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Fettuccine Faux-Fredo

As I have shown on my site, I try to lead the way on experimenting in the kitchen, trying to figure out new ways to make healthy versions of not-so-healthy classics. Sometimes we get stuck on milk and cheese and butter as the only ways to make something velvety and creamy. But cannellini beans are a surprisingly buttery and creamy substitute! Without the fat and cholesterol of heavy dairy, they’re also loaded with fiber and nutrients. Ummm… perfecto!  

This fettucine faux-fredo uses cannellini beans (or you can use white beans) as the base of the sauce, and I also added tons of extra flavor with nutritional yeast, a little parmesan, garlic, and herbs. Cannellini beans are full of antioxidants, they're rich in fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. They're a great vegetarian protein option, and they have a buttery mild flavor. How about the fact that almost everyone has a can hiding in their pantry? Easy peasy my friends!

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and is a great go-to weeknight meal when you're busy but still want something healthy and yummy to eat. Making extra is a must, as pureed beans can last a few days in the fridge. Just be sure to add more water if the sauce gets too thick the following day. Heat up with a fresh batch of pasta and you're all set!

FETTUCCINE FAUX-FREDO
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. gluten free brown rice fettuccine, or your favorite type of fettucine
  • 2 cans low sodium cannellini beans (or white beans)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender, bout 10-11 minutes, or as directed on the package. Once cooked, reserve a few cups of the water the pasta has cooked in, then drain the pasta and set aside.

To make the sauce, rinse and drain 2 cans of low sodium cannellini beans. Peel 4 cloves of garlic.

Once your ingredients are prepped, to a high-powered blender or food processor, add the drained beans, 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, 4 cloves of garlic, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Puree the mixture until a smooth sauce forms.

Pour the sauce into a large pan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is big enough to hold the pasta and the sauce, as you will add the pasta to the pan. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the sauce. Heat the sauce until it is bubbly and thick, and the flavors come together, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce. Toss well and make sure all of the pasta is covered. If you need to thin the sauce, you can add more of the reserved pasta water.

Plate the pasta and generously garnish with flat leaf parsley. 

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Cashew Fried Rice

We've all been there: we're in a rush, we're hungry, and we want something yummy, maybe a little salty, and satisfying. We want it fast! Sometimes, that means we end up ordering takeout. 

I work every day in a kitchen cooking for my clients, so it's rare that I'm ordering takeout. But even if that wasn't the case, I can't say I'd be a big fan. The problem with ordering out, especially greasy food, is that you have no control of what's going into what you're eating. That lack of control usually means eating a dish with more salt, fat, sugar, and calories than you need in one meal... and that can lead to feeling too full, sluggish, and tired... creating a moodier less than happy version of yourself. 

Which brings me to one of my favorite classic take-out dishes: fried rice! When you figure out how easy it is to make fried rice at home, you'll be making it all the time. Also, this recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice, (in fact fried rice is even better when you're using leftovers... fresh rice can end up too gummy when stir-fried), or if you don't have the time to make rice, you can use plain frozen brown rice that you buy at the grocery store. You could even swap leftover quinoa for the rice for an extra boost of protein!

This fried rice is full of flavor, protein, veggies, and all around goodness! It is a healthier way to satisfy those takeout cravings!

 CASHEW FRIED RICE

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup toasted unsalted cashews
  • 4 tablespoons liquid amino acids
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (for garnish)

Start by dicing 1 onion and 1 red pepper.

In a large non-stick pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Once the oil is melted and the pan is hot, add 1 diced onion, and 1 diced red pepper. Cook the onion and pepper until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add 1 cup thawed frozen peas, and 2 tablespoons oyster sauce to the pan, and sauté for 1-2 more minutes until all of the veggies are coated and the peas are heated through. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and reserve.

In the same pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder to the pan. Next, add the cooked brown rice, and sauté it in the oil and spice for a few minutes, or until just warmed through. Add ¾ of a cup of toasted unsalted cashews, and 4 tablespoons of the liquid amino acids, and stir until the rice and nuts are thoroughly coated with the amino acids for 1 minute or so.

