beet

"Psychedelic" Salad

Maintaining a food blog is a lot like working out; if you take a break, it's hard to start again. I know a lot about both. I love cooking and photography; both allow me to explore my creative side. It was that enjoyment and my desire to share healthy recipes that got me to start this food blog. This past summer was really exciting. We started a small garden, started raising our own chickens and I found myself training for my first 5k! Despite my best intentions of sharing more recipes throughout the summer, as you can tell. It just didn't happen. Without trying to explain myself, or make excuses, I'm simply going to say that there is a lot of work that goes into pulling a post together after the dish is prepare, and frankly, I didn't make that a priority.

But, I'm back and resolved to start sharing recipes again! No surprise, with the start of the New Year, I'm refocusing on my health. I started the year off detoxing and eating completely clean. I haven't even had a drink since New Years Eve! I got back to a fitness regiment and signed up for a 15 class January yoga challenge. Last Saturday, after my 8am Vinyasa class I stopped by for the opening day of a Winter Farmer's Market hosted by a local garden center.

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This was exactly what I needed to start getting inspired again. I arrived about a half hour early, while the vendors were still setting up. It was a smart move because I got to scout out who was going to be there that week, and give myself enough time to line up for Red Fire Farm's stand, who sells amazing produce. Within a few minutes I scored some brussel sprouts, mixed lettuce, purple kale and butternut squash. I then quickly got in line to get some root vegetables from Winter Moon Roots.

I don't like to pick favorites, but of all the vendors that I've seen at the market since I started going two years ago, Winter Moon Roots has one of the most alluring set-ups. Their root vegetables range the full color spectrum, and the bright colors of the beets and carrots pull you in. Not only do they have a wide array of roots themselves (from parsnips to potatoes to turnips to radishes and more), they carry several varieties of each.

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Cleverly they slice open the produce to reveal the beauty inside. This week I couldn't help but pick up some cool looking "Psychedelic" or Chioggia beets. Inspiration for this winter salad instantly came after seeing the name and colors. I couldn't wait to go home and whip up my lunch. It's worth noting that the only thing "psychedelic" about these beets are their cool colors; they are not going to make you "trip"!

Salads are usually easy dishes to pull together, but when making a beet salad, you do have to account for the time it takes to roast your beets.  As soon as I returned home, I got my oven preheated, washed the beet I was going to use for the recipe, splashed it with some oil, wrapped it in foil and threw it in the oven. Cooking time varies greatly depending on the size of your beet, but I knew mine would need to roast for about 40 mins. Rather than wait around, that gave me plenty of time to unload my groceries, wash and prep my other produce for that week, and tidy up around the kitchen.

Around the 40 min mark , I checked the doneness of the beet with a knife. It should be easy to puncture, as if you were checking on a baked potato. Pull it out of the oven and let it cool slightly before handling. With a pairing knife, gently scrape the outside skin. It will peel away easily. Discard. Slice or chop your beet however you choose. My beet was large enough that I saved half of it for other salads later in week. As it finished cooling I started assembling the salad.

I started with super fresh mixed greens from the market - I especially like how there were varying shades of greens and some pops of reddish purple from the red leaf lettuce. To add another punch of color to play with the ruby colored beets, I shaved some red cabbage. I've talked a lot about beets, and while they inspired this salad, I didn't want them to be the star. No, they'd share the stage (or plate) with bright segments of orange.

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Oranges are one of those fruits that make getting through the winter a lot easier. They are a great reminder of warmer months ahead and packs a heavy punch of Vitamin-C, not to mention they taste delicious!  You'll have to feel comfortable with your knife skills to segment out your orange, but after watching a quick video, I realized how easy it was.

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Greens, beets, citrus.... I needed some fat! Yes, all salads need, no, deserve a healthy fat. Avocado was going to be the perfect healthy fat for this salad. It was going to have the perfect creaminess to pair with the citrus notes from the orange segments and the vinaigrette (besides, I am partial to avocado). Seeds are also a great source of healthy fat for salads, and since I also wanted some crunch, I sprinkled on some unsalted pumpkin seeds I had on hand.

