Tag Archives | gluten free

Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal

“You are what you eat.” You’ve hear that before, right? Haven’t we all!  Unfortunately, this phrase is often used when referring to junk food – all those things we “shouldn’t eat.” When I hear this phrase in my head it always sounds like a nagging Grandmother with a smokers cough and New Jersey accent. This is certainly not my grandmother! But, I digress.

What if we turn “know it all Nanny” into “positive Paula” who’s cheering us on in our endeavor to eat better? Ok, just bear with me here.

Instead of using the phrase to punish ourselves into feeling guilt and regret when we dive into the bag of chocolate chip cookies (I swear I’m not speaking from experience here! 🙂 we use it as a way to encourage ourselves to displace our midday snack of Chex Mix with a handful of cashews and a banana. When you make the extra effort to order the salad instead of the fries with your lunch you say to yourself “that’s right! I am what I eat! Nutrient dense greens, lycopene loaded tomatoes, mineral rich nuts and some lemon with vitamin C.”

In all seriousness, we really ARE what we eat. Think about it for a minute. Our skin, hair, blood, organs and tissues are all made up of protein sources. Our immune system needs vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc from fresh fruits and veggies to nourish the soldiers that fight 24/7 to keep us healthy. Our brains need lots of fats from omega rich sources like fish, grass fed meats and butter, nuts and seeds in order to send messages to the rest of our bodies. Unfortunately, much of what we eat is missing these important nutrients and our bodies are starving for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats and quality protein.

What building blocks do you want your body to build you from?

Once we saturate our bodies with nutrient dense foods it’s incredible how much more energy and focus we have, lightness we feel and easy it is to continue to feed ourselves the best food possible.

Starting January 17th I’ll be running the Get Clean in 2014 Cleanse at Yoga at SimplyWell. If you are ready to shed some winter weight, feel vibrant and learn simple strategies for incorporating more whole foods you’ve GOT to join us! You can learn more about the cleanse HERE and reserve your spot. It’s 14-days of fantastic food, great support and loads of fun. I promise!

Want a taste of what kind of food you’ll be eating on the cleanse?

I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE cold weather dishes with you today. Not only is this dish incredibly warming and comforting – it comes together quickly, freezes beautifully and re-heats like a charm.

This is a vegetarian, protein powered dish that will leave you satisfied. The lentils and chickpeas are rich in fiber and iron (think happy arteries and healthy blood!) and the coconut oil is loaded in lauric acid. Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk (the most nutrient-dense food) and converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown useful in supporting our immune systems and fighting viruses and diseases. Now that’s what I want to build my body from!

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Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal 

Ingredients

2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (let sit 5-10 minutes before cooking)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups of water
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can of chickpeas
½ cup full fat coconut milk
Handful of cilantro or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic, curry powder and cayenne and cook for about one minute more, stirring so everything is well combined.
  2. Add the lentils to the pot followed by the water. Stir and raise the temperature to medium-high, bring the soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked rice, chickpeas and coconut milk and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley shortly before serving. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on December 19, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Totally tasty turnip slaw

It is sad that many fall and winter vegetables get a bad rap. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, celery root and parsnips often get passed over for  prettier, flashier produce. The next time you’re at the farmers market or grocery don’t breeze past these seasonal standbys!

Here’s why. Winter is also described as the dreaded “cold and flu season.” But, we forget that nature knows exactly how to take care of us to help prevent sniffles, sneezes and sore throats. Many of the veggies available this time of year are packed with the vitamins and minerals you need to support your immune system and fight off winter illness.

Think oranges are your best and only source of flu fighting vitamin C? Not so! Many of our winter green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach have more vitamin C than an orange in addition to lots of other amazing nutrients to balance blood sugar, boost energy and support healthy blood pressure. Other winter veggies like beets and parsnips are packed with vitamin A and other minerals that your immune system needs in order to put up it’s strongest defenses.

For a recent cooking class I was challenged to use turnips. My client had a field of turnips and wanted some more inspiration to use her growing stockpile. I have to admit that I’d passed over these guys more often than not at the market but was excited to create a simple and delicious way to use them.

