Saturday, December 27, 2014

energy bites

This comes from a cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, but I added some things to pack in even more nutrition. These are great to have around when you are hungry and in the mood for something sweet. Snack on one of these instead of the other sweets or cookies that are in abundance especially around the holidays!
makes 1 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds or walnuts (or combination)
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup raisins or goji berries
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom (optional)
handful hemp hearts (optional)
raw cacao nibs (optional)
¼ cup peanut butter or almond butter
½ cup shredded coconut

Directions:

1. In a food processor or heavy duty blender, process the nuts until finely ground. Add dates, raisins, and spices (and optional hemp and cacao nibs) and grind to a find meal. Add the nut butter and process again until thoroughly mixed.
2. Form mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut.
3. Store in a sealed container on the countertop for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

brussels sprout gratin


Obviously I wouldn't post this recipe if it wasn't delicious, but this dish is SO good! I do like brussels sprouts. I suppose I wasn't turned off them in childhood by being forced to eat soggy bitter ones. I only remember my mom making them once and I ate them because they looked like cute little cabbages. I especially have enjoyed them roasted and I think that I will continue to prepare them this way most often because it isn't as rich as this recipe. I chose to make this dish for our Christmas dinner not only because it looked and sounded yummy but the description said that it would turn nonbelievers into fans. It is true because I tried it on my whole family and everyone liked it, even the kids. From Food Network Magazine.
serves 6

Ingredients:

1 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp flour (or tapioca starch)
1-2 tsp. fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic minced
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup panko breadcrumbs (just pulse bread in blender until you have crumbs and bake at 300º until crispy, about 10 minutes, stirring once)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Shave the sprouts crosswise into ⅛-inch thick slices.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sprouts, cheddar, flour, thyme, and garlic and toss to combine.
3. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch baking dish. Pour cream evenly on top.
4. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and olive oil and pour over the top of the Brussels sprouts mixture.
5. Bake, uncovered until sprouts are tender, the sauce is bubbling, and the top is golden brown (25-30 minutes). Garnish with parsley.

delicious crispy topping.


Monday, November 24, 2014

cranberry-apricot chutney



Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg
1 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
¾ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
¾ cup dark brown sugar or other sweetener like coconut sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
3. Add the cranberries apricots, sugar, vinegar, and ¼ cup water and cook, stirring, until the cranberries start to burst, about 5 minutes.
4. Mash some of the cranberries, and cook, stirring, until the chutney thickens, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Let cool before serving.

makes 2 ¼ cups


Friday, October 31, 2014

autumn harvest salad



Isn't this just gorgeous! The stunning colors remind me of the bounty of the fall harvest. This salad is full of delicious goodness and is finished off with a perfect maple balsamic vinaigrette. It was a winner with the whole family. Fresh figs add a whole other dimension. Lately our tree decided to overflow with figs (just when we thought none would ripen up this year) so just let us know if you need some. You can also substitute dried figs.  From The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

Ingredients:

salad:

8 cups mixed organic salad greens
1-2 cups finely sliced red cabbage
1 green apple, diced
several figs, cut into wedges
½ cup raisins
2-3 green onions, sliced
½ cup raw walnuts, lightly roasted
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds, toasted

dressing:

4 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. To prepare the salad, place the greens in a large bowl along with the cabbage, apple, figs, raisins, and green onion and toss gently to combine.
3. Spread the walnuts on a baking dish and lightly roast for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly, then chop. Add to the salad.
4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast, keeping them moving in the skillet until they begin to "pop". Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Sprinkle on top of salad.
5. To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a jar and shake well. 





Tuesday, October 28, 2014

split pea soup with fresh vegetables and herbs



For those of you who love split pea soup you may like to know why you should keep on loving it. Split peas are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. They help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. So warm up and fill up on a chilly evening with this satisfying soup. Recipe adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

Ingredients:

2 cups split peas, rinsed and drained
5 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sea salt
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp. black pepper

Directions:
1. Place the split peas into a 6-quart pot with the water and bay leaves. Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper and sauté for a minute. Add the thyme, rosemary, and sea salt and sauté 3 to 5 minutes more.
3. Add the cooked vegetables to the pot with the cooked split peas, then add the stock and stir well. Simmer over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add the fresh basil, parsley, and black pepper. Adjust salt and seasonings to taste.

banana-almond pancakes

These high-protein and grain free pancakes make a delicious and filling breakfast. To be honest the kids weren't the biggest fans of this recipe but that just meant I could save the batter to make more for myself over the next few days. Top with fruit and maybe a dollop of Greek Yogurt or mascarpone cheese (and a drizzle of honey if you are in the mood for something decadent). Recipe is from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.
makes 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients:

