Uncool Fudge

Last Sunday, when I made 12 sweet potato truffles and ate all 12 in the space of six hours, also in the middle of writing Tuesday’s giveaway post, I fully intended to post the truffle recipe today. On Monday, being on an unusual dessert kick, I unintentionally developed an avocado fudge recipe – well actually I saw the Avocado Fudge on La Fuji Mama’s site a few days before, and that was lurking in the back of my brain. But haphazard blender experiment turned into a full-blown diva, blowing my innocent little truffles out of the water. I mean, it kicked them in the pants, poor little gals. Sweet potatoes, passed over? Blasphemy! Or a testament to how much I love this fudge. I became a woman obsessed – fudge for breakfast, fudge as a snack, fudge for dinner. Well part of dinner anyway. Salad + fudge became a balanced meal, for dinner but also for breakfast…I know it is unconventional, but that’s the point!

First Guest Post: Blueberry Avocado Smoothie!

The other day I was searching for an email my brother had sent me and I typed “Joe radish” into the search bar. We tend to like the same sorts of food – and by like I mean rave like addicts – such as grilled vegetables, coconut anything, and of course sweet potatoes. We email at least 4 times a week, and a majority of those emails are about food. I love having a person in my life who gets as excited about making and sharing food as I do. I mean, how often do you pair a person’s name with a vegetable in your search bar? I thought I’d share a few of our missives first before moving on to this gorgeous, quick and easy recipe, perfect for an energy-packed breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.

it’s go time

Kate:
ahhhhhhhhhhhh your produce box makes me so jealous!!!! salad and green smoothie every week, holla. and KALE. oh momma kale…

***

Joe: got some beef stew meat. What veggies should I put in it?
Kate: Hmm beef stew…sweet potatoes. Traditional is carrots, potatoes, peas. I think any kind of root veggie would be great: rutabegas, parsnips, acorn squash, butternut squash. Butternut squash! That would be really good. Spring onions. Garlic? I can’t think of any American produce right now….some sort of spinach or spinach family…Chard! No , kale. KALE.
***
Kate: Yeah if you could post it that would be great! You can also put your website up there too and get your name out. Btw, are you friends with civilized caveman on facebook????!!!!

Joe: yes walter yes
***
Joe: also, thought you would like my eating adventures… went to yoga first thing this morning and then was having a hungry day.  breakfast was:

9 over easy eggs
2/3 bag baby spinach
2 GF bagels with almond butter and sliced strawberries and banana
1 apple
handful baby carrots

was surprised by the quantity, but I think it was partially because I had a hungry day yesterday too and never quite satisfied the hunger…

Kate:
I do enjoy hearing about your eating adventures. What kind of GF bagels do you get? probably an extra hungry day from all the travel and whatnot. I can’t believe you eat an average of 7-9 eggs! and he’s roughly the size of a barge! Gastoooooooooon….

***
Joe:
today I made pecan-encrusted and walnut-encrusted chicken, and I think it is my new favorite thing.  I also want to try it with hazelnuts and try nut+salmon.  I also roasted my first kabocha squash!
Kate:
AHHH SO HUNGRY TODAY.but those nut encrusted things sound sooo delicious, esp the salmon right now. do you add any other spices? I’m feeling some nutmeg with those hazelnuts, but just a dash. also have you tried herbamare?  its really good
SQUAAAAAAAAAAAASH. I’m buying an oven with my next paycheck. roasting here I come…ps I am drinking this tea called “healthy tea” (or herushii, as the japanese say) and it has carrots, reishi, orange peel, some other random stuff I dont know, but it is for my “Beauty Feeling”. what a country
***

As you can see, my brother does most of the intelligent communication – asking questions, telling stories, sharing recipes and brainstorming ideas. I usually respond with emphatic capitalization of the foods I want to eat in that very moment. Can you turn vegetables into an onomatopoeia? One amazing oversight is that I haven’t included any of the other 10,000 emails where we use the word awesome repeatedly. But having someone like Joe to share food adventures, questions, and inspiration with is nothing short of awesome and awe-inspiring. I’m incredibly lucky to have him as a friend, role model, and brother. And we’re lucky that he is sharing his smoothie-making magic with us today! This guy is a wonder at the juicer, blender, and grill:
Blueberry Avocado Smoothies, by Joe Johnson of Feeling Terrific

