Green Goddess Smoothie

This smoothie is a real treat. I encourage everyone to try it! For the green goddess smoothie you will need:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1/4 cups rice milk
  2. 4 frozen papaya cubes
  3. 3 frozen coconut cubes
  4. 1/2 frozen banana
  5. 1 tsp. spirulina powder
  6. 2 tsp. lucuma powder

Directions:

Place all ingredients in blender and combine until smooth. Share with someone you love. Serves 1-2.

green goddess smoothie

green goddess smoothie

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Spicy Green Papaya Soup

Green papayas are simply the unripe versions of regular papayas and are popular here on the island, especially in Hilo with its great blend of Asian cultures. I bought 6 huge green papayas for $2 from a friendly female vendor at the  Hilo farmer’s market. This soup was a worthwhile experiment. For the spicy green papaya soup, you will need:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  2. 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  3. 1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  4. 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  6. 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  7. 2-3 cups green papayas, sliced thin
  8. 1 carrot, chopped

Directions:

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for approximately 3 minutes. Add broth, coconut milk, papaya and carrot and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season with extra red pepper for extra heat. Ladle into two soup bowls and enjoy!

spicy green papaya soup


Spicy red lentil dahl

I absolutely love Indian food and am trying to experiment a bit more with this country’s rich food traditions. Since I am in travel mode these days, my spice rack is limited. Here is my take on an old favorite. For the spicy red lentil dahl, you will need:

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup red lentils
  2. 1 cup vegetable broth
  3. 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  4. 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  5. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  6. 1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper (chopped)
  7. 1 tbsp. ginger root (chopped)
  8. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  9. 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  10. pinch of salt and dash of pepper
  11. 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  12. 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  13. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  14. 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  15. 1 tsp. lime juice

Serves: 2

Directions:

  1. Bring broth and lentils to a boil in pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partly cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Cover, and remove from heat.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño pepper. Sauté 5 minutes. Add all spices, cook 3 more minutes, stirring as you cook. Add tomatoes, and cook 3 minutes. Add coconut milk and lentils, and cook 3 minutes more.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro. Serve with Indian naan bread and farm fresh tomatoes.

spicy red lentil dahl

An Indian Curry

This is such an easy curry to make and so satisfying. This particular recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  2. 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  3. 1 large clove garlic
  4. 1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
  5. 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  6. 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  7. 2 carrots, chopped
  8. 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
  9. 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  10. 1 tsp curry powder
  11. 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions:

In a large stockpot, heat sesame oil over medium heat and saute onion, garlic and jalapeno for 5 minutes or so. Next, add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, and  carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add broccoli, mushrooms, curry powder and red pepper flakes. Let cook for 10 minutes. Serve alone or over brown basmati rice.

Bon appetit!

an Indian curry

creamy vegan shiitake soup

Shiitake mushrooms are full of amazing health benefits. I was a little curious as to what I would do with this 6 oz. container of dried shiitake slices I picked up from Costco. After trying this simple and delicious soup, I have a feeling the possibilities will be endless! For the creamy vegan shiitake soup, you will need:

Ingredients:

  1. 3 cups water
  2. 1 cup dried shiitakes
  3. 1 1/2-inch piece of ginger root, minced
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 cup coconut milk
  6. 1-2 tbsp. Bragg’s Amino Acids

Directions:

In a stockpot, bring water and mushrooms to a boil, then let simmer. Add ginger and garlic. Cook on low for 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and liquid aminos. Let soup cool and transfer in two batches to a blender. Blend until creamy. Serve in your favorite soup bowls and enjoy. You will love this one!

Serves: 2

creamy vegan shiitake soup

Coconut Oil: the healthy and ecological saturated fat

A sustainable and renewable resource, coconut trees are abundant in the tropics and while not a local food source to most of mainland North America, it is a renewable one with coconut trees growing abundantly in tropical regions.  Polynesian women have been using coconut oil for thousands of years as an external beauty product and an internal medicine.

Saturated fats are essential to living a long, healthy life.  According to Teya Skae, author and founder of Empowered Living www.empowered-living.com.au,“saturated fatty acids are what gives our cells structural integrity, so the cell walls are not weak and can protect the inside of the cells.  Saturated fatty acids are needed for the proper utilization of omega-3 essential fatty acids because omega-3’s are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.”

