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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!

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.

 

The Best Damn Kale Salad

The Best Damn Kale Salad

We’ve all had that one friend from high school or college who’s a bit of a pain the first time you meet them. Annoying, obnoxious, maybe even a bit of a bully. Yeah, you know that person.

But then something crazy happens. You have an unexpected bonding moment. You share a laugh or an inside joke. And this annoying obnoxious person suddenly becomes your closest friend, even decades later.

Well, kale is THAT friend. And this salad is THAT bonding moment.

It’s true! In fact, I will go as far as saying this salad will change the way you look at kale FOREVER.

This kale salad is like the little black dress of salads. Dress it up, dress it down. Treat it like the main event, or a sexy side. Make it for a cocktail party, or a school BBQ. This salad is a classic, and will surprise both the kale-lovers and cynics in your life.

Don’t believe me? 

Take it from my kale-hating friend who now texts me pics of her kale salad remains along with the caption “#winning.”

Or the longtime kale fan who found this recipe “life-changing!”

Or the kids who’d clamber to make this salad anytime it was on the menu at their school’s food lab program. BTW, kids LOVE making this salad – you’ll see why below.

Or, from the lady who approached me at a wedding in Ireland last summer – just to share how often she now makes this salad (…ever since I made it at a BBQ six years ago)!

And then there’s my mom who asks me for the recipe once every 6 months, even though, “Hi mom, it’s in your emails! Love you.”

This recipe is for you, if you’ve never had kale before and want to know what the big deal is. It’s for you, if you’ve had kale before and were traumatized by the experience. It’s for you, if you LOVE kale, and can’t get enough of it. And it’s especially for you, mom.

Why I’m hooked on this recipe (and you will be, too!)

It’s:

    • Basic: Only needs 4 ingredients (kale, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and lemon) and 10 minutes to throw together. The rest of the ingredients are extra.
    • Delicious: The secret to life-changing kale? Massage it with your hands! Yup – with olive oil and sea salt, you give your kale the spa treatment it deserves; taking it from tough guy to softie in a matter of minutes. Scientifically, massaging it breaks down the kale’s cell walls, making it tender, flavorful and a dream to eat (massaging is also incredibly therapeutic – which might explain why kids love making it too!).
    • Timeless: Make it all year long, and dress it up according to season and your preferred toppings. In the summer, I keep it light, with avocado, mango, berries or stone-fruit. In the winter or fall, I add roasted butternut squash, beets, walnuts, pomegranate or cooked quinoa. I’ve included some variations in the recipe notes, but the one in the picture has cooked quinoa, sliced mandarins, and pumpkin seeds.

Plus, it makes kale a rare treat!

Kale is a dark leafy green veggie from the Brassica or cabbage family (also called cruciferous). Like others from this family, kale is excellent for liver health. It not only has significant cholesterol-lowering abilities, but also contains anticancer “glucosinolates” that help break down and excrete toxic metabolites from the body. Kale is also rich in immune-boosting and antioxidant nutrients like vitamins A & C, as well as anti-inflammatory ones like vitamin K.

If you haven’t ventured into the kale camp yet, this recipe will ease you in. Go nuts with it, make it your own, and don’t forget to tag me if you try it! xo

 

The best damn kale salad

This is my basic recipe for raw kale salad involving 4 ingredients and less than 10 minutes. Check out the variations in the notes for optional toppings.
I first discovered the massaging technique in 2011 thanks to this recipe: http://happyfoody.com/2008/02/12/raw-kale-avocado-salad. I've made a few minor tweaks, but you can refer to this recipe for further inspiration.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: all
Keyword: kale, main, raw, salad

Equipment

  • Large salad bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (any variety)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (not table salt)
  • 1/2 lemon or lime (juiced)

