Archive for December, 2012
Happy holidays to all our wonderful readers. We wish you a holiday filled with love, happiness and health!
~Sarah & Kristy
This past week we’ve been hit with some rainy weather and it always puts me in the mood for a nice warm breakfast. My kids love banana bread so I played around with my standard recipe and created this delicious cinnamon vanilla infused bread. It’s perfect for those rainy or snowy winter mornings.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup neutral oil (safflower, canola, etc)
- 1/2 cup non dairy milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup raw coconut crystals
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean powder (you can sub with 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 1/2 tbsp water
- pinch or two sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl whisk together the ground flax seed and water and let sit for 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Place the flour, coconut crystals, vanilla powder (if using vanilla extract skip for now and add to the wet ingredients), cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and mix well.
- Add the oil and almond butter to a small bowl and mix well. Stir in the mashed bananas, milk and soaked flax seeds.
- Empty the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Place the mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- The bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf (1.5 quart dish size) or 8 slices.
Leftover banana bread can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave if desired.
The ingredients in this dish are some of my favorites that I use over and over again in a variety of different ways. For this recipe I was looking to make something similar to a Shepherd’s Pie. I especially love the addition of couscous because it makes the filling so creamy. Winter might not be my favorite season but I certainly enjoy the winter harvest.
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sea salt, divided
- 5 oz baby spinach
- 3 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ancho chili pepper (if you sub with another chili pepper adjust according to heat level)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces) no salt added fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 0unces) no salt added garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork or knife and place in the oven. Bake 1 hour or until tender.
- Toss the squash cubes in 1 tbsp oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven with the potatoes during the last 20-25 minutes of baking time. Bake until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook 6-8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the spinach and continue to cook until the spinach has wilted.
- Season with the paprika, cumin, chili pepper and 1/8 tsp black pepper.
- Stir in the roasted squash cubes, tomatoes, beans, couscous, broth and parsley.
- Transfer to a 13 x 9 or similar size baking dish.
- Peel and mash the sweet potato with the remaining salt and black pepper.
- Spread evenly over the top of the vegetable mixture. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Makes approximately 8 servings.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Want to have a little holiday fun that the whole family can participate in together? These easy to make gingerbread man ornaments will get you in the holiday spirit. Cue the Christmas music and let the fun begin.
- 1 cup ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 3/4 cup applesauce
- 2 tbsp craft glue
- 12-18 thin ribbons cut into 6″ lengths
- Assorted colors of acrylic paint
- Combine all the ingredients (except the ribbon and paint of course) in a food processor or large bowl if mixing by hand. Mix until the dough holds together well into a ball. If the dough is too dry add a little more applesauce. If the dough is too wet add a little more cinnamon. You should have a ball of dough very similar to sugar cookie dough consistency.
- Divide the dough in half. Roll out the first half into 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out with a gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter. Place on a flat surface like a cooling rack or cookie sheet so that it can be put out of the way to dry for a couple of days. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Use a skewer or other sharp object to punch a hole at the top (be sure to punch all the way through) for threading the ribbon to hang on the tree.
- Air dry for 3-4 days turning over occasionally. If you happen to live in a warm climate you can leave them out in the sun, turning over once and they will be dry in about 8 hours.
- Decorate as desired.
- When the paint is completely dry insert a ribbon through the hole and tie the ends into a knot.
- Your ornaments are now ready to hang.
Makes approximately 12-18 ornaments depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
Ornaments will keep from year to year if handled carefully. Wrap in tissue paper and place in a box for safe keeping until next year.
Everybody loves a good massage, right? Did you know that even your salad greens can benefit from one too? Massaging greens especially tough, coarse or bitter ones make them more palatable by breaking down the fibers and softening them almost as if they had been steamed. Also, some of the bitterness mellows and lets the real green flavor shine through.
So get your hands on those greens and start massaging them for a truly delicious taste experience.
For the salad
- 2 large bunches chopped bok choy, about 4 cups (kale or dandelion greens work well too)
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 fennel bulb (white part only), thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, quartered and diced
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cooked millet, quinoa or whole wheat couscous
For the dressing
- 1 avocado, halved and seeded
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey or coconut nectar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Place the dressing ingredients except the oil in a food processor and process until mostly smooth.
- Slowing pour in the oil and process until creamy.
- Place the greens in a large bowl and add 2 tbsp of the dressing. Massage with your hands gently until the greens have softened and reduced to about half.
