Try This— Reuben Inspired Vegetarian Sauerkraut Sandwich

My health crazes come in waves. I make secret promises to myself every now and again that I’ll juice everyday and incorporate at least one raw ingredient at every meal. Sigh. Then that ‘sort your life out’ urgency surrounding New Years, or most recently back-to-school, wears off and I’m back to quick hunger fixes that are not always the healthiest choices. So here we are. School is in full swing. Days are long and hectic. Weeknights are way too short, and weekends are lightning fast. My menu goals have once again degenerated from lofty meal plans filled with raw foods and special recipes to the quickest grab and go recipe I can make, usually with whatever hodgepodge of ingredients I still have on hand. But sometimes, in the midst of all of the work week chaos and the lazy girl meals I resort to, I find a happy place. A place where my lazy girl, work week meal is actually super healthy. Enter the sauerkraut sandwich.

So putting sauerkraut on a sandwich is as American as, well, it’s as American as a hot Reuben. When I was a kid, my parents used to drive us over the Williamsburg Bridge and head up to Madison Ave. in Midtown. There was this deli there that was famous for their Reuben sandwiches. In fact, I think the place might have been called Reuben’s Delicatessan. Whatever the place was called, they seriously had some bangin’ reubens. Corned Beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread. A beautiful representation of the diversity of America, totally unlike this recent wave of venomous xenophobia we’ve seen infecting the headlines. #NoFascistUSA. Ahem, I digress.

Anyway, Reubens were one of my favorite sandwiches when I was still a meat eater, and as a vegetarian, I’ve often used those favorite, childhood recipes to inspire the recipes I create today. This sauerkraut sandwich recipe is totally inspired by those classic Reubens I loved as a kid.

 

Okay. So I’m gonna tell you what this sandwich is all about, but you gotta promise you’ll at least try it. Pinky swear, because this right here might be a giant leap of faith. On paper these ingredients listed together won’t sound all that tasty, but I just need you to let me guide you through this. The two main ingredients are sauerkraut and almond butter. Seriously, you guys! Keep reading! I promise it works. For those of you that don’t really like sauerkraut, let me try to set your mind at ease just a little bit. I don’t go crazy for sauerkraut either. I mean, it’s okay, but honestly I could do without it. I’m not all that into almond butter either. Again, it’s good, but not to die for. You have to trust me when I say this though… the two combined make for one of the most divine, yet healthy sandwiches you’ll ever have. Leap of faith for sure. You must try this!!!

Reuben Inspired Vegetarian Sauerkraut Sandwich

ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • sauerkraut, drained
  • 2-3 tbsp almond butter
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino (we’re talking less than a teaspoon)
  • garlic powder, pinch

Directions

  • drain your sauerkraut by placing it between some paper towels
  • try to get as much of the liquid off as possible
  • on toasted bread, spread an even layer of almond butter on both slices
  • place your drained sauerkraut on top of the almond butter
  • sprinkle the sauerkraut with a pinch of garlic powder, then drizzle a little Bragg’s over top (again, be careful not to soak your sandwich, a very little bit of Bragg’s goes a long way)
  • close your sandwich and dig in!

Optional add-ons which are fun:

Swiss Cheese—if you want it melted, don’t be afraid to pop the whole sandwich in the oven, it won’t hurt it

Alfafa Sproutshealth benefits galore

Roasted Garlic Paste—only if you’re surrounded by people that love you for you no matter how bad your breath smells

Tempeh—mostly for the texture, but remember tempeh has a very nutty flavor. Keep that in mind when you’re spreading your almond butter

Try This— Cheesy Savory Oatmeal

Confession: there’s people out here that put sugar in their grits and I know this because I am one of those people. My argument is this. Grits are a type of cereal and cereal NEEDS to be sweetened— end of story…drops mic. I can admit when I’m wrong though and with all the time I spend sweetening foods that are traditionally savory, or spicing foods up that are traditionally sweet, I have to say, I should totally abandon my stance on grits. You know why? Because I’ve developed a new obsession. Say what?! Savory oatmeal!!!

Last fall I was addicted to grain bowls for breakfast. Seriously. I couldn’t start my day without that hearty, stick to your ribs breakfast. When the weather starts to get colder, breakfast smoothies no longer work for me. I need hot meals that are filling and delicious. So when I came across this savory oatmeal recipe on Healthy Nibbles and Bits, I knew I just had to try it. Guess what?! It’s amazing. Just what the doctor ordered for those chilly Autumn mornings. You must try this!