4 large eggs
1 medium ripe banana
½ cup water
2 cups almond flour
⅓ cup arrowroot powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. sea salt
butter or coconut oil for cooking

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients, except the butter or coconut oil, into a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add a few tsp. of butter or oil to a hot skillet. Pour in the batter, about ⅓ cup per pancake, and cook for 60-90 seconds on the first side; then flip and cook for about 60 seconds on the other side.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

roasted butternut squash filled with pomegranate-soaked fruit

This is a fun and easy way to serve squash. It can be a main dish or a starter. You can scoop the mixture onto crusty bread and top with some aged cheese or skip the bread and eat straight up. Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.

makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¾ tsp. salt
2 cups pomegranate juice or port wine (I used a mixture)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
½ cup salted whole almonds, chopped
aged white cheddar or another favorite (we used Prima Dona which is a parmesan-Gouda mix)

Toasted whole grain bread, optional

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425º. Lightly coat a large baking tray with oil.
2. Rub Squash halves with oil, then sprinkle cut sides with ½ tsp. salt. Place squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Roast until easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a platter, cut side up.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the juice and/or port, vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to boiling over medium heat and cook, uncovered, 4 minutes. Add apricots and cherries. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes then remove fruit with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling and cook until reduced to about ½ cup (approx. 20 more minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the fruit and nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon mixture into squash and place any extra in a serving bowl.
5. To serve, top with shaved cheese or place cheese on bread before spooning squash and fruit mix on top.

Friday, September 26, 2014

slow-cooker caribbean fall beef stew



This exotic stew is full of the taste and color of fall. Adapted from the Food Network magazine
makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 ½-2 lb cubed beef
2 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. allspice
salt and pepper to taste
2 large yams, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 lime juiced, plus wedges for serving if desired
for serving:
scallions or cilantro, chopped
cooked quinoa

directions:

1. Season beef with mix of curry, allspice, salt and pepper. I like to brown my meat on all sides in a pan of hot oil. I think this locks in the juiciness of the meat but it isn't totally necessary. Place in slow cooker.
2. Add pepper and yam on top.
3. Whisk coconut milk and ginger. I added a some more curry, allspice, salt and pepper as well. Pour on top of meat.
4. Cook on low for 4-7 hours. Yes, I know that is a huge range of time but you know your own slow cooker better than me. Mine is a semi-slow cooker and I know anything I put in there will be cooked to a dry unpleasantness if I follow the time for most slow cooker recipes. 4 hours was perfect for mine :)
5. Stir in lime juice and top with scallions or cilantro. Serve over quinoa for a satisfying meal.

mexican quinoa



This dish has become a favorite with our whole family (the kids asked for seconds which is pretty rare). The flavor combination is so so good. Easy to make and super nutritious, what's not to love? adapted from annies-eats.com 

Ingredients:

2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
1 ¼ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can black beans (or equivalent soaked and cooked black beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen or canned)
½ tsp. salt
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ lime juiced
1 tomato, diced (or can diced tomatoes)

to finish:
shredded cheese
sour cream or plain greek yogurt
salsa
avocado
cooked shredded chicken (optional)
spinach (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Stir in quinoa and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Then add beans, corn, tomato, and salt. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until liquid is fully absorbed.
3. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
4. Serve over a bed of spinach if desired and top with shredded chicken, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and avocado

Friday, September 5, 2014

nectarine and fig summer salad

A last hurrah for summer! I can't tell you how delicious this salad is. You will have to try it for yourself. Adapted from howsweeteats.com


serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4-6 cups spring greens
2 cups baby arugula
8 slices of pancetta (bacon or prosciutto are a fine substitute), fried until crisp and broken into large pieces
2 nectarines, sliced
1-1½ cups fresh figs, quartered
1 large avocado, sliced
4 ounces goat cheese (this is a super yummy addition but you can substitute another cheese if preferred)
3 Tbsp. pistachios, chopped
salt and pepper

nectarine vinaigrette:

1 large nectarine, peeled and cubed
¼ cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar because I didn't have golden balsamic as the original recipe called for)
2 tsp. honey
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
⅓ cup olive oil

directions:

Add all the greens to a large bowl and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Add the pancetta, sliced nectarines, figs, avocado, dollops of goat cheese, and pistachio. Dress with the nectarine vinaigrette.

for the vinaigrette, add the nectarine to a blender and blend until pureed. Add a little water if needed. add vinegar, honey, garlic, salt and pepper and mix until combined. Stream in the olive oil while whisking or blending on low until the dressing comes together.






Tuesday, August 26, 2014

brown rice crispy treats

These treats are so tasty and are great for lunches or an after-school snack. Brown crispy rice cereal can be found at health food stores or online. Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

Ingredients:

2-3 Tbsp. coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup almond butter or unsalted natural peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups brown rice crispy cereal

seeds or chopped nuts or chopped dried fruit are some fun additions
you can also make a chocolate topping with dark chocolate chips and coconut oil

Directions:

1. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with coconut oil.
2. Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown rice syrup and nut butter and heat until bubbles form, stirring constantly with a whisk. Take pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
3. Place the cereal in a bowl with any optional additions. Pour hot syrup mixture over it and mix together.
4. Pour the mixture into pan and press the mixture flat.
5. If you would like to add the chocolate topping, melt 3/4 cup dark chocolate and 3 Tbsp. coconut oil together and pour over top. Cool and slice into squares.

cinnamon spiced granola with goji berries


This granola is delicious with yogurt or kefir or mik. Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

Ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped raw pecans or walnuts
1 cup chopped raw almonds
1/4-1/2 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4-1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
dried goji berries (optional)

other additional options:
chopped dried apples
raisins
dried cranberries
dried cherries
shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300º. Place the oats, nuts, optional seeds and coconut, spices and salt into medium bowl and mix well.
2. Add honey or maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla to the mixture and toss together.
3. Spread out mixture on a large baking sheet (or two) lined with parchment if desired. Bake for 34-40 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula.
4. Remove from oven and add dried fruit if desired. Let cool then transfer to glass jar or ziplock bag.

vanilla chia pudding

This raw pudding is similar to tapioca pudding. Chia seeds contain powerful nutrition. They are an excellent supply of calcium and have the ability to increase brain power and body strength. Since the seeds absorb so much liquid they help your body remain hydrated for longer. They also regenerate healthy body tissue and have cleansing fiber action. Quite the refreshing dessert or morning breakfast.
makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours unless you have a high-power blender)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 whole vanilla bean or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
5 Tbsp. whole chia seeds

Directions:

1. Place the cashews, water, sweetener, vanilla and salt into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl.
2. Add the chia seeds and whisk. Let soak at room temperature for about 1 hour, then cover and transfer to refrigerator to soak and thicken for at least 2 hours.
3. Scoop into bowls and top with fresh fruit, nuts, cinnamon or whatever you like.

graham crackers

I love making healthy snacks. These graham crackers are quite healthy (for a sweet treat) with whole grain flower, flax, and coconut sugar. I got the idea from Lovetobeinthekitchen.com. (sadly I can't take credit for the photo since I forgot to take pictures of the finished product)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup whole grain flour (I used kamut)
2 Tbsp. ground flax
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chilled butter, cubed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:


1. Whisk together flour, flax, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking soda. 
2. Add cubed butter and cut in by hand or in mixer or food processor.
3. Add honey, water, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add a bit more water if dough is too dry.
4. Shape dough into a flat disk and place between 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper
5. Roll dough out until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to make shapes. Combine scraps and repeat.6. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Prick in several places with a toothpick. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon-sugar if desired and bake for about 15 minutes.


Monday, August 25, 2014

no bake raspberry cheesecake

This decadent treat only takes minutes to prepare and satisfies sweet cravings in a healthy way.
cream cheese (you can use low fat but is it really worth it :)
mascarpone cheese
fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
stevia or raw honey to taste
dash of vanilla extract

crumbled graham cracker (optional). I used this homemade version

1. Blend together equal parts cream cheese and mascarpone with desired sweetener and vanilla. Add a generous amount of raspberries and blend until creamy. That's it! Serve right away or chill.

kale chips

Salty and crunchy and so nutritious. This super yummy superfood snack makes eating your greens so easy.

Ingredients:

2 large bunches kale (I used some local no sprays purple kale)

Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for a couple hours if you don't have a high power blender)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (besides adding amino acids and protein, minerals, and B vitamins, it adds a cheesy flavor)
1 tsp garlic powder (or 2 garlic cloves)
1 tsp. sea salt

1. Rise the kale and remove tough center rib. Tear leaves into large pieces and place in large bowl
2. Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour sauce over kale and massage it in.
3. Place kale in single layer onto large baking sheets lined with parchment paper (you may have to do a couple batches) and bake for about 2 hours at 200ºF, or until crispy. Flip kale chips part way through baking. As soon as they have crisped up remove from oven and let cool before storing in containers or bags at room temperature. These should stay fresh for at least a week (if they can last that long without being eaten)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

chickpea salad with honey garlic lime dressing


This is a perfect summer salad. The dressing is SO GOOD and brings all the flavors together wonderfully. Adapted/modified from howsweeteats.

makes about 6 servings

ingredients:

3 cups chickpeas (prepared from dried or 2 -15 oz. cans, drained and rinsed)
4 green onions
2 ears corn, grilled or cooked in boiling water for about 3 minutes, cut from the cob (yeah, the corn missed out on the photo session)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, sliced or chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. honey
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced


directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, green onion, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and basil. Toss well with salt and pepper.

