Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sunflower Seed Butter Double Whammy

2 for 1 recipe special! Whoop Whoop! (I'm a nerd)

I recently confessed my love for Sunflower Seed Butter and I've got not one, but TWO healthy recipes to share with you! Sunflower seed butter is good on just about everything.
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Toast
  • Oatmeal
  • Porridge
  • Granola
  • Berries
  • Tortillas
  • Crackers
  • Healthy baked goods
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • French Toast
  • Muffins
  • Sandwiches
  • Burgers
  • And more!
See? Everything!

Beyond what you may slather it on, it's great to bake with. And I've been experimenting for you!
Tough job, but somebody has to do it.

First up, the most decadent ZUCCHINI BROWNIES on the web! Strong declaration? I know. I'm passionate like that. But, I truly think they're the best, in my humble opinion. They're fudgy, buttery but not buttery, crispy on the edges, moist, and everything else good. They're also dark-chocolatey. So, this recipe is especially for my dark chocolate lovers. Also, for all of you with too much zucchini from your garden that you don't know what to do with.

My favorite way to enjoy them is with a scoop of ice cream. I buy goats milk ice cream or almond milk ice cream. They're also good plain, with a cold glass of almond milk on the side. Hey, they'd even be good blended up in one of those healthy milkshake thingamajigs you guys are making. Anyway, they're good. You should try them.

These brownies are gluten and dairy free.



DECADENT DARK CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BROWNIES

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup sunflower seed butter
1 1/2 Cup (or 2 small) zucchini, grated
1/4 Cup honey
1 Egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup semi-sweet gluten and dairy free chocolate chips (I used enjoy life chips)
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, plus more for greasing

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 glass baking dish with coconut oil.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl or in a double-boiler, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil. Remove from the microwave or double boiler and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Once slightly cooled, add the remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine.
  • Pour into your prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • Let brownies cool before slicing.
  • Can be stored in an air-tight container for approx. 5 days. I also like to store mine in the freezer.
  • Optional tip- If you don't fancy DARK chocolate, omit the cocoa powder from the recipe.


And next up, Chocolate-chunk, Oat, and Sunflower seed butter cookies! I created this recipe on an impromptu thunder-storm craft day that seems like it needed cookies involved. I was right, and they turned out delicious. These cookies are gluten and dairy free!



CHOCOLATE-CHUNK, OAT & SUNFLOWER COOKIES

1/3 Cup Coconut oil, melted
1/4 Cup sunflower seed butter
3/4 Cup honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups Oat flour (gluten free)
1 1/2 Cups gluten-free oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot, if you prefer)
2 Cups gluten and dairy free chocolate chunks (I use enjoy life)

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  • In a bowl, combine coconut oil with honey, sunflower seed butter, vanilla, and eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the oat flour, oats, salt, cornstarch, and baking soda.
  • Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to scoop dough onto the cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake!
  •  Remove from the oven and use a spatula to remove cookies from the pans and place on a wire rack or the cool and clean countertop.
  • Store in an air-tight container for up to one week.
  • I like to store extra cookie dough in the freezer. Thaw out for quick cookies when needed or you can spoon it into a mug, microwave for 1-2 minutes, and top with almond milk ice cream.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUNFLOWER SEEDS

Sunflower seeds are considered to be one of the "worlds healthiest foods". They are high in Vitamin E, Selenium, and Magnesium. Making them super-healthy for everyone, but especially those battling high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, menopause, diabetes, poor brain function, and the list goes on.

They're fat soluble, full of antioxidants, and a natural anti-inflammatory! It's also said that they reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Cool tip- Sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter can help calm your nerves, your muscles, and tension headaches if you are experiencing physical symptoms of stress.
Ladies in menopause- they can help turn down the heat (hot flashes)!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lentil & Wild Rice Salad

It's in my nature to continue to change, progress, and cure my curiosity. Whether that's a flaw or an attribute, it's present in every aspect of my life. My family likes to joke that I wake up one day wanting to be an astronaut, and the next I'll express my desire to be a goat farmer, or something like that. Funny as it sounds, it's an accurate observation. While it may be helpful that I continue to progress in my career, the hankering to take on new work is a hindrance. Whenever I have a logical moment, I realize that chasing the bunnies is no good. That I'd probably be far more successful at this point if I stuck to one thing for a substantial amount of time. However, those logical moments don't last long before I'm off chasing another bunny.
 
 

 
 
 
Same goes for food. I know I could become an expert in one type of cuisine if I cooked for that purpose every day. Some days, I'm sure I'm a classic American cook and I always will be. I might have even told you that before. But lets be honest, tomorrow I will be certain I was born to cook German fare or maybe an expert in Italian cookery. Some weeks, I prep my meals ahead of time and cook from a list of tried and true recipes. Other weeks, I'm extremely outgoing and adventurous and live out a new kick I'm on through food.
 
