Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Sacha Inchi, the Next New Superfood?

I like to refer to sacha inchi as the best ingredient nobody knows about. I was introduced to it two years ago at Natural Products Expo West, and was intrigued by its stellar nutritional benefits as well as how it is produced in a sustainable and fair way, helping many families to thrive in the regions where it is grown. In fact, I was so impressed that I decided to use sacha inchi protein in our Cashew Coconut Pure Bar!

The vine-like sacha inchi plant is native to Peru and the rainforest area, and produces a fruit which contains the nutty sacha inchi seed, also called the mountain peanut or Inca peanut. This seed is highly nutritious, loaded with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is often roasted and seasoned to provide a delicious snack. The seed is also ground for protein and cold pressed into oil that can be substituted for olive oil in dressings and recipes, although I don’t recommend heating it because it is fragile and can easily break down.

For more information on this incredible superfood, and to experience it in our Cashew Coconut bar, see the links below!

- Veronica

Learn More about Sacha Inchi

www.amazonhp.com

shop.thepurebar.com

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Avocado Mousse Recipe from Kathryn Budig

Guest Blogger and Pure Ambassador Kathryn Budig shares this fun and healthy recipe with our Pure community this week.

This is definitely one of those “Don’t knock it until you try it” recipes! Who knew a vegan desert could be the highlight of your summer menu? With this tasty avocado mousse, perfect for a hot summer day, you’ll have the best and healthiest cook out in town! It’s delicious, full of omega fatty acids, bright and honestly kinda quirky. If you’re serving to people who will freak out at the sight of green just add cacao powder and tell them it’s chocolate pudding. They’ll never know! :)

For more information on Kathryn Budig head over to her website, kathrynbudig.com

Avocado Mousse

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
juice of 4 limes
3 T raw blue agave
1.5 T raw cacao nibs (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve.

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Mediterranean Cous Cous

A few weeks ago I bought a boxed meal of Mediterranean Cous Cous. It contained a few servings of dry cous cous and a packet that contained some dried vegetables like peas and onions and spices like turmeric and curry. I added it to boiling water to prepare. It wasn’t bad but it didn’t make enough to feed my family of five, and for the price I realized I could make a whole lot more, plus I could use fresh organic ingredients from my refrigerator.

My big “Ah ha” moment lately is that many of the “meal in a box” items we buy in the store can be easily mimicked at home for much less cost and with fresher ingredients. The Mediterranean Cous Cous below is a great example of this. Another plus when you mimic a boxed meal is that you can tailor the dish exactly to your family’s tastes. My Mediterranean Cous Cous was a big hit and will become a staple around our house!

- Veronica

Mediterranean Cous Cous Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 17 minutes

Serves 5

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 large carrots sliced thin

1 teaspoon curry

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup dry cous cous

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onion and carrot and simmer, covered for 10-12 minutes, until soft. Add the curry, turmeric, cumin and frozen peas. Mix well, cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the cous cous and mix well. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for five minutes. Fluff the cous cous with a fork and combine it with the spice and vegetable mixture. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Junk Juice

Wait! Don’t throw away those wilting vegetables in your fridge, drink them! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start expanding your juice horizon beyond apples and carrots. Every week or so we make a “Junk Juice” with whatever fruits and veggies need to get used up. Putting greens like parsley, broccoli, cilantro, and celery into your juice exponentially enhances the nutritionals. If you’re worried about ruining the flavor, try adding lemon or lime plus a sweet fruit like grapes to mask the slightly bitter flavor of greens.

When my son was a toddler, he drank juice with kale, parsley, grapes, apples and lemon. There is no way a 2 year old would eat kale and parsley on his plate, but he sure did drink them! Maybe you have a teenager or significant other who also has a hard time eating greens. Juicing them is a great way to get them into your family and out of your fridge before they go bad!

- Veronica

Making Broth

I also use wilting vegetables as well as the scraps of onions, carrots, celery and herbs into a big pot of water with some salt to make my own vegetable broth. It works terrific and tastes much more fresh and delicious than boxed or canned broth.

For recipes, tips and creative ideas check out our Instagram and Pinterest pages

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Homemade Thai

I first became obsessed with Thai food on a trip to New York a few years back. My friend and I ducked into a small Thai restaurant in Manhattan for a quick lunch and I was served one of the best coconut curry dishes I have ever had. True to form, I vowed I would learn to make it myself! It only took me three years to get around to it, but I finally put my foot down this weekend because I’m going out for Thai food way too much. I needed to bring this recipe home into my own kitchen!

