Easy Vanilla & Strawberry Almond Milk Recipe

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If I knew how easy almond milk was to make I would have been making it a long time ago! I don’t know why it seemed so daunting to me. There’s only a few easy steps. Fear not if you do not have a Vitamix! This can be done in any high speed blender. One thing you may want to buy for this is a nut milk bag to strain into. These are very cheap and can be bought at most health food stores or online.  If you can’t find this you may use a fine sieve strainer as well.  Or better yet, if you need the fiber and don’t mind an unstrained almond milk, drink away without removing the pulp!!
Vanilla Almond Milk
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup almonds, raw preferably
1/4 cup agave syrup or 1/2 cup dated pits
A pinch of sea salt
5 cups of water
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of alcohol-free vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. 
Strain almond milk through a strainer or nut bag. If using a nut bag squeeze to remove all liquid. 
Will keep in fridge for up to 4 days.
Strawberry Vanilla Almond Milk
makes 4 servings

1/2 cup almonds, raw preferably
1/4 cup agave syrup or 1/2 cup dated pits
A pinch of sea salt
5 cups of water
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tablespoon of alcohol-free vanilla extract
2 cups of strawberries, fresh or frozen
Use same process as above.
This was so delicious! Reminded me of the syrupy strawberry stuff I added to milk when I was little, but this is free of artificial dyes and nasty sugars. Its actually healthy for me 🙂 I enjoyed drinking this straight up and also used it as my milk for cereal/granola. Yummy!

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Macomile Tea recipe

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I made a beautiful tea yesterday that I was so happy to discover. My friend posted a Maca hot beverage recipe and I took that experimented with a few additions. 
I tried it with black tea, green tea and chamomile. All were great but I’m sharing with you my favorite and most beneficial version using chamomile. 
Chamomile is a very soothing flower, helping with stomach aches, easing the symptoms of irritable bowel, promotes elimination and helps overall digestion. It has immune boosting properties, helps in fighting off colds, can relieve menstrual cramps and it is a very good sleep aid. Drink this tea before bed for a lovely calming effect or just when you feel like getting cozy. It does just that! Don’t feel like getting cozy or calm and rather have a little pick-me-up in the mornings? I enjoyed a cup this morning with black tea and it was the perfect way to start my day. Mix and match with your favorite tea 🙂
Maca is an ancient Peruvian root that has been used for thousands of years as an immune strengthener, a libido enhancer, and endurance/stamina increaser. It also helps promote hormonal balance for both men and women and is beneficial towards sleep quality. It doesn’t stop there though. It is a rich natural source of calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese, as well as a wide range of protein amino acids. Maca root also supplies vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C, D and E. It has a nutty, slight caramel flavor that pairs perfectly with the chamomile.

Drink up!


Macomile Hot Tea
1 cup milk of your choice (I like almond)
1 tsp honey or sweetener of choice
1 tsp Maca root powder
1 chamomile tea bag
sprinkle or pinch of cinnamon
Warm milk in a small pot. Add tea bag and let steep for a few minutes. Next, whisk in the Maca root powder, stirring constantly. Then add honey and cinnamon, whisk all together. Serve immediately. 
Trader Joe’s now sells raw organic wild honey!


Red Lentil Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

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Red Lentil Sweet Potato Coconut Soup
from the Green Lean Bean
I wrote the directions for a Crockpot method but feel free to cook this in a traditional method using a pot. Let simmer until thickened. 

Ingredients:
2 cups dried red lentils, soaked for 2-4 hours, then rinsed.
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup onion, minced
4 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbls cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp curry
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbls tomato paste
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp of salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

2 (32 oz.) containers of Veggie broth
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 (14 oz.) can of coconut milk
baby spinach leaves, to garnish
lemon juice 
Turn crock-pot on High to warm up. Place coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger and all of the spices in the bottom of the crock-pot and let coconut oil melt and mix until all incorporated. Add broth and stir. In the mean time, cut the carrots and sweet potatoes and add them to pot. Cover and let simmer on High for up to 8 hours. (Mine took just about 8 hours to thicken) With an hour still remaining, add can of coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Serve with spinach leaves as a garnish and fresh cracked pepper.  Squeeze a little lemon juice on top–the acidity brings all the flavors together very nicely. 
1. Soak dry lentils in a bowl of water. 
2. After 2-4 hours, drain and rinse. (I use a nut milk bag)

3. Add oil, minced onions, minced garlic, minced ginger and all spices to pot. Mix well. 
4. Add broth.
 5. Cut sweet potatoes and carrots. Add to pot. 
5. Add lentils to pot. Cover and let simmer for 8 hours if using a crock-pot. Remember to take cinnamon stick out before serving!
6. Before serving add can of Coconut Milk.
7. Serve with fresh cracked pepper, lemon juice and garnish with spinach. 
Enjoy!

