Seasonal, local, delicious vegetable at my door? Yes, please!

I just discovered Farmhouse Delivery which delivers locally sourced vegetable, meats, cheeses, milk, coffee, kombucha, and a whole lot of other stuff to you. And right now they are offering to waive the $20 membership fee so you can try out their service when you use my offer code: HolisticHealth.

I chose the large vegetable bushel which arrived the Friday before Spring Break. When I said I arrived, I mean that they brought it to my door! So while I was packing for our Spring Break extravaganza, high-quality, seasonal,  and sustainably grown produce was being delivered to me. Secondly, the produce is wonderful; I may or may not have sampled the radishes a little too much.:)

Finally, it made my meal planning a breeze. If you have read my meal planning tips before, you know I keep my meals vegetable-centered. I make the vegetable the main focus of the meal with protein and/or starch on the side. It’s a great way to turn that SAD (Standard American Diet) on its head and to ensure you get the nutrients your cells need.

I knew that half of this lot would be hitting the road with us so I planned to grill the beets that night and do a quick and easy sauteed with kale to serve alongside our obligatory lake veggie burgers. The following evening I made a big salad with the greens, the carrots, and 2.5 radishes and topped with a veggie patty. We eat a lot of Good Seed burgers at the lake.

When we got home,  I used the spinach and broccoli in a vegetable stir fry and the remaining carrots and the celery in this lovely lentil stew from the Detoxinista for lunches. Have you ever tried farm fresh celery? Turns out, celery is delicious. Who knew?

The whole experience was wonderful, and the company just oozes integrity and passion. You can see this in their mission statement and the profiles of all their producers. So if you live in the Austin or Houston areas, you really need to check out Farmhouse Delivery. Their products are amazing. You can even order a meal kit full of fresh locally sourced food through their Supper Club to help you skip the meal planning altogether.

So sign up today and use the HolisticHealth offer code to waive that $20 membership fee. There really isn’t anything quite like loading up on a bunch of vegetables to improve your health.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Overnight breakfast miracle!

overnight-oats-bite

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but during the week it can also be the most hectic one.  My husband and I wake up and start the morning at a dead run. We’re doing our best to motivate the older kiddo to get up and ready while trying to convince the youngest one that it’s not time to play. In all that chaos, we have to track down homework, track down that smell, and somehow manage to get breakfast in before heading out for the day. Enter overnight oats.

Like the name suggests, this is one of those meals you prepare ahead of time, throw it in the fridge, and retrieve when you are ready to eat. It’s simple, nutritious, and delicious.

Overnight oats

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Ingredients

  1. 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (I use Bob Redmills gluten free oats)
  2. 2 TBS chia seeds
  3. 1 Banana
  4. 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp of vanilla (optional)
  6. 1/2 cup of yogurt or 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
  7. Filtered water

Optional add-ins

  • a handful of chopped nuts ( I like slivered almonds or raw walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh berries
  • 1 TBS unsweetened dried coconut
  • a handful of cacao nibs

Method

  1. In a bowl mix all dry ingredients together, including any add-ins.
  2. Add yogurt or non-dairy milk and berries if using. Mix
  3. If using yogurt, add a few TBS of water until the oat mixture looks good and moist.
  4. Divide mixture between two pint jars or similar sized container with a lid.
  5. Place in the fridge for at least two hours before eating.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

New greens for a new you!

cauliflower-with-greens

or at least a new green to try.:)

Just the other day, I was experimenting in the kitchen trying to find the best way to make cauliflower tortillas without eggs or dairy. My experiment was a bust…ish because while I was busy failing with my tortillas I also “discovered” roasted cauliflower greens. Which means I chopped off all the greens to get to the cauliflower and realized that feeding it to my compost was going to be wasteful but storing it for a vegetable broth was going to take up wayyyy too much space.

So I did what I so often do with my vegetables; I covered them in coconut oil, sprinkled them with sea salt, and roasted them at 350 degrees. The result was AMAZING! I’m not going to lie, several of the lovely leaves did not make it to the table that night. But that’s just part of a test kitchen, right?

