Posts in Super Simple
Skin Glow Salad
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Hi everyone! 

Today's post complements the Skin Glow Foods video on YouTube. I've been having a few conversations on the channel lately about the importance of tending to our physical bodies so that we can feel good, both physically and mentally, when we're tending to our creative work. Our bodies are our creative vessels. And if we take care of them, they'll show up and take care of us when we want to get to the juicy stuff, the creative stuff. This has nothing to do with being superficial. Our bodies give us the opportunity to express ourselves creatively in this physical world, so taking care of them is taking care of our creativity. 

With that said, I talked about my three favorites skin glow foods: papaya, avocado and dark leafy greens. If you want to learn a little more about them, check out the vid =) But really, these foods give me so much more than just glowy skin. They're three of my daily staples for my overall health and wellbeing. They're filled with enzymes, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that keep my body strong, healthy, and yes GLOWING on the inside and out.

I love incorporating these foods into my daily meals. They work especially well in smoothies and salads. Avocado with extra-virgin olive oil complements pretty much anything, but I especially love adding this combo to soups or stews.  

To make it really easy for you to incorporate them into your daily regimen, I thought it'd be fun (and useful) to create a recipe that includes all three of these little health warriors. This salad works great as a yummy and energizing light lunch, and it's also a delicious side dish. 

 

Skin Glow Salad (1 serving) 

Ingredients 

For the Salad
1/2 cup papaya chunks
1/2 avocado
2 handfuls of your favorite organic dark leafy greens
(spinach, kale, Swiss chard etc. all work great) 
Goat/sheep milk feta cheese (to crumble on top, optional)
1 tbsp hemp seeds (to sprinkle on top, optional) 

For the Dressing
2 tbsps organic extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsps red wine vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsps coconut aminos/ or a dash of Real Salt
(I highly recommend investing in a bottle of coconut aminos, they're a delicious and healthful alternative to soy sauce, my favorite brand is Coconut Secret: http://amzn.to/2pw5KTT

Mix all dressing ingredients in measuring cup/mug. Add 2 tbsps of dressing to bottom of your favorite salad bowl. Add greens and papaya chunks. Toss well making sure that all leaves are covered with dressing. Garnish with avocado slices, crumble feta (if using) and hemp seeds. If you like, drizzle remaining dressing on top; the dressing also stores well in the fridge for a few days if you have any left over =) 

Enjoy and may you all glow from the inside out! 

With love and creativity,

Leah <3

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words & photos by Leah Salinas
 

Cashew Coco Cardamom Truffles ~ An (almost) Sugar-Free Treat

I had a beautiful conversation with Jules the other day about the purpose of, well, all this. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the superficialities of how many followers you have and how large your audiences are and all of that nonsense. Even when you ardently tell yourself that you don't care about all of that. Do ya feel me? Well, hashtag human, as my husband and I like to say whenever we catch ourselves wallowing in one of our less desirable, but very human, qualities. 

Jules really brought it back for me. She asked me to remind myself of my why. Such a simple and powerful thing to do. So I did. And I feel compelled to share it with all of you: 

I want to share health, wellness and lifestyle tools that will support you with tapping into your highest creative potential.

 It's that simple.  

Jules and I also spoke about community and the importance of listening to what our community is asking for. In my last post I already spoke about my passion for connecting with my peeps and listening & responding to all of your questions & curiosities. It brings me so much joy that many of you are actively engaging with the Cardamom and Coffee world. The other day, one of my friends asked me for advice on how she can cut down on eating too much sugar. This is an important question and very much connected to tapping into your creative peak potential. Making shifts to eating more wholesome foods over the past few years has naturally led me to minimize my sugar consumption. I found that as I made these changes I became more focused, more energized and less distracted by cravings, making it easier for me to tap into a state of creative flow.  

There are so many different elements to lowering sugar consumption (which I'm happy to delve into in more detail in a future post). But I've found that one useful tool is to create treats that still speak to your sweet-tooth, but aren't overly sweet. What I've observed over the years is that it's not necessarily the sweetness in desserts that I crave, but rather, the texture. I love things that are creamy, or crunchy, or crispy. Or a combination of these three things. If the texture is there and there's just a hint of sweetness, bam, I'm satisfied. I've also found that if my desserts contain some form of healthy fat, it's easier for my body to assimilate the sweetness, and I'm more likely to feel satisfied because my body is essentially recognizing my treat as a food. I almost always add cinnamon to my desserts; this keeps my blood-sugar levels stable and I don't get that sugar spike & crash. 

With that said, let's segue into this post's featured recipe: Cashew Coco Cardamom Truffles! These delectable little raw treats contain healthy fats (thank you cashews and coconut oil), cinnamon AND the creaminess is all there. They're very satisfying; I've found that my desserty cravings dissipate after enjoying only one or two. And they're also a lovely before bedtime snack (which is when I often crave something sweet), or as a mid-day pick-me-up (they'll boost your energy levels thanks to the coconut oil). Cashews have a natural sweetness to them, so you can make this recipe completely sugar-free, or you can add a dollop of raw honey if you want to add a little bit of extra, but healthy, sweetness. I love them either way.

