Archive for March, 2012

Beluga Bread

What is “Beluga Bread” you may ask?

It’s a bread-like invention using black Beluga lentils (of course haha)! These small black lentils were on sale at the local health store and I just had to try them. I’ve professed my love for lentils previously so you can imagine my excitement when I saw a black variety to experiment with! I know these lentils aren’t extremely rare but I had never seen them in a grocery store before and couldn’t pass them up.

Bread was definitely on the to-do list since I made several versions before:

“Angry bread” and “black bread” have a more ominous tone and I was in a happy mood so “Beluga Bread” it was :) It had been awhile since I last enjoyed this flatbread and I was not disappointed in the least! Filling, satisfying and delicious, I ate part of the bread alongside my chicken salad-salad at lunch, slathered it with hummus for a snack and as an accompaniment to a bowl of wild rice soup for dinner…I will be making this again pronto!

Beluga Bread (Grain-free, Vegan) adapted from my Lentil Flatbread

Ingredients

2/3 cup black beluga lentils
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
1 cup water
generous pinch(s) of salt (this is your main seasoning so don’t skimp)
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil, olive oil, butter, Earth Balance or ghee (use oil or EB for vegan)

your favorite herbs or spices, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a small blender with grind attachment, food processor or a spice grinder, add lentils and grind to a flour. (I use my Magic Bullet with the flat blade).
3. Add the coconut oil (or oil/butter of choice) to a 8×8 or 9×9 pan* and let melt in the oven and warm (about 2 minutes). Meanwhile, add flaxseed meal, water and salt to ground lentils and blend again for about 15 seconds. It should resemble a thick but pourable pancake batter after it sits (the flax and lentils will start absorbing the water the longer it sits).
4. When oil is hot and melted, pour batter into the pan and spread with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread forms a crust. Let cool slightly, cut and enjoy warm!

Bread can be refrigerated and toasted to reheat if needed.

*You can make the bread thick or thin by choosing your baking dish and add herbs and spices for different flavor variations. I prefer a medium thickness instead of a pizza crust thinness because I like the slightly crunchy outsides and a middle with a slight chew. If you prefer a crisper texture throughout, baking a larger pan or divide batter into two loaf pans. You will need to reduce cooking time for thinner bread, and in turn increase cooking time for thicker (about 5 minutes).

With the roasted red pepper hummus on top, it could definitely pass for a Halloween bread – don’t you think?

March 30, 2012 at 6:38 am 14 comments

Triple Berry Pomegranate Smoothie

Pomegranates were one of my favorite fruit discoveries as a teen. I remember the excitement of carefully peeling the pomegranate “skin” back to reveal the bright and crunchy red arils that would burst in my mouth. I still love pomegranates to this day, but I find the peeling part a bit more tedious when I am on the go.

So when I saw already peeled and ready-to-eat arils at Costco for a decent price, I happily added the package to my cart with a big smile on my face. I’ve added these little jewels to my yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies along with just munching on them as a snack…mmmmm!

This creamy smoothie is one of my new favorite ways to enjoy pomegranate – it’s thick and creamy and full of antioxidants. I’d say that’s pretty decent way to start my day!

Side note: Come to think of it, I should make time to peel a pomegranate; maybe it would be therapeutic and a stress reliever…well, that’s if I am not starving, right? :)

Triple Berry Pomegranate Smoothie

1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries (I used the combo of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries)
1/4 to 1/3 cup pomegranate arils (or you could sub pomegranate juice if desired)
1 to 2 scoops plain or vanilla protein powder (I used brown rice, optional)
1/2 ripe avocado
1-2 Tbsp chia seed, Mila or flax seed, optional for added nutrition
1 1/2 cup nondairy milk (almond, coconut, rice, soy or hemp)
ice cubes, if desired (I didn’t use this since I used frozen berries)

Directions

1. Add all ingredients into a blender (I used a high powered Health Master) and blend until smooth. Pour into glass(es) and enjoy!

Serves two (cut recipe in half if single serving is needed)

Note: I used a high powered blender in this recipe as opposed to my Magic Bullet to help blend/crush the seeds of the berries and pomegranate :)

March 28, 2012 at 6:09 am 2 comments

Italian Breakfast Pizza


I am living out of boxes again temporarily…we moved again amidst our busy schedules and March snow showers.

Chris and I were laughing last night after counting the number of times we have moved in the last four years – a total of FIVE times. It’s becoming a sort of sport for us; but this time we really hope the “We are never moving again!” claim sticks.

Though we are both beat from moving and pulling a 300lb washer up the stairs in our new townhome (no joke, I think Hulk and SuperWoman took over both of our bodies yesterday), Chris and I are happy in our new place.