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And lastly, the dressing; a bright citrus vinaigrette to bring all the flavors together. Dressing is way to easy to make, so if you are still looking for a resolution this year, try to start making homemade dressing. Classic vinaigrette use equal parts oil to vinegar or something else acidic. My dressings usually use more vinegar and citrus juices, which pack big flavor without a lot of calories, than oil making mine 1 part oil to 2 parts vinegar. But there is really no way to mess it up. I took some extra virgin olive oil and added it to a small mason jar. Then I squeezed the leftover orange juice, plus juice of a lemon to give it a rounded citrus flavor. Finally I added a splash of white wine vinegar and a touch of salt and pepper. I covered the jar and gave it a shake to emulsify the dressing.

When I make dressings, I'll make them in small batches. I only needed about 1-2 tablespoons for a single serving of my salad, leaving me with extra for other salads throughout the week.

So there you have it! A beautifully bright and balanced salad with earthy beets, sweet oranges and creamy avocado to put a smile on your face in the dead of winter!

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Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 medium to large size Chioggia beet, roasted and sliced
  • 2 organic navel oranges, segmented
  • 1 cup shaved red cabbage
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 4 cups of mixed organic greens of your choice

Citrus Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice from orange (after being segmented)
  • 1-2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Beets

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Clean beets, leaving skin on, wrap in foil.
  • Bake for 30-50 mins depending on size of beet until tender.
  • Remove and let cool. Once you can easily handle the beet, use a pairing knife to scrape of the skin.
  • Slice or chop to desired size.

Citrus Dressing

  • In a small mason jar, add all the ingredients for the dressing and shake vigorously to emulsify. Use the dressing throughout the week for future meals.

Assembling the salad

  • Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Add 3-4 tbs of the dressing* and toss.
  • *If you are saving half of the salad for a meal later in the week, store without the dressing. Just use 1-2 tablespoons for a single serving.

Berry Beet & Tropical Beet Smoothies

In case you haven't noticed, the holidays are here! After a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, indulging in a few too many Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Latte Muffins, its time to get back on track with healthy eating habits. This is the time of year where most people's fitness and health goals are thrown out the window, accepting defeat long before Christmas Day is even here. If you are looking to get fit and healthy the worst thing you can do right now is push that off until the New Year. On average, Americans gain 7-10lbs pounds* between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I'm commiting myself to posting healthy recipes you can start enjoying today to help stay fit and healthy. One of my tips for maintaining a healthy diet is incorporating smoothies. I absolutely love smoothies, in fact I have at least one a day.To kick off December, here are TWO smoothie recipes for you to try.

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That’s right! We back on beets! If you saw our very first post for Roasted Beet Hummus you’re familiar with the health benefits of beet. If not, let me quickly recap how awesome these ruby gem’s are: they are packed with nutrients including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. They are a high source of energy, and also natural detoxers. You can read more about there benefits here and even more here.

You get most of a vegetable’s or fruit’s nutrients when you eat them raw, which is why beets are fantastic in juices or smoothies. I haven’t gotten into juicing yet, I prefer smoothies, even if there is more “pulp” because I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything. One of the benefits of eating raw vegetables and fruits is for the fiber so why strain it all out?

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Speaking about waste - I like to use the beet greens as well. Now here me out, I know adding greens to your smoothie seems weird, especially if you haven't made a lot of smoothies before, but I'm telling you they are worth it. Yes, beet root (the red bulb we use) are full with nutrients, but beet greens have their own set of great vitamins and nutriets which help round out the recipe. Beet greens actually have a very mild flavor, so with all the other sweet fruits you are adding to the recipe, you will not taste it! The recipe only calls for a quarter cup of greens, but if you'd like to add more, by all means, bump the quarter cup up to a full cup. If you still are apprehensive about beet greens, try adding baby spinach instead, its slightly sweeter.

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The first recipe is for a Berry Beet Smoothie. I start off with a half of a medium beet, peeled. The juice from beets stain, so when you are peeling you're beet, don't be wearing white. If you don't want you're fingers and hands to get discolored bright pink, be sure to wear some gloves. I go roque, sans gloves, and just get my hands to the sink as soon as I can after peeling and chopping the beet.

As the name implies, I then add a bunch of my favorite berries - a cup of raspberries and a half a cup of blueberries. Frankly, you can really add any combination you like - feel free to sub out for strawberries or blackberries, but keep the total fruit to 1.5-2 cups. I also add a half of a frozen banana. Banana's help to keep you full during the day, so my smoothies almost always have a half to whole banana. Once they are ripe, I chop them up and freeze them. A frozen banana adds some nice texture to the smoothie.

Another key ingredient in a good smoothie, is fat. Yes, I said it, FAT IS GOOD... well, not all fats, but healthy fats, like Omega-3. Flaxseed serves a good fat to add to a smoothie with about about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s in each tablespoon. I usually buy a ground flaxseed from Trader Joe's. I find that the ground version is much easier to incorporate into smoothies. Ground flaxseed is also easier for your body to process so you can absorb more of their nutriets.

Lastly the Beet Berry Smoothie comes together with unsweetened almond milk (which if you follow Mindful Glutton, you know is one of the stables in our fridge). I like how the creaminess of the almond milk balances the acidity and sweetness from the fruit. Depending on the desired consitency and if you add ice to your smoothie, you may need more than a cup. Almond milk is so light in calories you are welcome to add a few more drops, but I usually end up just adding a few extra tablespoons of water if I need to. It wont dilute the flavor whatsoever. Here is a fun picture of the recipe you can post to Pinterest!

Today is a double feature - so here is another recipe you can use that other half of beet for. This is a Tropical Beet Smoothie. I know its December, but when it starts to get cold here in New England, I sometimes like to remind myself of warmer weather. The tropical blend of fruits in this version does the trick.

As with the first recipe, start out with a half of a raw medium beet. Next I add a cup of cubed pineapple and about a half a cup of mango to get those tropical flavors. Pineapple is a very assertive flavor, and does a really great job of masking the beet flavor (although mild to begin with). I also added about a 1/3 cup of raspberries because I had some left over from the Berry Beet Smoothie. Have you heard the phrase "eat the rainbow"? Its the concept that by eating fresh produce, of all different colors, you are getting a great variety of nutriets. Here we have reds, yellows, and oranges (and if you add beet greens/ spinach, green too).

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I use one of three liquids in my smoothies: water, almond milk, or coconut water. Going along with the tropical inspiration, this one uses coconut water. I don't enjoy drinking coconut water straight up (unless its the chocolate flavor), but its a great base for a smoothie. The coconut flavor is really mild. Where the real benefit comes from is the potassium and electrolytes in coconut water. Its incredibly hydrating. Hungover? Drink coconut water. Between the detoxing properties in the beet, and the electrolytes in the coconut water, this smoothie is a perfect way to flush out all the bad toxins after your holiday work party.

The last addition is a half of tablespoon of chia seeds.  You can put in a whole tablespoon, but if you haven't tried chia seeds before, I recommend starting with a half, since they pretty much stay intact after blending. As with flaxseeds, chia seeds are rich with Omega-3, a healthy fatty acid. They will also help you feel full faster, keep you hydrated, and give you lots of energy. Its said that chia seeds were a regular part of the Mayans and Aztecs diets because of the energy and stamina it gives. Warriors were said to eat a handful before going off to battle. So maybe we aren't fighting in any epic battles this season, but extra energy, without having to fill up on a high calorie caffeine drink from your favorite coffee ship is always a win. So here you have another great smoothie recipe in your aresenal. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Berry Beet Smoothie

  • 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
  • 1/4 cup beet greens (or spinach)
  • 1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup ice (optional)

 

Tropical Beet Smoothie

  • 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
  • 1 cup cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup ice (optional)

Instructions

  • For either recipe, preparing your smoothie is as simple as putting all the ingredients into your blender, and blending until smooth.
  • Be careful as you peel the beet, their juices will stain your clothes. You can choose to wear gloves if you'd like, but I just quickly wash my hands afterward to get the beet juice off.
  • If you are adding ice to give your smoothie more texture, you can add extra water/ice to get the desired consistency.

