Archive for September, 2013

Sprouted Almond and Zucchini Croutons

Sep 30 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Sprouted Almond and Zucchini Croutons

The running joke in my family has always been whether or not I wanted some salad to go with my croutons.  Ok, so maybe my salad greens to crouton ratio isn’t exactly even but I’ve always loved croutons and any excuse to pile my plate high with them was good enough for me.  Now, these croutons are so good you might just skip the salad greens completely!  They are bursting with flavor and their crumbly texture makes them the ideal crouton.  They feature Absolute Chi Teriyaki Almonds (the best flavored almond you’ve ever tasted) and are perfect as a healthy snack, on salads, soups or even sprinkled on a baked potato.  If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the notes below on how to make them into a cracker for the perfect on the go snack.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Absolute Chi Teriyaki Almonds
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • scant 1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil.  Set aside.
  2. Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse a few times until the almonds start to break apart – do not over process.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to pulse, scrapping down the sides if necessary, until throughly mixed.  Again, do not over process.
  4. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and using your hands, gently disperse the mixture over the entire baking sheet, gently breaking apart any larger clumps.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, turning over every 10-15 minutes, until crispy and dried all the way through.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely before using.

Yield:

Makes approximately 2 cups.

Notes:

Leftover croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

To make into crackers, follow steps 1-3 then transfer the mixture to your prepared baking sheet.  Using a spoon or spatula, press the mixture down in a single even layer.  Place in the oven, turning the sheet after 10 and continuing to bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and use a knife to score the cracker dough into pieces of your desired size (this makes the crackers easier to flip).  Flip the crackers over and continue baking, about 20-30 minutes, until crisp and thoroughly dried.

***If you don’t have Absolute Chi Teriyaki Almonds on hand you can use regular raw or roasted almonds.  Please note that the croutons will not have the same flavor but will still be yummy and delicious.

Throwback Thursday: Quinoa Loaf

Sep 26 2013 by | Comments (2)
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Quinoa Loaf

While the days are still sunny and warm here in Southern California, our nights are rather cool.  The first taste of fall weather comes at dinner time when the sun is setting and the cold crisp ocean air starts to roll in. Lately I’ve been craving soups, hearty pasta dishes and mashed potatoes – some of my favorite fall foods.  This quinoa loaf is definitely one of my favorite cool weather dishes.  It’s full of flavor and so hearty and filling.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off the first fall throwback recipe than with this fantastic, family friendly quinoa loaf.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cup quinoa, cooked *see notes
  • 2 cup lentils, cooked, roughly mashed *see notes
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari (gluten free if needed)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce (gluten free if needed)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Homemade BBQ sauce (you can substitute with Homemade Ketchup or tomato paste)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp parsley

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan add olive oil and heat on high.  Add onions and reduce heat to medium.  Saute onions for about 5 minutes.  Add in garlic and continue sauteing until onions are golden brown.
  3. In a large bowl add onions and garlic, cooked quinoa and lentils along with the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard, BBQ sauce, oregano and parsley.  Mix well.
  4. Transfer mixture into a 1 1/2 quart loaf pan and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes – this allows the loaf to firm up a bit.  Cut into 1 inch slices and serve.

Yield:

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 141, Cal. from Fat: 28, Total Fat: 3g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 23g, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 6.5g, Sodium: 392mg, Chol: 0mg

Notes:

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Both lentils and quinoa are great proteins to add to salads, stir fries, soups and stews.  I usually cook up a whole bag of each and add them into various meals throughout the week.  This makes putting together our meals quick and easy!

To cook quinoa place 1 cup quinoa and 1 1/4 cup water (or stock) in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low.  Cover and cook for between 30 and 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for an additional five minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

To cook lentils first place them in a colander and run water over them to wash away any small bits of soil.  Also check to make sure there are no small stones mixed in. (Unless I’m buying bulk lentils I have never run into this problem.)  In a large pot add 1 1/2 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils you will be cooking.  Bring the water to a boil.  Add the lentils and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover for 25-40 minutes.  The length of time will depend on how hard or soft you like your lentils.  I usually let mine cook for 30 minutes, that way they aren’t mushy but aren’t hard either.

