Friday, September 12, 2014

Balian Papaya Elixir Smoothie

Hello from Bali! Dane and I are now on our honeymoon in the sunny, ever warm, beautiful Indonesia. I still cant believe the whirlwind of emotions, memories, and people, that have surrounded me and eventually led me to this tranquil and vibrant island. The Balinese are such friendly people, smiling and waving, with eyes full of happiness. To my surprise they are much more open than the fellow tourists we sit next to at the  beach or at the local restaurant. Each Balinese connection brings me inner happiness.

Along with the friendly people, and beautiful surroundings, comes the sweet nectar of the tropics-the vibrant tropical fruits, papaya, mangosteen, and passion fruit. Dane and I savor every bite, knowing that too soon we will have to return to our homegrown Washington apples. Not that these aren’t delicious, they are just not as exciting. 

You would think from the name of my blog, that perhaps you would find more papaya recipes tucked away in the recipe archive. Sadly, it is not often that I get to devour my favorite fruit as it is expensive and rare in the Pacific Northwest. However, lucky for me the papaya is in abundance! Now, I get to treat Dane and myself to daily papaya smoothies, salads, and breakfast bowls. Oh papaya, how I love the!

Papaya is vibrant in color and buttery in texture. The flavor is lightly sweet with musky undertones that come alive with a spritze of lime. Besides being rich in antioxidants beta-carotene, the pigment that gives papaya a deep red-orange color, and vitamin C, it is unique in the fact that it contains papain and chymopapain- enzymes that digest proteins. These enzymes help ease digestive upset, reduce inflammation, and may support the healing of sport injuries (1). Often, the elderly or those suffering from digestive distress, cannot digest dietary proteins easily due to a lack of enzyme production or a decrease HCL secretion in the stomach. Therefore, papaya can offer digestive relief, aiding in protein breakdown. Papaya is also often used in Bali in natural spas, acting as a moisturizer in baths, or used as part of a facial. In addition papaya, just like pineapple, can act like a meat tenderizer for your next summer BBQ. 

Today, I use papaya along with anti-inflammatory roots, ginger and turmeric. Once again, here in Bali, fresh turmeric and ginger root are in abundance and very cheap. Back home, they can be a bit more pricey, especially turmeric. However, along with fresh papaya, these roots can make a smoothie into a health elixir. Ginger has been known to act as a carminative, easing digestive upset, nausea, and relieving gas. The bioactive compounds found in ginger, aid in the absorption and transport of the nutrients found in foods, especially that of oils and proteins which take longer to digest (2). Both ginger and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation (2). Turmeric, also is known as a powerful antimicrobial and anticancer agent. In traditional medicinal practices, turmeric has been used to prevent infection of open wounds, and has been used topically for acne and skin rashes. Curcumin, the bioactive found in turmeric, has also proven to be a powerful antioxidant, quenching free radicals, and preventing their consequential damage to cell membranes (2). Simply put, these two roots, offer an immune boosting punch. 

With that being said, here is my delicious Balian Papaya Elixir Smoothie. This one is for the books. Trust me. If you can get your hands on some fresh papaya, ginger and turmeric, make this. And if you like things a bit more potent (and spicy) add more ginger and turmeric to taste. BE CAREFUL WHEN CUTTING FRESH TURMERIC BECAUSE IT STAINS (as you can see my nails are a bit yellow)!!

PS. I used sweetened soy milk because that is all they had at the local market. If you prefer unsweetened soy milk, add 2 teaspoons of you sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc). Just take note that the flavor profile may be different depending on the sweetener you use. 

Balian Papaya Elixir Smoothie
Makes 2 large glasses

Juice of 3 small limes 
Juice of 1 large orange
~ 1 1/2  inches of turmeric root, peeled and minced
~ 1 1/2  inches of ginger root, peeled and minced
2-3 cups peeled and cubed papaya
1 cup sweetened soy milk
Pinch of sea salt
Handful ice cubes


Add all the ingredients, except the ice cubes, into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and once again blend until smooth. Share and enjoy!



1. WHFoods. Papaya. Access September 13, 2014.
Sridhara, L. Ginger and Turmeric for Overall Well Being. Well Being Journal. 2014;23(5):21-24.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dessert for Two: A Late Summer Cobbler

Life has been über busy! Dane and I are getting married next Saturday, September 6th and our to-do lists never seem to end. My mental list and my written list always have different things on them, and for some reason all my new ideas come to me either at night or while I am running, discouraging me from writing my thoughts down.  My brain is multi-tasking to the max. But in the end it will be fun! Saturday the 6th cannot come soon enough, because then I will be able to let go, relax, and celebrate my new married life with Dane. After seven years we finally did it, and I am proud to say I am marrying my best friend-one who loves me exactly the way I am, with my faults as well as my benefits.

