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paleo

Fight inflammation with these delicious smoothies!

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Fight inflammation with these delicious smoothies!

Do you or anyone you know have ADD/ADHD, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid issues, dental issues, chronic pain, celiac, allergies, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer? If you answered yes to any of these disorders you are dealing with inflammation. Inflammation affects every aspect of our bodies and over all health. The majority of inflammation starts in the gut causing an auto immune reaction that progresses into systemic inflammation. The scariest part is that this type of “chronic” inflammation can be silent, meaning you may not notice the signs or symptoms right away. If you want to fight and prevent disease, combat pain, and maintain your weight naturally the best thing you can do is keep inflammation at bay with what you put on your fork. e84a8247647c6b8a926b297ba7c2be2d 88ddbea450639cf454628130c01daad4    So now that we know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid lets make these ingredients shine in some delicious and powerfully nutritious smoothies!!! Blueberry Walnut Anti Inflammation smoothie Cinnamon, blueberries, and walnuts make a delicious way to calm your inflammation and give a boost of antioxidants to your day. You can switch the walnut milk out for hemp milk to save on time (blend 2 cups water + 3tbl hemp seeds for instant hemp milk) because hemp helps fight inflammation and has high protein and healthy fats. Get the full recipe here.    Pain Relief Turmeric Smoothie Turmeric is one of the most powerful foods to fight inflammation. Pair it with chia, coconut oil, mangos, and ginger and you have a pain relieving, inflammation fighting, superfood treat in minutes.  Strawberry Refresher Celery is incredibly alkalizing and cooling to the body. Paired with coconut water for electrolyte balance, strawberries & lime for vitamin C and a powerhouse nutrient punch from kale this smoothie will keep inflammation and hunger controlled for hours.  beet-smoothie-recipe  Beets, avocados, and berries team up for an inflammatory fighting and immune supporting power blend. Get the full recipe here.   green-smoothie2 This smoothie packs cucumbers and avocados to provide inflammation and alkalizing properties along with mangos, bananas, spinach and coconut water for iron, calcium, omega-3 fats, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants galore. Check out the full recipe here.  
So now you have no excuse to get that blender out and fight inflammation the delicious way!

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Vegan Broccoli Herb Soup

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Vegan Broccoli Herb Soup

broccoli soup

Cooking? Who has the time to get the kids to school, go to work, go to the gym, pick everyone up, make dinner, do the dishes, prep the lunches, oh and look glamorous, fit, well rested, and oh so happy?!?

Listen, I am not claiming that this soup is going to feed your crying kids and convince them to eat broccoli, but what this will do is give YOU something quick and healthy you can eat for lunch that isn’t going to take forever to make.You do need to make your own food; snacking on your kids goldfish is not a sufficient “lunch”.

Steam your broccoli, blend it up, pair it with a protein for a full meal, and voila! You have your cleansing herbs to mange water weight, the fiber in the broccoli to keep you full, and the healthy fat from the olive oil to keep that skin young and gorgeous. This is actually really good mixed in with salad greens, roasted veggies, chicken, or fish and some almonds for crunch. Boom!

 

Vegan broccoli herb soup 

Serves 2

vegan - gluten free - grain free - sugar free - low carb - paleo

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Broccoli, freshly steamed
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Broth (divided)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbl Lemon Juice
  • 1 Handful of Parsley (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and half of the steamed broccoli.
  2. Puree until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining broccoli and puree, adding more vegetable broth to smooth to desired consistency.
  4. Taste for seasoning.

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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? 

raw pesto 2.jpg


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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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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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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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

Beet juice words

There is a lot of hype out there in the bodybuilding/workout community advertising pre workout supplements. I would be lying if said I have never tried one…ok truth talk I have tried about all of them. I use to be somewhat of a gym rat and if a supplement helped my lifts and gave me energy I didn’t really pay attention to any of the additives, dyes, or crummy ingredients written in tiny print next to a warning label….whoops :/

Now a days I haven’t been in the gym in a few years due to a couple of back surgeries ( a story for another time) so I have had the luxury of looking at these supplements with an unbiased perspective and the view is not pretty.

Top selling pre-workout supplements such as USP Labs Jack3D, MusclePharm Assault, & MuscleTech NeuroCore contain the following chemically derived ingredients:

Sucralose: An artificial chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match(aka Splenda). Sucralose has been show to decrease gut health by 50% and despite its “diet” artificial sweeteners have been shown to: 

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

FD& C Red #40: 

  • A petrochemical. A highly processed, petroleum based chemical used to color foods to make them more visually appetizing.
  • It goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40.
  • It is banned and/or being phased out in much of Europe due to concerns over health effects.

Acesulfame-K: is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia. 

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

When you take a step back and think about the long-term damage you are doing to your body for short-term gains in the gym it seems pretty insane. 

So whats the solution to still getting huge pumps, increased lifts, and long-lasting energy to tear the gym a new one?

BEETS!!!!

Natures Candy
Natures Candy

So why are beets the key to succesful workouts?

  • Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates which friendly bacteria in the mouth convert to nitrate, and then through the body is converted to nitric oxide. Ever heard of it? If you are a gym rat you probably are very familiar with nitric oxide as a pre workout supplement that helps increase your lifts because of its positive effect on blood flow, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Basically bigger lifts and more energy. 
  • Beet juice has been shown to drop systolic blood pressure by 5-10mmHG depending on the dose. The more the better (1 cup is a good serving suggestion) but you will want to start small (about 1/4 cup) or else you could feel a bit light-headed if you are an athlete and your blood pressure tends to run on the low side. 
  • It is best to drink this a few hours (2.5 hours to be exact) before your workout for the peak levels to be reach while exercising but one hour before will still yield positive results.  

 Great article on the scientific benefits of beet juice and energy output

Other health benefits from Beet Juice:

• It is an amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors. 

• Beetroot juice detoxifies the liver and aids in healing diseases of the digestive system. 

• Good source of folic acid and helps in providing protection against birth defects.

• Beet juice lowers bad cholesterol level.

You can buy a beet root powder but I like to juice mine fresh along with turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory which will help decrease muscle soreness), ginger (for added heat to increase blood flow and beat muscles soreness), and carrots for some sweetness and to prevent muscle cramping. This juice is also an amazing pain killer for post workout as well so basically anytime anywhere you can drink this juice and feel amazing!

Bonus Add ons:

  • Maca Powder: A powerful adaptogen that increases oxygen, energy, and balances hormones
  • Scoop of favorite protein powder to balance the natural sugars and give your body more to work with for extended workouts.
  • 1 tbl of chia seeds to aid in fluid retention, halting absorptions of sugars, and for a boost of protein. 

Pre Workout Beet Juice Drink

Yields 3

Vegan- Alkaline - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  1. 3 Organic Peeled Beets
  2. 4 Organic Peeled Carrots
  3. 2 Small (about 1'') Pieces Peeled Turmeric
  4. 1 Small Coin of Ginger
  5. Optional: Maple Syrup, or Honey to Taste but raw and pure is best

Instructions

  1. Juice all of the ingredients in a juicer and store in an airtight glass container.
  2. One serving is 4-8oz (1/2 -1 cup) but start small.

Notes

  1. Don't have a juicer? Chop all of the ingredients into very small pieces and add them to some warm water in a high power blender and puree then strain through cheesecloth.
  2. Feel Free to add in protein powder for extended workouts and maca powder to increase energy and oxygen levels.
  3. Excessive consumption of beet juice may cause your urine to turn pink. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.

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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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My newest obsession....Tea Pops!!!

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My newest obsession....Tea Pops!!!

Tea Pop Mise

I have a new obsession that I need to share with you….its called the Tea Pop. 

A tea pop consists of a really strong concentrate of your favorite tea, a big glass of ice, soda water, and your sweetener of choice. Crisp, refreshing, amazing!

I didn’t come up with this idea so I have to give credit to the new tea place in the Boston area called Davids Teas. They are like Teavanna except they are more like a tea bar but with the coolness turned up a notch. They have endless flavors combinations that make crazy delicious tea pops, natural sweeteners like pure stevia leaves in their teas, you can buy any of their teas by the ounce (or online) and the prices are not outrageous.  For the tea pop it would be best to use a fun flavored loose leaf tea but it can also be done with regular tea bags. 

Heres the skinny

  • For one tea pop use 4X the amount of tea you would normally use for an 8oz cup. So if its loose leaf around 4tsp and if its bags use 4 bags.
  • Steep in just enough water to cover the tea. You want it strong because you will be diluting with soda water. 
  • Allow to steep for the allotted time for the specific tea you are using. 
  • Fill a glass with ice and pour the tea concentrate over the ice. 
  • Add sweetener of choice (liquid stevia, honey, raw agave etc)
  • Top off with soda water and a cool bendy straw. 
  • Drink the deliciousness and revel in the tea pop euphoria. 

Seriously this is the best summer drink ever. Plus if you are feeling frisky you can add some booze. I mean vodka goes with everything right? ;)   Check out this fair trade vodka made from quinoa...who knew drinking could be so healthy? j/k

Check out my friends new tea line New England Tea Co for some of the rarest Chinese teas and insanely creative flavor combinations. 

Pop Pop!


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Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

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Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Salmon cooked

Sometimes with gluten free or grain free recipes there is a palette adjustment or texture adjustment that one has to make mentally before eating a certain remake of a favorite food (ex cupcakes, or muffins). But when it comes to this Salmon, no adjustments are neccesary. I dare you to make this for any of your foodie friends and I promise the only thing you’ll be explaining is the recipe, not that its “paleo” or “gluten free”. 

Start out with a beautiful wild caught one side center cut fillet of Salmon with the skin on and pin bones removed. I like center cut because the thickness is more uniform which will help for even cooking.  This recipe is for a 1 lb piece so feel free to adjust the recipe for the size of your fish. I like the skin on because it holds in more moisture but make sure that before serving you peel off the skin because it won’t be crispy. 

Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting. 

In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. 

Add the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, and zest the lemon into the spices. Toss with your fingers.

Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking. 

Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.