Roasted cauliflower greens

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  1. Cauliflower greens
  2. 2TBS coconut oil or olive oil
  3. Sea salt to taste

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut leaves from the base and rinse.
  • Message greens with the olive oil and salt in either a large bowl ocauliflower-greensr in a big freezer bag.
  • Lay each piece without overlapping too much on a pan that’s good for roasting. I like my TeamFar Stainless Steel Baking Sheet. Pictured here and available at the link above.
  • Roast for 20 to 40 minutes depending on how your oven works and how crunchy you want the leaves. I opted for 30 minutes and loved the little bit of crunch in the leaves and the flavorful stems.
  • Enjoy!

 

Here is what the greens looked like on my plate next to my quilupa. It was delicious!

quilupa-and-cauliflower-greens

 

Here is my recipe for cauliflower rice that has successfully graduated from the test kitchen. Coming soon, a dairy-free, egg-free cauliflower tortilla (darn it!).

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Ghee, the miracle fat

ghee

Ghee (clarified butter) is a cooking oil that has been around forever. Okay, not forever, but a really long time. It is mentioned in the Ayurveda text as the best oil to use because it helps us digest our food and build healthier bodies. While these texts were written thousands of years ago, our modern science acknowledges that they had it right.

From an article entitled The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation researchers found that the consumption of ghee decreases “total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides; decreased liver total cholesterol, triglycerides, and cholesterol esters; and a lower level of nonenzymatic-induced lipid peroxidation in liver homogenate.” So it’s good for your liver and your heart!

Dr. Susan Blum recommends ghee to those with autoimmune problems because it  “reduces inflammation and helps balance the immune cells in your gut.” To top it all off, even though it is a dairy product, people like me that have a sensitivity to dairy can use it because the dairy proteins are removed. Oh, and it tastes really magical, kind of like Christmas.

I use ghee when making eggs or cooking anything that requires fat.  I put a dollop in my coffee, and I have been known to soak dates in ghee to have a nice decadent yet health-supportive treat.

You can find this miracle oil at your fancier grocery stores (like Natural Grocers and Whole Foods), online , or at your local Indian stores. However, if you want to save money like I do, you can make it.

Ghee

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients and tools

  1. Stove top
  2. One-half to one pound grass-fed butter
  3. A heavy duty sauce pan
  4. A fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth
  5. Pint- or quart-sized canning jar

Technic

  • Place butter in the saucepan.
  • Turn the burner on low. ghee-foam
  • Once the butter is liquid, turn the temperature to medium.
  • Once a foam appears set your timer for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • A second foam will form, and you will hear a lot of crackling. (This part feels a lot like making popcorn. Listen and as the crackling starts to slow down, you know it’s ready.)
  • Once ready, pour the ghee through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a pint- or quart-sized jar. Brown milk solids will be left in the strainer and at the bottom of your pan.
  • Be careful, it will be hot!

You can leave ghee on the counter for up to a month, which is a great way to remind yourself to use it for cooking.

Enjoy!

Detox 2: Love your lymphatic system

 

lymphatic

Our lymphatic system is amazing. I think of it as the vacuum of our body, just sucking up all the toxins so our bodies can keep on keeping on.  This system runs throughout our bodies and keeps things flowing by bathing our cells in nutrients, recovering fluid (waste created by our circulatory system), cleaning it up, and returning at a rate of about 3 liters of fluid per day. It also helps our digestive system by taking toxins and pathogens that weren’t Lymphatic_system_(vector).svgdestroyed by the process of digestion out of our gut and either flushing them out or organizing an immune defense against them.

The lymphatic system works with our skin, lungs, colon, liver, and kidneys to remove the toxins coming into our bodies and created by our bodies. This amazing system touches every cell, every organ, every tissue and is vital to life.  If the lymphatic system were to stop, we would become very toxic quickly and die. Unfortunately, the only time this system gets much love is when your doctor goes poking around your neck looking for a poor little lymph node that became inflamed fighting off an infection.

In order to help the lymphatic system do its job, we need to give it a little love. Here are some ways that you can start nourishing your lymphatic system today.

1. Move. Possibly the coolest thing about the lymphatic system is that there is no pump moving the lymph throughout our system so our movement is the pump.   So move, especially when you have been sitting for a long period of time. Even if it’s just a brisk walk or some chair stretching. Better yet, get a sweat going so you can really help your body get those toxins out.  You move = your lymph moves. You sweat = toxins move out of the body.

