The pili nut (pronounced “peeley”) is probably the nut you’ve never heard of because pili nuts are not native to North America or Europe. Grown in Southeast Asia and primarily in the Philippines, the pili nut is often called “the chosen one” because of its nutritional value (high in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, zinc, Vitamin B1, vitamin B6, folate, copper and 8 essential amino acids).
Shaped like an almond in the shell and a pine nut in the raw, the pili nut tastes like a creamy mild macadamia nut, although a friend says “a pili nut tastes like the offspring of a macadamia nut and a pine nut.” Like most nuts, you can do many things to it: dry, sprout, roast, mill, candy, caramelize, and even turn it into nut butter. It’s that versatile. But, like most nuts, the quality of a pili nut varies depending on where and how its grown. Read more
If you think a cake can’t taste great without white flour, butter, oil,, eggs, and refined sugar, think again because it’s all about finding alternative nutritious ingredients to replace the undesirables. Instead of white flour, consider oats and almond flour.; instead of butter, oil, and refined sugar, choose date paste (dates and water); instead of eggs, select ground flaxseed meal. Using these alternative ingredients not only produces a nutritious cake but also a delicious one…promise! Read more
Several months ago, I was in a restaurant (Levél Veggie Bistro) by Retiro Park in Madrid when I was blown away by a dish called “Timbal Fresco de Quinoa” which means “Fresh Quinoa Timbale.” This beautiful plate of layered quinoa, sliced avocado, and chopped tomatoes with sprouts and ground black peppercorns on top was served with basil leaves along with a lemon squeezer and olive oil. I simply sprinkled the fresh lemon juice over the top with a sprinkle of salt and the flavor was magnificent. Read more
No prep. No waste. No mess. No wait.
Who doesn’t love a smoothie? A thick, smooth drink typically made with fruit, vegetables, and some type of liquid (i.e. water, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, juice, etc), a smoothie is thirst quenching, filling, usually nutritious (depending on what is added to the fruits and vegetables), delicious, and very satisfying.
The problem with smoothies is that you either have to make a smoothie at home or go to a store to have one made for you, which isn’t always convenient. You may be on your bike, at a sports event, or even in the car when all you have is a dry energy bar in your backpack or handbag when what you really want is a smoothie. Until recently, you had to settle for the energy bar but not anymore. Read more
Fresh Summer Corn Salad is an easy and delicious summer side dish made with 4 ingredients: fresh corn, tomatoes, parsley, and spices (preferably pink peppercorns, salt and pepper). But, the quality of the salad greatly depends on the quality of the ingredients: fresh corn, sweet cherry tomatoes, and fresh flat leaf parsley.
Fresh corn on the cob is abundant in August so finding good quality corn shouldn’t be a problem. Look for bright green moist husks. Read more
Lark Ellen Farms is leading the pack in redefining what granola is and can be. Instead of oats as a base, this California-based company uses organically grown and certified nuts and seeds and takes them through a process of sprouting (a soaking process) to help make the nutrients more easily absorbable when consumed. The sprouted nuts and seeds are mixed with other organic ingredients and then air dried at a low temperature to help keep the nutrient content intact.
Lark Ellen Farms makes 6 different varieties of granola (although 5 of the flavors are called “granola bites” and one flavor is called a “cereal” with the differentiation made based on the size of the finished product in the bag. The bites are larger but easily crumble while the cereal contains smaller, looser pieces). Read more
Just when I think I have the vegan dining options figured out in Asheville, more pop up. Most of the plant-based dining options in Asheville are at non-vegan restaurants which says a lot about the culture in western North Carolina. Even if menus don’t list a vegan option, most restaurants accommodate plant-based eaters by eliminating the animal products or making an off menu dish. With that in mind, the following restaurants in Asheville offer some great plant-based options for vegans. Read more
Looking for a granola bar that is vegan, gluten-free and made with organic ingredients? How about a granola bar that tastes crunchy, delicious, and satisfying? Then Nana Joes Granola Bars are the bomb. Handmade in San Francisco, Nana Joes Granola Bars come in four flavors, three of which have a base of oats and maple syrup and one with a base of unsweetened coconut chips and maple syrup: Read more
Eating light in the summertime is as easy as tossing a salad together with fresh seasonal produce. Fill a large bowl with assorted greens (the darker the better) and then add a handful of blackberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries along with a chopped avocado and sliced almonds for an added crunch. Drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette or your favorite dressing over the top, toss and serve. Lunch never tasted so good! Read more