Motivation!

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Today was a good day for me. I began my workout routine again. I’m tired of sitting all day. I sit in my car for 2 hours on my way to work, I sit at my desk for almost 6 hours straight, get back in my car again for another 2 and then most likely will plop myself on the couch after dinner to only sit again. No wonder my back has been giving me problems lately! The cold weather demotivates me to workout but it’s time ladies and gentleman, to get my butt off that seat and get it into gear. I told my boyfriend that if he joins me at the gym, it will keep me motivated. He agreed, which I am so excited about. Gym! Here I come! My friend Lauren suggested to leave my yoga mat out all the time and as simple as that may sound it actually works. If I have something staring at me in the face, its going to be hard to walk by it. I don’t know about you, but a yoga mat on the floor is always a warm invitation to stretch. Even if I stretch for a few minutes, I know my body will thank me. 
It snowed here last night  and it was a good excuse to stay inside all day. Perfect opportunity to get some workout time in. My boyfriend is away this whole week, so I didn’t feel guilty rearranging the living room into my little gym for the day. I did have one BIG distraction though! My cat. Bowie loves the yoga mat. He bites it, tries to crawl under it and attacks my feet when I am in the middle of a sun salutation….not fun! Oh and then I caught the little bugger eating my mulberries that I just bought…silly cat. 

These are the two videos I did. The Get Ripped is intense. I picked a few workouts instead of the whole video because I want to start slow so I am not too sore. I highly recommend her videos – they are great with getting you fast results. Denise Austin I just absolutely love. I think I own every single one of her workout DVD’s. Her soothing voice and flow of exercises is easy on the mind and body while having just enough challenge to work your body in a great way. 
You want to know what has been motivating me to finally attempt to get the body I’ve always wanted? This. I am a huge Pinterest fan and spend way too much time on it. One board that I have and one I will always look at before I work out is the motivation board. 
Yay! 
Afterwards I finished with a spoonful of Glutamine (to prevent muscle soreness) and a big protein shake. 

Post-workout Popeye smoothie:
Almond milk
big handful of spinach
teaspoon of powdered greens
teaspoon of Maca powder
scoop of Sun Warrior Protein Vanilla flavor
one banana
I have a big pot of Red Lentil Sweet Potato Coconut Stew in the Crockpot as well. My house smells really cozy. Now time to start a fire and get in my jammers and fuzzy socks 🙂 
When its done, and if its good, I will share the recipe with you tomorrow!!!

stay warm and healthy
xo

Put out that fire: anti-inflammatory foods.

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Inflammation is a word derived from the Latin word meaning ‘fire’. What is inflammation? It is a reaction our body creates as a mechanism to protect itself. When the body is under stress of any sorts, it’s a natural reaction for it to attack whatever is causing this distress. This reaction can happen for things such as bug bites, abrasions, hives, etc. Sometimes though there is a thing called chronic inflammation when the body is continuously exposed to harmful stimuli, which can tax the body, and often times confuse it in identifying which invaders are bad and which are good. If the body is under constant stress often times this a welcome mat to disease. The defense system starts to get over stimulated, weak, and mixed up, therefore it starts attacking the body’s own tissues. This is known as an ‘auto-immune disease’. Crohn’s and IBS are classified as an autoimmune, just as arthritis, tuberculosis, cancer, & dermatitis. There are 80 known forms of auto-immune to this date and it is a common occurrence, effecting 5-8% of Americans. Did you know that 75% of those are women? Hmmm….interesting. 
Many can argue why we have Crohn’s. I think we can all agree that something triggered our immune system, resulting confusion in our body’s ability to fight inflammation. Scientists can agree that its a cause of environmental influences interacting with genetic factors. Something threw things off balance. We may never know what exactly caused it for ourselves as individuals but at least technology is getting closer to understanding an overall cause. 
Our bodies will always have a high chance to be in over-drive, under-drive or simple mass confusion but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to control it. I find it’s very easy to let our minds think that Crohn’s has a the upper hand and that we do not have control over this painful and debilitating disease.  My goal here at The Green Lean Bean is to make people aware that you shouldn’t allow disease to dominated you. I know thats easier said then done – trust me, I’ve been in the darkest places with Crohn’s, but know there is hope.  I have learned though over the years from my own experiences and by reading and listening about others, that we CAN have a say in our improvement. 
  • Get ample rest – 8 hours or more each night. Take naps if you can too. 
  • Get your heart going with light exercise such as rebounding or walking. 
  • Make your body more flexible with yoga or stretching. This will also allow your organs to work more properly. 
  • Calm the mind with deep breathing, meditation, and/or yoga.
  • Get out in nature and take in what the earth has provided for you. Breath fresh air, appreciate all the colors, feel the breezes running through your hair, say hi to your neighbor. 
  • Avoid or eliminate all together dairy, sugar and gluten. 
  • Eat a diet rich in plant foods, fruits and antioxidants. Increase the intake of anti-inflammatory foods. 
One step I would like to highlight from above that can help in fighting the imbalance that our body’s have is eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods. Nature has given us so many foods that are enriched with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and we should take full advantage of incorporating these into our lives. Even if you do not have an auto-immune disease, you should eat more of these foods to help avoid disease and illness. Aim for variety, include as much fresh produce as possible and avoid fast food and anything processed or filled with sugar. 
Few things you can always find in my pantry that help combat inflammation are:

  • Turmeric (I take in high-concentrated pill form)
  • Boswelia (an ayurvedic Indian herbal supplement)
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cinnamon (sprinkled on cereal, in smoothies and tea/coffee)
  • Curry (sprinkled on sandwiches/salads and to make curry stews)
  • Chili pepper
  • Kale (salads, smoothies and pesto’s) 
  • Ginger (in fresh juices, added to soups, and pickled ginger in salads and sandwiches)
  • Parsley (added to soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes)
  • Almonds (almond milk, raw almond butter, morning snack = handful of almonds)
  • Omega-3 supplements (this can be in fish oil pill form or flax oil added to smoothies)
  • Raw chocolate
  • Green Tea
  • Homemade Chicken Soup (freezer is always stocked)
  • Honey
The list doesn’t stop there though! There is a huge amount of anti-inflammatory foods. This nifty Anti-inflammatory Food Pyramid will be helpful in showing you. 
Your goal is to not just add one or two of these things a day but to have an overall large intake of these healthy foods. That is when you should feel the difference. Medicine may help with inflammation right away but eating food as medicine can take up to two weeks to notice a response within your body. 

Avoid Sugar!

I can’t stress enough how bad sugar is on the inflammatory response. It is known that sugar suppresses the immune system. It is one of the most toxic foods for your digestive lining, stripping it from healthy bacteria, causing a PH balance and making it harder for your body to heal.  Some of you may not feel immediate results from sugar intake like I do but it could be silently effecting your levels of inflammation and you may not even know it. I see it as one of the worst things you could ingest if you are suffering from an auto-immune disease. I know for me, it’s my worst enemy. Avoid it for awhile and add it back in and see if you notice a difference. 

In the next few weeks I am going to share some super-duper AI recipes with you! 
Be well. 
xo

Veggie Burgers and Raw Goodies

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It’s kind of dangerous working in NYC. I’m in such close proximity to so many green markets and raw stores. If I walk outside on my lunch break I’m always walking by somewhere I’d like to go into. In all cases I do just that and I buy. I buy a lot. I’m always on the hunt for the latest and greatest raw and healthy food to satisfy my needy taste-buds. Sometimes I stay put at my desk and order delivery just so I don’t wander over to my favorite health-food store or juice bar. I don’t necessarily need anything when I go in, but I always seem to walk out with a justifiably big bag of new purchases.

Here are some new items I picked up this week:

Gnosis Raw Chocolate – claims to be the World’s Most Nutritional Chocolate. They have sooo many tantalizing flavors. I picked up Cinna Fig which has Cacoa beans, almonds, figs, agave, black currants, cranberries, cinnamon, blue green-algae, and Love. There was a slight hint of cinnamon in each bite and lots of chewy and crunchy elements. I love bars that have added stuff in them. Brings me back to the days of eating lots of Chunky Bars with my Poppop. 
Then there was the Fleur de Sel flavor. Who says you can’t have a healthy dose of salt and sweet in one bite? the ingredients: Cacao beans, agave nectar, blue-green algae, fleur de sel salt, pink himalayan salt, love. Two varieties of salt deliver 92 minerals while also aiding in digestion the box claims. Super yummy. Not overly salty. Just right. Not as “creamy” as my other favorite raw chocolates but still good to me! 
Both these bars were dreamy to eat. My chocolate sweet tooth is sometimes hard to satisfy – and these did the trick. I really like the fact that there are lots of healthy ingredients, not just raw chocolate. 

I also picked up these Chocolate Coconut Chia Kale Krinkles. OMG. I had to stop myself from eating the whole bag. So delicious. One issue though – there is added Cane sugar – no bueno! I can’t believe I missed that ingredient before buying. Nonetheless, I now have the base to make my own batch at home! Will be experimenting soon with this recipe. 
My new snack to have in my bag for hungry attacks are Sun-dried Tomatoes 🙂
I also picked up a Raw Revolution bar. These are really not my favorite. I don’t get really excited when eating these. I gave it another chance because the Raspberry flavor seemed like it would be yummy. To say the least it was kind of disappointing in flavor. 
I’m really on a green juice kick. I can’t get enough of the stuff. I’ve been giving small samples to my boyfriend and now I  have him requesting me for some! Amazing for a meat and potatoes kinda guy. So happy he is acquiring a taste for it – its one of the healthiest things he can add to his day. I would love to make it a morning ritual for the both of us to drink our green juices together 🙂




Homemade Veggie Burgers

inspired by these

 This was my first attempt to make my own veggie burgers at home. I was convinced by the recipe on Oh She Glows…and low and behold – a pretty darn good burger if I don’t say so myself. Even my meat-eating boyfriend approved! Wow. That says something. 

