I’m almost sad not to have a Vida Vegan Con recap for today! If you missed any of my dispatches from the weekend, you can check them out here:
Travel is great, especially when it involves vegan restaurants in cool new cities. But to be honest, I always greet a return to my kitchen with glee To see me run out for fresh groceries and start cooking (sometimes before I’ve even unpacked my carry on) you’d think I’d starved on vacation, which is never true. I’ve just missed the pleasures of doing it all myself.
When I got home from PDX, I was greeted with terrifying reality of organic chemistry. I know, it sounds so nice, right? Organic! But let me quote the interwebs for you:
There is nothing quite like organic chemistry to strike fear into the hearts of pre-med students everywhere. Few other subjects require such massive memorization of terms and concepts, and even fewer cover so much difficult work at such a feverish pace.
If you have any doubt, your orgo professors will apparently be glad to confirm these legends by spending the first few days of class warning you what you’re in for.
To distract myself, and to celebrate coming back to the hobbit house after ten days of travel, I decided to prepare a dish that was both homemade and inspired by my restaurant dining in PDX. Remember the goddess bowl I ate not once, but twice at Blossoming Lotus? If you don’t, it was steamed kale and raw baby greens over a bed of hot quinoa, topped with balsamic and smoked avocado dressings and some avocado slices. It’s as if someone googled “choosing raw dream comfort food” and then constructed a dish according to my wishes. Heaven.
In honor of that dish, I decided to make a slightly raw-er version for lunch on Tuesday, subbing kelp noodles for quinoa and spiralized zucchini for mesclun, and adding some of my favorite power food, hemp, for a little extra protein and fat. I threw in some cherry tomatoes, too, and ended up with a bowl that was lighter and brighter than the Blo Lo creation, but totally authentic in terms of flavors.
I’m going to use the same idea and dressings to make a more authentic, hot version next week, which I’ll also be sharing.
The Raw Goddess Bowl (inspired by Blossoming Lotus in Portland, OR; high raw, vegan, GF and soy free)
3 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 zucchini, spiralized
1/2 cup kelp noodles, soaked and drained
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp hemp seeds
Smoked avocado cumin dressing
Balsamic tahini dressing
1) Lightly steam kale and broccoli, and blanch in cool water to retain freshness and color.
2) Mix zucchini and kelp noodles, and toss them with a generous serving of smoked avocado cumin dressing. Add cherry tomatoes and toss again.
3) Plate the kale and broccoli, and drizzle them with some balsamic tahini dressing. Top them with the dressed noodles and tomatoes and then sprinkle the whole dish with hemp seeds. Serve.
Avocado, hemp, greens, and sea veggies—so much unbelievable nutrition in every bite of this dish!! This is what I call a power meal. Maybe orgo won’t be so tough, after all.
Speaking of power foods, raw foods, super foods, and the people who know them best, my dear friend Brendan has a new book coming out—Thrive Foods. It’s already available for order on Amazon, and I’m already planning on a giveaway, but right now you can download a FREE sneak peak on his Facebook site. Don’t waste a single minute! Brendan’s recipes are stellar, but that’s not even the main reason to invest in his work. He may be the single most balanced, intelligent, inspiring, and well-educated person writing about high raw, plant-based, and nutrient dense foods out there. Beyond that, he’s a professional athlete and tireless entrepreneur who fuels his busy life with the same foods he writes about. I don’t throw praise around lightly, so trust me: this one is worth it.
See you back here tomorrow with a special “back to school” feature!
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Hi Gena! I’ve only commented on your blog once or twice before, but I wanted to come out of the woodwork to tell you not to worry about organic chemistry. I was a chemistry major in college and I went on to med school (I’m now a neurologist). I was always more of a mathematical person (I minored in math) and problem solving/reasoning/logic was always a lot easier for me than rote memorization and regurgitation. Organic chemistry isn’t about concepts and math. It’s just a lot of boring memorizing, but it’s not hard. People just freak out about it because it’s a huge “weed-out” course in college; everyone comes into college premed but most people drop out after organic chemistry because they don’t have the discipline to memorize three thousand reactions and molecules (and they realize they’d rather be out partying than studying on a Friday night). But it’s not intellectually challenging (i.e., difficult mathematical concepts) at all, I promise!!! It really doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it has. You will do great, so no need to worry! 🙂
Thanks a million. Means so much to me, Rebecca!
