Hummus Among Us (A DELICIOUS Recipe!)

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Note: From all the notes and such here, this looks and sounds far more complex than it is. It actually only took about 15-20 minutes to zip this all up, including making the tahini!! I shared the detail to give you clarity and options.

INGREDIENTS
✦ 2 cups sprouted or cooked chickpeas* 
(*or 1 cup dry chickpeas, sprouted; more details below the instructions)
✦ 1/2 cup tahini** 
(**or 1 cup sesame seeds, freshly ground/blended; more details below the instructions)
✦ 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
✦ 1 tsp pink salt
✦ 1 Tbsp olive oil
✦ 3 cloves garlic
✦ 1 Tbsp dried herbs (optional - I used parsley)

*****NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO USE CANNED/COOKED CHICKPEAS + STORE-BOUGHT TAHINI, YOU CAN SIMPLY BLEND THE INGREDIENTS! VOILA!*****

INSTRUCTIONS - FOR HUMMUS
✦ Easy peasy - blend your ingredients until you love the texture.
✦ As always, go easy on ingredients you don't love lots of (like salt, garlic, and vinegar/lemon) and add more as needed. The recipe here is the EXACT amount that I personally loved, but maybe you'd want more or less of something or want to swap an ingredient. Make it your own homemade hummus, my friend!

* OPTIONS - FOR CHICKPEAS
✦ You may prefer to use cooked chickpeas rather than sprouted, for convenience. Either way, you'll have a great result.
TO SPROUT CHICKPEAS, first soak them for 12 hours in filtered water. Then rinse and remove the soak water. {I like to use my lazy colander sprouting method. At the base, you'll have a wide bowl to catch the water. On top of that, a colander that holds the sprouting chickpeas. On top of that, a plate to cover the chickpeas.} Every 8-12 hours for 2-3 days, rinse the chickpeas. After the initial soak, your chickpeas will have already ballooned to double in size. By the 3rd or 4th day at latest, you'll see a glorious tail sticking out of all of your chickpeas. VOILA!
✦ If you'd like to USE ORGANIC + CANNED, that can be an option that’s ready to go.
✦ If you'd like to COOK YOUR CHICKPEAS, ideally you'll first soak the chickpeas overnight or for part of the day, then cook them. {click here to visit another site with 3 ways to cook chickpeas.}

** OPTIONS - FOR TAHINI
✦ Of course, It's easy enough to just BUY PRE-MADE TAHINI. It's not particularly difficult to make your own, though, if you have a high speed blender or good food processor. (Find instructions below)
MAKE YOUR OWN TAHINI: Blend 2 cups of sesame seeds in your chosen appliance, until you've made a paste. Or if you have the patience to take it a step further, keep on blending until you have a nice oily blob.
✦ If you don't have a super strong appliance but want to make it yourself anyways, you may need to add a touch of olive oil or expeller-pressed sesame oil to help it along.

DIY Chocolate!

How would you like to make some delicious + dairy-free DIY chocolate in your own kitchen? We carry 100% of your needed ingredients, and here is a recipe we hope you’ll enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 cup melted cacao butter or coconut oil (Note: measurement is taken after melting. Before melting, you’ll have about 3/4-1 cup of packed cacao butter pieces, or just over 1/2 cup of unmelted coconut oil.)

• 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp cacao powder

• 1/8-1/4 cup raw honey or coconut nectar

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• tiny pinch salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan, gently heat cacao butter or coconut oil over low heat. Remove the moment it’s all melted.

  2. Use a whisk to combine your melted oil or butter with the remaining ingredients.

  3. You may need to use an immersion blender {this is a good one} to be sure your chocolate is fully emulsified.

  4. Pour into chocolate molds, then place in your freezer for about 20-30 minutes. VOILA, you have chocolate! By the way, you can find some great chocolate molds at Leroux (their pricing is good too!), or you might try these favorites on Amazon: {mix} {mermaids & unicorns} {bars} and search for “chocolate foil wrappers” to find pretty wrappers in the right sizes for the molds you use.

STORAGE

You can store in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh and unmelted. This is even more important if you use coconut oil because coconut oil melts at a lower temperature than cacao butter.

7 Ways to Spring Clean + Detox Your Body and Life

{By Éva Raposa}

This time of year, as we change from winter into spring, it couldn't be a more perfect time to cleanse. Here are 7 simple but super effective ways to detox…!

Here are 7 simple but super effective ways to detox.

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#1. Drink 8 glasses of cucumber water per day.

We mean to drink plenty of water, we do, but so often it doesn't happen. Adding cucumber rounds to your water jug makes it more refreshing, hydrating, and alkalizing. One way to be sure you get in your 8 glasses? Fill up 2 x 1-liter mason jars for the day. When you're done with them, you know you drank your 8 glasses!

 
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#2. Drink a daily cleansing tea.

We have an incredible tea recipe {right here for you} featuring fresh ginger and turmeric, but you also might find that a gentle rose or chamomile tea will do the trick for you.

 
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#3. Massively increase your daily intake of fresh, high water content fruits and vegetables.

We all know that eating more fruits and veggies is a huge help, and now is the perfect time to make it happen. Herbs and green leaves are particularly powerful, but really... fruits and veggies all have their merits!

 
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#4. Start your mornings with freshly made green juice or green smoothies.

Here's my favorite 1-liter green smoothie base:
2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup pineapple slices or clementine, 1 stalk celery, 2 bananas, and a spoon of avocado. If you want it cold, mix in some ice but otherwise, 1 1/2 cups of water make this the perfect texture and should come out to right around 1 delicious liter of green smoothie.

For green juice, a favorite tip is to add lime juice to whatever ingredients you prefer, to brighten it up.

 
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#5. Konmari Your House.

Surely you've heard about Marie Kondo recently? Her Netflix series seemed to be the talk of the town when it came out, but this is years after her New York Times best-selling book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". While I highly recommend it, I'll share one of my key takeaways from the book. If it doesn't bring you joy? Release it with peace. You can literally go through every book, clothing item, purse, ETC. that you own, hold it in your hand piece by piece, and ask yourself "Does this bring me joy?" If the answer is no, you sell, donate, recycle, or throw it away.

 
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#6. Embark on a digital detox.

This one? It's easier said than done. And of course, on the one hand we want to connect with you on {Facebook} and {Instagram}, but you might be surprised at how much time you have to CLEAN if you delete the apps off of your phone for a day or even a week while you embark on big-time cleaning.

#7. Unsubscribe with wild abandon, to emails that are not adding value to your life.

Seriously, even if our weekly e-Club messages don't seem to be helpful, we even hope you'd hop off the list. You can use a tool called {unroll.me} to unsubscribe to LOTS of emails very quickly.

 

Truly I hope these tips are helpful to you and wish you a lovely time spring cleaning!

HOW TO MAKE AVOCADO TOAST (10 ways)

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For good reason, avocado toast is all the rage these days. It’s not just a “hippie granola crunchy munchy” thing. Anyone could fall in love with these. Think of bread and butter — but thicker, lighter, and creamy with that perfect balance of salt and lemon. Mmmm.

The Basics:
How to Make Avocado Toast

  1. Toast your favorite bread.

  2. Add perfectly ripe avocado, spreading it like you might spread butter or peanut butter. (Ripe avocado hint: If it’s too hard to press into the avocado a bit, wait longer. If it’s mushy, you may have waited too long!)

  3. Add salt on top to taste.

  4. Squeeze a touch of lemon or lime juice on top at the end.

  5. ENJOY!

You can definitely get fancier than this by adding eggs, onions, black pepper, and so much more. But in our opinion, the above is like the “bare minimum” for a great avocado toast.

10 Inspirational Avocado Toast Photos

[Note: We stuck in a pita pocket & flatbread because you could achieve the same deliciousness in other ways! Really, they are all so mouth watering, and we hope they’ll inspire you to make your own version of Avocado Toast! ENJOY!]

Special thanks to the following friends at Unsplash for permission to share your avocado toast artistry:

@mindbodystock @marineiscooking @benkolde @nobiteuntilphoto @annapelzer @atasteofwellbeing @wesual @moniqa @asb_photographe @missmushroom

Ode to the Avocado

There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe avocado. Creamy and oh, so yummy!

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The truth? We mostly love avocados for the creamy, rich, indulgent texture and flavor. But… turns out that there are quite a lot of great excuses to eat them! (WHEW!)

#1 // Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas?

  • 100 grams (or a half of an average Hass avocado) = 487 mg of potassium

#2 // Eating avocado may help with weight loss.

  • Avocados can keep you full longer, plus they’re low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber.

#3 // Avocados are packed with vitamins and nutrients.

  • They’re a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. Avocodos also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

#4 For healthy vision - eat avocados!

  • Avocados are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can protect your eyes. It contains lutein and zeaxanthin which is truly helpful for a healthy eyesight.

#5 You can easily incorporate avocado on your diet, why? Because it is so DELICIOUS!

  • This rich, creamy and tasty fruit blends well with other ingredients. Eat it just the way it is or add into salads, dips, toppings, desserts and baked goodies. Savory or sweet, avocado will never let you down.

TWO AMAZING RECIPES:

5 Different (& Fun!) Cracker Topping Ideas

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#1. Top with Cottage Cheese + Baby Tomatoes

One of the keys to displaying this + making it fun (if it’s for a party) is to have some or all of the crackers pre-prepped. Or at least something to make it clear what the cottage cheese is intended for. Otherwise, your friends might be genuinely confused! ha! #awkward

Seriously, though, this combo is actually delicious!

And in a related note: It can be fun to have your crackers and toppings completely separated so that the work AND fun is done by your guests.

#2. Cranberry Cheese + Rosemary

(especially fun at the holidays!)

It’s so pretty, and if you use local cranberries and rosemary, that will be even lovelier.

Another interesting combo that totally works at the holidays: Cream Cheese + Pomegranate Seeds.

#3. Fresh herbs = Fresh idea.

It’s not that this is sooo different. Or that it’s sooo uncommon. But we feel like fresh herbs are pretty, fresh, and a flavor-changer. In a good way.

#4. Almond or Peanut butter + Banana

Kids and kids at heart will definitely love this combo. Simple, sweet, and filling.

#5. Ricotta Cheese + Blueberries and a drizzle of honey

Spread Ricotta Cheese generously on your cracker, top with blueberries and drizzle some honey (preferably local island honey!). Mmmm… a must try if you’ve not already!

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“We eat with our eyes first!”

Use mini cookie cutters to cut your cheese into cute shapes…. hearts in our example for today because Valentine’s Day.

What a treat to make your crackers & cheese platters fun, pretty, and DELICIOUS looking!

P.S. <<CLICK HERE to Stop by our Facebook page for even MORE fun ideas!>>

P.P.S. Seriously tho… go take a peek on our Facebook! You’ll find some more fun ideas there! Including Marnely Murray’s suggestion of “the Late July Organic Snacks classic crackers topped with any of the Miyoko's cheeses and some of the pesto almond Bitchin' Sauce!”

Top 5 Apple Cider Vinegar Remedies

You might have heard of the amazing benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. Here’s our list of 5 amazing tips and remedies using ACV. Enjoy!

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TIP #1: After eating too many junky foods, clean up your system with a watered-down shot of apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar can help detoxify your body; the acid in the vinegar binds toxins which helps in removing them from your body.

For a natural way to cleanse and detox, ACV is so simple but can be so effective.

HOW TO: Combine a tablespoon of ACV with 4 ounces of water, and drink it down!

TIP #2: For weight loss, enjoy 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before or after each meal.

Apple Cider Vinegar’s main component is acetic acid, which is a natural appetite suppressant. It may promote the feeling of fullness, which can lead to a decrease in excessive eating or between-meal snacking.

BUT, on top of that it also helps with digestion of the foods that you just ate.

HOW TO: Dilute ½ to 1 tablespoon of ACV in a small glass of water, and drink about 30 minutes before OR 1 hour after each meal.

TIP #3: 1-2 daily tablespoons of ACV can help balance your blood sugar and reduce risk of diabetes.

Different studies show that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.

The component called acetic acid that is found in ACV, slows down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream.

HOW TO: See TIP #2 for details, and note that for this it’s recommended to drink BEFORE your meal and/or to include ACV in your recipes when possible. :-)

TIP #4: Need an energy booster? Make your own ACV drink.

Apple Cider Vinegar contains potassium, amino acids and enzymes that will help relieve the feeling of tiredness and fatigue.

Just one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in an 8-ounce glass of water will improve your energy levels.

Or… you can step it up a notch to make it super delicious much like Bragg’s ACV drink but without the apple juice.

RECIPE: 2 Tbsp ACV, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 16 ounces water. Shake it up, and VOILA, it’s delicious, balancing, and refreshing. You can enjoy it at room temperature (in winter) or with ice cubes (in the summer)

TIP #5: A few tablespoon of ACV for  your hair care!

Aside from the many potential benefits of ACV in our inner health, a few tablespoons may save money from expensive hair care treatments.

HOW TO: For dandruff treatment and overall conditioning, you can combine equal parts of ACV and water and transfer it to a spray bottle. Spritz it generously onto your scalp and hair. Wrap with a towel and leave for up to 15 minutes. You’ll want to wash and condition your hair as usual afterwards.

You can do this once or twice a week. You may notice that your hair is not just having less (or NO!) dandruff, but that it also feels healthier and softer.


Some of our quirky but oh-so-good finds...

One of the things our VG family members love is that we’ll stock what you want to see. So quite a few of the items on this page (some of them pretty darn quirky!) started out as one person’s special request. Taking a trip down our aisles, you’ll find plenty of old favorites but also a whole new world of deliciousness to discover…!

You guys LOVE Siete grain-free tortilla chips… And we do too… they are so good!

You guys LOVE Siete grain-free tortilla chips… And we do too… they are so good!

1/ Grain-free (and other specialty!) chips, like

Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips… “These are so good!!”

2/ HUGE selection of high-quality chocolates at great prices, like:

  • Chocolove! (best sellers for good reason!)

  • Not Your Sugar Mama’s - the locally loved and created raw, vegan, gourmet chocolate bars

(Our prices on both Chocolate and NYSM are the LOWEST on island. And we have the vast majority of available flavors. What can we say? We love chocolate, and you do too!)

3/ Gluten-free flours and pre-made deliciousness, like:

  • Pupusas! (a MUST try! Gluten-free AND Vegetarian - a huge hit!!)

  • Caesar’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Gourmet lasagna

4/ Specialty vegan foods, like:

  • Sophie’s Kitchen’s Vegan Sea Salt Toona (made out of pea protein!)

  • the Bitchin’ Sauces - pesto, the original, MUST TRY

  • Tofutti sour cream (it’s really like sour cream!)

  • Almond Breeze almond milk

5/ Local happy chicken eggs, year-round, from local farms:

  • Cook’s Farm

  • Allen’s Farm

  • Red Farm

6/ An amazingly curated selection of cheeses and yogurts (vegan-, goat-, and cow-based options), like:

  • Old Croc Cheeses (grass-fed)

  • Mimoso (super-fresh-tasting Brazilian variety of frying cheese)

  • Chao sliced cheese (vegan and HIGHLY recommended, from Greece, non-GMO + voted by Cooking Light at the “most cheese-like vegan cheese”)

  • Horizon organic shredded cheese

  • Maple Hill Creamery organic, grass-fed yogurt

  • Miyoko’s Fresh VeganMozz - really tastes like vegan mozzarella!

7/ A *HUGE* selection of gourmet and gluten-free crackers, like:

  • Le Pain des Fleurs quinoa crispbreads

  • Go Raw crackers

8/ Raw food recipe ingredients + pre-made treats like:

Go Raw’s Healthy Cookies & Crackers! Yeah!

9/ Super high-quality CBD oil - people are talking about this for very good reason!

* Read more HERE and HERE

10/ The BEST Supplements to maintain a high level of wellness, on your budget. 

(Do some price comparisons - we invite you to - our prices are the best on island by far and more times than not below the prices on Amazon. Better to have it NOW - locally - on island - and support your local economy - than even to wait two days + pay more!)

11/ Delicious and SUPER-fresh coffee, roasted weekly

12/ So many more fun extras, like kombucha and coconut ice cream (put ‘em together to make a kombucha float!)