With that being said, I am sorry I haven’t posted recently, life just sort of got in the way. I do however have wonderful, tasty, versatile recipe for you. A recipe to treat you and your loved one. You can use berries or peaches, or mix them both together. I just picked the berries in my backyard, and since I didn’t have enough, I added in a ripe peach to the mix. Whatever floats your boat!

The cobbler is made of fiber rich oats, almond flour, and Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. I like this brand the best because it is made out of beans, adding in extra plant protein and fiber to the dessert. You could also use another gluten-free flour mix, however, most often they are void in fiber or protein, due to large amounts of refined rice, tapioca, and potato starches. In addition, because I generally like to use sweeteners other than cane sugar, I used maple syrup for the fruit and coconut sugar for the dough. These sweeteners offer both more minerals than refined cane sugar, including zinc, magnesium, and potassium, and they have a lower glycemic index, indicating they raise blood sugar slower than does cane sugar. However, although they are better options than cane sugar, they still should be used in moderation, just as I did in this recipe. 

Because the fruit and the dough are only lightly sweetened, it can be both a dessert or a breakfast. For dessert top the baked cobbler with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream. For breakfast top the cobbler with a creamy full fat Greek yogurt. Either way, it is delicious! Nobody will notice that it is a healthy alternative to your traditional berry cobbler. 

This recipe can be baked in either single serve ceramic or glass dishes, or baked as a whole dessert in one single large casserole dish. It can also easily be doubled if you are serving a crowd. Because I enjoy to bake, and do not want a lot of dessert hanging around, I decided to make a recipe with just enough for me to have one, and Dane to have two. One of the many ways I am sure I won over Dane’s heart.

So, in nine days, I will be married, and shortly thereafter on my way to Bali! I hope I will be able to squeeze in another post before then. If not, perhaps when I am lying on the beach in the sun, watching Dane surf the waves, as I eat fresh papaya tossed in lime.....I can't wait!

By the way....I was asked to be a guest chef for Angela Pifer at Clean and Lean Revolution. Check out my cooking videos for Happy Belly Porridge, Creamy Avocado Dip, and a new recipe Rosemary Scented Warmed Skillet Salad with Tofu and Quinoa. Perhaps you will find some cooking inspiration!

Mixed Fruit Cobbler
Makes Two Large Servings or Three small servings

1/8 cup Bob’s All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
1/8 cup almond flour
¼ cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar or organic sugar
½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
2 pinches sea salt
1 tablespoon chilled organic butter, unsalted
1/8 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Juice and zest of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
2 cups fresh fruit (I used mixed berries and a peach)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, add the first six dough ingredients, and pulse until the rolled oats are broken down a bit. Then add the butter, yogurt, and vanilla and pulse until combined. Gather the dough, and split into halves or thirds (depending on how many you want to make). Roll each into a ball and flatten into a disc that fits inside a ramekin. Allow a little room along the edges for the biscuit to rise. Set aside.

Mix together the lemon juice, zest, cornstarch, maple syrup, and sea salt until the cornstarch is dissolved. Toss in the fruit and mix. Evenly spoon the fruit and the sauce into two ramekins. Top each ramekin with biscuit dough.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the biscuit is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Top with vanilla ice cream or additional whole milk Greek yogurt.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chipotle Lime Fresh Rolls

What do Type 1 Diabetes, Smores, and Vashon Island all have in common? Camp Sealth! This last week I was out on Vashon Island at Camp Sealth working as a Dietetic Intern for the American Diabetes Association. I was surrounded by many cute kids with Type 1 Diabetes that wanted to experience the “normal” camp life. They swam, they played, they made tie-dye t-shirts, and of course they ate camp food; smores, pasta, fish sticks, trail mix, and much more. They were just like any other kid, except they had to manage a chronic disease.

For those of you that do not know, Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas, which produces and releases insulin. Insulin is a very important hormone that is required by our cells to absorb glucose, the main form of energy for our body. Glucose comes from the foods we eat and can be utilized immediately as energy, stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, or it can be stored as fat. Glucose is very important for optimal brain function, as the brain preferentially uses glucose as energy. Without adequate dietary glucose our bodies enter a starvation mode, utilizing ketones as a secondary form of energy to supply the brain.

