I feel like I owe a double dose of recipe knowledge today since I haven't been around for a while. Here's a good one I tried last week. It's for a dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free chocolate mousse. Although the avocados might seem a peculiar ingredient here, do not be fooled. They add the perfect texture to this delicious treat. Enjoy as a dessert or a breakfast with lots of fruit and nuts.
4 ripe avocados
Sweetner (I used a combo of 2 pinches of stevia + 3/4 cup of maple syrup, but you can use honey, agave, etc...)
2 tbsn pure vanilla extract
1 cup raw, unsweetened cacao powder
Mint or strawberry garnish
Blend all together. Add fresh mint leaves on top or enjoy with fresh berries.
I'm back. The two and a half-year hiatus I took from my blog does not mean I haven't been cooking...The past couple of years I've been experimenting with an even healthier diet, including lots of raw food and nearly nothing processed or packaged.
Last year, I found out that I am intolerant to soy, so all of my forthcoming posts will now be soy-free. When I first learned this, I was pretty disappointed...I've never been a huge consumer of soy products, but I used to enjoy soy milk and tofu at times. since I stopped eating soy, I've never felt better...and since soy is such a processed food, I am happy to leave it behind.
For the past week or so, I've been babysitting a Vitamix. If you don't know what those are: they are pretty much supercharged blenders that can blend nearly anything. An entire apple? No problem. A whole beet? Easy. I hear it can even handle an avocado pit, although I have not yet put this to the test.
So here's my first recipe of the year (ahem, decade...). It's nothing but a simple smoothie that sounds strange but is chock full of nutrition and actually quite delicious and refreshing.
One word of caution: If you don't own a high-performance blender, like the Vitamix, you might want to chop up some of the ingredients before they enter the blender. I don't want to be responsible for breaking your kitchen appliances...
1 small-medium beet
3-4 cups cubed watermelon (seeds are fine)
3-4 leaves swiss chard or kale
1/2 small cucumber
6-10 large mint leaves (depends how minty you want it)
1 small orange
water (approx 1 cup water, might need more depending on your blender)
1 pinch of stevia or tbsn of honey
Blend, Enjoy. Invite a friend over...this should make 3 servings.
I can't take credit for this recipe -- I'm not a baker. But they are really good and I'm going to attempt to make them this Thanksgiving. These cookies are actually kinda healthy -- not low calorie, but they are packed with vitamin A, fiber and iron.
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter or trans-fat-free margarine
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, cream together pumpkin, sugars, butter and egg. In a small dish, dissolve baking soda into milk. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, salt and spices. Add baking soda mixture to flour mixture.
Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or the batter will get tough. Add vanilla extract, chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
1 large sweet potato (not to be confused with a yam)
6-8 tablespoons butter or earth balance spread, melted
Agave (no idea how much - 2-4 tbsp?)
Light brown sugar - I just used about 2 tbsp because I was trying to be healthy, but this would probably be really good with more
Remove seeds, cut ends, and peel squash (you can leave skin on if you want - it's very nutritious and will soften when you cook it.) Cut into chunks - doesn't really matter what size as long as you're consistent - large is probably best. Cut sweet potato into same size chunks - leave skin on (it's healthier that way.) Put on baking sheet or pan.
Add melted butter, salt, and agave and roll all ingredients together. You should do this with your (clean) hands. Partly because it's fun to get your hands dirty. Partly because it will allow everything to be distributed more evenly.
Roast on 400 for 45 min to an hour. You'll know it's done when squash is soft and the glaze begins to caramelize. Make sure to mix things around a few times while it's cooking. Great fall side dish!
You can use just about any veggies you want for this recipe. Red pepper, mushrooms, peas, and corn would probably all be good. Get creative -- and let me know what works. This is what I used:
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 carrots, diced
2-3 cups instant brown rice
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
2-4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into -inch pieces
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bunch of diced chives or scallion greens
Salt to taste (about 1-2 tspn)
Parsley to taste
Heat oil on medium heat. Cook onion until soft. (a few minutes?) Add carrots and celery for a few minutes until they start getting soft. Add garlic.Add rice and cook for a minute or two. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Start with 1:1 ratio of rice to broth - (2 cups rice, 2 cups broth) cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about five minutes.
