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Clean energy snack - Superfood trail mix

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Clean energy snack - Superfood trail mix

As some of you may or may not know I am laid up awaiting my fourth back surgery this month. This one will be a big one and due to some major allergies I can not tolerate pharmaceutical drugs (which I think is a blessing in disguise, albeit a painful one, but still a blessing). Instead I will be employing every ounce of knowledge I have about alternative medicine, healing techniques, and most importantly holistic nutrition to heal and cope through this tough time.

Some think that when you are in a time of physical crisis ( i.e. sick, injured, or even depressed) is a time to turn to comfort foods but I am adamantly opposed to this concept. The time when you are at your lowest is the MOST important time to fuel your body with nutrient dense food to accelerate healing. I also believe that feeding yourself nourishing food at any time is a beautiful way to honor the body you have been given no matter what state it is in. 

Since I can’t do much in the way of cooking I want to show you something I have been eating that doesn’t take much in the way of effort but packs a huge nutritional punch.

Check out this superfood trail mix that requires no cooking at all!

superfood trail mix words

Here is the run down of what each of these foods offer nutritionally to make them “super foods”

  • Cacao nibs/cacao is one of nature’s richest dietary sources of magnesium and is also an excellent source of iron and dietary fiber.

  • Cashews provide an impressive profile of beneficial oils and an ideal ratio of healthy saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

  • Pumpkin seeds are a good source of plant-based protein, iron, and trace minerals.

  • Goji berries are a high source of protein, a wealth of antioxidants and over 20 vitamins and minerals.

  • Goldenberries contain a high amount of carotene and bioflavonoids, vitamins A and C.

  • Mulberries contain iron, calcium and vitamin C along with dietary fiber and resveratrol.

Please be conscious of the sources of your nuts and fruits to make sure they are coming from reputable sources (I have linked organic and reliable companies above). I also soak my cashews and pumpkin which removes anti-nutrients (compounds that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients), increases nutrient density, and makes the nuts more digestible. This is optional but highly recommended if you have the time. Instructions are in the recipe below

No matter what state you are in you can add equal parts of each of these ingredients, portion it out in 1/4 cup servings and pack them up in portable containers so you have power food on the go (in the car, hiking, or even at your desk for a late afternoon snack). You can top off your favorite yogurt, smoothie, or salad with this mix or do what I do and make it into a cereal!

Add a 1/4 cup of the trail mix with some plant based protein powder into a bowl and top it with a non dairy milk for an instant and delicious morning cereal. SO. GOOD.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients you can make an even simpler version using just pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, and only one of the dried fruits (mulberries, gojis, or golden berries) and mix those in equal proportions. I pick whatever is cheaper that week to make this and remember to keep your serving size to fit in the palm of your hand because dried fruits sugars have been concentrated in the drying process. I must also add that Nutivas naturals just came out with this same exact trail mix already mixed so you skip buying all the ingredients separately and purchase it here. I will admit its a bit more expensive to buy it pre made but that is for your to decide what will suit your needs best. 

My family will be helping me document my food, supplements, and pain management techniques during my pre and post recovery period on my social media platforms so make sure to follow my journey!

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Superfood Trail Mix

Serves 12

Vegan - Raw - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free - Refined Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c Cacao Nibs
  • 1/2 c Goji Berries
  • 1/2 c Mulberries
  • 1/2 c Goldenberries
  • 1/2 c Cashews
  • 1/2 c Pumpkin Seeds

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to an airtight container and store in a cool dry place or portion out in 1/4 cup servings in baggies for on the go nutrition!

Notes

  1. Feel free to not use all three dried fruits, its a personal choice and it boils down to which ones you want to buy or what is most available to you.
  2. I like to soak my nuts and seeds because it removes anti-nutrients (compounds that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients), increases nutrient density, and makes the nuts more digestible.

Here is how I do it

  1. In a large glass bowl or mason jar add the nuts/seeds and cover with warm, filtered water (about a 2:1 ratio) and about ½ tsp. Celtic sea salt. Cover with a light cloth for 8 hours (overnight is perfect). Rinse thoroughly and drain. I allow mine to dehydrate in an oven at its lowest temperature until dried (4-8 hours) or in a dehydrator to achieve a crispy texture but they can be eaten right away they will just have a squishy texture.

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Pasta with ZERO guilt

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Pasta with ZERO guilt

avocado-zuccasta-words.jpg

There is a laundry list of reasons why pasta is not on my dinner plate these days (low nutrient value, contains gluten, inflammatory, high glycemic load, etc). I follow an anti inflammatory diet plan so for me pasta just doesn’t work well for my body. If I eat gluten I immediately feel my joints swell and ache so its just not worth it. I had written off pasta a long time ago until this happened…

I made a vegan creamy sauce from avocados, basil, garlic, olive oil, and lemon and tossed it with zucchini noodles aka zuccasta! Crazy right??? This sauce is so creamy and satisfying you wont even notice that its made from veggies and totally vegan! I pair this with a nice side salad with some of the extra sauce mixed with coconut aminos as a dressing, top it with pumpkin seeds and sliced strawberry and BLAMO, low inflammatory, vegan, deliciousness in under 30 minutes.

How do you make zuccasta you ask? Well, you will need some special equipment to make this but trust me this will be the best $35 you have ever spent (well at least for a kitchen utensil). I use the paderno slicer because its way better than any of the other brands out there, trust me on this one.

Lemon Basil Avocado Zuccasta

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, pit removed cut into small pieces
  • 15 basil leaves chopped into ribbons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic clove finely minced
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5-10 turns of black pepper or to taste
  • 2-4 Zucchinis (see notes)

Optional

  1. 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved for garnic
  2. lemon zest for garnish

Equipment

  1. Veggie Spiralizer

Instructions

  1. In a blender add the avocado, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, basil, and blend until smooth adding more olive oil to thin if needed.
  2. The sauce should be very thick like a pudding and not move if you hold the blender upside down.
  3. Spiralize the zucchini into pasta noodles (I like the paderno brand slicer) set aside.
  4. In a medium saute pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat until it just starts to shimmer.
  5. Add the zucchini in one layer into the pan and allow it to brown. Do don't move the "zuccasta"
  6. Once the zucchini has gained color turn it over and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Add a few heaping spoonfuls of the avocado sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. You can add more sauce to the amount of your liking.
  8. Allow the sauce and pasta to cook together until the sauce starts to lose a little bit of its green color and has heated throughout.
  9. Transfer to plates and garnish with tomatoes and lemon zest.

Notes

  1. You may have leftover sauce. I like to keep mine covered in the refrigerator for the next time I make this dish. I like to make it fresh every time rather than have it as leftovers but thats a personal preference.
  2. Use 1-2 zucchini per person for a full dinner portion.