Turnips are a very typical winter root vegetable. This time of year they are usually white with some red-purple color at the top where the greens grow. You can use them as a replacement for potatoes in a hearty stew or cook and blend them into a creamy soup with cauliflower. I think they are especially delicious raw!

If you know me at all you know how much I love salad. But, this time of year eating a green leafy salad is just not appealing to me. When I came across making a turnip slaw I was excited about being able to put a salad-dish back on the dinner table that matched the season a bit more than green leaves.

Turns out this salad keeps VERY well. You can store any leftovers in a jar and take them to work with lunch the next day. You might have to add a pinch of salt or splash of vinegar because the flavor can subside a bit when it sits.

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I used my spiralizer for to cut my turnips. This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets EVER! What it does it quickly turn any firm vegetable or fruit into a fun spiral shape. You can spiralize zucchini into “pasta,” potatoes for roasting or carrots, beets, turnips, apples and more for salads and other food decor. Every time I’ve used the spiralizer at a cooking demo or class people go nuts over it and vow to buy one right away. If you use a large fruit or vegetable you will end up with a never-ending spiral. What I like to do is then cut the spirals a few time with a knife to make eating a little easier and less messy 🙂 If you don’t have a spiralizer you can shred your turnip on the larger holes of a box grater.

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Raw Turnip Slaw with Carrot and Parsley

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

2 medium raw turnips
1 small/medium carrot
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon honey or real maple syrup
Handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped onion in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside. This will draw some of the spice from the onions so they become more mild.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and honey until smooth in your salad serving bowl. Set aside.
  3. Peel the turnip and carrot and grate or spiralize them into the serving bowl with the dressing. Toss until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on November 26, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Tasty trail mix with toasted coconut

Food….I never leave home without it!

No matter where I go I always have some sort of snack stashed in my purse. If I’m on the run all day I pack a whole grocery bag of goodies. Yes, it might seem a little much but it certainly saves me from scrounging for something while I’m out and about and my blood sugar start going dangerously low.

I used to not be this prepared. In the past I wouldn’t eat until my blood sugar was dangerously low – I would feel tired, my heart would start beating faster and I would get the worst case of hangry (hungry AND angry). My friends and family knew that when my eyes started to glaze over and my sense of humor disappeared it was time to feed Tanya. NOW!

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When you’re constantly fighting that blood sugar roller coaster you will always default to the worst choice possible – chocolate bars, blueberry muffins, coffee cake and ice cream will be your defaults. These were my regular snacks and meals for a long time. Nearly 10 years ago when Mr. Wes and I first met he wooed me with candy gummies, lollipops, candy bars and scooter crunch ice cream. I kid you not! He put boxes of candy in the interoffice mail to me when we worked together and met me in my college parking lot after class with a cooler full of ice cream. We laugh now that my standards are much higher now so he has to work a little harder!

My favorite snack to keep on hand is trail mix. Sure, there are plenty of ready made trail mixes to buy and some stores even have “trail mix bars” where you can mix your own. However, those nuts are usually salted and roasted in low quality oils. Some even have sugar, preservatives and other funky ingredients in them. I say, save your money and mix your own!

The secret ingredient to my trail mix is toasted coconut. Coconut contains lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid which increases HDL (good) cholesterol and is utilized as a source of energy instead of being stored as fat. Plus, it’s delicious!

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So, before you get hangry, get these ingredients and make your own totally tasty trail mix! These are the ingredients I like to use but you can certainly experiment and make your own. In the comments below tell me what you like to add to your trail mix.

