Archive for November, 2013

Herbed Polenta with Kale

Nov 25 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Herbed Polenta with Kale

I’m always looking for things to make that can be either a side dish or a meal and if the leftovers save well then it’s a major bonus. This Herbed Polenta with Kale is great by itself or when served with meatballs or a sauce it makes a great meal. Leftovers are even better because the polenta firms up even more after chilling in the refrigerator and can then be sliced and browned on a grill with a little oil for a toasty treat for lunch the next day.

This polenta will fit in to just about any Thanksgiving meal plan. It’s easy to make and can be made ahead of time to make the big day go a little easier. One more thing to be thankful for! Enjoy.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus 1/2 tsp, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Gold Italian Herb Nuggets
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale, stems removed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups once cut) chard or spinach could also be used
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Cashew Parmesan

Preparation:

  1. Heat water and salt over high heat in a large saucepan until boiling. Slowly add the polenta, stirring constantly. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes stirring often to prevent sticking.
  2. While the polenta cooks heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and the Garlic Gold Italian Herb Nuggets. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 tbsp more of the oil and the kale. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring until the kale has wilted, about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the polenta has cooked until it’s very thick add the onion/kale mixture and 1/3 cup of the Cashew Parmesan. Stir to combine. Taste and add the remaining Cashew Parmesan if desired.
  5. Use the remaining 1/2 tsp oil to oil a bowl or loaf pan and spoon in the polenta. Press the polenta down into the bowl or pan. Let sit for 10 minutes and then invert onto a plate to unmold. Cut into slices and serve.

Yield:

Makes approximately 8-10 slices.

Notes:

Serve with Ratatouille Meatballs, Sarah’s Marinara Sauce or any of your favorite sauces. Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat cut into slices and toast on a lightly oiled grill until lightly brown and warmed through.

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Fruit and Nut Truffles

With Thanksgiving only days away I’ve already starting thinking about the most important part of the feast – DESSERT!  These fruit and nut truffles are always on the menu for our Thanksgiving meal and I look forward to them each and every year.  They are so easy to make and are family friendly.  Mix and match or make all 3 varieties – you won’t be disappointed!

~Sarah

Ingredients for the Cherry Cocoa-Nut Truffle:

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 18 dates)
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened or apple juice sweetened tart cherries
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Preparation:

  1. Place the almonds in a food processor and process for about 30-45 seconds just until the almonds are chopped.
  2. Add the pitted dates and process for another 30-45 seconds or until the dates are partially chopped with the nuts.
  3. Add the cherries and almonds extract and process for about 2-4 minutes. The mixture will be done when large clumps form.
  4. Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in unsweetened cocoa powder. Your truffles are now done and can be enjoyed guilt free.

Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Truffles:

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried apple juice sweetened cranberries
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

Preparation:

  1. Follow the same instructions as the cherry cocoa-nut truffles starting with the walnuts, then add the dates and then cranberries, orange zest and orange juice.
  2. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in crushed or finely chopped walnuts.

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Spice Truffles:

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened raisins
  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp raw coconut crystals and 1 tsp cinnamon (mix together for rolling the truffles in)

Preparation:

  1. Again, follow the instructions for the cherry cocoa-nut truffles starting with the almonds and cashews, then add the dates, and last the raisins, pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Form into 1 inch balls and roll into the coconut crystal-cinnamon mixture.

Nutritional Info:

Makes 24 truffles.

Notes:

The dough can also be pressed into an 8×8 baking dish lined in parchment paper, let sit for a couple of hours and then turn the pan over onto a cutting board or waxed paper and cut into 8 pieces to individually wrap for lunch boxes or for easy portability.

These truffles are a good alternative to cookies, are a great pre and post workout power boost or dressed up with drizzled chocolate as a unique dessert. Any leftover truffles should be stored in the refrigerator.

For a pretty dessert presentation, place the truffles on a plate, melt a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips and drizzle over the truffles.

