5 Minute Avocado and Sauerkraut Salad

Sauerkraut and avocado…I didn’t think that pairing would come out of my mouth, errr computer, as a go-to snack…but I’m learning to be very flexible and creative with my food choices lately. There are always stranger combinations — Pickles and ice cream? (cough, cough).

avocado sauerkraut salad 1

I’ve always had a deep love and appreciation for food…but my body doesn’t seem to share the same sentiment, particularly in the last eight months. Almost anything I eat doesn’t agree with me — I’ve tried all types of “diets”, from vegan to raw food to paleo. I have been gluten free since 2009 and at different times I’ve avoided nuts, dairy, sugar, beans, eggs and meat…I’ve eaten super-duper healthy but it turns out there’s more to the equation.

In short, after multiple doctors and months and months of not feeling well, I discovered that I am not absorbing any of the nutrients from my food. My body revolted and doesn’t break down fats, proteins, carbs or sugars well, which led to a plethora of deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, sore joints, muscle weakness, massive and painful digestive issues, dry skin and constantly getting sick. I’ll be sharing a bit about what I learn as I continue along… just recently I’ve had the energy again to blog again during my healing process which is a relief and a breath of fresh air.

avocado sauerkraut salad 2

I’ve joked that this Spring I’ve really embraced the idea of “Spring Cleaning” – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s gut-check time and I’m determined to be a lighter, brighter and healthier version of myself at the end of this whole journey.

Now, back to the food! I am not sure you can call this a recipe; it’s more like a combination of ingredients that pair well together yet I am sharing it here as a quick snack idea, side dish for a meal or even as an accompaniment or filling for sandwich or fresh lettuce wrap, or served with grilled protein of your choice. Simple, quick and incredibly tasty!
avocado sauerkraut salad

5-Minute Avocado and Sauerkraut Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly, Soy-free, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Sugar-free

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado, de-pitted and thinly sliced
2/3 cup – 1 cup sauerkraut or fermented veggies (beet and cabbage pictured)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lime juice
splash of apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar (or your favorite…I love acidity to it’s up to you)
1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced thinly or chopped cilantro or parsley
sea salt to taste (I’ve used pink Himalayan as well as lime-infused salt, ginger-infused salt)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients. Taste and season accordingly to your preference; add more salt, pepper, basil/herbs, lemon juice, vinegar or more veggies. Enjoy on it’s own, in a wrap, as a bed for your favorite grilled or baked protein or mixed with quinoa or your favorite grain!

avocado sauerkraut salad 3

May 21, 2015 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Double Sesame Cookies

I’ve always been a big fan of nut butters but SEED butter is something I’ve really been loving on lately. I can’t get enough sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini and hemp seeds being sprinkled or drizzled on all types of sweet and savory dishes.

tahini cookies

Tahini is so versatile…whether it’s used in hummusdrizzled as a sauce, added to bread, used as a base for this ice cream flavor or featured in these cookies. Little bitty sesame seeds add a fun texture and nutty undertones to recipes and these two-bite treats are no exception! These cookies aren’t as sweet as if you used peanut or almond butter; tahini has a stronger flavor that’s both intriguing and addicting in my opinion.

These cookies came about when I was hankering for a treat…I was running low on time and I was craving something baked. No-fuss cookies that can be ready for devouring in less than 20 minutes…sign me up :) 
tahini cookies3

Flourless Double Sesame Cookies (slightly adapted from my Chunky Monkey Chip Cookies)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nut-Free, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Refined Sugar-Free, Easy, Quick

Ingredients

1 cup of tahini* (sesame seed butter – make sure its a thick)
3/4 cup -1 cup of granulated sweetener**
1 egg, well beaten
pinch of sea salt (omit if your tahini is salted)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/4 cup sesame seeds (white, black or a combo)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, add tahini, sweetener, egg, baking soda, vanilla and stir well to combine until forms a dough.
3. Form dough balls (I use a tablespoon), roll into sesame seeds and place onto lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown – ovens vary so keep an eye on them – then let cool completely before moving (they break apart easily when warm) and enjoy!

*Make sure your tahini isn’t really runny or you won’t be able to form balls of dough. This is especially important if you are using a liquid sweetener!
**I used coconut palm sugar, and if yours is really coarse, pulse for a few seconds in a blender to break up slightly (mine was really clumpy). You could also use Sucanat, brown sugar, or could even try xylitol for sugar-free (please report back with those results!) If you prefer using honey or agave, substitute the granulated sweetener for 1/2-2/3 cup of liquid sweetener.

tahini cookies2

May 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (SRC)

I’m all about frozen desserts. Anytime of the year you can bet I’ll have something sweet in my freezer, and this toasted coconut ice cream might just be the next staple!