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Tasty Trail Mix with Toasted Coconut

Ingredients 

Handful of each of the following:
large coconut flakes (make sure they are unsweetened)
cashews and almonds
pumpkin seeds
raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips (I like The Good Life brand)
Raisins and chopped dried apricots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5-6 minutes. It will brown VERY quickly so keep a close eye on it. You want it to brown very slightly.
  2. Mix the nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs or chocolate chips, raisins and dried apricots in a large bowl. Add the toasted coconut and mix until well combined.
  3. Store your trail mix in jars or divide up into baggies for easy grab and go. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on November 7, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

White Bean and Olive Spread and Herbed Quark Spread

Finding a healthy snack or lunch option at work can be like walking through a minefield. First you have to make it past the office candy bowl full of Halloween chocolates, sneak around the cookies in the vending machine and avoid eye contact with the cupcakes in the office kitchen. When that midday slump creeps up on us it’s hard to not reach for the nearest sugary treat to give us a jumpstart.

Once you start fueling yourself with “the white stuff” you will be on the sugar rollercoaster all day long. Not fun! One minute you feel great and totally energized, the next your energy level has left the building and you’re sneaking back to the office kitchen for “just one more cupcake.” And, once you’re on the ride it’s nearly impossible to get off.

Bringing your own snacks and lunches to work is key in not falling down the sugar rabbit hole. However, not just any snack will do! Focusing on snacks and lunches with protein and healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar stable, your energy up and your mind focused. Plus, your sugar cravings will decrease and you won’t give that vending machine a second glance.

With everything else you have to do when you get home from work there isn’t a lot of time for packing a lunch. That is why I really love making spreads that I can use on a sandwich or as a dip for crackers and veggies. Just pack them in small glass container or jars and they are ready for you to spread away! Spreads and dips are also a wonderful protein-rich after school snack for your kids instead of sugar-laden cereals, cookies, crackers and pre-packaged trail mixes.

This week I’ve included 2 recipes for my favorite spreads. They can be used on their own for a filling veggie sandwich or in addition to a meat sandwich instead of mayo. If you want to make it super quick, then use them as a dip for your favorite cracker or veggies.

White Bean and Olive Spread with Sundried Tomatoes

Serves 3-5

1 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, olive oil, olives, tomatoes and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roughly mash the mixture with the back of a fork.
  2. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  3. You can use this to make a sandwich with sprouts, thinly sliced red onion and avocado. It is also a wonderful dip for crackers or veggies.

Herbed Quark Spread

Quark is a type of cheese with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt and a refreshing tangy taste. It is very popular in Europe and used as a dip, spread, in cakes and even on the skin to alleviate pain and clear blemishes. Quark is a rich source of protein, high in calcium for strong bones and teeth, vitamin A for healthy eyesight and B vitamins to support the nervous system. Try it as a savory spread or as a sweet breakfast option with your favorite berries, nuts or granola!

1 container of quark
Selection of fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano and tarragon
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the quark, herbs and splash of lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  3. This spread is perfect on a hearty multigrain bread with thinly sliced radishes. It is also a great topping for baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 25, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

A fall favorite – basic beef stew

Beef stew screams fall. Just the THOUGHT of beef stew has me thinking cozy fires, comfy blankets and fuzzy slippers. I used to think making beef stew was something only my mom could make. Why? Because it seemed very complicated and labor intensive. Plus, I was afraid it would never taste as good as hers. That can be a big stumbling block! Even though my mom doesn’t live far away I recently realized that if I want beef stew, it’s up to me to make it.

After a brief call to mom I dove in and made a very simple but amazingly delicious beef stew. That was about 6 weeks ago and Mr. Wes has requested beef stew two more times. I would offer him pizza and he would ask “do you have any more of that beef stew?” Yeah, it’s that good!

As the title suggests, this is a very basic recipe. Don’t be afraid to add different veggies, herbs and seasonings. You could throw in turnips or even cubed butternut squash for a nice sweet/savory dish. I like to double the recipe and then freeze it in small jars for great single serving lunches and dinners.

Enjoy!

