumber and then chop, or with a spiralizer (I have this one), spiral your carrots, cucumber, and zucchini. Chop or slice the purple cabbage and mint. You can prep your vegetables any way you prefer. Mix in a bowl and set aside. Preheat over to 400 degrees. While the over in preheating, place you salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can put a little olive or avocado oil under your salmon if you’d like to, but I don’t because I like that the skin sticks to the parchment after cooking, so I don’t have salmon skin in my bowl. Squeeze lemon over the salmon and then season with sweet paprika, dill, salt and pepper. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes. Depending on how hungry you are, place a desired amount of your prepped veggies into a dinner bowl. I like to chop a lot extra to use the veggies for quick meals over the next few days and they keep nicely in the fridge. Dress your salad with dressing of choice or use a drizzle of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Once salmon is done baking, slide a fish spatula (I have this one) between the fish and the skin. It comes right off. Place salmon on top veggies and enjoy!

I added sliced radishes, pickled onions, and sesame, ginger carrots to my bowl (you can really add anything to your dish: sliced avocado, roasted veggies, brown rice, etc.). I’ll share the quick and easy recipes for pickled onions and sesame, ginger carrots soon!

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