Coconut Jerk Kale Chips

Sep 25 2013 by | Comments (3)
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Coconut Jerk Kale Chips

Nobody does kale chips like Chef Fuji from Living On The Veg.  She has a knack for creating amazing, full flavored, melt in your mouth kale chips.  I’ve never tasted a store bought brand that could even come close to the masterpieces that she makes.  I was so excited when she told me that this weeks recipe would be for her famous kale chips.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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I love kale chips. Every week I get 4 bunches of kale and make a fresh batch of chips for the week. I can say that warm kale chips straight out of the dehydrator are the best and no store bought chips can compare. I even leave them in there after they are done to keep them crispy. I love the sweet and spicy combination in this creamy lighter coating of coconut meat instead of nuts. You also have the option of putting in the habenero pepper whole for a spicier taste or just the outside skin for more flavor and less heat. These chips are a delicious treat and you might just start getting four bunches of kale a week  for making them too.

~Chef Fuji from Living On The Veg

Ingredients:

  • 4 bunches of kale, stems removed
  • 3 cups coconut meat
  • 2  whole green onions
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut crystals
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cayenne to taste (optional)
  • 1/3 cup nama shoyu
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2  cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger

Preparation:

  1. Place all of the ingredients, except the kale, in a food processor or high speed blender and process until the dressing is completely mixed.
  2. Add the kale to a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the kale.  Using your hands, begin to mix the dressing into the kale, gently squeezing and massaging.  This helps break down the bitterness and toughness of the kale and helps the dressing be absorbed.
  3. Transfer the coated kale to a teflex sheet and place in the dehydrator at 115 degrees for 12 hours, then flip the kale over and remove the teflex sheet and place the kale back in the dehydrator until crisp and dried, about 6 hours.
  4. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can simply transfer the coated kale to a nonstick baking sheet and place in the oven at 250 degrees until crispy and dried.

Yield:

Makes 6-8 servings.

Notes:

Store leftover kale chips in the dehydrator until ready to eat or place them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Slow Roasted Tomato Soup

Sep 23 2013 by | Comments (2)
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Slow Roasted Tomato Soup

Forget the spoon, I just want to pick up the bowl and drink this soup. Slow roasted tomatoes give this soup it’s dark, rich and full-bodied flavor. It’s a soup that will accommodate your adult taste for something more than the tomato soup you grew up dunking your crackers in. Gather the last of the tomatoes from the garden and cook up some of this deliciously robust soup for yourself and see how easy and satisfying it is.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds any variety fresh tomatoes, cut in quarters if large, half for medium and leave whole if using grape or cherry
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 1 medium onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch basil, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup when chopped)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet(s) and drizzle evenly with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Place in the oven and roast for approximately 2 hours or until the tomatoes are caramelized, the juice has thickened and is a rich brown color. If using grape or cherry tomatoes this may take less time. Add a little of the broth to the baking sheet to help soak up and loosen the browned bits. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot or dutch oven heat the remaining oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, remaining 1 tsp salt and pepper. Sauté 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the wine and cook until reduced. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes.
  4. Add the basil and then puree with an immersion blender or blend in a food processor or blender until desired consistency.

Yield:

Makes approximately 8 cups

Notes:

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Yellow Split Pea Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

I love split peas.  Normally I would whip up a delicious split pea soup but it has been so warm here lately that soup is just not gonna cut it.  Instead I decided to pair these hearty yellow peas with a handful of the fantastic Celestrial Cinna Pecans from Living Nutz.  Fresh organic greens, ripe strawberries, tangy homemade ‘feta’ cheese and a delightful balsamic dressing finish off this meal.  Yum!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup yellow split peas, sorted and rinsed
  • fresh salad greens of your choice
  • 1/4 cup crumbled homemade tofu ‘feta’ cheese or other non dairy cheese of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Celestrial Cinna Pecans *see notes
  • 3-4 thinly sliced strawberries
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2-1 tbsp coconut nectar or raw honey
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 whole strawberries, hulled
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Add the split peas to a pot of water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and then let cook for 30-45 minutes.  The peas should be tender but still hold their shape.  Drain and the let cool.
  2. In a small blender add the olive oil, vinegar, coconut nectar, mustard, whole strawberries, salt and pepper.  Process until smooth and creamy.
  3. Toss the cooled peas with the lettuce, cheese, pecans, and thinly sliced strawberries.  Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!

Yield:

Makes 1 serving.

Notes:

If you don’t happen to have any Celestial Cinna Pecans on hand (you know, cause you ate them all before your next shipment arrived), you can make your own quick candied pecans by adding 1 cup pecans, 2 tbsp non dairy butter and 2 tbsp coconut crystals to a medium sauté pan over medium high heat.  Stir often, until the butter and coconut crystals have caramelized, about 5-10 minutes or so.  Spread the nuts onto wax or parchment paper and let cool.

