Category Archives: Salads

Violet Weed Walk + Spring Smoothie

Violet Weed Walk + Spring Smoothie

Violet Weed Walk

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I was walking up the pathway to the front of the house yesterday and noticed all the fresh blooming violets in the garden beds and along the rock borders.  How beautiful!  Spring is really here! The common wild Violet is a nutritional and medicinal powerhouse. There are dozens of species of Violet, in various colors that include blue, purple, white, and yellow. I immediately thought to gather these gorgeous little leaves and flowers and put into a salad for dinner.

Yep! I go around the yard picking and gathering weeds and herbs to incorporate in our meals and diet.  With the cold, harsh winter we had, I am so excited that Spring is here offering up fresh food for the picking. This is better than anything that you can purchase in the grocery stores or farmers market right now.  When your food is FRESH, nothing is better. The nutrients are so potent.  Your body takes in the life force of the plant and in turn, feeds and raises your energy.  I always give thanks to the plants I harvest for their gift and offering.

The most IMPORTANT thing to remember that if you’re going to start eating violets (or anything for that matter), please make sure wherever you harvest them, they haven’t been sprayed with any chemicals or by the family dog.

Violet leaves and flowers are loaded with minerals and vitamins, especially A and C.   Both of these important vitamins are associated with increased immune function and wound healing.  Violet roots reach way down into moist spring soil and pull up vital nutrients and minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium. The leaves become little green vitamin tablets – a phytonutrient powerhouse. The leaves are tasty both raw and cooked. The flowers are edible, sweet and tangy, and make a gorgeous garnish on salads, smoothies and desserts.  The leaves have a mucilaginous (slippery) quality when chewed and apparently can be used to thicken soups and stews.

Violet is a gentle but potent medicinal remedy.  Violet is a strong blood purifier.  Violet leaves have been used throughout the centuries as a soothing, cooling, anti-inflammatory demulcent. Violet also supports the immune system, helping to clear infections of all kinds. They can be a very effective first aid remedy for hot, inflamed conditions of the skin. Simply chew up a fresh leaf and place it on the effected area. A remedy gentle enough for use with children, violet can also be used to soothe hot irritating coughs or headaches. Just make a hot tea of the leaves and sip slowly.

Violet leaves can even help to shrink tumors and cancers, specifically those in the breasts. They are most effective when taken both internally and used externally as a poultice. They are also helpful in clearing up other growths and lumps such as cysts, mastitis, and fibrocystic breasts.  Susan Weed’s excellent book Breast Cancer? Breast Health! details the use of violet for various breast conditions.  Violet is also a  gentle lymphatic tonic, aiding the body in removing waste products from the bloodstream.

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Violet propagates itself by seed and throwing out scions, or runners, from the main plant each summer after flowering, and these in turn send out roots and become new plants, a process that renders it independent of seed.

I like to add a handful of violet leaves to fresh salads for a vitamin boost.  Take a bowl and scissors and go out into your yard (or a neighbor’s – with their permission, of course and NO chemicals) and begin harvesting fresh cut greens for a salad.   Other amazing wild herbs and greens coming up right now are yard onions, dandelions, chickweed, plantain – just to name a few.  Mother Nature is saying “Come and get it folks!”  She is providing food to assist us with the changing of seasons.  Bitter, astringent, chlorophyll rich greens that will help us reduce excess water in the body, cleanse, detoxify, boost immune system, purify the blood, and so much more.

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Salad last night consisted of fresh violet leaves, organic baby spinach, yellow and red bell peppers, hemp seeds, fresh sprouts, scallions with a creamy hemp seed dressing.  It was wonderful!

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Another fantastic use for these bountiful greens is to use in smoothies. I made up this low-glycemic Spring green smoothie this morning with produce that is IN SEASON.

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Spring Violet Smoothie
Serves 2
A light, nutrition packed smoothie filled with Spring's freshly emerging harvest that is low in fruit sugar, high alkaline and rich in healthy fats.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small organic pear
  2. 1 small organic granny smith apple
  3. 1/2 lemon, peeled
  4. 1/2 cup organic parsley leaves
  5. 4 cups organic spinach, kale, swiss chard (or combination of all)
  6. 1/2 cup fresh violet leaves (toss in some flowers too!)
  7. 1/2 avocado
  8. 2 cups water
  9. sweetener of choice ( I used raw honey)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend till smooth and creamy - about 30 seconds. Add toppings of choice - I used fresh, local bee pollen and a few violet flowers (eat them first). Enjoy!
Kibby's Blended Life http://kibbysblendedlife.com/

 

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Violets are bountiful right now freshly emerging with vibrant green leaves that are probably right next to your door and in your yard.  Seek them out and you will be rewarded delightfully with nutrition and healing medicine straight from Mother Nature herself.

Get your SPRING greens on!

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Kibby

Avocado Salad with Roasted Walnuts and Ayurvedic Dressing

Avocado Salad with Roasted Walnuts and Ayurvedic Dressing

Avocado Salad with Roasted Walnuts

 

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This gorgeous avocado salad is adapted from Eat, Taste, Heal (Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook) which I highly recommend to purchase.  This salad is perfect for Vata dosha (mind-body constitution).   The crunchy walnuts and ripe, rich avocado make this a wonderful and winning salad combination.  The tart and creamy dressing just enhances it even more.  I will provide variations at the bottom of the recipe for Pitta and Kapha dosha’s.  If you are new to the Ayurveda lifestyle, go here to see what dosha (mind- body constitution) you are and read more here and here.  I opted to warm the dressing so that it had a soothing and nourishing aspect to the salad.  I love adding warm ingredients to “room temperature” greens so that it grounds me and digests easily during cold weather.  