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Vegan Mango Avocado Salad Dressing

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Vegan Mango Avocado Salad Dressing

I have been on a raw food/juicing cleanse for 10 days and I am responding really well to all this clean, live food. I wanted to keep this feeling going so I am integrating some salads back in after all the blended and juiced foods. I made this salad dressing and honestly you could use this as a dip for veggies, as a sauce over some zucchini noodles, or on top of any meat like chicken or pork. The possibilities are endless. 

Avocado Mango Salad Dressing

Serves 8

Vegan - Raw - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo - Sugar Free 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Avocado (make sure it is very ripe)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Mango (I used thawed frozen or you can use fresh just make sure it is ripe)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 Cup Light Coconut Milk (or use 1/4 cup full fat and 2 Tbl of water) or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbl Chopped Cilantro (or mint if you don't like cilantro)
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • 1/2 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper (freshly ground)

Optional

  1. 1 Tbl Maple Syrup (or sweetener of choice see notes)

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add more coconut milk by the tablespoon if it is too thick.
  3. Taste for seasoning and sweetness. (see notes)

Notes

  1. Depending on the sweetness level of your mangos you may want to add some additional mangos to balance the flavors or the maple syrup to taste. If you are following a completely raw diet you can use raw coconut sugar or add more fruit to taste.

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Time to slim down for Spring!

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Time to slim down for Spring!

roasted radishes

I just had a startling realization….

It’s the last week of February, which means it’s almost March, and March is almost Spring, and Spring is close to Summer, which is bathing suit season and you know what that means don’t you?!?!?!??!?

It means its time to stop eating all those starchy caloric dense foods and start slimming down for the warmer weather. Eeeek!

So what should you be eating you ask? Well its a good time to start filling your plate with low starch veggies on big piles of fresh salad paired with healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and oily omega 3 filled fish. 

Here is one that you probably haven’t tried before, roasted radishes!

I love radishes because they are very light, have a low starch content, and are great for cleansing because they are a natural diuretic. I prefer to mix raw radishes and cooked to gain a variety of flavor in salads or paired as a side with proteins. All you have to do is place the radishes in a pouch of either parchment or aluminum foil add some ghee or olive oil roast for 15 minutes then open it up and broil for 5-8 minutes to get some nice color and depth of flavor. Voila! Keep in mind that you can use this method for almost any other low starch veggie for cooking like turnips, zuchini, asparagus, etc. 

I also suggest to jumpstart your weight loss efforts by drinking a liter of this detox water daily to help fight bloat and curb your appetite:

Roasted Radishes

Serves 2

Gluten Free - Paleo - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Low Carb - Vegan Friendly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb radishes (washed and cut in half)
  • 2 tsp Grass Fed Ghee or Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 425F
  2. You will need a piece of aluminum foil that is double the size of the amount of radishes because you will be folding it over on itself to form a pouch.
  3. Place the radishes off to one side of the foil and drizzle with oil or place the ghee in the center of the radishes.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold the foil over on itself and crimp the edge tightly shut so the radishes can steam inside.
  6. Place the pouch on a sheet pan for easy removal.
  7. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pouch from the oven and using heat proof oven mits carefully open the pouch to expose the radishes.
  9. Crank the oven up to a broil.
  10. Toss the radishes with a spoon.
  11. Place the radishes back in the oven on the top shelf and broil for 5-8 minutes or until they start to gain some color.
  12. Remove from oven allow to cool, sprinkle with a touch more of salt if desired and enjoy!
  13. See notes for garnishes.

Optional garnishes

  1. Chopped chives
  2. Julienned mint
  3. Drizzle with favorite salad dressing while still warm to absorb the flavor.
  4. Serve with sliced avocados on top of a salad for a healthy snack!

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Paleo Shepherd's Pie

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Paleo Shepherd's Pie

shepherds pie inside

Its snowing…again. I am freezing and in need of some serious comfort food to ease these winter blues. Good thing I had this prepped in my fridge and could just pop it in the oven because I am not moving from my couch today. Make this for dinner tonight. Eat it wearing your favorite pajamas. Then go sleep off your beefy sweet potato slumber until winter is over.  


Paleo Shepherd's Pie

Serves 6 - 8

Paleo - Grain Free - Gluten Free - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Bison or Grass Fed Beef or Lamb (or a combo of your choosing)
  • 1 Large Onion, finely diced
  • 2 Large Carrots, finely diced
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks, finely diced
  • 1 lb Mushrooms finely diced (white or crimini)
  • 2 Tbl Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Low Sodium Beef/Chicken/or Veggie Broth
  • 2 Tbl Ghee or fat of choice
  • 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Frozen Peas

Topping

  1. 2 Large Sweet Potatoes peeled and roughly chopped into 1" chunks
  2. 4 Carrots peeled and roughly chopped into 1" chunks
  3. 1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken or Veggie Broth
  4. 1 Tbl Olive Oil or Ghee

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. In a large high sided pot add the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, 1 cup of broth and place over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil place a cover on top and reduce to medium heat.
  4. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the flesh of the vegetables are easily pierced with a knife.
  5. Drain the vegetables reserving the excess liquid.
  6. Add the ghee and mash or puree in a blender adding some of the cooking liquid to loosen it up.
  7. You can add as much liquid as you prefer to achieve the texture you desire.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. In a large heavy bottomed saute pan place it over medium high heat and add the 2 Tbl ghee/fat of choice.
  10. When the oil/ghee starts to shimmer add the onions, celery, carrots, salt and pepper.
  11. Sautee for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to soften.
  12. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  13. Add the tomato paste and stir it into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute to cook some of the raw tomato flavor out. (Its ok if it looks like there is burnt stuff on the bottom of the pan. That is flavor and will get scraped up and incorporated into the sauce later)
  14. Add the beef/bison and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon.
  15. Sprinkle the garlic powder and cinnamon over the meat and stir well.
  16. Cook until it starts to get some color and stir occasionally to cook it through.
  17. When the beef is pretty well cooked deglaze with the broth and add the balsamic vinegar.
  18. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  19. When the mixture is thick taste for seasoning.
  20. Add more salt according to your taste.
  21. The frozen peas can be steamed for a few minutes or placed in a small pan and covered with a small amount of broth and brought to a soft simmer then drained.
  22. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  23. Pour the meat mixture into a large 6-8 quart casserole dish.
  24. Cover with the drained peas.
  25. Top with the sweet potato/carrot mash and smooth out to cover the top entirely.
  26. *At this point you can wrap it up and store in the fridge and save for another night to reheat in oven
  27. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bubbling

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Healthy Coconut Chocolate Mousse - Dairy Free - Sugar Free

I am a sucker for anything fatty, creamy, and cold…Ice cream? Yogurt? Mousse? YES PLEASE!

