Spicy Cucumber-Kohlrabi Gazpacho (gluten-free and vegan)

Cucumber-Kohlrabi Gazpacho

You know those times when you think you’re eating something really healthy and then you realize there’s all kinds of hidden food bombs lurking within? Gazpacho might just be one of those great deceivers. It is for me!

Every time I eat a light, delicious gazpacho I forget that most of the time they contain stale bread as a thickening agent. The horror! Now, I’m not gluten-free – in fact I make my own sourdough bread every other week and eat the darn stuff daily – but I don’t like feeling duped by my soup.

In light of this sense of gastronomic justice, I experimented with using Kohlrabi – German for “cabbage turnip” – as a thickening agent…and it worked!

Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable but in fact a member of the brassica family – along with brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. It grows above ground and is loaded with minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. It’s flavor  is – in my opinion – unremarkable. So, dress it up in cucumber and spice and let’s call it a day!

Move Well DC - Cucumber Kohlrabi Gazpacho

Spicy Cucumber Kohlrabi Gazpacho

{Makes 4 servings.}

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb of kohlrabi
  • 2 large organic cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 Tbs champagne vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes (plus the zest of 1)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup basil (for garnish)

 

Directions:

  1. PREP: Trim, peel and roughly chop the kohlrabi and cucumbers. Set aside a half a cup of the cucumbers and chop that portion into small cubes. Seed and halve the serrano. Set aside one half and slice thinly for garnish later. Peel the garlic. Cut the basil into small ribbons and set aside for garnish later.
  2. ASSEMBLE: Place all ingredients except the slivered almonds and cucumber, serrano and basil you have set asside for garnish in a high-speed blender. Purée until smooth (note: if you have an older blender you may need to strain the gazpacho with a skimmer or mesh bag to eliminate inconsistencies in texture).
  3. SET: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to overnight!) before serve to allow the flavors to meld (note: it will get spicier with time).
  4. SERVE: Place 2 Tbs of cubed cucumber in each bowl and ladle gazpacho on top. Garnish with 2 Tbs of basil ribbons, 2 Tbs of slivered almonds and serrano slices to taste. Drizzle a little extra olive oil and dust with freshly ground black pepper for even more taste impact.

 

Guest Post: 7 Delicious Green Smoothies to Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Kate B. Forsyth of Be Healthy Today writes…

 

In this day and age, having high blood pressure is a common thing. A lot if things can lead to this, like the food you eat, the environment, stress, alcohol abuse, etc. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that can help you with this predicament. Drinking specific healthy green smoothies is one way to combat high blood pressure.

 

There are plenty of smoothie recipes out there that specifically target the lowering of blood pressure. Most of the ingredients used in these smoothies are fruits and vegetables, and just about every kind of each has a positive effect in lowering high blood pressure.

 

It’s best if you look for recipes that contain ingredients with high potassium content. What potassium does is it lessens the effects of sodium. That means the more food rich in potassium you eat, the more unhealthy sodium you eliminate through urination. Potassium also helps ease the tension in the blood vessel walls. This further helps lower high blood pressure.

 

For the average adult, the recommended potassium intake per day is 4,700 mg. Some examples of fruits and vegetables rich in potassium are apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, bananas, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, carrots, chard, beet greens, lima beans, spinach, and of course, kale.

 

Along with potassium, there are other elements that naturally lower blood pressure. Some examples are vitamin D, magnesium, anthocyanins, omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, and acetyl-L-carnitine.

 

To get you started on your journey to a regulated blood pressure, here are some examples of easy-to-make green smoothies great for lowering high blood pressure. And bonus: they taste amazing too!

 

The Blood Pressure Regulator

The banana and spinach used in this helpful smoothie take center stage in beating away high blood pressure.

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Put the pomegranate juice in the blender first. Next, add in the banana and apple. Blend until somewhat smooth. Add the spinach last. Continue blending. Put in ice cubes gradually until desired thickness is achieved.

 

Tomato-Cucumber-Carrot Smoothie

The antioxidant properties as well as the cleansing capabilities of this yummy smoothie promote the elimination of the accumulated toxins from the body. The parsley is a big help in getting rid of the excess sodium and retained fluids in the body that can affect your blood pressure.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • a handful of parsley, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Place all the ingredients (except the ice cubes) in a high-power blender. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the ice cubes for desired consistency.

Green Heart-Healthy Smoothie

Practically all the ingredients used for this drink help in lowering high blood pressure. You definitely won’t go wrong with this smoothie.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup raw beets, chopped
  • 1 cup greens of choice (kale or spinach are best)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
  • ½ cup frozen berries
  • honey to taste

 

Directions:

Put in the milk and beets. It’s best to blend the beets first as it requires more blending time. Once beet root and milk mixture is somewhat smooth, add the rest of the ingredients except for the honey. If it lacks some sweetness, that’s when you can put in the honey, but gradually.

