One of the things I love most about what I do is teaching others how to live a healthy lifestyle through plant-based food. While love spending time in the kitchen experimenting with plants, herbs and spices, I enjoy sharing the knowledge I have received through hours of research and sometimes simple trial and error. I often encounter individuals who are apprehensive about living a plant-based life because they afraid they won't know how to feed themselves. My approach is simple: Keep it simple. That's it.
There are so many plant-based chef, just like me, who not only have culinary experience, but have spent thousands of hours creating and developing recipes. We take pleasure in pushing our culinary skills to the max, in an attempt to see how we can create new and innovative recipes using plants. While it's perfectly fine to try plant-based cuisine when dining out, I often discourage my clients to prepare these often complicated recipes when starting their journey. More often than note, there are so many components to preparing chef-quality recipes, that making dishes like these every day is not only unsustainable, it leaves you frustrated and, well, hungry. Make food fun to eat, but make it quick and easy. When you're hungry, you really don't want to put much thought into preparing your food.
This is why I love preparing food like this simple Collard Green Burrito recipe. It is simply delicious and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. I will say, the key to sticking to your healthy eating lifestyle and preparing for success. I recommend taking one day out of the week to shop for groceries and prepping produce in advance. Food prepping will save you valuable time when preparing your smoothies, wraps and salads. Less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your food.
Whenever I prepare this for workshop participants, they are always shocked at the flavor and texture of this recipe. Many people have never eating collard greens in the raw, which makes this such a fun recipe to demonstrate. This recipe is filled with nutrients and I highly recommend eating it in its natural form. can No cooking or heating elements required! However, if you don't want the earthy taste from the greens, you can always blanch your collard leaves before making your burritos. It's an extra and unnecessary steps, but will soften the leaves if you find raw leaves less desirable.
Collard Green Facts
The collard green plant is grown for its large, dark-colored and edible leaves; it grows in Brazil, Portugal, the southern United States, many parts of Africa, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, southern Croatia, northern Spain and northern India. Similar to kale, it has an upright stalk, often growing up to two feet tall. The leaves are thick and have a slightly bitter taste. Cruciferous vegetables, like collard greens, are unique because they’re rich in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which support detoxification, and indole-3-carbinol that greatly reduces the risk of breast, colon and lung cancer. Collard greens are a great source of vitamin K and vitamin A; they’re also rich is soluble fiber and have strong antioxidant properties. By adding collard greens to your diet, you reduce disease-causing inflammation, cure digestive conditions, detox your body and boost cardiovascular health.
One of the most important components of collard greens, and other cruciferous vegetables, is glutathione. This peptide consists of three key amino acids that play several vital roles in the body. It helps the liver cleanse and detoxify fat, boosts immune function, fights cancer, protects the body from environmental toxins, and prevents drug resistance. Glutathione is so important to our health that longevity researchers believe the levels that are present in our cells serve as a predictor of how long we are going to live. Collard greens boost glutathione levels and allow this molecule to do its magic.
How to Blanch Collard Green Leaves
About Ice Baths: By placing greens in an ice bath, you "shock" the vegetable leaves and which immediately stops the cooking process. This will keep the greens fresh, bright in color and helps preserve vital nutrients often lost when leafy greens and vegetables are boiled.
I was never a huge fan of chocolate until I made this waffle recipe a few years ago. Although I've made waffles for quite some time now, I was often put off recipes which created waffles which were soft and couldn't stand up to syrup, often making them limp and soggy. So, after a little bit of experimentation, I developed a recipe which created a crispy, flaky exterior and soft, light interior waffle. Perfect! Yet, I wanted variations of this recipe, so once again, I experimented with cocoa powder to create this light, decadent and amazing chocolate waffle. My goal was to simplify this recipe, using my original waffle recipe as the foundation, then adding a few ingredients which are staples in many plant-based kitchens, such as cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut milk and apple cider vinegar.
Cocoa powder is an unsweetened powder produced by grinding the seeds of the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree called the cacao, or cocoa tree. These seeds, or beans, are first fermented, then dried and roasted.
More importantly, it should be established that cocoa powder is not the same thing as cocoa mix, or instant cocoa, which—when combined with hot water or milk—instantly produces a mug full of hot cocoa. Typically sold in packets, this product contains cocoa, sugar, dehydrated milk and other ingredients, but is not what you would use to bake brownies, chocolate cake, or this waffle recipe.
