The soul of a chef. Who says a yogi can’t be a foodie? Recipes with Coconut Oil and Nutritional Yeast

When 2012 was upon us at the end of 2011 I was faced with the decision to write out my New Years Resolution as I had routinely done every year.  In my blog, To Resolution or Not to Resolution I decided not to Resolution and wrote out “my story for 2012” instead. Over the past year I have realized that I’m the author of my life’s story and the main character giving myself full freedom to be or do as I wish. Life goes by way to fast to allow someone else to dictate your choices as I have allowed so often in the past. So, as I put the pen to paper I wrote that I would start sharing my creativity and artistic expression with you in other ways than just my writing and photography as another means to inspire you to start living your dreams and to find your life’s purpose and passion. Someone else inspired me to be where I am today and so that is my purpose here, to do the same for you. Will Blunderfield, a wonderful yogi said “Your passion is your purpose.” This resonated with me and I believe once you find your purpose, it is your gift that you can give and share with the world.

You see, there is an artist within each one of us just dying to come out. I lived for so many years embarrassed by my writing, poetry, painting and cooking that I hid it from the world. Sharing only what another would compliment me on if they had caught me in the act of creating. Yoga is the method by which I’ve been able to calm my restless mind and can now direct the energy into constructive channels. As I mentioned in my last blog I had suppressed my artistic nature because my father didn’t want me to go to University for Fine Arts. “I don’t want you to be a starving artist he said.” So here I am, I’ve come around full circle because my love for the arts is my passion and I express this through culinary creation. I didn’t go to culinary school but I have taken lots of cooking classes around the world on my wild adventures and I’ve experimented by myself from even a young age and I’ve enjoyed many meals alone because I love to eat.

Who says a yogi can’t be a foodie? The Science of cooking fascinates me and I have mastered the Art of eating. But now  I have the courage to express it and share it. My cooking comes from the heart, made with the most important and abundant free ingredient, love.

I feel guilty, I must confess. Lately I have been making some really amazing healthy tasty vegetarian meals and I have not shared them with YOU. I have only successfully been on a vegetarian/flexitarian moving toward vegan-ism path for 16 months now. Growing up a meat eater from Montana, I never believed I could be satisfied with out a piece of meat on my plate. But I truly am. I love love love to cook, I always have and I’ve been having SO much fun with all my new creations that it would be selfish not to start sharing them. There is so much more to just beans and rice in Nicaragua.

You will hardly ever see me cooking from a recipe. I may flip through a cook book from time to time to look at the beautiful photography and to get inspired but it is very rare that I follow a recipe from start to finish and I hardly ever make the same thing twice and if I do it never turns out exactly the same. That is the beauty of cooking. You can create anything you want to! Cooking should be fun and once you feel comfortable with what flavors work with other flavors, you can just go to a well stocked fridge, pantry, herb garden and spice rack and make some magic!

Coconut Oil and Nutritional Yeast

♥ Feed your soul with a wonderful new creation inspired by me. I’ve been experimenting and having fun with new ingredients! What are you seeking? Living outside your comfort level is where the magic happens. Just try it…go on….

Popcorn As A meal

Ingredients:
Coconut Oil 4-8 TBL.
Dried popcorn 1/4 – 1 cup
Raw Garlic 2 cloves
1 Lime
Sea Salt, preferably Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Pour a few tablespoons of coconut oil into a stainless steel pot, more is better.  Turn the temperature on medium to medium high. Throw a few corn kernels in and wait till they pop. Once the oil is ready add 1/4 to 1 cup of raw kernels and cover with a lid. Move the pot back and forth over the flames holding the lid tight and once the corn starts to pop, listen carefully and when it slows down and the pot is full of fluffy white corn remove from the heat. If you have room in the pot using a garlic press, press a few cloves of fresh garlic directly onto the popcorn. If not transfer to a large bowl and do the same. Add a few sprinkles of pink Himalayan sea salt and a few tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast. Stir and then squeeze some fresh lime over top, stir again. Enjoy. If you want a spicy version add some cayenne pepper. Use any fresh or dried herbs to make it different. (Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary.) This is the part where you can be creative. If you don’t have Coconut Oil, use Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil. If you don’t have Nutritional Yeast, just use sea salt. Be creative.

Wine Pairing: Champagne or Sparkling White Wine, anything with bubbles goes well with popcorn.  (Truffle oil and sea salt is also a wonderful topping for popcorn that works so well with bubbles)

Potato Cakes
Have left over Mashed Potatoes from last nights dinner? Don’t throw them out! Instead use them to make your next meal or appetizer.

Ingredients:
Zucchini – half or quarter of small zucchini finely diced
Cold Mashed Potatoes (seasoned from the night before)

In a bowl mix at least 2-3 cups of cold potatoes with the finely diced zucchini. Mush it all together and use your hands to form a patty. Similar to a veggie or burger patty. Put some Nutritional Yeast on a plate and spread it out evenly. Put the patty into the yeast and then sprinkle Nutritional Yeast on the top and press the patty gently into the bed of yeast. You want the yeast to stick to both sides evenly.

Heat a few table spoons of Coconut Oil in a non stick pan on medium heat. Cook the patties on both sides, making sure the yeast doesn’t burn, adjusting the temperature if need be.  Flip the patty over when the yeast has become golden brown. Serve on it’s own with your choice of salsa, hot sauce or serve on the side to your favorite salad. Suggestion: Mixed Organic Greens, Arugula, Avocado, Tomatoes and Basil). This is where you get to be creative. Add any dried or fresh herbs to the patties and serve it anyway your heart desires. You can even make balls potato balls instead of patties.

Wine Pairing: Riesling

In case you are seeking more information about Coconut Oil & Nutritional Yeast

Coconut Oil Is:

·       Anti-inflammatory
·       Antimicrobial
·       Anti-fungal
·       Antiviral
·       Improves nutrient absorption

Cooking

-Use 1 cup to 1 cup ratio when replacing other oils/butter in recipes with coconut oil.
-Replacement for butter/lard/Crisco/Olive Oil in it’s solid form – greasing pans, pie crusts, etc.
-Replacement for various oils in liquid form – baking, cooking, sautéing, etc.
-Nutritional supplement – melt and add to smoothies.

Other Coconut Oil Uses:
-Hair Conditioner/Deep Treatment – use as a leave in hair conditioner by applying a teaspoon of coconut oil to your ends and then running your fingers through your hair to distribute the rest! For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto your dry scalp and gently work through to the ends. Put a shower cap or put a towel over your pillow to prevent transfer onto bed linens and leave on overnight.
-Make up remover
-Chapstick
-Massage Oil – pretty simple; grab some and rub!
-Lubricant – it is an all natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant. Not compatible with latex!
-Stretch Mark Cream – coconut oil is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help.

Nutritional Yeast

Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you’re vegan, it’s a good idea to add some to your food regularly. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk foods or supplement section of your health food store. You can look for either nutritional yeast flakes or powder, but be sure you don’t get brewer’s yeast by mistake, as it’s quite similar in appearance. In Australia and New Zealand, nutritional yeast is also called “savory yeast” or “savory yeast flakes.” Sprinkle on salads, garlic bread, add to stir frys. Be creative!

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