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Liver-loving Green Smoothie

Liver-loving Green Smoothie

This is my go-to green smoothie when I’m feeling run down, or when I just need a pick-me-up. It’s a wonderful snack or light breakfast, tastes like a dream and makes a treat for the whole family. 

With liver-loving kale, ginger and flax, amazing fats and fiber (nuts, seeds and oats) – this smoothie feels like your favorite detox without the deprivation.

Liver-loving green smoothie

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Course: Drinks, smoothie, Snack
Servings: 2

Equipment

  • High-speed blender

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cup raw kale or 2-3 stalks
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup oats gluten-free if possible
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews - soaked in water for 30 minutes or nut-milk
  • 1-2 inch ginger
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 cup water plus ice to thin out

Optional:

  • 1/2 apple
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp almond butter unsalted

Instructions

  • First soak raw cashews (or other nuts if using) in filtered water.
  • Wash & dry the kale (use the whole leaf, stalks and all!).
  • Add all the ingredients to your high-speed blender.
  • Blend until smooth. Sip & enjoy!

Notes

The recipe is listed with a prep time of 30-minutes because this includes soaking time for the cashews. 

Persimmon Ginger Chia Pudding

Persimmon Ginger Chia Pudding

Have you gotten your fill of persimmons this year? If not, hurry – season’s almost over!

What’s a persimmon?

If you’re not familiar, persimmons make their grand and brief appearance in California from September to November. While they are native to North America, the variety that shows up most often in US grocery stores are the Japanese “kaki fruit.” There are two types to watch for: the Fuyus, which have the texture of a tomato or peach and flavor of a cloyingly sweet papaya or sapota (mamey/chikoo). And then there are the Hachiyas, which are astringent due to tannins and best enjoyed in baked goods.

Despite their overbearing sweetness, persimmons are surprisingly good for you. They’re rich in antioxidants (vitamins A & C, polyphenols and other phytochemicals) and a good source of fiber. They’ve been studied for various benefits, including cardiovascular, cholesterol lowering and for promoting healthy skin (to mention a few).

They’re also a feast for sore eyes – adding persimmons to salads, desserts and smoothies treats you to a welcome burst of color on a drab wintry day.

Needless to say, I buy as many persimmons as humanly possible when they’re in season.

Which brings me to this recipe.

 

This chia pudding combines the sweetness of persimmon with lime and ginger to make a refreshing, delectable, tropical flavor. Throw in some coconut and you may as well fire up the tiki torches!

Enjoy as a light breakfast, snack or dessert – just get those persimmons in before they’re gone!

xo – Mux

For variation: 

I use homemade pecan milk in the recipe, but you could use any nut or seed milk. Use my almond or cashew milk recipe as a guide.

If you run out of persimmons, you can use any fruit with a similar texture – mangoes, chikoo, papaya, peaches or even blueberries.

Add spices! Cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg would be lovely here.

Persimmon Ginger Chia Pudding

Chia pudding made into an extra fancy & satisfying treat with Fuyu persimmon, ginger, lime & coconut.
Prep Time1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: chia, healthy fats, persimmon, pudding, snack
Servings: 2
Author: Mukta Gadkari

Equipment

  • High-speed blender (if making nut milk from scratch)

Ingredients

1 cup nut-milk

  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts (soaked overnight)
  • 1 cup water

Chia pudding

  • 4 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon
  • 1 tbsp. raw ginger root (finely grated)
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut (or more)

Optional

  • 2 tbsp. hemp hearts (or hemp seeds)
  • drizzle raw honey

Instructions

For the nut-milk (approx. 1 cup):

  • Rinse and drain the soaked pecans and add to a high-speed blender.
  • Add 1 cup of filtered water.
  • Blend for about 1 minute (until smooth) and pour the pecan milk into a mason jar.