Allow the salmon to sit out for 45 minutes and “cure”. 

After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.
After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler. 

After the 45 minutes place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Cooked Salmon
Cooked Salmon

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!
This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!

Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Skin on Center Cut one Side Piece of Wild Salmon (pin bones removed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Sugar 
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Optional

  • 1 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/2 tsp dried *
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/4 tsp dried *

Instructions

  1. Combine the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, zest of the lemon (and additional spices if using) in a bowl. Toss with your fingers.
  2. Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible.
  3. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.
  5. Allow the salmon to sit out for 30-45 minutes and "cure".
  6. You know its ready when the spices have absorbed into the salmon and it has a sheen to it.
  7. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler.
  8. After the curing, place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  9. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. For whole spices: Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting.
  2. In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. Add to spice/lemon zest/sugar mixture and proceed with recipe.

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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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Spice up your V-Day dinner tonight with the exotic spice blend Dukkah

Happy Valentines Day you gorgeous babes!

I know I should be posting some recipe about chocolate or something pink and cute…. but I like to break with convention and do something different. If you are staying in and cooking for your sweetie (or yourself) why not bring some Egyptian spice into the mix and whip up some Dukkah.

This is an amazing aromatic and warm spice blend that is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. There are countless ways to make this (think Garam Masala in India and how it is different in every household)

Basics of Dukkah

Nuts (macadamia, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans etc)

Sesame Seeds ( I have made one without and subbed sunflower seeds and it’s still great)

Coriander

Cumin

Some optional Add ins:

Dried herbs

Dried fruit peel

Dried hot peppers

Sugar

Spices

Here is my blend and I am addicted to sprinkling it on top medium boiled eggs right now. I also dip apples in it and sprinkle it on top of yogurt. This is the aphrodisiac of spices my friends.

Dukkah

Gluten-free, Vegan, Paleo,

Makes one heaping cup

- 30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnuts (unsalted) – 30 grams (1/4 cup) shelled pistachios (unsalted) – 4 tablespoons sesame seeds – 3 tablespoons coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

- 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel – 1 teaspoon salt

Toast the hazelnuts and pistachios in a dry skillet, or place on a sheet pan and roast on 350F for 8 minutes or until fragrant. In a skillet over medium heat toast the seeds and berries (from sesame to black pepper) in the skillet for 2-3 minutes or  until fragrant shaking the pan frequently so they don’t burn. Let cool completely. Add the salt and the lemon peel to the mixture and set aside.

First place the hazelnuts and pistachios (or larger nuts) in a spice grinder and pulse a few times to get the mixture started. Pour the nuts out onto a plate with the other spices and mix up with your hands or a spoon. In small batches add all the ingredients, and grind to a coarse powder in an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Pour mixture into a jar and  close tightly. Keep in a cool dry place.

Serving suggestions:

Sprinkle on top of roasted veggies, chicken, cheese, eggs, even fruit would be killer!

 

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Happy Tuesday to all my gorgeous gluten-free readers!!! In case you live under a rock Thursday is Valentines Day. I have mixed feelings about the holiday in general, but the one part that I do approve of is the unabashed excuse to eat chocolate! Now for all you love birds out there that have a date I strongly encourage you to make something from the heart rather than buy a premade box of terrible unhealthy chocolates (especially if your valentine has a food allergy or diet requirement). And if you are riding solo, like me ;) go ahead and make a batch for yourself. Aint nothin wrong with that and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Always remember just because it’s a special occasion doesn’t mean anyone should go without so this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and freaking delicious! Did I mention its way easy too? Ok just checking. Lets make some magic!!!!

 

Vegan/Paleo Banana Chocolate Truffles

Raw-Vegan-Gluten Free-Paleo

Makes about 12 truffles

 

  • 5 oz Dark Chocolate finely chopped
  • 3.75 oz (just short of 1/2 cup) coconut cream (If using regular coconut milk chill for a few hours and scrape the cream off the top of the can. DO NOT USE LIGHT COCONUT MILK)
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • three finger pinch of sea salt

 

Place the banana in the work bowl of your food processor (if you have the small work bowl attachment that would be even better or mash finely with the back of a fork). Puree the banana with short pulses until it is a smooth paste. Add the finely chopped chocolate on top of the banana.

 

Heat the coconut cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Allow to heat until steam starts to form on top of the milk making sure to not allow it to come to a boil.

 

Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate and banana mixture. Allow to sit for one minute. Then cover and pulse the food processor until a fine smooth mixture.

 

Cover with a saran wrap so that it touches the surface. Refrigerate it until it is firm enough to scoop and roll, about 1 hour. Do not wait too long because if the mixture becomes too cold it will be difficult to work with so start checking after one hour. 

 

Pour the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl or a plate with high sides. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and use a small candy scoop or a large melon baller to form small balls from the ganache. Roll them in your hands one at a time to form a round ball. Place the formed balls into the bowl with the cocoa powder 5 at a time and shimmy the bowl or plate back and forth lightly so the truffles roll around and become covered by a thin later of the cocoa powder. You could also roll them in finely ground coconut.

Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

 

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