 

Basic Beef Stew

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Olive oil
1 ¼-1 ½ lbs organic beef roast, cubed (you can also by already cubed beef if you like)
1 pound of leeks, washed and roughly chopped. Whites and some of the pale green parts (if you don’t have leeks use one large white onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 medium potatoes (yellow or redskin will work), cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 cups of water or homemade stock
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs of your choice. I like savory and thyme.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef cubes and a pinch of salt. Brown the meat about 8-10 minutes until it becomes nice a caramelized and juices start releasing. Give it a stir every few minutes so it cooks pretty evenly.
  2. Place the partially cooked meat in a bowl along with the juices. Set aside. Put your pot back on the stove over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add your chopped leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften a bit, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots and potatoes to the pot and continue cooking the vegetables another 5-6 minutes, giving them the occasional stir so they cook evenly. If they start getting stuck to the bottom of the pot add a splash of water. This will help prevent sticking and release delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Once your veggies have cooked a bit and become slightly softened add your meat and juice back to the pot along with the water bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt and herbs of choice. You want your ingredients to be covered by about an inch of water. Cover the pot, raise the heat to medium high and bring the stew to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook the stew for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally and giving it a stir. Your veggies should be soft but not mushy and your meat cooked through.
  5. Before serving, taste the broth and add salt and pepper and needed. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 22, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Kick Out Cancer with Cabbage

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this weeks fall soup recipe is packed with a food that can help us kick cancer in the kitchen. By cooking and eating whole, unprocessed foods you are taking a huge step towards preventing and recovering from cancer and many other diseases. True health really begins in your kitchen!

The American Cancer Society’s key recommendation to reduce the risk of cancer is to eat cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. This group of vegetables contains more phytochemicals (mostly in the form of glucocsinolates) with demonstrable anticancer properties than any other vegetable family. Popular studies have shown that the higher the intake of these vegetables the lower the rates of cancer, particularly colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer.

Cabbage is “king” of the cruciferous vegetable family because of its extra-special health powers. The glucocsinolates in cabbage work primarily by increasing antioxidant mechanisms and improving the body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful chemicals and hormones. That means keeping cancer out and inviting health in!

If that wasn’t enough, cabbage also has more vitamin C than oranges. A weakened immune system doesn’t just open you up for the common cold but also creates a more hospitable environment for cancer.

Fall is a great time to fill up on cabbage and all its amazing nutritional benefits. The market has beautiful tender cabbage that is sweet, crisp and perfect for a warming soup. Stop by the demonstration tent between 3-5 pm this afternoon to see how this delicious soup is made and get the first taste. You’ll never look at cabbage the same way again!

Curried Cabbage and Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

½ head green cabbage (about 16-20 ounces)
1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4-5 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into smaller than bite sized cubes
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (you can also use Indian powdered curry)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups of water or vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove any ragged leaves from the cabbage. Halve the cabbage (so you have two quarters) and remove the core. Slice the cabbage into thin strips about as thick as a pencil. You can do this with a knife or on a mandolin. Cut the long strips in half once.
  2. Warm the coconut oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes until they start to become tender and brown a bit. They may stick a bit but don’t worry. The water will help get those stuck bits off the bottom. Stir in the curry paste (or powder), garlic and onion. Cook for another minute or so.
  3. Add the water and chickpeas. Raise the heat and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it begins to soften. Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a lot of cabbage. It will collapse quite a bit.
  4. Taste your broth and add salt and pepper as needed. If you want a stronger flavor you can add more curry paste or a few shots of tamari. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestion: This soup is delicious on it’s own but I really love it with a splash of coconut milk which gives it a very distinct Thai flavor. Or, you can add less water and put in a whole can of coconut milk – also delicious! You can also add a cup of cooked brown rice or millet to make it even heartier and filling.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Meatball Soup with Fried Garlic and Greens

It’s week 2 of the Fall Soup Series! Last week I shared a delicious and warming Tuscan Bean Soup. This week I’m beefing it up with a super simple, crazy fast meatball soup.

 Eating a clean, wholesome and nutritious diet is not just about loading your plate up with heaps of vegetables. Don’t get me wrong you should still do that! But, if you are a carnivore it’s REALLY important to eat clean meat. Here are a few reasons why:

1)   CAFO’s: Also called Concentrate Feeding Operations, CAFO’s are where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on rangeland – their natural habitat. Much of the meat we consume in the U.S. comes from animals raised in CAFO’s.