For the chia-pudding:

  • Stir the chia seeds into the pecan milk and mix well (if you don't stir, the chia will clump together).
  • Let the pudding set for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. If your kitchen is warm, leave it in the fridge.
  • Optional: After the chia pudding has set, add 2 tbsp. hemp seeds and mix well.
  • Wash and cube the persimmon and add it to a separate bowl.
  • Add the ginger and lime juice to the cubed persimmon and mix well, mashing the fruit slightly. Once the persimmon is a little mushy and juicy, it's time to assemble the pudding!
  • Take two small jars, glasses or dessert bowls. Layer the pudding by scooping 1-2 tbsp. chia pudding into each jar, then 1-2 tbsp of the persimmon mixture, then more chia pudding, and more persimmon (until it's all gone).
  • Finally garnish each jar with 1 tbsp. of shredded coconut each and a tiny drizzle of raw honey. Enjoy!
Pause & Nourish (Instagram Live Series)

Pause & Nourish (Instagram Live Series)

Pause & Nourish: Managing Stress through Food & Lifestyle

When we are stressed, we often turn to our breath or yoga practice. Or, another mindful activity that brings us back to the present.

But what about food? Surprisingly, nutrition plays a key role in stress; and simple, intentional strategies can help you manage it better.

Join me at Downtown Yoga Shala’s Instagram TV for the series Pause & Nourish, where I offer simple ways to better nourish yourself during times of stress.

Day/Time: Every other Wednesday at 12pm PT (each chat is 30-40 minutes long).

Past & upcoming topics

(click on the topic for the link to the video):

If you want to learn more, register for one of my upcoming Classes or Workshops!

5 tips to cut your food waste in half

5 tips to cut your food waste in half

Moldy strawberries. Soggy herbs. Yellowing greens. Soured milk. Mushy cucumbers.

This is my nightmare, exposed big-time during this pandemic.

Is it just me, or are you dealing with a lot more food waste lately?

Unless you have a flawless system of food storage and meal planning (or make multiple trips to the store each week), I’m going to assume that your fridge currently looks like mine: cluttered (because I’m buying too much) and overwhelming (because I can’t get thru it quick enough!).

Look, no one wants to waste food. It just happens.

But not only is it like throwing your paycheck in the trash; food waste is also terrible for the environment, contributing to a large portion of greenhouse emissions globally.

Here are some stats that rile me up:

Can we agree this is not sustainable – morally, environmentally or economically?

Turns out, food waste isn’t great for optimal health either (hint: much of what we regularly throw out is good for us)!

But did you know you can cut your food waste in half, just by making simple tweaks to your daily food prep?

Here are 5 SImple tips to get started.

#1. Put down your peeler. 

Seriously, you don’t need to peel everything (especially if you’re buying organic). The peels contain plenty of fiber and nutrients, so for the love of laziness, please stop. Buy yourself a veggie scrubber instead.

Veggies you should stop peeling immediately: Organic potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms (who knew this was a thing?!), carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, zucchini, winter squash (last I checked, the peel was edible) and ginger.

If you must peel, I have three words: veggie peel chips. You’re welcome.

#2. Use the whole plant.

Eating “root to leaf” is not only smart from an economic, environmental and nutritional perspective, but also adds variety, texture and excitement to your meals.

Please don’t toss:

  • Stalks and stems: The stalks of dark leafy greens (including kale, chard, mustard and collard greens) and stems and leaves of broccoli and cauliflower are not only edible, but also full of fiber, nutrients and crunch. Instead of wasting them, chop them finely and saute them first before you cook the leaves or florets.
  • Leek greens: Chop finely and saute or add to tray bakes for added flavor and depth.
  • Fennel fronds: These make a delicious garnish on salads and soups, or can be blended into a smoothie. Or you can saute them in butter for a simple yet tasty side dish. 
  • Radish, turnip or beet greens: These leaves contain more nutrients than the root themselves, specifically potassium and dietary nitrates that are required for healthy blood vessels. I saute them with a bit of garlic, salt and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Carrot tops: Make a pesto or chimichurri., or use instead of parsley in any recipe.

