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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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Paleo Granola Bars - Cheap, Delicious, and Easy!

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Paleo Granola Bars - Cheap, Delicious, and Easy!

I realize that we all want to be healthy, look fantastic, and not put a lot of effort into the process but you may be scratching your head wondering where to start. Its ok, I am here to help. Your life is busy, so I want to give you a recipe you can make in bulk for an instant meal replacement, snack to throw in the kids lunches, or even an afternoon cure to the sweet tooth monster. 

I will be launching some meal plans soon, but in the meantime here is a simple granola bar recipe that can be doubled or tripled to make in bulk for the whole family. Whip up a huge batch on the weekend when you have 10 minutes of prep available and while they are baking, you can clean up, have a cup of coffee, do some squats…the choice is yours :) I went the extra step and sealed mine in individual pouches but these can also be wrapped in wax paper or kept in an airtight container until ready to eat. You can also freeze these and pull them out to defrost the night before so you have snacks ready to grab in the morning. 

 

Paleo Honey Almond Chocolate Granola Bars

Yields 14

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Unrefined Sugar Free - Kid Friendly - Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Toasted Almonds
  • 1 Cup Toasted Cashews
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (not in shell)
  • 1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (not in shell)
  • 2 Tbl Flaxseed Meal
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (unrefined)
  • 1/3 Cup Honey (local, high quality please)
  • 1/3 Coconut Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Sunflower Butter (or any other nut butter)
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 4 oz Dark Chocolate finely chopped.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F
  2. Line a 9x11 rectangle baking pan with parchement paper sling so the paper hangs over the edges for easy removal.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Working in batches pulse the nuts/seeds in a food processor until the nuts/seeds are broken up into small pieces.
  5. You can also chop the nuts but you don't want too big of pieces.
  6. Transfer the chopped nuts back into the bowl with the whole nuts and add the flax seed meal.
  7. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the coconut oil, sunflower/nut butter, coconut sugar, honey, and salt whisking until well comined.
  8. Pour over the nuts and stir until throuroughly covered.
  9. Whisk the egg whites for 10 seconds to get some air and mix them into the nut mixture thoroughly.
  10. Pour mixture into pan and using gloves or slightly wet finger tips, press the nuts firmly and evenly into the pan so it is one flat compressed layer.
  11. Sprinkle with additional sea salt over the top.
  12. Bake in the middle rack for 15-18 minutes or until the edges start to turn a golden brown.
  13. Remove and allow to cool thoroughly.
  14. Pull out of the pan and remove the parchement paper.
  15. Cut the entire granola bars in half length wise to have two long pieces.
  16. Then cut each half into 7 equal pieces to cut 14 bars roughly 1 1/2" in width and 4 1/2" in length.
  17. Drizzle or dip into melted chocolate if desired (see notes).

Notes

  1. It is completely up to you to toast the nuts and seeds before making the bars. They will taste so much better if you choose to do so, but its fine if you skip the step.
  2. For the chocolate use a dark chocolate with 70% cacao content or higher. You can melt it in a double boiler or if in a pinch chop the chocolate finely and microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth.
  3. If you don't feel like melting chocolate, chop it into chunks and fold into the nut mixture before baking.

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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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No Bake Paleo Protein Bars

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No Bake Paleo Protein Bars

I am a girl who needs food frequently. Only problem is I don’t like to eat junk or buy $4 a pop on protein bars that have questionable ingredients…so what do I do? 

I make my own! And now you can too!

Since this is January and we are all trying to lose a few pounds these are the perfect snack, breakfast, or pre workout meal because they are vegan, gluten-free, grain free, high fiber, and sweetened lightly with dates. Want to know the best part? You can make the whole batch in your food processor and they don’t require any baking.

#winning

Here is the nutritional breakdown

Paleo Protein Bars

Yields 8

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

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vanilla hemp protein powder (plain is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower butter (or almond butter/ nut butter of choice)
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Flour
  • 5 Dates
  • 1 tsp. pure vanillla
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk or Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: 2-3 Tbsp dark chocolate for melting

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan by lining with wax paper like a sling with the sides hanging over the edge for easy removal.
  2. Set aside.
  3. In the workbowl of a food processor add all of the ingredients except the almond milk.
  4. Pulse until the mixture forms a sandy texture and the dates are chopped finely.
  5. With the motor running slowly stream in the almond milk until a dough forms.
  6. Press the dough into prepared loaf pan.
  7. Using a spatula or your hands, spread the mixture evenly in the pan, pressing down firmly.
  8. Optional: place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and nuke on high in 20 second intervals, mixing between each. When chocolate is fully melted, drizzle over the top of the packed mix using a spoon.
  9. Place pan into fridge and allow to cool for ~30 minutes before cutting into 8 bars.

