Experiments in Vitality encourages people to live creatively by experimenting in art, health, activism, self love, writing, and more.

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Live life with an experimental attitude! Try new things to feed your soul. Any intentional, creative act is an experiment in vitality--a chance to feel more alive. Find inspiration for your next experiment here!

Magnificent Hippie Food: 3 Healthy, Yummy Cooking Experiments

Magnificent Hippie Food: 3 Healthy, Yummy Cooking Experiments

To my delight, I recently had time to experiment in the kitchen. I am not the best cook, but I love making things, and making things to eat feels extra decadent!

I was trying to save money and use up ingredients I have on hand in delicious new ways. The Internet provided the inspiration, but I substituted freely to avoid a trip to HEB. None of the dishes seemed any worse for the wear.

I highly recommend all three recipes! By the way, these are all gluten-free, vegetarian and delicious, you lucky dogs!


Golden Milk Sleepy Drink

This dreamy drink is a Western take on traditional Indian haldi doodh, or turmeric milk. It is deliciously spicy and creamy, kind of like a chai tea latte, but with sleepiness instead of caffeine.

Why it's awesome: This dreamy drink is a Western take on traditional Indian haldi doodh, or turmeric milk. It is deliciously spicy and creamy, kind of like a chai tea latte, but with sleepiness instead of caffeine. It can be made with nut milks, dairy, whatever kind of milk you prefer. I was anxious and kind of hungry before bed, and this immediately made me feel warm, relaxed and full. I was surprised how well it worked!

Substitutions: I made a blend of two recipes because I did not have all the ingredients for either one. I used the basic premise of milk + spices + coconut oil + honey.

Pitfalls: I am lazy, so I microwaved the coconut milk instead of heating it in a saucepan. It boiled over and made a mess both times I made it (laziness backfire). So whether you are a microwave or stovetop kind of person, keep an eye on it!

Recipe: My experiment was a mash-up of Turmeric Tea and Golden Milk Turmeric Tea


Banana Nut Quinoa Bars

These bars are gluten free and get their protein from quinoa, pecans, peanut butter, and an egg. (The recipe makes a dozen, but I had already eaten a bunch by the time I got around to taking this picture.)

Why it's awesome: These bars are gluten free and get their protein from quinoa, pecans, peanut butter, and an egg. They make a super easy, filling grab-and-go breakfast or healthier dessert. I also discovered they are really good muffin-style: sliced in half, warmed and buttered. Yuuuuummmm.

Substitutions: I used what I had on hand--steel cut oats for rolled oats, organic cane sugar syrup for maple syrup, and pecans for walnuts. 

Pitfalls: I think having the rolled oats would have made this less crumbly, but I was happy to use up what I had. And it still tasted delicious! Also, I accidentally let the quinoa boil over and run dry (are you sensing a theme here?). I just added more water, and it came out fine!

Recipe: Banana Nut Quinoa Bars


Spaghetti Squash with Italian "Stir-Fry"

This "pasta" dish contains zero grains and is vegan and gluten-free all while still being DELICIOUS. It's a perfect opportunity to use summer tomatoes from the garden!

Why it's awesome: This "pasta" dish contains zero grains and is vegan and gluten-free all while still being DELICIOUS. I love love love pasta, so this is a nice way to take a break from carbo-loading and get more veggies. The Italian "stir-fry" is something my husband and I made up years ago, and it's the perfect opportunity to use summer tomatoes from the garden!

Substitutions: When I first had spaghetti squash, my friend had made it for my family. The recipe I found online didn't have any garlicky goodness that hers had, so I took my best guess. Towards the end of the cooking time, I turned the spaghetti squash face-up and put more olive oil in with chopped garlic and cooked it a bit longer. It seemed to work.

Pitfalls: Because I chose a smaller spaghetti squash than the one my friend cooked, I only cooked it for about 55 minutes, but I think it was a little underdone. Also, this "small" squash still made WAY too much for one person. I ate it for several meals before getting kind of sick of it.

Recipes: How to cook spaghetti squash

Italian "Stir-fry" 
This is a flexible, use-what-you-got kind of recipe!

Ingredients:
Olive oil
Onion
Carrot
Garlic
Tomatoes (fresh, canned, paste or combo)
Salt, pepper, Italian herbs, red pepper flake
Fresh basil, oregano if you have it
Spinach

Method:

  1. Chop your ingredients.
  2. In a large sauce pan or skillet, sautée onions and carrots in oil until onions are translucent and carrots are softened and slightly browned.
  3. Clear a spot in the pan, and sautée garlic for about 30 seconds in oil.
  4. Add tomatoes and turn down to simmer. Fresh and canned tomatoes will give you a thinner sauce; thicken with tomato paste if desired. The longer you cook, the more water will evaporate out of the tomatoes, which is another way to thicken it.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and herbs.
  6. Add spinach at the very end. Turn it over in the hot sauce until it just wilts. 
  7. Serve immediately for a chunky sauce, or use an immersion blender to have a smooth sauce.

Hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'??

Are you gonna try any of these recipes? Got tips? Leave a comment below, or tell us about your latest kitchen experiments in a fun guest post! 

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