#3. Save your scraps!

There will be scraps. Here’s a few hacks to get the most out of them:

  • Citrus peels – Use them as DIY cleaners or infusing olive oil. I now chop them finely and add them to tray-bakes, stews  and pilafs for the element of surprise (shh, don’t tell my husband). Throw them in your smoothies with the rest of the orange (peel, pith, seeds and all) for added vitamin C and bioflavonoids (antioxidants). Or brew up a lovely orange peel tea with rosemary or other herbs.
  • Egg shells – Use as fertilizer. We’ve been throwing them into our makeshift compost (cough cough garden) along with coffee grounds and other scraps. Fingers-crossed, they will turn to compost eventually. If not, they’ll add nutrients to the soil. 
  • Leftover cheese: In her book Simplicious Flow, Sarah Wilson recommends taking your odds and ends of cheese, chucking them into a food processor with garlic, olive oil and leftover white wine, and blending it all up for a quick dip. Sounds delicious huh? 
  • Teabags: Reuse as many times as you can – then add them to your garden (roses love tea apparently).
  • Banana peels: Believe it or not, banana peels are edible, and eaten in different parts of the world. Apparently you can use them to make bacon, smoothies (high powered blender only), stir-fries, curries, and banana bread. I will try it and report back. 
  • Miscellaneous: Add all your scraps (including onion peels, woody stems and wilted herbs) to a freezer bag, and once full, make a broth or stock. Sarah Wilson has a fabulous recipe for stock that involves blitzing 6-8 cups of scraps in your food processor along with 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp ACV, 1/3 cup sea salt + mushrooms, onion, garlic and herbs – which she then freezes in a jar and uses for stock.

#4. Regrow your greens!

Go beyond the current obsession of regrowing your scallions. Did you know you could do the same with lettuce, bok choy, fennel fronds, celery and leeks? What’s more, you can grow sweet potatoes out of their sprouted nubs – simply put them in water, let them grow roots, and replant them in soil). Check out all the other plants you can regrow from veggie nubs.

Who knew you could get that much mileage out of one grocery shop?

#5. Upcycle your leftovers.

Turn last night’s dinner into today’s star meal. I’m a big fan of throwing an egg on anything and calling it breakfast.

But if this ain’t your thing, here are other ways to use your leftovers:

  • A frittata – all you need are leftovers (anything from salad to pasta) and 6 eggs. Get creative.
  • Grain “Buddha” bowls – a bit of grain, leftover protein, greens and a bright herby dressing on top.
  • Soup – perfect for using up chopped veggies, wilted greens or herbs, extra stock or even grains.
  • Shepard’s pie – use any roasted root veg for the top layer of mash, leftover grains, lentils or even curries in your base.
  • Burritos – chuck yesterday’s curry, rice, avocado, cherry tomatoes, a dollop of yogurt, a handful of spinach and hot sauce into a wrap and call it a quick and dirty dinner.

Want more leftover ideas? Check out this list from The Every Girl.

What tips and tricks do you use to cut your home’s food waste? Let me know in the comments below!

xo

Small-batch Flourless Espresso Brownies

Small-batch Flourless Espresso Brownies

OMG. I don’t normally rush to post a recipe right after cooking, but here I am, still swooning over possibly the best brownies I’ve ever made.

Granted, my track record of brownie making aint that impressive (considering the last time I made them was two years ago).

But, hel-lo.

These brownies are quite simply, to die for. They’re:

    • flour-less (I’ve been baking with nut- and seed-flour lately with delicious results).
    • sinfully chocolatey (with cacao powder AND chocolate chips).
    • the perfect balance of bitter-sweet (with a tinge of espresso).

And they’re small-batch (perfect for that quick-hit chocolate craving).

Because the recipe only makes 8 brownies, you’ll be tempted to eat it all in one go, but try not to.