2. In a small saucepan add the oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, lime juice and zest. Heat over low heat and whisk until the mixture is warm and the garlic begins to sizzle.

3. Pour the liquid over the salad and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

red white and blueberry popsicles

Here is a fun recipe I happened upon when searching for good 4th of July recipes. A fun and healthy treat to celebrate our nations birth! It only requires a few ingredients and some patience. Adapted from the view from great island

makes about 10 popsicles

Ingredients

1 heaping cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup yogurt (I made a honey vanilla Greek Yogurt)
honey (optional)

popsicle molds
popsicle sticks
funnel and measuring spoons

1. Puree raspberries and blueberries (separately), thinning with a little water so they pourable. You can also thin the blueberries with yogurt to brighten up the color*. Add a bit of honey if the berries are too tart.
2. Puree yogurt with vanilla and honey if desired. Thin with a little water if needed.
3. Using a funnel and tablespoon, carefully pour 1-2 tablespoons of blueberry puree into the bottom of each mold. If there is some dripping along the sides use a popsicle stick to scrape it down. Let it freeze until firm, about an hour.
4. Pour in about 2 teaspoons of the yogurt through the funnel for the next layer. Cover with foil and add the popsicle sticks, pushing down a little into the blueberry layer, and allow to freeze.
5. Now add about 2 teaspoons of raspberry puree with the funnel for the next stripe. Put in freezer until solid.
6. Continue alternating yogurt and raspberry puree until you have filled the mold. If you are short on time you can do a single stripe of each color: blueberry then yogurt then raspberry.
7. Un-mold the pops by turning upside down and running under warm water or by immersing the mold in a sink full of hot water for 30 seconds.

* if the blueberry puree is too purple you can add your own blue food coloring made from red cabbage and baking soda. Instructions are here. It's pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

red white and blue parfaits with honey shortcake



These patriotic treats are simple to make and quite healthy for a dessert

Ingredients

shortcake: (adapted from thrivinghome.com)
1 1/3 cup whole grain flour (I used half kamut and half spelt or you could use a gluten free mix)
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (could use a nut milk as well)

blueberries
raspberries
lightly sweetened whipping cream (I added vanilla and coconut sugar) or whipped coconut cream (chill 2 cans overnight, scoop out cream from top, add vanilla, desired sweetener and a pinch of sea salt and whip)

1. Mix together flour and baking powder
2. Combine eggs, honey, oil, vanilla, and milk
3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Pour into well greased 8x8" baking pan.
4. Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool
5. Whip cream
6. Assemble: 
a. cut out shortcake into small pieces or cut into circles with cookie cutter or glass or whatever you can find that is the right size :) Place in the bottom of a glass
b. add blueberries
c. top with whipped cream
d. finish with raspberries






Tuesday, June 24, 2014

coconut cashew curry

Here is another recipe from the book I mentioned in the previous post called Nourishing Meals.  I had to make some changes based on the ingredients I had. SO. GOOD. Even the kids enjoyed it.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. mustard powder (or mustard seeds)
1 tsp cumin (or cumin seeds)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
pinch chili powder
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. almond butter (or cashew butter if you have it)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yam, cut into cubes (or a couple small red potatoes)
1/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups chopped savoy or nappa cabbage
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
cooked quinoa or rice

garnish:

fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup raw cashews, roasted (place in baking dish and roast at 350º for about 12 minutes, or just golden)

1. Heat a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, mustard and cumin (if using seeds saute for 30 seconds until they begin to pop) then stir in curry and chili powder. Immediately pour in coconut milk and water. Add almond butter and stir. Grate ginger into the pot. Add carrots and yam. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables.

2. Add green beans and simmer 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add the cabbage, lemon juice, and salt; cover and simmer a few more minutes or until vegetables are tender but not too soft.

3. Serve curry over quinoa. Garnish each bowl with chopped cilantro and roasted cashews.

african peanut and red quinoa soup


I have been working my way through a delightful cookbook called Nourishing Meals Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family (I also have the newest book by the same authors, Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre). It is a wonderful book that teaches how to eat in a way that benefits health. They make gluten-free and whole foods recipes that are beautiful and delicious. Here is one dish we recently tried (with a few modifications). This soup is full of vegetables and the quinoa provides extra energy and protein.

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small red bell peppers, chopped
8 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock
7-8 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter (all natural if possible because it doesn't contain hydrogenated oils)
pinch of red chili powder (more if you like more spice. You can also use crushed red chili flakes)
2 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage
large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 cups cooked red quinoa
1-3 tsp. sea salt

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the oil, then add onions; saute for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger; saute another minute. Then add carrots and red bell pepper. Saute for 3-5 minutes.

