Archive for February, 2012
I really like baked polenta or even more, polenta made on a grill pan (see notes). It’s such a nice alternative to the usual bread roll or biscuit. I especially like this polenta because it’s made from quinoa so it’s a good protein source that can go from a side to the main course. Add to that, sweet potato and now your talking! You can even substitute the chili powder for cinnamon and a little nutmeg for a tasty breakfast drizzled with some honey or maple syrup. Delish!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup extra firm tofu
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp ancho chili powder or to taste *see notes
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled, cooked and cut into chunks
- 4 tbsp olive oil plus a little to oil the baking dish
- 2 tbsp toasted bread crumbs (use a gluten free bread for those on a gluten free diet)
- 2 tbsp almond flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil an 8 x 8 baking pan.
- Place the quinoa, tofu, sweet potato, salt, chili powder and oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Mix the bread crumbs and almond flour. Sprinkle half the mixture over the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
- Spoon in the quinoa mixture and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining bread crumb mixture over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes.
- Let sit at least 5 minutes before cutting. Serve as a side or topped with sautéed vegetables or your favorite pasta sauce as a main meal.
Makes 8 servings.
Serving size one 2 x 4 inch piece.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 186, Cal. from Fat: 91, Total Fat: 10g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 17g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 7g, Sodium: 244mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in a sealed container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. You can reheat in the microwave or cut slices and place on a dry non-stick grill pan for a nice crispy texture.
*Ancho chili powder is rather mild so if you are using another chili powder you may want to use less.
My dad used to grow sunflowers to watch the birds come and feed on the seeds. Sunflower seeds aren’t just good for the birds they are good for us too, providing significant amounts of Vitamin E, Magnesium and Selenium. This spread is bursting with bright flavors and it’s really versatile too. The sun dried tomatoes and roasted red pepper give it a slightly sweet flavor that goes so well with the nutty taste of the sunflower seeds. This spread is easy to make so mix some up and find your favorite way to enjoy it.
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 10 sundried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 1 red pepper, roasted (skin and seeds removed)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp capers (optional)
- sea salt to taste (when using capers I find that I don’t need any additional salt so taste before adding salt)
- Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl or jar and fill with cool water to cover. Cover and soak at room temperature at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- When the seeds have been soaked and you are ready to prepare the spread place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Soak 8-10 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the tomatoes once softened but save the soaking liquid.
- Place all of the ingredients plus 1/4 cup of the tomato soaking liquid into a food processor and blend until you have a smooth consistency.
- Add more soaking liquid if needed. I usually use about 1/2 a cup.
- Serve on toast, in a pita or wrap, on raw veggies, on a baked potato or mixed in with pasta (I usually add a little more oil when mixing with pasta).
Makes approximately 2 cups.
Serving size 1/4 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 157, Cal. from Fat: 39, Total Fat: 12g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 8g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 6g, Sodium: 144mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I can remember the exact moment I had my first bite of taco salad. I was 16 years old and was working part-time at Target. It was employee appreciation day and there was a potluck going on. I put a scoop of salad on my plate along with some other goodies and sat down to eat. I tried one bite of that salad and lost interest in all the other things I had gotten. I went back for seconds and I’m pretty sure I had thirds. That began my love affair with taco salad and it’s been burning strong ever since.
I have many different varieties of taco salad that I like to make but this one is my current favorite. The taco mixture has such great flavor and I love the way it crisps up in the skillet. I topped my salad with the taco mixture but my husband and kids preferred to use it like taco meat and create traditional tacos. Either way is delicious and makes a yummy lunch or dinner.
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (I used a brown basmati)
- 1 can (14 ounces) no salt added navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp Taco Seasoning Mix
- 1 tbsp Garlic Gold Oil or olive oil
- 8 cups mixed greens of your choice
- 1 avocado, cubed
- your favorite salsa
- your favorite tortilla chips
- Place the rice, beans, seeds and taco seasoning in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are broken up. Do not over process!
- Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat on medium high heat. Transfer the taco mixture to the frying pan and cook for about 5 – 10 minutes or until heated through. There should be a nice crispy coating on the bottom of the mixture.
- Remove from heat and serve with mixed greens, avocado and chips. Top with your favorite salsa and enjoy!
Makes 4 large entree sized servings.
Serving size 1 large salad.
Nutritional info will vary greatly depending on the type of rice, salsa and chips used.
Leftover taco mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This taco mixture is great when used in traditional tacos, as a meat replacement in quesadillas or sprinkled on top of tortilla chips for the ultimate nachos.
