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Vegan

Organic Goji Berries: A Powerful Superfood

With superfoods being all the rage, let’s take a closer look at organic goji berries.  Often praised as the next fountain of youth, organic goji berries look like a shriveled red raisin.  They are both tangy and sweet with a raisin-like texture.organic goji berries

Organic goji berries are also known as wolfberries.  They come from a shrub that is native to China but grows in many parts of the world.  In Asia, goji berries have a reputation for extending life and are eating for many health reasons.  They have been associated with health benefits for diabetes, high blood pressure and age-related eye problems.

Filled with powerful antioxidants, organic goji berries join the list of other berries like acai, blueberry, cranberry and strawberry that have very high antioxidant levels.  The body uses antioxidants to combat damage from free radicals that can injure cells and damage DNA, creating abnormal cells.  Antioxidants can combat the destruction that free radicals cause.

High in Vitamin A and other carotenoids, organic goji berries can protect or even improve your vision.  They also contain the synergistic antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are beneficial for eye health.

Organic goji berries are a great source of protein and minerals, containing 19 amino acids (including all 8 essential amino acids) as well as zinc, iron, copper, calcium, selenium and phosphorus.

Known as an adapotgen, organic goji berries help strengthen the body wherever it needs it.  They support the adrenal glands and endocrine glands, helping to keep stress feelings under control.

With all of those health benefits, you may be rushing to order some immediately, but what do you do with them once you have them?  Organic goji berries can be eaten dried like raisins in trail mixes, added to smoothies or desserts.  They can also be cooked into baked goods or used in herbal teas. Make sure to buy organic goji berries and not conventional, as the sulfites used on conventional dried fruits can be harmful to your health.

Organic goji berries recipes

Easy Organic Energy Bars

1 cup organic walnuts
1 cup organic almonds
1 cup organic pumpkin seeds
6-8 organic medjool dates
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 Tbsp organic coconut flour
½ cup organic maple syrup
½ cup organic cacao nibs
1 cup organic goji berries

Preheat oven to 350F.  Process in a food processor the walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds..  Add the dates and pulse a few times to combine but leave some texture.  Place the mixture in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well to combine ingredients.  Spread mixure into an 8×8 baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, cut into squares and serve or store.  These freeze well for handy snacks.

Super Immunity Tea

2 cups filtered water
2 tsp fresh grated ginger root
1/2 lemon, sliced into thin slices
6 whole cloves
3 orange peels
1 Tbsp raw honey
Handful goji berries

Bring water to a boil then turn heat to low and add the  ginger, cloves, orange peels and lemon.  Steep for 10 minutes. Strain into tea cup and stir in honey and goji berries.  Enjoy.

Superfood Trail Mix

½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup organic goji berries
¼ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup cacao nibs
¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and store in an airtight container.

Chocolate-Banana-Goji Smoothie

2 frozen bananas, peeled
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup dried Goji berries
2 cups (or large handfuls) of fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
6 ounces of filtered water

Start by adding the liquid to your blender, then add the fruit, then the spinach. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.  If you do not have a high-speed blender, soak the goji berries for 10 minutes before adding them to your blender.

Organic Nut Butter; A DIY Homemade Nut Milk Trick

As a vegan who’s picky about the ingredients in the foods I eat, finding a milk alternative wasn’t easy.  organic-nut-butterMost commercial nut beverages contain added ingredients to stabilize the liquid.  I also found that I’d open up a carton of nut milk and it would go bad in my fridge before I used it all.   I decided to explore making my own so that I could control the ingredients and make just what I’d need without wasting anything. The easiest way I found is to make nut milk out of organic nut butter.  It’s so simple you’ll never buy packaged nut milks again.

How To Make Nut Milk From Organic Nut Butter

The basic recipe is 1 tablespoon of organic nut butter to 1 cup of water.  You’ll need a blender, but it doesn’t have to be a high powered one, a regular blender will do.  Just whizz the nut butter and water together until it is milky and smooth.  Use more water if you like a thinner consistency, less water if you want a thicker consistency.  A thicker nut milk makes a great creamer substitute.

Making your own nut milk out of organic nut butter allows you to make only what you need so that you’re not wasting any.  The most common nut butter used to do this would be almond butter but experiment with other nut butters like cashew butter, walnut butter, peanut butter and pecan butter.

Keeping organic nut butter on hand is a great way to make sure you’ll always have nut milk available for recipes.  Cashew butter, when made into milk, is the best cream substitute I’ve found.  One of my favorite recipes to make is a creamed spinach recipe using cashew milk instead of cream.  It is so rich and delicious, my 11 year old step-son was even asking for more.

How to make vegan creamed spinach using nut milk:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 c cashew milk
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Steam sauté the spinach until wilted and drain to remove the water. Add cashew milk and spices to the pan and stir constantly until the mixture thickens, 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.

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