What I am not a sucker for is what these decadent desserts do to my blood sugar and waistline… whomp whomp :/

But fear not! I have a solution to those sweet tooth cravings! A lighter than air dairy free, sugar free, paleo coconut chocolate mousse! 

Whaaaaaat???

Yes this is happening people. 

You can even layer this mousse with some pomegranates, more melted chocolate and nuts to make parfaits suitable for a dinner party! Lets get creative people show me how you do it!

Paleo Coconut Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free 

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 2 Cans Whole Fat Coconut Milk (chilled overnight in the fridge)
  • 2 oz Dark Unsweetened Chocolate Chopped (about 3/4 cup chocolate)
  • 2 Tbl Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Honey or sweetener of choice to taste
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Espresso Powder or Ground Coffee (optional but highly recommended)
  • Pinch of Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites until firm soft peaks are formed.
  2. With the mixer running slowly stream in the sweetener of choice and continue to beat until firm peaks are formed.
  3. Set aside
  4. Remove the tops of the coconut cream and scoop of the solidified cream on the top, leaving the coconut water on the bottom.
  5. Beat the coconut cream until light and fluffy.
  6. Melt the chopped chocolate over a double boiler or by placing in the microwave for 15 seconds.
  7. Stir the chocolate and keep microwaving for ten second intervals stirring in between until fully melted.
  8. Stir in the vanilla extract and the espresso powder.
  9. Set aside to cool.
  10. Once the chocolate is cooled fold it into the coconut cream.
  11. In 4 stages fold in the egg whites very gently into the chocolate coconut cream.
  12. Its ok if there are streaks of egg whites. You are looking to build volume.
  13. Once all of the egg whites are incorporated into the cream portion the mousse into the serving cups of choice and place in the fridge to set up for minimum of 30 minutes.

Notes

  1. You can chill the mousse in the bowl and then construct parfaits by layering the mousse with chopped nuts, chocolate chunks, pomegranates or any fruit and nut combo you like for a dinner party ready dessert.

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Dinner in a Flash! Healthy Thai Turkey Hot Pot

Thai turkey

I have realized something over the last year or so of fumbling my way through running this blog…I tend to over complicate healthy food when all I (and my friends and family) really want is easy, delicious food that isn’t going to make us fat. So my new years resolution is to bring you the simple food that I eat everyday that will keep you lean, mean, and in control of your kitchen. 

I just made this Thai inspired turkey hot-pot and it’s just the thing my cold body needs on this rainy day. This is one of a series of clean dinners that will keep your new years resolutions on track because Lord knows I drank and ate a wee bit too much this holiday season.

Whoops.

Sorry, I’m not sorry :)

Thai Turkey Hot Pot

Serves 4

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Low Carb - Dairy Free 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Ground Turkey (Organic Free Range preferred I used 1/2 white 1/2 dark meat)
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Coconut oil (unrefined)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder (you can add more if you like more heat)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1Tbl Braggs Aminos (or sea salt if you are avoiding soy)
  • 1 head of bok choy
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (measure after chopping)
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. In a large flat bottomed high side pot pan heat the coconut oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer
  2. Add the onions and ginger; stir to coat in oil and saute until they start to soften (about 3-5 minutes)
  3. Add the garlic and chili powder and stir to combine
  4. Add the turkey meat and break up with a spoon
  5. Allow the turkey to brown and stir to brown evenly
  6. Turn the heat down to medium and cover for 3-5 minutes
  7. Stir the turkey and cover for another 3 minutes
  8. Chop the bok choy into 1/2'' pieces and add to the pot
  9. Add the coconut milk and stir everything to combine
  10. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a high simmer
  11. Cook until the turkey is cooked through about 10-15 minutes
  12. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro at the very end
  13. Taste for seasoning add more heat and braggs to your liking

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Low Carb/High Protein - Nicoise Salads on Portabello Caps

Nicoise Portobello

I am still on a mission to give you delicious, healthy recipes as we become more and more tempted by this Holiday seasons mind field of indulgent eats. Frosted snowman, gingerbread houses, and orange chocolates that you break up against the wall…..AHHHHH I shake my fist at you delicious sugary treats of Christmas. 

Treating yourself is fine but lets stay focused on healthy eating in between cookie binges. Here is a super flavorful high protein low carb dish that I just had for lunch…and let me say its crazy good!

Basically I deconstructed a Nicoise salad and placed the ingredients on top of a baked Portobello mushroom cap. Mmmm. Oh and I also wrote a recipe for my Olive Oil mayonnaise that I make in big batches every week. I use pasture raised egg yolks and organic cold expeller pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 

A little note that olive oil mayonnaise is going to taste a bit different than your regular storebought mayo, it will tatse more like well olive oil! Why olive oil and not a light flavored vegetable oil? I am always combatting inflammation and I like to keep hydrogenated, processed, refined vegetable oils aways from my everyday food. Industrialized  refined oils are the cause of many of Americas health issues (especially silent inflammation which makes weight loss close to impossible). Is it a coincidence that obesity, diabetes, and heart disease numbers in this country are at an all time high while the consumption of vegetable based oils are also at an all time high? I think not. 100 years ago we did not consume this amount of omega 6 filled vegetable oils. We ate real food like lard, eggs, and butter which contain naturally occurring Omega 3 fats, fat soluble vitamins like D, K, & A, and CLA. 

The optimal ratio would be 4:1 or 2:1 (Omega 3:Omega 6). While olive oil doesn’t contain any omega 3’s a cold pressed olive oil has great monounsaturated fats, phenols and vitamin E  preserved when they are not introduced to heat. (monounsaturated fats may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.) This type of olive oil is best when used in cold preparations. I use grass-fed ghee or coconut oil for high heat cooking NOT my beautiful cold pressed olive oil. 

It may take a bit of getting used to flavor wise when cooking with traditional fats like ghee, grass-fed lard, and olive oil mayo but this is REAL food and REAL food will keep you healthy, energized, lean and mean! If you are concerned about your Omega 3 ratio balance I would encourage you to supplement with Cod liver oil or a high quality fish oil like this one. 