This is one of the coolest things I’ve come across. Maybe I’m the last person on the planet to try it but just in case I’m not I’ll share my “discovery” with you all. I like kitchen gadgets. I like shopping on the internet. That equals a lot of catalogs in the mail. I received one recently that had an appliance where you put in frozen bananas and they come out like soft serve ice cream. Yeah, sure they do. I wasn’t going to buy another small kitchen appliance so I figured I would try it with my food processor. It’s magic. Frozen bananas really do turn into soft creamy ice cream. My food processor can turn those banana’s into soft creamy ice cream but it can’t fill a cone with that swirly soft serve pyramid but I know how I can. Now that I’ve discovered this magic the flavor possibilities are endless. Caleb, Keegan and I would like to share some of our favorites creations here for you to enjoy too.
For Banana Blackberry Ice Cream
- 2 medium sized ripe bananas
- 8 blackberries
- 4 peach slices
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
- 2 medium sized ripe bananas
- 1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup (optional)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
For Banana Sweet Potato Ice Cream
- 2 medium sized ripe bananas
- 1/4 sweet potato
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tbsp coconut milk
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
- Peel the bananas and cut into 4-5 chunks. Place in a zip top bag or in a container with a tight fitting lid. Place in the freezer until frozen.
- Prepare any other fruit you plan on using in the same way, cutting into approximately 1-2 inch chunks or slices and then freeze. When using a vegetable such as the sweet potato cook it first before freezing. I baked the sweet potato, removed the skin, cut it into chunks and then put it in the freezer.
- To prepare the ice cream place the bananas and any additional fruit or veggie into a food processor. Start out pulsing until the bananas are chopped into confetti sized pieces then process normally until a ball forms. You will either want to pulse a few times at this point or open the lid and chop up the ball before continuing. Process again until you have a soft smooth ice cream.
- Add any additional ingredients here such as spices, cocoa, sweetener or coconut milk and pulse just to mix in.
- Spoon into bowls and serve or to make a soft serve style cone, spoon the ice cream into a plastic baggie, cut the tip at one end and squeeze out into a soft swirly pyramid.
Each banana you use makes 1 serving.
The serving size will vary depending on any additional ingredients you add.
Nutritional information not available as it will depend on any additional ingredients you use.
I found that any leftover ice cream you have is best stored in zip top freezer bags with as much air removed from the bag as possible. To serve remove the bag from the freezer and let thaw for 10 minutes or so and then squeeze the bag working the ice cream around to soften it back up.
Experiment with different ingredients to find your favorite combinations. Fruits, nuts, seeds, even pumpkin are all great additions.
Every time I suggest eating soup to my grandchildren they look at me horrified like I just suggested eating worms or bugs. What kid doesn’t eat soup? I grew up on Campbell’s chicken noodle, vegetable beef, and alphabet soup. Not that I would give them canned soup but I was sure I could make something they liked. So, like with most children, it helps to get them involved in the cooking process. I started with telling them we were going to create our own soup recipe and asked what ingredients they would like to put in it. After all the silly suggestions were dealt with we got down to corn, carrots, tomatoes, rice and tortilla chips. That sounded like tortilla soup to me so that’s the direction we went. I would have liked to add a few more things like red bell peppers and maybe chopped spinach but I didn’t want to take any chances so we stuck with their list of ingredients. After the soup was made and they had gobbled up their bowls I said that next week we should try noodle soup. Caleb looked at me and said “I’ve heard of noodle soup, we’ll have to give it a try.” Ah, the sweet sound of success.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (use the amount you think your family will enjoy)
- 2 cups frozen (or fresh if in season) corn
- 1 cup chopped spinach (optional)
- 1 cup cooked rice (quinoa is good too)
- 1 jar (25 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp Sweet Heat Chili Sauce or your favorite chili sauce (start with 1-2 tbsp and add more according to the level of spiciness your family likes – if you are not using Sweet Heat Chili Sauce and the chili sauce you use isn’t sweet add 1 tbsp molasses)
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 1 avocado, sliced (optional garnish)
- cilantro (optional garnish)
- lime wedges (optional garnish)
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a soup pot or dutch oven and add the onions, carrot, red pepper (if using) and garlic. Add salt to taste and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the corn and spinach (if using) and continue to sauté until the corn is warmed through.
- Add the rice, tomatoes, broth and chili sauce and bring to a simmer. Heat for 15 minutes or so until all the flavors have combined.
- Ladle into bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips and any other optional garnishes you choose.
Makes approximately 6 cups.
Serving size 1 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 253, Cal. from Fat: 71, Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 35g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 6g, Sodium: 393mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. You may need to add a little additional broth when reheating if the soup becomes too thick.
A couple of weeks ago when I was thinking of recipe ideas for this weeks “Kids Week”, I asked Caleb and Keegan what their favorite food was. Keegan proclaimed “Pizza!” and Caleb thought for a moment before deciding on “Chocolate Donuts”. I jokingly told them we should combine the two and make a pizza donut and their eyes lit up. How hard could it be, right? Not so easy as it turns out. It took awhile to get the flavor just right as well as the texture but a weeks worth of pizza donuts later and I finally had a winner. Now if you ask my kids what their favorite food is they will both tell you “Pizza Donuts!”.
- 1/2 cup spelt flour *see notes
- 1/2 cup potato starch (or tapioca starch)
- 4 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seed)
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 or 2 dashes crushed red pepper
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- heaping 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup no salt added tomato paste
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp oil (if you used sun dried tomatoes in oil then please use the oil from the tomatoes, if not then Garlic Gold Oil works great or even regular olive oil will do)
- heaping 1/3 cup shredded cheese (I used Daiya Mozzarella Cheese)
- olive oil spray for greasing the pan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a donut pan and set aside (see notes).
- In a large bowl add the flour, starch, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, baking soda and powder and sea salt. Give it a little stir and set aside.
- In a medium bowl add the chia seeds, tomato paste, vinegar, water, garlic and oil. Mix well and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add the wet ingredients along with the onions, tomatoes and cheese to your dry ingredients and mix well. Do not over mix.
- Fill each donut mold with the pizza mixture and place in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Flip the donut pan over, give it a good pat and the donuts should pop right out.
- You can serve immediately with a side of your favorite pizza sauce or top with marinara sauce and shredded cheese and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Makes 10 donuts.
Serving size 1 donut.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 175.5, Cal. from Fat: 66, Total Fat: 7.5g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 24g, Fiber: 4.5g, Sugars: 1.5g, Protein: 3g, Sodium: 93.5mg, Chol: 0mg
If you want to make a gluten free donut you can substitute the spelt flour with millet, sorghum or brown rice flour. I made these with garbanzo bean flour and they were excellent. The only negative was even if you grease your pan really well these are harder to pop out. I had to run a fork around the edges to get them out but the taste was well worth the extra effort.
If you do not have a donut pan you can still make these in a 6 count muffin tin. The baking time will increase slightly by 3-4 minutes.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for best results.
My kids wanted these to be like real donuts so I put some pizza sauce in a plastic baggie, cut off the tip and used it to decorate the tops of the donuts with ‘frosting’. Feel free to great creative with your toppings!
This recipe is a favorite of my granddaughter Keegan. Of course anything with bread, honey and cinnamon is a favorite of hers. My kind of girl! Keegan is also very fond of braiding since she learned how practicing on her Barbies so it was only a matter of time before braiding carried over into other things. I was making this dough one morning when Keegan was here with me helping in the kitchen. I was starting to roll out the dough and she asked if we could make braids. Why not? And so we did and I think they look really nice this way and they taste even better somehow. These braids are great for breakfast but aren’t too sweet to go with a soup or salad at lunch or dinner either.
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup, divided
- 1 cup warm milk of your choice, dairy or non-dairy ( I use unsweetened soy milk)
- 1/4 cup neutral flavor oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 1 cup dried raisins or currants
- In a small bowl add the water and 1 tbsp honey. Stir until dissolved and then sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let sit 5 minutes until the yeast is activated and bubbly.
- While the yeast is proofing combine the milk, 1/4 cup honey and oil in a large bowl. Mix in 1 cup of flour, 2 tsp cinnamon and the salt.
- Add the yeast mixture and raisins and stir to combine.
- Beat in the remaining 2 cups of flour 1 cup at a time until you have a slightly sticky dough. Add additional flour if needed until you have a workable dough.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic.
- Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Divided each of these into 3 equal portions.
- Roll each portion out into a rope about 10-12 inches long.
- Pinch 3 of the ropes together at the top and then proceed to braid. Pinch the ends together and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Spray the braids lightly with water and place in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.
- While the braids are baking mix the remaining tbsp of honey and 1/2 tsp cinnamon together.
- When the braids are done baking remove from the oven and immediately brush with the honey/cinnamon mixture.
- Enjoy while still warm and nicely sticky.
Makes four 10-12 inch braids.
Serving size 1/3 of 1 braid (12 servings in all).
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 230, Cal. from Fat: 48, Total Fat: 5.5g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 42.5g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 18g, Protein: 5g, Sodium: 161mg, Chol: 0mg
I like this bread fresh from the oven so I only bake the amount to be eaten right away. You can keep the unbaked dough wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and bake as needed.
This weekend was filled with exploring, whale watching and some serious cleaning up!
Friday was such a beautiful day and the kids decided we should do some exploring outside! One of the many benefits of homeschooling means we get to enjoy the outdoors as much as we want. We got our magnifying glasses and decided to see what fun things we could find in the great outdoors.