2)   Stress and Inflammation: Animals living in CAFO’s are understandably stressed causing their stress hormones like cortisol to be very high. These stress hormones are very inflammatory for the animals and us when we consume their meat.

3)   Antibiotics: 80% of the antibiotics that drug companies sold in 2011 was used on animals. We are starting to see a strong connection between this high use of drugs on animals and humans suffering from antibiotic resistant infections.

Recent studies have shown that grass fed meat is higher in omega 3 fatty acids – important anti-inflammatory fats that are cardio protective than meat raised in stressful, nutritionally poor conditions.

Reading labels for meat can get a bit confusing. Ideally, you want to buy meat that is “grass fed.” Stores are carrying more and more organic and grass fed meats. However, when you look closely those meats are shipped in from another country whose organic and grass fed farming practices may not be what we imagine. Visiting the farmers market and talking to your local farmers is the surest way to get meat from happy, disease and antibiotic free animals. For more information on meat labeling check out the Environmental Working Groups Meat Eaters Guide (http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/).

Meatball Soup with Fried Garlic and Greens

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
5 cups of stock (if buying, choose organic vegetable stock from Pacific Naturals)
1 pound grass fed beef (you can substitute with turkey)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4-5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2-3 handfuls of spinach or 1 bunch of Swiss chard, ribs removed and roughly chopped
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Put stock in a pot over high heat so it can come to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place beef in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and fry until it just starts to turn golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place garlic on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
  4. Once the stock comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium-high so it continues a strong simmer. Use a small spoon to scoop out little meatballs from the beef, about two tablespoons at a time, and drop them into the boiling stock. You can lightly form them by pushing the spoon up against the side of the bowl. They don’t have to be perfectly round, just make sure they are all generally the same size. The meatballs should cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the tamari and fish sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Shortly before serving add the spinach or Swiss chard and garnish with green onion. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 4, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

The Power of Food and Cooking (Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette)

*This is an oldie, but a goodie from September, 2013*

This weekend I was reminded how much food and cooking can spread love and create connections between people. Our wedding was this past Saturday and people traveled from all over the world to celebrate with Wes and I. It was nothing short of incredible and our hearts were so full of love and gratitude.

First Look

One of the greatest gifts was having my dear friends and family around to keep us fed and nourished during the days leading up to our wedding. There was an army of amazing women flitting around my kitchen making scrambled eggs for breakfast, incredible salads for lunch and warming stews for dinner. Not only did they cook but they also did the dishes and put away leftovers! They have since left but I’m reminded of their presence when I find bowls in the cabinet for the water glasses.

These mouthwatering meals were not only essential for keeping us fueled but they created time and space for incredible conversation, connection and laughter. Despite some of the chaos, spending time in the kitchen seemed to provide a sense of calm and a place where complete strangers came together and left as friends. I was so grateful to have these ladies take care of me.

The food love didn’t stop in my kitchen! I had asked friends and family members to bring different desserts for our wedding reception to add to the homey feel of the day. I was stunned at the amazing desserts people created in their kitchens to share with us and our guests. People couldn’t wait for the cake cutting before they starting grazing on the fragrant pies, tarts and cookies!

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Today’s recipe is Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette and comes from a dear friend of mine in California. We made this together at a special event in Napa and again here before she left on Monday. She fed Wes and I all week long long with warming beef stew and scrumptious salads. (Jamie, you can come back to visit anytime!) It reminds me very much of how cooking not only feeds our stomachs, but also our hearts and souls. If you have the opportunity to cook or share a meal with someone, do it! It is an amazing gift.