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Quinoa Pomegranate and Persimmons Salad

If there is one thing that healthy eating has taught me it’s to be open to trying new foods and ingredients.  It’s only been recently that persimmons have become a part of my diet.  I had never really given them a shot before and a few years ago I decided to try one out.  Of course I absolutely loved them and now I get excited every winter when I see them start to make an appearance at my local farmers market.  This quinoa salad highlights all the yumminess of the persimmons and also includes one of my other favorite fruits – pomegranates.  The crisp, flavorful seeds of the pomegranate work so well with the other flavors of this salad that you’ll be wishing winter lasted a little longer.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 persimmon, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4-1/2 cup crumbled nondairy feta cheese or other feta cheese of your choice
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Add the quinoa and vegetable broth to a small saucepan and place on high heat.  Once the broth starts boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the quinoa from the heat and fluff gently with a fork.  Transfer the quinoa to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Cut the persimmon in half and diced one half.  Add to the large mixing bowl and set the other half aside to use for the dressing.
  4. Add the pomegranate seeds, chives, parsley and feta to the bowl with the quinoa and persimmon and gently stir to combine.
  5. In a small blender add the remaining half of the persimmon, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, oil, garlic,  salt and pepper.  Blend together until smooth.
  6. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.  Depending on the size of your persimmon you may not need all of the dressing.
  7. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Yield:

Makes 4 serving.

Notes:

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

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Krunchy Kale Salad

This salad is, without a doubt, one of my top 5 favorite salads of all time.  When I first made this salad I was so obsessed with it that I ate it for lunch every single day for a whole month straight.  I love the way the crunchy kale works together with the roasted vegetables and the balsamic reduction makes a perfect dressing.  I recently had some leftover quinoa on hand and mixed it in with the roasted veggies – it was fantastic!  You could easily mix in any cooked grain that you have on hand.  Any way you serve it up will be delicious!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 pieces of kale, stems removed and torn into pieces (I used curly kale but any kind will do)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 4 – 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped or sliced (less if you’re not a garlic fan)
  • 5 – 6 small handfuls of your favorite vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces (I used red onion, carrot, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and yellow pepper)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp of oil, divided
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (feel free to season as desired with dill, curry, red pepper flakes, etc)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the roughly torn kale on baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for approximately 5 minutes or until the kale is browned around the edges and mostly crispy.
  3. Place the vegetables and chickpeas on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining oil and stir to make sure everything is nicely coated (use more oil if necessary).  Place on a baking sheet and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper or substitute with your favorite seasonings.
  4. Bake the vegetables for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. While the vegetables are baking, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and heat to medium high.
  6. Bring the vinegar to a boil and let it simmer, whisking every so often to prevent it from burning.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the vinegar has reduced down to a thicker type syrup.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  7. Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer to a large plate.  Drizzle with some of the balsamic reduction and top with the kale.

Yield:

Makes 1 serving as a main dish or 2 servings as a side dish.

Notes:

Any leftover balsamic reduction can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

The roasted vegetables will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days but the kale should be eaten right away as it does not save well at all.

Did you know…..

Nov 12 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Did you know that we eat more bananas than any other fruit? Even more than apples and oranges combined. The most popular variety being the Cavendish. There are actually thousands of varieties of bananas, many with seeds so large that people string the seeds together and wear them as necklaces. There are two main categories of bananas, starchy (think plaintains) and sweet.

 

Cavendish bananas are abundant in just about every store that sells produce and are relatively inexpensive so it’s no surprise that they are so popular. The down side is that they are not nearly as nutritious as other fruit. Cavendish bananas are low in beta-carotene and have a lower overall antioxidant value than almost all other fruit except for melon, papaya and pineapple. It is high in rapidly digested starch and the riper the banana the greater it’s impact on blood sugar. The Cavendish does have some nutritional benefits. A medium size banana has 3.5 grams of soluble fiber and a good amount of potassium.

 

How can you choose a more nutritious banana? Look for bananas with a darker color flesh. The deeper the color the better it is for you. In larger stores you can often find red bananas. When fully ripe the skin will turn almost black with a salmon color flesh inside. It has a slight vanilla taste and its small size is perfect for toddlers. You may also find a variety called Lady Finger, a small yellow skinned banana about 3 inches long. This baby banana is also more nutritious than the Cavendish.

 

As most everyone knows bananas are picked semi ripe but will continue to ripen if left at room temperature for a few days.