2. Dry Skin Brushing. Seventy percent of your lymphatic system is located right under your skin.  Before you take your shower or do yoga, get down to your birthday suit and  grab a dry brush like this one. Now brush all over your body, but remember to be considerate of those sensitive areas like nipples. I found this video by a lymphatic drainage therapist and fellow Lupus conquer to be very informative, and it completely changed the way I do my own skin brushing. Bonus: Skin brushing is a great way to improve how your skin looks.

3. Reduce your stress. According to Dr. John Douillard, stress hormones create a very acidic environment which gunks up our lymphatic system’s ability to do its job. I know that this recommendation sounds overwhelming; it did for me for several years. But stress management is paramount to health, and it can be done through little tweaks to our lives. Check out my stress management series here for some practical tips. There’s an added bonus to using deep breathing exercises to de-stress because the lungs are one of those pathways the lymphatic system relies on to get toxins out.

I hope these tips help you to start thinking about how you can support your body’s natural detox processes and provide you with concrete ways to actually do it. Of course, the lymphatic system can’t flush those toxins if the rest of the detox pathways are clogged, so stay tuned to learn more about ways to support those processes as well. For more in this series

 

Gut friendly chickpea “tuna” salad

chickpea

It has been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but I thought this one might be a nice addition to my gut health series. This is one of those dishes that I make a lot of on Sunday night and eat throughout the week for lunch. It’s also a big hit served with tortilla chips at potlucks.

Now, I know that not everyone can eat beans. I couldn’t until I healed my gut sufficiently, and even now I have to be careful — like preparing beans using the method listed at the end of this post. Also, the addition of gut-healthy bacteria from the probiotic pickles and Greek yogurt enhances the digestibility of the dish, which is why I recommend waiting several hours before eating it.

The recipe below was inspired by several recipes I found around the web, most notably from Oh She Glows and the Minimalist Baker. H/T to these great resources that constantly keep me inspired.

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy... like really really easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas*
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 big probiotic pickles, finely diced (like these  or these)
  • 4 TBS probiotic pickle juice
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or vegan mayo
  • 1 to 1.5 TBS chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Method

  1. Mash chickpeas with a potato masher. The goal isn’t to mash them all, just to get some squished down.
  2. Toast sunflower seeds in a skillet until lightly toasted. Just a few minutes over medium heat will do it.
  3. Mix all ingredients (told you it was easy!)
  4. Place in the refrigerator overnight. You don’t have to do this last bit, but I find it incorporates the flavors better and makes the beans easier to digest.

Serve

  • On toast, if toast works for you.
  • On crackers, GF or regular
  • Atop greens with avocado (pictured above).
  • With tortilla chips
  • As a side with anything else you might be eating.

*The best bet for making chickpeas (or any beans) is to soak them overnight and then cook with a piece of Kombu. Kombu helps to break down those sugars in beans that lead to gas.  You remove the kombu before using, but I find that a few piece get left behind, which is totally fine.

 

Enjoy!

Easy, quick, and yummy salmon salad

salmon

As I’ve stated before, I like to eat and I like to eat well. Somedays it’s easier than others to make that happen. If I’m on my game, I have lovely leftovers waiting in the fridge. But occasionally I don’t, and last week I had one of those days. Instead of opting for eating out, I decided to see what I could concoct in a matter of a few minutes using what I had on hand. As we know, necessity is the mother of all invention, and this time was no different. Enter the salmon salad. This delicious meal is chock-full of omega 3 and probiotics while being rich in flavor.

Salmon salad with dill and capers

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 can or 6 oz of wild Alaskan salmon*
  • 1/4 cup of full-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs + chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbs + capers
  • 1 tbs + lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Directions

mix all ingredients, tasting and adding as you go to get the exact flavor you desire. Once the salad is to your liking you can serve it on anything that fits your individual dietary needs. I served mine on top of  zucchini noodles I had left over, but you could also serve it with leftover pasta or quinoa. If you don’t have leftovers, throw it on a green salad or pull out some hearty crackers. Just use what you have on hand, and I’m sure it will be perfect.

I hope this recipe inspires you to get in the kitchen and create some lovely and nutritious meals for you and your loved ones. Let me know how it goes!

