Smokey Black Bean Chili

Over the years, Mary and I have gotten in the habit of making chili with pounds of ground chuck and sausage, but we both agree that a robustly flavored smokey black bean chili can be every bit as satisfying as the meat-ladened version, and healthier too! Feel free to use a variety of beans if you so desire.

Smokey Black Bean Chili

Smokey Black Bean Chili

1/2 cup olive oil
5 cups chopped onions (3 medium onions)
4 cups coarsely chopped red and green bell peppers (about 4 medium)
2 teaspoons sea salt
12 garlic cloves, chopped (3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Chipotle powder or hot sauce to taste
Four 14.5-ounce fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
Four 15-ounce organic black beans, drained
One 14-ounce organic chicken or veggie broth
3 tablespoons organic cacao powder
2 tablespoons blond coconut palm sugar or a drizzle of agave nectar
Fresh lime juice to taste

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and bell peppers. Season with 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Sauté until onions soften, about 7 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer. Add garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes.  Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and chipotle powder (or hot sauce). Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.  Mix in crushed tomatoes, beans, broth and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt. Stir in the cacao powder and coconut sugar. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with lime juice, and more hot sauce and sea salt if necessary.

Ladle chili into bowls. (We like to serve it over quinoa).  Pass chopped cilantro, grated cheese, and green onions separately.


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Homemade Almond Milk

If you have ever tasted fresh homemade almond milk, we bet you will be inspired, like we were, to keep it in your refrig at all times. The good news is that it’s simple to prepare and it makes a healthy substitute for milk. The bad news is that you need to think ahead, because it’s best to soak the almonds for 6 hours or overnight. We use almond milk for our breakfast cereal in the morning, for tea, coffee and for an array of smoothies. Sometimes we just let it rip and drink it right out of the glass mason jar!

almond milk

1 cup raw (not pasteurized) organic almonds,
enough filtered water to cover almonds for soaking
3 cups filtered water
generous pinch of sea salt
2-3 Medjool dates
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
a couple drops of almond extract
dash of ground cinnamon

Place the almonds in a glass bowl and cover with filtered water for 6-12 hours. Strain. Add almonds to high-speed blender with 3 cups filtered water and remaining ingredients. Blend on high speed for about 2 minutes. For the most voluptuous almond milk, let the blended mixture sit for 15-20 minutes before straining through a nut milk bag or a fine sieve-strainer.

You can save the almond meal for your chickens, your compost or put it in the freezer for RAW cookies and cakes. (see Café Gratitude cookbook for ideas) Season with more sea salt, cinnamon or almond and vanilla extract as you like. Refrigerate. Almond milk lasts about 3-5 days.

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Mila Power Breakfast

Our physical therapist inspired us with this combination of nuts and seeds in-the-raw and it has morphed over the years to include Mila and other super foods. He preaches the importance of breakfast as the biggest meal of the day following the motto “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” We invite you to Super-Charge your life with this power breakfast which will leave you feeling like royalty. Feel free to make your own rendition based on the super foods and fruits that you love.

Basic Nut/Seed Mixture
2 cups organic raw pumpkin seeds
2 cups organic raw walnuts
2 cups organic raw almonds
2 cups organic raw white sesame seeds
2 cups organic hemp seeds

Mix together in a bowl and store in a glass container in your freezer. (This takes a little time and effort in the beginning to get started, but this mix will last for a long time.)

Daily toppings
2 tablespoons dried organic coconut
and /or 3 tablespoons organic rolled oats, uncooked
1 tablespoon goji berries(optional)
1/2  to 1 scoop Mila or Chia
*almond milk (see recipe as fresh is best, but purchased will do)
*fruit of choice

Mila Power Breakfast

Mila Power Breakfast

For Assembly:
Place about 1/3 cup of nut/seed mix in a bowl. Add coconut AND/OR oats and gojis.  Remember that gojis will change the taste significantly.  Some days we are in the mood for them (particularly with berries on top) and some days we aren’t.  Add Mila and almond milk.  Then top with fruit. Enjoy.