Savor these brownies. Eat them slowly. Relish the wholesome, ooey gooey textures. And if you can bear to, share them with your neighbors.

The idea for these brownies came from Ambitious Kitchen’s Small Batch Paleo Almond Flour Brownies with Raspberries. I loved the idea of a small-batch brownie recipe, and one made completely with nuts (and no weird gluten-free flour blends) seemed too good to be true.

So, I’ve been trying to find an excuse to make them this entire lock-down.

But the longer I waited, the more this recipe evolved (you know me, I can’t leave a recipe alone).

I finally decided to make them for my dad’s birthday (my dad’s a chocolate monster; and yes, he might be in a different country, but a girl can still celebrate!).

So, here are the tweaks I made.

#1. Blitzed almonds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas) instead of almond flour. I don’t normally buy almond flour and instead grind raw unsalted almonds into a fine flour-like substance. I’m also a bit stingy with my raw almonds (especially in times like these, when grocery store trips are limited), so I used an almond-pumpkin seed blend, which totally worked.

#2. Maple syrup instead of coconut sugar. The recipe uses 1/3 cup coconut sugar. I used a little less than 1/4 cup maple syrup because that’s what I had at home. I don’t love overly sweet desserts, and this quantity worked well for me, but you can adjust it if needed.

#3. Espresso instead of raspberries. Since it was my dad’s birthday, I wanted something that represented him. And if there’s anything my dad loves more than chocolate, it’s coffee. So I swapped out the berries for 1.5 tsp of a strong espresso powder. I also added chocolate chips, a handful of walnuts and garnished with more pumpkin seeds.

Et voila – here it is, a dense, moreish, nut & seed-filled caffeinated masterpiece.

Hope you love it as much as I did (and if you make it, don’t forget to share and tag me!). xo

Small-Batch Flourless Espresso Brownies

These gluten-free brownies are adapted from Ambitious Kitchen's Small Batch Paleo Almond Flour Brownies with Raspberries. They're chockful of nuts, seeds, chocolate and espresso, and make an ooey, gooey, wholesome treat!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Cooling time5 mins
Course: Chocolate, desserts, snacks, Sweets
Cuisine: all
Keyword: brownies, chocolate, espresso, flourless, gluten-free, nuts, seeds
Servings: 8 brownies

Equipment

  • Loaf tin

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (or raw almonds)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

Optional (but recommended)

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (to garnish on top)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Line a 8X4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. (The original recipe provides an option to make it in two 5-inch skillets, so if you want to try that instead, refer to the Ambitious Kitchen recipe).
  • Place a small saucepan over low heat, add coconut oil and maple syrup and stir until the coconut oil is completely melted. The oil will be separate from the maple syrup at this point.
  • Set aside to cool for just a few minutes, then transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Next, in a food processor (I used a hand-held food chopper), blitz the almonds and pumpkin seeds together until the texture resembles sand. You don't want it to become clumpy or turn into paste, so don't go crazy with this!
  • Add the other dry ingredients - raw cacao, baking soda, sea salt and espresso powder to the ground nut-seed mixture. Blitz once so they mix together (you ca do this in a separate bowl if you like, but why dirty another bowl?).
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly and mix with a wooden spoon. The batter should be quite thick.
  • Drop in the chocolate chips and walnuts, and combine gently.
  • Now pour the batter into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Tilt the pan so the batter is evenly spread, then garnish with the remaining pumpkin seeds.
  • Place in the preheated oven for 18-23 minutes, or until the edges are set. Under-bake these brownies, so they remain fudgy once they cool down.
  • Once you take it out of the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a wire-rack, another 5-10 minutes (trust me, it's easier to cut once they cool down).
  • Cut into 8 brownies, and tuck right in. <3

Notes

  • Almond meal is not the same as almond flour. The original calls for almond flour, and I used to mix of almond & pumpkin seed meal (blitzed). It totally works.
  • I used a little less sweetener than the recipe called for. I tend to enjoy sweets that are less sweet, and in the bitter-sweet spectrum of chocolate, I gravitate towards the bitter end. The brownies was sweet enough for me (especially once you add chocolate chips). Don't knock it till you try it!
Savory Roasted Pumpkin Cashew Dip (Vegan)

Savory Roasted Pumpkin Cashew Dip (Vegan)

I made this dip as a snack for my Spring into Balance stress-management workshop on March 7th at Willow Glen Yoga. The photos could be better, but I’ll update them the next time I make it.