Nicoise Salads on Portabello Caps

Yields 4

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Low Carb - Soy Free - Dairy Free

Base

  • 4 Large Portobello Caps
  • 1 Tbl Olive Oil/Ghee
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme (optional)

Tapenade Spread

  • 1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 1 Tbl Drained Capers
  • 1 tsp Anchovy Paste or 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbl Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove Finely Minced

Tuna

  • 2 Cans High Quality Tuna Drained (Recommended Brand: Wild Planet Line Caught Albacore)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonaise (homemade recipe here)
  • 1 Tbl Dijon or Grain Mustard
  • 1 Tbl Lemon Juice

Toppings

  1. 6 String Beans, Steamed and Each Cut into Four 1-inch Pieces
  2. 1 Large Tomato Cut into 4 1/2'' slices
  3. Chopped Parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel or kitchen towel to remove any dirt. Gently scrape out the scales inside of the cap using a spoon.
  3. Lay the caps on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and thyme leaves.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and softened.

Tapenade

  1. In the bowl of a food processor blend the olives, capers, anchovies, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, parsley, and garlic until it is a somewhat smooth spread. I leave mine with a little texture.
  2. Set aside.

Tuna

  1. Drain the tuna and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the tuna, mustards, and lemon juice.
  3. Pour the mayo/mustard mixture over the tuna and mix well.

Assembly

  1. Place the cooled portabello caps onto a serving plate and spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the tapenade onto the mushroom cap.
  2. Place one slice of the tomato on top of the tapenade.
  3. Divide the tuna into four portions and mound the tuna on top of the tomato pressing it into the tomato so it doesn't fall over.
  4. Spoon a little more tapenade on top of the tune and place 4 pieces of the steamed string beans on top.
  5. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes

  1. The tuna, string beans, and tapenade can all be made ahead of time and can be assembled right before serving.

Adapted from  From Giada DeLaurentis Nicoise Salad Pizzettes

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Low Carb High Flavor Dinner - Cauliflower Steaks with Fennel & Fig Caponata

photo

As much fun as it is to go crazy this time of year, eat ourselves into a coma wearing some elastic waisted pants and do shots of whip cream watching Elf strewn across the couch…lets not get so carried away this year. Ok? 

Don’t get me wrong, I think its important to splurge and enjoy the holidays but I also think it can be done within reason. My suggestion? Workout, keep up with your water and sleep, and eat nourishing healthy food when you aren’t out at holiday parties. Keep the carbs towards the beginning of your day, fill half of your plate with low starch vegetables, and drink a big glass of water before your meals. Easy right?

To give you a little help here is one of my go to quick dinners when I am craving comfort food on a snowy winter night. Roasted cauliflower steaks smothered in a sweet and salty fennel and fig caponata topped with a runny poached egg.

Mmmmmm a low carb, paleo, nourishing dinner under 30 minutes. 

Cauliflower Steaks with Fig & Fennel Caponata 

Yields 4

Roasted cauliflower steaks topped with caponata and a poached egg

Vegetarian- Low Carb - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free

Cauliflower Steaks

  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 2 Tbl Ghee or Coconut Oil or Oil of choice
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Caponata

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) red onion
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) fennel (1 large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup good sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 8 dried Calmyrna figs, stems removed and 1/4-inch-diced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, such as Cerignola
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Poached Eggs

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Tbl Mild Flavored Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. Slice the Cauliflower across the top, with the stem still in tact, into 4 large steaks about 1/2'' thick. (You may have some smaller pieces that don't form steaks. You can toss these in ghee/oil and roast for snacks)
  3. Line a sheet pan with foil and toss the cauliflower in melted ghee or oil of choice.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes in the middle rack.
  5. Flip the steaks carefully with a spatula.
  6. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven and keep covered with foil to stay warm.

Caponata

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch saute pan.
  2. Add the onions and fennel and saute for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
  4. Stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, figs, and coconut sugar, stirring to coat everything with the tomatoes.
  5. Stir in the capers, olives, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until thickened.
  7. Stir in the orange juice and parsley.
  8. Taste for seasonings; the caponata should be very highly seasoned but add salt to your palette.

Eggs

  1. Use a nonstick skillet and bring about 2 inches of water to a boil.
  2. Add vinegar to the water
  3. Crack the eggs seperately into small bowls. This way the eggs will keep their shape and you'll be able to cook them all at the same time.
  4. Slip the eggs into the water one at a time. Work your way around the pan clockwise, so you know which eggs are done first. Tip: Fresher eggs cook faster and have firmer whites.
  5. Cover the pan and turn off the heat.
  6. Wait four minutes.
  7. Carefully scoop them out of the pan, drain them on paper towels.

Assembly

  1. Lay one piece of the cauliflower onto a plate and cover generously with the caponata.
  2. Place one egg on top of the caponata and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt if desired.

Notes

  • While the cauliflower is roasting start making the caponata so it will be ready when the cauliflower comes out of the oven.

Adapted from  Caponata from Barefoot Contessa

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Low Carb Turnip Mash with Dried Mushrooms

Todays post is for all of you out there who have been working so hard trying to stay in shape and are having a bit of a panic for this years holiday eating season. Lets tackle the Thanksgiving table and make  a low carb alternative to mashed potatoes. I have had my fair share of cauliflower “faux” mashed potatoes so lets mix it up with a new veggie that you probably haven’t thought to use in a vegetable puree. 

Enter the low starch phenomenon called the turnip! 

These little beauties have a very low starch content and are the Paleo/low carb dieters key to satisfying the need for a creamy puree  for Holiday and comfort meals. A quick disclaimer, they do not taste like a potato so I like to add some rich flavors like dried mushrooms to change the somewhat spicy flavor a turnip can have. Don’t worry though, once the turnips cook that spice turns sweet and luscious. The other option is to use half potatoes and half cauliflower or half potatoes half turnips to cut the starch content down. Either way you will eliminate  a lot  of calories and add in a different profile for nutrition and taste. Just make sure to cook the potatoes separately from the turnips and/or cauliflower because the cooking times are different. 

Turnip Mash with Dried Mushrooms

Serves 4-6

Vegetarian - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Low Carb

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Peeled Turnips cut into large chunks
  • 2 Cups Low Sodium Broth (Vegetable, Chicken, Turkey etc)
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Mushrooms cut finely
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tbl Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan add the broth, the mushrooms, and the chopped turnips.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer with the lid off and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the turnips are easily pierced with a knife.
  3. Transfer all of the mixture to a blender and puree with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Notes

  1. The mushrooms can be omitted and milk and butter can be used if you can tolerate dairy but make sure to not add the maple syrup.
  2. Half the turnips can also be exchanged for potatoes if you want a more traditional style of mashed potatoes as well and omit the maple syrup.

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Vegan & Grain Free Pumpkin Pie

Who says you can’t have your pie and eat it too? 

What was that? Oh the saying is cake not pie? Well then all the reason why you can have seconds! Check out these little pecan crusted pumpkin pie beauties free of dairy, grains, sugar, and gluten but jammed with rich, decadent deliciousness. 