*We particularly love a medley of berries on the cereal as they are lower in sugar than some of the other fruits. In the fall, apples add pizzazz. Spring inches us into strawberry season. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and peaches are featured in the summer. Bananas, pears, mango, and acai are great in the winter even though they have more sugar. Feel free to mix and match and to be creative. Even though you can buy just about any fruit any time of the year, try going with the flow of the seasons.

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Smokey Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

Here is one of our all-time favorite soup recipes.  If you cannot find the chipotle chilies in adobo sauce at your local supermarket, then you can substitute with a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!

Smokey Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
One 28-ounce can fire roasted chopped tomatoes (not in puree)
One 14-ounce can fire roasted whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
Two 14-ounce cans chicken broth
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus more as needed (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped basil

Smokey Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

Smokey Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

Heat the oil in a 6-quart heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the tomatoes and all their juices, the chicken broth, the ketchup, the tomato paste, the sugar, the chipotle, and the smoked paprika.  Add remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring frequently, over low heat for 45 minutes. Whisk in the cream and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with more kosher salt to taste.  Remove from heat and add basil just before serving.

Note:  You can find canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (smoked jalapeños in a thick red sauce) in supermarkets and Latino specialty markets.

Serves about 6.

Do-ahead:  The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead.

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Raw Cacao Fudge

We are serious dark chocolate junkies.  We adapted this recipe from Café Gratitude and it was 10,000 times better than any high end chocolate bar we have ever experienced.  If you haven’t gone RAW with chocolate, try this recipe.  Note, this is very dark and very rich, and LOADED with happy thoughts!

1 cup gently melted cacao butter (see note)
1 1/4 cups cacao powder
1/2 cup light agave syrup
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup cacao nibs (optional, see note)
1 1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Makes 25 Fudge Squares

Add the slightly warm cacao butter to a medium bowl with remaining ingredients.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Transfer mixture to a baking sheet or pyrex dish (8×8x2 is ideal), lined with heavy wax paper (which will keep it from sticking to the pan and creating an unruly mess).  Smooth with an off-set spatula to achieve a level surface area.  Garnish if you desire.  Set in fridge or freezer until the fudge becomes firm, about 20 minutes.  Remove the fudge from fridge or freezer and transfer onto a cutting board, cut into the shape and size you so choose.

Raw Cacao Fudge with Mila

Raw Cacao Fudge with Mila

Note:  We purchase cacao butter from Whole Foods.  If you can’t find it, feel free to order online from Navitas Naturals or Ultimate Super Foods .

Note: We love the crunchy texture of the whole cacao nibs, but if you prefer a smooth texture, no need to add them.

Garnish ideas:  Sometimes we sprinkle the fudge with goji berries, dried tart cherries, coarse sea salt, and/or unsweetened coconut for variation.

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Quinoa Salad with Mighty Mint Vinaigrette, Black Olives and Golden Raisins

Quinoa is our grain of choice.  It is full of protein, rich in fiber and a good source of calcium which are just a few of the perks of this true super food.  Eat it with a drizzle of olive oil, have it for breakfast with baked apples or whip up a mighty-minty-salad, like we have done below.  We have been serving this salad at our Super-Charged Mila gatherings as a way of sharing health and wellness.  With or without Mila, it is super-charged with nutrition and the yum factor is off the charts.

We usually double the “Might Mint” recipe so we have extra on hand for sprucing up just about everything, from grilled chicken and salmon, to salads, grains and lamb.

Quinoa Salad with Mighty Mint Vinaigrette

Quinoa Salad with Mighty Mint Vinaigrette

Mighty Mint Vinaigrette:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Combine the olive oil, mint and garlic in a blender and blend until puréed, about 15 seconds. Add the vinegar, mustard, kosher salt, and pepper to taste and blend until just incorporated, about 5 seconds. Do not overblend or the vinaigrette will be too thick. Refrigerate until chilled for up to 1 week.

Makes approximately 1 cup

For Salad:
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.

What is your favorite quinoa recipe?

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Kale, Apple, Carrot Smoothie

Kale, Apple, Carrot

The more greens you eat, the better you feel.  Kick off 2012 with green smoothies galore!

