ThoraThinks


Vegan Lemon Ice Cream Recipe & Happy Thanksliving!
November 17, 2011, 9:44 am
Filed under: book reviews, food, Happy Thanksliving! coloring zine, interview, recipes

Hello all!

A few bits of Thanksliving lovin’ before we get to the way-too-delicious lemon ice cream recipe.

-Thanks to Marsha at the Institute for Humane Education for her super-supportive review. IHE has also compiled a list of 9 turkey-friendly children’s stories for Thanksgiving. Sweet! (This one also looks promising). I recommend browsing this wonderful site to learn more about IHE’s compassionate work.

-Want your copy of Happy Thanksliving! to arrive before Thanksgiving? Place your order by tomorrow!

-Here’s a fun, new interview!

-Adam Gnade of Microcosm Publishing has put together a vegan recipe zine, entitled Let Gluten-Freedom Ring!  This collaborative cookzine is only $4 at Microcosm and includes my recipe for raw cheesecake balls. Not exactly Thanksgiving-themed, but fun news nonetheless!

-On a glutenous Thanksgiving note, this looks incredible.

On to the rich, creamy, tart, sweetness! Yesterday we celebrated a family member’s birthday and his request was lemon ice cream. I stuck with my tried and true cream base– coconut milk and raw cashews– and the rest was so simple and terribly delicious.


A juicy lemon was perfect for this moody November day.

Vegan Lemon Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS
-1 can coconut milk*
-1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour
-1/2 cup liquid sweetener of your choice
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 cup + 2 tbs. lemon juice
-1 tbs. lemon zest + more for garnish

*I recommend Native Forrest brand organic coconut milk, because the can is BPA free.

Combine all ingredients in high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Garnish with additional lemon zest. I recommend serving this ice cream with the blackstrap gingersnaps from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (Or something similarly warm and gingery).

So wonderful! More ice cream here, here and here.



Parsley Pesto and Nettle Tea (Those Good Ol’ Southern Allergies)
October 28, 2011, 10:32 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Yesterday at the post office I stood in line next to a guy whose right eye was red like mine. He said he noticed my Ohio license plate. He’s from Michigan. It was quickly established that (like just about everyone who moves to Nashville from someplace north/east/west) we are both allergic to this place! Ayayay.

I’ll skip the part where I complain about how yucky I’m feeling and go straight to the good stuff. I feel so lucky to have herbalist, doctor, midwife, and other wellness-friends here who are happy to help out when I need some guidance. I called up my dearest Heather (experienced doula, nurse-midwife-in-training, and daughter of an herbalist/naturopathic doctor… what a resource!) to ask what she recommends for relieving environmental allergy symptoms. Other than using my neti pot, I didn’t really know what to do. Since many of us deal with allergies this time of year, I want to share some of Heather’s insights with you…

Here are some allergy relief suggestions:

Allergies occur when the body’s immune system treats a harmless substance (such as pollen) as if it’s toxic. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal suggests a regular daily intake of vitamin C to support optimal immunity and prevent/treat the haywire activity that occurs in the body and results in the allergic reaction. I’d suggest 500-1000mg of vitamin C daily. For reference, one orange = 70mg, one medium tomato = 23mg, cup of kale = 80mg (!!!!!), cup of parsley = 79mg vitamin C. A good vitamin C supplement (with bioflavonoids) may help you achieve the recommended amount.

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal also recommends using Elderberry. This makes sense to me, because Elderberry is a premier immune tonic. Tincture or syrup are the best preparations.

Garlic, garlic, garlic. The Green Pharmacy recommends Garlic because of its high concentration of quercetin, a compound that retards inflammatory reactions. I’d suggest several cloves garlic daily, preferably raw.

Nettle is another plant The Green Pharmacy recommends for allergy relief. As well, Herbal Healing for Women includes it for hayfever treatment. I can attest to its power wholeheartedly. The dried leaves are used to make a strong tea (known as an infusion) of 1 part Nettle to 8 parts water steeped covered for 4-8 hours. The tea turns dark brown and should be strained at the end of steeping and stored in the fridge until being used. I fill a quart-sized mason jar with 1-2 inches plant material and cover it with almost boiling water. Drinking a quart a day seems to be an effective dose. Alternatively, freeze-dried Nettle leaves in capsule form seem to be quite helpful for many folks. Both the dried leaves and capsules can be found at Whole Foods. I get my Nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs


Ingvar with nettle leaves

Chamomile is also suggested by The Green Pharmacy. It contains compounds that are anti-histamine (histamine is what the immune system produces that causes inflammation) and anti-allergic. Drink it as a tea and massage the diluted essential oil on itchy places of the skin.

