Make Your Mornings Count With a Dash of Matcha Madness

So, guess I’ve been feeling the Eastern vibes lately. Between last week’s Korean Boribap recipe and this week’s love letter to all things matcha, I should probably just book a flight to Asia. Donate to my travel fund, and I’ll get right on that!

No takers? Shocking. Fine then…living vicariously through my taste buds isn’t the worst consolation prize. Lucky for this girl, my fiancé’s sister did go to Asia recently, and she brought me back some authentic ceremonial-grade Japanese matcha.

Talk about earning brownie points with the future sis-in-law. Give me pretentious sounding superfoods, and I’m your friend for life. Well played, Kristin…well played.

If you’re a matcha virgin, it’s literally just powdered green tea. Observe:

matcha powder

But what makes it so freaking fabulous? Check out these impressive stats:

  • Yields more antioxidants than any other superfood including goji berries, acai, kale and spinach.
  • Contains a powerful blend of essential nutrients like fiber, chlorophyll, zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin C.
  • Strengthens immune function, promotes anti-inflmmatory benefits and works like a natural detoxifier.
  • Boosts the metabolism to burn calories more efficiently, and regulates healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Reduces physical and mental stress, enhances concentration and balances fluctuating mood states.

Way to kick some nutritional ass, Matcha! And that’s why I jumpstart each morning with this little green powerhouse I’ve become *slightly* dependent on. Sure, you can drink it like the socially acceptable human you are. OR you can get creative, steal a chapter from my cookbook…

And breakfast will never be the same.

matcha for breakfast

MATCHA GINGER OATMEAL

Ingredients:

1 cup Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

1/2 cup Whole-Grain Oats

2 tsp. Matcha Powder

2 packets Stevia (organic)

1 tsp. Almond Butter (all-natural)

2–3 pinches Sesame Seeds

1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger

Preparation:

  1. Pour the Cashew Milk into a small saucepan and preheat the stovetop burner on a medium-high setting.
  2. Add the Oats and stir occasionally until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue stirring until the texture thickens.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the stove, add the Matcha, Ginger and Stevia, then stir to combine.
  4. Transfer the oatmeal into a serving bowl, then top with Almond Butter and Sesame Seeds for extra crunch. (NOTE: feel free to use whatever toppings you prefer…I just choose sesame seeds in keeping with our Asian theme!)

matcha oatmeal before pic

matcha oatmeal after pic

MATCHA BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1 cup Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup Spelt Flour (or, a GF alternative)

1/3 cup Fresh Blueberries

1/2 tbsp. Matcha Powder

2 packets Stevia (organic)

2 tsp. Almond Butter (all-natural)

Preparation:

  1. Pour the Cashew Milk and Spelt Flour into a mixing bowl, then stir vigorously until no lumps remain.
  2. Add the Blueberries, Matcha and Stevia into this batter, then stir again to combine.
  3. Preheat the stovetop burner on a medium-high setting, place a griddle on this burner and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Ladle the batter in small batches onto the griddle, allow to cook about 2 minutes on each side, then transfer the pancakes to a serving plate once they’re done.
  5. Spread the Almond Butter over the pancake stack and garnish with leftover blueberries, if desired.

matcha pancakes before pic

matcha pancakes after pic

Reader Poll (just because I’m curious): Do you cook with matcha, or are you a purist who thinks tea is for drinking, thankyouverymuch?

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Creative Breakfast Ideas to Make Nutri Maqui Part of Your Morning Routine {Guest Post}

Nutri Maqui antioxidant support

Fueling your body with the health benefits of Nutri Maqui superfruit juice is an enjoyable experience for several reasons.

The essential nutrients this supplement provides – such as immune-supporting antioxidants and longevity-promoting flavonoids – will help you feel vibrant and energized throughout the entire day. So, start each morning with Nutri Maqui then simply reap the wellness rewards, no matter how demanding your schedule might be.