Avocado-Kiwi-Melon Madness

Now this is a smoothie that’s super potassium packed. It contains close to a whopping 1,000 mg of potassium per serving. Now that’s one powerful blend.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1 cup honeydew melon, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Blend together the avocado, kiwi, and melon slices. Wait until smooth. Add in the spinach last. Continue blending. Taste the drink to see if sweetness is needed. If so, slowly add in the honey. Put in the ice cubes and continue blending until desired consistency is reached.  

 

Green Smoothie for High Blood Pressure

Here’s another smoothie recipe whose ingredients greatly help in lowering blood pressure naturally.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 green apples, chopped
  • 8-10 ribs of celery, chopped
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Put in the apples, celery, cilantro, and juice from the lime in a high-speed blender. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the spinach. Resume blending. For the desired thickness, gradually add in the ice cubes.

 

Pineapple-Grapefruit-Spinach Smoothie

Pineapple and grapefruit are some of the most effective natural diuretics that combat fluid retention, lower high blood pressure, and also cleanse the kidneys. Due to their high water content and low calorie count, both are also ideal in any type of diet.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 slices pineapple
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Blend the grapefruit juice and pineapple slices in a high-powered blender. As with other recipes using spinach, add in the spinach last. Resume blending until the mixture is lump-free. Add in the ice one by one for desired consistency.

 

Spinach and Carrot Smoothie

Not only will this smoothie positively impact blood pressure, it will also provide your body with that extra kick to increase your physical performance.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of parsley
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Put in the carrot slices, parsley, and celery stalks first and blend until lump-free. Add in a little water for moisture, then the spinach. Continue blending until smooth. You can slowly add the ice for a little thickness.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

 

Sources:

10 Surprising Banana Health Benefits

http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/5-green-smoothies-to-lower-high-blood-pressure/

https://steptohealth.com/top-4-green-smoothies-treat-high-blood-pressure/

https://www.healthysmoothiehq.com/lower-high-blood-pressure-with-smoothies

http://juicing-for-health.com/lowering-blood-pressure-naturally

http://www.suesnutritionbuzz.com/2012/07/18/potassium-packed-smoothies-to-lower-your-blood-pressure/

Something for Sundays: Roasted Fennel & Butternut Squash

Amy Rizzotto Butternut Squash Move Well DC

Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!

Something for Sundays - Move Well DC - Butternut Squash and Fennel

Something for Sundays: Papaya Coconut Granola

Work weeks are hectic and weekends are no longer for rest – at least that’s the way I’m feeling these days. In an effort to fit it all in we have less and less time for essentials like sleep, feeding ourselves and down time. What would happen if we all set aside just a few hours, once a weekend, to stay in, read a book, make some food and just plain relax?

Big batch recipes are a great use of our limited down time – good bang for your (time) buck! With that in mind, I’m launching a new series on my blog “Something for Sundays” to provide big batch recipe ideas that will help you maximize your relaxation time. You may have to hang around the house – dare I suggest, read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a podcast – but you won’t have to be too hands on with these recipes. First up…

Move Well DC Papaya Coconut Granola Recipe

 

Whole Wheat Sourdough Scones with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Whole Wheat Sourdough Scones with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

I am a superfan of Paisley Fig‘s scones at Room 11 (soon to have its own storefront in Mt. Pleasant DC as well). I’ve sampled scones far and wide but no pastry elsewhere holds a candle to these shaggy pillows of flour and butter. While I am no Paisley Fig, I do love baking bread and recently got back into the rhythm with a sourdough starter from Cultures for Health. After lovingly feeding and growing my starter for a week and building it up for use over the course of another few days, I now have a robust living culture for all my sour baking dreams. Rejoice!

I baked my first loaf last week only to realize I needed to knead it more. Edible, but not ideal. This week, I attempted their gluten-free sourdough oat and buckwheat scones – only I made it not gluten-free, probiotic and savory 🙂 Check out my adaptation below – they are delicious!

 

Whole Wheat Sourdough Scones with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Whole Wheat Sourdough Scones with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 6 Tbs cold butter
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup plain kefir (low-fat or whole milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs rosemary leaves, minced

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats and flour. Cut in cold butter, cubed, until flour texture becomes crumbly (note: you can use two forks, a dough blender, or pinch the butter into the flour with your fingertips). Pour in sourdough starter and kefir and mix with your hand or cutting utensils until the dough begins to come together. Knead a few times in the bowl to ensure that everything is well-mixed.
  2. Cover with a dry cloth and let sour 8 to 12 hours at room temperature (ideally 68-85°F).
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. In a small bowl, beat eggs. In a separate small bowl combine baking soda, salt, and baking powder with a fork until well combined.
  5. Add the eggs and dry mixture to the soured dough and mix together, using a utensil or your hands – I like to use my hands personally. Fold in the goat cheese and rosemary until  the ingredients come together well and the goodies look evenly distributed.
  6. Line a baking sheet. Use your hands or a large soup spoon to make shaggy triangles of dough on the prepared baking sheet. Leave at least 1 inch of space between scones. I did one baking sheet with 12 scones from this recipe, but you could definitely make them smaller and do two batches.
  7. Once pan is full, transfer scones to preheated oven and bake 14-16 minutes or until set on top and golden brown on the bottom. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving or transferring to cooling rack.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken

We live in a busy world and my clients are always listing time, convenience, and budget as their biggest constraints on healthy eating. When cooking is the last thing you want to think about, the amazing slow-cooker is your best friend. First introduced to the world in 1950 and mass-marketed in the 1970s, this piece of kitchen equipment has stood the test of time and is a staple in many a household. In most cases, you truly can dump ingredients in the large ceramic vessel, cover, and forget about it for the day – coming home to a homemade meal, house that smells divine, and still have time to spend with your family and friends.