2. Add water or stock, peanut butter, and chili powder. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir in cabbage, cilantro, and cooked quinoa. Add salt to taste (if you are using salted stock you may not need much at all).

3. Simmer for a few more minutes, until cabbage is tender. Serve each bowl with an extra sprinkling of crushed red chili flakes and more chopped cilantro if desired.


Monday, June 16, 2014

fruit pops

Tasty and colorful without any harmful food dyes, these fruit popsicles are super easy to make and fun to eat. Use as much organic fruit as possible. Recipe adapted from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

 Ingredients:

3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4-1/2 of a melon) or another type of melon puree
about 2 1/2 cups of fresh fruit. Here is one of the many options (mango is also a delicious addition):
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1-2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine

Directions:

1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and puree in blender until smooth. strain out seeds if any.
2. Set out about 12 popsicle molds (you may need more or less depending on the size).
3. Fill each halfway with the fruit mixture then pour in the watermelon puree until filled. Place a popsicle stick in each and freeze for  6-8 hours.
4. To serve, run molds under warm water until the popsicles release.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

honey whole grain rolls

These whole grain beauties are delicious and perfect for a variety of used like pulled pork, hamburgers, sandwiches, and dinner rolls. I used a combination of kamut and spelt flour and the texture and flavor was perfect. You can also use all of one kind.  Kamut and spelt are both ancient grains. Kamut has a rich buttery flavor while spelt has more of a nutty taste. Although related to durum wheat, they are far more nutritionally sound being organic and not over processed or refined. Although the grain does contain some gluten, many people sensitive to traditional wheat are able to tolerate these grains. They have more protein, higher vitamin and fiber content, and a higher lipid to carb ratio which produces greater energy. These are quite easy to make but require waiting for the dough to rise a few times.

makes 24 dinner rolls or 12 larger buns

Ingredients:

1/4 cup very warm (not hot) water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. honey
2 cups filtered hot water (105º-115ºF)
1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. sea salt
7-8 cups whole grain flour (I used equal parts Kamut and spelt)

1. Proof yeast by mixing the 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and 1/2 tsp. honey in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the hot water, melted butter or coconut oil,  honey and salt.
Add 3 cups of flour and mix well. Then add yeast mixture and mix well again. Add some of the remaining flour until dough is thick enough to turn out onto well-floured surface.
3. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour until dough is smooth and begins to resist kneading (if you push dough in with your fist or finger it will spring back at you).
4. First rise: lightly grease large bowl, shape dough into a ball and turn it a few times to coat. Cover with cloth and let sit in a warm place until it doubles is size, usually about 60-90 minutes (it works well to have the bowl sitting in a larger bowl or pan of hot water).  
5. Second rise: punch down dough gently, turn it around and reshape into a ball. Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
6. Punch down dough gently again, then take out and place on well-floured surface and let sit covered with cloth for 10-15 minutes.
7. Grease pans (I used a couple 9x13s) and preheat oven to 350º
8. Shape the buns: Divide dough in half (each half will make 6-12 buns depending on how large you want them to be). Smooth dough into a thick roll and pinch off pieces. Form a circle with your thumb and pointer finger then push dough though and pinch off bottom to form a round smooth bun.
9. Cover pans with cloth and allow to rise again until they are just a little bit smaller than desired (since they will continue to rise slightly in oven), 10-40 minutes.
10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just golden on top. Remove from oven and flip onto wire racks to cool.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

thai chicken quinoa salad

We first tried this salad at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's house. It is so delicious! Ever since I have been planning to recreate it. Here is is: full of flavor and color and packed with protein.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (unless you want a vegetarian version)
2 or more cups cooked quinoa
2 cups cabbage, coarsely shredded
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup diced cucumber
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (extra for garnish if desired)
1/2 cup peanuts
for the dressing:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
1 1/2  Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey or agave
1/3 cup soy sauce (I use Bragg liquid amenos)
2 tsp grated ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
juice of 1 lime (plus some wedges for serving)
water to thin, if necessary

1. Cook quinoa: place about 1.5 cups, soaked and rinsed, in a pot with almost 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and ook until water is absorbed. Add more water if quinoa is still crunchy. Let sit for a few minutes then fluff with fork. Let cool.
2. Drizzle some olive oil in a baking dish. Place chicken breasts on top and turn over to lightly coat with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350º for about 25 minutes, turning halfway through, until no longer pink inside. Let cool and shred.
3. Combine chicken, quinoa, cabbage, onion, cucumber, pepper, carrot, and cilantro.
4. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss some with salad and leave extra for serving. Top with nuts and serve with extra dressing and lime wedges for an extra squeeze of flavor.