For the salad:  (All ingredients room temperature)

  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts – coarsely chopped
  • 1 or 2 (depending on size) Avocado – halved,pitted, peeled, and cut into chunks (warm for extra creaminess if you are going to forgo the cheese)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes – coarsely chopped or 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated raw goat cheese or crumbled chevre goat cheese (optional)
  • greens of choice for salad base (I used an organic greens blend)

For the dressing:

  • 4 TB. coconut yogurt or organic goat yogurt
  • 2 TB. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1 TB. filtered water
  • 1 tsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup or a few drops of NuNaturals Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

(This salad serves 2.) 

  1. Tear with hands or chop the fresh greens and place into individual bowls. 
  2. Toast the walnuts in a small, dry saute pan over low heat until golden brown – stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.  Watch so that you don’t burn them!
  3. Combine the avocado and tomato in a mixing bowl along with the toasted walnuts and cheese (if using).   
  4. In another bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.   Add dressing to the avocado mixture and gently toss well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Spoon or scoop by hand (which I do) this mixture into the bowl of fresh greens.
  6. You can also just add the ingredients for the salad individually and pour the dressing over that for a prettier presentation (I did in picture above), then mix it up and SAVOR each bite.

Dosha variations:

Pitta:   Substitute cucumber, squash, broccoli or zucchini for the tomato and  sunflower seeds or raw almonds for the walnuts; olive oil is fine in moderation.

* Dairy information for Pitta’s:  Pitta benefits from the cooling and nourishing effects of dairy.  Sour cream, along with hard or salted cheeses, easily aggravates Pitta.  Yogurt is fine in moderation for Pitta types, but it is best taken slightly watered-down.

Kapha:   Substitute artichoke heart for the avocado (can get frozen if you don’t want to deal with fresh), and broccoli, mushrooms, celery, or green beans for the tomato,  substitute sunflower oil or coconut oil for the olive oil, use honey instead of maple syrup, omit the walnuts and use sunflowers or pumpkin seeds instead (yum!!) and use goat cheese and yogurt in moderation (fine for this recipe). 

* Dairy information for Kapha’s:  Kapha types should generally avoid dairy, due to its heavy, oily and moist properties.  Dairy products easily create mucus and congestion in Kapha types.  Yogurt, goat’s milk and goat cheese are fine in moderation.

Next week, I am going to go more into the food guidelines for Ayurvedic dosha’s (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and give you all better understanding and make this lifestyle more easily adaptable for yourself.

I hope you try this recipe – it’s WONDERFUL!  Scott and I absolutely LOVE it!  Let me know if you use the variations and how it turns out for you.  I am going to add toasted pumpkin seeds next time – that sounds wonderful! 

I will be drawing winners for the Yerba Mate tea giveaway on Friday night and announcing winners on Saturday, January 29th.  Keep your eye out for the post!  Good luck and enter if you haven’t already!! 

:)

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Kibby

Massaged Kale Salad + Video

Massaged Kale Salad + Video

Massaged Kale Salad

 

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In our household, it’s “Hail to the HOLY Kale”.  Yes, we love this gorgeous leafy green and even grow it in our garden every year – still have some going right now.  It’s super easy to grow and it loves the cooler weather.  Some may consider kale bitter, and, admittedly, some varieties of kale are on the bitter side. The secret to eating kale raw, then, is to choose a bunch with smaller leaves, which have a milder flavor.  You can try different varieties of kale, such as dinosaur kale, with dark blue-green leaves, which offer a sweeter and more delicate taste than the more common, curly kale.  We like all the varieties though.  Another secret to eating kale raw is to MASSAGE it well with some healthy fats, an acid base and this GREEN is ready for easy ingesting and digesting.  When you first fill the large bowl with kale, it is going to look like this is WAY TOO much to eat.   Don’t worry!  The kale wilts and reduces greatly in volume.  I’ll show you how and my favorite way to prepare and eat in the video recipe below.  **Also, some words of wisdom in this video!**

 

 Massaged Kale Salad:

  • 1 bunch of organic kale (any variety) – leaves stripped from stem (save stems for juicing or DOGS!)
  • 1 avocado – de-seeded
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • drizzle small amount of sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey, stevia) – I used stevia
  • hemp seeds – I used Mum’s Original Delores Hemp Hearts
  • sundried tomatoes or fresh chopped tomatoes
  • fresh organic sprouts
  • pinch of sea salt
  • chipotle or cayenne pepper – to taste (THIS makes the salad, in my opinion)
  • (optional) I added chickpeas (organic/canned/rinsed well) that were soaked in olive oil/fresh crushed garlic/italian seasoning  to the salad and WOW!  – see them in picture.
  • Add whatever ingredients you normally like in a salad to this – make it your own!

Directions:

Take stripped kale leaves and tear or cut into smaller pieces and place in a large sized bowl.   Squeeze juice of lemon over leaves, add the avocado and sweetener of choice and start MASSAGING with both hands until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add additional ingredients (anything you want in it, really) and top with a sprinkling of chipotle pepper. Gently mix and serve up immediately or keep in fridge till ready to eat.  In my experience, it is best eaten the day made. 

Kale is loaded with nutrients and compounds that aid in warding off other diseases and ailments as well. For example, kale is packed with beta-carotene, an important nutrient for good vision.  Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is good for cold prevention, as well as a reduced risk of colon cancer. Finally, kale is rich in minerals, such as iron, manganese, calcium and potassium.  So, who wouldn’t want this leafy superfood in one ‘s diet every week?  It’s a nutritional storehouse!

If you haven’t bought kale before, go out and buy a healthy looking bunch (ORGANIC, of course) and give it a try.  If you’re a kale aficionado, whip up this salad for something new to try this week.  I promise – You’ll LIKE it!

 

via RawforBeauty

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May the GREENS be with You! and Be Inspired!
Kibby