 

How did I do it? Wouldn’t you like to know!

I’m kidding, obviously I will tell you just scroll down to the recipe below ;)

Oh and I made mine into individual tarts because I like to feel like a giant when I eat little things, but if you want to serve a regular pie use a 9’‘ spring form pan and pour the filling in and bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pies

Yields 4

Vegan - Paleo - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free 

Crust

  • 2 Cups Pecans
  • 2 Cups Dates
  • 1/2 Tsp Fine Sea Salt

Filling

  • 1 16 oz Can Pumpkin Pie Puree
  • 1 Cup Raw Macadamia Nuts Soaked in Water Overnight (or skinless almonds or raw cashews)
  • 1/2 Cup Pitted Dates (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbl Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Cup Non Dairy Milk (Coconut, Almond etc)
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Equipment

  • 4 - 4.75 in Mini Tart Shells
  • or
  • 8'' Spring Form Pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

For the crust

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor add the dates, pecans, and salt and pulse until the pieces are finely ground and it holds it shape when pressed between your fingers.
  2. Grease the tart shells and evenly divide the crust between the shells.
  3. Press the crust up the sides and firmly into the bottom as evenly as you can.
  4. Set aside.

For the Filling

  1. Drain the nuts and rinse off.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the work bowl of a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Taste for sweetness and adjust according to your palette if necessary.
  4. Place the tart shells on a sheet pan.
  5. Pour the filling evenly between the tart shells.
  6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  7. Allow to cool and cover with coconut cream (optional)

Notes

  1. This recipe can be made into one large pie. Use an 8'' spring form pan and press the crust into the bottom and up the sides. Pour all of the filling in and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Continued - Creamy Goat Cheese Black Rice Stuffing with Figs & Hazelnuts

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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Continued - Creamy Goat Cheese Black Rice Stuffing with Figs & Hazelnuts

black rice stuffing

 Ok so not to add any more stress to your life but Thanksgiving is less than ONEWEEK AWAY!!!

No need to panic. I have another make ahead gluten-free recipe for your Holiday table. Today we talk stuffing the oh so challenging dish for the gluten-free Thanksgiving table.

What is my trick? Instead of wasting my money and time trying to tackle gluten-free bread (it rarely comes out right when baked with broth, trust me I’ve tried) I trade out the bread for my favorite cooked rice of choice. Basically for any stuffing recipe that calls for bread pieces I cut the measurement in half and replace that amount with cooked rice. So 6 cups of bread crumbs would be 3 cups cooked rice. Fairly simple right?

I made my stuffing with black rice but if you are weary of serving your guests a purple stuffing you can easily replace the black rice with  brown, or wild rice. Be your own chef and use what YOU like. 

Prepare for goat cheese creamy goodness!

Creamy Goat Cheese Black Rice Stuffing with Figs & Hazelnuts

Serves 8-10

Vegetarian - Gluten Free - 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Black Rice (wild rice or brown rice will work fine too)
  • 4 Cups Organic Turkey Broth divided in half (or Chicken Broth I used Trader Joes Brand)
  • 2 Tbl Ghee, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil or cooking fat of choice
  • 1 Large Onion Diced
  • 2 Large Carrots Finely Diced
  • 3 Large Celery Stalks Finely Diced
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 Tbl Fresh Sage Chopped Finely
  • 1 Tbl Bells Seasonings
  • 1 Cup Dried Figs Chopped into small Pieces
  • 1 Cups Roasted Hazelnuts Chopped (plus 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 1 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese (plus 1/4 cup for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Rinse the rice before using.
  3. Add two cups of the broth and the rice to a medium size sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  4. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook according to the package directions which will depend on the type of rice you are cooking (generally 35-45 minutes).
  5. When the broth is absorbed remove the pan from the heat and leave the cover on to steam while you assemble the rest of the stuffing.
  6. In a large saute pan heat the ghee over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer.
  7. Add the carrots, onions, celery and the salt and pepper.
  8. Stir frequently until the vegetables start to soften and gain some color (about 4-6 minutes).
  9. Add the sage and bells seasoning; stir to coat.
  10. Deglaze with the remaining 2 cups of broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  11. Remove from the heat and transfer this mixture to a large bowl.
  12. Add the cooked rice to the vegetable/broth mixture and stir to combine.
  13. Add the goat cheese, figs, and the hazelnuts.
  14. Taste for seasoning (some broths and goat cheeses have different salt levels) and adjust if necessary.
  15. If the rice mixture seems too dry you can add another cup of broth but the cheese should make it very creamy.
  16. Transfer the stuffing to a greased casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is crispy.
  17. Garnish with fresh parsley, and more hazelnuts and goat cheese right before serving.

Notes

  1. The rice can be made two days ahead. The stuffing can be made the day before and baked off in the oven when ready to eat. Make sure to add 10-15 additional minutes to the cooking time to heat back up from being in the fridge.

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Gluten Free Paleo Thanksgiving App - Carrot Sunflower Seed Dip

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Gluten Free Paleo Thanksgiving App - Carrot Sunflower Seed Dip

Are you prepared with a recipe arsenal for last-minute family and unannounced guests showing up this Holiday season ready to eat? Oh and don’t forget Auntie Pattie who is Paleo now, and Jimmy who has a peanut allergy, oh right and your gluten allergy. 

Are you sweating already? 

Its ok, I am here to help. 

Let me introduce you to a healthy, quick, and easy dip that is usable for an appetizer dip with crackers or veggies, or to pull together a meal by using it as a spread for roasted meats, or even thinned out with some olive oil for a salad dressing. 

Oh and did I mention its Gluten, Dairy, Grain, and Peanut Free?

Boom! 

A bonus aspect to this recipe is that you can exchange the sunflower seeds for any nut or seed you have on hand. I usually make my own crackers but let’s be honest, during the holidays sometimes we need to take short cuts, so here are some links to gluten-free crackers that I have pictured with the dip.

Obviously fresh veggies would be optimal but we need to please a crowd so lets not be too pushy on family and friends during Thanksgiving about gluten-free this and vegan that. Just put the food down and make no health announcements (unless you need to) and see what the reaction is. Plus a dip made of carrots that is completely vegan is way better than the usual cream cheese stuffed fried food that is usually around, but they don’t need to know that right? 

Carrot Sunflower Orange Date Spread

Yields 2

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo - Sugar Free - Make Ahead

Ingredients

  1. 1 Lb Carrots Peeled and Cut into 1/2'' Pieces
  2. 1 Cup Roasted Sunflower Seeds or Nut/Seed of Choice
  3. 1/2 Cup Pitted Dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  4. 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
  6. 1/2 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
  7. Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Steam the carrots for 5-7 minutes or until the carrots are easily pierced with a knife.
  2. Drain the dates and add all of the ingredients to a blender.
  3. Blend the mixture until smooth.
  4. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a bowl and serve with crackers, crudite, or use as a dip for meat or veggies.