I love creating my own version of recipes because I can customize the flavors any way I want. For the sauce I started by slowly simmering onion in coconut oil. The key is to let the onions cook slowly in the oil, covered, so the flavors blend together. I wanted to build this recipe using ingredients I already had in the house so I could whip it up fast without having to run around town looking for exotic foods. I also wanted to be able to use different veggies and rice if needed, so I made a sauce that could be matched with a variety of other ingredients.

I made this for my family of five, and it was a big hit. I may double the sauce recipe though next time because I like A LOT of sauce with the rice and veggies. Otherwise, it was perfect!

- Veronica

Vegan Coconut Curry with Vegetables

Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons tapioca powder (to thicken)
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, cover, and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, curry, ginger, salt and turmeric. Heat on low until mixture simmers. Mix in tapioca starch until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.

Vegetables:
1 small head cauliflower chopped
3 medium carrots sliced
2 cups snap peas

Directions:
Place 2-3 cups water in a pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes, or to desired consistency. Drain.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables and mix well. Serve with rice.

For recipes, tips and creative ideas check out our Instagram and Pinterest pages

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Pure News on Both Coasts

It’s been a crazy couple of months for Pure, in a good way! We started with a media tour in New York, meeting with editors from Rodale, Meredith, and Hearst, a dietician who contributes to the Today Show, and other media to talk about all things Pure including the Pure Cookbook that is coming out early next year. We also introduced them to our new Peanut Butter Ancient Grain and Cashew Coconut Pure Bars. Every editor and media personality received a Pure bamboo recipe box with Pure recipe cards and my favorite Ancient Grain recipes.

Next, we held a cocktail party and served a homemade Ancient Grains-inspired Dinner in the beautiful SCM Hospitality Suite in New York for editors and media. I demonstrated how to make a full meal with using ancient grains including a Fresh Fig, Hemp and Arugula Salad, Quinoa with Avocado Pesto, and Rum- Roasted Fruit with Popped Amaranth. The meal was deliciously indulgent and yet incredibly healthy. It was especially fun helping all the guests make their own avocado pesto to take home. We also enjoyed homemade organic sage and lemon martinis which made an enjoyable night even better!

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Pure has entered Costco in the Bay Area with fantastic results. The San Francisco residents are embracing our new Pure Ancient Grain multipack at their local Bay Area Costco stores. I am so grateful for this opportunity and as always, humbled by how well communities receive our Pure Products.

We also continue to grow in Safeway as out new Ancient Grain Bars have been added to the shelf and nationwide at Vitamin Shoppe where they have also added Ancient Grain bars to the original line up of Pure Fruit and Nut bars. Look for Pure at your neighborhood stores, and help us support these great retailers! It has definitely been a delightful couple of months and we are eager to see what this summer brings!

- Veronica

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Foods That Protect Your Skin

I’ve never been a fan of sunscreen. Too many chemicals and too much conflicting information about whether sunscreen actually does what it is supposed to. In my opinion, if you want to lower your sun exposure, wear a hat and t-shirt. But don’t cut the sun out completely, because moderate amounts of sun allows your body to produce vitamin D which some scientist have hypothesized may help protect against certain cancers.

What about our diet? Can the food we eat help to protect us against skin cancer? Actually, our diet can be a very important factor in helping to prevent many types of cancer.

Studies continue to show that certain foods can play a protective role in preventing skin cancer, and here’s how it works. Damage to our skin occurs when we have prolonged exposure to UVB and UVA rays of the sun (many sunscreens don’t protect against UVA rays). This damage can open the door for gene mutations and ultimately cancer. One of the most effective ways our body has of minimizing this damage is through the presence of antioxidants, which can help prevent the damage from occurring.

Antioxidants come from the foods we eat and are most highly concentrated in fruits and vegetables. Certain antioxidants are known to be especially good at helping protect us from sun damage that can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer. Combining these great foods with smart sun practices, like avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day, and covering up to avoid overexposure can result in healthier skin. That’s a win-win if you ask me. See my tip below for the best foods to consume to help protect your skin this summer!

- Veronica

Top foods that help protect your skin

The studies noted below have indicated that these foods can help protect your skin.

Citrus Fruits (especially the rind) – Vitamin C and perillyl alcohol can help prevent damage to the skin from UV rays.

Red Grapes and Pomegranate – Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant can help to protect skin against damaging UV rays.

Tomatoes and Watermelon – Lycopene an antioxidant with protective UV blocking qualities can help prevent skin damage.