The rich, silky and slightly tart flavor of this naturally-formulated juice blend pairs perfectly with other nourishing noshes as well. The following recipes – packed with protein, vitamins and minerals from various fruits, leafy greens and whole grains – will turn that been-done-before breakfast into a powerhouse meal.

Just take a look at these tantalizing examples…

Nutri Maqui Energy Bowl (total prep time: 3 minutes)

Ingredients:

½ Apple (cored & sliced)

½ c. Berries (any variety, sliced)

¼ c. Cashews (raw & unsalted)

2 tbsp. Oats (whole grain)

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Juice

1 tbsp. Almond Butter (organic)

Preparation:

1. In a serving bowl, mix together the fruit, cashews and oats.

2. Drizzle the Nutri Maqui juice over the other ingredients and mix again.

3. Top the energy bowl with a dollop of almond butter.

Nutri Maqui energy bowl


Nutri Maqui Green Smoothie (total prep time: 5 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 c. Almond or Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

½ cup Kale (chopped)

½ Avocado (diced)

1 tbsp. Almond Butter (organic)

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Juice

½ tbsp. Matcha Powder (organic)

2 tsp. Oats (whole grain)

½ tsp. Stevia (organic)

Preparation:

1. Place all the ingredients together in a blender.

2. Puree until the smoothie texture is smooth and creamy.

Nutri Maqui green smoothie


Nutri Maqui Greek Yogurt (total prep time: 1 minute)

Ingredients:

1 c. Greek Yogurt (plain)*

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui juice

2 tsp. Blue Agave Nectar (organic)

1 tsp. Cinnamon (or, to taste)

Note: Make this recipe vegan by substituting Greek Yogurt with a non-dairy alternative like Coconut Yogurt.

Preparation:

1. In a serving bowl, mix together the yogurt, agave and Nutri Maqui juice.

2. Top the yogurt with a desired sprinkling of cinnamon.

Nutri Maqui yogurt


Nutri Maqui Pancakes (total prep time: 10 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 c. Whole Wheat Flour (organic)*

½ c. Water (add more if necessary)

½ Banana or Avocado (as a binding agent)

½ c. Strawberries (for topping, sliced)

1 tbsp. Nutri Maqui Juice

1 tbsp. Almond Butter (organic)

2 tsp. Cacao Powder (raw & organic)

½ tsp. Stevia (organic)

* Note: Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting Whole Wheat Flour with a GF alternative like Flaxseed Meal.

Preparation:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, “binder” fruit, cacao, stevia and Nutri Maqui juice.

2. Add water until the texture becomes smooth, like batter, and mix again.

3. Heat a skillet on a medium stove setting and coat the bottom with cooking spray.

4. Ladle ¼ of the batter into the skillet and cook until it starts bubbling.

5. Flip the pancake on its other side and cook for about the same     amount of time.

6. Repeat steps 4–5 with the remaining batter until you have 4 pancakes.

7. Top the pancakes with almond butter and sliced strawberries.

Nutri Maqui pancakes

Every morning can set the tone for embracing a wholesome, balanced lifestyle if your body gets its daily dose of Nutri Maqui antioxidant benefits.

Have these ideas inspired you to create your own breakfast concoctions? Comment with more Nutri Maqui recipes below!

Huge thanks to Nutri Lifescience, LLC, for supplying the research, content and graphics for this post.

Summer Eats, (Slightly!) Slimmed-Down

I say “slightly” because some of the ingredients featured in these recipes aren’t as — errrhealthy as they could be. For example, Brioche is used rather than a more nutritious whole wheat alternative.

But, hey…Sometimes you just gotta have those comfort carbs!

(Alright. I confess: my eating habits are, in fact, subject to slip-ups. You caught me. I’m human, too!)

Anywho, since May is underway, classic warm weather favorites are making their seasonal debut, and in my kitchen, I can’t resist showcasing those fresh ‘n airy flavors all day long — from breakfast to dinner!