This veggie blend rocks our world.  Though it may seem like a grown-up blend, even our little tyke, Johnny Red adores it!  We love it even more knowing that the lovely leaves of the kale plant provide more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around.  We keep purchased carrot juice on hand for convenience to avoid pulling out both the juicer and the blender.  Use this recipe as a launching pad for other creative blends.  We sometimes add chopped fresh ginger, other times fresh parsley, spinach, chard or event Brussel sprouts (1/2 cup/55 g, quartered, for this recipe).  Kale-app-carrot is a divine combination and insanely healthful, too, but customize this recipe to suit your buds.

Kale, apple, carrot

Makes about 3 cups/720 ML; serves 2

1 ½ cups/360 ml fresh-pressed carrot juice
½ cup/120 ml filtered water
1 cup/30 g firmly packed chopped kale leaves, tough stems and spines removed
1 small apple, cored and diced
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Combine the carrot juice, water, kale, apple, sunflower seeds, and lemon juice in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  For best results, use a high speed blender such as a Vitamix.

Have you taken the plunge into green smoothie land?  What is your favorite recipe?

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Not Your Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie

We couldn’t be more thrilled to share this recipe with you.  Hope this dish will be an inspiration for your Thanksgiving or upcoming holiday dinner.  Enjoy!

Not Your Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie

There are 2 big heads up for this recipe that you need to know. You MUST have a high speed blender (don’t bother if you don’t have one) and the cheesecake needs to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours and preferably over night. For those who don’t have a high speed blender, hope the pure deliciousness of this cake will inspire you to rush out and buy one. Know that we have adapted this wholesome and delicious “cheeseless” cheesecake from Café Gratitude, a raw food restaurant in our area that is very well regarded for their innovation with RAW desserts. What’s really exciting is that you can make so many different flavors using this method, from Key Lime and Banana Cream Pie, to Deep Chocolate. They are all fabulous! We just wanted to give you a little peak into the possibilities of RAW desserts!

Pecan Crust:
5 Medjool dates, pitted (1/4 cup date paste)
3 cups raw pecans
1/4 teaspoon Bourbon vanilla extrac
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Pumpkin Filling:
3 cups raw, shredded butternut squash (medium pack about 7 ounces) (save a handful for garnish)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (either canned milk or blend together the flesh and water of a Young Thai Coconut – video tutorials and instructions can be found online)
6 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon ginger juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
2 Tablespoons non-GMO organic lethicin powder
3/4 cup unscented coconut oil (1/2 extra virgin/ 1/2 refined), melted and cooled to room temperature
Fresh lemon to taste

Lightly grease a 9-inch spring form pan with coconut oil.

Place the dates in the food processor and blend until a smooth paste is formed. Remove the paste and place in a small bowl. Place the pecans in the food processor and top with little bits of the date paste divided all around. Add the vanilla and sea salt in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the crust starts to rise on the sides of the bowl. (Be aware that pecans have a high fat content, so do not over process or it will turn to butter). As the mixture comes together, scrape down the sides occasionally. The mixture should stick together slightly, but if crumbly, add a little more vanilla. Distribute crust evenly on the bottom and sides of the pan and lightly compact. Set aside. (When forming the crust, be careful not to press too hard because this could create some sticking when serving. However, if you don’t press hard enough, the crust could be crumbly when serving.

Combine all ingredients for the filling in a high-speed blender, except the coconut oil and lecithin. Blend until smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes. Turn off blender and add the lecithin and melted coconut oil. Blend until well incorporated and taste. Add another small pinch of salt if necessary and lemon to taste. Pour into pan with prepared crust.

Place in the freezer to set, 1-2 hours or until middle of pie is firm to touch. Then transfer to the refrigerator. Garnish with butternut squash, a dash of cinnamon and serve. Store covered in your refrigerator from 4-7 days. It freezes well too.

Yield: About 10 servings

Note:  if your blender is struggling, blend ½ the recipe at a time

Raw Pumpkin Pie

Raw Pumpkin Pie

Have you ever used a Thai Young Coconut, if so in what recipe?

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Kale is the New Lettuce

We just got back from Las Vegas for the Mila convention with Lifemax. It was super-charged on so many levels, empowering people to embrace health, and so full of inspiring people sharing ideas. But one thing is for sure, we didn’t get enough greens and we were craving this tangy salad upon our return.