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Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
ÂĽ cup freshly slivered basil leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon honey (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a mandolin slice the zucchini into thin ribbons. Place in a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss and place the sieve over a bowl. This helps to release some of the liquid from the zucchini so your dressing doesn’t become watered down.
  2. Meanwhile, use the mandolin to remove the kernels from your corn. Simply run each ear over the blade longwise. You’ll want to adjust your slicer a little thicker than for the zucchini. Notice that you may need to run the back of the cob over twice since it those kernels tend to be a bit thicker.
  3. Place the corn, tomatoes and basil leaves in a large serving bowl. Give the zucchini a gentle squeeze to remove any remaining liquid and add to the corn mixture.
  4. In a small bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt and honey (if using). The honey adds a touch of sweetness which can easily be omitted if you like. Drizzle half the dressing over the salad, toss and taste. Add more dressing if needed and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: This salad holds up well in the fridge for 2 days so it’s a good idea to make a double batch and store it for lunch or dinner the next day.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on September 19, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Apples – from doctors to dessert

The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” sounds like an overused and antiquated saying. But, don’t dismiss this incredible fall fruit so quickly! Pennsylvania apple growers produce approximately 440 million pounds of apples each year, making us the 4th largest apple producer in the country. There’s no reason to not be meeting your daily apple quota.

Apples are a rich source of pectin, a type of fiber found in fruits, that can help lower cholesterol, promote beneficial intestinal flora, and support normal colon function. They are also high in quercetin and other antioxidant flavonoids that can help protect you from cancer, heart disease, and asthma. Apples pack a punch in vitamin C, making them an ideal food to support your immune system as we head into the colder months. Sure puts that old saying into perspective, doesn’t it?

When eating apples or any other fruit it is a good idea to pair it with some form of fat. This will help keep your blood sugar stable and makes it a more satisfying meal. Almond and peanut butter, a handful of raw nuts, cheese or yogurt are all great additions to any fruit.

I always have apples in my fruit bowl at home. Not only are they a perfect on-the-go snack, but they can be added to everything from soups to salads. A slice of crisp apple on a sandwich can also be a nice addition.

And then there is dessert! Apples are great baked in the oven, in pies and crisps. However, sometimes we want a sweet treat without turning on the oven and dealing with 50 ingredients. Not to mention all the clean up! This weeks’ recipe is a “jack of all trades”. You can use it as a delicious dessert, a quick midday snack and it’s even perfect for breakfast. That’s right! Serve this dessert for breakfast and your kids will never leave hungry for school again!

One delicious way to serve this recipe is with some homemade granola. I make big batches of granola every few weeks and Mr. Wes eats it by the handfuls. So, not wanting to leave you high and dry I’ve included my granola recipe below for you. Enjoy!

Sautéed Cinnamon Apples with Maple Yogurt and Chopped Nuts

Ingredients

½ tablespoon organic butter
2 medium apples, chopped
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup plain organic yogurt
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
drizzle of vanilla extract
handful of chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans are great)

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan heat the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped apples and cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples and stir until well combined. Divide the apples into 4 serving bowls.
  3. In a medium bowl mix the yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla. Spoon the maple yogurt over the apples and top with chopped nuts or granola. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: You can make the apples ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Add them to your morning oatmeal or granola.

Maple Granola with Nuts and Seeds

Ingredients

4 cups rolls oats (aka old fashioned oats. If you are gluten free pick up the gluten free oats from Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups crispy brown rice cereal (Erewhon is a good brand. Often found in the gluten free section of the grocery store)
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
ÂĽ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup apple sauce
½ cup real maple syrup (can also use ¼ cup brown rice syrup and ¼ cup maple syrup)
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the applesauce, syrup, molasses and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour wet mixture over dry and mix until everything is well coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to two large baking sheets and spread out evenly.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes and then give the granola a little stir. Often the pieces on the outside of the sheet brown faster. Bake for another 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before putting into jars. It will not be totally crunchy when you take it out of the oven. That happens as it cools and dries.
  6. Add the raisins to each pan and toss until well combined. Store your granola in jars in your pantry. Enjoy!

Variations: Experiment with your own mix of nuts, seeds and spices. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower and sesame seeds are all great additions. You can also add more cinnamon or sweetners if you prefer. You can also use cooked canned pumpkin in place of the applesauce. Just be sure the only ingredient is pumpkin and it doesn’t have added sugars, spices or flavorings.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on September 5, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Thai Coconut Curry – Boost your health and your taste buds

 Oh curry, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!

You are flexible. You’ll accommodate everything from green beans to butternut squash and everyone from meat eaters to vegetarians.
You are reliable. Whether summer or winter, you’re a dependable dish that is delicious any time of year.
You are forgiving. With just a few pantry staples you’re a sure thing. It’s virtually impossible to mess you up.
You are simple and straightforward. You might seem hard and tough on the outside, but you’re actually a cinch to make. Busted!
You are exciting and adventurous! Your flavor is complex, exotic and it lights up my taste buds!

Ok, ok. I’ll stop there. You get the idea. Curry is amazing! When I’m waxing poetic about my craziness for curry I often encounter people who tell me how much they dislike it. Here’s the thing. There are so many different kinds of curry, from different regions around the world, all with different flavors. If you’ve had a crippling curry experience, don’t give up! There is a curry dish out there that I know you will love. Perhaps it’s today’s recipe?!

So what is curry exactly?

I like to compare it to chili. There are an infinite number of chili recipes out there. You can have hot chili and mild chili. Chili with beef, turkey or only beans. Some people use ketchup, while others use tomato sauce. And, the type and amount of herbs and spices can be wildly different from recipe to recipe. The same goes for curry.

The two biggest distinctions are Indian versus Thai curry. Indian curry uses curry powder, a powder mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper and other spices. Most Thai curry dishes use either a green or red curry paste in which the base is made up of red or green chili’s, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and other fragrant herbs and spices. Thai curry typically uses coconut milk where Indian curry does not. These are just the basics. As with chili, each region and family has their own unique spin on this adaptable dish.

Today’s Thai curry recipe packs a nutritional punch while being a very satisfying and fulfilling meal. Coconut oil and coconut milk are some of the few plant sources of lauric acid, also found in human breast milk, that enhance brain function and the immune system. They are also an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, the kind that the body metabolizes into energy rather than storing as fat. Gotta love that! Don’t fall for the “reduce fat coconut milk.” It’s just thinned with water. Instead, buy the full fat kind and cut it with water yourself.

You can even take your curry up a notch on the nutritional scale by loading it up with a variety of veggies. Substituting a can of chickpeas for the meat is an easy way to turn this dish into the perfect vegetarian meal. Plus, this recipe is food allergy! It’s free of dairy, gluten, corn and nuts some of the more common food allergens. But, be warned! If you are eating curry in a restaurant chances are it’s not gluten free. Many places use soy sauce, which contains wheat. Ask your server before ordering!

So, have I convinced you that you must give curry a chance?

Great! Come see me at the farmers market today from 3-5 pm. I’ll be demonstrating this recipe and you can get a delicious bite. I promise you’ll be filling your bags with zucchini and running home to make this. I’ll see you there!

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini

Ingredients

½ tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
handful fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves, sliced
salt to taste
1 cup water, optional 

Instructions

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a large glass measuring pitcher or bowl. Add a can of water and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined and let the onion soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and stir until it is coated in the oil and onion. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the zucchini begins to soften a bit. Add the curry paste and stir until the zucchini is well coated. Continue to cook for about a minute until the curry paste becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce and tamari. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the zucchini is tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Give it a taste! You can add more curry paste, tamari or a pinch of salt if it needs more flavor. If adding more curry paste, be sure to squish it on the side of the pot with a spoon so it dissolves into the broth. Otherwise, someone will get a curry paste surprise! Serve over brown basmati rice and a side of cooled cucumber salad. Enjoy!

Cooking tip: If you prefer a thinner, more soup-like curry feel free to add some more water with the coconut milk. You can use eggplant in place of the zucchini or add shredded cabbage towards the end for an added crunch. If you want to reduce the cook-time even more pick up a whole roasted chicken instead of the raw chicken. Shred the meat and toss it in during step 4.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on August 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes