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Tuesday Treats

In honor of today’s cooking contest, which two of my kiddos participated in, I felt a good dessert to round out the day was a must. Last year the kids also participated in the cooking contest and made raw desserts. Being there tonight, with their healthy breakfasts, made me reminisce about the raw desserts again! I guess I must have dessert on the brain, right? The breakfast presentations were so delicious and the kids could not have been more proud, as was I. It brings so much joy to my heart to see them in the kitchen, creating healthy meals. It tells me that they enjoy our times cooking as a family. This practice is setting them up for a good, healthy future. I am now sitting here, boasting pridefully! But let’s get back to my idea for  Tuesday Treats!

 

So back to the food…again, I think I have had dessert on the brain, specifically chocolate dessert…maybe its just one of those days…so here is a delicious raw chocolatey treat to end your day with. Enjoy!

 

 

TWO-LAYER RAW CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

 

FOR THE BROWNIES:

 

  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 1.5 cups pitted Medjool dates* (approx. 275g)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or fine grain sea salt
  • heaping 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • heaping 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces

 

FOR THE HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or agave nectar for a raw sweetener)
  • small pinch pink Himalayan sea salt (or fine grain sea salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  1. For the brownie: Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, one piece going each way to make it easy to lift out the brownies later on.
  2. In a food processor, process the walnuts into a fine crumb.
  3. Add the hemp seeds and the pitted dates and process until finely chopped and sticky. It should look like a Larabar in texture and appearance.
  4. Add the cacao powder, vanilla, and pink salt and process until thoroughly combined.
  5. Stir or pulse in the nibs and chopped walnuts until just combined.
  6. Evenly press the mixture into prepared square pan until smooth. You can roll it out with a pastry roller until smooth. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  7. For the chocolate topping: Melt the coconut oil over low heat in a medium pot. Remove from heat and whisk in the cacao powder, syrup, salt, and vanilla until combined and smooth.
  8. Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour on the chocolate topping. Spread out evenly. Carefully transfer the pan to the freezer on a flat, even surface. Chill for 20 + minutes or until the topping is firm enough to slice
  9. Run hot water over a knife for a minute or so, wipe quickly with towel, and carefully slide the knife into the brownies to slice (warming up the knife helps it slice more evenly without much cracking).
  10. Store leftovers in the freezer for a chocolate treat anytime.

 

Tips:

You’ll want to use soft, fresh Medjool dates for this recipe to make it easier on the processor. If your dates are firm, try soaking them in water for 30-60 minutes (and then draining well) before use.

 

Instead of the raw chocolate topping, you can melt 3/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips in lieu of the homemade chocolate.

 

This recipe and photo come from ohsheglows.com. There are many delicious raw dessert ideas there! Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in Food | March 1 st , 2016 | 0 Comments

Wheatgrass Smoothies

If you have never had a shot of wheatgrass juice, you have not had a full life experience. Many will disagree with that bold statement, but it really is an experience you should try. If you can, make it a habit. Wheatgrass is so good for you, but the taste is not for everyone. It tastes, well, just like grass! If you are like me, as a kid, you would put everything in your mouth. I would chew on grass. So the first time I tried a shot of wheatgrass, it brought back those childhood memories It made me laugh out loud really. Of course as a child, I had no idea that wheatgrass existed and was good for you. Not sure the lawn grass I tried was beneficial. If there would have been wheatgrass smoothies when I was a kid, I might have thought it was weird. I am thrilled they exist now!

 

After regularly drinking wheatgrass shots, you feel amazing. Your energy levels go up, your skin looks healthy as your body gets detoxified. My goal right now, is to try to get my children to partake in the daily wheatgrass shot. Not an easy task, at all. To date, not a single one of them, will try the wheatgrass shot. So I set out on a mission to disguise the flavor, and get them eat it with out knowing so! a little sneaky, I know, but in the end, the health benefits and the way they will feel, will make it all worth it!

 

I have a batch of wheatgrass that was just planted today, so I unfortunately do not have it fresh on hand as I write this blog. The anticipation of trying these smoothie recipes, is killing me! I may have to break down and go to Whole Foods or somewhere that will have wheatgrass all ready to be juiced. I guess powdered wheatgrass is an option, but I really prefer the freshly juiced shots. I will definitely be trying these delicious sounding smoothies that I found on incrediblesmoothies.com. Fingers crossed that the kids will not taste the flavor. I also plan to create my own, with cucumbers, spinach, lemon and celery…grapes and pears could make it in the blender too. Getting excited, I think I am off to the store for some kitchen experimenting supplies!

 

Wheatgrass Green Smoothie Recipes

 

Pineapple-Wheatgrass Green Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup green grapes
  • 1/2 shot of wheatgrass or 1/2 packet of powdered wheatgrass
  • 1/2 peach, pitted
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed
  • 4 ounces of filtered water

Calories: 125 | Fat: 1g (grams) | Protein:5g | Carbs: 32g | Calcium: 2% | Iron: .7mg | Vitamin A: 9% | Vitamin C: 147%

 

Pear-Wheatgrass Smoothie

  • 1/2 shot of wheatgrass or 1/2 packet of powdered wheatgrass
  • 2 medium pears
  • 4 ounces filtered water

Calories: 204 | Fat: 1g (grams) | Protein: 5g | Carbs: 55g | Calcium: 3% | Iron: .6mg | Vitamin A: 7% | Vitamin C: 105%

 

 

Posted in Food, Health & Wellness | February 21 st , 2016 | 0 Comments

Cupid’s Arrow

Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays to me. But then again, any chance I have to tell my kids that I love them with all my heart…is an amazing day…so that makes pretty much everyday a holiday for me! So on that note, I want to share a little tradition that we started, many years ago. It gets the kids in the kitchen with me and we make special Cupid’s Arrow snacks. They are really easy and even the littlest chef can help out. The featured picture shows a batch that my youngest son made. He did a pretty good job for a 6 year old! We usually serve these as an appetizer or they also works great a top a beautiful salad. Its the warm up to the grilled halibut and asparagus dinner that follows. Add this sweet little snack to your Valentine’s Day menu, your whole family with LOVE it!

 

Cupid’s Arrow (Cherry/Grape Tomato Hearts)

You will need:

40 cherry/grape tomatoes

20 arrow toothpicks (or regular works)

 

  • Take two cherry or grape tomatoes and cut them diagonally to 45 degree angle. I think the more oval or long the little tomatoes are, the easier it is. You will do the same for all the other tomatoes.

 

  • Now join the cut part top potion of the tomatoes as shown in the featured picture. You need 2 cherry/grape tomatoes to make a heart.

 

  • You can seal the tomatoes together using a dab of cream cheese, or the easiest is to pair them together as a heart using an adorable cupids arrow tooth pick. In the case you can’t find the cupid’s arrow toothpicks, a regular toothpick works just fine.

 

Add these to a special salad or as a loving appetizer. They are fun and like I said, it get the kids of all ages into the kitchen with you. A special place where families bond.

 

Posted in Food | February 14 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

Thai Tilapia Curry

So I went searching on the internet today for a new way to cook tilapia. The kids and I are used to my amazing blackened tilapia tacos with mango salsa, but we had Mexican food during the Super Bowl…and the search began. I came across this delicious sounding dish that pulls my heart strings…I love Thai food. Now to make this dish tomorrow for dinner…Thai Tilapia Curry. I found the recipe at pescafreshblog.com.

 

Ingredients :

 

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 3 tilapia fillets
  • Diced cilantro
  • 1 green onion
  • Lime
  • Pinch of salt

 

Directions :

 

  1. Heat a large pan to medium heat.
  2. Melt coconut oil in the pan, and saute onion until it starts to soften.
  3. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add carrot and red pepper.
  5. Add curry paste and coconut milk to the pan. Stir until the curry paste is fully dissolved into the coconut milk.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Add fish and cook for 5 to 6 minutes (until done).
  8. Add salt to taste.
  9. Serve on top of your favorite rice, millet, or quinoa.
  10. Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and a wedge of lime.

 

This dish is loaded with flavor and makes a lovely, colorful presentation. The tilapia can be substituted for shrimp, and other veggies could be used.

 

Sounds amazing and I cannot wait to try this. Enjoy it everyone.

 

 

Posted in Food | February 9 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

Super Bowl Ceviche

Today I have been doing some grocery shopping. I am getting all that I need to make a buffet of deliciousness tomorrow for Super Bowl 50! I am not necessarily a fan of either team, but I am a fan of DeMarcus Ware, so we will be rooting for the Denver Broncos! D-Ware had to leave the Dallas Cowboys in order to get to the Super Bowl, go figure. Anyways, my first dish to get the party started is a traditional party dish for me. The kids call it shrimp salad, but it will be known this year as Super Bowl Ceviche! I serve this with a side of blue tortilla chips, and it is a touchdown party food!

 

SUPER BOWL CEVICHE

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 generous pound of shrimp, I get the 41/50 and cut smaller

1/2 large sweet onion, diced

1 medium serrano pepper, seed and deveined, then diced

3 avocados, diced

6 roma tomatoes, diced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

3-4 Cups Clamato tomato juice

juice of 3 lemons

1-2 Tablespoons Tapatio hot sauce (more or less depending on your heat preference)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt (more or less depending on taste)

Organic blue tortilla chips to serve the ceviche with

 

DIRECTIONS:

Chop the shrimp into smaller pieces. I like to try to have all the chunky ingredients about the same size. Squeeze the juice of the 3 lemons over the shrimp and refrigerate it.

