Health Benefits of Red Food – Monochromatic Monday

Monochromatic Monay Red Caras Kitchen

This was started on accident. One afternoon a few weeks back I made myself lunch and without intention behind it, put together a bowl of entirely green fruits and vegetables. It also happened to be Monday and discovered the hashtag  #monochromaticmonday. Thus started to put together monochromatic bowls of different food on Monday and a new series was born. Through doing this I have discovered so many different varieties of produce that in the past had been overlooked. It also helped me discover that I am a massive creature of habit and buy the same produce week after week.

I am no stranger to the importance of eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies for optimum health but after some reflection and a good scroll down my instagram feed it was easy to see I was eating the same things over and over again. In an effort to mix it up and hopefully inspire others to reach for new foods here is a little tid bit on this weeks featured color: RED
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Savory Breakfast Bowl (Gluten Free and Vegan)

Savory Breakfast Bowl

It’s 2016 and sort of hard to believe that another year has passed by. Can you? Maybe you’re just as shocked as I am. Maybe not? I always find the holidays and year end to be a time of reflection filled with notaslgia but I am at a turning point in my life. 2015 will be remembered as the year I distingushed what I am committed to going forward as I continue to shed the skin of my former self. I am becoming a grown lady. It will be the year that I realized “someday” does not exists and I only have right now to chase my dreams. There were many accomplishments and triumphs but the biggest one was finally quitting my corporate job to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship. I am opening up a cafe and I am scared as hell but nothing great comes from comfort zones and lets just shout from the roof tops because I officially stepped outside of mine! The future is uncertain but it is exciting and I can not wait to see what 2016 has in store.

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Persimmon and Basil Creme Galette

Persimmon and Basil Creme Galette #vegan 9

This past month I’ve found myself in aggressive moods propelled by moments of angst over the impending changes at work and in my life (more on that another day). I can’t help but think the current state of our world is also a player in this game of nearly getting the best of me on a regular basis. The barrage of headlines about war and terror and red verse blue cast a shadow on my otherwise sunny disposition. How does one deal with it all? It makes me feel like I am treading water in uneasy seas.

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Holiday Kale Salad with Fennel, Sweet Potato, Apple and Pomegranate

Winter Kale Salad 058 #vegan #glutenfree #kale

Over the last 9 years I have been living apart from my immediate family spending 8 of them in Los Angeles and 1 in Melboune, Australia. There have been many years where I haven’t made it home for the holidays for various reasons including school, work, boyfriends or because sometimes going home for the holiday’s is difficult. Like many, my parents are divorced and figuring out which parent to spend what holidays with isn’t always easy. On the upside, so many people I know and love in LA also don’t go home for the holidays so there is always a friends-giving or gathering of the like so I’ve never felt like I missed out. However this Thanksgiving I am traveling with my dad back to Chicago to see the extended family- cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My traditional Italian family is not very vegan or vegetarian friendly so I have been thinking a lot about what I want to contribute to the meal and this kale salad recipe is a serious contender. 
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Market Vegetables with Spicy Pesto, Almond Crumble and Poached Eggs {Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegetarian}

Market Vegetables with Pesto and Poached Eggs 020Who decided that eggs were only for breakfast? This agreement that we have as a society that certian foods are only meant to be eaten at certian times has always perplexed me. Does any one else find it odd that at certain restaurants they stopped serving breakfast at 11am? Seriously, its not like the ingredients aren’t still in the cold storage. And why is it that when we have pancakes for dinner we sort of feel a little naughty?

I say to hell with it! You should be able to eat whatever, whenever.

So I made this for the bf and I for dinner.

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Sweet Chili Peanut Tofu, Vegetable and Grilled Pineapple Stir Fry {Vegan, Gluten Free}

Chili Peanut Tofu Stir Fry5

Rice bowls and stir frys are meals that I can really rally behind because they do not require that much skill in the kitchen, are relatively quick and can easily be adjusted to serve many. After realizing how often I attend potlucks and bring guacamole, I wanted to up my game and bring a meal that traveled easily, and tasted just as good after being reheated. This stir fry fits the bill well and it has earned a new place in my summer potluck lineup.

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Grilled Corn, Watermelon and Arugula Salad {Vegan, Gluten Free}

Watermelon, Grilled Corn and Arugula Salad 6Over Memorial Day weekend I went to Arizona to be with my family and I always chuckly at the concerned texts from my mother as she tries to figure out how she is going to feed me while I am there. Like being vegan is a far reaching waste land where all that exists to eat is broccoli, carrots and romaine lettuce. Remove meat and cheese from the equation and she becomes paralyzed at the thought of cooking, frantically texting me the day before I arrive. I’ve been on a plant based diet for five years and eat a wider array of foods now then I ever did when I was an omnivore.  Eating this way forces you to expand while within the seasons and whats available. Meat is available year round but fruits and vegetables are not, coming and going as the seasons change (or atleast they should without the overuse of pesticides, and forced ripening). You also have to eat a wide array of foods to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need, too. Its a win win in my mind.

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Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Cashew Supreme and Cilantro

spiced sweet potatoes

 

I love poatotes of all kinds, and have overwhelming gratitude for all the wonderful things they give us. I mean think about it, potatoes give us vodka, french fries, hashbrowns, chips, and latkes to name a few. This recipe is so easy to whip up and I love anything with cashew sour cream. You could use this easy recipe for the sour cream on tacos, roasted corn, mango and avocado salad, nachos, or a burrito bowl but topped over these sweet potatoes is to-die-for. These are perfect as a snack, or used a side dish along another dish. I hope you enjoy.

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Cilantro and Lime Cauliflower Rice

cilantro and lime rice

I have always thought that potatoes were the most verstile vegetable, providing us with some of my most favorite things- french fries, chips, vodka, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes and on and on and nom. But cauliflower is slowly creeping up the versitility ladder with cauliflower crust pizza, cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes’, cauliflower couscous, buffalo cauliflower and cauliflower rice. kapow.

This recipe for how to turn the cauliflower into rice is adapted from theKitchn  but the process is fairly easy and all you need is a food processor or vitamix. I made this Cilantro and Lime Cauliflower Rice to add to a burrito bowl recipe that will be posted tomorrow but you could make this as the rice in a number of dishes or served as a side. Its gluten free,  low calorie, paleo and girlish figure friendly. Yay. I was truly surprised with how much it actually resembles rice in texture and flavor – I am excited to use this as rice in more dishes in the future but until then, enjoy! xo

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