You can easily double or triple the dressing amount to have extra on hand throughout the week.  The salad is best eaten right away but the dressing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Peanut Butter Power Bars

The last few weeks have been super busy and I feel like I’m always on the run.  More often than not I find myself grabbing an apple or a handful of nuts as I’m running out the house.  Of course, 5 minutes later I’m starving and wishing I would have grabbed something more filling to eat.  Then I remembered this fantastic recipe for peanut butter power bars and how filling they are.  I mixed up a batch and knew after that first bite that they needed to be our Throwback Thursday recipe of the week.  They are an awesome on the go snack or post-workout treat.  They are kid friendly too and ideal for packing in school lunches.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw honey, brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (if you keep your PB in the fridge then bring it to room temp)
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unflavored unsweetened protein powder (I used NurtiBiotic Organic Rice Plain Protein Powder)
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

Preparation:

  1. Place the sunflower seeds in a shallow pan and toast on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes stirring often, set aside.
  2. Pour the honey in a 2 quart pan and bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce the heat to low and boil stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, remove from heat and add the peanut butter.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Next add the oats, protein powder, sunflower seeds and currants. Press the mixture in a 8 x 8 non stick pan (I line the bottom with parchment paper for easier removal).
  5. After cooled, cut into bars (2 x 2) and wrap individually for an easy portable snack.

Yield:

Makes 16 bars.

Notes:

I love adding 1/3 cup of chocolate chips to the mixture.  I use SunSpire Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips.  When you add them to the mixture they will soften a little due to the heat.

You can also use dried blueberries, raisins or even cherries in place of the currants.

The bars will keep at room temperature for several days.  They will keep in the fridge for a few months or 6 months in the freezer.

We’re Nuts for Living Nutz!

Sep 16 2013 by | Comments (0)

ALMONDS

We go through a LOT of nuts in our house.  We love grabbing a handful for a healthy snack, adding them to salads for a crunchy topping and even making Homemade Almond Milk for our breakfast smoothies.  So I might have been a little excited when Living Nuts contacted me about trying their products.  I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Living Nutz before as their products are not carried at my local health food store.  I quickly did a google search and found out that this AMAZING company offers an incredible line of ORGANIC, RAW and SPROUTED nuts!  I was in heaven and I couldn’t stop drooling over all the delicious products that they offered.

So what’s the deal with raw, sprouted nuts?  Well, by sprouting and then rinsing nuts and seeds, you release and eliminate toxic enzyme inhibitors AND increase the life and vitality contained within them, making them easier to digest.  Because Living Nutz are always gently dried and never roasted all the nutritional components are preserved.

Living Nutz was kind enough to send me a sample of their flavored nuts and I patiently waited until they arrived.  I was beyond thrilled to find out that I was able to try 6 different flavors!

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I quickly ripped open each packet to sample and then one by one proclaimed it to be my favorite.  Honestly, picking the flavor I liked best is near impossible.  The Bodacious Banana Bread Walnuts really taste like banana bread!  The Divine Chocolate Walnuts are a chocolate lovers dream and don’t even get me started about the Absolute Chi Teriyaki Almonds – best tasting almonds EVER!

I’m ashamed to admit that my husband and I polished off all 6 of these packets in less than 3 days.  They were all so good that we couldn’t stop eating them!

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Even if flavored nuts aren’t your thing, you still need to visit www.livingnutz.com to check out their full line of products.  They carry a ton of organic sprouted nuts and seeds, organic raw nuts and seeds, organic berries, organic vanilla beans, organic teas and even lip balm!

 Later this week I will share with you one of the two delicious recipes that I created using these tasty nuts.  Here is a sneak preview of the scrumptious salad featuring Living Nutz Celestial Cinna Pecans.

Yellow Split Pea Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

I will also be sharing a recipe for Teriyaki Croutons that feature Living Nutz Absolute Chi Teriyaki Almonds.  They are unlike any croutons you’ve had before!  Teriyaki almonds, zucchini, fresh herbs and garlic are baked to create a crunchy and healthy crouton that is ideal for salads and soups.  Stay tuned next week for that fantastic recipe!

In the meantime, head over to Living Nutz and check out all their wonderful products.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

~Sarah

*Living Nutz sent me a sample of their products in exchange for my review.  I received no other compensation and opinions expressed in this review are my own – I really just love their products!

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Omega Blueberry Waffles

Sep 13 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Omega Blueberry Waffles

Our good friends from Living On The Veg are back and apparently they are craving breakfast just like I am!  These waffles are so hearty and filling that they are best shared with a friend.  I love topping them with some fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup – YUM!