Cheesy Savory Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry quick-cooking steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp shredded white cheddar cheese (or more, because how can you really measure cheesy goodness?)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup diced red peppers
  • 2 TBS finely chopped onions
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Stove Top Method: Bring water to boil. Add oatmeal, reduce heat a little and let it cook for about 3 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, a small pinch of salt, and pepper
  2. Microwave Method*: Place oats and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Line microwave dish with paper towels to catch any spills. Microwave at a high setting (but not the highest, about 8/10 power setting) at one-minute intervals for a total of 3 minutes. If you want a softer texture, continue microwaving at 30-second intervals. Give the oats a little stir between intervals. When the oatmeal is done, stir in shredded cheese, a small pinch of salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat a nonstick pan with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they soften. Spoon vegetables over cooked oats. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oil and fry egg. Cook until the whites are no longer translucent and serve over oatmeal.
  5. Top with chopped walnuts, green onions, and za’atar

Your Beauty Diet: The Very Best Skin-Nourishing Foods

You guys!!! I’ve been so busy since I got back from Europe. The new school year is starting, so I’ve been helping my sister set up her classroom down in Philadelphia. I’m always amazed at how much work teachers have to do and how many classroom resources they have to pay for themselves. Shout out to all the educators out there! Side bar: if you want to donate to her classroom, please don’t hesitate! You can donate here and if you’d like to know a little more about her classroom check out this link.

Anyway, I’m just getting back into the swing of things since the trip. I came down with a horrible cold as soon as I got back, and that really took the wind out of my sails. If you’ve been following for a while you know that I rarely, and I do mean rarely, get sick. I’m totally married to taking preventative measures against cold and flu season, and on the rare occasion that I do get sick, I’m all about those quick, natural remedies. All this travel had my immune system in a tailspin though, and what’s worse is that all that sick and tired started to surface on my skin. You know that weary-eyed, dull look you get when you’re sick? Well let’s just say that cold added about 20 years to my Gesicht. Not cool.

Beauty is only skin deep, right? Meh. Not always. The foods we eat definitely impact our beauty from the inside out. We are what we eat for real! So when trying to bring your sexy back, diet is a key component. Here is a list of the best beauty foods to incorporate into your lifestyle.

THE BEST BEAUTY FOODS

  1. Lacto-fermented foods are excellent for improving digestion as they are predigested by bacteria so nutrients are more available for the body to use. The process also creates natural probiotics, key for good gut health. Studies also show that lack of certain acids such as hydrochloric acid in the gut contributes to skin problems from rosacea to acne.Lactic acid bacteria can help increase these acids. Other important beauty foods to eat are prebiotic foods such as Jerusalem artichoke, bananas, green veggies, asparagus, onions and garlic that feed the good bacteria in your gut. Foods rich in digestive enzymes such as papaya and pineapple can also help nourish gut and skin health.
  2. Anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation contributes to a host of skin problems including dryness, pimples and loss of skin tone, as it breaks down essential collagen. Anti-inflammatory foods include lacto-fermented foods and those rich in antioxidants and omega-3s. Grain-fed meats contain inflammatory fats whereas grass-fed meats are rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and omega -3s. For beauty and health, avoid highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, pasteurized dairy and gluten that can all contribute to inflammation.
  3. Alkalising foods. Many naturopaths believe that too much acid in the body may lead to skin and health issues from arthritis to eczema. The modern diet is full of acidic foods such as red meat, alcohol, refined grains and sugar. To see and feel the benefits, reduce these and eat lots of alkalising foods: lemons, green leafy veg, fruit, herbs, spices, herbal teas.
  4. Antioxidant-rich foods have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the skin from free radical damage that ages it prematurely. Free radicals are unstable molecules that naturally roam our bodies looking to partner up with healthy cells, which they then damage. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits, veggies, spices, green tea and legumes. While oxidation is a normal part of our body’s processes, it is exacerbated by exposure to toxins and pollution, eating processed foods, stress, cigarettes and alcohol so try to cut down on these for your health, and your complexion.
  5. Vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C helps support collagen production and boost the skin’s immunity. Lemons, camu camu (a cherry-like fruit), acerola cherry, green leafy veggies, berries, papaya, kiwi fruit, broccoli and cabbage should all be on your shopping list if you want a beautiful complexion.
  6. Vitamin A. Beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A helps rejuvenate the skin and promotes cell turnover, improving dry flaky skin. Carrots, sweet potato, leafy greens and seaweeds are rich in vitamin A. Cod liver oil is another great source and also contains skin-loving vitamin D.
  7. Spark up your skin. Minerals are key catalysts for many biochemical reactions, helping to make enzymes, antioxidants and hormones. They are essential for skin’s hydration, resilience and overall texture and health. Oats, buckwheat and chickpeas contain silica, for example, which can help to promote skin elasticity. Zinc in pepitas is another anti-inflammatory helpful in repairing and building the skin, particularly if you are prone to acne or oily skin. Soak grains, seeds and legumes to reduce anti-nutrients, aid their digestibility and unleash their goodness.
  8. Support the liver. Foods that support the liver are very important to wellness and beauty because this organ is involved in every metabolic process. Max sulphur-rich foods, including those from the brassica family – cabbage, broccoli, kale – in your diet and enjoy nourishing, slow-cooked bone broths.
  9. Eat liver-supporting herbs such as milk thistle, rosemary, fennel, dandelion and burdock root.
  10. Eat fat. Eat essential fatty acids. The ideal ratio is 1:1 – 5:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but in the Western world it looks more like 20:1 – 50:1. While omega-6s are essential, their dominance causes inflammation in the body, so avoid processed packaged foods and refined vegetable, seed and nut oils.Eat fresh seeds and nuts for omega-6s and dose up on omega-3s by eating fresh fish (especially cold-water fish), flaxseeds and chia seeds. Be sure to eat freshly ground flaxseeds and chia seeds as they oxidise very easily. Krill oil is also a great omega-3-rich supplement. Other skin-boosting unsaturated fats are olive oil – avoid heating it as it oxidises – and the fats in avocado.Cook with saturated fats such as red palm oil and coconut oil: these are stable and rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are great for digestion, brain and skin health.
  11. Eat protein. Insufficient protein in the diet can lead to sallow-looking skin and lack of muscle tone. Protein is vital for collagen synthesis, tissue growth and repair. It’s important for balancing blood-sugar levels and it builds muscle, increasing basal metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn fat. Good protein sources are fish, grass-fed meats, fresh nuts and seeds and cultured dairy.

