Archive for August, 2013

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Blueberry Granola Bars

This is without a doubt my most favorite granola recipe ever!  It’s been months since I’ve made a batch and it’s definitely time to revisit this delicious recipe.  These bars are perfect for packing in school lunches and make a wonderful portable snack for busy days when you are on the go.  If blueberries are not your thing you can sub with raisins, cranberries or any of your favorite dried fruits.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

Preparation:

  1. Start by lining a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with either parchment paper or non stick foil.
  2. Using a large skillet add the almonds and heat on medium high.  Stir occassionally for about 5 minutes or until the almonds are nicely browned.
  3. Repeat with the cashews.
  4. Add the nuts to a large bowl and mix in the oats, rice cereal and blueberries.  Stir well.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat the syrup, sugar and vanilla over medium high heat.  Stir constantly to avoid burning.
  6. Once the syrup mixture comes to a light boil, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 2 -3 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken.
  7. Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and stir until everything is nicely coated.
  8. Transfer the mixture to the glass baking dish and using a rubber spatula, pat everything down so it’s nice and compact (see notes for helpful tip).
  9. Let cool to room temperature.  You can put them in the fridge for a bit to make cutting then easier.  Cut into 2 x 4 1/2 inch bars and ENJOY!

Yield:

Makes approximately 12 bars.

Notes:

The toasted nuts are what give this granola its flavor – PLEASE don’t skip this step!

I toasted the cashews whole and then chopped them after they had cooled. It doesn’t really matter whether you toast them whole and then chop or chop them first and then toast.

The mixture is VERY sticky when it goes into the pan.  I found the best way to spread everything evenly was to place a small plastic baggie on my hand to act like a glove and lightly mist the baggie with olive oil. Then I used my hand to press the mixture into the dish.

You’ll want to wrap the bars in saran wrap for easy portability and to keep them from sticking together.  Store in a cool place or the refrigerator.  They will keep for about 2 weeks.

Braised Stuffed Mushrooms

Aug 28 2013 by | Comments (0)
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 Braised Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a staple in my kitchen. Whether in a supporting role or as the star of the show as in this dish. Mushroom caps make the perfect vessel for the lightly seasoned rich and creamy filling. Braised Stuffed Mushrooms are a delightful appetizer or even a light meal.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 heaping cup walnut halves
  • 8 medium to large  or 12-16 small white button mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 2 tbsp white wine (you can sub with vegetable broth if preferred)
  • 3 tbsp traditional flavor hummus
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

Preparation:

  1. Process the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and roughly chop. Place them in the food processor with the shallot and garlic. Process until finely ground but don’t over process into a paste.
  3. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the chopped mushroom mixture, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Transfer to the bowl with the walnuts. Add the hummus and stir until combined.
  4. Wipe out the skillet with a damp paper towel and add the remaining tbsp oil. Heat over medium high. Add the mushroom caps, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and the wine. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 2-3 minutes per side depending on the size of the mushrooms used.
  5. Spoon the filling evenly into the mushroom caps and add the vegetable broth to the bottom of the skillet. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 4-5 minutes. Uncover and cook until all the liquid as been absorbed.
  6. Serve immediately.

Yield:

Serves 4 as an appetizer. For a light meal for 2 dress greens of your choice with a splash of oil and vinegar, halved cherry tomatoes and top with 4 stuffed mushrooms. Serve and enjoy.

Notes:

This dish does not save well and is best eaten right away.

 

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Aug 26 2013 by | Comments (1)
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Kale and Quinoa Salad

This recipe was the very first meal I created after giving birth to our daughter.  I wanted something super healthy and delicious but also something I could eat with just one hand!  I actually doubled the recipe and it was great having extra for lunches throughout the week.  I used the vegetables that I had on hand to whip up this salad but you can easily sub with whatever you have available.  Just about any type of grain can be used in place of the quinoa. Zucchini, sweet potato, onion and red pepper are all great additions to the salad base.  If you want to add even more protein thrown in some cooked chickpeas or other legumes.  You really can’t go wrong with this salad.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan, coarsely chopped, optional
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (sub with oregano if you don’t have Italian seasoning)
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Place the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, vinegar, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl toss together the cooked quinoa, kale, carrot, cabbage, cranberries and pecans, if using.  Add the dressing and stir to evenly coat.
  4. Serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Yield:

Makes approximately 4 cups of salad.

Notes:

Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Avocado Mayonnaise

Maybe it was a case of bad guacamole some time in my past that turned me against avocados but I did not like them at all. After reading about all the good nutrition this ugly little fruit contains I was convinced to give them a second chance. That turned out to be a good choice because now you wouldn’t find a time when I didn’t have at least one sitting on my counter waiting for me to find new and delicious ways to take advantage of their healthy goodness. Avocado mayonnaise is my latest obsession. How many ways can this mayonnaise be used? I’m not sure but this pasta salad is one of my favorites.

Kristy

Ingredients:

For the avocado mayonnaise

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, shelled and pitted
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil or canola oil
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt

For the salad

  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered and diced
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olived, halved
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 cup minced curly kale
  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp oregano (I like oregano so I use 2 but start with 1 and taste test before adding more)

Preparation:

  1. Place all of the mayonnaise ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Combine all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Spoon half of the avocado mayonnaise into the salad and stir to combine. Add more mayonnaise as needed until you reach the consistency you prefer. There will probably be some mayonnaise left over. See notes for additional uses.
  3. Chill and serve.

Yield:

Makes 8-10 servings

Notes:

Store leftover salad and any extra mayonnaise separately in an airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Use extra avocado mayonnaise to blend into the leftovers if it becomes too dry. Avocado mayonnaise is also good as a sandwich spread or just about any other salad where regular mayonnaise would be used.

