What do richly colored food like avocados, blueberries, dark chocolate, pomegranates, and turmeric have in common? They are all super foods, filled with essential vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants — just what every energy-seeking DIYer needs, right? At a luncheon at Sue Henry’s Del Ray house, I recently learned how easy it is to work super foods into one’s diet — all within the confines of a small kitchen and without a lot of extra equipment.
You get a wide range of remarkable benefits from super foods depending on the type: greens, fruits and nuts, raw honey, seaweeds, and herbs. They pack a lot of punch for their weight by being nutrient dense and low in calories. They’re the best source of anti-oxidants to fight free radicals in the body and ward off disease, and they provide us with nutrients we don’t make ourselves, like Omega 3, and may not be found in foods grown in depleted soil. Super indeed.
Sue dispelled the notion I had that you have to have a big fancy kitchen with room for exotic ingredients and gigantic appliances like a juicer or food dehydrator. She also demonstrated how quick and easy it is to make recipes that include more of these remarkable ingredients. (You can find the recipes for everything she served for lunch at the end of this post.)
Sue has a powerful vitamix blender, although you can do quite well with a standard blender. The vitamix breaks down more of the fruit or vegetable, so you’re not left with tough-to-eat chunks in your smoothie. It’s small, but also quite pricy. She used a manual juice squeezer as well. But that’s it in terms of kitchen appliances you need to incorporate super foods in your diet. The other requirement is a willingness to try new recipes.
When we first arrived, Sue poured each of us a big glass of smoothie.
On the dining room table, the other two women who co-hosted the event, Kathy Judd and Diana Reynolds, unveiled a beautiful quinoa salad, and a kale salad with tahini dressing.
A thick green soup simmered on the stove.
Some of the more exotic super foods were on display like cacao sweet nips, hemp seeds, and goji berries, each of which you can find at Whole Foods or MOMs in Arlandria.
After we piled the super food goodness on our plates and sat down to eat, Sue described her discovery of healthy eating and super foods, as well as the Aztecian seed (originating from a flowering herb), a strain of which she and her co-hosts sell independently, called Mila. I left with a sample that I’ve been adding to Greek yogurt every morning.
On the way out, Sue handed each of us a bag with sample oat bars, that I’m telling you, are a knock-out. I tried one small taste on the way home and nibbled away at the rest during my afternoon commute for school pickup. My kids loved the texture and flavor too.
Blueberry Brain Boost Smoothie
1 cup fresh pressed apple juice
1 fresh ripe banana
1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
¼ cup raw walnuts
Mila gel; combine one scoop of Mila with 4 oz of water. Mila will absorb the water after 5 minutes to form a gel
Combine the apple juice and banana in a blender. Add the blueberries, raspberries, walnuts and Mila gel. Blend until smooth
Sue highly recommends her dear friends’ Sara & Mary’s
new book Super Charged Smoothies. The book has 50 recipes for high energy refreshment.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens
1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 med onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 3 lbs.), florets, and stems cut into 1-inch pieces (8 to 9 cups)
4.5 cups filtered water
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for a garnish
5 large kale or collard leaves or a combination, tough ends removed and leaves roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat; cook onion, covered until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes more. Add cauliflower, and pour in filtered water until it reaches just below the top of the cauliflower.
Bring to boil over high heat. Add 2 TB of dill. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in greens, and simmer for 3 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in remaining 2 TB of dill. Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding more water (about ½ cup) if it’s too thick. Return to pot and reheat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill, black pepper, a drizzle of oil, and a pinch of sea salt.
Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
This is a recipe adaptation from a friend of Sue’s and raw food chef, Mikaela
Holzer. It’s nice to keep in the frig for quick salads midday. A favorite combos during this kale-craze of late has been a mix of apple, almonds and hemp seeds. Just add what you have around, though, and what is in season. Pears and persimmons are coming in season and they are great. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds either toasted or RAW add great dimension as well. Hemp seeds are a MUST either way as they make a great cheese substitute and add a healthy dose of Omegas!
1 cup RAW Tahini
1 cup water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 bunch parsley, stems removed
6-8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
pinch of sea salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of agave nectar or a couple drops of stevia.
Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate and use for easy weekday kale salads.
No further recipe necessary, just chop some kale, toss in scoop of tahini dressing, top with chopped apple, chopped almonds, and hemp, or whatever suits your fancy!
31/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled to room temp (1 cup quinoa cooked according to package instructions)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins (hydrated in boiling water for 10 minutes and strained)
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno, (seeds optional)
1 heaping cup mighty mint vinaigrette
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more mint vinaigrette if desired. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.
Mila Oat Balls
1 Cup oatmeal
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup mila
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips-bittersweet
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. clove (ground)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup tart cherries
Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for a half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.