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

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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 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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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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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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Raw Vegan Pub Cheese!!!

When I was growing up Friday nights in my house were great. My mom would let us put our feet up on the table and recline back like old men, we would eat pub cheese, and my mom would crack a rolling rock while we listened to tunes on the radio. Life was simple. Good cheese, family, and music was all we needed. 

Unfortunately dairy is no longer a friend of some members of my family (nor is the gluten in beer anymore) so we have had to make some changes. 

I have made a raw vegan version of the famous pub cheese to fill the void and luckily there are some great Gluten Free beers hitting the market to recreate the magic. 

Here is a list of the top 10 Gluten Free Beers from Gourmet Magazine

I made this with soaked raw almonds and macadamia nuts. The great thing about soaking your nuts before eating them is that it removes a lot of the lectins (protein binding carbohydrates that are found in plants and animals). Lectins can be harmful for digestion because of their binding qualities that can attach to the intestinal lining and cause a lot of problems such as reduced nutrient, mineral, and protein absorption, as well as leptin resistance (a pre diabetic condition linked to obesity). This is important information for people with gluten allergies who are probably dealing with or have dealt with some kind of intestinal damage like leaky gut :/

Read more about lectins and how to reduce them in your diet here

Not to fear because soaking nuts greatly diminishes the lectins levels so this recipe is free from gluten, grains, and dairy as well as gut friendly :) 

First off rinse and then soak your nuts overnight in filtered water.

Drain the nuts and rinse off any additional residue and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. 

Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. 

Transfer to a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth and place over a bowl to drain overnight. ( I know there is a lot of waiting here but the prep is stupid easy so it all works out in the end)

Turn out the cheese and eat up! 

Raw Vegan Pub Cheese

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

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews 
  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts 
  • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Garlic Clove minced
  • 3 Tbl chopped Parsley (measure after chopping)
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Chives (measure after chopping)

Instructions

  1. Rinse off the nuts and place in a bowl.
  2. Cover with water and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse the nuts and place in a blender along with all of the remaining ingredients minus the chives.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Fold in the chives and transfer the cheese to a sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl to drain.
  6. Fold the cheesecloth over the top and place in the fridge to drain overnight.
  7. Turn out the cheese and serve!

Notes

  1. The flavors need time to mellow in this recipe so if you taste it right out of the blender don't be surprised if the garlic and lemon come on strong. Feel free to play around with the amount of garlic to suite your preference. If you don't like a raw onion favor feel free to leave the chives out but they really lend a good bite to the cheese.

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Low Carb, Paleo, Grain Free Tortillas!!!

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Low Carb, Paleo, Grain Free Tortillas!!!

tortilla 13- taco
tortilla 13- taco
tortilla 13- taco

To all the paleo eaters, cross fitters, low carb lovers, and gluten and grain free guys and dolls out there I have an announcement to make….I have a new tortilla recipe for you and you aren’t going to believe what the main ingredient is….

Want to know what it is?.....

CAULIFLOWER!!!

What a versatile and tricky little veggie that cauliflower is. 

Now I have to say that this is sort of a “fake out” recipe because they look like corn tortillas, but have a different texture and have a more nutty, sweet taste. Except these don’t have any sugar, preservatives, or other weird ingredients manufactures think are necessary to make natural food taste more like “food”.

Pffftt amateurs!

You know very well that you can make something twice as good, and 150% more nutritious so come on already and let’s make some tortillas!!!

First off gather your ingredients…

tortilla mise
tortilla mise

3 cups of steamed cauliflower, 2 eggs, 2 tbl Arrowroot Flour, 2 1/2 tsp Coconut Flour, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Oh and preheat your oven to 375F and process the cauliflower into rice in your food processor. 

 It should look like this and if you can’t get it any finer its ok, you will be blending it again. Place the cauliflower in some cheesecloth and drain all the water out. 

Now put the drained cauliflower back into the food processor along with all of the other ingredients and mix until finely processed into a thick paste. Allow to sit for ten minutes for all of the coconut flour to absorb the liquid and swell. 

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and drop 2 heaping tablespoons of batter onto the pan with plenty of room to spread into 4’‘ rounds. Press with your fingertips and make them as thin as possible wetting your fingertips if they begin to stick to the batter. 

 Use the side of your palms to form the tortillas into a circle as best as you can. 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a golden brown and when you try to flip them they don’t stick to the paper and look like this…

Flip the tortillas over and bake for an additional 12 minutes or until they look like this…

Now at this point you can place a piece of wax paper in between each tortilla and wrap them in plastic or in an airtight container  in the fridge or freezer or until ready to use. 

When you are ready to eat them, griddle them off in a dry skillet or on an electric skillet pressing on each side with the back of a spatula, or until they are equally browned and crispy.

Don’t worry they won’t stick. 

Fill with your favorite meat, veggie, or anything your creative heart and stomach can think of!

Grain Free Low Carb Tortillas

Yields 8

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

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cauliflower Florets cut into small pieces (stems removed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbl Arrowroot Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. "Rice" the cauliflower by placing it in to a food processor and pulse until finely pulverized into small rice like pieces.
  3. Then place the riced cauliflower into a bowl, cover with a dish towel, and microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir the cauliflower, cover and microwave an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Place the steamed cauliflower into a dish towel or a few layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out all of the water so it is very dry.
  6. Place the drained cauliflower back into the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Process the mixture until it is almost smooth and becomes thick and pasty.
  8. Allow to sit for ten minutes for the coconut flour to absorb as much liquid as it can.
  9. Drop two heaping tablespoons of the batter per tortilla and spread out with your fingers as thin as possible.
  10. Use the sides of your hands to make it into a circle as best as you can.
  11. Repeat with the remaining batter. (About 4-5 tortillas will fit on a sheet pan)
  12. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the edges of the tortillas are just golden and they do not stick to the parchment paper when you try to flip them.
  13. Flip each tortilla and bake for an additional 12-13 minutes or until golden brown all over.
  14. *If you are not eating them now you can bag them at this point and place a piece of wax paper in between each tortilla and refrigerate in a plastic bag or container until ready to eat.

When ready to eat

  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and griddle each tortilla by pressing them with the back of a spatula until they are golden brown and crispy on each side.

Notes

  1. These can be made ahead of time up until the step that they come out of the oven. They can be crisped up to order right before serving or else they will be soggy if eaten right out of the fridge. These can also be frozen and thawed out on a counter and then browned off in a skillet before eating.

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Chic and Simple Middle Eastern Inspired Appetizer

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Chic and Simple Middle Eastern Inspired Appetizer

DSC_0120

Hopefully you had a beautiful, long, holiday weekend. My pool is open, I can smell the grill, and the weather is finally warming up :)

I find during the warmer months I am drawn to lighter fare with fresh ingredients, big punches of flavor and acidity.

Enter last nights appetizer that turned into dinner: 

Middle Eastern Sumac Roasted Eggplant with Basil Serrano Salsa Verde

With the addition of an egg this can totally function as a light dinner. The components can also be served chopped up and tossed into mesculin greens using the salsa verde as a salad dressing. If you aren’t into eggs might I suggest you replace the egg with some soft goat cheese and feel free to sub the sunflower seeds with your favorite nut or seed (Marcona almonds, or pistachios would work beautifully). 

Middle Eastern Sumac Roasted Eggplant with Basil Serrano Salse Verde

Serves 2

Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo - Vegetarian - Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 10 Baby Eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (for eggplants)
  • 2 teaspoons Sumac
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 cup Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 4 cups Basil Leaves
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil (for Salsa Verde)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Serrano Pepper (Diced with seeds removed)
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest (About 1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Instructions

  1. Roasted Eggplant
  2. Step 1
  3. Pre heat the oven to 475F
  4. Split the eggplants in half lengthwise and liberally cover them in olive oil.
  5. In a small bowl combine the Sumac, Smoked Paprika, and two big pinches of fine sea salt.
  6. Liberally sprinkle the eggplant with the spice mixture reserving a small pinch for the eggs.
  7. Place the eggplants on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes or until charred and softened. (A knife should pierce very easily when pressed against the flesh)

Basil Serrano Salsa Verde

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor add 1/3 cup olive oil, diced and seeded Serrano pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, basil and parsley.
  2. Pulse for about 1 minute until the herbs are broken down.
  3. Add the nutritional yeast and pulse to incorporate.
  4. Taste for seasoning.
  5. If the mixture is too thick stream in more olive oil until the desired consistency is reached.