Apples and Onions – Contain Quercetin which can help to inhibit skin cancer growth.

Turmeric spice – Abundant in Curcumin which can help to inhibit skin cancer formation and growth.

Note that these studies are not necessarily definitive and my tips should help optimize our diet only and are not meant to help treat any health problems. Consult a doctor if you see anything concerning on your skin that you suspect could be cancerous

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
www.webmd.com
www.lef.org
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
carcin.oxfordjournals.org
umm.edu

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Parsley: Beyond Garnish

You have to admit that when I mention parsley, you think garnish. In fact, like me, you’ve probably picked it off your food and set it aside without even the thought of eating it. Wait, you can EAT it??

I don’t blame you, because for a long time I ignored this little herb too. But I’ve been cooking a lot lately, creating and testing recipes in preparation for the launch of the Pure cookbook next year. In doing so I have developed an appreciation for certain ingredients that in the past I haven’t given much thought to. One of those is definitely parsley.

Parsley is probably one of the most well-known herbs but also one of the most pigeon-holed and underappreciated herbs in this country. Though common in European cuisine, in the US, parsley is mainly used as a garnish or to add a bit of color to meals and most of us have no idea how nutritious this little leaf is.

Parsley is very high in flavonoids and antioxidants which help to fight against disease in our bodies. In fact it is considered a highly protective food because of its ability to neutralize certain toxins in our body. Parsley is high in vitamin C, an important antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory. It contains high levels of folic acid which is a key player in cardiovascular health and vitamin A which is important to our immune system.

Parsley is easy to grow and harvest in your own garden or even on your windowsill. I now have a parsley plant in my kitchen that I cook with and eat from daily. See below for my favorite easy ways to use more of this incredible little leaf, and click on the links for some recipes to get you started!

- Veronica

Story Source: www.whfoods.com  

Using More Parsley + Recipes

Salads- whatever salad you’re making, throw a handful of parsley in it

Soups- stir into all soups and stews at the end of cooking

Juices- whenever you are making a juice or smoothie, add a handful or two of parsley

Vegetables- Stir a handful in at the end of cooking

Alone- pick and eat 3 or 4 leaves of parsley each day to boost your health

More recipes

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Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Microgreen Madness

About a week ago, I was introduced to microgreens. I ordered a veggie pizza at one of my favorite local, home grown restaurants, Salt of the Earth, and it showed up covered in tiny plants. When I asked the server about these “tween” plants, not really sprouts but not grown-up vegetables either, he introduced me to the concept of microgreens.

On our not just slightly amazing pizza, there were radish and celery microgreens. They didn’t look anything like radishes or celery stalks but rather little plant shoots like the kind you see in the spring or basically a stem, and tiny set of leaves. They were fresh and delicious. But why eat microgreens?

According to this NPR article the first scientific study into microgreens was mind blowing. Compared to their adult counterparts, microgreens had between 4 and 6 times more nutrients. It seems like these baby plants are essentially concentrated forms of the adult vegetables. I suddenly envisioned a sprinkling of handful of these greens on every salad and pizza my kids eat. And what’s great too is that because these baby veggies are so young they have a mild flavor much different than the full grown vegetable.

I will definitely start to look for these on menus, at the health store, and even try to grow my own (see below). High powered vegetables are too good to pass up!

- Veronica

 

 

Growing a Microgarden

If there was ever a chore to give your kids that they will love, this is it! Have your kids grow a microgarden and they will love to reap and eat the benefits! I found this awesome company that uses reclaimed wood and builds cool little microgarden pods so your garden can be as fashionable and ecofriendly as it is healthy!

reclaimedmicrogardens.com/

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Expo West 2014, New Pure Bars and Other Favorites

It’s hard to believe that this was my 8th year at Natural Products Expo West. My first year at Expo, I showcased Pure at a tiny table in the back of the last hall, next to the bathrooms. I had a vinyl sign behind me and boxes of Pure Bars on the table in front.

It’s crazy to think but I actually believe that being one of those small, broke, yet cool companies with a great product brings you more attention at a show like this than being one of the big guys. People are looking for the innovative brands not the fancy booths. I have always loved that about this show. In those early years, even back in no man’s land, I was discovered by some of my biggest accounts and I can say with confidence that Expo West was a crucial part in launching the Pure business.

This year at Expo felt amazing. We created a warm, inviting kitchen-like feel in our booth and although we had a nicer space than we did in year one, we are still the small, exciting, and innovative company we always have been. By introducing our two new products, Cashew Coconut and Peanut Butter Chocolate Ancient Grains, we showed that we are bound to bring better products to more people and places than ever before.

As a mom who lives in the world of natural food and cooks for a family of five, I am always super excited to see what other new products will make my life and my family’s life healthier and easier! I walk the show as a consumer in search of the next new, groundbreaking products to use and enjoy. Below are a list of my top picks and why I loved them!

- Veronica

My 5 Favorites

Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Unfiltered “You don’t have to imagine the ginger” One of my biggest pet peeves is fake products, typical ginger ale being a prime culprit. This drink on the other hand has bits of wonderful ginger you can see and taste floating around in their delish flavors which blend ginger with pomegranate, monk fruit and jasmine. Yum, I want one right now!

Beyond Meat This company makes plant-based meat substitutes. While I wish all their products were organic and non-GMO, I LOVE that they use pea protein instead of soy for their Beefy Crumbles. Oh, and it is by far the closest thing to meat I have ever tasted.

Jem Nut Butters As a vegetarian family, we pound through the nut butters. Jem makes raw, sprouted nut butters that taste like my grandmothers secret fudge sauce. How they make something so wickedly healthy taste like the most indulgent dessert, I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. I just want more.

Farmhouse Culture I love anything pickled, and so does my digestive system! These guys make 6 varieties of super kraut including beet ginger, smoked jalapeno, and horseradish leek that will knock your socks off. Visit their website for out of this world recipes that will make you want to buy a case today!

Date Lady No fellas, this is not someone you call when you are bored Friday night. This lady makes delicious date and caramel sauces that are a perfect vegan replacement for honey or substitute for maple syrup. The flavor is so deep and intense; I can’t wait to use it in some recipes.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Rum Roasted Fruit

As I was digging around in the freezer last night for dinner ideas, I ran into a bottle of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum left over from the vegan eggnog we made during the holidays. It got me thinking about other ways to use the rum. Drinking it would be fun, but realistically as a busy, working mom, it probably won’t happen until the next holiday season, and that’s way too long to be taking up valuable space in the freezer.

I decided to use the spiced rum to make a marinade for roasting fruit. The only fruit I had in the house were apples and fresh cranberries (frozen from when I hoarded them over the holidays). I was bummed I didn’t have any pears which would have also been amazing in this recipe, but will definitely look forward to trying pears as well as peaches and berries when they come into season.

The key to roasting fruit is to first cover it and let it get all bubbly and soft, then uncover and caramelize it under high heat. You want the fruit to be soft but also slightly browned on the edges for the best flavor! Serve it in small bowls topped with yogurt, coconut ice-cream, or homemade almond milk. Is your mouth watering yet?

- Veronica

Rum Roasted Apples & Cranberries

Serves 2

3 tablespoons Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rum, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the apples and cranberries and mix well to coat. Pour the mixture into a pie plate and cover with foil. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes or until fruit is soft and bubbly. Turn oven to 450 degrees. Uncover and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes until fruit is browned on the edges. Serve warm.

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Spice up Valentine’s Day with an Aphrodisiac Menu

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but every day is the right day to feel and express love. . Aphrodisiac foods help us do just that. I am intrigued by the science behind aphrodisiac foods because it helps us understand the mechanism by which these foods help us experience passion to the fullest. I choose my four favorite aphrodisiac foods to include this day and every day you want to make your romantic experience soar!

Honey: An incredibly sensual food, thick and sweet it creates a strong sensory reaction from the first drop on your tongue. Honey contains important minerals and vitamins that help our body produce and metabolize both estrogen and testosterone which keeps our libido strong. Now that is sweet!

Avocado: Rich and delicious, avocados embody indulgence and are packed with vitamin E which increases healthy blood flow and helps the body produce sex hormones. Guacamole anyone?

Basil: Known as the love herb in ancient times, it spices up appetizers and main dishes alike while heightening libido by increasing blood flow and decreasing inflammation. Talk about spicy!

Chocolate: The fact that this decadent food can also help your libido is almost too good to be true! Chocolate has chemicals that increase the production of pleasure producing neurotransmitters in our brain. It also contains potassium which helps increase stamina and zinc which is linked to sex hormone production. You know what they say, “Everything is better with chocolate!”

- Veronica

Make a simple yet delicious Valentine’s Day dinner with all of the above ingredients!

Valentine’s Day Menu:

Apple-Cranberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette & Pure Bar Croutons

Pasta with Diced Tomatoes and Avocado Basil Pesto

Dark Chocolate Glazed Poached Pears with Strawberries and Almonds