Chocolate is made from cacao beans — or rather seeds — from the Theobroma cacao tree. This plant produces large, pod-like fruits, each containing 20–60 beans surrounded by a sticky, sweet-tart white pulp
As with any baking recipe, it's important that you mix all of the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients, then combine them. This will assist in homogenizing all ingredients, making a smooth, minimal-lumping waffle batter.
There are a few "make ahead" steps you'll need to take which will save you prep time. For instance, this recipe requires vegan buttermilk, which is a simple two-ingredients process. Simple mix the full-fat coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. The acid from the apple cider vinegar will cause the milk to curdle slight and add tangy flavor found in traditional dairy buttermilk. Buttermilk, an essential acidic ingredient in many baking recipes, helps tenderize gluten, giving baked goods a softer texture and more body. Vegan buttermilk is a key ingredient in this recipe, so don't skip it!
You'll also need to prepare the Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer. I have found this to be one of the BEST egg replacement products for just about all of my baking needs. While you'll be tempted to add the egg replacer directly to the dry ingredients...don't. In a small bowl, combines 1 tablespoon of egg replacer and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well and wet aside for 5 minutes. The water activates the ingredients in the egg replacer which makes it bind the batter, much like an egg. Be sure to combine the vegan buttermilk and egg replacer mixture with the wet ingredients.
While you may use a fork or rubber spatula to combine all of the ingredients, using a wire whisk is best for light whipping, adding air to the batter, which makes it light and fluffy.
To prevent your waffle batter from sticking to the waffle iron, I recommend lightly coating the grates with coconut or grape seed oil or using an oil spray. I typically my Misto oil sprayer for coating cooking and baking surfaces. You simply add your favorite cooking oil to the bottle and use the pump cap to create a aerosol mist. You can find the Misto here.
Use a measuring cup to measure batter and place in the center of the grate. No need to spread the batter and the grates will create a even waffle once the iron is closed. Use a 1/2 cup to make 4-5 large waffles or 1/3 cup to make 6-8 medium-size waffles.
Since this recipe is plant-based, I wanted to be sure I incorporated a dairy-free whipped topping recipe. Recipe below.
To make the maple almond butter, in a small bowl combine 1 cup of almond butter and 1/4 c. pure maple syrup. Mix by hand until well combined. The almond butter butter will provide the nuttiness, which is a great chocolate accompaniment, and sweetness for your waffle, so you won't need additional syrup, unless you want more.
I am a huge Sunday brunch person, so this recipe is ideal for small and large family gatherings. In order to keep your waffles warm while you making batches, set your oven to its lowest setting, place waffles on a baking sheet and keep in the oven until ready to serve.
Chocolate Almond Butter Waffles
Author | Regina Thomas Dillard
1 cup Spelt Flour (sub. Buckwheat Flour for gluten-free)
1 1/4 T. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 c. Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 1/4 c. Full Fat Coconut Milk (canned ok)
1 T. + 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T. Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer
1 T. Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Prepare Coconut "Buttermilk"
in a small bowl combine coconut milk with apple cidar vinegar. Set aside for 5-10 minutes
Prepare Bob's Red Milk Egg Replacer
in a small bowl combine 1 T. Egg replacer mix and 2 T. water. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Heat waffle iron
In medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients, including coconut "buttermilk" and egg replacer mixture.
Using a wire whisk, add wet ingredient to dry, combining a small amount at a time until all ingredients have been well incorporated.
Lightly grease waffle iron, top and bottom grates.
Use 1/2 c. to measure batter. Place batter in center of bottom grate. Close top grate and follow manufacturer's directions. Usually 1 minute per side.
Remove waffle from waffle iron.
Heat over to lowest setting.
Place waffles onto baking sheet and keep in oven until all waffles are done and ready to serve.
Coconut Milk Whipped Cream
1 14.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
2-3 T. Raw Agave Nectar
1/4 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Place a coconut milk in refrigerator and allow to sit overnight.
Next morning: Without shaking the can, turn can over and open lid.
Remove the coconut solids (only) from can and place in a mixing bowl.
Using a handheld mixer, mix on low speed.
Add agave and vanilla.
Mix all ingredients on high speed until whipped peaks form.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Will keep in refrigerator for 3 days.
Note: Use coconut liquid for smoothie and shake recipes.
7 BENEFITS OF ELDERBERRY SYRUP by Balance Team
Elderberry and its syrup derivative have been vastly explored as a natural remedy for various health conditions, including the flu, a cold, and diabetes. Learn more on the berry compelling elderberry benefits, along with how to prepare a delectable elderberry syrup.