Medium Boiled Eggs

  1. Place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with water to just cover the eggs.
  2. Heat over medium high heat, uncovered, until the water just comes to a boil.
  3. Turn off the heat, leaving the pot in place, and set a timer for 8 minutes.
  4. When the timer goes off wait 30 seconds and then drain and cover the eggs in ice water.
  5. Allow the eggs to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. With the back of a spoon gently tap all around the surface of the egg to create as many little cracks as possible.
  7. Roll the egg around in your hands over the sink.
  8. WIth the faucet running gently peel the eggs under the running water.
  9. Split the eggs in half and dust with the remaining sumac, salt, smoked paprika spice mixture.

Assembly

  1. Place 5 eggplant halves in a plate along with two halves of an egg.
  2. Generously spoon the salsa verde over the eggs and eggplant.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of roasted sunflower seeds over each plate.

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Cha Cha Cha Chia!!! Chia pudding that is

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Cha Cha Cha Chia!!! Chia pudding that is

Remember Chia pets? Those hilarious glass animals that grew grass hair when watered?

Well you know those same seeds inside those toys, chia seeds, are actually edible, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and high in protein.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Almond Milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 Tbl Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or frozen fruit of choice)
  • 1/2 tbl maple syrup, yacon,  lacuma powder or sweetener of choice
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)

Instructions:

In a container that has a lid, stir together the 6 oz of non-dairy milk and the chia seeds, and allow to bloom in the fridge covered overnight or on the counter for at least 2 hours.

Place the bloomed chia seeds (they should be doubled in size and look gelatinous) and milk into a blender along with the blueberries, stevia or sweetener, and 2 Tbl coconut milk.

Blend until a smooth and thick pudding is achieved.

Eat immediately or store in the fridge covered until ready to eat.

 

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New Ways to Eat Your Beets

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New Ways to Eat Your Beets

I have recently been asked for some new ways to serve beets beyond the usual steam and eat. Well first off, never underestimate the power of roasting any vegetable on high heat with olive oil salt and pepper but beets love acid, nuts, and cheese. Check out my flavor combination pages for more ideas for your veggies but here are some of my favorite combos for beets:

  • Beets+chives+orange+vinegar (Dress warm beets with orange juice, vinegar, chives salt and pepper)
  • Beets+citrus+goat cheese+walnuts (Use in a salad with a citrus dressing, citrus segments, roasted walnuts and cheese)
  • Beets+endive+pecans+pomegrante seeds (Use the endive as a serving vessel with beets, pecans, and pomegrante inside drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette)
  • Beets+olive oil+balsamic vinegar (Roast these with some rosemary or thyme)
  • Beets+pistachios+yogurt+honey (Caramelize beets in honey and serve with a dollop of vanilla scented yogurt and pistachios)
  • Beets+mint+yogurt (Make a smoothie with beet juice or pureed beets, yogurt, ice, stevia or honey and mint)
  • Beets+chocolate+orange (Coat quartered roasted beets and sliced oranges in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with coarse sea salt)

Here is my new favorite recipe that I made using these flavor combinations:

Beet and Carrot Pancakes with Orange Parsley

Aioli

Gluten Free – Grain Free – Vegetarian – Sugar Free – Paleo – Soy Free – Corn Free

Yields 10 Pancakes

Adapted from Epicurious

Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely shredded peeled beets (from 2 medium)
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded peeled carrots (from 2 medium)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour 

For Pan Frying

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or grass fed ghee

Orange Aioli

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place baking sheet in oven. Combine beets, carrots and onion in large bowl. Mix in egg, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the flour; stir to blend well.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup beet mixture for each pancake, drop 4 pancakes into skillet. Flatten each into 3-inch round. Cook until brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet in oven; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beet mixture make sure to wipe out the pan and start with fresh oil before each new batch. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Aioli:

In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and top each pancake with a spoonful. This can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

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