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I love breakfast foods anytime during the day, especially pancakes and waffles. I started by making pancakes as a young chef where I began my creative journey into the world of flavors, toppings and textures. The waffle is the pancake’s geometric cousin with perfect pockets to fill with pure rich maple syrup, decadent sauces, and fresh fruit. I have created a wholesomely hearty, protein and omega oil rich waffle, complete with antioxidants and absolutely delicious! Add your favorite fruit to personalize your waffle and enjoy the happiness this brings to your belly!

~Chef Matthew from Living On The Veg

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups fresh buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut crystals
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preparation:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the first 10 ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add the milk and oil, stir well, then gently fold in the blueberries.
  3. Preheat a waffle iron to the recommended heat setting and add the suggested amount of batter.  Cook according to the manufacture’s directions.  Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Serve the waffle as is or top with maple syrup, fresh fruit or a drizzle of melted chocolate.

Yield:

Makes approximately 4 waffles.

Notes:

Leftover waffles can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Throwback Thursday: Layered Bean Dip

Sep 12 2013 by | Comments (1)
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Layered Bean Dip

In my house we have 3 seasons – spring, summer and FOOTBALL!  We are big football fans and Sunday’s are usually spent munching on delicious snacks while watching our favorite teams.  This week’s throwback recipe is one that you will usually find me whipping up each Sunday.  Grab a bag of chips cause you’ll need them to scoop up all this deliciousness!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15.5 ounce) no salt or low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (be sure to check that there are no added chemicals, preservatives and sugars), minced
  • 3 limes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 4 medium tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice, (Like Manchego, Chihuahua and Queso Fresco, Queso Blanco, Oaxaca, Monterey Jack or White Cheddar.  Try Daiya for a vegan option.)

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute just until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 of the minced garlic cloves and saute for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Place the can of black beans in a food processor and add half the onion/garlic mixture along with the chipotle pepper, juice from 1 lime (about 2 tbsp), cumin, water and 1/2 tsp salt. Process until smooth and set aside.
  3. Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and place on low heat for a couple of minutes or just until the corn is thawed. Stir in half the cilantro.
  4. In a small bowl or plate mash the avocado with the juice of the second lime. Set aside.
  5. Place the seeded and diced tomatoes (see note for seeding tomatoes) in a separate bowl and add the juice of the 3rd lime, scallions, remaining cilantro, red pepper flakes, remaining clove of minced garlic, ancho chili powder, remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper. Stir until mixed.
  6. In an 8 x 8 glass baking dish, spread the bean mixture evenly over the bottom. Next spread the corn mixture over the beans. Repeat with the avocado and then the tomato mixture. Last, top with the shredded cheese and serve with tortilla chips. Dip in!

Yield:

Makes approximately 9 servings.

Notes:

In this dish it is best to remove the seeds from the tomatoes so that the tomato layer isn’t too wet. I find the easiest way to seed tomatoes to be to cut a core out of the center, turn the tomato upside down and then just gently squeeze until the seeds run out.

Leftover dip can be stored in the in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Watermelon Pizza

Sep 11 2013 by | Comments (0)
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 Watermelon Pizza

Labor Day has come and gone. The kids are back to school. Summer’s over but you would never know it based on the hot weather that’s been sticking around. It still feels like summer and thankfully there are plenty of summer time favorites like watermelon to be found at the market. There’s nothing like cool and refreshing watermelon on a hot day, especially this Watermelon Pizza. It’s fruity fun the whole family will love making and eating.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed strawberries
  • 2 tbsp coconut crystals
  • 1 round watermelon slice (about 1 inch thick) rind cut off, seedless preferably
  • 1/4 cup raw shredded coconut

Toppings:

  • Blueberries
  • Pomegranate seeds
  •  Kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • Cantaloupe or honeydew melon, thinly shaved
  • Toasted walnuts, pecans or pistachios
  • Chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Place the strawberries and coconut crystals in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until the juice has cooked down and the berries have thickened to a jam like consistency. Set aside to cool slightly and then transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Place the watermelon slice on a plate and top with the chilled strawberries. This sauce layer of the pizza will help the toppings stick.
  3. Cover with the toppings of your choice and then sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top and serve. For a more elegant dessert version top as desired then melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips and drizzle over the top. Sprinkle with the shredded coconut.

Yield:

Make 4 slices

Notes:

The strawberry sauce can be made several days ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. Prepare the pizza with all the toppings only when ready to serve.