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Our Favorite Classic Chili

Nov 11 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Our Favorite Classic Chili

Chili is one of my all time favorite meals. I can eat it in a bowl with chopped cilantro and a dollop of soy yogurt, or over a crispy bed of romaine lettuce, a sprinkle of Daiya cheddar shreds and a few crushed tortilla chips, or spooned over a baked potato or mixed with pasta and Daiya pepperjack shreds. I love to make a big pot of it and then look forward to all the delectable meals I am going to enjoy over the coming week.

Chili really lends itself to ingredients that create a rich umami taste. What is umami? Well, it’s the flavor sensation that accompanies eating foods rich in glutamate. Glutamate is an essential component of protein, L-glutamate or glutamic acid. Umami is sometimes referred to as the fifth taste sensation after sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

Toasted walnuts and earthy mushrooms combine to create that savory umami flavor that usually comes from the traditional use of meat. Using whole dried chili peppers to create a flavorful chili sauce  is well worth the extra few steps to takes to prepare it and it makes enough for at least 2 batches of chili depending on your heat preference. So get your soup pot out and get ready to make the best classic chili you’ve ever tasted and see why it will soon be your favorite classic chili too.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 8-10 cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 dried ancho chiles
  • 16-18 dried arbol chiles
  • 2-3 cups boiling water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tsp mexican oregano (or sub with regular oregano)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 43.5 (three 14.5 oz cans)-56 ounces (two 28 oz cans) fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes, whichever you prefer (or sub with regular diced or crushed tomatoes)
  • 15 ounces kidney or pinto beans, drained
  • Toppings (optional) soy yogurt, daiya cheese shreds, diced avocado, or cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Place the walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the mushrooms in the food processor and process until ground.
  3. Break the tops off the chiles and remove the seeds. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak 30 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot and heat over medium high. Add the onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook until tender about 5-6 minutes. Add the ground mushrooms, oregano, cumin and coconut aminos and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.
  5. While the mushrooms cook transfer the soaked chiles to the food processor along with 1 1/2 cups soaking liquid, garlic and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Stir the ground walnuts into the pot with the onions and mushrooms. Cook 1-2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, beans and 1/2 the chili sauce mixture or to taste (start with less, taste and add more if desired). Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve with toppings of choice.

Yield: Make 8-10 cups

Notes:

Store leftover chili in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or divide into freezer safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

 

 

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Quinoa Pizza Patties

I have an obsession with garlic.  I love the stuff!  Just about everything I make includes garlic – whether the recipe calls for it or not.  If you search the site you’ll notice that a good number of our recipes use Garlic Gold products.  Why?  Because we love them!  They are 100% organic and 100% delicious!  I’ve tried every single product in their product line and it’s hard to pick a favorite.  Their Garlic Gold Oil is unbelievable and is one of the products that I use most often at home.  Their vinaigrettes are super yummy and are so convenient to have on hand when I don’t have time to make my own salad dressing.  Of course, their nuggets are also one of my favorites and I love the variety of flavors that are available.  I love throwing the original Garlic Gold Nuggets in my salads and our Southwest Mini Sliders wouldn’t be the same without them.

For these delicious quinoa patties I used Garlic Gold Parmesan Nuggets.  For a vegan version make sure to sub with either the original nuggets or the sea salt variety.  I couldn’t believe how fast my family ate these patties up – luckily I made a double batch and was able to have a few leftovers on hand. The next day I crumbled a patty into my salad and later that night added it to our quesadillas – it was delicious!  These patties save really so don’t hesitate to double or triple the batch – you’ll be glad you did!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups adzuki beans (kidney beans or any other red bean would work as well)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 3 tbsp Garlic Gold Parmesan Nuggets (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 1/2 cup shredded non dairy mozzarella cheese (Monterrey Jack or Italian Cheese Blends work well for a vegetarian version)
  • 6-7 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup Homemade Breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari (gluten free if needed)
  • sea salt to taste
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. Add the adzuki beans to a large mixing bowl and using a fork gently mash until all the beans are broken apart.  Do not over mash them!
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, and mix until throughly combined.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add 1-2 tbsp oil.
  4. Shape the mixture into 12-14 patties and add to the heated skillet.  You will need to work in batches, adding more oil as needed to cook all the patties.
  5. Cook the patties for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until crispy on the outside and heated through.
  6. Remove from heat and let rest for 1 minute before serving to allow them to firm up.