Delicious and filling quinoa porridge

quinoa

 

I am going to be real with you right now: I don’t really like quinoa all that much. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s easy to prepare, that it’s gluten-free, and that it’s bursting with nutrients, but the flavor…meh. With this burden to bear, I have developed several recipes that give me all the punch while downplaying the flavor.  Like my recipe for the quilupa (a favorite at my house) or this lovely quinoa porridge. Like all of my quinoa recipes, this one starts out with premade quinoa that I have in the fridge. I usually make 2 cups of quinoa on a Sunday night while I’m cooking my dinner so I can use the quinoa throughout the week. Two cups dried quinoa equals about 6 cups of cooked, so it’s rather a lot. If you need instructions on cooking quinoa check out The Kitchn’s how-to. Personally, when preparing my quinoa for the week, I leave out the oil and don’t use broth so I can use the quinoa in lots of different ways.

Quinoa Porridge

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: silly easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 TBS of coconut oil
  • 1 or 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 to 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 to 1 cup full-fat coconut milk or non-dairy milk of your choice (this is really dependent on how liquidy you like your porridge)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen fruits of your choice. Today I used frozen blueberries but have also used chopped apple, strawberries, and pear. Go with what you have on hand or what you have a hankerin’ for.
  • a handful of nuts and seeds of your choice. I used pecans and hempseed, but add what you have.

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. Add bananas and saute until they caramelize.
  3. Add cinnamon and salt, and stir.
  4. Add quinoa and stir to incorporate.
  5. Add in coconut milk starting with 1/2 cup and increasing until you get the consistency you like.
  6. Add in the remaining ingredients.
  7. Dish up and enjoy!

 

Cauliflower Rice

mixmix

I have been having a hankering for Bibimbap, a Korean rice-based dish with vegetables and protein. Unfortunately, I don’t have stone bowls needed to make authentic bibimbap, but I’ve created something that is close enough to satisfy my cravings.  It’s a great meal for my family because it allows for so much flexibility. I prepare the vegetables and protein I want to get out of the fridge, and everyone tops their rice with their choices. Last night I sauteed shiitake mushrooms, bok choi, homemade kimchi (look for a post on fermented food soon); cut up some carrots; and washed a handful of mixed lettuce. The only  problem is that I wasn’t feeling like rice. In fact, over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling that I’ve been eating a few too many grains. I do not think there is anything wrong with grains, I just know that from time to time I need a grain break. Enter cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower rice is exactly what it sounds like: cauliflower cut up into rice size pieces. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable* which means it supports our body’s detox process, provides antioxidants, and fights inflammation. It is also loaded with fiber that feeds all the healthy microbes in our guts, which is so important for our overall health.

To make your own cauliflower rice:

  • cauliflowerFirst, Cut the desired amount of cauliflower into smaller pieces. On this night, I used about a fourth of a large head of cauliflower, which produced roughly 1 1/2 cups worth of rice. That was enough for my meal and one serving for the next day.

 

 

 

 

  • Next, place florcauliflower riceets in a food processor and pulse until you get a rice-like consistency. At this point, your rice is done or you can add a little heat.  Those of us with thyroid disease or that just prefer warm rice proceed to the last step.

 

  • Finally, mix the cauliflower with about 1/2 to 1 TBS fat of your choice (ghee or coconut oil are my go-tos) and toss it in a pot with a little less than 1 TBS water. Lightly steam the rice for 5 to 10 minutes. Season and serve in place of  rice  in any dish your heart desires.

I really enjoyed my cauliflower rice. I won’t be having it all the time because I try to limit the number of cruciferous vegetables I eat in a week, but it’s a nice alternative when I’m feeling the need to de-grain.  I would love to hear this recipe worked out for you in the comments below.

*For those of us with thyroid disease, whether or not you should eat cruciferous vegetables can be a difficult choice. Some argue that, as a goitrogenic food, it should be completely removed from the diet as it inhibits iodine from being properly utilized by the thyroid. Others argue that consuming a normal amount of cooked cruciferous vegetables will not have a negative impact. Do your own research, speak to a trusted professional, and, as always, listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

Health on the Cheap: Clean cheap and healthy

cleaners

When we think about being healthy, we spend a lot of time focusing on what we put in our bodies. We think about what we eat or don’t eat, what we drink or don’t drink. But we don’t often think about the things that get into our bodies through the air we breathe and the things we touch.

