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Spring cleaning.... of your diet - Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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Spring cleaning.... of your diet - Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto

I need to catch you up to speed here. So it is day 4 of a 10 day raw whole food juicing/smoothie cleanse that is being run by the beautiful and talented Dr Rhea of RAWjuvenation. I have chosen to go completely raw,  blending all of my food to give my digestion and body a break from the heavy foods of winter. So far, so good. I start my morning with a probiotic, oil pulling, a huge glass of lemon water, then I fill my day with superfood smoothies, nutrient rich, low sugar, green juices, more lemon water, and the occasional blended raw food like this:

This was inspired by one of Dr Rhea’s recipes up on her Facebook page. The best part is that this recipe is a dump and puree method and this pesto is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a dip for a crudite platter, a spread for sandwiches, or even thinned out with some additional olive oil as a sauce or salad dressing. Basically, it is good on everything! 

How are you cleaning up your diet for the Spring? 

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Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto 

Yields 2

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

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 large handful of parsley (about 1 cup packed)
  • 1 large handful of cilantro (about 1 cup packed)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbl lemon juice
  • 1 capful of apple cider vinegar (brand Bragg's)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a work bowl of a food processor and blend until a well combined and blended to the consistency of your liking.
  2. Taste for seasoning and keep covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

Notes

  1. The seeds can be substituted for any other nut like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts etc
  2. The herbs can be substituted for other herbs like basil, dill, chives etc
  3. For a richer pesto use 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup olive oil
  4. Thin with extra olive oil for a salad dressing or sauce

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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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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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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!!!

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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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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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