 

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Family Favorite Black Bean Tacos

 

This weeks Throwback Thursday recipe is inspired by my recent need to eat one handed!  With a newborn in the house I’ve had to relearn the art of eating one handed and these delicious tacos are perfect for that task.  The are packed full of nutrients and help keep me full while I’m baby bounce duty.  Plus you have to love a meal that you can throw together in less than 15 minutes!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) no salt added black beans (you can also use 1 pound cooked ground protein of your choice such as lean ground beef, turkey, chicken, tofu or any of your favorite beans)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chillies
  • 1 tbsp low sodium vegetable broth or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn (if frozen, thaw first)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped red onion (I like save some onions and use them at the end to top my taco with)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Homemade Guacamole
  • 6 tortilla shells of your choice
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp broth or olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent.  Add tomatoes, corn and black beans and cooked until heated through about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Top each tortilla evenly with bean mixture, guacamole, cheese (if using), extra onions and cilantro. Serve and ENJOY!

Yield:

Makes 6 servings.

Notes:

Leftover taco bean mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I like to make a double batch of tacos when I prepare this meal.  The leftover bean mixture freezes really well.  Place the mixture in individual freezer safe storage containers and place in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Reheat in the microwave and you have dinner on the table in minutes!

Whipped Peanut Butter Fudge

Aug 19 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Whipped Peanut Butter Fudge

I truly believe that there are times in your life when nothing will make things better except chocolate!  This was the case for me as my never ending pregnancy kept going and going.  As the days ticked away and my due date came and went I was in desperate need of some chocolate.  This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite chocolate recipes –  Peanut Butter Fudge.  It has all the chocolatety, fudgey (are those even words?) goodness of the original recipe but in a lighter, more fluffy version.  I used my mini muffin tin to create perfect, pop-able snack size pieces that I could enjoy throughout the day (I needed a lot of chocolate at the end!).  Thank goodness for chocolate and whipped peanut butter fudge!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup creamy no salt added peanut butter
  • 1 cup coconut oil, solid – not melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup, raw honey or maple syrup *see notes
  • fruit, nuts, sea salt, coconut flakes or other topping of your choice

Preparation:

  1. Line a muffin tin with foil liners.  I used a mini muffin tin but any size will do.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place all remaining ingredients in the large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer or whisk, whisk together until nice and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour a small amount of the fudge mixture into each foil liner.  The exact amount will depend on the size of the muffin tin used and how thin or thick you want your fudge to be.  I poured a heaping tablespoon into each of my mini muffin liners.
  5. Top each piece of fudge with toppings of your choice – fruits, berries, coconut flakes, extra sea salt, nuts, or any other creative option you can think of – you can also leave them plain.
  6. Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator for approximately 20 minutes or until the fudge has set and is firm.
  7. Remove the chocolate fudge from muffin tin and liners and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield:

The yield will vary depending on the size of the muffin tin used and how thin or thick you make your fudge.  I ended up with about 36 mini sized pieces of fudge.

Notes:

Leftover fudge can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I’ve made this recipe a number of times and my personal preference is to use either brown rice syrup or raw honey.  In general, I’m not a fan of maple syrup so I tend not to use it as a sweetener very much but if you enjoy the taste then it would be a good option to use in the recipe.  I don’t recommend using a dry sweetener like coconut crystals as it will leave the fudge a little gritty.

Introducing….

Aug 04 2013 by | Comments (5)

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For the past 42 weeks I’ve been baking my own special recipe and on August 1st she finally made her long overdue debut – Baby Madelyn.  While I had planned for a beautiful VBAC home birth, Madelyn had other plans and I ended up delivering by c-section again.  For the next 2 weeks I will be focusing solely on my newest addition and of course on my c-section recovery.  Luckily I have an amazing husband and 2 of the best helpers anyone could ask for!

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Even though things on The Naked Kitchen will be quiet for the next 2 weeks we have so many wonderful recipes coming up that we want to share with you so I promise the wait will be worth it.  Kristy and I might even pop in every once in awhile with a sneak peak!

Thank you for your patience while my family enjoys our beautiful new baby girl.

~Sarah

Categories : The Naked Life
Comments (5)
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Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

This is one of my most favorite recipes on the blog and while it’s definitely a dish I’ve made on many occasions, it’s been a while since I’ve had it.  I’m a big fan of lettuce wraps and this light and healthy quinoa salad is the ideal filling for a crisp lettuce leaf.  It’s the perfect lunch on a hot summer day and it’s light enough that you won’t feel weighted down yet the quinoa and veggies will leave you feeling full.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, if canned, rinsed and drained
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced water chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 head of bibb lettuce
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce (if you follow a gluten free diet make sure to use a gluten free sauce)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil will work as well but you will lose some of the richness in the sauce)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl mix together the first 5 ingredients and set aside.
  2. Add the last 6 ingredients to a small bowl and mix together until throughly combined.  If using honey it helps to heat it up a little to make it easier to mix in.
  3. Pour the sauce over the quinoa mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Carefully remove the lettuce leaves from the bibb lettuce and fill each lettuce leaf with the quinoa mixture.  You can fill them up as much as you wish.

Yield:

Makes approximately 20 lettuce wraps.

Serving size 4 lettuce wraps.

Notes:

The leftover quinoa mixture will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.  The quinoa will soak up the flavor of the sauce and make excellent leftovers.  The recipe makes a large amount so you can enjoy these tasty wraps for lunch or dinner the entire week.