 

This pulled chicken recipe is so easy. The only prep you have to do is mince the garlic and adobo pepper and thinly slice the scallions. If you’re feeling extra lazy, buy minced garlic in a jar. Serve it with a couple corn tortillas, cabbage slaw with a vinegar base, fresh avocado slices, and cilantro leaves for a healthy and easy dinner perfect for staying in or entertaining a crowd (chicken thighs keep the cost down!).

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas

SLOW-COOKER PULLED CHICKEN

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced using green and white parts
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Add the chicken, wine, scallions, garlic, chipotles, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and salt to the basin of a large slow cooker.  Mix with a large wooden spoon to coat chicken in sauce and spices.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours until the chicken is tender and shreds easily with two forks.
  3. Serve immediately with tortillas or atop brown rice and greens in a bowl.
  4. You can refrigerate this recipe in an air-tight for up to 5 days, or freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 3 months (be sure to label it!).

 

Maple-Apple Cake Donuts

Sure, pumpkin anything is bringing sexy back this fall (and all the falls) but apples have been an autumnal all-star far longer. We could do a comparison table here showcasing everything you can do with apples versus pumpkin and I bet these two tasty ingredients would be neck-and-neck, but that is too much formatting and work for me to handle before my next yoga class (truth be told). So instead, I’m going to tell you about how I turned this delicious Pumpkin Cake Donut recipe from King Arthur Flour into a Maple-Apple Cake Donut using apples I picked from my local Waters Orchard.

Growing up in Massachusetts, my favorite donuts were those powdered cake donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts which inevitably left more sugary dust on your chin and clothes than made it into your mouth. I loved the fluffy texture and sweet remnants you got to lick off your lips after the treat was done. As a nutrition coach, I tend not to eat or recommend too many donuts these days but if you’re going to do it, do it good.

The following Maple-Apple Cake Donut recipe was inspired by sweet apples and a small jar of granulated maple sugar from my parents up in New England. The ingredients did the talking, King Arthur helped me with the baseline, and my creative mind made swaps to cut back on added sugar and fuse these fluffy Os with fall flavor.

Maple-Apple Cake Donuts

MAPLE-APPLE CAKE DONUTS

Makes 12 donuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 stick of butter (or 1/4 cup), melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups 15-minutes homemade apple sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 ts ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, level
  • Granulated maple sugar for dusting

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two donut pans
  2. In a large mixer, use the flat beater attachment to combine the oil, butter, eggs, sugars, maple syrup, apple sauce, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth. (You can also do this by hand with a little elbow grease and a whisk). 
  3. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.
  4. Fill the wells of the donut pans about  to the top but be careful they don’t overflow.
  5. Bake for ~18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. 
  6. Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes, loosen the edges (if need be) with a butter knife, and gently flip onto a rack to cool. 
  7. While the doughnuts are still warm generously dust them with granulated maple sugar (or cinnamon sugar).
  8. Let cool completely and store at room temperature for several days. I like to place them on a plate, stick them with toothpicks, and tent them with plastic wrap so they have room to breath.

 

HOMEMADE APPLE SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 2 extra large or 3 large apples – peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium microwavable mixing bowl, combine prepped apples with sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir, and microwave again another 3-4 minutes until apples are soft (not mushy) when pricked with a fork.
  3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blender until mostly smooth (any little chunks will taste delicious when you bite into them).

 

Perfect Pork Chops

It’s getting chilly out and there is no better time to warm up with some home-cooked goodness than this sweater weather time of year. One of my favorite, grounding and nourishing dishes is seared pork chops. Pork chops are lean, delicious, easy to make, and go perfectly with all that homemade apple sauce you now have from the fall harvest. Bonus: if you have a pup, give them the bone when you’re done. They’ll love you forever (though I’m sure they already do).

img_7702

Here’s a simple, hard-to-screw-up recipe perfect for a cozy night in. Pair with roasted root vegetables and a simple sample for a healthy meal that won’t break the bank.

PERFECT PORK CHOPS

Serves 2

Ingredients:
– Two 4-6oz pork chops
– Sea salt and pepper to taste
– Olive oil for cooking

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Bring chops to room temp, pat dry and season on both sides with sea salt and pepper.
2. Pre-heat a heavy (oven safe) skillet over a medium-high flame. When hot enough a drop of water hitting the pan will hiss and steam.
3. Add 1-2 tsp olive oil and immediately add chops. Cook for 1 minute on the first side, flip and cook for 2 minutes on the second.
4. Transfer whole pan to oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove and let rest for at least 5 minutes on a plate or cutting board. Slice serve whole.