We ended up walking about 4 miles and spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon outside. It was awesome! We spotted a beautiful iridescent hummingbird, lots of snails and a couple of ground squirrels. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect with clear blue skies and tons of flowers in bloom.
It’s whale watching season here in Southern California so on Saturday we decided to take our boat out and see what we could find. We headed out of Oceanside Harbor and went north towards the super cute little town of San Clemente.
There were some pretty decent swells that we hit and of course Caleb, our natural born boater, loves riding the waves. The bigger the better. Keegan tends to get sea sick so she stayed home with Gram.
We didn’t actually end up seeing any whales but we did see a school of dolphins. There were about 5 or 6 of them and they came up real close to our boat. Caleb was super excited to see dolphins for the first time ever.
The rest of weekend I spent cleaning out my kitchen pantry. It’s been on my to do list for weeks now and I finally got around to it this weekend. I had bought a bunch of plastic containers and labels so that I could put all the different flours, rices, beans, pastas, etc. in their own separate contains to better organizer my pantry. I think I’ve watched one too many Hoarders episodes cause I went on a major purge and got rid of a bunch of crap and didn’t stop at my panty. I’m halfway through my entire kitchen and it’s feeling so good I might just call this an early spring cleaning. I love getting organized! Now it’s time for bed. It’s been a fun filled yet exhausting weekend! Night all!
I have always been a huge fan of egg salad sandwiches. This spread won’t make you exclaim “OMG, I can’t believe this isn’t really made out of eggs”, but it is reminiscent of egg salad. The dressing is creamy and tangy just like in an egg salad spread and the cauliflower rice makes a healthy and surprisingly good substitute for those high cholesterol eggs that would normally be used. It’s great on whole grain bread with a slice of tomato or in a lettuce cup for even more veggie goodness.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 3 cups cauliflower florets, about 1/2 a head
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
- 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)
- Soak the cashews at least 2 hours before preparing the salad spread. To soak, place the cashews in a jar or bowl and fill the jar with enough water to cover the nuts. Cover and let soak at room temperature for at least 2 hours. You can soak the nuts ahead of time, dry well and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using.
- Place the cauliflower in a food processor and process until the florets are like rice. Remove the cauliflower to a large non-stick skillet.
- Heat the skillet on medium-low heat and dry fry (no oil/no water), stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Keep the heat low. You don’t want any browning. Just cook the cauliflower enough to soften and reduce some of the strong flavor. Set aside to cool. *If you follow a raw diet see notes.
- Put the celery and onion in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Drain the liquid from the vegetables and spoon the mixture into a large bowl.
- Put the cashews, water, tahini, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, honey, parsley, garlic, turmeric, curry (if using),nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in the food processor and process until smooth.
- Once the cauliflower has cooled add it to the bowl with the celery and onions. Pour half the dressing into the bowl and mix to combine. Add more dressing a little at a time until you reach the consistency you desire (I usually have some dressing left over that I use to mix in with any leftover spread if it gets too dry the next day).
- Spread onto bread, rolls, crackers or in lettuce cups (bibb, romaine or endive work well).
- Sprinkle with paprika if desired.
Makes approximately 4 cups.
Serving size 1/2 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 142, Cal. from Fat: 72, Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Carbs: 14g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 6g, Sodium: 436mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*For those that follow a raw diet you can skip this step. The taste and texture will be different but still good.
This soup is perfect cause it’s fast and fresh and can be made with just about any vegetables you have on hand. The flavor is amazingly deep and rich. Done in under 30 minutes it’s perfect for a fast week night meal served with some crusty warm bread on the side.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp majoram
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika(I like smoked paprika so I use 2 tsp but use less if you are not so inclined)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper, to taste (The same goes as the paprika, I like pepper so I use 1 tsp)
- 1 jar (28 ounces) tomato puree
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup cooked lentils (beluga or french green work best as they hold their shape without getting mushy) *see notes*
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- optional vegetables *see notes*
- Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and salt. Saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more.
- Add the thyme, marjoram, smoked paprika and pepper. Sauté another minute to let the spices infuse with the vegetables.
- Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, lentils and broth.
- Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.
- Cook 15-20 minutes.
Makes approximately 6 cups
Serving size 1 cup
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 188, Cal. from Fat: 44, Total Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 25g, Fiber: 10g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 8g, Sodium: 397mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months.
If you are using lentils that don’t need to be soaked first and cook in under 30 minutes you can add the lentils uncooked and then just simmer until they are tender. You may need to add a little additional broth.
Zucchini, potatoes, corn, peas, or other seasonal vegetables can easily be added at the same time as the tomato puree and broth. Just simmer until all the vegetables are tender.