 
 
 
 
I can go on and on with this post. I could go have a cup of coffee, come back and write a paragraph about some things I cook every week. Then again, I could go make breakfast and come back to write a paragraph about how my meals are never the same. I realize this is making me sound loony. I assure you, I'm not. However, this salad kind of is. That's the point I was getting to- I have a wild and crazy salad recipe for you! I created it on an adventurous whim from leftover ingredients and a few dried goods found in my pantry. On some sort of kick, dying to eat something new and exciting, this salad was born. Sometimes, it can be an entrĂ©e salad. Other times, it can be a side dish. Whatever mood you're in, this salad is always good.
 
 
 
 
LENTIL & WILD RICE SALAD
 
1 Cup dried lentils
1 Cup dried wild rice
1/2 Cup (or more, if you wish) chopped fresh mint
2 Cups red seedless grapes
salt and pepper
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
1 Cup goat feta, crumbled
 
  • Cook the lentils and the rice following package directions. When fully cooked, place in a bowl together and refrigerate until cooled completely.
  • Once cooled completely, add salt, pepper, feta, mint, grapes, olive oil, and vinegar. Toss to combine. Serve cold.
  • This recipe makes a large amount of salad. Will feed a family of 4 allowing plenty for leftovers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gluten-free Molasses Cookies




If you're a fan of old fashioned molasses cookies, this ones for you.

They're perfectly spicy and not too sweet. They pair well with tea, coffee, or dipped in your choice of milk. They remind me of an old-time snack. They're dense on the inside, which makes for good lunch or picnic packing.

I used the ever-so-trendy blackstrap molasses and local honey in place of sugar. Always attempting to make a gluten-free version of my favorites, I used buckwheat and gluten-free oat flour for this recipe.

Did you know? Blackstrap molasses is the most nutritious grade of molasses. It's great for your hair, it's high in iron (for during your cycle, ladies!), high in calcium and magnesium, works as a mild laxative, and is a great alternative to refined sugar. What's not to love?

Gluten-free Molasses Cookies 

2 Cups gluten-free oat flour
2 Cups buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 Cup melted butter (can sub coconut oil)
1/4 Cup almond milk
1/2 Cup honey
1/4 Cup molasses
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, molasses, melted butter, and vanilla extract. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the oat flour, buckwheat flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves by stirring with a fork. 
  • Combine the wet and dry mixtures with a spatula or a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. 
  • Use a small ice cream scoop or a spoon to portion out cookies on the baking sheets. Be sure to leave 1-2 inches between the cookies. It may take more than two baking sheets to use all of the cookie dough.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Will keep for 4-5 days. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Salmon in Coconut Milk



I'm not sure if I can contain my excitement or focus long enough to write this blog post. 

You see, I'm going on vacation tomorrow. Not just any vacation. I'm going on my first vacation after having my Daughter nearly 8 months ago. 

Sure, it's only Palm Springs. It's only 1.5 hours away from home, so what? It's a vacation! 
I'm sure I'm underestimating the amount of separation anxiety I'll experience, but I'm gonna choose to embrace the time away. 

"You'll get to sleep all night and as late as you want" my Husband says. "Sold" says me. One long pregnancy and 8 short months (whoa, that went fast!) I get to drink a couple glasses of wine without being sobered by Mom duties, sleep a whole night through, read a book without folding every corner, and most importantly, go 3 whole days without washing a baby bottle. Yipee! 

Since this vacation is so deserved and anticipated, I'm leaving you guys (anyone out there? cricket...cricket) with a recipe and I'm signing off of all social media accounts until Monday. Will I survive? Not sure. But, I'm going to enjoy the time away from working. Cheers! 

Introducing- Your new favorite way to prepare Salmon... 

Salmon in Coconut Milk 
4 salmon portions, skin off 
1 Cup Vegetable broth
1 Can Coconut Milk 
1 Tablespoon coconut oil 
1 lime, sliced in half 
salt and pepper

  • Pour the vegetable broth and coconut milk into a medium skillet, add the coconut oil and place on high heat. 
  • When the liquid has reached a boil, season salmon with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, presentation side down. Add the lime slices, flesh-side down. 
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and let salmon simmer for 3 minutes. Flip salmon over, cover the skillet, and let it cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until salmon has reached desired doneness. 
  • I serve mine with brown rice or a cold soba noodle salad. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Salmon Burgers with Avocado Aioli



Growing up, we didn't have a ton of money, and we usually ate from a very short list of menu items each week. My Mom offered up tacos, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and chili dogs for dinner regularly. She had a few other items in her holster that were simple, but special. Meatloaf was one of them. When asked the question, "What would you have for your last meal?" I typically answer, "My Mother's meatloaf". Another one was Salmon Patties. She adapted the recipe from my Grandmother (who is a wonderful and traditional cook) and maybe made a few alterations. Made up of canned salmon, eggs, seasonings, and not much else. Much like the meatloaf, they were served with ketchup.

I crave those patties often. When I was traveling and living away from home, there came a few times when I found myself at the grocery store, buying cans of salmon and running home to cure my craving. Everyone can relate to this- it's a meal that brings me back to my childhood. It makes me feel like I'm a kid again. I remember playing outside all day with the neighbor kids then returning home for dinner. When I walked in the house, you could smell food cooking and feel the warmth that the stove puts off. Usually, I was walking towards the dinner table hoping it would be salmon patties, that meatloaf, or my other favorite, goulash. They always tasted the same. They always tasted like Mom made them.

