Posts filed under ‘Sides and Snacks’
Smoothies are an everyday must-have for me…99% of the time I start my day with a large glass of blended goodness (aka energy surge in a jar), mmmm!
I find that kicking off the morning with a smoothie or fresh juice is easiest on my tummy. Not only does it rev-up my digestion for the remainder of the day, it also squelches my hunger for a couple hours when I have time to eat a more solid meal and ensures that I have at least one nutrient-packed, high-quality meal no matter what the day throws at me.
Oh you know, the days when you plan on cooking that new elaborate dish you’ve been eyeing for a while…but (after a longer day than you anticipated), you wind up eating a couple scrambled eggs over quinoa for dinner…or a bowl of popcorn and a leftover energy bar from your purse. Yep, I have had more days recently like the latter than I’d like to admit.
I also realized it had been quite some time since I had posted a drink or smoothie recipe, so when I was assigned Rebekah’s lovely blog Making Miracles for the February’s Secret Recipe Club post…I chose her Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake for this month’s reveal, I was so excited to come across this recipe!
I had a giant bag of hemp seeds from Costco in my fridge calling my name and I was craving something sweet and chocolatey, yet simple…wa-la! This shake was a delicious change from my go-to blueberry-Maca blend I’ve been making…so much so that I craved this nutty-cacao smoothie the next morning too :)
I tried to stay true to Rebekah’s recipe…I couldn’t help but add my usual handful of baby greens (kale/chard/spinach) and I wound up soaking the hemp hearts, dates and water in the fridge the night before to soften the dates a bit. The next morning all I had to do was add the remaining ingredients and blend…Breakfast on the go!
Just a few perks about Hemp Seeds in case you need a little nutritional nudge:
- REWARD YOUR TASTE BUDS: Hemp hearts are delicious, they are nutty, often compared to sunflower seed or pine nuts… only better! Sprinkle on salads, cereal, quinoa, rice, roasted veggies, yogurt, add to smoothies, muffins, breads and other recipes…or eat a spoonful straight from the bag.
- REWARD YOUR BRAIN: Your brain has many of the fatty acids found in bulk Super Hemp. Regular consumption may help improve your memory. Super Hemp seeds may also help symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving your mood.
- REWARD YOUR WEIGHT LOSS: Super Hemp is a natural appetite suppressant making you feel full longer. Adding just four tablespoons of hemp seed to your meal can reduce your food cravings significantly. You will also feel more energy which can help you power through workouts and other activities to lose weight.
- REWARD YOUR HEART AND LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE: Super Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that help reduce blood cholesterol. This keeps the heart healthy and also prevents plaque buildup in your arteries. Super Hemp fatty acids also reduce inflammation that can cause high blood pressure and poor blood circulation.
- REWARD YOUR DIGESTIVE TRACT: Super Hemp provides high amounts of both insoluble and soluble fibers which keep your digestive tract healthy and clean. Super Hemp contains plant sterols and antioxidants helping reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate concerns. Super Hemp does NOT contain oligosaccharides such as found in soy, which often causes stomach upset and gas.
Intrigued? Give this shake a shot!
Hemp Chocolate/Cacao Protein Shake (slightly adapted from Making Miracles)
(Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Fruit-Sweetened, Refined Sugar-free, Primal, Nut-free, Egg-free)
1 cup cold filtered water
1 cup ice cubes
1 banana, cut into chunks (or use frozen for a colder, thicker textured shake / smoothie)
1/2 cup raw hemp seeds/ hemp hearts
2-4 pitted dates, depending taste (I used two but increase if you prefer sweeter)
1-2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder, to taste
Handful or fresh leafy greens (such as baby spinach, kale, and/or chard), optional but for added nutrition
5 minute prep Directions
- Blend water, ice, banana, hemp seeds, dates (remove any pits), and cocoa powder together in a blender until smooth.
- Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.
Plan-ahead soaking method Directions
- The night before, combine hemp seeds, dates and water in a jar. Refrigerate overnight.
- When you are ready to make your smoothie, add hemp/date/water mixture to blender container. Add ice, banana, cacao/cocoa powder and greens. Blend until smooth.
- Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.
Happy, HAPPY New Year to you all! I hope the holidays were lovely and that 2015 is off to a super scrumptious start for each and every one of you. I’ve been pretty incognito during the “go-go-go” of the holidays this year, so I am now playing catch-up :) Serious catch-up.
I’ve cooked more new meals and dishes in the last two months than I have in the past year…I must have caught a bit of a cooking bug in the kitchen, and I’ll ride that as long as I can. Trying new ingredients, taste-testing and experimentation have all been so fun…and sharing food with people who you care about just makes it that much better!
