Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Sweet and Sour Savory Cabbage

I can’t believe that this is my new favorite recipe.

I was lamenting the ooh-gobs and ooh-gobs of cabbage that had come in the CSA, when I happened upon my Body Ecology eRecipe Cookbook.

Page 23 out of 36: Sweet and Sour Savory Cabbage.

I figured it was that or culture it and for some reason the culturing – at least for the moment – holds no appeal.

I made this last week and I had several meals of just cabbage. Not nutritiously complete, granted, but it was literally all I wanted. I found myself at work day dreaming about cabbage – how wrong is that?!

Last week I used two heads of red, though this week I stuck with the recipe. Here it goes.

Sweet and Sour Savor Cabbage

Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage, julienne

1 head of red cabbage, julienne

1 large vidalia onion, julienne

1 Tbs salted butter (or grass fed ghee with a pinch of salt)

1/2 tsp (or more to taste) coriander

1/2 tsp (or more to taste) cardamon

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp white stevia powder (or between 8 and 10 drops liquid stevia)

Directions:

  1. Peel off outer leaves from cabbage, cut in half and remove – core and julienne in 1/4″ slices. Prepare the onion in the same way.
  2. Heat stock pit over medium heat. Sauté onion in butter until translucent and lightly caramelized. Add cabbage and mix well.
  3. Mix stevia with apple cider vinegar and dissolve thoroughly.
  4. Add stevia and apple cider vinegar to vegetables. Season with dry spices.
  5. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until cabbage is soft and fragrant.

The book says it’s a great dish to add to salads or as a side dish to a meal. I ate it hot. I ate it cold. I ate is as a side and as the meal. LOVE IT.  And I am assuming – hoping – that it’s really good for you!

It’s Stew Season…

…and fortunately for Michael and I, our organic CSA share has been – for at least a couple of weeks – stew meat. So I decided to find a stew that didn’t over rely on white or yellow potatoes.

A couple of hours of on-line surfing revealed the winner.

Sweet, savory and deliciously complex. I knew that I would love it, just looking at the ingredients. That Michael also loved it was merely icing.

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew with Garlic and Apricot

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean beef boneless chuck or stew beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • dash ground allspice
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks, or 12 frozen small white onions, thawed
  • 1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 dried apricots, cut in half
  • chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

Trim any excess fat from beef; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Brown beef in the hot oil, stirring to brown all sides.In a 4 to 5-quart crockpot, combine browned beef with sweet potatoes, garlic, allspice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, onion, and tomatoes. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours, or until beef is tender. Stir in apricots.

Cover and cook on low about 20 minutes or until apricots are softened. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Sprinkle a little fresh parsley over the stew just before serving.

This is going to be a staple in our household (no doubt about it).

Fall CSA: What to Do?

My husband and I have been traveling quite a bit this season and as a result we had fallen quite behind on eating the content of our weekly farm share.

As a result, our fridge was literally bursting with cauliflower, eggplant, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, beets, and the like.

Last week, I went on a broiling frenzy. I made containers and containers full of broiled veggies that were excellent, easy, and super fulfilling snacks, sides, etc. In the case of the cauliflower, which actually got a little crispy and developed this lovely smoky flavor, I would just eat it cold, straight out of the container. They also filled out the edges of packed lunches and late dinners after a long day at the office.

My broiling technique is pretty low key.

Preheat the oven to 500 (on baking)

Chop the veggies up (in the case of the butternut squash, I also peel it and seed it).

Toss them in olive oil.

Put them on the pan.

Switch the oven over to broil and let it go for anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the veggies and the desired crispiness.

I also took several baby beets, washed them, wrapped them in foil, and cooked them until they were tender. Here, I waited until they were cooked and quasi-cool to remove the skin with my fingers.

I think today I am going to tackle the delicata (truly one of life’s pleasures), the celeriac.

Celeriac

What’s in your fridge? And more importantly, what do you plan to do with it?

Another Fall Recipe: Pumpkin Hummus

I was truly bummed to discover that my body is not nearly as fond of garbanzo beans as it used to be. Despite my disappointment, that meant that I had dramatically reduced my hummus intake.