Sometime around puberty, I started having a horrible reaction to the cleaning product aisle in the grocery store. Luckily, I had a sweet and understanding mom that didn’t make me go down there. But as I got older and started having to buy my own cleaning products, I had to venture in. It was horrible. I tried to hold my breath, but it was difficult, and my lungs just felt like they were trying to jump out of my body in the hopes of getting some fresh air.

And honestly, it’s no wonder. From the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

Our research has turned up products loaded with extremely toxic compounds banned in some countries. Some of their ingredients are known to cause cancer, blindness, asthma and other serious conditions. Others are greenwashed, meaning that they are not, as their ad hype claims, environmentally benign. Still more hide the facts about their formulations behind vague terms like “fragrance.”

The EWG has found chemicals in household cleaners that damage red blood cells, bones, eyes, and lungs and are known carcinogens. Do we really want this stuff around us? Around our kids…pets…friends we like? I say no. Now, you could go replace the cleaners you have with ones that are safer. If that’s your jam, I recommend checking out the EWG amazing database to see which cleaners score the best grades. If, however, you are like me and need/want to save some money, then I have some tips for you. The only main ingredients you will need are spray bottles, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and white vinegar. I buy the biggest containers of vinegar and baking soda for under $5 every six weeks or so.

  • Mirrors and kitchen and bathroom surfaces — Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray down your surface or mirrors and wipe away. I tend to do an initial spray on all my surfaces, set up my podcast, and then start wiping away.
  •  Toilets and stains — If the vinegar spray isn’t strong enough to get the job done, then I add in some baking soda. A little baking soda with a bit of elbow grease gets most stains on your counter out (at least in my experiences), and adding baking soda to the bowl of your toilet is an excellent and safe replacement for toilet cleaner. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have the clever little spout to get the goods under the bowls rim. If one of you smart people figure this one out, shoot me a line. Until then, I just use my toilet brush to scrub the baking soda around and clean my toilet.
  • Ring around the tub or sink — For ring o’ kid around your tub and other surfaces that have a build-up of film, I fill a bowl with baking soda, add a squirt of dish soap, and just enough water to create a nice paste. I’ve found that covering my tub in the paste before I clean my other surfaces significantly cuts down the time I need to scrub the tub.
  • Clothes — Dryer sheets are horrible for you. Almost all (even the organic ones) get a D or F by the EWG because of the potential damage they do to our skin and respiratory system. So instead of putting a sheet of “spring flowers” in your dryer, use vinegar. My ingenious husband has recently discovered this formula.
    • 4 rags (we cut up old washcloths)
    • a 1/4 cup of vinegar
    • a jar with a fitted lid.
    • (Optional) a few drops of essential oils. Make sure that none of your people or pets are sensitive to EOs before you use them in this mix.

We throw a rag or two (depending on the size) into the dryer with our wet clothes. When the clothes are              dry we put the rag back in the jar, shake it up, possibly add some more vinegar if it’s getting low, and like            that, we are ready for the next load.

These are just a few ways I keep my budget in check and work to create a safer and healthier environment for all the living beings in my life.  I hope this inspires you to investigate what you are exposing yourself to on a daily basis and take action if those things don’t serve you. For more tips on living healthy on the cheap check out Health on the Cheap: Have a plan! ,  Health on the Cheap: Eat all the produce! , and Health on the Cheap: Use every bit!.

Green and blue smoothie

 

yumy

My whole family has been fighting off the plague. Okay, it’s probably not the plague.  Actually, it was baby’s-first-week-in-daycare-and-she-brought-back-a-bunch-of-weird-little-kid-germ thing. You’ve probably heard of it. Little kid germs are some tough suckers, so we spent the weekend resting and eating healing foods like bone broth and shots of Fire Cider for my husband and me.  We are on the mend, but I’m taking extra care to nourish and support my immune system.  One method of support is this lovely smoothie, which is full of things my body needs like avocado, banana, flaxseed, spinach, blueberries, and a touch of coconut milk.  I chose these ingredients because 1.) I had them and 2.) they have powerful nutrients that I felt my body needed.

Avocado — The heart healthy fat in avocados helps the body to absorb all the nutrients that are going into this smoothie, making it a great base.

Banana — The sweetness in a banana is a great reason to add it to a smoothie, but it has so many other benefits. Bananas have vitamins, minerals, and fiber our bodies need, and they help to keep a good balance of Bifidobacteria in our lower intestines, which in turn keeps our guts healthy. Healthy gut = healthy you.

Blueberries — These also add sweetness and turn the smoothie a lovely purple all while delivering antioxidants, vitamin K and C and more beneficial fiber.

Spinach — Spinach is a powerhouse and a great source of greens for people that are watching their intake of cruciferous vegetables. In addition to all the lovely vitamins and minerals, research seems to show that spinach helps to protect the lining of our gut from inflammation.

Flaxseed — Adding ground flaxseed to anything you eat is a great way to get a big dose of omega-3 fatty acids, a fat that helps with all manner of things. It helps reduce inflammation and lower triglyceride levels. Researchers believe it may even protect us from Alzheimer’s. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of my diet.

Green and blue smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: silly easy
  • Print

In your blender, blend together the following:

  1. 1/2 avocado
  2. 1 banana
  3. 2 handfuls of washed baby spinach
  4. 1 cup frozen blueberries
  5. 1.5 TBS ground flaxseed (optional)
  6. 1/4 cup pineapple (optional)
  7. the contents of 1 probiotic capsule (optional)
  8. enough coconut milk or other non-dairy milk to turn the ingredients into a smoothie.
  9. 1 to 2 tsp of hemp seeds to top it off
  10. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Vegetable Pho

pho

I love pho so much, especially when its cold outside and I’m feeling a cold come on. Unfortunately, there is only one place in my area that sells vegan, gluten-free pho, and it’s all the way across town. But this time, instead of giving in and jumping in my car, I went into the kitchen to see if I could figure it out myself. I’m happy to say that with this easy recipe I might just be done with drives across town.

Not only is this a delightful and easy meal, but it’s also a great way to get some more vegetables into your diet.

Vegetarian Pho

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Broth

  • 3 pieces of whole star anise
  • 5 pieces of whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10-15 black peppercorns
  • 1.5 inch ginger cut in to smaller chunks
  • 1/4 a medium size yellow onion
  • 4 “no beef ” bullion cubes in 8 cups of boiling water or 8 cups of your choice of broth (A non-vegan but wonderful idea is to use bone broth)
  • 1 TBS  gluten-free tamari  (optional)

Soup goodies

  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (shiitake, white, or baby bella)
  • 1 or 2 carrots
  • 1 to 2 cups broccoli
  • TBS coconut oil
  • 1/2 package rice noodles (I use brown rice seaweed noodles from Star Anise Foods).

Topping (optional but delicious)

  1. Cilantro,
  2. Basil
  3. Jalapeno
  4. Lime

Instructions

  1. Throw all the broth ingredients into a 3 quart pan and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for as long as you like. I simmered mine while I was preparing the next part of the soup.
  2. Chop your vegetables into bite size pieces.
  3. Throw the veggies in to a 6 quart pot with coconut oil and saute for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. With a strainer over the 6 quart  pot pour the broth into the vegetables. Your broth should be a little like a concentrate. Add 2 more cups boiling water and the rice noodles. Cook on medium high until the noodles are tender (usually just a minute or two).
  5. Serve with cilantro, basil, jalapeno, and lime wedges.
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Quinoa pizza, chalupa, quilupa?

 

 

quilupa-and-cauliflower-greens

My oldest kiddo is a super picky eater and has been since she started
solids. She is okay about trying things, but for the most part, she would rather just eat a veggie burger or a PB&J sandwich. The rest of us like to eat a more diverse diet, which leads to a great deal of experimentation to see if everyone’s taste buds can align.  This is how the make-your-own Mexican pizza/chalupa or quilupa, as my husband has coined it, has come into being.

First you start with about 2 cups cooked quinoa. I’ve found this works best when it’s leftover from a previous meal and had about a day or so in the fridge. For reference, 1 cup dried quinoa makes about 3 cups cooked.  Pro tip: buy your quinoa in bulk or online to save some dough.

Speaking of dough, that’s what the quinoa will become after you mix it in a food processor with garlic, chili powder, salt, and an egg.

quinoa dough ball

 

Next, roll the dough out to make the pizza crust or chalupa/quilupa part of the dish. At this point, you have just used a superfood to create the base for a really wonderful, kid-approved dinner.

Quinoa pizza

Once baked, add the topping of your choice to make it a meal. We usually have a refried bean base along with an  assortment of cooked and raw vegetables, and always, ALWAYS a freshly made guacamole.

Quilupa


Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Oven
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment Paper

Ingredients

Quinoa Base

  1.  2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  2. 1/2 to 1 TBS chili powder
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 2 cups pre-cooked quinoa
  5. 1 egg or 1 flax egg
  6. 1 to 2 TBS of water

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Add the first five ingredients one at a time in the food processor, giving the food processor a whirl with each new ingredient to make sure everything gets incorporated.
  3. Once all ingredients have been added, keep the machine on until a dough ball starts to form. If this doesn’t happen in the first minute, add water a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.
  4. Once the mixture is sticky and forming a bit of a ball in the food processor, scrape it out and pat it into a nice ball (see picture above). Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  5. Cover the top of the dough with another sheet of parchment and pat down until you have a nice flat surface.
  6. With the parchment still covering the dough, use a rolling pin and roll out the dough until its about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely brown and the edges start to peel away from the sheet.


FixinsOnce the the quinoa base is ready to go, each person loads theirs up with whatever they like best. Tonight’s options were walnut “taco meat,” guacamole, sautéed kale, refried adzuki beans, and shredded carrots and beets. The most difficult part of this meal was figuring out what to call it.                                                                                                                                                                                            My picky eater proudly decorated hers with almost everything except the kale before devouring it. She wanted me to tell you-all  that she “liked it and you should make it.”  If that’s not a glowing endorsement, I’m not sure I know what is.   Enjoy!harpers finishedfinished

Easy dinner for your manic (any) day

Tempeh with brown rice and seaweed noodles with a miso sauce.
Tempeh with brown rice and seaweed noodles with a miso sauce.

I want so badly to have the Sundays I was promised as a kid, “My I don’t have to run day.” But I do have to run…a lot.  To deal with my manic Sundays that often bleed into my Mondays, I like to get in an easy, yummy meal that will satisfy the whole family. Enter the tempeh bowl.

Ingredients

1 package of tempeh (Feel free to use your protein of choice but you will need to change the name of the dish.)

1 bunch of kale (Chard works too if you are trying to reduce cruciferous vegetables.)

6oz of mushrooms

1 box rice noodles (We prefer brown rice and seaweed noodles – spaghetti squash or spiraled cut veggies would make the meal grain-free.)

2 to 3 TBS Tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos

3 TBS coconut oil or ghee

Sauce (Optional but delicious.)

2 to 3 TBS tahini

1 TBS miso paste (Any color will work. I used red for this one.)

1/4 cup + apple cider vinegar (I add ACV until I get the consistency I like, which is a bit runny.)

Directions

  1. Prepare noodles according to instructions on box.
  2. Prep the tempeh by steaming it for 10 minutes. This helps absorb the flavor. (Optional)
  3. Once steamed, cut the tempeh in to 2 by 1 inch rectangles and place in a bowl  with the Tamari/soy/coconut aminos. Set aside.
  4. Wash and chop the kale and mushrooms.
  5. Using 1 TBS  of oil, pan fry the tempeh until you get some nice brown edges. About 5 minutes.
  6. Using 1to 2 TBS of  oil, sauté mushrooms for 1 or 2 minutes.
  7. Add kale to pan and saute mushrooms and kale until the kale is soft.
  8. Salt kale and mushrooms to taste.
  9. Assemble all the amazing things you have made and top with your favorite seeds and condiments. Tonight we used the tahini miso sauce, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and ground flaxseeds.

Sauce

  1. Mix the tahini with the miso well.
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar to the tahini miso mixture until you reach the desired consistency and taste.

I like to create and share recipes that can be easily adapted for a variety of diet. I could easily see this same concept becoming a grain-free paleo meal as easily as it was a vegan meal. I hope you feel inspired to create something easy that you and your family can enjoy. Cheers!