Monday, September 12, 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad (*GF *Vegan)

As I've mentioned previously, I love cooking with quinoa.  This was a delicious recipe that I recently tried.  It is served cool or at room temperature and is perfect for summer eating!

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water (or vegetable broth - I prefer water)
Couple handfuls of grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped fresh mint
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

In a medium pot cover quinoa in water (or broth) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.

In a large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, garlic, fresh mint and fresh parsley.  Add cooked quinoa, olive oil, salt and lemon juice.  Toss gently.  Season with salt.

Chill for at least one hour before serving, or up to 8 hours to allow flavors to combine.


Marinated Mushrooms (*Raw *GF *Vegan)

If you are a mushroom fan, then this easy recipe is for you!  Yes, it's raw so the mushrooms are not served warm.  But, they are so tasty you won't even notice! :)

2-4 portabella mushrooms, destemmed - washed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup nama shoyu
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. dried basil

Mix and marinate for 8-12 hours.  Eat and enjoy!!!

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chickpeas & Orange

*from Gluten Free Goddess

Since deciding to eat gluten free, I have become a big fan of quinoa.  I have made it in a variety of ways and recipes and love it every time.  I also love beets.  Honestly.  A recipe that had two of my food loves?  Had to try it - and loved it!!

You'll Need:
3 cups cooked quinoa

Roasted Beets:
2 beets, trimmed & quartered
olive oil 
sea salt

In a medium roasting pan, combine the cut beets with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt.  Place the pan in an oven pre-heated to 375 and roast until tender (about 45 min).  Remove the beets from the pan and set aside to cool.  When cool enough to handle, rub off the skin.  If the skin doesn't easily rub off, cut it off with a knife.  Cut the beets into bite-sized pieces.

Salad Dressing:
While your beets are roasting, go ahead and make your salad dressing.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tsp tamari soy sauce 
1 tsp balsalmic vinegar or rice vinegar
1 T agave nectar or honey

Combine and whisk.  Set aside.

Combine the warm cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl with:
1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas
2 handfuls of baby spinach
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Pour in the salad dressing and toss lightly.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Gently add in:
Cut up roasted beets
1 fresh orange, peeled, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces.


Brownie (*Raw *GF *Vegan)

Wow!  I didn't realize it had been quite so long since I had posted recipes!  Well, there's life for you!  
My sister had been asking for new recipes and I decided I might as well get back to the blog.  Of course, for my first recipe I made it dessert!  Unfortunately most desserts are made with ingredients I choose not to eat, so I found one that was a perfect combination of health and yum!

1 c. walnuts (I used peanuts and it was fine)
1 c. dates (pitted)
1/4 c. cacao or cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 avocados
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/4 c. cacao or cocoa powder
2 T coconut oil
1 T vanilla extract
dash salt
dash cinnamom

1.  Food process all brownie ingredients until blended and chunky.  Press into a small pan.
2.  Put all icing ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
3.  Spread icing over brownies
4.  Put in freezer to set for 1 hour.  
5.  Eat!
6.  If there are any left, I cut mine into individual pieces and put them in back in the freezer in ziplocks for future enjoyment :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Breadless Sandwich (* Raw * Vegan *GF)

The other day I was home alone.  After singing the Hallelujah chorus a couple times, I decided I really didn't feel like cooking for just myself.  So I perused my refrigerator and decided on a "bread-less sandwich".
It was actually very good and quite filling!
Portabella cap (de-stemmed)
hummus, tahini, nut butter or vegan mayonnaise
tomato slices
or whatever veggies you have on hand

Spread top of portabella with hummus, tahini , nut butter or vegan mayonnaise (I used my raw hummus and really enjoyed that combination).  Top with veggies and enjoy!

Cinnamon Sunflower Truffles (*Raw *GF *Vegan)

This one is for my mom.  She is a huge coconut fan but can be, at times, a little skeptical of my culinary choices.  She was brave in trying a raw dessert and she loved them.  Even my dad really liked them and requested the recipe.  So this is for you, mom & dad....and any other dessert lovers!

Cinnamon-Sunflower Truffles
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
2 T ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 cup pitted medjool dates
2 T olive oil
2 T agave nectar 
raw, unsweetened shredded coconut.....not the sugary processed kind in the baking aisle :)

Place the sunflower seeds, cinnamon and sea salt into a food processor (I would not do this in a blender) and process until seeds are finely ground (only a minute or so).
Then add pitted dates, agave and olive oil.  Process again until combined and sticky. Check to see if you can form a truffle by rolling some mixture in your hand.  If it falls apart then add a little extra agave and process again.
Scoop mixture our and roll into balls.  Then roll in shredded coconut.  
(Store in refrigerator)

Enjoy!  :)

Vegan Shepherd's Pie (*GF *Vegan)

Since I am a huge fan of shepherd's pie (I mean, really, what's not to love!?) I thought I would give this version a whirl.  It was a huge hit with my husband and I.  My kids liked it so-so since they do not like mashed potatoes *GASP*!  (I am still not sure I produced such children.....)
But it was quickly eaten by my meat and potatoes man so I know it must have been pretty close to the real thing!

