A Salad My Own Size

My usual problem with salads?

Well… they’re salads.

What my grandpa refers to as bird food, and what are usually just not enough for my Hungry-Man appetite. The kind of appetite traditionally considered large enough only for a male. I’m 6 foot 2, and usually active, so that’s kinda my excuse.

That’s why I need a super-powered salad, packed with superfoods, plenty of protein, and lots of fibre to keep the stomach growlies away.

Now I can pick at something my own size: The All-Star Salad.

(although clearly what I need to be picking is the weeds on my patio. I’m sorry.)

I love Fresh (maybe a little too much)—I frequently try and redirect hangouts to one of their three Toronto locations, where green smoothies are acceptable appetizers, kale is abundant, and the cupcakes and cookies are irresistible. (Seriously. Everytime I walk away without one, it jumps into my mouth before I’m even out the door. It’s not my fault). I’ll admit I wish they didn’t use canola oil for frying, and I don’t believe they use organics, which is kind of a downer considering how much good stuff they’ve got going on—that said, of healthy on-the-go spots, this one’s still near the top.

Last summer, when the All-Star Salad was a special, I spent half my time dragging friends to go eat it with me, and the other half trying to recreate it at home.

(an early incarnation)

I’ll admit, it’s quite a lot of work for a salad… but that’s what makes it SO good.

So when Angela posted her version on Tuesday, and Fresh’s Newsletter mailed out the honest-to-goodness authentic recipe on Thursday, I knew all of the forces of god and goodness were coming together to tell me one thing: MAKE THIS SALAD. (It’s an important message for the gods to deliver methinks.)

And so I did.

Salads, you win. This time.

The All-Star Salad (vegan, gluten-free, high in protein)

(adapted from Fresh Restaurants newsletter, re-inspired by Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

(I omitted the Tofu because a) I don’t love soy and b) this bad boy is already packed with protein)

Salad Mix: (you can store these leftovers together in a Ziploc with a paper towel to absorb moisture, just leave the goji berries out)

4 cups               Kale, washed, deveined, and shredded

½ cup               Parsley, chopped

½ cup               Cilantro, chopped

3 cups               Sunflower Sprouts (or other sprouts!)

4 tsp                  Goji Berries (raisins or currants will do in a pinch)

Quinoa Tabouleh:

2 ½  cups cooked quinoa

1/2 can adzuki beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup shelled edamame

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 green onion, diced (the Fresh recipe calls for red onion)

3 tbsp olive oil

4 ½ tsp tamari

Toss everything together.

Grilled Sweet Potato:

Brush both sides of each slice of sweet potato with extra-virgin olive oil (or better, coconut oil) and cook in panini grill until tender. If you don’t have a panini grill, cook in 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet, turning once, until tender.

Toasted Nuts & Seeds:

Cashews

Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Place in 350 degree oven for a few minutes until toasted.  Toss once or twice.

Directions:

For one salad, layer: a generous heap of salad mix, 1 scoop of quinoa tabouleh, a few slices of sweet potato, and a tbsp of toasted nuts and seeds. Top with dressing of your choice (I used Angela’s red-wine vinagrette)

Oh. And though it might not look it, this recipe was given the go-ahead by the original Hungry Man. Certified Luke-Approved.

Dude-approved.

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Breakfast Banana Bread Cookies

While I do love my homemade almond milk, I know that with each batch I risk being left with a substantial helping of leftover almond pulp. I toss it in a container in the fridge, and usually then give it a periodic whiff to ensure it still smells okay, dreaming of the day I’ll use it for facial scrub or make crackers or find a catch-all use for my scraps… and then eventually, it kinda smells like nail polish remover and I solemnly scrape it into the compost heap, resigning another loss. Those poor almonds.

BUT NOT TODAY.

In a last-dash effort to prove the hero, saving my almond pulp from decades of decomposition, I scraped a batch into the food processor and followed it with other things that sounded yummy, or at least palatable, like ripe bananas (those old ones you’d freeze or save for banana bread anyway), nuts, seeds, and some superfoods. (I will also add this occurred past 1 a.m., thus proving that even zombies can make these cookies. Or generally really tired people.)

And I’ve gotta be honest, I kinda saved the day here. These healthy cookies are a superhero, superfood success.

Meet my new second breakfast.

Breakfast Banana Bread Cookies (can be raw, vegan, added sugar-free, soy-free, gluten-free)

Ingredients:

1 cup almond pulp

3 ripe bananas

1/4 cup crushed walnuts

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp each hemp seeds, sprouted flax, chia seed, maca (or whatever you have on hand ie. salba, bee pollen, etc.)

1/4 cup goji berries

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/4 cup crushed walnuts

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Turn oven on to 150. Place all ingredients up to hemp seeds in food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Transfer from food processor to bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out little balls of fixture, roll and flatten into small cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for one hour, flip cookies, and bake another hour on the other side. If you have a dehydrator, bake these guys overnight for rawsomeness.


The Real Best Breakfast

*My new apartment is located almost directly above a small diner that so cleverly calls itself “Best Breakfast Place.” They serve slimy eggs, paper-towel-warranting bacon, and Texas toast at unheard-of-cheap prices, and ketchup out of No-Frills bottles, clearly purchased equally as cheaply directly across the street. Every time we eat there I usually leave feeling like a bag of smashed assholes. Thus, I present you: the real Best Breakfast.

Breakfast definitely is the best meal of the day—there’s nothing like that perfect mix of taste and satiety and the feeling that you’ve got something to power you through whatever you shall face in the next 16 hours. Unless dessert counts as a meal, of course.

My problem with breakfast? I’m always still hungry. (I guess that’s my problem most of the time.) But there’s no way I’m getting up an extra half-hour or so to cook oatmeal. I’m still working on the whole “morning person” thing.

So when Gena over at Choosing Raw posted this breakfast recipe last week, I knew I had to plot out my own version, ASAP. Though this breakfast’s not totally raw, it’s less cooked than your standard meal, and all the grains and pseudo-grains are soaked, making them easier to digest, so you feel satiated, but not bloated. Plus you can literally pour this bowl for yourself the night before, pop it in the fridge, then in the morning just stand and eat it, like, straight from the fridge. Gotta love fridge-eating. Total breakfast #win!

No-Sweat Overnight Oats 

(high raw, vegan, gluten-free if you use certified GF oats, soy-free sugar-free depending on your toppings)

Ingredients: – This list may appear intimidating but it’s totally customizable to your own tastes!

1/4 cup oats (I used steel-cut oats which are less processed than standard rolled oats)

1/4 cup quinoa flakes

1/4 cup chia cereal like Ruth’s or Holy Crap! brand, or 1/4 cup chia seeds

1 tbsp natural almond butter, cashew butter, or nut butter of your choice

1 banana, chopped

1 tsp hemp seeds

1 tsp sprouted flax

handful of walnuts

1 tbsp goji berries

1 tbsp cacao nibs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choice

optional: crumbs saved from making Perfectly Protein Chocolate Almond Butter Bars

Directions:

Pour all ingredients in a bowl and place in fridge overnight. in the morning, use a spoon to transfer ingredients from bowl to mouth. Chew, chew, taste, swallow, enjoy!