Notes

           The sunflower seeds can be replaced with cashews, almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts.

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Thanksgiving Recipes - Roasted Root Veggies in a Garlic Sage Brown Butter

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Thanksgiving Recipes - Roasted Root Veggies in a Garlic Sage Brown Butter

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away so I want to start sharing some of my go to gluten-free crowd pleasers that I make for my family. Today is a make ahead side dish of roasted root vegetables that I roast the day before then I re heat the day of and toss in a garlic, sage, sherry, brown butter sauce right before serving. Toss some toasted nuts and fresh lemon zest on top and you have a gourmet side dish that will make your guests think you are hot stuff….because you are obviously duh!

Stick with me kid this holiday is going to be your best ever!!!

roasted root veggies w_brown butter ariel.jpg

Roasted Root Vegetables in a Garlic Sage Sherry Brown Butter

Serves 6

Make Ahead - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Paleo 

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 lb Carrots Peeled Cut in 1/2'' pieces
  • 1 lb Parsnips Peeled Cut in 1/2'' pieces
  • 1 lb Sweet Potatoes Peeled Cut in 1/2'' pieces
  • 4 Shallots Peeled & Cut in quarters
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil or Ghee or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Brown Butter Sauce

  • 3 Tbl Grass Fed Butter
  • 1 Tbl Finely Minced Garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
  • 1 Tbl Finely Minced Fresh Sage Leaves (about 3-4 leaves)
  • 1 Tbl Sherry Vinegar
  • Pinch of Sea/Pink Salt

Garnish

  1. Zest of 1 lemon
  2. 1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans (or Hazelnuts or Marcona Almonds)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Line a large roasting/sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Toss the chopped vegetables with the oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and pour onto the sheet pan. Make sure the vegetables are in a single layer to prevent steaming and promote browning.
  4. Roast in the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes tossing the vegetables halfway through cooking until browned with crispy edges.
  5. Remove the vegetables and set aside. (At this point you can cool the vegetables and store them in the fridge until the next day. When ready to serve place back onto a sheet pan lined with foil and reheat in a 375F for 20-25 minutes or until warmed and browned).
  6. Transfer the warm vegetables to a large bowl.

For the brown butter

  1. In a small sauce pan heat the butter over medium heat until foaming.
  2. Add the sage and garlic into the butter and allow to saute for 1-2 minutes making sure not to burn the garlic.
  3. As soon as the garlic starts to take on color remove from the heat and add the sherry vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and the nuts.
  4. Stir the butter mixture and pour over the vegetables.
  5. Toss the vegetables until well coated in the butter.
  6. Zest the lemon over the vegetables right before serving.

Notes

  • You can play with the root vegetables and the nuts used in this recipe.

 

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Recipe Remake: Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

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Recipe Remake: Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

pepermint patties

 I have my mind on my candy and candy on my mind. 

It’s that time of year….the time when most stores you walk into are filled with candy, candy, and more candy. Halloween is the precursor for the upcoming holiday season….the season of eating. Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, and I like to indulge, but I like to control the ingredients and keep the junk out of my mouth and away from my hips. You feel me?

I wanted to start with one of my families favorites the refreshing, sweet and sinful peppermint patty. 

Feel the chill and float away on a rich bed of chocolate and creamy mint without any of the guilt…isn’t life grand? 

Oh and don’t worry if you don’t have a chocolate mold I have instructions for making these without one. If you feel so inclined here is a link to buy the one I use its only $9 and it really makes your candies and chocolates look very professional. 

Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

Yields 20

Vegan - Sugar Free - Paleo - Soy Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (shredded will work too)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract (see notes)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Stevia Packets (recommended brand Sweet Leaf)
  • 2 Tbl Maple Syrup (divided in half)
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (or any sea salt)
  • 4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate (high quality please and thank you)
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor add the coconut flakes, coconut oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts, stevia, 1 tbl maple syrup, salt, and blend until the mixture is smooth. Taste for sweetness and mint intensity. Feel free to add more of both depending on your palette.
  2. Place the coconut mixture in the fridge to firm up while preparing the chocolate for at least 20 minutes. The mixture should be firm while soft enough to scoop with a spoon. If the mixture if made ahead of time allow it to sit out on the counter before using.
  3. Chop up the chocolate and place in a double boiler. (if you don't have a double boiler place a bowl thats big enough to sit on the top of a saucepan without the bowl touching the water with simmering water underneath)
  4. Add the oil to the chocolate and stir until it is completely melted.
  5. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and a pinch of salt.

If using a mold

  1. Pour the chocolate into the mold and swirl around over a bowl or something large enough to catch the excess.
  2. Using a flat edge spatula or a bench scraper or even the back of a butter knife scrape the excess chocolate off of the mold.
  3. Place the chocolate in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the chocolate and scoop the coconut mixture into the molds filling almost to the top of the molds.
  5. Return the mold into the freezer to firm up for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the mold from the freezer and pour the remaining chocolate over the pieces and scrape off the excess so there is no visible coconut.
  7. Return to the freezer to firm up for an addition 15 minutes.
  8. Pop the pieces out of the mold and keep them stored in the fridge.

If you don't have a mold

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture (it should be firm enough to hold a shape) leaving 1/2'' in between.
  3. Place in the freezer to firm up for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the freezer and pour the chocolate over each coconut mound making sure to cover every inch.
  5. Return the chocolates back to the freezer to firm up for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Keep the chocolates in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

  1. Peppermint extracts can vary in intensity so I advise to start with 2 tsp of extract then taste the mixture. You can always add more but if you add to much the batch can be ruined so add 1/2 tsp at a time to increase the mint flavor.

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Sugar Free Low Calorie Mint Chocolate Pudding

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Sugar Free Low Calorie Mint Chocolate Pudding

Do you know this scenario? 

You ate super healthy all day, had a great workout, ate a nourishing dinner but then out of the blue the sugar cravings start…

Must eat sugar…. 

Stop right there!!!!

No need to ruin a whole day of healthy eating by slamming a carton of ice cream or a sleeve of cookies. You are better than that ;)

Whats the solution? My low-calorie, sugar-free Mint Chocolate Pudding silly!

mint choc words
mint choc words

This 5 ingredient wonder can be made in large amounts so you will be prepared the next time you have a late night craving.