Your body will thank you for introducing all of these cleansing foods into your diet. I’ve been really good about changing the way I think about and choose the foods I eat. The payoff is immediate. More energy, a total relief from abdominal discomfort, and now that I think of it, I’ve also been less stressed out and anxious than I’ve been in years. Cherry on top? A youthful glow to my skin. What more could a lady ask for?!

Source: The Beauty Chef

Make-Ahead Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Before I jump right into the recipe, I have to tell you that these next several weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. If you’ve been checking out my posts, you know that I’m heading over to Stockholm and London in July. Yay! I’ve been writing lists and getting organized for the trip. I am seriously neurotic when it comes to packing luggage, and I am a total carry-on-only warrior. Anyway, since I’ve been planning everything right down to the smallest of details, I realized I’d forgotten one of the most important things to consider. After returning home from a long trip, the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. I needed to come up with a meal that I can take straight from the freezer and pop in the oven as soon as I set down my bags.

Because farmer’s markets and summer CSAs are in full swing, and because I have more summer squash than I know what to do with, I decided to make a Summer vegetable lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, y’all, and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. The Béchamel sauce really makes every bite a cosmic experience. The best part is that you can make this ahead of time and then freeze portions for a quick, healthy, and oh so tasty meal. You must try this!!!

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

For the vegetable filling:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 3 cups (24 oz./750 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3/4 lb. (12 oz./375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. To make the filling, in a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Clean the pot.

3. To make the béchamel sauce, in the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the sauce to a bowl. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on the bottom of the pot. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Cover the sauce in the pot with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them if needed to fit. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture evenly on top, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering 2 more times, starting with the noodles. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

***To freeze, cut it into individual portions. Wrap the portions in aluminum foil and when you’re ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375°F.

Source: Williams Sonoma

Vintage Style 4th of July Barbecue

So I’ve been binge watching the Wonder Years on Netflix and it’s totally gotten me into this nostalgic kinda mood. The show takes place in the late 60s, but somehow manages to make you feel like you’re remembering your own childhood. Anyway, I guess I’m mad impressionable because now I seriously want to host a vintage style get together. With the 4th of July right around the corner, I decided to go with a vintage Americana theme for this year’s barbecue. Thank goodness for Lia Griffith, y’all! She absolutely nailed the vision I had in my head and even has some handy printables and DIY tutorials to make this dream a reality. Check out the pics and get inspired!

How gorgeous is this?!! Every little detail, right down to the matchboxes!Just beautiful. I’m super excited to host this year’s celebration! Check out more of this amazing design here and here. You’ll find links to all of the cool tutorials and printables.

Also, if you’re in need of a perfectly grillable veggie burger recipe to appease your hungry vegetarian friends (note: I am one of your hungry vegetarian friends), check out my favorite recipe here.