The idea for this dip was planted in 2012, during my first visit to Australia to meet my future in-laws. My Aussies have an afternoon ritual called “Cheers Beers.” It’s like afternoon tea, or chai-time; but instead of chai, you have beer; and instead of khari biscuits and chivda, you have chips, dips and cheeses. Instead of musing about the weather and cricket, you muse about the weather and cricket with an Aussie accent.

As you’d expect, I was there for the snacks. In particular, there was a roasted pumpkin, cashew and parmesan cheese dip that checked all the scrumptious boxes for me. It was savory, nutty, slightly cheesy and very addictive. I couldn’t get enough of it!

As I loaded up my cracker with a dollop of this deliciousness for the 37th time, I began to wonder how sustainable this dip addiction was. My time in Australia was running out, and since there was no feasible or legal way to take this dip home with me, I knew I’d have to figure out how to recreate it back in California.

Then, as is often the case (blame it on jet lag), I forgot all about the dip until I went back to Australia two years later.

So, there I was in December 2014, scanning the Queensland supermarket aisles for “Cheers Beers” snacks, when I vaguely remembered a “pumpkin-cashew dip” and became obsessed with finding it. But as luck would have it, they’d stopped selling it. And since I could no longer locate the original ingredients, I had to rely on my memory to piece it together.

So, here it is – my version of “the dip.”

It contains:

    • Roasted butternut squash
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Cashews
    • Pecans
    • Nutritional Yeast
    • Garlic
    • Rosemary
    • Extra-virgin olive oil

The combination of flavors makes it comforting, yet dangerously addictive.

But what makes it useful for stress?

First, all winter squash is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C – which are antioxidants and helpful for lowering oxidative stress. Next, most nuts and seeds (particularly pumpkin seeds) are rich in zinc, another key antioxidant beneficial during times of stress, along with magnesium (a relaxant), along with an ideal nutrient profile for blood sugar regulation – namely, fiber, protein and healthy fats. Nutritional yeast (AKA hippie fish food) is not only full of B-vitamins which are helpful for energy production, stress reduction and a healthy nervous and immune system) but also tastes like cheese and what could go wrong with that? Finally, rosemary ranks high on the antioxidant scale (ORAC) and garlic is both anti-viral and anti-microbial (helpful for the immune system).

You can find the seeds and nuts in any health food store, in the bulk bins or packaged snacks section. You’ll also find the nutritional yeast in most health food stores in the seasoning section (although it may not be available in every country). Or you’ll find it in a bulk bin. Either way, you can start with the Bragg’s brand of nutritional yeast (if available).

While this is not quite the Aussie pumpkin-cashew dip I remember, it’s the dip of my dreams and I hope you’ll enjoy it. xo

Savory Roasted Pumpkin Cashew Dip (Vegan)

This dip is a stress-busting, nourishing and highly addictive snack that comes together quickly once you have all the ingredients. I whole-roast a pumpkin/butternut squash for easy meal-prep during the week, but you could use steamed pumpkin instead.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Servings: 2 cups

Equipment

  • Food processor or hand-chopper

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups roasted butternut squash (any winter squash or pumpkin will work)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (shell-free)
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves (more if needed)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (more if needed)

Optional

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (if needed)

Instructions

  • Put all the ingredients into a food processor. If using a hand-chopper, start with the oil, garlic, rosemary and sea salt to make sure it gets mixed in properly.
  • Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Serve with crackers or veggie sticks.