Rushing to work and don’t have time to make a big breakfast? Need a summer cool-down but don’t want to reach for ice cream or sno-cones? Just want to experience the fantastic flavors of your favorite fruits and vegetables blended together? Green smoothies to the rescue!
I personally have a smoothie for breakfast every workday. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and I can enjoy it on the road while driving to work. I pack my smoothies full of fruit, greens, and healthy fats to keep me satiated and steady all morning.This version starts with blueberries, my favorite of fruits. I usually get frozen wild blueberries at Trader Joe’s, which remind me of picking blueberries with Kate near our grandparents’ house.

I made another version that used cucumber instead of blueberries – SO GOOD

Coconut milk was a staple in my smoothies until I discovered something better: avocado!
Avocado is an under-used smoothie ingredient that makes any drink incredibly creamy.
Start adding ¼-1/2 an avocado to your smoothies and I guarantee you’ll never go back!
The healthy fats keep my blood sugar stable and keep me full all morning – no crashes like after donuts or coffee.

I throw a handful of greens into my smoothies to give me extra energy and vitamins. Amazingly, they blend right in and you don’t even taste them. I usually use red or green kale, but swiss chard or spinach work well too.

Top your smoothie off with a superfood like raw cacao powder, maca, ground flax seeds,
or chia seeds, and you’ll truly have a breakfast of champions! This version includes chia
seeds, which become awesomely gelatinous and interesting when soaked overnight.

Blueberry-Avocado Smoothies

1 cup frozen blueberries (organic, if possible)
½ ripe avocado
Handful red kale
1 T chia seeds soaked overnight in ½ cup water
2 cups water (add more for a thinner consistency)
(optional) few drops stevia for added sweetness

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

Makes one Joe-sized breakfast, or two large smoothies.

with avocado and a dash of lime

***
I really enjoy kale in my green smoothies as well, but since you can’t get kale here in Japan (yet) I used komatsuna, which is a less-bitter cousin to fully-grown spinach. I recommend using baby spinach in green smoothies for it’s milder flavor. If you want to try regular spinach, I suggest steaming them first. Or you can make a silky green soup for another fantastic way to pack in greens during mealtimes! But back to smoothies, I totally agree about the fun texture of soaked chia seeds. It reminds me of the bubble tea that everyone used to go crazy for in college. I never liked it (too sweet, amazingly), but it always looked like fun to eat.

soaked chia seeds

So dive in to some great smoothie combinations and let us know what you think! I’ll leave you with one last email….
Kate:
AWESOME BREAKFAST THIS MORNING. I put my xmas meal leftovers into a cabbage wrap~ one was sunflower seed spread with tomatoes, avocado, roasted cauliflower, and sprouts. The other was mashed spiced sweets [sweet potatoes], balsamic chicken, perfect onions, and a pickled fig. Trying to do a new blog post on squash and vegetables, but my recent pictures arent uploading and I just formatted my camera! augh, distracting myself with  a snack of half a roasted sweet [potato] too. and I:m going home to make more chestnut soup!

did you find a suitable blender in MI? made some fresh almond milk last night, havent done that in a while and it was delish.

I LOVE FOOD
are you scheming? [skiing]

***
Joe: I like how we seem to be making similar diet changes independently…

Kate: well, auntie patty told me they used to say we had our own language. maybe its food-based
***

Oh. It definitely is.

***
Joined the awesome bandwagon at Diet, Dessert & Dogs Wellness Weekend July 5-9
Happily submitted to Fit & Fabulous Fridays #39

Simple Green Smoothie + A Stroke of Squash Genius

I wanted to write “A Stroke of Sleep Deprived Squash Genius”, but I thought that might get a little long.

International travel, my friends, is a terrifically wonderful thing. So often we can take for granted the fact that we can get in a giant metal bird and FLY. Honestly, whenever I get a little tired of a flight: dehydrated, headachey, full of airplane food – I remember that it is a miracle that I am even above the clouds at all.