Remove cover and spread asparagus on top of the simmering rice -- do not stir into the rice yet. Replace cover and continue simmering, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the liquid is almost absorbed and the asparagus is still crisp, five minutes or so. Try the rice - if it's still crunchy, add more broth and wait until it is almost absorbed.
Add cream cheese; stir until the mixture is creamy. Return to a simmer and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and the asparagus is tender, about five minutes more. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and half of the green onion.
Top with chives or scallions, parm cheese, and parsley.
Mince garlic and sautee in pan. Add onions and cook half-way. Toast Almonds with a little oil in separate pan. Mix everything together with beans. Put flame on low and cover. Add lemon juice, salt, and coriander. Cook until beans are as soft as you like em!
Great for Memorial Day BBQs! Fruit salad with yogurt honey dressing. Very easy one!
Fruit is the obvious main ingredient. I recommend watermelon, canteloupe, mango, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, peaches, rasperries
Cut all fruit in bite-size pieces. Watermelon looks great if you cut it in small triangular wedges and garnish around the fruit salad. Use these fruits or any other of your favorites! Top with coconut flakes--dried cranberries and slivered almonds also work well on top. Dressing -- mix one cup of vanilla yogurt to about one tablespoon honey. Add cinnamon to taste.
This isn't anything like the stuff you buy in a jar or a tub or a tube or a powder or whatever guacamole comes in. This is the real deal. I can eat it with a spoon it's so good. But I recommend serving it with blue corn chips, pita, carrots, or any mexican dish.
Four Avocadoes, soft
½ cup Cilantro
1 small red onion, minced
One whole large ripe tomato
Juice from one lime
Salt or Garlic Salt to taste
Mash Avocados (if you want it chunky, don't mash entirely). Dice cilantro, onion, and tomato. Mix together, with lime and (garlic) salt ....chill and serve.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or jalapenos for a little extra spice.
This is one of my favorite recipes. Not the healthiest recipe in the universe, but it's much better than most seafood pastas that are drowning in thick sauces...
1 Lg. red onion
Bundle of green onions
Alfredo powder (I use Simply Organic)
1 stick Butter
Saute onions in a bit of butter until they are soft. In a large, deep pan -- mix onions, stick of butter, mushrooms, and fish on low heat.
Add white wine and cream until you get a good consistency. Add alfredo powder to thicken it up a bit and add flavor. Add tomatoes and lemon juice.
Cook on low, covered until shrimp is pink and scallops are white. Add garlic salt to taste. Enjoy over linguini. Feel free to add other veggies... shredded carrots, yellow peppers, asparagus, and zucchini all work well... Get creative.
Garnish with fresh parsley and shredded parm cheese.
This one looks fancy, but is actually really easy. Great for impressing people...
Thin, white fish (such as Tilapia)
Saute garlic, spinach, and mushrooms. Mix bread crumbs with coriander, and lots of garlic salt. Wash the fish. Dip in bread crumb/seasoning mixture.
Place spinach concoction in the middle of the fish and roll the fish around the spinach. (starting from one end, so it looks like a pinwheel.) Place on a baking pan, spray with lemon juice, top with very small pads of butter.
Bake on 400 degrees for 25-40 minutes (depending on how thick the fish is.) This recipe works well with any light, thin fish.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, chile and stock. Cover partially and cook until the vegetables are softened. Remove from heat.For a smokey flavor, saute the red peppers separately until blackened on both sides.
In a blender, puree the vegetables in batches until smooth. Alternatively, process with a handheld blender in the pan until smooth. Pass the pureed soup through a medium-mesh sieve set over a serving bowl, pressing on the pulp.
Discard any solids left in the sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you serve it chilled, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled. (4 hours minimum.) If served chilled add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
If served hot (recommended), chop up some basil, olives, and/or parsley for garnish and top with cheese -- mozz, ricotta and parm works best.
OK, OK, this one isn't the healthiest recipe in the world. But it's really good and really easy -- a new twist to the basic grilled cheese.
Whole Grain Bread (Not just whole wheat - make sure it's got real grains in it!)
1 lg. Onion
1 Lg. tomato
Cut onion in slices and sautee until soft. Butter one side of both slices of bread. Place one slice of bread (butter side down) in a pan over medium heat and layer with ingredients in this order: One cheese, cooked onion, another cheese, cilantro pieces and tomato slice, final cheese, then finish with the last piece of bread, butter side up. Flip and cook to until golden.