Yesterday, the craving returned. However, my taste buds and diet have changed dramatically since Mom was cooking for me. It made me think of one of my favorite lunch spots in Jackson Hole, WY called Betty Rock. They had a killer Asian-inspired salmon burger. Last night I put the two ideas together and made magic happen. My Salmon Burgers with Avocado Aioli turned out awesome! I used a new brand of gluten-free wraps that I've fallen in love with and served them with roasted potatoes. The organic ketchup was saved for the potatoes.

Salmon Burgers
4 Cans of wild caught salmon
1/2 Cup green or red onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Eggs
Pinch of fresh or ground ginger
Coconut Oil for cooking


  • Preheat your oven to 420 
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide into 4-5 equal parts and pat down like a burger patty. 
  • In a cast-iron skillet (or any skillet) heat a generous amount of coconut oil over medium-high heat. 
  • Place the patties in the heated skillet and cook for 3 mintutes. 
  • Flip the patties and cook for 3 minutes 
  • Place the patties on a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven for 5 minutes. 
  • Serve on a gluten-free wrap or bun with your choice of toppings. I used lettuce, tomato, red onion, and avocado aioli. They'd be great with cabbage, pickled cucumbers, grated carrots, or even grilled pineapple. 


Avocado Aioli
1 Avocado 
1/2 Cup Vegenaise 
1 handful of chopped fresh cilantro 
Juice and zest of 1 lime 
1 teaspoon ground coriander 
1 teaspoon sriracha 

  • Everything in a food processor, blender, or bullet until well combined and smooth 



"Wifey tip"- I put my Husband's Salmon Burger on a whole wheat ciabatta roll and added bacon. He loved it! 

Gluten-free tip- I'm totally obsessed with these gluten free "Sandwich Petals" I found in my local Organic market. A must-try! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Baking - Berry & Buckwheat Crumble



It's beginning to feel like summer! The Farmers Market last weekend was filled with bright berries, the kids are getting out of school, the weekends are jam packed and fun filled, and the grill is being used constantly. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you saw that last week I asked for some summer dessert ideas, as I was craving something sweet and fruity. All of that heat and grilling, I wanted something simple, fruity, and sweet to top off one of these busy days. The winning suggestion was blackberry. 

I picked up a bunch of berries at the market and got to creating. The blackberry suggestion quickly turned into a multiple berry and gluten free buckwheat cobbler. I'm so happy with how it turned out! I have totally fallen in love with my recipe. With honey and pure maple syrup as the sweeteners, and the cobbler topping filled with fiber, oats, and seeds, you could also enjoy this healthy dessert for breakfast! 
A crowd pleaser no matter who you're feeding. It's a guilt-free dessert that would be perfect for any summer affair. As always, I recommend buying local berries if possible. 

Berry & Buckwheat Cobbler 

For the cobbler topping: 
1 Cup Buckwheat flour
1 Cup gluten-free oats 
1/2 Cup chopped almonds or sunflower seeds (I used sunflower seeds) 
2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 Cup pasture butter, melted 
1/2 Cup local honey 

For the berry filling:
18-20oz berries (I used blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry) 
2 Tablespoons coconut flour 
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 Cup pure maple syrup 
1/4 teaspoon salt 

  • Preheat your oven to 350 
  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients for the berry filling. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the cobbler topping with a fork. 
  • Grease a glass baking dish or ceramic pie dish with pasture butter or coconut oil. 
  • Pour in the berry filling. Then, top with cobbler topping. 
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. This step is optional, but the cobbler topping will turn out better if it is chilled. 
  • Bake for 35 minutes and enjoy! Will keep in the refrigerator for 4-6 days. 



Friday, May 30, 2014

Thai Peanut (or almond) Sauce




Peanut sauce has been somewhat trendy for a while, but I hadn't tried it myself until this week. My house tends to lean towards Italian, fresh Mexican, or old-fashioned American cuisine. We usually save Asian-inspired eats for when we dine out, which is a rarity. Craving noodles, specifically something Thai-ish, I couldn't find a recipe I liked enough online. So, I do what Super-Moms do and figured out how to make my own! I grabbed some buckwheat Soba noodles at the store and used whatever veggies I could find in my fridge. I roasted chicken thighs to make my Husbands dish a little more, well, "meatier". I used a mixture of almond and peanut butter. You could use either. Peanut does work better for this recipe, I think. I loved how my recipe turned out. It's super simple and I think you'll enjoy it too.

Thai Peanut Sauce

1/2 Cup peanut butter or almond butter
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled, about 1 inch x 1 inch
1 garlic clove
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon thai chili paste
1/4 Cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Water

Everything in a blender until smooth. Will keep in a jar for up to 2 weeks.
I used my peanut sauce to dress soba noodles, chicken, edamame, purple cabbage, cilantro, and grated carrots. Tip- I think it's better served cold!