However, I really like hummus, so I started searching for alternatives. I actually found this none on About.com.

Shockingly easy and it combines two of my favorite flavors perfectly:

Pumpkin Hummus

  • 1 15-ounce canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a food processor, combine ingredients until smooth and creamy. If hummus is too thick (mine wasn’t), you can add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency.
Serving Suggestion:
I served mine with roasted eggplant (another one of those items in my CSA that I struggle to use). Here I just sliced the eggplant into medallions, brushed a little olive oil, black pepper and sea salt, and then put them under the broiler. You have to watch them, because if you sliced them super thin they’l burn quickly. So, start getting twitchy around 6 minutes. Though it you sliced them thick, it may take a while. Again depending on thickness you may need to turn them. Broiled eggplant is definitely more art than science.
Enjoy.

Don’t Forget to Taste Your Mistakes – Eggplant…Sauce?

So, here I am, surrounded by my summer CSA.

I have more eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means).

So, I thought that I’d try making a recipe that I saw somewhere online but was too lazy to look for. It was supposed to be Eggplant Caviar. What it turned into was sauce. What it’s going to turn into is topping for spiralized zucchini since none of the raw tomato sauces that I’ve tried this year (so far) have done anything for me.

Here it goes:

KJ’s Eggplant…Sauce

2 lbs of cooked and peeled eggplant (I tossed mine in the oven – poked full of holes and wrapped in aluminum foil – until they were soft).

4 cloves of garlic (could have been more)

1 tomato

a bunch of basil

1/2 tsp of sea salt

black pepper to taste (I used the pepper grinder)

1/4 cup of olive oil

I threw it all in the Blender and hit the Sauce, Paste, Dressing option (I have a Bled-tec).

I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not pretty – it’s sort of a boring beige.

But, boy, is it yummy. I’m definitely having some tomorrow over some zucchini noodles. It was great off a spoon straight out of the blender jar; I can only imagine how good it’s going to be after it sits overnight.

So, the short of the long of it: sometimes the mistakes are worth writing down (and making again).

Surprise Recipe of 2012: Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake

Last year I started trying a variety of new recipes and, in some cases, creating my own.

The one that was the weirdest on paper ended up being the biggest success. I served it at Thanksgiving and again at my parents’ 50th anniversary pre-party at their house for out-of-town friends and family, and once again at a holiday gathering for my office.

Each time people oohed and ahed over the texture and the taste. They inevitably asked for the recipe. I always deferred until everyone who was going to try it, had. Especially children (for whom it was – hands down – a major hit!)

Chocolate Cake with Garbanzo Beans

2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

3/4 cup of sugar (I used coconut palm sugar, because it feels less refined and supposedly has a lower glycemic hit index)

4 eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1 tbs confectioners sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 degrees C)
  2. Grease (I used coconut oil) a 9 inch round cake pan)
  3. Place all of the ingredients (except the confectioners sugar) into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and batter-like.
  4. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove cake (check for doneness with a toothpick) and place the pan on a wire cooling rack. The original recipe says let cool for 10 minutes, but I have found that it needs to cool for a lot longer than that to come out unscathed).
  6. When the bottom of the pan is cool to touch, flip cake out on a cake plate.
  7. Dust with confectioner’s sugar (and a little cinnamon, assuming you didn’t put it all in the cake – or even if you did, if you like cinnamon).
  8. Enjoy.

What I really like about this cake is as follows: there is quite a bit of protein in it, as well as fiber. Additionally, it stays moist for a a really long time. It’s also simple and delicious. Oh yeah, it’s also gluten-free!

So far, I have only served this alone, though I am sure that it would go equally well with ice cream, be it dairy or coconut based.

Whenever I decide to add a little sugar back into my life, this may be the carrier. Something tells me it’s going to make a fine birthday cake.

Servings: 12

Nutrition: 229 calories, 8.5 g fat; 36.8 g carbohydrates; 3.2 g fiber; 5.2 g protein.

Rutabaga and Celeriac Soup

So, I have been stockpiling rutabaga’s like nobody’s business – gotta love those Winter CSA shares.