Monday, March 24, 2014

"skinny" chocolate

What could be better than chocolate that is 100% good for you? It is called skinny because it is slimming as long as it is eaten without carbs. What's more it is also a treasure for those who thought they had to renounce chocolate forever due to sugar. Sweetened with stevia and packed with health benefits this superfood is a staple in my house. It only requires a few ingredients and takes just a few minutes to make. Plus there are so many variations on the basic recipe that you can enjoy whatever kind you are in the mood for: sweet, salty, fruity, spicy; it is up to you.  Adapted from Trim, Healthy Mama

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil, heated just until it liquifies
1/2 cup cocoa powder
dash vanilla
stevia to taste (I use 2 packets of stevia in the raw)
optional: almond or peanut butter, nuts, coconut, dried fruit, mint or fruit extract, spice

Stir ingredients together. Pour onto wax paper lined plate or pan (I use an 8 x 8 baking pan). Chill in refrigerator or freezer. Snap pieces off as needed. It's that simple.

Friday, March 7, 2014

greek inspired salad

fresh and simple. It may be tough to stop at one helping.

Ingredients:

lettuce
cucumber
tomatoes (I used some fun mini organic heirloom)
kalamata olives (unless you don't like a strong olive taste then use canned black)
chickpeas
feta (I used a delicious tomato basil)
hemp hearts and/or sunflower seeds (for protein and a nutty crunch)

olive oil
balsamic vinegar (aged or balsamic reduction is the best because it is nice and thick)

1. Drizzle salad with olive oil and balsamic (yep, pretty difficult).





Thursday, February 27, 2014

coconut crusted salmon with lemony quinoa


This scrumptious meal is light but nourishing and makes me think of Spring. The herbed coconut crust on the salmon is so delicious and carb-free. Pine nuts and spinach round out the quinoa and make it a perfect side dish. Salmon recipe adapted from Trim Healthy Mama and the quinoa from kale&chocolate


Let's talk about some of the health benefits first:
Salmon is high in protein. It is extremely important to supply our bodies with enough protein because our muscles, organs, bones, cartilage, skin, and antibodies are composed of protein and need enough to repair themselves and prevent cellular breakdown. Salmon is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids which are necessary for cardiovascular and cognitive health. It is an excellent source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals which damage cells and leave them vulnerable to cancer, infection, and disease. Salmon also contains high levels of B vitamins which are vital for a healthy metabolism and good mental health.
Coconut contains lauric acid which helps raise the high density level cholesterol which keeps arteries free from plaque accumulation. It is packed with B vitamins and copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, iron, and even calcium. Using this in place of breadcrumbs boosts the nutrition value and cuts out carbs.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a nutrition packed seed that cooks like a grain. It contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is gluten-free, high in B vitamins, and has iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin E.
Pine nuts are really seeds from certain pine trees. They contain essential minerals and heart friendly mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help reduce cholesterol levels, vitamin E and vitamin B.


Ingredients

for the salmon:
4 Salmon filets (I like skin on, wild preferably)
mayonnaise (see below for home made) or eggs
1 cup dried coconut
sea salt
pepper
garlic powder and/or onion powder
dried parsley
cayenne pepper if you like some spice

for the quinoa:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
sea salt
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cups raw spinach, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
pepper to taste

salmon:
1. To make the salmon "breading", place coconut, herbs and spices in blender and blend until fine. Pour onto large dinner plate.
2. Rub salmon fillets with mayo or dip into a couple whisked eggs. Then press into coconut mix and coat generously. Place in greased baking dish
3. Bake at 350º until fish is done and coating is crispy. Check after 10 minutes. Fish is done when outer layer is opaque and inside is still a darker pink. If you want the outside more crispy then place under broiler for 1-2 minutes.

quinoa:
1. Rinse quinoa for a few minutes to make sure all the bitter-tasting chemicals called saponins are removed. Transfer to a saucepan and add 1 tsp. salt and 1 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If they seem to firm after 15 minutes add a tad more water and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
2. Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and add toasted pine nuts, spinach, lemon zest and parsely. Place the sliced spinach on top.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil to form an emulsion. Pour dressing on top of quinoa tossing to blend all ingredients. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.




mayonnaise:

I tried making my own mayo from scratch quite unsuccessfully before. This recipe made a beautiful mayo: golden, creamy and free of soybean* oil. It was very simple and quick.