 

Mince your onion and deveined serrano pepper into small pieces. Make these uniform so that they are not overwhelming in the ceviche.

 

Chop the cilantro, tomatoes, and avocados, again into small diced pieces, larger that the serrano and onion.

 

Add all of these ingredients to the shrimp bowl. Add seasonings:garlic powder, cumin, salt, Tapatio, and pepper. Add the Clamato juice. (I make my ceviche on the wet side. If you prefer a less runny ceviche, add the juice cup by cup to meet your preference.) Stir until all ingredients are mixed well.

 

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, but it is best served the day you make it. You can serve the ceviche in martini glasses, sundae glasses or small bowls. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and a side of blue tortilla chips.

 

Enjoy my Super Bowl Ceviche and Go Broncos!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Food | February 6 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

High Protein Lentil Salad

I grabbed a bag of lentils at Costco a while back and I was running out of ways to put them to use, that wasn’t so repetitive. So I played around with a favorite salad of mine, and replaced the black eyed peas with the lentils. Try it out and see if you love it as much as I do! I love Mexican food, and my Granny taught me a few southern tricks of the trade, and thats where my usual black eyed peas came into play. Now I am proud to say that I have options!

 

High Protein Lentil Salad 

 

1 cup dry lentils (green or brown)
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (could use black eyed peas here too)
1 red bell pepper
1 C thawed sweet corn kernels
1/2 small red onion (or sweet onion)
1-2 Roma tomatoes
Large bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 medium avocado, chopped
Optional: green onion (I love onions, so I use them!)

 

Dressing:

Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Tapatio hot sauce, to your personal taste

 

Directions:

Cook lentils according to package directions, leaving them firm and not mushy.
Drain them.

While lentils are cooking, you can make the dressing: place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Finely dice the bell pepper, onion, avocados and tomatoes. Roughly chop the cilantro.

In a large bowl, place the black beans, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, and lentils.

Add the dressing and toss to combine. Add avocado and cilantro, and lightly toss.

Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors combine.

 

I LOVE to eat this with tortilla chips, but it is amazing just as it is, a stand-alone salad packed with protein! Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in Food | February 5 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

Gluten Free Falafel

As you can tell, I had food on the brain today! I woke up early and got to work making buttermilk pancakes and then ran a ton of errands…aka kids to their various activities! Then my eldest had a friend over who is vegetarian, so I had to start brain storming what would be a good snack to serve. We love foods from all over the world, and the more I can convert gluten free or are already gluten free, it just makes my life very happy! So for Andy, the gluten free falafel wheels started turning! They turned out super good, and will be a good addition to the lunch box menu! Hope you love them as much as we did!

 

Gluten Free Vegan Falafel

 

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (or sub cilantro)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

2 Tbsp (17 g) raw sesame seeds (or sub finely chopped nuts, such as pecans)

1 1/2 tsp cumin, plus more to taste

1 tsp ground coriander

1 pinch of cardamom

1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, plus more to taste

3-4 Tbsp all purpose glute free flour

3-4 Tbsp cooking oil (I like coconut oil, but any high heat oil will work)

 

 

Place chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, cardamom, coriander, salt, pepper to food processor or blender and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined. You don’t want dough, the mixture should be crumbly.

 

Next add the gluten free flour 1 Tablespoon at a time and pulse to combine until no longer wet and you can mold the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands.

 

Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate mixture for abut an 1 hour to let it firm up. Once chilled and firm, scoop out rounded tablespoons and then form them into 11-12 small discs.

 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan – about 2 tablespoons, swirling the pan to coat it in oil. Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time – about 5. Adding too many falafel discs will cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in soggy, oil soaked falafel discs! Nasty!

 

Cook the falafel for a total of about 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown. Repeat this until all of the falafel are browned. They will also firm up more once slightly cooled.

 

My favorite way to serve falafel is in a traditional way. Well, at least its traditional to me. The first time I had falafel was at a restaurant called Al Amir in downtown Portland, OR. I went there with my friend Brandy and fell in love with the falafel! So back to my serving technique…on top of hummus, drizzled in tahini, maybe throw some raw carrots or veggies of choice. A delicious memory I can re-create as I please!

Posted in Food | January 30 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

In my opinion, this is an awesome recipe for gluten free buttermilk pancakes. Recipes like this allow me to enjoy the comfort foods I was so afraid of giving up when I had to go gluten free. The kids love them too!

 

1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour blend

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon xantham gum (omit if your flour blend has it)

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk, shake it up (or your favorite milk if buttermilk is not your thing)

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup milk or more if it needs to be thinner (careful here if you don’t use buttermilk to begin with, you could make the pancake batter too thin)

 

 

Spray a non-stick griddle or large skillet with gluten-free cooking spray. Heat over medium low heat.