After perusing a number of websites for potential uses for rutabaga, I decided to smash a couple of soup recipes together and make my own.

This soup is hearty on its own, but I’ve been eating with along side a serving of my signature kale dish or a couple of slices of low carb, gluten free bread. Enjoy.

Rutabaga and Celeriac Soup

1 tbs oil (olive or coconut)
1 yellow onion, sliced (or diced)
6 cloves of garlic (peeled and diced)
1 large (or 2 medium) rutabaga (peeled and diced)
1 celeriac root (peeled and diced)
6 – 8 cups of broth (I used vegetable broth because I was in a hurry, but I’m sure homemade chicken broth would work just as well, if not better)
3 bay leaves
1 piece of Kombu
Sea Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Paprika (to taste and for decoration)
Parsley (for decoration)
4 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (optional)

In a large soup pan (or stock pot) sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent. Then add the rutabaga and the celeriac root.

Add enough broth to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a nice simmer. Cook for 20 minutes (or until veggies are tender).

Remove bay leaves.

In small batches, run the soup through a high speed blender (or mash with a potato masher). Put pureed soup back into the pot and then use sea salt and black pepper for seasoning.

Serve in individual bowls (serves 4 to 8), decorate each serving with paprika and fresh parsley. Add a dollop of yogurt (optional).

Melt in Your Mouth Shin Stew

In keeping with the recent chronicling of the contents of our Winter CSA, Michael and I were faced with a dilemma: Shin steak?

Unlike previous years, where we just did veggies (and on occasion wild flowers), this year we did the omnivore option, which means that every week we also get some combination of organic grass fed beef or chicken, locally made sausage, cage free eggs, honey, or, on the weeks Michael’s out of town, Shitaki mushrooms.

Not realizing that shin steak is one of the toughest cuts of beef there is, I assumed that we could just grill it. Wrong!

Luckily, I did a little investigation before hand and we ended with with this recipe from British Chef, Jamie Oliver.

It was very British, very hearty, and super filling. And it really did melt in your mouth. But it was also very un-British in the sense that it was tasty, flavorful, and a little on the spicy side.

I followed the recipe pretty much word for word, though I added a couple extra cloves of garlic (which is per normal for me) and omitted the mushrooms (which is per normal for Michael). I used garbanzo/fava bean flour in order to keep it gluten free.

We also didn’t have a bottle of Chianti on hand, so we went for the cheapest ($8.00) bottle of red we could find.

Michael pointed out the recipe calls for 2/3 a bottle, probably with the assumption that you’ll still have two glasses left over for dinner. Well, maybe with a different bottle of wine that might work, but with this one not so much.

So if you find yourself with a pound or more of shin steak, knock yourself out. Though I’m sure it would work just as well with regular old stew meat.

Sugar Free Chocolate Thin Mints? Seriously?

For the last several months, I have been working with a phenomenal women’s coach, Tara Marino. I have worked with a lot of people in the past and I must admit that she is one of the best and – if you’re a woman and you’re interested in living a more elegant life – you should definitely check her out at her website, Elegant Femme.

One of the things that Tara does so well is help you set daily rituals; in fact, she calls them your “Daily Requirements.” Some of these requirements tap into your spiritual side, some of them tap into your intellectual side, whereas others tap into your more sensual or more physical side.

I’ve been very good about all of them – which tells you something about how good Tara is if you’ve ever heard me rail about not being able to ritualize my routines – all of them, that is, except one.

The one that I’m having the most trouble with is to eat raw chocolate at least once a day.

Wow, Tara’s a real slave driver, isn’t she?

Okay, so what’s up with me not eating raw chocolate, especially when I’ve been given permission to do so? Heck, not only permission, but a strongly, yet elegantly worded recommendation?

  1. I don’t live in California (yet), so I actually don’t have easy access to raw chocolate unless I make it.
  2. I am really sensitive to sugar, so even though raw chocolate is raw, I’m a little leery about desserts with sugar – even agave – in them, to the degree that it could potentially be a slippery slope.
  3. I actually have a hard time indulging myself this way when it comes to food.