- Add the remaining ingredients and toss with the rest of the dressing.
Makes approximately 4-6 cups.
This salad is best eaten right away.
This soup is seasonal eating at its most delicious. It’s a hearty soup that is perfect for lunch or dinner. The recipe makes a good amount and leftovers can easily be stored in the freezer for a quick meal on busy nights.
- 2-3 medium sized carrots, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, quartered
- 1 large onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 red or orange pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 small butternut or delicata squash (you could also use 1/2 an acorn squash), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6-8 cups vegetable broth
- 4-5 cup chopped kale
- 2 cups cooked beans of your choice (Great Northern, Chickpea, Cannellini or any hearty bean will do)
- 1-1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the carrots, tomatoes, onion, pepper, squash and garlic on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Place in the oven for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are brown and tender.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic, tomatoes and onions to food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the mixture to a large soup pot and heat on medium high heat.
- Add the pepper and squash to the soup pot along with the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Makes 8-10 cups.
Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze any leftovers in freezer safe containers until ready to use.
A revered home remedy since Hippocrates’ day, apple cider vinegar is credited with everything from increasing metabolism and balancing the body’s pH to detox and joint health. One recent study showed that apple cider vinegar consumption lowered LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels, increased HDL cholesterol levels, and could help manage diabetes complications. Whenever possible, look for organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a rich brown color and the dusty “mother” included. Always shake well before using.
For health benefits, proponents suggest drinking 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar, dissolved in water and if desired, sweetened with coconut nectar or raw honey, twice daily. A splash of apple cider vinegar also livens up cooked beans, rice, brothy soups, coleslaw and creamy dips.
Making a simple salad dressing is a great way of adding apple cider vinegar to your daily meals. Combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil and season with chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, parsley, chives or rosemary. Drizzle over mixed greens and top with toasted nuts for a delicious and healthy meal.
Some other tasty ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar:
I was watching an old episode of Chopped a while back and one of the contestants made a dish called Fideos. I was intrigued with the look of the dish and even more so after the judges favorable comments about the textures and flavors it had. I wanted to try it for myself so I set to work on creating my own version. It’s unbelievable easy to make, done in under 30 minutes and the ingredients can be varied according to what is in season or what you have in your refrigerator (or freezer).
Toasting the pasta is the real secret to this dish. It transforms the flavor into something completely different from what you normally expect from pasta.
There’s no chance of getting ‘chopped’ with this dish. Your family will love it.
- 8 ounces whole wheat capellini or vermicelli (any thin style spaghetti broken into 2 inch pieces)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups edamame, green beans or zucchini (thaw first if using frozen)
- 2 medium to large size tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup corn (thaw first if using frozen)
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp Chicken-less Bouillon
- 2-3 scallions, green parts only thinly sliced
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the spaghetti pieces and cook until lightly browned, stirring often. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt. Cook 4-5 minutes until the onions have softened.
- Add the edamame, tomatoes and corn. Cook stirring occasionally until the tomato has softened.
- Stir in the broth and the toasted pasta. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes until the pasta is tender. Stir in the Chicken-less Bouillon to thicken the remaining liquid.
- Garnish with the scallion.
Makes 4 servings
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
I’ve always been a salad fan. It’s most definitely my favorite food category. Once the chillier temperatures start to hit I feel myself starting to crave salads that are a bit heartier. I’ll add in rice or beans and I love using seasonal favorites like squash, pomegranates, brussels sprouts and cranberries. For this dish I used butternut squash roasted with balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar adds a delicious richness to the squash. This salad is perfect on top of spinach or any of your favorite greens. It’s a hearty lunch that will leave you satisfied without feeling weighted down. Enjoy!
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 large butternut or kabocha squash, peeled and cut into a small dice (about 3 cups)
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
- 1/2 a medium red pepper, finely diced
- spinach or any of your favorite greens
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring the water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the rice and a pinch of sea salt if desired.
- Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- While the rice is cooking, toss the squash with 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp vinegar and spread evenly on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
- Place in the oven and roast the squash for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often. The squash should be tender and evenly browned.
- In a small bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil and vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, parsley and chives. Season with sea salt and pepper if desired.
- In a large bowl combine the rice, squash, green onion and red pepper. Toss with the dressing.
- Serve as is or on top of salad greens.
Makes about 5-6 cups.
Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.