 

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and xanthan. Whisk to combine. Add the egg, buttermilk and melted butter and whisk until smooth. If the batter seems excessively thick add 1/4 cup of milk and whisk again. Just do this gradually so you don’t make the batter too thin.

 

Ladle and pour batter by 1/4 cupful’s onto a hot griddle. Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side. Flip when bubbles begin to form around the edges. Cook on the remaining side for about 5 minutes more, turning down the heat if browning too quickly. Definitely keep an eye on the temperature, and don’t let it get too hot.

You have to cook these pancakes low and slow. Otherwise they burn and get hard. You want the perfect gluten-free pancakes!

 

You serve with butter and real maple syrup, or if you are like me, spread on some of your favorite nut butter first, ten throw on some berries or nuts with the syrup! Delicious!

 

Posted in Food | January 30 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

Water On The Brain

Have you ever had a day when you just feel off, feel tired or not able to concentrate as much? What is your go to remedy or cause? Is your first thought water? I mean water as, how much have you consumed for the day? Could you be dehydrated? Could you use more water to boost you out of that slump? When I have to start considering this as a cause, I term it water on the brain. In order to keep the amount of water I consume daily at the recommended levels, I have to make a conscience effort to track and consume what I need. Do you know what the recommended daily intake of water is? I believe there are many theories on this, so lets break down why water is so important to begin with.

 

According to the US Department of Agriculture, water recommendations are based on sex, age, and health status. In the United States, the recommended daily intake (RDI) for total water intake is 3.7 liters per day (L/day) for human males older than 18, and 2.7 L/day for human females older than 18 which includes drinking water, water in beverages, and water contained in food. However, the specific recommendations vary based on the amount of water that you lose on a daily basis through urination, metabolism or perspiration. As well, these recommendations will be higher for people who live in a hot climate or exercise or are physically active, resulting in more perspiration.

 

 

The following are USDA Recommendations for water intake states that everyone needs from under one liter to nearly 4 liters based on sex, age, and health status. Here are some specifics:

 

Newborns and Infants: 0.7 to 0.8 L daily from breast milk or formula

 

Toddlers: 1.3 L daily

 

Young Children up to 8 years old: 1.7 L daily

 

Boys age 9-13: 2.4 L daily

 

Teenaged boys and adult men: 2.7 L daily

 

Girls age 9-13: 2.1 L daily

 

Teenaged girls: 2.3 L daily

 

Adult women: 2.7 L daily

 

Pregnant women: at least 3 L daily

 

Lactating women: 3.8 L daily

 

 

These recommendations are made because the body is made up of 80% water, muscles are made primarily of protein and water. Your body needs water for digestion, perspiration, rebuilding cells and to keep your blood pumping through the body. Drinking enough water ensures your body can relieve the body of toxins, through urination and perspiration. These reasons back up why depending on your age, sex, health status and climate play a role in the amount of water you will need to consume to stay hydrated. You consume water in beverages, and foods you eat. Examples of foods that contain water are: apples, oranges, melons, celery, and cucumbers.

 

Like always, make sure you eat a balanced diet and drink your RDI of water to feel your best. Everything we eat or drink affects the way our body performs. Lets make a conscience effort to keep the body performing at its best!

 

 

 

Posted in Food, Health & Wellness | January 18 th , 2016 | 0 Comments

All Star Herb Salad

I came across this recipe today, and it falls perfectly in line with my herbal theme this week. It is titled All Star Herb Salad, and was found on Epicurious. I will most definitely try this using my fresh herbs from the garden this coming spring and summer. That straight out of the back yard, to the dinner table feeling is just so satisfying. But that leads me to reminiscing about warmer weather and gardening…ah spring awaits me! However, in the time being, I will have to search local markets for the best selection of fresh organic herbs. I think that adding a mixture of greens to this ‘salad’ could only make it that much more delicious. Arugula could add some peppery flavor, and that would pair nice with the herbs!

All-Star Herb Salad (From Epicurious)

1 teaspoon best-quality sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon best-quality red wine vinegar
Fine sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ounces fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, carefully stemmed, rinsed, and dried
2 ounces fresh chives, rinsed, dried, and minced
2 ounces fresh dill leaves, carefully stemmed, rinsed, dried, and chopped
2 ounces fresh tarragon leaves, carefully stemmed, rinsed, dried, and leaves separated
2 ounces fresh mint, stemmed, rinsed, dried, and leaves separated

PREPARATION

In a large, shallow salad bowl, whisk together the vinegars and salt. Whisk in the oil and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Add all the herb leaves and toss to evenly coat the greens with the dressing. Taste for seasoning. Serve in small portions as an accompaniment to roast chicken or grilled or poached fish
Variation: The dressed salad can also be placed—open-face-sandwich fashion—on top of grilled bread that has brushed with olive oil.

Posted in Food | January 15 th , 2016 | 0 Comments



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