Yield:

Makes 12-14 patties.

Notes:

Leftover patties can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  You can also freeze the patties for up to 6 months.

When cooking your quinoa try vegetable broth instead of water for a richer, more flavorful quinoa.

If you don’t have any Garlic Gold Nuggets on hand you can sub with 2 cloves  garlic but I highly recommend using the nuggets if at all possible.

Throwback Thursday: One Pot Miso Soup

Nov 07 2013 by | Comments (0)
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One Pot Miso Soup

‘Tis the season – no, not that season – cold and flu season!  As the weather gets colder and people stay inside more it’s only a matter of time before all those yucky germs find their way to you and you end up sniffling and sneezing.  This nourishing miso soup is just what your body needs to heal.  Miso is known for it’s healing properties and the warmth of the soup will help soothe your aches and pains.  Stay healthy and enjoy!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp fermented organic miso (more or less to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp Wakame flakes, rinsed, soaked and drained (optional)
  • 1 block medium-firm tofu, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 potato, cubed (optional)
  • 1/2 snow peas (optional)
  • 1/2 shredded cabbage (optional)
  • 1/4 cup daikon, thinly sliced in matchsticks (optional)

Preparation:

  1. In a stock pot or dutch oven saute onion, carrots and celery until they begin to turn translucent, then add any additional prepared vegetables, saute until tender.
  2. Add broth, wakame and tofu, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. After the heat is turned off add miso and stir to dissolve.
  4. Garnish with thinly sliced green onion, grated carrot or minced fresh ginger.

Yield:

Makes approximately 6 cups.

Notes:

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  You can also freeze for up to 3 months.

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Mexican Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love cookies and oatmeal raisin has always been one of my favorite.  Chef Fuji from Living On The Veg has put a fun and tasty twist on the ordinary oatmeal raisin and created this delicious Mexican inspired cookie.  Enjoy!

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We have been on such a cookie fest. I think it has been a total of 6 days in a row of cookies, with some days that double due to high demand and friendly visits. The fall months instigate a warm oven, just perfect for cookies.They hit that sweet spot and are ready in 15 minutes. My favorite is extra cinnamony oatmeal raisin cookies. Though I spiced it up a notch with some chocolate. Oh, yummy. Enjoy these delicious new fave of mine in the cookie department.

~Chef Fuji, Living On The Veg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut crystals, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp flax or chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  •  2 tbsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
  • 1/2 raisins

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat the oil, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl with wire whisk for 2 minutes. Add the flax or chia and mix until just combined.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne, cacao and cinnamon. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients.
  4. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the oats and raisins and mix until just combined.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic (it will be sticky) and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or longer if you make ahead and bake warm when your friends arrive!
  6. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and drop dough on sheet using a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Press cookies to flatten to about 1/2″ then bake for 8 minutes.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Yield:

Makes approximately 12-16 cookies.

Notes:

Store in an air-tight container for up to three days.

We want to help you Celebrate!

Nov 04 2013 by | Comments (2)
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CELEBRATE!

 

Can you believe in just a few short weeks Thanksgiving will be here and then after that – Christmas?!  I’ve already begun planning my Thanksgiving feast and most of the items on the menu are recipes from our holiday ebook – Celebrate!  We want to help make your holiday tasty and delicious so we’ve decided to give away 5 copies of our ebook to our wonderful readers.

Entering is easy.  Simply leave us a comment on any recipe that you’ve tried and let us know how it turned out or comment on a recipe that you are looking forward to trying.  You can also enter by taking a picture of any recipe that you’ve made from The Naked Kitchen and posting it on Twitter with the hashtag #thenakedkitchen.  We will automatically enter all those that comment or post pics in the drawing and on Friday, November 8th 2013 we will draw 5 lucky winners.

We can’t wait to hear from all of you!  Good luck!

~Sarah

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