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
dash of pepper
onion powder (optional)
dash of vinegar (optional)
dash of sweetener (optional)
dijon mustard (if you want more kick)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

**update March 2015:
If you would like to end up with a more traditional tasting mayo, I have been playing around with ingredients and find that the following is pretty close:
besides the eggs I add lemon juice, a dash of vinegar, a pinch of sweetener, a dash of salt. Then I add 1 cup avocado oil (it has a pretty subtle flavor)

1. Put eggs in blender. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and additional flavorings if desired. Blend well.
2. With blender running, slowly add the coconut and olive oil. Mix until thickened.
3. Chill before serving.

*soy beans have a high level of phytates which leech minerals out of the body. Soy affects the body's estrogen levels by converting testosterone into estrogen. It also suppresses thyroid function and can cause sterility (it all sounds kind of nasty!)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

better butter tart



Who says that eating a delicious treat has to be unhealthy? If you have had a butter tart you know how unbelievably tasty and addicting they are; melt in your mouth buttery crust with a sweet gooey mouth-watering center with plump raisins. The problem is that they are not even remotely healthy (well, except for the raisins). These better for you butter tarts are made with naturally processed sweeteners, oats, and brown rice flour instead of white flour and sugar/corn syrup. Recipe adapted from mynewroots.org.


I think that what we put in our bodies should be wholesome fuel. What are we giving our bodies when we fill it with highly processed, artificial "junk"? Not to say that we can never indulge in an occasional unhealthy treat but those times should be balanced with a majority of wise, health conscious choices. When we are aware of what is in our food and how it affects our bodies it will be easier to choose foods that give instead of take. That being said, despite the challenge, eating well can be so fun. What could be better than something being delicious and nutritious? OK, there is my little spiel :) Now for a little explanation:

Sweeteners like white sugar and corn syrup aren't that great, nor is white flour. Why is that? God created food the way it is for a reason. Our bodies thrive on "whole" foods. When foods are processed they are stripped of important minerals and other nutrients. Obviously they aren't adding anything beneficial. Also, when we eat these things they draw out the necessary minerals for digestion from our cells and bones. Kind of not so good. 
For those that are trying to maintain or loose weight empty carbs and sugars are enemies. Our bodies are made to handle only so much blood glucose so the insulin secreted to store everything in our cells is overworked and deposits excess blood glucose in our fat cells (which are never picky and always hungry for leftovers).

What is different about whole grains and unprocessed sweeteners? Obviously our bodies aren't made to fill up on only grains and sweets, even if they are the natural and unprocessed kinds. As a special treat these are great (not as an overindulgence...sigh). Brown rice syrup and barley malt are grain-based sweeteners which are naturally made from fermented grains. They are made of 50% maltose which is 1/3 as sweet as sugar and at least half of their content are the nutrients found in the original whole grains. These are complex sugars which take longer to digest than processed sweeteners so blood sugar levels don't dip and soar but maintain a healthy balance.

Now, finally on to making these treats...

makes 12 large or 24 small tarts

Ingredients

Crust:
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp brown rice syrup
5 Tbsp. coconut oil

Filling:
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup barley malt
2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (this thickens without making the filling cloudy)
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter or ghee, melted (coconut oil works too, but you loose the buttery taste)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
sea salt, couple pinches
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325º.
2. Make the crust: in blender or food processor process rolled oats until you have a rough flour. In a large mixing bowl combine the oat flour with brown rice flour and salt. In a small saucepan melt the coconut oil and brown rice syrup together. Pour over dry ingredients and mix/kneed with your hands.
3. In a standard size (or mini) muffin pan, press golf ball sized amount of dough firmly into each cup, pressing up the sides as well until you have a thin even crust. 
4. Bake for 10 minutes until just turning a light golden color on the edges. Remove from oven.
5. While shells are baking, make the filling: melt the butter (or ghee or coconut oil) in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the vanilla seeds and vanilla.
6. In a medium bowl, pour in brown rice syrup and barley malt. Pour in the melted butter and whisk to combine. Sift in arrowroot and baking powder, add salt and whisk until smooth. Fold in raisins.
7. Divide filling between all shells, keeping filling below rim of crust. Place in oven for about 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and browning around the edges. Remove from oven and cool, then place in refrigerator until completely chilled. This will crystallize the sugars and will make it easy to pop them out.
8. Using a small sharp knife, insert the tip down the side of each tart to break the sugar seal. You can keep them at room temperature in a tightly sealed container. Warm them up before serving if you like them nice and gooey.









Wednesday, February 19, 2014

chocolate turtles



These chocolate turtles are a delicious and fairly healthy indulgence when you are in the mood for something sweet. You can substitute pecans for the almonds if you like.
recipe adapted from (and photo courtesy of) thegraciouspantry.com
Ingredients:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp honey (raw if possible)
72-84 raw almonds (6-7 almonds per turtle)

1. Add cocoa powder to melted coconut oil. Stir until smooth. Add brown rice syrup and honey and stir until smooth.
2. On a sheet of wax or parchment paper, arrange almonds in a turtle shape: head, legs, middle, and tail.  Spoon a dollop of chocolate over each cluster, rearranging pieces as needed and smoothing chocolate with fingers if you want a neater finish. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Store in refrigerator.