While I’ve actually been doing cooking than baking lately, I can’t deny my cravings for homemade goodies and sweets….add that to the fact I had half a bag of cranberries waiting to be used up and these muffins were born…or baked.
Sweet yet tart, light yet filling, these cranberry chia muffins are not only grain-free and refined-sugar free, but they are high in fiber, nut-free and dairy-free. I ate them for breakfast, a snack slathered with melted coconut oil and for a light dessert (when I wasn’t craving chocolate) after dinner. You can make a batch and freeze some if you’d like. Mmmmm muffins….
Cranberry Cha-Cha-Chia Muffins
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
2 eggs, whisked (room temperature)
1 egg white, whisked (room temperature)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey (or you could probably substitute coconut nectar, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener for a different taste)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk, at room temperature (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted butter or other neutral oil could be substituted if you prefer)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, rough chopped
Optional: feel free to add shredded coconut and/or your favorite chopped nuts for a different texture and a flavor variety.
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with liners or grease well and set aside OR use silicone muffin cups and lightly grease.
2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs through coconut oil and whisk until well combined.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir well until batter is smooth and thickens slightly (coconut flour is really absorbent, causing the batter to thicken as it sits). Stir in cranberries and chia seeds and
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners or muffin cups (mine made 10 muffins, depending on the size of your pan or liners). Bake for 22-25 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool, then enjoy!
I stored the muffins in the refrigerator, but these also freeze well.
Makes about 9-11 muffins, depending on your pan or cups; my silicone cups
It’s nearing the end of summer…the change of seasons is something I always look forward to (especially when Fall is my favorite time of year), yet I still want to hold onto summer for the next few weeks. This recipe accomplishes just that!
Let’s celebrate fresh fruit, bright herbs and zingy balsamic vinegar in this lovely marriage of flavors – Strawberry Bruschetta…and what a bonus for versatility, this recipe is used in FOUR different ways!
1. Strawberry Bruschetta (basic recipe) – serve over lightly toasted (gluten-free) french bread or gluten-free crackers
2. Strawberry Bruschetta Avocado Boats (snack or appetizer)
3. Strawberry Bruschetta and Hemp Green Salad (side salad, light dinner or lunch)
4. Strawberry Brushetta Inspired Quinoa and Beet Salad (serve as a side or a main dish)
I was assigned Julie’s adorable blog, Confessions of a Cooking Diva this month for the Secret Recipe Club and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her spunky posts and searching through her creations from the kitchen! I bookmarked her scrumptious looking Black Bean Burgers, Spicy Chocolate Popcorn and Caribbean Jerk Salmon Tacos for later experimentation…yet I ultimately settled on a Strawberry Bruschetta recipe for several reasons — I purchased a organic strawberries at the local farmers market, I had fresh basil on hand and I had some aged balsamic vinegar from a local oil & vinegar store that I couldn’t wait to use in multiple ways. Bam…what a perfect coincidence.
The simplicity of this recipe really allows the flavors to shine and come through in each bite, and there’s nothing like fresh, quality ingredients to let the food really do the talking for you! I opted to increase the balsamic a bit because I really love acidity and I served this over these raw sourdough sunflower seed crackers for the “bruschetta” portion of this recipe (since I rarely eat bread). After making this recipe, I was inspired to use the dish in multiple ways…talk about fun! Thanks Julie :)
Grain-free option, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Dairy-free
1 pint of strawberries, rinsed and chopped
1 – 2 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (I used 2 Tbsp because I like the acidity)
¼ cup fresh basil, julienned or chopped
1 small loaf gluten free french bread, sliced into thin slices, lightly toasted OR raw grain-free, gluten-free crackers (I used these)
1. Combine the strawberries, basil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and mix well.
2. Top each slice of bread or cracker with the strawberry-basil mix.
Makes 2 cups of strawberry-basil mixture.
Strawberry Bruschetta Avocado Boats
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Quick & Easy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free
1 recipe of Strawberry Bruschetta (listed above)
2 ripe medium size avocados
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Fresh squeeze of lemon or lime, optional (if you really like acidity like me and helps to prevent the avocado from browning if making ahead)
1. Slice each avocado in half and remove the pit/seed.
2. Sprinkle the avocado halves with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice over each avocado half (if desired)
4. Top each avocado half with about 1/2 cup of the strawberry bruschetta mixture and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve!
