Steel-Cut Oats with Coconut and Pomegranate

Steel-Cut Oats with Coconut, Pomegranate, and Walnuts from @winnieab | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

Pacific Foods makes a variety of non-dairy beverages and they recently sent me some of their new organic coconut milks.

I’ve only ever purchased coconut milk in cans before, and I use those cans for soups and other recipes where I am looking for a creamy product with really distinct coconut taste. Pacific’s coconut milk is entirely different. It tastes light, mildly sweet (it’s sweetened with coconut water only), and quite hydrating/refreshing. It contains notable amounts of vitamin b12, vitamin D, and potassium, as well.

coconut milk

I’ve been playing around with different oatmeal recipes lately, and decided to try cooking my steel-cut oats in Pacific’s Original Coconut Milk instead of water or regular milk. I like how the coconut milk imparted a subtle sweetness to the cooked oatmeal. I portioned out the steel-cut oats cooked with coconut milk and added pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts, plain yogurt, and a little unsweetened coconut as a garnish, then drizzled some pomegranate molasses on top to finish. So good!

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Summer Fun + Cold Cucumber Soup

sunflower

It’s been almost a month since I last wrote a blog post: I don’t think I’ve ever taken this long of a break! Why the silence? No particular reason except that I’m having a fun summer ;)

I haven’t taken any big trips or done anything super exciting: I’ve just been tending to (and eating/cooking from) my garden,

evening garden | healthy green kitchen

borage

cukes, tomatillos, pattypan

harvest

flowers

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Cheers to Change + Homemade Yogurt

Happy New Year everyone! Yes, I know I am days late in wishing you my very best for the coming year, but my holiday break was pretty busy: my dad got married (yay!) and we went away to visit my husband’s family. (I also may or may not have spent a day or two in my pajamas binge-watching Drop Dead Diva but don’t tell anyone about that, ok?)

2014 has kicked off with me doing something new and completely out of my comfort zone: radio interviews to discuss my book One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life; I’ve done 6 so far. The very first one I did was LIVE and ONE HOUR LONG, with call-in participation from viewers. I was terrified beforehand and did a lot of sweating while I was on the call. The ones since then have been shorter but they are still a bit stressful for me, not going to lie.

During these radio interviews, I’ve been talking a lot about the overriding concept of my book…the idea of making one small change at a time. I’ve been talking about why it’s important to take things slow, and to become comfortable with the fact that permanent positive shifts in your health and well-being do not happen overnight. My feeling is that if I can convince one person to stop doing extreme things (such as lengthy juice cleanses, diets that eliminate carbohydrates, or exercising for hours a day) in the name of health, then I will have succeeded in what I set out to do in writing this book. Small tweaks to the way you eat, your lifestyle, and your attitude work just fine…they work better than fine, actually. Small changes can be really powerful if your goal is to have a happy, healthy life.

If you are wondering exactly what kind of information is in One Simple Change, you should know that while I do share my nutritional philosophy throughout the book, there’s much more to One Simple Change than that. I touch on many, many other things that come into play when you are approaching your health in a more natural and holistic way, such as sleep, exercise, and stress management. Some chapters are devoted to matters related to living in a more eco-conscious manner. There are also 15 nourishing recipes. My friend Kaela called it “The Self Help Book for People Who Hate Self Help Books” which made me laugh (but it’s really true).

I don’t expect everyone to love everything about the book, but I really do believe there is something for everyone in One Simple Change. I even find myself re-reading specific sections and applying them to my own life lately…this may seem ironic but I need to take my own advice sometimes!

The first printing of the book sold out but more are on the way. My publisher tells me One Simple Change should be back in stock Amazon.com and elsewhere next week, which is great. Once again, thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and let me know that you enjoyed it! Cheers to change! I plan to continue celebrating healthy, simple lifestyle changes on my blog throughout 2014 and I can’t wait to share many more posts with you.