This recipe sounds delicious! I cannot wait to try it myself. Thank you for posting!
Good luck with orgo! I found it to be much more challenging than basic chem but also much more interesting and rewarding. When some part of it finally clicks, it is so satisfying! If you don’t have one already, definitely get a model set. Being able to see and manipulate the molecules really helps a lot.
Did your Certified Clinical Nutrition degree not require any science coursework? It’s just a little surprising to me it wasn’t until you took the intro bio sequence last year that you realized that the science behind food combining is bunk.
Thank you!! The model is helping already.
We did have quite a bit of bio, but it was a combination of 1) combining was never addressed directly (mainstream nutrition book) and b) I still sort of wanted to believe, so I wasn’t making all of the connections between what I learned about chyme and digestion and what I had learned about combining. In other words, it took me time to see that the science contradicted food combining theory. Evolution, eh?
I could not be more excited to see you create recipes inspired by that goddess bowl at Blo Lo. My first experience there was also that goddess bowl, slightly modified, and I left one happy camper. Having you modify one of my favorite meals in the city means very good things for my kitchen’s (and belly’s) future!
As for organic chemistry…I remember my first couple weeks of the class freaking out about what was about to go down that semester. Once I got into a really good study routine for the class I ended up doing really well. I know you will too!
I’ve loved your blog for a while now. It has been a constant inspiration in my quest to nourish myself in the healthiest ways possible. Thank you!
That looks like an amazing meal! Can you find kelp noodles in DC or do you import them from NYC? I’ve yet to see them at Whole Foods.
that is one of my favorite bowls to order when we go to Blossoming Lotus… mmm!
organic chemistry and a & p were the classes I struggled with in college – but the most interesting to me also… I met with the prof a lot, he new I was dedicated and helped me… the extra studying definitely helped.
I have a feeling you’ll do great 🙂
The goddess bowl looks so delicious!! As for orgo, I’m so sorry!! Ahh I hate heavy science courses so much, but you’ll do great its just so intense. Happy Fall Semester!
Gena, this recipe is particularly fabulous – so many of my favorite ingredients in one recipe/bowl!
I also enjoyed your Vida Vegan Con recaps – sorry for lack of commenting lately 🙁 Trying to keep up!
I can’t believe no one’s bitten… “the single most balanced, intelligent, inspiring, and well-educated person writing about high raw, plant-based, and nutrient dense foods out there”… I thought that was you!
Yes, I do love my ellipses, at least in blog comments- I was sad to see they are one of your pet peeves 😉
I took organic chem as a sophomore and it happened to be a semester I was fairly depressed and unmotivated. Orgo was the class that taught me, the hard way, that being really smart and able to cram or study in marathon sessions once a week won’t teach you organic chem. If you put the steady time in and commit to mastering the concepts at the rate they are taught, you’ll be fine. I’m pretty sure chem professors just get a trip out of scaring you. It’s just stuff to learn, and you’re in a great place in life to learn it- very focused on your goals.
I loved seeing the vegan conference through your eyes. Thinking of doing a 100% vegan month to push myself without feeling like I can’t turn back.
Oh, I use them too. It’s just the strange habit of using them unecessarily I don’t get. Why…do people decide…to just insert them…into sentences? And I’m also not sure when they became replacements for periods…The last time I checked, periods do the trick very well…
This sounds delicious–tasty, filling, and super nutritious. I’m really learning to love a meal of greens, veggies, protein (veggie burger, beans, etc) smothered in a delicious homemade dressing. My current fave is your sesame miso. Yum!
I was just wondering what new way I was going to use my shipment of Kelp Noodles!! Got a bunch on sale & want to do new stuff! This looks great.
Welcome back. I look forward to seeing many incarnations of the goddess bowl, delish.
I remember this one late saturday night i was grabbing a study snack on campus and was too distracted by a group of my costumed ebullient peers to realize that i was handing the cashier an organic molecule (plastic model) for payment! orgo is definitely a beast. but it is one that can be tamed by staying on top of one’s studies. I personally found orgo to be easier and more enjoyable than physics or gen chem- there is MUCH more memorization and daily study required, but the concepts were easier for me to grasp and more readily relevant to medicinal applications. I think it can be an especially rough course for most pre-meds because the majority of them are sophomores who are simply not used to the amount of discipline it requires. my post-bacc friends in my orgo class all did quite well and I am sure that you will as well!
My own physician, who seems to be a similar type of learner to me, told me the same. I have endless discipline, but I really struggled with the math/problem solving of gen chem, so I suspect if I remain focused I may actually be able to handle Orgo. Plus I like to visualize stuff 🙂
I agree with Mikaela, the concepts in Organic Chemistry are so much easier to grasp than in Inorganic Chemistry. Because of that, I found Organic Chemistry so much more interesting and much easier than Inorganic. I think a lot of teachers pull that at the beginning of the year – saying how hard it’s going to be. I really wish they wouldn’t do that because I am the sort of person who has a hard time believing in myself already so I do best when others say, “you can do it!”, not “it’s going to be incredibly hard and some of you won’t make it.” It almost never ends up being as hard as they said and then I just end up freaking out needlessly. I personally found it easier than Microbiology or Physiology, although all of them are completely doable. Btw, this recipe looks so good and healthy! I will have to find some kelp noodles…
I agree. Orgo was challenging, but it was also one of my favorite premed requirements and felt relevant, particularly when life sciences applications were emphasized later in the course. Not coincidentally, my study partners became, and remain, very good friends of mine. At this point in my medical training, I use very little, if any, organic chemistry on a daily basis, but the type of diligence required to learn the material is, I think, analogous to the discipline required in medical school, particularly in the preclinical years. Best of luck! I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully.
Yum, this looks delicious and if only I can get my hands on some kelp noodles, this dish is golden 🙂 I feel so great when eating my favorite power foods as well- nothing like finding it on a restaurant menu!
Can’t wait for the cooked version next!
YUM. I was having lunch at BL yesterday and thought of you when I saw the Goddess Bowl on the menu! I ended up having the Live Taco Salad, which was delicious.
Organic chemistry. I have to take this before I start my Masters of Nursing program and I am terrified. Thinking of powering through this Winter quarter. Best of luck to you!
So excited for Brendan’s book. He’s fantastic.
Organic chemistry was probably the number one reason I did not decide to be premed in undergrad!!!! I decided pre physical therapy was a little more manageable.
I have almost all those ingredients on hand to make that yummy dish (including kale and zucchinis from my garden), but did you get my weird question about tahini (I posted it a few days ago)? Do you think there is a significant flavor difference between raw and roasted? I am not sure about the flavor in the dressing recipes I have tried. It’s one of those “I really want to like because I know it’s so good for me, but maybe I just don’t!” kind of things. I like it when it is more subtle in recipes, but it seems to really stand out in the dressings and zucchini hummus. Is there a brand you recommend? I think I have the Maranatha roasted variety. My husband bought about 5 jars of it when it was on sale!!!
Yes, sorry. There is a different, but I actually often use both in my recipes interchangeably, so I don’t think it’s an enormous difference. Roasted is generally a bit tastier. Try roasted and raw both, and if that doesn’t work for you then I’m afraid you’re just not a tahini gal!
I think I am going to make the Zucchini dressing and the beet dressing. I am sure they are filling and nutrient dense and they will use up the zucchinis (plural zucchini?) and beets in my garden!
Best wishes on back to school!
What kind of vegetable spiral tool do you use? Also, can kelp noodles be found anywhere but on-line? I would love to try them!
Are you opposed to online ordering? I actually find it easier and generally cheaper if I buy in bulk. If not, some health food stores have them, and some Whole Foods do too. I use an Annie Chun saldacco slicer!
Thanks! I am not opposed to online ordering, but my fiancee and I live in the virgin islands right now, so some stuff won’t ship there or costs too much. I am visiting family in Ohio right now, so I might order them while i’m here… or try to find them at Whole Foods.
How long does a package usually last for you?
I will have to look up that slicer… I have been wanting to try and make my own raw veggie noodles!
I’ve had them on my shelf for ages, honestly. Like, at least a month. More.
I haven’t found kelp or tofu noodles yet, but I can get konjac noodles. I really like their versatility, and they are a great GF substitute.
So many greens in one recipe. Now to get my hands on kelp noodles.
P.S. you’ll be fine in orgo, just stay on top of your studying daily.
Already downloaded Brendan’s preview! Pretty excited. Orgo. Is. Tough. I only passed because it was scaled! But you’ll get through it for sure.
This looks deeeelicious. I admire your ability to put dressings together, the flavors in the smoky avocado dressing sound like they match perfectly!
That looks delicious Gena! I think the combination of kale, broccoli and zucchini and avocado is MASTERFUL!
Ahh! Orgo is deathly. Looking back at last year, having tackled both Organic Chemistry AND Biochemistry, I’m not so sure why or how I survived. But I did! And if I can, YOU can! It’s HARD but just stay on your A-game like you always do, and you’ll come out on top!
I’m really excited about THRIVE foods. It’s on my reading list…which probably won’t be tackled until winter break. Haha.
YUM! I must make this recipe.
I lived in Portland for about 3 years before moving to NY. In fact, my pad was around the corner from Blossoming Lotus (though at that time there was a fashion boutique in its stead). I go back once a year and am always so happy to have all those amazing, organic restaurants (CHEAP TOO!). I ate at Blossoming Lotus last time I was home and had the Goddess Bowl too! And of course, some Peet’s coffee.
This looks delicious! I have been craving kelp noodles lately. Could totally eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Me too. They’re so amazing.
This looks amazing, fresh & healthful! After listening you speak on the Nutrition Panel at VVC, I can hear your “voice” so much clearer through your posts! You are such an inspiration, Gena! Good luck this semester! You can do it!
Thank you!!! It was a joy to meet you, too.
I know you are going to kick Organic Chemistry’s A**, do not even worry.
That looks marvelous! I haven’t been able to track down kelp noodles. If you have any online resources to buy them, I’d love to know! 🙂
this looks so amazing, but I have no idea where to buy kelp noodles! I am in NYC, are there any local places that sell them for sure?
I totally know the feeling of coming home and cooking my own meal. I think that in a way, that is what makes home, home.
Welcome back to DC!
As a New Yorker, I suddenly want to go to Portland to try all their vegan food. Even though, I haven’t even begun to eat all of of the awesome vegan food in NYC.
By the way, they are opening a Juice Press and Juice Generation in the UES this fall, which makes me so happy because while I love Organic Avenue, it just gives me so many more options. (because, basically, I don’t have time to go to all the LES juice spots on a daily basis).
Good luck in your program this year!
Wow, this looks too good to be true. Going to have to pop out and buy some Kale so that I can make this later. And how I love your balsamic tahini dressing!
Good luck with organic chemistry; sounds delightful! x
No one ever said you were shy of a challenge…
Love your take on the Goddess bowl–I especially appreciate the tip about putting the blanched veggies in cold water–never heard that one before and it makes so much sense.
Oh, I think an ice bath is so essential for blanching and steaming veggies. Otherwise they get way too cooked for my tastes!
O Chem was definitely the most muderous semester of my college career. I don’t envy the semester you have ahead of you, but I can promise you it is doable and that you will survive 🙂
On another note, the salad sounds divine and I can hardly wait until lunch tomorrow.
PS Your video with Kathy was great. Excited for more to come!
Love this! I’m making an effort to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. Need to locate some kelp noodles.
Do you eat tofu noodles? They are my favorite recent discovery!
Gena, this looks delicious! We got groceries tonight (while I was partying up in PDX the hubz dealt with no power/Tropical Storm Irene) I cannot wait to prep some fresh, healthy food this weekend! I have kelp noodles on hand-just haven’t tried them yet!
This looks so delicious! I’ve never had kelp noodles before! Where do you buy them?
I just got my hemp seeds from Nutiva in the mail today! So excited to add them to my oatmeal tomorrow morning 🙂
Hi Veronica! Some health food stores/Whole Foods sell them, but you can also order them here: http://www.kelpnoodles.com/purchase_noodles.html (as well as on some other raw food shopping websites).
Looks delicious! I just got a copy of that book to review next week. The recipe part is awesome, so many dishes I want to try!
Your raw bowl looks perfect. Nothing like coming home and being able to settle in to your own house, own kitchen, and own space again. Too bad you had to settle into Organic Chem studying, too! Ugh!
The worst grade I ever got in college, and it was hands down WAY worse than any other grades, by a longshot, was Org Chem. Like, it was awful. I never really grasped it. I tried, so hard. My brain did not want to cooperate no matter how hard I tried. It was so hard for me! I hope it’s coming easier to you!
And your photos, ever since you moved into the H.H., have been so much brighter and clearer and more vibrant. Lovin’ it 🙂
Thanks Averie! Coming from you, that is high praise 🙂
This looks wonderful! I’ve been iffy about kelp noodles, but have finally gotten the soaking process down to soften them up and improve the texture.
Sweet, so excited for Brendan’s new book and giveaway! 🙂