A few of my top reasons I feel I can breathe a little easier now:

1. We have a dishwasher and a disposal (I think my husband might be more excited than be about this one)
2. We have a garage (no more shivering in a freezer car in the morning and scrapping ice off the windshield)
3. We have air condiitioning (you might think this is unnecessary in Montana but for me, it’s essential to sleep in a cold room)
4. We have a fireplace (this contradicts the air conditioning theory a bit but I’ve never admitted to being normal hehe)
5. Did I mention we have a dishwasher?!?!? (It’s official, I am more excited than Chris because that means easier clean-up for all my big messes in the kitchen!)

In celebration of moving, I decided to make a “mess” in the kitchen with this Italian-inspired breakfast pizza. I actually had a smile on my face as a I dirtied more than one dish in anticpation of using the dishwasher, is that funny or it is just sad? Ok, no need to answer that :)

I made the crust the day before, froze it and assembled the pizza the following morning so I wouldn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn…this worked really well and was relatively quick!

This spin on pizza makes for a flavor-packed and filling meal that doesn’t have to be reserved for breakfast. Plus the runny yolk is a delicious “sauce” for this dish…yummmmmm!

Italian Breakfast Pizza 

Ingredients

1 cooked grain-free pizza crust (I divided this batch into 4 mini pizzas) OR your favorite pizza crust
4 large eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cup strained cottage cheese or ricotta cheese or a combo (I used 1/2 of both)
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
three shakes of crushed red pepper, optional (omit if you don’t like heat)
8-9 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp olive oil
fresh basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat crust in preheated oven on baking sheet for 10 minutes if your grain-free crust is frozen like mine  (or according to your recipe or manufacturers instructions if using store bought).
2. Meanwhile, pulse cottage cheese/ricotta with the italian seasoning and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth. Spread on pizza crust evenly.
3. Sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes on top of the cheese mixture. Toss mushrooms with olive oil and place on top of crust.
4. Carefully crack eggs one at a time on top of pizza or place in the center of each of the mini pizza crusts. Be careful not the break the yolk if want a “yolk-sauce”.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes until egg white is nearly cooked through. Turn oven to Broil setting and cook for 2-4 minutes or until egg is cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve immediately!

Makes four mini pizzas (this is what I made) or 1 large (cut recipe in half or fourths)

Now I am dreaming of different flavor variations…pesto breakfast pizzas..hummus breakfast pizza…

March 26, 2012 at 6:50 am 10 comments

Brussel Sprout, Yam N’ Chicken Skillet

This recipe might just be my new favorite one-dish meal…it’s a different combination but I am in love. Notes of salty, sweet, tangy and slightly spicy (from the ginger), I threw this skillet dinner together without knowing what I was initially cooking.

It morphed into a delicious and filling meal that I’m still craving! All I knew was that I wanted chicken, I needed to use brussel sprouts and a yam that were both on the verge of going bad and I wanted something with ginger…and here is the result:

It’s not the prettiest dish I’ve ever made but I still had to post it. Chris thanked me for being spontaneous and for creating a meal that was “light, fresh and flavorful”. I had my full serving while Chris ate his with a side of cooked rice so I had enough to photograph the next day for this post. This made me double happy – photo + that meant I had leftovers for lunch :)

Brown Mustard Brussel Sprout, Yam and Chicken Skillet

Ingredients

1 medium yam or sweet potato (I used a white yam), diced – skin on or removed
2 chicken breasts, cubed into 1 inch pieces (I used 6 oz each)
4 1/2 tsp olive oil, butter or coconut oil, divided
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 inch fresh ginger, grated or minced (could sub 3/4 tsp dried but I prefer fresh)
3 tsp dried onion flakes (I was out of onion) OR 1/2 small onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
13-15 medium size brussel sprouts, cut into 1/3
1/2 Tbsp honey, agave or a pinch of pure stevia
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsp apple cider vinegar (I suppose fresh lemon juice would work here too)

Directions

1. In a medium pot, add yam/sweet potato and cover with water. Season water with a generous pinch of salt and bring water to a boil. Cook potatoes until fork-tender, about 5-8 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes). Drain and set aside.
2. In a skillet, heat 2 1/2 tsp oil/butter over medium-high heat. Season chicken cubes with salt and pepper (to your liking) and add to skillet along with the mustard seeds, ginger and onion/flakes. Cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring often, about 6-7 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.
3. Heat remaining oil/butter in skillet (2 tsp). Add brussel sprouts and bell peppers and cook for a few minutes (I like for the outsides to brown slightly). Reduce heat to medium-low and add about 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet. Cover and let cook until sprouts are tender, about 6-7 minutes.
4. Uncover and add potatoes and chicken mixture back to the skillet. Drizzle with honey and toss to coat. Let cook for a few minutes until heated through and add the apple cider vinegar to the skillet and let cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat and enjoy!

*Recipe Notes: For a veggie-friendly dish, eliminate the chicken and increase the potatoes to 2 large and saute the boiled potatoes in the oil, mustard seeds, ginger and onions  and proceed to step 3.

March 24, 2012 at 6:31 am 5 comments

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