(follow up)
Doing some more research, I’ve found that many folks encourage higher doses of vitamin C than I suggested…anywhere from 3000-5000mg/day, with the dosage split and spaced in even intervals several times daily. Also, Magnesium is a natural antihistamine…400-800mg/day seems to be the common dose. Parsley seems to have some antihistamine properties, too…I’d suggest making a strong pesto and incorporating several heaping tbsp into your meals. Finally, Reishi mushrooms are touted as a plant remedy for allergies…a compound in the mushroom called Lanostan appears to inhibit the release of histamine. They also happen to be a wonderful adaptogen, and thereby offer general support for the adrenal glands and immune system. I think Mountain Rose has Reishi…like any tonifying plant, effects are generally seen after taking the plant for a period of time…immediate results are less common than those appearing after several weeks.

THANK YOU, Heather! If anyone else has suggestions for folks with seasonal allergies, please feel free to share! In the meantime, here’s a very tasty recipe for parsley pesto. Gotta get that vitamin C. YUM!

Parsley Pesto
INGREDIENTS

-1/2 lb. fresh parsley, rinsed and drained
-1/2 c. olive oil
-1/2 c. hemp seeds
-4 cloves garlic
-1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
-1 tsp. sea salt
-1 tsp. nutritional yeast
-1/2 c. water

Combine oil, hemp seeds, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in food processor and blend well. Slowly add parsley and continue to blend. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to incorporate all ingredients, and add water as needed to create a smooth, creamy spread. This is delicious enough to eat on its own, or serve with… well, pretty much anything!  Store in the fridge in the sealed container.

served with balsamic-rosemary tempeh, quinoa, and a mizuna/arugula salad



Soup & Salad
October 27, 2011, 1:33 pm
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hey there!
Last night Ingvar and I sewed up some new zines (WOOHOO!) while Ki made soup & salad for dinner. It was just what I needed. Simple, flavorful, nourishing food. Thank you, Ki! Love overload.

Both dishes were creamy, dreamy, and full of greens. Here are the recipes:

Creamy Rosemary Salad Dressing
-1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
-1/4 c. olive oil
-1/4 c. Udo’s Choice oil
-1/4 c. water
-4 garlic cloves
-1 tbs. dried thyme
-1 tbs. dijon mustard
-1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, or to taste
-large pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor. For a less creamy, but still delicious dressing: mince garlic and rosemary and whisk all ingredients thoroughly.

More about salad making here!

Coconut, Greens, & Beans Soup

-1/2 red onion, chopped
-1 head garlic, crushed
-olive oil
-1 small bunch celery (stems and leaves), chopped
-1 head of kale, shredded
-4 c. water or vegetable broth
-1 can coconut milk
-3 tbs. Thai yellow curry paste
-2 to 3 c. really good red beans
-splash of fresh lime juice

Preheat a pot over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until they become soft. Add celery and saute a few minutes longer. Add kale and stir as it wilts. In a separate pan, heat water/broth, coconut milk, and curry paste until hot. Add to the onion-garlic-celery-kale mixture. Stir and simmer on low. Add beans and simmer until heated through. Remove from heat, add lime, and stir. Eat it and be happy!

Quick, simple, and straight to the point!



Halloween Coloring Sheet & Really Good Red Beans
October 25, 2011, 8:37 am
Filed under: coloring pages, food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Who’s getting excited for Halloween?
Who wants to color!?

How about these cute, costumed, yellow spotted snails?

PRINT

(More Halloween coloring from last year here).

Oh, and who wants to win a free book this weekend? If you’re thinking “me, of course” then don’t forget to send in an Ingvar photo by Sunday to enter.

I’ve been working away on a super-sweet project so Ki made a simple dinner last night– really good red beans, fresh tomatoes, salad, and roasted pak choy (sometimes called “Chinese cabbage”… similar to bok choy). Oh, and some red wine too.

Since the beans were really, really tasty I asked Ki for the recipe. The quantities are flexible, but here’s the jist:

Really Good Red Beans

Soak a mixture of kidney and adzuki beans overnight. Drain and rinse. Cook in vegetable broth. In a separate pot, temper equal quantities of whole cumin and fennel seeds in coconut oil. Add diced red onion and minced ginger and saute until slightly browned/softened. Stir in garam masala and sea salt. Add mixture to prepared beans and simmer. Taste for salt and spice. Yum!



Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoky Delicata Cream
October 24, 2011, 9:39 am
Filed under: food, making!, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hello all! Welcome to week 4 of Ingvar’s VeganMoFo!

Even after a frost or two, some Nashville veggies are really hanging in there. Lots and lots of green tomatoes were harvested last week, which means I’m able to keep taking bites of summer even though I’ve been reunited with my coat and am definitely feeling the fall. Many of the green tomatoes have been making their way into Ki’s smoothies, but a few have been reserved for frying. (How could it be any other way?) Lately I’ve been experimenting with sauces, dips, etc. and last night I whipped up this smoky delicata cream to serve with the tomatoes. Nothing says “you’re transitioning between seasons” like tomatoes topped with winter squash. Delicious!

(for anyone unfamiliar with delicata squash, here’s a little wikipedia description)

Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoky Delicata Cream

INGREDIENTS

-1.5 lbs. green tomatoes, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
-1 c. cornmeal
-1 tsp. sea salt
-black pepper to taste
-egg replacer of your choice (I used ener-g)
-coconut or other oil for frying

-1 delicata squash
-3/4 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
-1 tsp. nama shoyu/tamari/soy sauce
-1 tsp. pure maple  syrup
-1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-liquid smoke to taste
-1/2 c. water

Peel and remove seeds from the delicata squash, and chop into small pieces. Steam for 10 minutes or until soft, and let cool. Combine squash, cashews, nama shoyu, maple syrup, ACV, cayenne, liquid smoke and 1/2 c. water in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I recommend adding the liquid smoke a few drops at a time, until you reach your desired level of smokiness. Scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure everything gets nice and blendy. We’re aiming for a smooth, creamy consistency. Add more water if needed.

Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper on a plate. Mix up your egg replacer (I used 3 tbs. of ener-g egg replacer mixed with water). Pour 1/4″ of coconut oil into a frying pan and heat over medium-high. Dip each tomato slice into the egg replacer, then into the cornmeal mixture, and place it in the frying pan. Fry on each side until golden brown. Keep fried tomatoes on a plate covered with a cloth or paper towel to absorb excess oil. Add extra oil to the pan as needed.  (Lots of oil going on! These are a good once-in-a-while treat). Top with delicata cream and enjoy!

p.s. I made these little beauties for a lady potluck I hosted last night. We had a wonderful vegan meal-

…followed by a brainstorming session! We’re all working together to make a menstrual calendar zine (for our own use and to give as holiday gifts) and it’s such a fun way to connect and share info. We’re each researching different topics to write about, and one that I am most interested is foods/herbs that relieve cramps and support the female reproductive system. I’ll be happy to share my findings here, once I find them.  : )

Show us your Invar!



Hazelnut-Almond-Cacao Milk & Cookies
October 21, 2011, 7:22 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Guess what. I’ve been really into nut milk this week.

Back in my omnivorous days, I was never a milk drinker. (I drank from my mama for a couple of years and then I was done).  Cow’s milk just didn’t appeal to me. NUT milk on the other hand…

Friends, I’m all about nut milk. It’s so delicious, so nutritious, super simple, and fairly inexpensive to make yourself. Fresh milk is so much tastier than the stuff from the store AND you can add whatever flavors you like! If you do some browsing you’ll find lots of basic recipes and info on the web. Here’s what I like to make:

Hazelnut-Almond-Cacao Milk

INGREDIENTS
-1/4 c. raw hazelnuts, soaked overnight
-1/4 c. raw almonds, soaked overnight
-handful of cacao nibs
-1 tbs. pure maple syrup
-1/2 tsp. vanilla
-pinch of cinnamon
-2 c. water

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend it up as much as possible. Place a nut milk bag, sheet of cheese cloth, or fine strainer over a wide-mouthed container. Pour milk into bag/cloth and squeeze with all your might! If you’re using a strainer, skip the squeezing– just push down on the pulp to release more milk. Save pulp. (makes 2 cups of milk)

I love this milk cold, but it also makes great hot cocoa– just add more cacao (or cocoa powder) and a little extra sweetness, and warm it up! I REALLY enjoy pouring this milk into a cup of Teeccino. I’m not a coffee drinker, but lately I’ve been digging this “caffeine-free herbal alternative”…

Delicious! And see those little cookies down there? Those are pulp cookies! After making milk mix up your nut pulp with some almond or peanut butter, a little more maple syrup (or whatever sweetener you prefer), oats, cacao nibs, shredded coconut, and a pinch of salt & cinnamon. Roll into cookies and enjoy! These store well in the freezer.

…pulp can be used in all kinds of desserts, dehydrated in raw crackers, added to dips/smoothies for thickness, etc. Woohoo!

Hope you  have a fantastic weekend!
Want to win a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice? To enter, just send in an Ingvar picture!



Stir Fried Hot Peppers on the Outdoor Wok
October 19, 2011, 10:26 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hey all! Is anyone else confused about how it’s already Wednesday? If you’re interested in winning a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice this weekend, email your own Ingvar photo to nathalie@thorathinks.com. The winner will be selected on Sunday, names-out-of-a-hat-style.

One thing about having farmer friends is that you sometimes end up with lots and lots of the same vegetable. Take for instance, the HUGE bag of peppers that was left at my house after Heather’s birthday party this weekend. Because the peppers were large and green, I deduced that they were green peppers. (Bell peppers, if you will).  The “green peppers” were divided among friends, and I kept a couple pounds to prepare for our weekly Tuesday potluck.

Last night Ingvar and I started chopping away, and I casually popped a chunk of pepper into my mouth. Friends, it did not taste green. It tasted HOT.

After running around the house swishing coconut oil in my mouth, I finally collected myself and declared that our potluck dish would be stir fried hot peppers. Luckily, Ki is great at whipping up these kinds of dishes, and he has the perfect stir frying setup…

a homemade, one-of-a-kind, outdoor wok table!

With some help from his father, Ki designed and constructed the wok table early this year. It’s just what we need for outdoor cooking! A small table with a roof, lights, a big ol’ burner, a wok, (the pressure cooker is also used out there pretty frequently), some table space for preparation, and a sturdy, wood floor. Friends love to gather ’round and chat while dinner is cooked up. I guess it’s our version of a grill.

So here’s how Ki made the peppers:
1. got the wok really hot
2. added coconut oil
3. threw in some whole cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds and tempered for 15 seconds
(Tempering is a technique where whole spices are heated in oil and added to a dish just before it is served, for a rich aroma and enhanced flavor).
4. added peppers and cooked until brown
5. added coconut aminos and liquid smoke to taste

Yum! Spicy, salty, and full of flavor– a great topping for the potluck.

Last night the potluck was held up at the house of the farmland owners since it was too cold and rainy to eat outside. As always, there was good food, good music, and lots of friends.


sauteed greens, curried lentils, rice salad, mashed potatoes, delicata squash, arugula pesto, and farm-fresh boiled peanuts


Ingvar with Farmer Eric


Ingvar listens to Max play her banjo

That’s all for today. Stop back tomorrow for a brand new coloring sheet!



Chana Palak
October 18, 2011, 10:48 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Today I bring you a delicious curry recipe! Chana Palak (chickpea & spinach curry) is by no means my own invention– instead, the following recipe is a result of combining/adjusting other recipes* and incorporating the freshest ingredients possible. The outcome is rich and super flavorful. Pure chickpea-spinach bliss.

*namely Chickpea and Spinach Curry from VWAV.

VEGAN CHANA PALAK RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
-2 c. dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight (with a strip of kombu if you have it), cooked and drained
…or 2 15oz. cans of chickpeas, if you really hafta.
-2 lbs. fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
-1 lb. tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces (try to save the juices)
-3 tbs. coconut oil (or sub. veg oil)
-1 large onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces
-4-6 cloves garlic, minced
-2-3 tbs. fresh ginger, minced
-seeded, minced hot peppers to taste
(I used 2 for medium spice)
-3/4 c. coconut milk
-1/2 tsp. tamarind concentrate (optional)
-2 tbs. curry powder
-1 tbs. ground cumin
-2 tsp. mustard seeds
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1 tsp. ground coriander
-1 tsp. asafoetida
-1/4 tsp. ground cloves
-1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste

Preheat a medium-to-large saucepan over moderate heat. Add coconut oil and give it time to liquify. Add the mustard seeds and cover the pot. Wait until you notice the seeds popping and let them fly around for about a minute.Then add the onion, raise heat to medium-high, and saute until the onion begins to brown. Add hot peppers, garlic, and ginger and saute for 2 more minutes. Add chopped tomatoes (with their juice) and stirring, pour in the rest of your spices (including salt). Continue to stir for a minute. Add coconut milk and tamarind concentrate, and combine well. Add about 1 cup of spinach at a time, stirring until it wilts. Once all of your spinach is in, add the chickpeas and lower the heat. Simmer and stir for a few more minutes, and taste for spice and salt. If your curry isn’t saucy enough for ya, stir in some more coconut milk. Enjoy!

serves 6


pictured with brown rice, tamarind sauce, and fresh arugula salad

Want a free copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice?



Raw Cheesecake Balls!!!
October 17, 2011, 1:38 pm
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hello friends, and welcome to week 3 of Ingvar’s Vegan MoFo! This weekend I hosted a great big birthday celebration for my dear friend Heather.  The party theme she chose was balls. Ha! There was a vegan potluck featuring ball-shaped food, lots of 4-square, a disco ball dance party, and more. Wayyyyyy fun!


some of the potluck balls


Heather fire hooping with old-time accompaniment


the next morning: brunch with Heather and farmer friends! fried green tomatoes, salad, steamed bok choy, and smoky tomato-peanut butter sauce.

Instead of birthday cake, Heather was dreaming of raw balls. Raw cheesecake balls to be exact. So I made them, and ahhhhh they’re SO GOOD. A little crunch on the outside. Crazy-rich-and-creamy on the inside.You know you should share a recipe when a culinary creation is so delicious that friends try to talk you into making more to sell…

Raw Cheesecake Balls recipe

INGREDIENTS
-3 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight
-1 c. coconut oil (liquid)
-1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
-2/3 c. liquid sweetener of your choice
-2 vanilla beans scraped, or 2 tbs. extract
-1 tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
-pinch of sea salt
-cacao nibs, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, seeds, etc. for sprinkling

CHOCOLATE COATING
I blended 1/2 c. liquid coconut oil, 1/2 c. cacao powder, and 2 tsp. maple syrup. However, there are many recipes out there for raw chocolate sauces- many of which use cacao butter (which would have been ideal, but I did not have any). My recipe is simple and worked just fine. The cacao powder could also be replaced with carob or cocoa if necessary.

1. Combine drained cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, liquid sweetness, vanilla, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a little water if necessary (not too much– this needs to be thick).  Pour mixture into a container and place in freezer to firm up for a few hours.

2. Remove from freezer. Mixture should be firm enough to roll in your hands. Roll into small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (This job gets a little sticky).  Stick a toothpick or lollipop stick into each ball. Keep tray in the freezer until you’re ready for the next step.

3. Make your chocolate coating, and keep it warm enough to maintain its liquid form. Have your cacao nibs, coconut, and/or other toppings out and ready to go. You’ll want to work fast so the cheesecake balls stay nice and frozen– this way the chocolate coating will cool quickly when it touches the ball, forming a yummy layer of chocolate crunch.

4. Holding the toothpick, submerge a raw cheesecake ball into the chocolate coating, making sure to cover the entire ball. Lift from chocolate and swirl the ball around a little to shake off extra drippiness. Sprinkle your toppings on the ball quickly, before the chocolate dries. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet once chocolate is completely dry. Repeat with all cheesecake balls.

5. Store these in the freezer and remove just before eating. Try not to eat all of them at once.

Recipe makes about 32 balls

WOOHOO!

Care for a free copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice?



Cucumber-Mint-Miso Quinoa
October 13, 2011, 10:20 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hello all!
I wish I had a super-exciting-inventive-spectacular recipe to share with you today, but it’s been a busy week and meals have been pretty simple around here. Of course that’s not to say that simple means boring. As much as I appreciate dynamic, “what’s happening in my mouth!?” dishes, quiet & fresh flavors have a place in my heart too.

One such dish is Cucumber-Mint-Miso Quinoa. This Ki-creation is light and fresh with a happy, juicy crunch. The miso is delicious and ties everything together with a rich, salty bow. The quantities here are pretty flexible. Follow your culinary intuition and it will taste great!

INGREDIENTS:
2 c. dry quinoa, soaked & cooked
1 cucumber, quartered length-wise and sliced
handful of fresh mint, chopped
1/2 c. red or green onion, thinly sliced

FOR DRESSING:
1 tbs. miso of your choice
2 tbs. brown rice vinegar
2 tbs. oil (olive or walnut recommended)
dash of toasted sesame oil
2 – 3 cloves minced/crushed garlic
minced/crushed ginger to taste
water as needed

Combine quinoa, cucumber, mint, and onion in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth. Add a little water if needed– we’re aiming for a light dressing to coat the quinoa mixture (not too thick). Drizzle dressing over quinoa and toss to combine. Done! This dish can be served warm or chilled in the fridge. Ingvar thinks it’s extra-tasty when cold.


served over fresh mizuna with a side of steamed bok choy and smoked paprika-rosemary potatoes

…and now a few things I’d like to share:

This is refreshing. Kids have power!
This is a great resource for parents.
This tastes really good. Mmmmm tahini.
This is a fun contest worth entering.
This is my book.
This is how you enter to win a free, signed copy.

 




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