In the modern American diet however, saturated fats most commonly come from animal sources-cream, eggs, meat, cheese, butter and poultry.  Unfortunately, the ecological implications of a diet heavily reliant upon animals is not only bleak for our individual health, but incredibly draining on the planet.  Kerrie K. Saunders author of The Vegan Diet: as Chronic Disease Prevention, writes, “raising animals for food is by far the greatest consumer and polluter, of fresh water on the planet, draining off 60% of our continent’s entire fresh water supply.”  Now more than ever our dietary choices have huge sociological and ecological implications, and as the toxins in our external environment increase, we must protect our bodies with the foods we internalize.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Whole Body Health in Overland Park, Kansas is a proponent of coconut oil for the following reasons:  “It is functional food,” he states.  “That is, it is a food that can have powerful medicinal properties if used appropriately.  The complex mixture of lipids (fats) found in coconut oil have proven health benefits.  They can serve to increase metabolism and thus assist with energy and weight loss.  They can decrease Lipoprotein (a), which is important for cardiovascular disease.  They can help protect the liver against damage from alcohol, drugs, and other environmental toxins.”  He adds, “One lipid in particular has potent anti-viral properties, making it important for strengthening our immune system against viruses.  The mixture of saturated fats in coconut milk is difficult to oxidize under normal circumstances, making it an ideal fat with which to cook.”

Using even the healthiest of organic vegetable oils, including olive oil, in baking and frying creates free radicals because all vegetable oils oxidize, especially when used in cooking.  Organic virgin coconut oil does not oxidize even at 170 degrees celsius.  In addition, nearly 50% of the fatty acid in natural coconut oil is lauric acid, which converts to the fatty acid monolaurin in the body.  Lauric acid has adverse effects on a variety of microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses. It destroys the lipid membrane of such enveloped viruses as HIV, measles, Herpes simplex virus, influenza and cytomegalovirus.  Coconut oil also contains caprylic acid and capric acid, both natural anti-fungals known to fight yeast overgrowth.

When purchasing coconut oil, be sure to buy only virgin organic oil.  Avoid refined oil as it is sometimes hydrogenated.  High heat is used in the refining process which destroys many essential nutrients of the coconut.

Sidebar:

Here are just a few ways you can add coconut oil to your diet:

1.  Coconut milk is a great base for smoothies.  Blend one banana, 1 cup coconut milk, and one cup orange juice.  Substitute the banana for ½ cup fresh pineapple for a different taste, or simply blend 1 can coconut milk with a half can of water, and two tablespoons honey for a refreshing afternoon drink.

2.  Whenever you stir fry, use coconut oil for a tropical, healthy flavor.

3.  As a substitute for butter have multi-grain toast in the morning with coconut oil (which melts nicely on the warm bread) and organic blueberry jam.  In addition, substitute coconut oil in pancake batter, cookies, muffins, and cakes.  Try adding coconut oil to your popcorn instead of butter.

4.  In salad dressing, you may want to try using equal parts coconut oil and olive oil.  Then add other ingredients.  A simply nutritious combo includes: ¼ cup red wine vinegar, ½ cup coconut oil, ½ cup olive oil, sea salt and fresh herbs to taste.  (These may include garlic, thyme, herbs de province, oregano, etc.)

5.  Add it to tea and coffee.  This is a great substitute for milk or cream.  You can also try adding a teaspoon or two to warm cider or hot chocolate.

6.  For a creative dipping oil, mix 3 ½ tbsp. coconut oil, 2 tbsp diced onion, 1 tbsp diced garlic, ½ tsp. basil, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the mixture begins to simmer.  Turn off the heat and let cool.  Use this as a dip for bread, a topping for pasta or veggies, or as a salad dressing.

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This article was previously published in “E/Environmental Magazine.”

Hawaiian mashed sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest staples around. I urge everyone to eat sweet potatoes regularly! For the Hawaiian mashed sweet potatoes, you will need:

  1. 2 sweet potatoes, baked
  2. 1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
  3. 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. 2 tbsp. coconut milk
  5. 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  6. 1 tbsp. coconut shreds
  7. dash of cinnamon
  8. dash of cardamon (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve!

Hawaiian mashed sweet potatoes

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