Ingredients (makes approx. 10-12 truffles)
(use organic whenever possible) 

Food processor or NutriBullet 

2 cups raw cashews
3 tbsps coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean
1/4 tsp Real Salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional, I always like to sneak in some of this anti-inflammatory magic)
1/4 tsp fennel powder (optional, for some extra tummy love) 
5tbsps shredded coconut (plus some extra for coating the truffles) 
Raw, unfiltered honey (optional garnish) 

Combine all ingredients except the shredded coconut in your food processor or NutriBullet. If you're using a NutriBullet, I recommend using the flat blade. Grind until everything transforms into a fine powder (this takes about 5-10 seconds). Using a knife, scrape the powder from the sides and continue to grind until you have a smooth and creamy paste (yes, you have just made homemade cashew butter!! =)) Transfer your mixture to a bowl. Place in freezer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent any clumps from forming. 

After 30 minutes, remove from freezer and stir in the 5 tbsps of shredded coconut. Using your hands, shape the mixture into truffle-sized balls. I use about 1 tsp worth of mixture for each truffle. Spread the remaining shredded coconut on a plate and coat the truffles in coconut (this will help with the stickiness and will allow the truffles to hold their shape). Place finished truffles in a glass container. If you want to enjoy your truffles ASAP, they'll be ready after hanging out in the freezer for 15 minutes. Otherwise, put lid on glass container and place in fridge for 1 hour or longer. When you are ready to taste your treats, you can enjoy them as is, or add a dollop of honey to them. They'll keep in your fridge for several days, if not longer, but you'll probably finish them fairly quickly ;-). 

I am grateful for all of you. Enjoy your treats!!! 

With love & creativity,

Leah
 

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author: Leah Salinas // photos by: Leah Salinas

Summer Stone Fruit Salad

The past few weeks have felt a little challenging. I've felt sad about some of the events happening around the world. And on a more personal, immediate level, I've been going through a period of time where I seem to have an exorbitant amount of paperwork to tend to. I can't think of anyone I know who relishes the act of diving into administrative tasks (although I know you're out there, you lucky souls, you!!), but that doesn't mean that organization and getting all of your ducks in a row isn't absolutely essential. As human beings we tend to seek the path of greatest comfort, so I resisted my pile of paperwork at first. But as you can probably guess, this only made me feel worse. I came to the point where I realized that I was spending all of this time THINKING about doing these tasks, so I might as well just get up off of my booty and actually DO them. And when I finally took that leap (I feel silly referring to this as a leap, but hey, in my case it takes a leap to get into all of that paperwork goodness), something wonderful happened. And yes, it's creativity related (or else I wouldn't bore you with my relationship to administration). Even after only checking some of these items off of my to-do list, I felt like I had created this new space in my mind and in my life. Space that I could now fill up with fresh creative inspiration. This whole experience was a gentle reminder of how important it is to sometimes focus on the boring, organizational stuff. If nothing else, so that you can feel fully supported in knowing that everything is in order when you're turning your attention to the fun & creative work.

What does all of this have to do with summer stone fruits? Well, not much really. Apart from the fact that while I was taking care of administration, and feeling a tad stressed, I reminded myself to turn to things that bring me joy. And right now, one of those things are summer stone fruits. The fresh farmers-market kind, all ripe and juicy and sweet and yummy. I just can't get enough of them. When I bite into them I feel like I'm biting into summer, and all that's wonderful about it; the sunshine, the warmth, the colors and the joy. When I'm at the market, I get so excited about all of those beautiful plums and nectarines and peaches that I sometimes go a little overboard and buy a few too many. Which is totally okay. Because it inspires me to create awesome new recipes to share with you. Like this one. I love dishes that are savory-sweet, and this is definitely one of them. Also, the high-enzyme content in the stone fruits makes this salad really easy to digest, so that your body can access all of those immune-boosting, creativity-building nutrients. Bon appétit =) 

Ingredients (for one large bowl) 
(use organic whenever possible)

1 6oz bag  baby spinach (heirloom spinach is delightful as well, if you can get your hands on it)
1-2 cups of your favorite summer stone fruit, chopped into pieces
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup crumbled goat or sheeps milk feta
1/3 cup pine nuts/ slivered almonds/ sunflower seeds for extra crunch

Salad Dressing

3 tbsps. mustard
2 tbsps. coconut aminos
2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1tbsp. raw honey

Guidelines

Combine all dressing ingredients in a cup or a small bowl, whisk together and set aside. Combine all salad ingredients, except feta & nuts/seeds, in your favorite large bowl. Mix dressing with salad. Garnish salad with feta & nuts. Depending on how much dressing you like, you may have some left over, it'll store wonderfully in your fridge for your next salad adventure. 

Creativity Boosters

All summer stone fruits have amazing creativity boosters. So regardless of which ones you choose, you'll be nurturing your creative vessel (aka, your bod =)). Here are the properties of some of them:

Peaches ~ Peaches are rich in beta-carotene, which protects your cells from free radical damage. In order for your body to be able to absorb beta-carotene, it requires fat (1); the olive oil, avocado & feta in this salad takes care of this =). Peaches are also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium & iron. (2)

Nectarines ~ Nectarines have a similar nutritional profile to peaches (they belong to the same species), and they actually have slightly higher concentrations of Vitamin A and C. (3)

Plums ~ The fiber in plums helps to regulate the digestive system. As someone who has experienced a sensitive tummy in the past, I love any type of food that is easy on the stomach and promotes digestion. I feel like I can function so much better creatively when everything down there is working smoothly ;-) Plums are also awesome for your nervous system, thanks to the high concentration of vitamin B-6. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates serotonin production, which supports sleep, appetite and concentration. (4)
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Enjoy your beautiful bowl of summery stone fruit sunshine and may it bring some brightness into your life if you're experiencing any dark moments!

with love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Salinas// photos by: Leah Salinas

Sources

(1) Britton, Sarah. My New Roots: Inspired Plant-based Recipes for Every Season. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2015. Print. p. 150
(2) ttp://foodfacts.mercola.com/peach.html
(3) ttp://superhumancoach.com/benefits-of-nectarines/
(4) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-plums.html

Banana Raspberry Ice Dream

SUMMER is finally here in LA and boy, am I loving this HEAT. My creativity thrives when it is bright and hot outside. Ever since the the temperatures began soaring two weeks ago, I've felt this fresh energy and inspiration coursing through my being. That said, a few of those days have belonged to the crazy hot category, where I've felt my body going from loving the heat, to feeling slightly over-heated. Our home doesn't have air-conditioning, so I've been coming up with other creative solutions to cool down my body temperature. And naturally, some of those incorporate food and nurturing the creative vessel (aka, our beautiful bods ;-)). Enter: Banana Raspberry Ice Dream. My husband and I both love ice cream, but we've noticed that the store bought kind, even the plant-based versions, haven't really been jelling with our tummies. Since one of my joyous obsessions is creating recipes that not only nurture the body, but also the heart and the soul (which ice cream definitely does), I knew I had to come up with a tummy-friendly version. This is the result; a delightfully creamy ice cream concoction full of creativity boosting ingredients.
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Ingredients (for two small servings, or one large one)
(use organic whenever possible)

2 frozen bananas (medium-sized, sun-ripened)
1/2 small ripe avocado
1 cup frozen raspberries

1 tsp sunflower lecithin (non-GMO), this will really make your ice-cream creamy
or,
1 tbsp. organic sprouted brown rice protein powder
(I like using a vanilla flavored variety to add an extra vanilla-ey flavor) 

1/4 cup goat or coconut milk (or as needed to blend your Ice Dream)
1/2 teaspoon raw ground vanilla bean
dash cinnamon
sprinkle of Real Salt
1 acidophilus capsule (optional, for some extra tummy love) 

For the toppings: Whatever your dreamy heart desires. I love sprinkling raw cacao nibs and roasted almonds on top. Ms. Juliana Mariia Rose created a similar version of this recipe and she topped hers with spirulina powder, which is nutritious, adventurous and awesome. Have fun coming up with your own topping creations! 

Guidelines

I like chilling my bowl & spoon in the freezer before serving so that the ice-cream stays cold for longer. Combine all ingredients in a blender. If using, open up your acidophilus capsule and sprinkle powder into the blender. Blend on high. Add extra goat milk in small increments if your ingredients aren't blending, you're looking for a creamy ice-cream consistency. Transfer ice-cream into your chilled bowl and add desired toppings. Enjoy, my friends =) 

Creativity Boosters

Bananas ~ Bananas feed your brain and your spirit! Tryptophan, an amino acid found in bananas, boosts your memory and your mood. These yummy fruits are also high in potassium, which supports the process of sending more oxygen to brain, so that it can function at its peak. Potassium also helps to relax your muscles and regulate your blood pressure, which decreases tension and stress in the body.  Overall, bananas maintain stable blood sugar levels to keep you feeling happy and balanced. 

Raspberries ~ Raspberries may seem tiny, but they're mighty. They're potent brain boosters. Animal studies have shown that there's a positive correlation between the flavonoids found in raspberries and memory improvement. Anthocyanin, a colorful antioxidant found in raspberries support neurons in the brain by giving them more energy. 
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As I was writing this post I couldn't help but think back to Juliana's beautiful piece about Chocolate & Joy. I feel that ice cream too is one of those wonderful things in life that creates joy. And with joy comes creativity. Especially if the source of your joy is good for every part of of your being: the mind, the spirit & the body. Which, I assure you my friends, this ice cream recipe definitely is. So, go on, enJOY! 

With so much love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Leah Steiner

Sources

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271157.php
http://www.foodmatters.com/article/25-powerful-reasons-to-eat-bananas
http://bembu.com/potassium-benefits
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283018.php
http://www.healthsomeness.com/raspberries-benefits/