Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Put Some 'Spring' In Your Step With Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

Lots of Veggies in Springtime 

Spring is here and so is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Spring means that it's time for us to eat foods that are lighter and more refreshing. We can incorporate more raw foods into our meals, salads and pressed salads, light soups, quick stir fries and emphasize vegetables in our meals. Leafy greens, sprouts, parsley and scallions are excellent for this season. Sour and bitter flavors like lemon, lime, and bitter dandelion greens help support the liver and gallbladder in detoxification. Mildly sweet foods help us feel happy and relaxed Cooking with less oil and shorter cooking times are recommended.

Recently, I have been trying to make milder sweet dishes that satisfy my cravings but don't leave me feeling the sugar rush of super sweet baked goods and other desserts. Here are some great alternatives to heavier and more intense sweets from Winter.

Instead of grabbing a cookie, muffin, cupcake or chocolate, try...
  • Sweet fresh corn on the cob. Buy organic, steam for 3 minutes and then smear with umeboshi paste. It is DELICIOUS!!! You will never eat corn on the cob another way again.
  • Cooked squash - there are so many to choose from and they are all sweet and satisfying.
  • Roasted Japanese sweet potato or yams. Clean the yam/sweet potato, take out any eyes, and put in a Pyrex dish in the oven on 425 degrees. Let it cook for about 45 minutes and poke with a fork to see if it's done. When the fork goes in easily, it is ready! Slice and peel the skin. Enjoy the creamy sweetness.
  • Whole grains. When I want a sweet snack I take some left over well cooked brown rice and drizzle brown rice syrup over it. So easy and so good.
  • Carrot juice - refreshing and sweet. I like it best mixed with green apple juice, so it's sweet and sour 'Carrot Green Apple Juice.' Yummm.
  • Fruit compote - if I am craving something fruity, I toss some sliced fruit into a pot with a pinch of sea salt and simmer it for 10-15 minutes. I like to mix it up and use fresh, frozen and dried fruit. Fruit compote can be simple (made from one fruit) or more complex. I like to use apples, dried apricots, frozen blueberries, frozen cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries... the combinations are endless. The compote can be eaten plain, served on top of oatmeal for breakfast, or spooned over frozen dessert (see below).

Vanilla Soy Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberry Peach Compote and Toasted Almonds

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