Makes 4 snacks or appetizers
Strawberry Brushetta and Hemp Green Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free
8 cups of mixed greens, baby kale or baby spinach (I use Organic Power Green blend from Costco)
1 recipe of Strawberry Bruschetta (recipe above)
1 ripe avocado, pit removed and diced into small pieces
4 Tbsp raw hemp seeds/hemp hearts (you can sub another nut or seed if desired)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Drizzle of apple cider vinegar or more balsamic vinegar and/or lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or coconut aminos, tamari or gluten free soy sauce)
1. Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. If you like more acidity in your dressing, feel free to add more vinegar and/or lemon juice.
*If you eat meat, this salad could be served with grilled chicken or if you eat dairy, feel free to toss in some goat cheese or fresh mozzarella to bulk it up even more. To bulk it up and keep it vegan, feel free to add cooked quinoa, millet or brown rice for a green and grain salad.
Makes 2 large salads or 4 small
Strawberry Bruschetta Inspired Quinoa and Beet Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free Option
1/2 recipe Strawberry Bruschetta (above)
1/2 cup cooked beets, diced (I used Love Beets)
3- 4 Tbsp chopped walnuts, pinenuts and/or pecans (or for nut-free, sunflower seeds or hemp seeds)
Aged balsamic vinegar to taste (I used 1 Tbsp)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (I used about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (I used 1/2 lemon)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
I am currently (food) obsessed with two things:
1. All things Indian food, particularly curry
2. Everything and anything that be “spiralized” (I use this tool) – such as vegetable, potato or fruit spirals.
When I was assigned Shirley’s blog Enriching your Kid this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was sold on making a dish with an Indian flare. This was an easy option since her repertoire includes items such as Beetroot Parantha and Banana Dumplings in Tomato Gravy (Kele Ka Kofta)…all unique and intriguing dishes that are now on my “to experiment list”! I ultimately decided on Shirley’s Chayote with Grated Coconut/Thoran since I was drawn to a new food, a new preparation and the seemingly lightness and versatility of the dish: I must say it was a great life choice!
Get excited for a new food! Have you ever eaten Chayote (pronounced chai-yo-tay)? It’s a quirky little guy that’s actually considered a fruit; chayote is a member of the cucumber and squash family and can be eaten both in raw or cooked forms. Chayote is a good source of amino acids and Vitamin C that’s also low in calories, sodium, contains no cholestrol and is a good source of fiber. Due to it’s mild flavor, chayote is versatile in a variety of dishes and it can be eaten with or the without the skin.
I left the skin on and cooked the chayote spirals until crisp tender to maintain some texture. This recipe has a flavor punch from the spices, a freshness from the basil and the lemon and a complexity with the combination of coconut and sauteed onions..mmmm! While this dish is traditionally classified as a side, I also served it with cooked quinoa that was tossed with a little olive oil, Braggs liquid aminos and sea salt and had a filling yet light veggie-packed dinner. I even had a few leftovers that I threw into a mixed baby green salad with pepitas and a curry-inspired vinaigrette…bonus points for versatility!
I made a few little changes to the original recipe…due to my infatuation with “spiralizing” food, I opted to create chayote spirals instead of grating. I couldn’t find curry leaves so I substituted fresh basil leaves with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I also made the swap of dried coconut in place of freshly grated based on availability in addition to a serrano instead of a green chili. Since I enjoy strong spices, I increased the amount of tumeric and coconut and threw in some cumin seeds just for fun. I’ll be whipping this quick recipe up again soon…could chayote be my new favorite food craze?
Chayote with Coconut/Thoran (lightly adapted from this recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Soy-free, Nut-free, Quick and Easy
1 – 2 Tbsp coconut oil, olive oil or other neutral oil
1 onion, thinly sliced (I used a yellow onion)
5 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of curry leaf (first choice) or 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 green chilli or serrano, slit in half
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground tumeric (I love spices, I used the larger quantity)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (I used brown mustard seeds)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed with your fingers (optional)
squeeze of lemon or lime juice (Optional but I find it enhances the spices)
sea salt to taste
1 -3 tbs grated or shredded coconut
1. Wash and clean the chayote. Either spiralize OR and grate both chayote. I used this tool to spiralize.
2. Slice the onions, chop or mince the garlic fine and slit the chili in half.
3. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds.
4. Add the curry leaf (if using basil will add in later), onions, garlic and pepper and saute until onions are soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add the grated/spiralized chayote, ground tumeric and salt to taste. Stir well, then cover and cook for a few minutes. Do not cook the chayote till soft, there should be minimal cooking to leave the crunchy texture. Stir in basil if using instead of curry leaves.
6. Garnish with grated/shredded coconut and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Season with salt to taste and more lemon as desired.
7. Serve warm and enjoy!