Instructions

Basic recipe

  • Thoroughly wash and dry the kale, then separate the tough stalks from the leaves. I do this by tearing the leaves off. Keep the stalks for another recipe or to use in homemade stock.
  • Chop the leaves into bite size pieces, then place in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.
  • Get your hands in there and massage the leaves for about a minute. By the way, this is great to do with kids!
    The leaves with reduce (almost by half) when you massage them. You'll notice the kale starting to glisten and break down, and your fingers might even look a little green (due to the chlorophyll). This means it’s working!
  • Now, add the lemon or lime juice and continue to toss gently with your hands.
  • Taste it, and add a bit more salt or lemon/lime juice. It should taste pretty good.
  • Add optional toppings (listed below), or eat immediately (I dare you to stop)! This kale salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Notes

Start with 1/4 tsp sea salt and add more if needed (for flavor).
If you're adding a lot of toppings, you may need more lemon/lime/other citrus juice for acidity (otherwise the kale can taste a little flat). 

Optional topping ideas:

  • 1/2 cup blueberries + 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds + 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nuts)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa + 1 cup cooked chickpeas + 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 chopped mango + 1 cup cooked beetroot + 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or other seeds)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes + 1/2 avocado (mash this in with your hands) + 1/4 cup chopped almonds.
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions + 1 cup roasted butternut squash + 1/4 cup chopped dates
Homemade Cashew Milk

Homemade Cashew Milk

Last week, I shared my favorite recipe for almond milk. She’s simple, quick and nourishing AF. Yes, my homemade almond milk recipe goes by “she.” My obsession is real, people. She’s outlasted all my romantic relationships, and will always have a soft spot in my heart.

So it was a surprise when homemade cashew milk came along. A dear friend casually mentioned it five years ago over WhatsApp, and I was like, “what is this crazy talk?”

And yet, there it was – homemade cashew milk. Even simpler than almond milk, quicker, and dare I say, creamier too. A cashew milk that I now make once a week as a base for smoothies, cereals, pasta sauces, chia puddings, or straight up drink plain.

Because of how straightforward this recipe is, you don’t need a lot of advanced planning.

All you need is:

    • raw cashews
    • water
    • a blender (high-speed is preferable, but optional).
    • 30 minutes of soaking and 1 minute of blending.

You don’t need to peel or strain anything either – it’s the ultimate low-maintenance recipe!

Plus, cashews come in a pretty sweet package nutritionally. Check it out in the table below.

Nutrition in 1/4 cup of raw cashews:

NutrientAmountNotes
Protein5.9 gA reasonable range of amino acids.
Fats7.7 gA good balance of unsaturated and saturated fats.
Fiber1 g
Resistant starch7.6 gA soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity
Magnesium94.9 mg
Potassium214.5 mg
Phosphorus192.7 mg
OtherA good balance of copper and zinc, Vitamin K and B vitamins.

In addition, raw cashews like other raw nuts and seeds contain essential enzymes that are only activated when you soak them. Heating (roasting/boiling) will damage the enzymes, so keeping them raw increases the nutritional value.

And sure, you can buy cashew milk at the store, but I have my reservations about all store-bought nut milks (you can read about it in my almond milk recipe).

So, what are you waiting for? Time to make some cashew milk!

Easy Homemade Cashew Milk

A creamy, dreamy cashew milk that you'll want to make every day.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 min
Course: Drinks, smoothie, Snack
Cuisine: all
Keyword: cashew milk, cashews, nut-milk, plant-based, vegan
Servings: 1 cup (8 fluid oz)

Equipment

  • Blender (high-speed one preferred)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup filtered water (more needed for soaking)

Optional

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Soak the raw cashews in filtered water for at least 30 minutes (overnight is fine too).
  • Rinse the cashews thoroughly, then add to a blender with 1 cup filtered water. Add more water to make it thinner if you like.
  • Blend for 30-60 seconds until creamy.
  • Drink, use immediately in your favorite recipe, or store for up to 3 days in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

Notes

If you plan on heating this milk, do so at a low temperature - otherwise it may separate. 
For a cool chocolate drink - Blend with a pitted date, 1 tsp raw cacao and a vanilla bean (or drop of vanilla extract).
For a cool turmeric latte - Blend with a pitted date, 1/2 tsp turmeric and a dash of black pepper.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know below, and tag me @muxcooks on Instagram or Facebook if you try it! As always, share with your friends too. xo