Roasted Beet Hummus

The first post I'll be sharing is a recipe from another blog, Minimalist Baker. I choose to share this recipe for Roasted Beet Hummus because it was this recipe and blog that set me on the road to starting my own food blog. Incorporating beets into a hummus was an exceptionally clever idea and is a great way to introduce a seemingly strange vegetable into you diet.

Earlier this summer, I joined a CSA program with Warner Farms to start incorporating more fresh veggies into my diet. I absolutely loved it. Each week I picked up my farm share, I felt like a contestant on the Food Network show "Chopped", receiving a "mystery box" full of ingredients. I was challenged each week to use all the fresh produce in meals that both myself and husband would enjoy. The farm share really sparked my creativity and fueled my growing passion of cooking.

I knew I'd be receiving lots of vegetables I hadn't tried before. I grew up a pretty picky eater, which was one of the reasons I was struggling to get good nutrition into my diet. When I joined the CSA, I made a commitment to myself to stay open minded and try everything it had to offer. One of the first strange ingredients we got were beets.

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Warner Farms sent out a weekly newsletter and this week they included few recipes to give us ideas how to use our beets. A link to  Minimalist Baker's Roasted Beet Hummus drew me with beautiful photography, capturing the bright pink hue of the hummus off set by the orange carrots and green cucumbers. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I just had to try it for myself.

I explored her site and found it was filled with lots of amazing and simple recipes. She also had another thing that caught my attention, food photography e-courses and blogging resources. I'd taken several photography classes in high school and already considered it to be a hobby of mine, but needed some refreshers along with some food styling tips. The cost of the class was the best $19.99 I spent in a long time. It planted the seeds for this very here food blog!

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While the farm share sparked my creativity with cooking, Minimalist Baker rekindled my interest in photography. The two passions came together serendipitously with this here recipe. It only seemed right I feature it as my first post.

So without further adieu, lets talk about roasted beet hummus!

If you are unfamiliar with beets, to sum it up, they are a root vegetable that come in a variety of colors, but most often, a deep ruby. What a lot of people don't know is that beets are a super food. They are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid. They are excellent at cleansing/detoxifying the body, and are a high source of energy. They are just too good for you not to have if you are looking to have a mindful eating lifestyle.

A great way to introduce yourself to beets is by mixing or blending them with other foods - which makes this recipe perfect. I don't think beets have a very strong taste as it is, but if you are worried about it, the lemon and the garlic in this dish become the most prominent flavors.

Simply, roast a few fresh beets, peel and dice. Add them to a food processor along with garlic, lemon juice and ingredients you'd find in a traditional hummus, like chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste) and olive oil and blend! The end result is a bright and garilc-y hummus perfect for dipping veggies or a spread in a sandwich.

The deep red hues of the beets turn the hummus bright pink making the dish a real show stopper. What a perfect dip for a bridal shower, bachelorette party or baby shower! Impress all you friends and bring it to your next cocktail party.

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 Small Beets, roasted and peeled
  • 2 15oz cans of garbanzo/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 5 garlic cloves (I like mine to have a strong garlic taste)
  • 3-4 tbs tahini
  • About a 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Roast the beets ahead of time. Rinse the beets and cut off the stems. Wrap them in foil and roast in a 375°F oven for 50-60 mins. Let cool before handling and peel with a pairing knife.
  • Add cooled, roasted beets in food processor. Pulse to break up .
  • Add the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini and blend until smooth.
  • Lastly, slowly drizzle in olive oil, while blending, until you reach the desired consistency.

Nutritional Info per original site

1 serving has Calories: 165 Fat: 12 g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sugar: 1.2 g Fiber: 2.6 g Protein: 3.4