Coming from the Sambucus plant, elderberry and its syrup derivative have been vastly explored as a natural remedy for various health conditions, including the flu, a cold, and diabetes. Learn more on the berry compelling elderberry benefits, along with how to prepare a delectable elderberry syrup!
ELDERBERRY AND ELDERBERRY SYRUP BENEFITS
Elderberry syrup uses are variable and diverse, including topping onto waffles and pancakes, mixing into teas, or using solely for these medicinal purposes:
1. Fights the Flu
While elderberry may not prevent the flu, it may be an effective treatment option if you got hit with the virus. Research shows the use of elderberry could shorten the duration of flu by about three to four days, along with lessening symptom severity if taken within the first 24 hours of having the flu. When it comes to recommended dosages, WebMD suggests one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol by Nature’s Way) has been taken four times daily for three to five days, while a specific lozenge (ViraBLOC by HerbalScience) containing 175 milligrams of elderberry extract has been taken four times daily for two days.
2. Reduces Cold Duration
Along with being a supportive agent against the flu, elderberry is well-known in its fight against the cold, particularly related to its vitamin A and C content. In fact, a 2016 research article published in Nutrients found a significant reduction of cold duration and severity in air travelers. Travelers using elderberry starting 10 days before travel until four to five days after arriving overseas experienced, on average, a two-day shorter duration of the cold and also noticed a reduction in cold symptoms.
3. Manages Diabetes
The berry has been traditionally explored in its treatment of diabetes, with evidence published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrating the presence of insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity in the proclaimed anti-diabetic plant, Sambucus nigra.
4. Promotes Mental Health
Extracts from an elder plant have shown to act as a natural antidepressant source. Though more research is still warranted in elderberry’s role in mental health, there is no denying pouring elderberry syrup atop a short stack is sure to crack a smile…
5. Acts as A Natural Diuretic
Diuretics increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body in the form of urine and are mostly used to treat high blood pressure. There has been some indication elderberry offers diuretic properties, along with acting as a laxative in the treatment against constipation.
6. Supports Skin Health
Elderberries have shown to support skin health thanks to its anthocyanin content, or the compound that gifts berries’ vibrant color. Anthocyanins have shown to combat the internal consequences of natural aging, therefore improving the external appearance of skin tone and glow. Elderberry is also a rich source of vitamins A and C, each showing to moisture the skin and maintain its integrity.
7. Reduces Inflammation
Elderberry displays numerous anti-inflammatory activities, particularly related to its anthocyanin and vitamins A and C contents. Inflammation has shown to be the root of many chronic diseases, which may label elderberry as a contender against the fight against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
HOW TO MAKE ELDERBERRY SYRUP
1 c. Elderberry (Whole Berries)
1 Cinnamon Stick (Whole) or 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Opt. 1" piece Fresh Ginger, sliced
2 c. Spring Water
1/2 c. Raw Honey*, Monkfruit Sugar or Raw Cane Sugar
Opt. 1/4 c. Bourbon Whiskey
Cheesecloth or Milk Bag
(*Advisory Kids Health.org : It is recommended that "babies younger than 1 year old should not be given honey. Clostridium bacteria that cause infant botulism usually thrive in soil and dust. ... As kids get older, they can have honey because their mature digestive systems move the Clostridium bacteria spores through the body before they can cause harm".
In a medium-size pan, combine elderberries and water.
Bring to a rolling boil.
Add ginger and cinnamon and stir.
Simmer for 30 mins uncovered.
Remove from heat and allow mixture to steep for 1 hour.
Remove cinnamon stick and ginger pieces. Allow to cool for 20 mins.
Place cheesecloth or milk bag over a 4 cup glass measuring cup or glass bowl.
Pour entire contents of pan into cheesecloth.
Use hands to gve a slight twist to the top of the cheesecloth or bag to prevent contents from seeping through the top.
Gently squeeze the bag, allowing the liquid to be expressed and into the bowl.
Once all the liquid has been removed, place the cheesecloth or bag with seeds into the sink.
Do not rest on counter or surfaces, as the elderberries will cause a light-colored counter to stain.
Add sweetener and stir until fully incorporated.
Add optional whiskey.
Store in a clean, sanitized jar with lid, in refrigerator up to 2 months.
Servings: 1-2 tsp per day.
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Regina Thomas Dillard is a certified plant-based chef, the author of "FEED: Living Food Recipes to be Made and Eaten with Love", and founder of Inner + Sanctum Wellness, a business dedicated to assist others as they embark on their holistic journey. All products are handmade and sourced from reputable organic and natural ingredients.