Okay, so yesterday, I was going to all of my favorite food blogs, looking for gluten-free recipes for Thanksgiving (these include two mostly raw food blogs Rawmazing and PurelyTwins (used to be Pure2Raw), both of whom I’ve called out before).

Well, as it turns out, PurelyTwins has a recipe – a very simple and delicious recipe – for Sugar Free Chocolate Thin Mints that are made primarily out of hemp powder and coconut oil. Not only are hemp and coconut oil an important part of my diet already, they also reduce hunger and promote thyroid health. And, more importantly – they’re sugar free!

So, I tried these last night and I must say, Daily Requirements, Here I Come.

The entire process took about 10 minutes (and that was the first time through the recipe). These are going to become a (daily) staple.

p.s. It is worth noting that mine were a little “hempy,” but I think that’s a matter of the hemp powder I used. I have a another brand which is a little more mellow. As they note in the video, each protein powder is different, so it’s worth some experimentation.

Beet and Carrot Slaw: Recipe

A friend of mine just sent an email requesting my Beet and Carrot Slaw recipe. I immediately went to the blog to send her a link. After searching for about ten minutes, I realized that I talk about this all the time, but I had yet to choke up the recipe.

This recipe is so easy and so delicious. And even my husband, who has never been much of a beet eater, goes through periods where he eats this everyday. It’s also gorgeous and would be a welcome, uh, cleansing addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Next time I make it – which will probably be in a couple of days since I just added it to my own Thanksgiving menu – I’ll be sure to take a picture!

Beet and Carrot Slaw

Ingredients

Equal numbers of beets and carrots, peeled and grated finely (or run through a processor); I usually do about 4 medium to large or 6 small. It depends on how much you want to make.

1/2 bunch of parsley, cleaned and minced.

2 tablespoons (more or less) of extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon AND 1 lime

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon of cumin

Directions

1) Add all of the ingredients except the spice in a large metal bowl and toss well.

2) Then sprinkle the spices while continuing to toss (to avoid clumping).

3) Adjust seasoning and oil to taste.

4) Enjoy!

A picture’s worth a thousand words

Now, my winter farm share is not all about the squash, the rutabaga and the celeriac. It’s also about the kale. Kale, without a doubt, is one of my favorite foods. And also buried in there are leeks (as well as brussels, carrots, garlic, lettuce, and beets). My favorite kale recipe – at least for this year – is also quite simple and is excellent any time of day (including breakfast).

KJ’s Easy Kale Recipe (2012)

1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (or Olive)
1 (or 2) leeks, cleaned and sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
cumin, to taste
1 stalk of kale (ours comes on a stalk, but basically a bunch), washed, chopped, stems removed
Sea salt
The juice of a half a lemon

  1. In a wok or frying pan, saute the leeks and the garlic in the oil.
  2. Add cumin and stir for about a minute
  3. Toss in the kale, continue to stir
  4. Add the salt and top it off with the lemon juice

I like my kale to still have some shape to it, but it’s a matter of taste. Once you start cooking, it really should only take a few minutes from start to finish. I always cut everything up first to make sure that nothing gets overcooked.

KJ’s Homemade Chicken Broth

I fancy myself a pretty good cook and I am definitely a soup lover. That said, can you believe that I have never – had never, as of yesterday – made my own chicken broth?

And now that I have, I fear it’s like getting your first Mac – there is no going back. Though I must admit that it was a little disconcerting putting a whole chicken (or a fryer, I believe they’re called) into a pot of soon-to-be-boiling water.

That said, I made chicken broth. It was a bit of a hassle, but it really added a nice dimension to my soups. I started off with a couple of recipes on-line and then turned it into one of my own.

KJ’s Homemade Chicken Broth

1 fryer (all the inner bits cleaned out if he/she didn’t come that way)
7 to 10 cups of water
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 inch fresh ginger, grated

Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste.

  1. Wash the chicken, inside out.
  2. Put said chicken into a large soup pot (and try to ignore how much it feels like an infant resting in your hand).
  3. Put in 7 to 10 cups, enough to cover the chicken.
  4. Bring water to boil, then let simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Pull the chicken out and let cool (the meat should be well over 169 degrees at this point – more like 200, but it can’t hurt to check for safety).
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients to the water.
  7. Remove the skin from the chicken and the meat from the bones. Put the skin and the bones back into the pot and put the meat in the fridge for snacks, lunches, salads, etc.).
  8. Bring the broth-to-be back up to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
  9. Pull all of the solids out of the broth; easiest to use a slotted spoon and then pour through a sieve.
  10. Store broth in Ball jars in the fridge. (A film of fat will form on the broth as it cools; you just skim that off before using).

I’ll be the first to admit that is seems like a lot of work for broth – but, boy, did it ever make my soup delicious, giving it a rich undertone that I’ve never been able to get with prepared broth.

Besides that, it made the house smell great and I have lunches for four days in the left over meat (or, most likely, my husband will as I’ll be busy eating the soup).

Indian-Spiced Roasted Squash Soup

I am in experimentation mode, trying to determine what soup – if any – we’re going to have at Thanksgiving. Soup has always been my thing and having soup at a big meal is one way to make sure that I don’t overeat.

This one, which appeared in the November 2011 edition of Cooking Light, is definitely a contender!

Indian Spiced Roasted Squash Soup

1 cup chopped yellow onion
8 ounces carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (8-ounce) acorn squash (or whatever you happen to have on hand)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper (cayenne)
14 ounces of chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Optional:
6 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt
6 teaspoons honey

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Arrange the first five ingredients on a jelly roll (or a roaster pan). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper. Toss. Roast at 500 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender, turning once. Cool for 10 minutes. Peel acorn squash; discard skin.
  3. Combine vegetable mixture, 2 cups of water, curry powder. garam masala, and red pepper in a food processor (or high speed blender); pulse to desired consistency. Scrape mixture into large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in broth; bring to boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and stir in salt.
  4. Combine honey and yogurt, stirring well. Serve with soup

Calories (more or less, since I used real chicken broth instead of the canned fat free version they originally called for): 143, Fat: 3.1 g, Protein: 4.8 g, Carbohydrate: 27g, Fiber: 4.4 g.

Notes: Make sure you cook it for that 10 minutes to thicken it up, or if you’re pressed for time, use less broth.

Winterizing My Favorite Summer Soup: Recipe

All summer long, I have been eating this deliciously simple cauliflower and carrot soup. It’s pretty (a beautiful warm yellow), it’s tasty, it’s light, and it works as lunch with a couple slices of gluten free toast, it works with dinner, and it works as a snack.

The only problem is that it’s not that substantial – and where I live, it’s getting dark early and it’s getting cold. And when it’s dark and cold, I want something that’s really going to stick.

The original recipe is courtesy of Body Ecology. Or at least that’s where the idea came from, it’s been so long that I can’t remember what the actual recipe called for (a trait that I fear I picked up from my Grandmother Lively). Regardless, here’s how I make it:

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

2 cups of onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons (or more) of dried Tarragon
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 or 3 cups of carrots (depending on how big the cauliflower is)
Water
Sea salt
A.Vogle Trocomare Organic Spicy Seasoning

In a large soup pan, saute the onions and the tarragon until onions are translucent. Add the cauliflower and the carrots. Add enough water to cover the veggies, bring to a boil and then simmer until veggies are tender (which tends to be about 20-30 minutes).

Blend up the entire mixture in a high speed blender (you’ll have to do that in batches).

Return entire mixture to pot, then season to taste.

I like the Vogle seasoning salt, but I’ve also used curry or cumin when I didn’t have enough. It might take more than you think, but start small and just keep tasting it. You can always add more later, at the table.

Because I was trying to make the soup more substantial (and I had a ton of stuff from the CSA that was just going to go to waste if I didn’t do something quick), I decided to start adding stuff, namely 1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed and 1/2 celeriac bulb, peeled and cubed.

It was delicious – really stellar and super filling. This is definitely going to be my new normal, at least until spring rolls around!

Indeed, it was so filling that I was able to drop the gluten-free toast at lunch and still be completely satisfied.

Getting Creative with the Winter CSA: Recipe

I know that you’re not supposed to waste food, but I admit that last year I let several squash go bad. For months, I’d glance over at the literal mountain on the counter and then let my eyes slide away, until, eventually, the hard walls of the butternut, acorn, and buttercup would dissolve in the pile of goo. (I’m not an idiot – I actually did manage to do something with the delicata. Something that often involved a little touch of coconut oil, black pepper, cumin, and a broiler – but I digress).

This year, I was determined not to let that happen. I mean, isn’t there one dietary theory (more than one, actually) that says that you should be eating with the seasons? In my ongoing quest for health – particularly thyroid health – I decided to go for it. And, so far, I’ve been amazed.

My first attempt was just to bake some acorn squash and delicata. Well, I forgot about it and overcooked it – the delicata was literally black! At least on the outside! On the inside, it was like pudding.

Because I’m good friends with a number of health coaches who are always touting the importance of enjoying your food with all of your senses (and, heck, the busiest post on the blog is about Never Eating While Standing), I am embarrassed to say that I ate the entire thing standing at the counter.

Because even though the outside was ruined, the inside was like pudding. It was unbelievably good. Hence my new fascination with squash.

Last week, I started with a simple mash.

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
4 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1/2 celeriac, peeled and cubed (did you know that celeriac is 122 days in the ground?! Now every time I see one, I think: wow, that’s like, one trimester!)

I tossed all of these in a little olive oil and roasted them until tender.

I then tossed the whole thing in the high speed blender and viola! It was perfect.

Creamy, sweet and super easy.

Notably, I didn’t season it. Why?

  1. It was good plain (or with a little touch of coconut oil).
  2. If I wanted a dessert, all it needed was a little cinnamon and may (only if I was feeling particularly decadent) a drop or two of maple syrup.
  3. If I wanted a side (or a savory, as the Brits would call it), all it needed was a bit of sea salt and dash of cumin.

Total win.

So if you’re sitting on a pile of squash, don’t despair or feel the guilt of tossing it. Just get a little creative and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

KJ’s Should Be Famous Guacamole

I’m not sure why I stopped making this. When I mentioned that to my beloved, he said: “Maybe because I don’t eat guacamole?”

Given that that means twice as much for me, I really don’t know why I stopped.

I whipped this out over the holidays and it literally flew off the table. So for posterity’s sake, lest I forget again:

KJ’s Should Be Famous Guacamole

4 ripe avocados
2 small vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, to taste
dash of cayenne
sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve.

To make the mixing easier, I tend to mash the avocados using a potato masher before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Serve with blue corn tortilla chips (or hemp tortilla chips from the same company if you can find them).

Though spoons, fingers, and celery sticks seem to work just as well!

Ah, even more ways and reasons to eat yams….

I’m consistently blown away by how good the Whole Foods website is.

For instance, check out their page on yams.

I’ll be curious to do the slice and steam prep they recommend for maximum health benefits (including blood sugar regulation), but it’s doubtful that I will ever give up my favorite: Candied Yams Without the Candy.

Although I had originally pitched this as a dessert, I’ve recently paired it with black beans, a little bit of forbidden rice (for texture more than anything else though it too is ridiculously good and good for you) and, last but certainly not least, my favorite kale recipe.

I put it all together on a beautiful multicolored, hand-thrown plate/bowl (7″) and I’m good to go. Not only is it super satisfying, it’s also beautiful with the gem-like colors: emerald, not quite ruby, and onyx. Seriously it’s almost as visually appealing as it is delicious.

New Winter Dessert Smoothie

I know that for most people, the words “winter” and “smoothie” rarely go in the same sentence.

However, I am one of those people that love cold, creamy desserts all year long.

Unfortunately, like most of the people in my family, I can no longer easily reach for ice cream or even a milkshake, as my ability to digest dairy (even raw dairy and goat’s milk yogurt, which is totally annoying) has diminished with age.

I can eat it (or drink it); it’s not like it causes me to swell up or anything like that. But it makes me feel crappy and it really throws a wrench in my normal digestion.

So for me, protein based shakes have become a staple – not only for breakfast, but also for snacks and desserts.

My newest concoction is perfect for the fall. I haven’t yet come up with the perfect name yet, but here it goes.