In individuals with Type 1 diabetes, they are unable to utilize the dietary glucose because their pancreas does not produce insulin. Consequently, they need to administer insulin in order to utilize dietary glucose and avoid extreme levels in the blood. If the insulin is not administered correctly, or adequate carbohydrate food sources consumed do not match the insulin dose, individuals can quickly become hypo or hyperglycemic. Hypoglycemia is a state of very low blood glucose, whereas hyperglycemia is a state of very high blood glucose. Both states are very dangerous and life threatening.

My role, as the intern, was to carb count each and every snack and meal that the children would eat, allowing the medical staff to dose them with insulin accordingly. It was imperative that I calculated each food item as precisely as possible as the insulin dose was based upon the total carbohydrates the campers chose to eat at mealtime.  Since Camp Sealth has a mission to offer campers a true camp experience, the children were able to indulge in the traditional camp foods because of the close supervision of all the medical staff, including providers, nurses, medical assistants, dietitians, and interns. This way the kids could enjoy pasta for dinner and smores for dessert at a total carb count of 188g without immediately entering a hyperglycemic state.

This trip not only made me thankful that I have a healthy pancreas, but it also helped me understand and become aware of the time and effort required to manage this chronic disease. I now truly empathize with this community.

With that being said, although I loved my experience at Camp Sealth, and am thankful for everything that I learned, I am glad to be home to eat my own food. I remember the days as a child, when I was ecstatic when my parents brought home fish sticks as a treat. But today, I can live without them and the super creamy coleslaw too.....

So in remembrance of Camp Sealth and our “Fish Sticks and Coleslaw” dinner, I created Chipotle Lime Fresh Rolls. I guess the only similarity in these two meals is the word “slaw”, but I just craved this healthy, zesty take on the traditional American salad.  And then I added turmeric tofu and wrapped it all in a brown rice wrapper. Easy, peasy!

And just in case you are wondering one serving of 3 Chipotle Lime Fresh Rolls has 47g of carbs :)

Chipotle Lime Slaw
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Makes 8 servings

2 limes, juice and zest (about ¼ cup juice)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons honey
½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 ½ tablespoons Vegenaise
Fresh ground pepper

1 medium head green cabbage
4 leaves lacinato kale, deveined
½ small red onion, finely diced
1 ripe mango, diced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts


Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Set aside.

Remove the two outer leaves of the cabbage and then cut the head of cabbage into quarters. With a large chef knife finely shred the cabbage into thin ribbons until you come towards the last inch before the end. Compost the thick end piece and toss the remaining cabbage into a large salad bowl.

Cut the lacinato leaves into thin ribbons and add to the cabbage. Then top with the onion, mango, and cilantro. Over medium low heat, toast the macadamia nuts, and then coarsely chop. Add to the salad ingredients. Mix everything thoroughly. Set aside.

At this point you can continue to make fresh rolls, or you can make a slaw. If you choose to make a slaw, add the dressing to the salad ingredients and mix well. Allow to marinate for about 5 minutes and serve immediately. You can also just toss the amount that you want for the meal and cover the remaining ingredients for another time.

Turmeric Tofu Sticks
Makes 1 serving

3 oz sprouted super firm tofu, cut into sticks
½ teaspoon coconut oil
Sprinkle of turmeric
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot add the coconut oil and the tofu sticks. Sprinkle with turmeric. Sauté on each side until crisp. When done, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chipotle Lime and Turmeric Tofu Fresh Rolls
Makes 1 serving of 3 rolls

3 brown rice paper wraps (original white ones work fine too)
3 handfuls slaw
1 ½ tablespoons chipotle lime dressing
1 serving turmeric tofu
Optional: sliced avocado


Mix together the slaw and the 1 ½  tablespoons of dressing. Set aside

Fill a large skillet with water and heat over medium. Once warm turn off the heat. Carefully dip 1 rice paper into the warm water for about 5-10 seconds. Gently remove it from water and place onto a large plate.

Top the first rice paper with 1/3 of slaw mixture and 1/3 of the tofu sticks. Add additional avocado slices if desired. Fold the bottom edge of the wrap over the slaw. Fold in both sides and carefully, and tightly roll up the wrap. Set aside. Do the same with the remaining two.

Cut each roll in half diagonally and serve immediately. You can also serve the rolls with the creamy avocado dip or seasoned rice vinegar. Enjoy!
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