Shepherd's Pie
*from Gluten Free Goddess
For the mashed potato crust:
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled & cut up
vegetable broth or non-dairy milk, as needed
vegan buttery spread or olive oil, to taste
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
chopped fresh chives, to taste

For the pie:
1-2 T olive oil
1 tsp cumin, or curry
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets, cut to bite size
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced and quartered
1 yellow summer squash, sliced and quartered
1 heaping cup shredded cabbage or slaw mix
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (with or without green chiles, depending on your preference)
2 T chopped jalapenos
1 cup vegan broth
1 T Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar
1-2 T low sugar apricot jam, to taste
1 T rubbed sage
hot red pepper chile flakes or sauce, to taste (or omit if you prefer)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 14 oz can butter beans, drained and set aside

Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted cold water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 min.  In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet and add the cumin or curry, and garlic.  Stir one minute and add the fresh chopped vegetables.  Stir and cook about 5 minutes or so.  Add the canned diced tomatoes, extra chiles, vegan broth, Worcestershire or balsamic vinegar, apricot jam, sage, pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper, and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce begins to reduce.  You want the vegetables tender-crisp, not too soft and the sauce thickened, not too thin.  When this has been achieved, taste test the sauce for seasoning adjustments; then remove from heat and gently add in butter beans.  Set aside.

Mash the cooked potatoes with a little liquid and vegan butter or olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Add chives.  Taste test. 

Preheat oven to 350.

Assemble your pie:  Spoon vegetables into a casserole dish.  Top with mounds of mashed potato.  Sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pie is bubbling and heated through.

Enjoy!  And make sure you get some before your husband does :)

Black Bean Salad (*GF *Vegan)

The only introduction this needs is:  Yum!  Everyone liked this recipe!
Black Bean Salad
*from Whole Foods
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 T fresh lime juice
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
4 cups greens (I used spinach and shredded cabbage and loved the mixture but use what you prefer or have on hand)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or thawed if frozen (I didn't add corn to mine and didn't miss it)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted or raw depending on your preference

In a large bowl whisk together avocado, cilantro and lime juice until blended.  Add beans, greens, tomatoes, corn, pepper, pumpkin seeds and toss until evenly coated.

I added a dollop of Salsa Verde to mine to add a little extra snap and loved it!  But if you prefer, this salad is great flying solo :)

Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts (*GF *Vegan)

How many times have we complained that our parents made us eat brussels sprouts as kids?  Lots.  Why?  Kids don't like them.  Well, I found a super easy and delicious brussels sprouts recipe and guess what?  My kids complained about having to eat them.  Oh well, guess some things don't change.  On the other hand, I liked them so much that I am making them again tonight!

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2-3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced in half (I just picked up a pre-washed bag from Trader Joes and it made it even easier!)
dash salt and pepper, to taste
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.  Whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper and olive oil in a small bowl.
Place brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle the oil & vinegar mixture over the sprouts and toss gently to coat.
Bake for 25 minutes, turning once.  Sprouts are done when slightly browned.


Crockpot Curry (*GF *Vegan)


I love the crockpot.  The idea of throwing some ingredients in a big pot in the morning only to come home hours later to smells of deliciousness in the kitchen with no preparation is just fabulous.  Most crockpot recipes revolve around meat so I haven't used my trusty crock pot much recently.  Until I came across this crockpot curry recipe!  We tried it last night and it didn't disappoint.  It was a little sweeter than I expected, but this will definitely be a "second-timer"  :)

Crockpot Curry 
*from Gluten free Goddess
2 T olive oil
5-6 cloves fresh garlic,  minced
1 red onion, diced
2-3 tsp red curry powder (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seed 
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, shredded (I used green b/c that's what I had but I think purple would add a nice color)
2 large carrots, peeled & sliced or chopped
1 large potato - gold or sweet, diced
2 apples - 1 tart, 1 sweet - cored, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
14 oz can chick peas, rinsed & drained
3 cups vegan broth

To add in later:
1 cup light coconut milk, more if needed
drizzle of agave, to taste 
sea salt & black pepper to taste
squeeze of fresh lime or rice vinegar, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Pour oil in bottom of crock pot.  Add the garlic, onion & spices.  Stir to coat.  Add the rest of the ingredients in the first list.  Stir briefly to combine.  cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until veggies & potato are tender.  
Before serving, add in the coconut milk, agave, salt & pepper, lime or vinegar and cilantro.  Taste test and adjust as needed.  If you need more liquid add more broth or coconut milk.  Cover and heat through for 15 minutes more.  Serve over rice.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hummus. It's what's for dinner. (*Raw, *Vegan, *GF)

Hummus (Raw, Bean-free)
from Living & Raw Foods
This is one of my all time favorite recipes I have come across!!!  I have always been a huge fan of hummus but when I discovered a recipe that was a raw hummus, I had to try it.  Instead of chickpeas it uses raw zucchini!  Crazy sounding, I know.  But I promise I have served this to many people and no one has ever suspected the main ingredient of this dish.  My children love this recipe as well and at least once a month we have "Hummus Night" where we will serve a big bowl of hummus and a bunch of veggies.  I have not, however, told them they are eating raw zucchini.  Some things are better left unsaid....