Heres the line up: 

Unsweetened Almond Milk- 40 Calories and zero sugars for 1 cup

Grass Fed Gelatin – 25 calories for 1 Tbl and a great source of collagen for healthy skin, bones, and nails. I really love Grass Lakes Gelatin because it is sourced from grass-fed beef cows and is Kosher.  

Raw Cacao – Low Calorie high fiber superfood packed with antioxidants and deep chocolate flavor. 

Stevia – Low calorie sugar-free sweetener 

Pure Peppermint Extract – No calories and huge punch of minty flavor which also aids in digestion

Mint Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

Paleo - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Gluten Free 

Ingredients

  1. 4 Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  2. 1 Tbl Grass Fed Gelatin (or regular gelatin is fine)
  3. 1/4 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
  4. 3 Stevia Packets (Suggested Brand Sweet Leaf)
  5. 1 tsp Pure Peppermint Oil
  6. 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract (optional)
  7. Pinch of Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl measure out 1/2 cup of the almond milk add the gelatin and whisk to combine.
  2. Set aside.
  3. In a medium size sauce pan heat the remaining 3 cups of almond milk over medium high heat.
  4. Whisk in the stevia, cacao powder and salt into the almond milk.
  5. When the almond milk has just come to a simmer add the gelatin mixture scraping the bowl making sure to get all of it out of the bowl.
  6. Whisk throughly and heat for an additional 30 seconds to melt the gelatin.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peppermint and vanilla extract.
  8. Pour the pudding into a glass container and place in the fridge to set up for 3 hours.
  9. The pudding is ready to eat when it jiggles and holds together when scooped.

Notes

  1. Feel free to use coconut milk for a richer pudding.

Optional toppings

  1. Cacao nibs
  2. Coconut Cream
  3. Goji Berries
  4. Coconut Flakes

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Carrot Ginger Puree...Sweet Spicy Simplicity

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and that means one thing…fall is us upon. While I am sad to see summer go, I am quickly reminded that with fall comes a beautiful harvest of creamy squashes, pumpkins and root vegetables… oh my!

Although I like to make inventive and unique recipes, most of the time I crave simple honest food. 

Enter this crazy easy and delicious Carrot Ginger Puree. 

 All that is necessary for this recipe is to steam carrots and blend them with some ginger, broth of choice (chicken, vegetable, dashi), olive oil, and blend it up. Garnish with cilantro and blamo you have yourself a side dish that could be used for a dinner party or a solo night in front of the tv with a big spoon ;)

I suggest making a ginger paste when you do your food prep to save time on weeknight cooking and because chopping ginger can be a drag. I like to make a large batch of this because I use ginger a lot, but make as much as you and your family will use for a week. 

  • Simply take 3-4 large pieces of ginger peel and chop into chunks. 
  • Add the chopped ginger to a food processor and cover half way with a light oil.
  • Pulse the ginger, scraping the sides down every so often with a spatula, until the mixture becomes a paste with no large chunks. 
  • Store in an airtight container and use when needed. It should last about a week or so in the fridge. 

Carrot Ginger Puree

Serves 4

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Organic Peeled Carrots
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Finely Chopped Ginger
  • 1/2 -1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (see notes)
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Bragg's Aminos or to taste
  • or
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste

Optional

  • 1 Tbl Chopped Cilantro for Garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut peeled carrots into 1/2'' pieces.
  2. Place into the basket of a steamer set over simmering water and steam for 5-8 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Transfer the carrots to a blend and add the finely chopped ginger, olive oil and 1/2 cup of broth.
  4. Start to blend. If the mixture is too thick add more broth a few tablespoons at a time and blend.
  5. When the consistency is to your liking taste for seasoning.

Notes

  1. For a creamier puree replace the chicken broth with coconut milk and omit the olive oil.
  2. For the ginger: I like to chop up a bunch of ginger and process in a food processor with some oil to cover the ginger half way and blend until it becomes a fine paste. This way you don't have to chop ginger every time you need it.

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Decadence in Disguise....Chocolate Mousse Brownie Bars with Beets!

I have this odd craving lately and it’s not chocolate or ice cream or cake…its for beets. I can’t stop eating them, juicing them, and now I have started putting them in my desserts! Whaaaaa??? Yeah you heard me right, but hey when somethings good why not run with it? 

Less is more you say? 

BALDERDASH! 

This is America….More is More!

So stick with my kids because I’m putting beets in my ultra rich and chocolate  mousse bars with a pecan coconut crust and guess what?

Your going to fall madly in love with beets just like I have.

Have a non beet lover in the group? Have them try this mousse bar and don’t tell them what the magic ingredient is. Shhhh I won’t tell if you won’t.

Now go get some beets steaming so you can make a puree. The rest of this recipe is made in a blender and the crust comes together in minutes in a food processor so this recipe is easy breezy. Yep this baby is a no bake, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain free dream that tastes so decadent you will forget that it’s actually good for you. 

No Bake Chocolate Beet Mousse Bars

Serves 8

Vegan - No Bake - Grain Free - Gluten Free - Refined Sugar Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Beet Puree (see notes)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1 Cup soaked cashews (or nut/seed of choice)
  • 2 oz Finely Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 25 Pitted Medjool Dates Softened in Warm Water
  • 2-4TBL Coconut Milk as needed
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Crust

  • 3/4 Cup Medjool dates
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Unsweetend Shredded Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pecans
  • 1 Tbl Raw Cacao
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x4 standard bread pan (I use a square corner pan for clean corners bought at a restaurant supply store) with parchment paper. One piece should run the long way and another piece should run the other way and the paper should hang over the edges like a sling so the bars can be removed easily.
  2. Grease the parchment paper with coconut oil or light oil.
  3. Add the ingredients of the crust (dates, salt, cacao powder, pecans and coconut) and pulse until the pieces are broken up and the crust stays together when pressed between your fingertips. If its not coming together add a few more dates until it sticks together.
  4. Pour the crust into the bottom of the pan and press it firmly with the bottom of a greased flat bottomed glass or a greased spatula to form a flat surface.
  5. Place the crust in the fridge to set up while you assemble the rest of the bars.
  6. Cover the dates being used for the mousse bars in some hot water and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl add the coconut oil and the chopped unsweetened chocolate and microwave for 15 seconds at a time stirring in between until fully melted. (You can also do this on your stove in a double boiler). If there are still some small pieces of chocolate visible try stirring for a few seconds to see if they will melt so you don't overheat the chocolate in the microwave.
  8. Drain the dates and add them to a blender along with the pureed beets, salt, raw cacao powder, melted chocolate/oil mixture and blend until smooth.
  9. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. 
  10. Now add the cashews and blend until smooth.
  11. If the mixture is too thick start adding coconut milk 1 TBL at a time until the mixture can run smoothly in the blender but is still very thick.
  12. Taste for sweetness. If you like it sweeter feel free to add some maple syrup or sweetener of choice to your taste.
  13. Pour the mixture over the crust and use a spatula to smooth it out. Tap the bottom of the pan flattly on the counter to flatten the mixture out.
  14. Place in the fridge to firm up at least 3 hours.
  15. Remove from the pan and slice the loaf in 4 long equal pieces lengthwise and then slice across to cut the 4 pieces in half to make 8 long skinny rectangular bars.
  16. Serve with a scoop of coconut cream.

