Posts filed under ‘Sides and Snacks’

Coconut Mojito Healing Gummies or “Gello”

I’ve tried a couple recipes with gelatin – some hits and some misses, but I’m trying to experiment with gelatin as a digestive healing aid. I wouldn’t label myself as strictly vegan or paleo or grain-free but I have dabbled in these types of diets and enjoy the recipes. I have quinoa and rice on occasion, eat fish at times and occasionally chicken or turkey creeps into meals, but overall I really like dairy-free vegetarian options based on the way my body feels. Some days I feel like my body is screaming for some eggs or extra protein so I’ll listen to it accordingly. When I am craving chocolate, I find a way to get some chocolate…and no matter how I eat, my sweet tooth creeps up and I give in a little.

mojito gelloThis recipe is super quick to whip up, the hardest part is waiting for it to “gel” in the fridge…ahhhh patience! It’s perfect for hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven and bake something…and while I love my frozen desserts, this treat is a fun change of pace.

I made a “blueberry jello” using Great Lakes Gelatin the other week, no pictures to share because it disappeared before I got the chance –how did THAT happen? ;) I enjoyed the texture and have been experimenting with a few gelatin ideas – one being these mini gummy cups and “gello” that I whipped up. I bought a bottle of Kevita Coconut Lime Mojito sparkling probiotic drink, without noticing the “sparkling part”…while I enjoy Kombucha and sparkling water on occasion, I prefer straight water or brewed herbal tea. Soooo….after tasting a sip, I wanted to repurpose my purchase…gello/gummies it was!

mojito gello1

I added a squeeze of lime to bump up the flavor along with vanilla, a smidge of stevia and powdered gelatin in my Vitamix and gave it a whirl. Bubbly drinks and blending make for even more bubbles, resulting in a fizz fiasco…. can you see the layers in these little cups? Whoops…reminds me of a cold frosty drink yet it adds to the texture. However, this was a spontaneous experiment success AND my sweet tooth was satisfied :)

Coconut Mojito Healing Gummies or “Gello”
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Nightshade-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, No-bake

Ingredients

3 Tbsp coconut milk, slightly warmed
3-4 Tbsp powdered gelatin* (see note below – use red can Great Lakes gelatin for it’s gel-ling properties)
16 drops liquid stevia or a pinch of powdered stevia to taste (could add 2 Tbsp liquid sweetener instead if desired)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
fresh squeezed juice from 1 lime
1 (16 oz) bottle Kevita Coconut Lime Mojito probiotic drink (can use other flavors but will alter the taste)

For serving if making “gello” cups (completely optional but for added texture)
zest from lime
shredded unsweetened coconut (toasted or raw)
coconut whipped cream (for dairy free whipped topping)
diced or chopped fresh fruit of choice (mango, pineapple, kiwi would all be good)

Directions

1. Add coconut milk, gelatin, stevia/sweetener, vanilla, 1/2 bottle of Kevita and lime juice to a blender. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp gelatin over the top and let it moisten or “bloom”. Add remainder of the Kevita bottle and sprinkle the remaining 1-2 Tbsp gelatin* (see note) on top and let sit until moistened, about 30 seconds to a minute.
2. Blend for 30 seconds on high until completely smooth and no lumps.
3. Pour into individual silicon molds and/or 4 ramekins and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.
4. Enjoy as is or add fresh fruit/coconut/coconut cream etc and serve!

mojito gummies

*Note: If you want a firmer texture, use 4 Tbsp for gummies (pictured above). For a less firm texture like jello, then use 3 Tbsp.
These aren’t crazy sweet so bump up the sweetener if you prefer, and add to taste.
For vegans/vegetarians, I have not tried this with agar powder or flakes. If you give this a whirl, let me know how it turns out!

mojito gello2

July 7, 2015 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Summer Squash “Cheese”

Just when I thought zucchini and yellow squash couldn’t get any more versatile, I stumbled across this recipe for “Zucchini Cheese” and I squealed. Yup…mind-blown! I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and test this out! Turns out you can swap other veggies for the zucchini as well, so this won’t be the other time I make a variation of this recipe.

zucchini squash cheese slice

A quick and EASY cheese substitute that is nut-free and made from veggies?!? This “cheese” makes a great snack on the go or a unique dairy substitute on a sandwich or lettuce wrap. You can even serve over warm soup for a cheesy swirl or top sauteed asparagus or other veggies for a saucy flavor boost.

zucchini squash cheese 1

It even MELTS (thank you coconut oil and gelatin), well kind of melt…it becomes more of a sauce with a cheesy flavor if you serve this over anything warm. I added it to a bowl of warm spaghetti squash with sauteed chard and it had a cheesy pasta feel to it. If you are looking for a 100% cheese fix, you might be a tad disappointed but I was open-minded about the results and loved it!

zucchini squash cheese cubes 1

Summer Squash “Cheese” (lightly adapted from AIP Lifestyle)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Paleo-friendly, Sugar-free, Anti-Candida Friendly 

Ingredients

1 cup zucchini, chopped into 1-inch cubes (peel first if you don’t want the green color, I left peels on)
1 cup yellow squash, chopped into 1-inch cubes (can use more zucchini if desired)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp coconut oil (olive oil, ghee/butter can also be used)*
1 1/2 – 2 tsp raw coconut vinegar (can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar if preferred)
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt (I used fine hickory smoked salt)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (optional but brightens up the color a bit + it’s anti-inflammatory)
3 1/2- 4 Tbsp gelatin (I used Great Lakes in a the red can)
contents from 1 probiotic capsule (optional but I used this)

Directions

1. Line a bread pan with non-bleached parchment paper or a silicone baking pan may be use without a need for parchment paper.
2. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add squash and zucchini, then cover and simmer on medium low heat for 5 – 8 minutes. Drain off the water completely (You can save the water to sip or to cook with vegetables).
3. Add your veggies to a blender then add the oil, vinegar/lemon juice, tumeric and sea salt. Blend on high speed.
4. With your blender set on low speed, sprinkle the gelatin into the mixture. Blend on high for one last whizz until smooth.
5. If you want to add probiotics to your ‘cheese’ wait for the mixture to cool so that it is no longer hot to touch in the blender. Add the probiotics and blend on low.
6. Pour into your prepared pan and refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours to set. Alternatively to speed things up you can freeze to set, for about an hour.
7. Cut into squares, cheese slice, dice, melt, or grate. Use on protein patty’s, with veggies, in salads, and use incorporated into snack plates.
8. Wrap and refrigerate, or store slices in an airtight container. For best flavor, consume within 10 days. 

*If you are using extra virgin olive oil, wait until your mixture has cooled slightly so that the heat does not oxidize or morph the structure of the delicate polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Notes: If you want a more cheesy flavor, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, however it’s not AIP-friendly so I haven’t tried it yet! 
zucchini squash cheese slice2

June 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

Frosty Vanilla Fig Smoothie

I forget how much I LOVE summer! Sunny mornings and brisk afternoon showers…the grass is bright green and flowers are in full bloom. I sleep with my windows open, and I wake up to the sun peaking in my window and sound of birds chirping…so flippin’ cool. Does that almost sound like an opening to a Disney movie?! Let’s not forget all the fresh produce as well – juicy melons, spicy crisp radishes, sweet cherries and loads of zucchini just to name a few – YUM.

Fig smoothie 1I have really been craving fresh foods and cold, refreshing dishes, especially after sitting out in the sun to soak up some Vitamin D for a bit. I’ve also recently discovered my love of frozen figs…yep, frozen ones. They were selling a huge bag of organic green figs at Costco, and I’ve had them stashed in the freezer for a couple months since limiting my fruit intake on my elimination diet. I was craving something sweet and cold the other night, and I thought I’d give these a try on my stomach. Tummy approved and WOW, are they delicious!

I let a couple figs sit out on the counter for a few minutes, then nibbled at a frozen one…a little bite of heaven! Ever since, I’ve been incorporating them in a variety of recipes (and trying to eat them in moderation as I am reintroducing fruits). First up, this frosty fig and vanilla smoothie is one of my favorites…I’ve had it for dessert a couple times too! This smoothie is perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up or a quick breakfast to start your day with loads of energy :)

Fig smoothie

Frosty Vanilla Fig Smoothie 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo & AIP-friendly, Nut-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Refined Sugar Free, Nightshade-free

Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk (I used from a can, but any milk would work based on preference/allergy)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (alcohol free for AIP) or vanilla powder
a couple shakes of ground cinnamon
2-3 medium green figs, frozen and rough chopped (can use other color and varieties)
*If you’re sensitive to sugars, add 1/4 avocado for creaminess and use 1-2 figs, but will be less sweet

Optional add-ins:
handful of leafy greens (baby spinach, chard, kale)
1/2 cup of frozen banana, your favorite berry or mango for a different flavor

Directions

1. Add ingredients in order as they are listed to a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix). Blend on high until smooth.

Notes: If you do not have a high-powered blender, you might need to let your figs de-frost for 15 minutes or so and chop them smaller OR add more liquid.

Fig smoothie 2

June 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

No-Tomato Ketchup (Nightshade-Free)

Tomato-free ketchup…is that a thing? YES! It looks like the real thing with a deep red hue and a tangy yet sweet taste. I’ve been eliminating nightshades amongst a few others food groups from my diet as recommended from my naturopath to see if some of my digestive issues and aches and pains subside. As things progress, I’ll be sharing a bit about my journey but for now you might be seeing some alternative recipes.

I love how that forces me to think outside the box…experiment a little, and switch up my routine. I’d be fibbing if I said it comes with great ease for my type-A, routine-driven, planner personality but it’s a great lesson (once again) in flexibility. Plus, if something isn’t working or feels “off”, then change is a must, and just the nudge I needed :)

no tomato ketchup 1

If you aren’t familiar with the nightshade family, Jane’s Healthy Kitchen has an easy-to-understand yet comprehensive post…. click here for more information.  To give you a short rundown, nightshades are part of the Solanaceae family and consist of foods such as tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos as well as goji berries, ashwagandha, paprika, and even tobacco.

While I am avoid nightshades, I am looking for alternatives and substitutes in the meantime, and I thought I’d experiment with No-tomato Ketchup to start…after all, it is America’s favorite condiment…or has Sriracha replaced that? :)

no tomato ketchup 2

No-Tomato, Nightshade-free Ketchup (adapted from He Won’t Know It’s Paleo)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Soy-free, AIP and Paleo-friendly, Vegan, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nightshade-free
Ingredients

1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup red beet (can use golden but won’t have red ketchup color), peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey, agave or date syrup for vegan
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp clove
1/8 tsp allspice

Directions
  1. Bring water to boil in medium sauce pan. Add beets, carrots and onion. Boil for 10-15 minutes, until tender.
  2. While vegetables are boiling, add remaining ingredients to blender (high speed like a Vitamix is recommended for silky smooth texture). Strain and add vegetables to blender when they are through cooking.
  3. Carefully blend on high until liquefied.
  4. Return blended mixture to sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Use a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, as a base for a tomato-free BBQ sauce, slathered on meatloaf, a sandwich or a burger!

no tomato ketchup

May 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

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