Whether you crave “brekky” in bed or a poolside cookout this weekend, here’s what I’ve got in the works to tickle your summertime taste buds:


First, on the menu…Who’s up for brunchin’ it?!

AVOCADO & ALMOND BUTTER PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1/2 Hass Avocado

1 c. Whole Wheat Flour

1 Egg (omit if Vegan)

3 tbsp. Water

1 tbsp. Agave Nectar

1 tbsp. Almond Butter

1 tbsp. Whole Grain Oats

Preparation:

  1. Peel and core the halved Avocado, then transfer it into a small mixing bowl and mash until smooth, as though you’re making guacamole.
  2. Add the FlourOats, Water, Egg (unless, of course, you’re vegan!), Agave Nectar and Oats into the mixing bowl, then combine all the ingredients together thoroughly.
  3. Coat a small skillet with non-stick Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium stovetop setting.
  4. Spoon the desired amounts of Batter into the skillet, then cook evenly on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each.
  5. Transfer the Pancakes onto a plate and allow them to cool slightly, then top each pancake with a dollop of Almond Butter.

avocado pancakes


And, now for round two…Did someone say din-din?!

TANGY CUCUMBER, LEMON & DILL SALMON BURGERS

Ingredients:

1 Skinless Salmon Fillet

2-3 Cucumber Slices

2 slices Brioche (I used St. Pierre)

1 Garlic Clove

1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Lemon Zest

1 tsp. Dried Dill Weed

2 tbsp. Feta (sub. for Cashew Cream if vegan)

1/4 c. Plain Greek Yogurt (check out this non-dairy guide if vegan)

Preparation:

  1. Coat a small skillet with non-stick Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium stovetop setting.
  2. Place the Salmon in the skillet and saute evenly on both sides until the fish is cooked thoroughly, about 5-7 minutes each.
  3. While the fish is cooking, whisk the YogurtGarlicDill, Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest together in a small bowl, then set aside temporarily.
  4. Place the Brioche slices in a toaster until they turn golden-brown and crispy, then transfer them onto a plate.
  5. Spread a thin layer of the Yogurt Sauce on each Brioche slice and place the Salmon on one of the slices.
  6. Garnish with the Cucumber slices and crumbled Feta (or cashew cream), then place the remaining Brioche slice on top.
  7. Serve this Salmon Burger alongside a tropical fruit medley — such as Mango, Kiwi and Avocado.

salmon burger

(In other news: it just occurred to me that I might be suffering from an Avo-Addiction.)

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts: Lots of Love to Go Around {Product Review}

I’ve recently had the privilege of participating in my very first product review through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community. So, here’s a quick shout-out to the fabulous SPA founder Alyse for this opportunity. Much appreciated!

Now, onto the real business. Today, I’ll be reviewing hemp hearts from Manitoba Harvest, a sustainable manufacturer of hemp-only foods, based in Winnipeg, Canada.

Confession Time: Until about 20 minutes ago, I’d never tried hemp hearts before. Scratch that, I’d never tried hemp anything before. I thought hemp was just rope material that middle-schoolers use to make friendship bracelets. So, let’s just say…prior to receiving my free sample in the mail this morning, I was a hemp virgin.

But, nevertheless, they arrived to put the breaks on my virginity, and I eagerly tore into the packaging.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

First Impressions: Okay, they’re all natural: check. Each serving has 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegs-3s: check, check.

Moving right along, then…

*opens bag*

Well, they’re not exactly what I’d expected. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I was expecting, — maybe granola pieces in the shape of a heart? I don’t know! — but these disc-like things resemble lentils more than seeds. Hmm…intriguing!

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Seeds

The Taste Test: Nutty. Buttery. Tender. Just a slight crunch. Yep, I can get on-board with these little guys!

So far, hemp hearts get an A+ rating.

And that concludes our preliminary round. Time for the finals.

This company website features several tantalizing recipes, so component number 2 of this product review is to experiment with hemp hearts in one of these recipes.