The jury is out… “kale is the new lettuce!” We are utterly obsessed with kale these days, particularly this savory, tart and tangy recipe. As you know we love our super foods, so the addition of goji berries and hemp seeds add a super-charged twist, but you can make the recipe without them if you wish.

Sweet & Sour Kale Salad with Dried Mango, Goji Berries & Hemp Seeds

3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Amino (think gluten free soy sauce)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 tablespoon light agave nectar
1 cup roughly chopped dried unsweetened mango
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup goji berries
10 cups kale roughly chopped into ½- inch ribbons or torn into little pieces (middle vein and stem removed)(1 large bunch kale)
1/2 cup hemp seeds

Directions: Whisk together the Braggs, the lemon juice, the olive oil, and the agave nectar in the bowl. Add the mango, onions and goji berries and marinate while preparing the other ingredients, at least 15 minutes, but the longer the better. Add the kale and the hemp seeds. We encourage you to mix this salad by hand and really massage the kale and the vinaigrette into one another. The acid in the vinaigrette helps break down the fibrous kale and really enhances its flavor. You can serve immediately, but we think its best refrigerated for a couple of hours. This salad is even delicious served the next day (and GREAT for breakfast)!

A few things to note: Everybody measures the kale differently in this recipe, so adjust the Bragg, lemon, and olive oil accordingly.  If the kale salad seems dry, add more of these ingredients in the ratio above.  If the salad seems wet, add a few more handfuls of kale.  Also, adjust lemon to taste because the dried mango varies in sweetness. And if you are not familiar with Braggs, you can find it at Whole Foods!

Sweet and Sour Kale Salad with Dried Mango, Goji Berries and Hemp Seeds

Sweet & Sour Kale Salad with Dried Mango, Goji Berries & Hemp Seeds

Have you ever cooked with goji berries? This sweet red fruit, native to Asia, adds a little dose of medicine to strengthen your immune system as we head into winter. Although we don’t love eating goji berries by the handful, we love them plumped with the lemon-bragg marinade! Hemp seeds offer a great blast of protein as well as omegas. Do you have recipes with goji berries and hemp seeds that you would like to share?

Stay tuned for next weeks recipe, Not Your Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie!

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Super Foods

Hi y’all, we are back!  Sorry for the lack of communication, but we have gotten distracted with our Mila business and have gotten distracted by life. But do not fret; we are committed to updating you with recipes, stories, events, and many more exciting happenings.

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege to spend the weekend with family and friends at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.  In case you hadn’t heard, Travel + Leisure Magazine recently named Blackberry Farm the “Number 1 Resort in the Continental U.S. and Canada” for 2011.  And after our stay, we totally agree!  While we were there we taught a cooking class highlighting Super Foods.  We created several new recipes for this special weekend.  Below you will find the first of many that we will be sharing with you!  Enjoy!!!

Mary and Sara teaching at Blackberry Farm.

Mary and Sara teaching at Blackberry Farm.

Chocolate Macaroon Truffles

We affectionately call these divine little taste sensations “Chocolate Mac Macs” and boast their pure chocolate prowess… no dairy, no eggs, no refined sugar and no cooking required!  You can throw all the ingredients in a bowl and whip them up in 5 minutes.  You just have to grab a helper with little hands to form the balls and finish them off with a dusting of coconuts.

1 ¾ cups unsweetened raw coconut, finely grated (the finer the better for this recipe)
½ cup almond flour
1 cup extra virgin coconut oil (unrefined)
1/3 cup coconut butter (see note)
Scant ½ cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1 scoop (2 tablespoons) Mila
1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon agave syrup (light, not amber)
1 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt

In a medium bowl, combine 1 ¼ cup of the unsweetened coconut, the almond flour, the coconut oil and the coconut butter.  Using your hands, massage the coconut oil and butter into the coconut flakes.  Work it baby!!!  The warmth of your hands will help soften the coconut oil and butter to facilitate the process.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir together until well incorporated.

*Please note, if you are in warm/hot weather climates the oils will loosen and you may need to refrigerate the truffles before serving.*

Chocolate Macaroon Truffles

Chocolate Macaroon Truffles

What is your favorite Super Food?  Our next recipe will be a Kale Salad – did you know that Kale is the new lettuce?

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