Ingredients:
Yield: 8 burgers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
1 cup oats, processed into flour* (other flours might work)
1.5 cups bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of GF bread)*
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup cooked lentils, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup slivered almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds,
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
1.5 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp kosher salt)

2 tbsp Worchestire sauce (vegan kind)
few drops of hot sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.

3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. I made 8 medium patties.

4. Cooking methods: You can fry the burgers in a bit of oil on a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. If baking in the oven, bake for 25-30 mins (15-17 minutes on each side) at 350F, until golden and crisp. For the BBQ, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side. Our preferred method of cooking was frying in the skillet!!

GF Note: To make these burgers gluten-free, use certified GF oats, GF Tamari, and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

I made a raw spinach, kale, green onion “pistou” in my vitamix to smear on the buns. Just a little added nutritional bonus. 
These burgers were hearty, thick crusted, not mushy and very satisfying, especially when you loaded up on toppings…I added sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup, avocado, and “green smear”



Make a Raw version!

 Just replace oat flour with a raw nut flour, omit worchestire and hot sauce and skip step of sautéing onions and garlic. Cook in dehydrator. 
I just placed a big order with the Raw Food World – can’t wait to share with you all the treats I got! Check out their “At Cost” specials…great deals 🙂
xo

New Years Goals & Flare Scare!

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The New Year is getting off to a good start. I’m really trying to accomplish my new resolutions, although I would like to revise my list if thats ok:

1: become more active with my yoga practice
2: make more recipes from my collection of raw cookbooks
3: be more creative
4: run after my dreams a little faster
5: add an extra green juice into my day
6: be more conservative with money
7: start taking public transportation again to work —-> tried and it was more expensive, took more time and it was more stressful for me. So I will continue to drive to work. Hey, at least I tried!
8: walk more
9: turn off the lights when not using!
10: breath a little deeper each and every day
11: lessen my sugar intake
12: use my chair massager more!

13: limit daily caffeine intake
14: cut down on processed gluten-free breads and eat more raw versions instead


The other day I am not sure what caused it, but I had a little “flare” of some sorts. It was a little alarming to me because there were new symptoms involved that I never dealt with. Luckily it passed after 48 hours and I am feeling great now. I am not sure if it was even a flare or something I ate but whatever is was, it got my attention to get back on the healthy train. Too much cheating going on these past few weeks due to the holidays!! I think it was a good sign to wake myself up and get back into eating high raw/vegan foods. I’ve increased my green juices and probiotics and have been eating light but well the last 3 days which has made me feel like a million bucks!
I made an italian pasta salad (corn pasta from TJ’s) with lots of veggies
carrots, garlic stuffed olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper and kale. Sprinkled with oil & vinegar and salt & pepper.

One of my many green smoothies I’ve been enjoying with lots of kale hidden in there!

On Friday night I got takeout from Good Karma Cafe – my favorite raw nachos

I also got a Live Lemonade (apples, lemon, ginger) and their special soup – Potato Leek.
mmm…everything was so yummy. I love treating myself every once in awhile to raw takeout. 

With my little flare I had to do a little BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) to get things under control. This way of eating really helps to bind things up, which is what I needed!

Kale, cucumber, parsley, lettuce, celery, spinach, lemon, apple, pear.

All of that goodness into this magical glass of juice. Felt great and very energized after drinking this!
I know Rye is a grain that has gluten but with research, I discovered that it does not contain wheat. Some people with wheat sensitivities can handle rye, as long as its 100% rye. I was excited to see that my local Trader Joe’s carries 100% rye loaf. I’ve been enjoying this the last few days toasted with Earth Balance and my Grandma’s homemade raspberry jam. My body feels really good after eating this so I think I can say that Rye is safe for me. I also discovered while researching how healthy it is for you. Who knew? 
Rye contains high levels of protein and fiber. It also contains good amounts of iron, calcium and zinc and a whole slew of B vitamins.

Rye is good for digestion, aiding in cancer prevention and also diabetes and heart disease prevention.

I bought a few new raw goodies I can’t wait to share with you  – also, I will be posting the Veggie Burgers I made tonight in a few days!!! They turned out great 🙂

xo