FreshnCrunchy

Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food

sunflower sprouts

Veggie Rice Paper Rolls & Creamy Almond Dipping Sauce (A Perfect Dish to End the Summer)

Appetizers, Asian, Lunch, DinnerLina LiwagComment
IMG_4601.jpg

Ahh...Summer...we thought you would stay with us forever but it's time to say goodbye. We've had great weather and also enjoyed our local harvest.  But before embracing Fall with all its beautiful colours and bounty, I thought it would be fitting to post one of my favourite Summer dishes. 

IMG_4583.jpg

Veggie rice paper rolls or wraps are a regular in our family...it's everyone's favourite!  I started making them after realizing that the commercial ones out there did not have the ingredients that would really satisfy me or my loved ones.  Most of them have a lot of noodles with barely any vegetables.  And how about the sauces?  You may not even know what exactly is in there.  Mind you, it may seem intimidating to make a perfect roll to begin with...it kinda looks messy and even sticky.  However, think about it as if you were wrapping or rolling a burrito...with just a different and more delicate wrap.  It gets better over time.    

IMG_4587.jpg

Veggie Rice Paper Rolls & Creamy Almond Dipping Sauce

Filling: 
2 carrots
1/2 English cucumber
1/4 of a small purple cabbage
1/2 jicama
1 avocado
handful of sunflower sprouts
fresh mint or Thai basil

rice paper rolls or wraps
(I used 10 large rolls, 22cm in diameter)

Dipping Sauce:
1/3 c. raw almond butter 
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. lime
3 Tbsp. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos
1/3 c. filtered water

 

22 cm rice paper roll

22 cm rice paper roll

Method: 

1.  Wash then cut all the vegetables into matchstick sizes and set them aside. The mint leaves can be used as whole, no need to cut them.   Cut the avocado and slice it into thin segments. 
2. Place all the ingredients of the dip into a blender and blend until well incorporated.
3. Put some water in a large dish and dip one rice roll at a time until it starts to become soft and pliable, about 30 seconds.  Do not leave it in the water too long or it will get too sticky.
4. Transfer it in a clean chopping board or a plate then place your fillings in the middle of the wrap leaving about  2" allowance on each side.  Fold the bottom of the wrap over the fillings then fold in the 2 sides and lastly, roll it like a burrito to finish off.  This is the "closed" style.  If using a large roll (22 cm. in diameter), they can be cut in half before serving (see first photo).
5. You can also try the "open-end" one: dip the roll in water, transfer it to the plate then fold it into half.  Place the fillings in the middle making sure to leave 2" allowance on the bottom.  Fold the bottom over the fillings and roll from right to left.  The fillings should be peeking out of the open end.  
6. If it gets messy, try again...it gets better with practice. There's plenty of rolls in a pack. 

Suggestions:
Be creative and use any vegetables, herbs or even fruits like mango...other kinds of sprouts, red peppers, zucchini, lettuce or spinach.  The rice paper rolls come in 16 cm. or 22 cm. size (where I shop anyway).  They can be found at Asian stores or even at Whole Foods Market. Hope you can try making them soon!

 "open-end style rolls

 "open-end style rolls

Happy Fall everyone!  I hope you enjoyed your summer!  I graduated 2 weeks ago as  heath coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I am so excited that I have reached this point of my learning journey in holistic health.   

Sincerely,

Lina

 

Peaches & Kale With Avocado & Poppy Seed Dressing + More Healthy Tips

Salad, Raw, LunchLina LiwagComment
IMG_4535.jpg

It's peach season in Ontario so we've been enjoying these lovely local produce lately.  Sweet and juicy, they are great to munch on, awesome on green smoothies and if you're like me, I've been throwing them into our salads...peaches and greens instead of the usual "peaches and cream." They look so inviting with their red and yellow colours.  My teenage son became interested in eating raw salads several years ago when I started adding colourful fruits and vegetables into my recipes.  They say that "we eat with our eyes first" and my experiment worked out very well with him.  To this day, he still enjoys them.  He just came back from a Christian summer camp in New England and I was very encouraged when he told me  that he ate salads 2x a day for the whole week that he was there.  

IMG_4529.jpg

Before getting into  the recipe, I’d like to add more healthy tips as a continuation of what I wrote on my last article (please read here).

Tip#3  -  Cook/prepare food at home.  Many health and wellness goals fail in  the absence of home cooking.  We need to know what ingredients go into the food that we eat on a daily basis.  Salt, oil, sugar and flavour enhancers are some of the things we do not have any control of when relying on food made outside our own kitchens.  Everyone has their own challenges when it comes to home cooking.  As I've been talking to several people, these are some of the reasons given: takes too long to  wash, chop or cut vegetables, not familiar with healthy ingredients or not good in the kitchen.  These are all valid reasons and with very minor adjustments, they can change.

Start with organic pre-washed greens if you don't enjoy the prep.  Take baby steps...make simple vegetable dishes one day at time.  A good example would be sauteing greens like bok choy in chopped garlic and ginger for about 3 minutes just until they wilt.  Season with a little tamari or braggs liquid aminos.  If you need assistance around the kitchen, ask for help.  I've been giving free mini workshops  to some of my friends recently... let me tell you, even one short week makes a difference. 

 

IMG_4522.jpg

Peaches & Kale With Avocado & Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients:
(Preferably Organic)

For the salad:

7-8 cups of shredded or chopped kale leaves (see suggestions)
a handful of  sunflower microgreens or other sprouts
2-3 ripe peaches
2 Tbsp. lightly toasted poppy seeds

For the dressing:
1 medium size avocado, cut and seed removed
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 clove garlic, grated or chopped finely
optional salt (I didn’t use any)

Method:

1. Wash the kale very well, remove hard stems and chop, shred or tear leaves into bite size pieces.   Spin dry them and then place them in a mixing bowl.  
2. On a skillet on low heat, toast the poppy seeduntil it turns fragrant, about1 minute.
3. Mash the avocado with the garlic, lemon and maple syrup until the mixture turns creamy.  You can also blend this in a personal blender if you prefer a smoother consistency.
4. Massage the kale with the avocado mixture until the leaves turn soft and then let them sit for at least 10-15 minutes so they soften even more.  Adjust the taste if necessary.
5.  Mix  ½ of the poppy seeds with the kale then transfer to a serving bowl.   Add  the sprouts on top.
6. Before serving, cut  the peaches and arrange them nicely on top of the greens.
7. Sprinkle the rest of the poppy seeds.   Enjoy!

Suggestions: 
1.  I used black kale, also known as lacinato or dino kale.  Any variety will do.  I have used curly kale previously and I like them both.
2.  If peaches are not available, you can substitute them with nectarine or strawberries.

 

IMG_4549.jpg

I hope you're having a great summer.  We can't stop thinking of Hawaii...so here are some more of our memories. 

Warmly, 

Lina

IMG_4324.JPG
IMG_4330.JPG
IMG_4348.JPG
IMG_4353.JPG