2 medium zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp sea salt 
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin

Process zucchini, olive oil and garlic first in food processor.  Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Marinated Greens (*Raw *Vegan *GF)

Marinated Greens
from Living and Raw Foods
I first tried this recipe when I was trying to do mostly raw foods.  It was an instant hit with my husband and I (the kids like it alright but it would never be requested for their birthday dinners, I assure you).  It is still one of Ken's favorites , is a nice alternative to a traditional "salad" and loaded with the "healthies"  :)

one bunch kale
one bunch spinach
one red pepper
one yellow pepper
olive oil (approx 3/4 c)
sea salt
cayenne pepper
one lemon
1" piece ginger (personally I have omitted this on several occasions & it's still been great)
1/4-1/2 red onion (depending on how much you love onion!)

Wash the kale and strip the leaves from the stems.  Chop (or tear) into bite size pieces.  Wash and tear spinach as well.  Throw greens into a large bowl and pour approx 1/2 c (or more if you like) olive oil and the juice from the lemon on the greens.  Mix well.
In a food processor or blender combine peppers, red onion, ginger and 1/4 c olive oil, sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste.  Process until it's a liquid.  
Pour marinade over greens and mix well.  
It's enjoyed both right away or after sitting for a few hours!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Green is Good (Cheech's Original Powerhouse Smoothie) (*Raw *Vegan *GF)

Cheech's Original Powerhouse Smoothie
After reading about 'superfoods' I decided to come up with a smoothie that incorporated some of the best.  I drink this probably at least 5/7 mornings for breakfast.  It's loaded with protein, fiber, omegas, lignans and energy-giving ingredients! 
1 cup non-dairy milk ( I use unsweetened hemp milk)
2 T. Hemp protein powder
1 T. ground flax seed
1 tsp spirulina 
handful of greens (I usually use spinach or kale)
3/4 banana
handful of berries (you can use fresh or frozen)
approx 3 T goji berries

Blend all ingredients.

*The spirulina does have somewhat of a strong flavor but you can extra sweetener to this by using a vanilla flavored "milk" or by adding dates, agave nectar or honey*

I've attached a link on the benefits of spirulina:

Butternut Squash & Kale (* Vegan *Gluten Free)

Butternut Squash & Kale Salad
* original recipe from Whole Foods - adjusted to fit ingredients I had on hand*
Last night we had Butternut & Squash Kale Salad.  It was liked by all 4 in the family (Gage didn't "prefer" the squash - it's a texture thing)!  It was pretty easy & quick also :)

2 bunches kale (stems and ribs stripped and leaves torn or sliced)
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 butternut squash (approx 2 pounds) peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes (I cheated and used Trader Joe's precut squash!)
1/2 red onion diced
1/3 cup raisins
2 T balsamic vinegar

Put kale and 1/2 cup vegetable broth into a large pot (very large - it will be a ton of kale to start with) and place over medium heat.  Cook, covered, stirring frequently, until kale is wilted - about 3 min.  Add squash and continue cooking approx 12 min.  Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile combine the remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth, onion, raisins & vinegar in a small saucepan.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until onion is very tender and liquid is reduced by about half (about 6 min).  Cool, toss with kale and squash.  Serve room temperature or slightly warm.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

And so it began....

So here it is.  My first blog.  Let me start by saying I'm a novice.  A newbie. Completely clueless to all things technological and computer-related.
So....why am I blogging?  After multiple requests for various recipes and healthy eating ideas I thought instead of writing/emailing them to individuals I could just post/blog them and have them available for everyone at once.
How did this all start?  About 2 years ago I did my first body cleanse/detox.  At that time I experienced such significant changes that I began researching food and healthier ways of eating.  I am by no means a professional on food or nutrition.  I have just discovered what type of food/eating has made a difference for me.
I currently am eating primarily vegan, gluten free with a lot of raw foods (I have tried to go all raw but with a nut allergy, 2 small children and a carnivore-loving husband have found it to be limiting, difficult and expensive).  Vegan and gluten free do have their challenges but are more doable with a family, allergies and "real life".  In addition, I try to eliminate all processed sugars (& use only natural sweeteners such as agave, honey & dates), trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils.
Do I eat this way 100% of the time?  No.  I definitely "cheat" but I just try to keep it to a minimum.
Do I consider this a diet?  Heck no!  Just the word makes me cringe.  I have told my husband I consider the way I eat not a diet but a "do-it".  It's more about choosing good things for me than about all the things I can't have.  (Cheesy & nerdy, I know).
Do my kids eat this way too?  Yes and no.  A lot of nights they have to eat what mommy makes.  But hey - part of the fun of being a kid is eating pizza at Chuck E Cheese and ice cream with Nanee!  :)
Has this really made a difference?  Absolutely!

So there it is in a nutshell (or in my case, a hemp seed shell)!  

Hopefully the wonderful world of technology and I can co-exist in my attempts to maintain this blog!