However, I do believe that our bodies have not quite adapted to the wonder of zooming through dozens of time zones in a matter of hours. After a few weeks of here-and-back-again, I am craving the balance of a few goods nights sleep in a row. While I wait for that balance to come back in my sleep schedule, I’ve noticed how incredibly valuable it is to support jet lag and travel with proper nutrition.

Continue reading

25 Things & Sweet Potato Cakes

breakfast cakes

Hello all!

A little over a month ago, I posted a list of 25 Things for Turning 25. It is a list of year-long and daily goals to improve my quality of life by helping others (and living out a few dreams).  I had a fantastic birthday by sharing service with others, probably one of the best I have had ever. Here is a little run down…

3. Take a walk and pick up litter at least once a month. (Twice a month is ideal)

Achieved!

boo litter. yay clean neighborhood.

4. Make a sweet potato and chestnut layer cake, dairy-free cream cheese frosting optional. Achieved! It wasn’t a true cake with flours, etc, but it was the perfect breakfast. See details at the end of this post.

8. Reverse trick or treat

12. Laugh every day. Check

We also visited a friend in the hospital and had a mini party there. At lunch, my friends wanted to treat me, so I put the cost of my lunch into the donation box for the Japan Disaster Relief Fund. I sent out several care packages this month, as well as postcards. I’m going to start sending my mail with a Smile Card so people will pass it on. And I still need your help with these!

1. Get 25 people to make a $25 kiva loan, or more!

Kiva.org is a way to lend directly, in small amounts or microloans, to alleviate poverty while knowing that your contribution really makes a difference.You make a loan, get updates from your lend-ee, and then get paid back! You can make more loans with that money or do a communal loan.

7. Inspire others to send more snail mail.

A handwritten note speaks volumes from the heart. And they usually have really cute stamps at the post office.

14. Inspire 100 people to do better by the environment

Here is where I really need your help – spread the word! Recycle! Choose sustainable seafood! Conserve on water! Eat more greens! Share your thoughts on how we can integrate sustainable living and joy into our every day lives.

Oh! And I did do #17, Eat breakfast at Tsukiji fish market, the week before my birthday. Check! Sorry no pictures though. I was too busy eating.

I’m still working on the others, especially the daily tasks like getting rid of clutter and complimenting a person or laughing every day. And I WILL get in that hot air balloon sometime this year!!!

My birthday breakfast was slices of roasted sweet potatoes layered with my Sweet Potato Puddin’ Spread and topped with coconut cream. If you refrigerate a can of coconut milk (make sure it is BPA free!), you can scoop off the top layer of coconut fat and use it liked whipped cream! It was a wonderfully indulgent, yet healthy, way to start my day.

THANK YOU for reading and following, and here is to another year of joyful, green living!

Special thanks to Mayumi and Akane, who made my birthday extra special by participating in all the events! You guys are the sunshines in my life.

bringing sunshine with me wherever I go

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to one of my dearest friends. Sig, you will always have a special place in my heart. ♥

Sweet Potato Puddin’ Spread

I have a really hard time taking myself seriously when I write “puddin”. I am not a Southern lady and I do not dole out terms of endearment like synonyms for dessert. But “pudding spread” just doesn’t work for me, and this creamy, indulgent creation isn’t pudding at all. So, somehow my rationale is if there isn’t a “g” at the end there is no false advertising on my part.

This is a random snack/breakfast treat that I created on impulse a few weeks ago. Made with roasted sweet potatoes, coconut milk, chestnuts, nut butter, and some spices, it doesn’t have any traditional pudding ingredients that I know of, but the texture, and delight with which I consumed it, reminded me of pudding. White sweet potatoes are perhaps the sweetest I have encountered yet and I needed no extra sugar. But you could play around with it and add some honey or maple syrup if you wanted to. Japan is wonderful in that it has roasted chestnuts for sale all the time, shelled or unshelled, but they aren’t crucial to the recipe. I just like to pick out the chunks like I used to with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. And can I be a bit tangential and say, who decided vanilla was the best base for that flavor? Clearly chocolate would have reigned supreme. Continue reading