Vanilla Garnet Spiced Smoothie

8-12 ounces of cold water (or unsweetened almond milk)
4 tablespoons of Raw Organic Living Harvest Hemp Powder – Vanilla Spice Formula
1 medium garnet yam, cooked
1 tablespoon of psyllium husk (or Yerba Prima’s Colon Care)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 pinch of pink sea salt
1/8 teaspoon of xantham gum, to thicken

Put all of the ingredients in a blender (preferably a high speed blender, though it may not be necessary for this particular recipe).

This is ridiculously good. I’m sure that you could also use pumpkin, but since I had a yam on hand, I just tossed it in – skin and all!

It hits all my buttons, the ingredients are super healthy, and it’s chock full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. It also tastes suspiciously like a pumpkin pie milk shake (especially if you use almond milk as opposed to water). And if you’re worried about being cold, the cinnamon and the cayenne are very warming; I’m sure that cloves or nutmeg would also be excellent.

I’ve had it twice this way and I’m pretty happy with it. However, because I’m really conscious of adding more fat to my diet – yes, you heard me, more fat to my diet – I may throw in half an avocado or a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, manna, or creamed coconut.

I’ll keep you posted as the recipe evolves and if you try it, please do the same!

p.s. Now this makes a lot of smoothie, so you could easily serve four as a dessert!

Drink of the Day: KJ’s Sparkling Dessert

You know, I was going to write something meaningful today, but then I decided to go with something useful instead.

I’m sort of sugar-free these days, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally feel like something sweet. Feel, get it? Because when I do want something sweet, there are usually emotions involved.

So, here it goes. Whenever you need (or even just want) a quick sugar/calorie-free pick me up, viola:

KJ’s Sparkling Dessert in a Glass

1) Perrier water (or any other sparkling water, per your preference)
2) Organic Chocolate Extract (to taste, go slowly with this…we’re talking drops, not dropper-fulls)
2) Stevia (either regular or Vanilla Creme; again, so slowly as Stevia is about 1000 times sweeter than sugar and has a wicked aftertaste if you use too much)

Mix all ingredients in the most beautiful glass glass you can find (this is important). Sit back and enjoy!

It reminds me of some fountain drink – like a real fountain drink that you’d get at an old fashioned ice cream parlor – that I used to drink as a child.

Delicious, refreshingly sweet, and sugar-free! Yum! Besides the extra hydration is good for your skin!

Chocolate and Cinnamon Socca

It’s been a long absence from this blog. I’ve been writing the journey from where I was when I was a regular blogger to where I am now, but the details seem long and convoluted and are of probably no interest to anyone other than myself.

However, I have been in the kitchen, so I may as well share my new discoveries.

Socca.

Socca? What the heck is socca?

I had never even heard of socca until I ran across this post from the Pure2Raw Twins.

Socca is a bread that you make from garbanzo bean (or chick pea) flour, which not only is gluten-free but is chock full of fiber and protein.

As I mentioned in the last post, I am in the process of sugar detox. Part of that means eating protein at every meal, including snacks.

Since I’m just as happy eating big protein-less salads and soups as I am anything else, I decided a little socca seemed in order.

I didn’t have any ground cardamon, so I subbed cinnamon.

Here it goes:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat an iron cast skillet in the oven, with 2 1/2 Tbs coconut oil

1 cup chickpea flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 c. raw cacao
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt

Pour the batter into the center of the heated skillet and let it run out to the edges.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

I sat the skillet on a rack to cool and then used a baker’s cake decorating spatula to get it out (carefully, as you want it in one piece).

I cut it into 8 wedges. It’s dense and not particularly sweet (I think that next time I might add in some stevia), but it’s a great texture for sandwiches. And I can imagine that I’ll be eating it as a good source of gluten-free, high protein, bread.

Man, if I wasn’t on that no-sugar thing, this would be awesome with a little raw almond butter and honey! But I digress…

If you’re allergic to gluten or know someone who is, I highly recommend that you check out the twins’ webpage.

I think their pumpkin socca recipe is next on my list!

I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Post Script: Chocolate Cinnamon Socca is phenomenal as a carrier for natural peanut butter!