For the Beet Puree

  1. Steam 4 beets until fork tender. Remove skin after steaming with gloves and cut up the beets into small pieces. Add the beets to a blender along with 1-2 TBL of the cooking water and blend until you have a smooth puree. Measure out 1/2 cup puree for this recipe.
  2. This recipe can be doubled to make a full cake using a 9'' spring form pan or a 9x9 baking pan.

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Sneaky Vegetable Juice Granita

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Sneaky Vegetable Juice Granita

Carrot granita words

Summer has officially ended and that makes me sad :(

But I wont accept that yet so I will hold on to the season for one more day by making frozen desserts.

You can’t tell me what to do! I can eat what I want!

So what am I eating today in my rebellion of the seasonal change? 

Its a tropical granita with a vegetable hidden inside. 

So whats the sneaky ingredient….

wait for it….

Carrots!

Total shocker with that electric orange color right?

This ones pretty simple, I just mixed freshly juiced organic carrots, pineapple, ginger, lime and sweetened it with maple syrup for this light, refreshing, and super nutritious Granita/ shaved ice dessert.

Oh and here’s a sweet bonus  the pineapple and ginger aid in digestion so this is perfect after a heavy meal or if you are having a little tummy trouble.

Don’t worry if you do not have a juicer, simply buy some high quality unsweetened carrot and pineapple juice and use a blender to puree some ginger into the juices and strain after. Voila! (I have more detailed notes in the recipe below.)

So hang on to summer for one more day with me and float away with this blissful frozen sneaky vegetable granita. 

Carrot Pineapple Ginger Granita

Serves 4

 vegan - gluten free - grain free - refined sugar free 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Peeled Organic Carrots (or 2 cups unsweetend Carrot juice)
  • 3 Cups Pineapple Chunks (or 2 cups unsweetened Pineapple Juice)
  • 1 - 3''x 1'' piece of ginger ( see notes if you don't have a juicer)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Pure Organic Maple Syrup or Yacon Syrup or sweetener of choice

Instructions

  1. Using a juicer, juice the carrots, pineapple and ginger (if using bottled juices simply combine them all in a bowl with a lid).
  2. Squeeze the lime into the juices and stir in the maple syrup and sea salt.
  3. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup or sweetener of your choice to taste. (You are looking for it to be very sweet with bright flavors because the flavors dull once frozen)
  4. Pour the juice into a 9 x 13 baking dish and freeze it for a good two or three hours.
  5. Remove and gently scrape the slushy juice with a fork (it will be more frozen on the sides so mix those into the center)
  6. Return it back into the freezer for another hour or two, scrape again and repeat until the entire mix is frozen and scraped into ice pieces (usually takes about three rounds).
  7. If you have an ice cream maker place the juice mixture in the fridge for one hour to chill then churn according to your manufactures instructions.
  8. Spoon into bowls and eat!

Notes

  1. If you don't have a juicer finely chop up the ginger and add to a blender with 1/2 of the juice and puree until blended completely. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to avoid and ginger chunks add to the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe as written.
  2. I like to top my granita with fresh lime juice and layer with coconut cream if I'm in need of something a bit more decadent.

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Homemade Spicy Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

I cringe at the price and ingredients of granola and meal replacement bars at the supermarket….

$2-$4 (sometimes even more) for a bar that has weird sugar syrups, refined oils, soy lecithin, and/or a myriad of other undesirable additives?

YEAH RIGHT!

You can make your own bars at home and control the oils,  sweeteners and all of the ingredients for only a fraction of the cost. 

Check out my spicy chocolate coconut granola bars!

Oooohhhh Ahhhhhhh

These puppies are super easy to make and pack up very nicely in your gym bag or purse for some quick fuel on the go. Feel free to sub your favorite nuts and seeds and change the sweetener to your preference (coconut sugar, honey etc). I used garam masala and curry powder but if that’s a little too out there for your taste or you are making these for kids feel free to leave it out. 

Homemade Chocolate Spiced Granola Bars

Yields 12

Vegan - Gluten Free - Refined Sugar Free - Soy Free

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Raw Pecans (or nut of choice)
  • 1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Raw Cashews (or nut of choice)
  • 1 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds (or seed of choice)
  • 1 Cup Raw Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Soaked and Sprouted Gluten Free Oats (or equal amount of seeds or nuts) * see notes
  • 2 Tbl Raw Cacao
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala (optional. I used Frontier brand)
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder (optional. I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbl Coconut Oil 
  • 2/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup (or coconut syrup, or honey)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with the oil you are using for the granola bars and line with parchment paper.
  3. On a sheet pan place all of the nuts, seeds, and oats (if using) and toast on the middle rack for 8 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. (If you prefer a raw bar skip this step)
  4. Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the shredded coconut on top and return the sheet pan to the oven for 2-3 more minutes or until the coconut is lightly browned.
  5. Transfer the oat/nut/coconut mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
  6. Reduce the oven temp to 325F
  7. In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup and oil.
  8. Over medium high heat bring to a boil and then add the salt, spices, and cacao powder.
  9. Stir as soon as you add the spices and as soon as the mixture starts to bubble remove from the heat.
  10. Pour the syrup over the oat/nut mixture in the large bowl and stir until evenly coated.
  11. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press down firmly with a piece of parchment paper over your hands or greased or wet hands.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes.
  13. Let cool for 1-2 hours in the pan on the counter.
  14. Once fully cooled remove from the pan and turn out onto a cutting board.
  15. Cut into bars.
  16. The size is up to you but I cut mine into 12 bars by cutting the whole tray down the middle length wise and then splitting those 2 pieces into 6 equal portions in the shape of granola bars.

Notes

  1. If you would like to make a raw bar simply omit toasting the nut and seeds. Combine the syrup mixture and stir into the nuts. Follow the rest of the recipe as is except dehydrate the bars in a warm oven (on the lowest setting) overnight or in a dehydrator for 12 hours or until dry and crispy. Allow to set up on the counter for one hour before slicing. Do not consume raw oats they contain phytic acid that requires them to be soaked first. Soak them overnight and then dehydrate in a low oven or dehydrator overnight to "sprout" them.

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