I’m a sucker for superfood smoothies, so I chose to blend up my own twist on Manitoba Harvest’s Cinna-Butter Bliss Smoothie. The original recipe has been copied below for your convenience:

  • Ingredients:
  1. 2 tbsp. Almond Butter
  2. 1 tbsp. Hemp Hearts
  3. 1 Banana*
  4. 1 Date*
  5. 1/2 tbsp. Cinnamon
  6. 1 cup Hemp Bliss Organic Beverage*
  • Preparation: 
  1. Combine all these ingredients together in a blender.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly smooth (yields 1 serving).

* Notes: I don’t particularly care for bananas, so I substituted roughly 1/3 cup frozen mangoes. I didn’t have any dates on-hand, so I omitted that ingredient altogether (although I’m sure dates would add tons of flavor). Instead of Hemp Bliss, – because, if I barely knew what hemp hearts were, why would I just happen to have drinkable hemp lying around?! – I substituted coconut milk.*

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Smoothie Ingredients

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts SmoothieDespite these variations, the smoothie still tasted absolutely incredible. In fact, I can see it becoming my standard post-workout recovery fuel.

And now, for the overarching question: Do I recommend purchasing Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts?

110% YES!

This product has earned my seal of approval and exceeded whatever preconceived notions I had about hemp (which, by the way, is so much more than just a pre-teen fashion statement!).

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Seal of Approval

So, sprinkle the deliciousness on top of salads, oatmeal or yogurt. Toss them into a protein shake or smoothie, like I did. Cook or bake with them in your favorite dishes (or try a brand new recipe, like those displayed on the website). You can even enjoy a handful straight from the bag, as a nutritious and satisfying snack.

Sold, yet? Well, maybe this will persuade you:

During the months of October and November, you can score 20% off all products at ManitobaHarvest.com.

Use the promo code HHSweatPink14 before check-out (and send a cyber thank-you to the awesome folks over at Sweat Pink and Manitoba Harvest for making this special offer possible!).

* Reminder: This promotional discount will expire November 30, 2014. *

Sunday Brunch. Veganized.

This morning, I killed it at Sunday brunch. I mean, my ordering skills were top-notch. I outdid myself in the must-try-the-strangest-sounding-thing-on-the-menu department. (Just a little game I play with myself. No biggie).

I was feeling leafy-green today. And, as such, this Vegan Tempeh Scramble struck my fancy.

OH. EM. GEEEEE!

I barely restrained myself from licking the plate clean. Yep…it was that good. Definitely worth recreating the recipe, which is exactly what I’ve done here. The restaurant scramble was made with russet potatoes, but I substituted sweet potatoes (’cause I just like them better). I’m also not entirely sure what marinade was used for the tempeh, so I created my own.

From my kitchen to yours, hope you enjoy!

Sidenote: For anyone, who lives in the Sarasota area of Southwest Florida, check out Shore Diner. Seriously. You need to go.

Vegan Tempeh Scramble (yields 2 servings)

vegan tempeh scramble   

  • Ingredients:
  1. 1 clove Garlic
  2. 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  3. 2 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  4. 4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. 4 oz. package Tempeh (vegan)
  6. 6 oz. package Spinach (chopped)
  7. 1 1/2 cup Mushrooms (diced)
  8. 5 Asparagus Stalks (chopped)
  9. 2 Sweet Potatoes (peeled & cubed)
  10. 1 cup Shredded Daiya Cheddar (vegan)
  11. 2 tbsp. Rice Bran (gluten-free)
  • Preparation:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and rice wine vinegar until thoroughly combined.
  2. Slice the tempeh block into thin strips, then lightly brush each strip with the coconut milk and rice wine vinegar.
  3. Set aside and allow the tempeh strips to marinate in this mixture for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the garlic and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet on a medium stove-top setting for approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and asparagus, then saute the vegetables until softened.
  6. Reduce the setting to low-heat, stirring the veggies occasionally for approximately 10 minutes.
  7. In another skillet, preheat the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil on a medium setting and add the tempeh strips.
  8. Saute the tempeh, alternately flipping each strip, until the texture is crispy and the outside golden-brown.
  9. Transfer the tempeh to the veggie skillet, then add the Daiya cheddar and stir until the cheese has melted.
  10. Remove the skillet from the stove-top burner, then sprinkle the rice bran on top immediately before serving.
  • Serving Suggestion:

Although I ate it for breakfast, this dish would be hearty, substantial and satisfying for either lunch or dinner, as well. Serve up a generous portion, alongside some whole grain toast points (I recommend Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread) for a healthy, well-balanced and unbelievably tasty meal!

Believe the Hype: Juicing Is Your Brand New “Bestie”

…When it’s done right, anyway.

While I don’t necessarily advocate going on a 100% juice diet (there is something to be said for detoxing your system periodically…just not enough evidence yet to support this trend with science), juicing – as a nutrient-rich snack, sweet-tooth satisfier, or breakfast supplement – is a tasty way to sneak that recommended daily dose of fruits and veggies into your diet. So, blend up some wholesome deliciousness, and let’s drink to good health!

(Just be warned: juicing as a meal replacement should be cleared with your doctor beforehand).

juicing   

(image courtesy of healthyjuiceblends.com)


For a Metabolism Boost:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup strawberries (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup spinach (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup green tea (brewed)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. cinnamon (ground)

For a Clear Complexion:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup watermelon (cubed)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup kale (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1 tbsp. walnuts (chopped)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup coconut water (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. turmeric (ground)

For a Healthy Heart:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup red grapes (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1 tbsp. peanut butter (organic)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup almond milk (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. honey (raw & organic)

For a Strong Skeleton:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup banana (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup watercress (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1/4 cup oats (whole grain)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup rice milk (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. ginger (ground)

For an Immunity Kick:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup apricots (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup sweet potato (mashed)
  • The Protein: 1/4 cup egg whites (whipped)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup orange juice (organic)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. cloves (ground)

For an Energy Injection:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup avocado (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup cucumber (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1 tbsp. almonds (chopped)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup beetroot juice (strained)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. dark chocolate (70% cacao)

Greet the Day With Wholesome Protein Power

Earlier today, my sister and I indulged in the obligatory Sunday brunch at a cozy homestyle cafe. But instead of the infamous grease-fried bacon, buttermilk pancakes bigger than your head, and other coronary bypasses served at a typical breakfast joint, this restaurant offered a tantalizing (and cheap!) array of healthy menu options…all of which were calling my name. Finally, I settled on a protein wrap and proceeded to lick my plate clean. In fact, I enjoyed it so immensely that I’ve decided to replicate the recipe.

This is one breakfast you’ll definitely consider a morning staple.


Ingredients:

  • 1 10″ whole wheat tortilla
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup spinach leaves (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. low-fat shredded cheddar*

*if your dietary needs exclude dairy, then substitute vegan “cheese

Preparation:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a small skillet, then add the beaten egg whites.
  2. Turn the stove-top burner up to medium and scramble the egg whites until the consistency is fluffy.
  3. Heat the remaining tbsp. of olive oil in another skillet, then add the garlic and veggies.
  4. Turn the stove-top burner down to low and simmer the veggies, stirring occasionally.
  5. Scoop the scrambled egg whites into the center of the open-faced tortilla, then spread to the outer edges.
  6. Spread the veggie mixture over the eggs and top with the mashed avocado.
  7. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar (or vegan substitute) over the avocado.
  8. Fold in the edges of the tortilla and roll it tightly (like a burrito), then cut in half before serving.

Serving Suggestion:

Garnish this breakfast wrap with a dollop of Publix Greenwise organic salsa and a few avocado slices fanned out on the plate.

Image   

Here’s what the final product should look like. Tempting, huh?!