I was extremely excited this past week when I saw that Sheryl Crow had a cook book coming out titled “If It Makes You Healthy”. As a ten year old child, I thought her music video for “If It Makes You Happy” was just the coolest with those brown boots, her massive leopard jacket, red lipstick with white teeth, and her unexplained angst for being an exhibit in a museum. It’s really unfortunate she lost that cool when she did a duet with Kid Rock later in life.
Back to the cook book- after being diagnosed with breast cancer Sheryl’s doctor recommended she see a nutritionist to help with her recovery. The nutritionist created a “sustainable nutrition action plan…which emphasized a serious dose of fiber, essential fatty acids, and other cancer fighting foods.” After reading cookbooks such as “Skinny Bitch”, Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet”, and pretty much living a healthy lifestyle for 24 years, the information in the book wasn’t anything new. But let me tell you, the recipes look amazing! Her chef stresses the healthy benefits of eating seasonal and local foods, which is good. A majority of the recipes are vegetarian and vegan, but it includes ways to make them with lean meats. Last night I made a chilled avocado cucumber soup and vegan mint brownies- both being very easy to make and yummy. If you don’t have ripe avocados, place them in a brown paper bag with another piece of fruit like an apple, on the counter for 24 hours. Voila, a ripe avocado!
Cold Avocado-Cucumber Soup, serves 6
- 3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium to large cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
- About 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons green Tabasco sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the avocados, cucumbers, cilantro, lime juice, and about ½ cup of water in a blender and process for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Add the cumin, garlic powder, and Tabasco and blend for 2 to 3 minutes. Add more water, if needed, for the right consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the soup to a glass, ceramic, or other nonreactive bowl. Stir gently to mix, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper before serving.
Vegan Chocolate Mint Brownies, makes about 15 brownies
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups raw sugar, preferably organic
- ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon iodized salt
- 1 cup of vegetable or canola oil
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract (I love peppermint and used 4 teaspoons!)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup of carob chips
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and set on low speed, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Once the dry ingredients are mixed together, turn off the motor and add the oil, 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and the vanilla extract. With the mixer on medium high, beat the batter so that is well incorporated and smooth. Taste and add more peppermint extract, if desired. Stir in carob chips by hand.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the brownies cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
Go watch the video: