Recipes

Low sugar pear and blueberry crumble

pear-and-blueberry-crumble

 

Sugar is just no good for the human body. It makes us store fat, it encourages bad gut microbes, and it causes inflammation. Because of all that, I limit my intake pretty radically compared to the average American. I do have my times of the year when I let myself indulge a bit, and that usually works like a charm. However, the Thanksgiving to New Year period is a little hard on my sugar rule. I do well, but having the random fancy chocolate, piece of pie, or fabulous mimosa makes it hard to go back to my less sweet ways. The cravings are strong, my friend.

So I have two choices: give up the cause or find a way back. I always want to find my way back because giving up the cause is giving into feeling like crap. Enter my bridge dessert, a dessert I make to help me bridge the cravings while getting back on the wagon. And this year’s dessert is perfect; it’s full of healthy fats and has only the natural sugars of the fruit. The key is to sauté the fruit to bring out the sugars and make them all pie-like.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Low-Sugar Fruit Crumble

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Crumble Ingredients 

  • 1  1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cups rolled oats (optional: leave out to make it grain free)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBS coconut oil

Filling Ingredients 

  • 4-6 Bosc Pears cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cups of blueberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBS coconut oil

Tools

  • Food processor
  • Cast iron skillet (You can use a pie plate if you haven’t gotten your cast iron yet.)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.
  2. Place all crumble ingredients into food processor and process until well incorporated. I like mine to be almost dough-like with some texture.
  3. Heat 1TBS of coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add pears and cinnamon stick. Sauté until the pears start to release their juices.
  4. Add blueberries. Continue to sautéing for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove cinnamon stick.
  6. Cover fruit mixture with crumble mixture.
  7. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

 

Recipes

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
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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!

 

Recipes

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.

Recipes

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
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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!

 

Recipes

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
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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!

 

 

 

Recipes

Orange you glad you listened to your body?

orange foodThere are two things that I find keep me going through the day: my love of puns (seriously it is a deep and abiding love) and following my intuition when it comes to what I put in my body. Today, for instance, I’ve been craving orange vegetables like you would not believe.  Because of this, I followed my gut and had a pumpkin pie smoothie for a midmorning snack,  butternut squash lasagna leftovers for lunch (check out my e-book coming soon for this beauty), and then made my family’s favorite sweet potato falafel recipe from 101 Cookbooks.

It was a day of listening to my body’s need for vitamins and nutrients, like alpha and beta carotene, that fight cancer, protect the eyes, and help support the immune system. I wish I knew why my body needed this right now. It could be that it’s getting to be cold and flu season and my immune system needs some boosting, or maybe it was something more basic. Whatever the reason, it just goes to show how amazing the body is at nudging us in the direction of health when we give it a chance to speak.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 large or 2 small
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy
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pumpkin pie smoothie

  • 1.5 bananas (preferably frozen)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (fresh, frozen, or out of a can)
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk or milk
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1TBS flaxseed (optional)
  • 1TBS hempseed hearts (optional)
  • 1 cup ice

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until nice and smooth. Enjoy

Recipes

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
Recipes

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!