It doesn't take much imagination to see these as turtles. Kids will love them too.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

spinach and bacon white pizza with cauliflower crust


I have been a fan of white spinach pizza since I was a kid. I love how the creamy ricotta complements the yummy melty cheese and tender spinach. When I saw a recipe I knew I had to make it. I have also been wanting to try a cauliflower pizza crust. This recipe takes regular pizza to a new level because you replace carbs with vegetable while retaining the absolute creamy and gooey deliciousness that pizza should have. toppings adapted from howsweettreats and crust adapted from Trim Healthy Mama.

ingredients:

crust
16 oz cauliflower, cut into florets
3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 eggs)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
italian seasoning
garlic or onion powder
sea salt

pizza
6 slices bacon, roughly chopped
8 oz fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil, about 1 Tbsp.
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated provolone cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated fontina cheese (can substitute gouda or mild gruyere)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

directions:

crust
1. Lightly steam cauliflower. Put into colander and press out as much water as you can by pressing down with a plate, squeezing with hands, and blotting with paper towel. The drier you get it the crispier the crust will be. Preheat oven to 450º
2. Add to blender or food processor and pulse a few times until you have rice-sized pieces.
3. Add egg whites and pulse a few more times.
4. Add cheese, and seasoning and mix until combined.
5. Line a 9 x 15 cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease well.
6. Dump the cauliflower mixture into the middle of the sheet and spread out evenly.
7. Bake for 20 minutes. You can flip over the crust at 15 minutes, including the parchment paper, then removing the parchment paper from the top. Then bake 5 more minutes. This allows both sides to get crispy.
8. Cool while you prepare toppings and reduce oven to 375º.

pizza toppings
1. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook just until the fat has rendered because it will get crispy in the oven. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. 
2. Reduce heat to low and add spinach and garlic, stirring well until spinach is wilted.
3. Brush pizza "dough" lightly with olive oil. Cover evenly with dollops of ricotta. Evenly sprinkle other cheeses on top. Add spinach and bacon. 
4. Bake for about 25 minutes, until cheese and crust are golden and bubbly. Oh yum!



Monday, January 27, 2014

cinnamon flax muffins

These tasty little treats look like bran muffins but are made with flax. The texture is perfect and they are fiber and nutrient rich (so drink plenty of water). They are great plain or for a more decadent treat top with plain greek yogurt, mascarpone, or butter plus some honey or jam. Adapted from Trim Healthy Mama.

makes 12 muffins (well it is supposed to but I always seem to get one less muffin out of a recipe :)

Ingredients:

wet:
3 eggs and 3 egg whites
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted or olive oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
dry:
2 cups flax meal (I used mostly golden flax seeds - just grind it them in the blender) or you can mix 1 1/2 cups flax with with almond meal or ground dried coconut (what I chose) just as long as it adds up to 2 cups
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
4 Tbsp. cinnamon (yes, you read that right, tablespoon not teaspoon)
1/4 cup sweetener like honey or molasses or the equivalent in stevia (I used coconut sugar and stevia)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º
1. Put flax (or the mix you choose) in a large bowl.
2. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sweetener (if it is a dry form). Mix well.
3. Blend wet ingredients (including sweetener if it is wet) in blender for 20 seconds. Add to dry, mix well, then let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
4. Place in greased muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes (check at 19 minutes)







Thursday, January 23, 2014

roasted cumin spiced cauliflower




These tender golden gems are a great alternative to roasted potatoes
1-2 heads cauliflower
olive oil
cumin seeds or ground cumin
salt and pepper
garlic brown butter bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 400º

Separate cauliflower into florets. Place on roasting pan and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin. Roast until tender and crispy (about 20 minutes), shaking pan or stirring half way through. Top with garlic brown butter bread crumbs if desired during the last couple minutes of cooking time.


sautéed garlic parmesan green beans


inspired by a recipe from Trim Healthy Mama, these beans are so flavorful and nutritious (plus they are very easy to make) 

green beans
coconut oil
garlic powder
salt and pepper
Brag Liquid Amenos (super healthy soy sauce alternative)
freshly grated parmesan

Add a generous dollop of coconut oil to a large pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is melted and hot add beans, sprinkle with garlic powder salt and pepper and sauté until slightly tender and nicely browned in spots, stirring occasionally. Drizzle with Liquid Amenos to taste and continue to cook for another couple minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan then serve.