toasted coconut ice cream bowl

Not overly sweet, but thick and creamy, this toasted coconut ice cream is scrumptious on it’s own yet compliments add-ins or toppings as well.Are you a fan of Almond joy or Mounds candy bar flavors? Stir in or top with chocolate chips and toasted slivered almonds…or you prefer a more fruity, tropical route, crushed pineapple or diced mango and a splash of rum makes for a sophisticated treat. It’s allergen-friendly too: free of egg, dairy, nuts, gluten, soy, grains, refined sugars and it’s vegan, so even sensitive tummies can enjoy this dessert! toasted coconut ice cream scoop1

This recipe was lightly adapted from Emily’s Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from Life on Food. I was assigned Emily’s blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal and loved searching through her site! Emily shares a love of food and the importance of family meals like me, plus she has adorable baby photos that will make you smile while you look through tons of recipes that will make you hungry. While I ultimately chose ice cream, I also had my eye on her Salmon Burgers with Carrot Slaw, Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes, Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Corn Risotto Stuffed Peppers…all of which I will be trying soon :)

I made a few little swaps based on preferences and what I had in the kitchen. I used two cans of full-fat coconut milk instead of one light and one regular; I don’t mind the extra fat since it creates a really smooth base for this ice cream. Also, I used coconut palm sugar in place of white sugar, I really wanted to play up the coconut trifecta :) I wound up adding a pinch of sea salt, it’s habit but feel free to leave this out if preferred.  I wound up saving a couple tablespoons of the toasted coconut for garnish, but you can toss it all into the base like Emily if you want.

toasted coconut ice cream bowl2

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (lightly adapted from Life on Food)

Ingredients
2 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (OR 1 can light coconut milk and 1 full-fat)
1/2 – 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or granulated sugar)*
1/2 cup unsweetened and shredded coconut
pinch of sea salt

Instructions
1. Place the coconut milk, sweetener and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about two hours.
2. Place shredded coconut on a cookie sheet and toast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Be sure to watch closely, coconut toasts quickly. Cool and set aside.
3. When you are ready to make the ice cream, stir in 6 tablespoons of the toasted coconut with the coconut milk mixture. Set aside two tablespoons for garnish.
4. Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions then transfer to a container with a lid and freeze until firm, about 2 hours more. Scoop, sprinkle with toasted coconut and enjoy!
*This ice cream isn’t crazy sweet, so you like your desserts a little sweeter, bump up the sweetener to your liking. Taste the base before you chill it. You want it a bit sweeter than you like your ice cream, since the freezing process dulls the sweetness a bit. I am sure agave, another liquid sweetener or even date paste could be substituted for the sugar if you’d like!

toasted coconut ice cream bowl close

For other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

April 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm 13 comments

Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash

Weeknight dinners can be a chore when you’re in a time-crunch, especially if you’re hungry and ready to eat. While the idea of meal planning is fantastic and I try to schedule out meals for the work-week, yet sometimes I “live on the edge”….or that’s what I tell myself when I’m forced to wing it and try to whip up something different with ingredients I have on hand.

Thus, this chorizo ragu was born. Quick, simple and tasty…yay for spontaneous dinners! Plus, add some bonus points since you can make this ahead; the leftovers are deeeelicious! If you prefer to prep meals on the weekend to get a jumpstart to your busy week, this dish might be on your next to-make list. If you want a filling grain-free meal packed with veggies and nutrition, give this one a go as well :)

Slightly spicy and loaded with smoky flavor from the cumin and paprika, this Mexican-inspired ragu packed with protein, fiber, veggies to keep you full AND satisfied. The squeeze of fresh lime really makes the spices and flavors pop and brightens the dish so I’d advise not the leave that out :)

If you don’t have spaghetti squash, serve this ragu over fresh greens for a spin on a warm taco salad or even your favorite cooked grain (like quinoa or brown rice) for a burrito bowl type meal. I had a little bit of the ragu leftover and served it over a baked sweet potato for lunch…YUM. Yep, I’ll be doing that again soon!

Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded
2/3 lb gluten free chorizo (can use chicken chorizo or vegetarian chorizo)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, minced OR several shakes of ground cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want added heat)
1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked black or pinto beans
2-4 cups of spinach or swiss chard, collards or kale, de-stemmed, deveined and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
squeeze of fresh lime
sea salt and pepper to taste

Garnish/serving ideas
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese, optional (omit for vegan and/or dairy free)

fresh cilantro for serving, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle olive oil over squash and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until tender, roughly 30-35 minutes based on size. Once cooked, let cool slightly then scrape with a fork to create strands and set aside for serving.

2. While squash cooks, prepare the “ragu”. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add chorizo and onion. If using a really lean chorizo or a vegetarian substitute, saute in 1 Tbsp of oil. Saute until cooked through and no longer pink and lightly browned.

3. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and jalapeno or red pepper (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.

4. Add bell pepper, tomato and beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Toss in spinach/greens and cook another minute or two until wilted.

5. Add cilantro the the skillet along with fresh squeezed lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Serve ragu over cooked spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with grated cheese, diced avocado and/or additional cilantro if desired and enjoy!

Serves 4

Timesaver: You can cook the spaghetti squash a couple of days ahead or the night before to speed up prep time. Just reheat in the oven or in the skillet.

April 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

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