As I mentioned above, there are 15 recipes in One Simple Change. These are recipes I chose to include because they are somehow related to the content of the book. This homemade yogurt recipe, for example, comes from the chapter titled “Cook More” but it’s also related to the chapter called “Get Some Culture”, which is about eating more cultured/lacto-fermented foods.

diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen

Yogurt made with live cultures is high in protein, calcium, and probiotics, which aid the digestive system. I’m a big fan of low-tech yogurt making; you don’t need any fancy equipment to make wholesome plain yogurt.

diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen

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Strawberry Rose Lassi

Strawberry Rose Lassi from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Burt’s Bees. I am being compensated to develop a recipe and share information about the Wild For Bees Campaign with you; all opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

This week I am teaming up with the folks from Burt’s Bees to bring awareness to the plight of the honeybee. Bees are in trouble, my friends, and that means we are, too: the stark reality is that one-third of our food supply (including much of our healthiest produce and perhaps surprisingly: coffee and cocoa) will disappear if the bees do. This issue hits close to home for me because the bees I was keeping died this past winter.

Wild For Bees Campaign | Healthy Green Kitchen

Through the Wild For Bees Initiative, Burt’s Bees wants to encourage us all to celebrate bees! Wild For Bees is a resource where you can see what honeybees are all about and learn how to help them thrive. You can also find numerous bee-pollinated recipes created by beekeeping chefs.

As part of this campaign, I was asked to come up with my own recipe featuring mostly pollinated ingredients. My garden is brimming with beautiful strawberries and roses right now, so I decided to blend the two into a somewhat non-traditional strawberry rose lassi, a yogurt-based drink popular in India.

Strawberry rose lassi from Healthy Green Kitchen

Use the ripest organic strawberries you can find for this recipe, preferably from your own garden or your local Farmer’s Market. Bees do best with chemical-free food and so do we! As for the rose petals, these are completely optional. I sneak edible flowers into recipes all the time for their nutritive/medicinal qualities, but in all honestly, the fresh rose petals don’t add tons of flavor here. If you do want to use them, make sure they have not been sprayed with any chemicals (again, organic plants are the healthiest for the bees and for us); another option is to add a few drops of rosewater to your lassi. Should you decide to skip all things related to rose, you can add a pinch of cardamom to your lassi, if you like (cardamom is also pollinated by bees).

Strawberry Rose Lassi from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Date Shake with Toasted Nuts from The New Persian Kitchen

I rarely eat the same thing twice. A food or drink has to be really and truly insanely delicious for me to make it more than once; I guess that says a lot about this shake since I blended it up four times last week.

Date Shake with Toasted Nuts from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

The shake recipe comes from a wonderful new book (that’s officially out today!) called The New Persian Kitchen. I received a review copy from Ten Speed Press a couple of weeks ago and I simply can’t get enough of author Louisa Shaffia’s beautiful writing, or her food.

This is Louisa’s second book. I adored her first one (Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life), too. In fact, I wrote extensively about Lucid Food in a series of posts back in 2010: this granola is one of the recipes I featured.

One of the things I like best about The New Persian Kitchen is how Louisa weaves exotic, traditional Persian ingredients into contemporary dishes. Some of the recipes I most look forward to making include:

Cold Pistachio Soup with Mint and Leeks
Whole Roasted Fish with Oranges and Saffron
Sour Cherry and Rose Preserves
Herb Frittata with Walnuts and Rose Petals
Grilled liver with Cumin, Garlic, and Fresh Basil
Pomegranate Semifreddo with Blood Orange Compote
No-bake Persimmon and Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Don’t these recipes sound amazing? I am also a big fan of the ways in which Louisa shares cultural and historical information in this book. And the photography? It’s positively dreamy, as is always the case when Sara Remington is behind the lens.

I simply can’t say enough good things about this book, and I am pleased to let you know that Ten Speed Press has generously offered to send a copy of the New Persian Kitchen to one of my readers! You’ll find the information about how to enter the giveaway at the end of the post.

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