Add the reserved veggie mixture to the rice mixture. Mix both together until everything is well incorporated and heated through, about 1 more minute. 

Turn off the heat. Top with 3 chopped scallions, ½ cup of Thai basil leaves, and 2 teaspoons of black sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

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Mini Chicken Pot Pie

Photo by Vanessa Stump

Photo by Vanessa Stump

The great thing about mini dishes is that you have portion control built right into the dish. When you eat an entire plate of food, even if that plate isn't that big, you feel more full. Individual mini meals are a great way to make sure you're not overeating, but that you still feel satisfied.

And who can resist chicken pot pie? It's comforting, hot, bubbly, and sooo flavorful. This is one of the ultimate comfort dishes. I like to serve it on a chilly night along with a bright green salad. You can even make these ahead of time, freeze them, bring up to room temperature, and pop them in the oven to heat up when you're ready.

Instead of a traditional pie crust that's loaded with butter and refined flour, I'm using quinoa flour for protein, pecans for crunch and more protein, Parmesan for umami flavor, and cholesterol-free vegan butter. My filling has boneless skinless chicken breast, and lots of veggies for fiber, both of which will also help to keep you full and satisfied without extra fat and calories. I'm also skipping any heavy milk or cream, and instead this recipe uses almond milk (but you can use whichever unsweetened unflavored dairy-free milk you prefer). 

 This is energy-boosting nutrition-rich food at its best... and what could be more comforting to your body than that?

Mini Chicken Pot Pie 
Serves 5

For the filling:

  • 3 6-oz. large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped 

For the crumble:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

For the filling:

Lightly spray 5 small individual 8-ounce mini pots, or baking dishes with olive oil spray.

Season the 3 large chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of cumin, and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.

Heat a large ovenproof non-stick pan on high heat until very hot. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and sear for 4 minutes on one side. Turn over and sear the chicken for another minute, then add ¾ cup water and place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. 

Peel and quarter your onion, peel and quarter 3 carrots, quarter 3 stalks of celery, and peel 2 garlic cloves.

To a food processor, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Blend the veggies until they are chopped into small bite sized pieces. Do not over blend; you still want your vegetables to have texture. If you do not have a food processor, finely chop all of your veggies by hand.

In a large Dutch oven or in a heavy bottomed pot on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. To the hot oil, add all of the chopped vegetables. Stir periodically until softened, about 6 minutes.

Add ¼ cup quinoa flour to the softened veggies, and gradually add the 2½ cups almond milk to the pot. Stir and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

Chop ½ a cup of parsley, and juice ½ a lemon. Set aside.

Turn the heat off, and then add 2 cups thawed frozen peas, the lemon juice and parsley to the filling.

 Remove the cooked chicken from the oven, and allow it to rest while you make the crumble.

For the crumble topping:

In a large bowl combine: 1 cup quinoa flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. 

Add 5 tablespoons of vegan butter to the dry ingredients. Mix the flour mixture and butter together with your hands or with a pastry cutter until the mixture is formed into pea-sized crumbs.

Slowly drizzle in ¾ cup of unsweetened almond milk to the flour and butter mixture. Mix with your hands until a crumbly dough forms.

Assemble your mini chicken pot pies:

Cut your cooked chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Add the cooked chicken to the veggie mixture in the pot. Combine everything together.

Spoon the pot pie filling into each of the sprayed individual baking pots or dishes. Top each pot pie evenly with the crumble. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crumbly.

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Polenta Tots

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe here. Photo by Vanessa Stump.

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe herePhoto by Vanessa Stump.

I know most of you reading this post are above the age of 7, but come on! Who doesn't love a tot? Anything mini and bite-sized is somehow always satisfying. They may be tasty, but traditional tater tots have way too much sodium and oil and definitely don't have much nutritional value. I was trying to think of fun twists on the classic tater tot, and I came up with these polenta tots. Polenta is an inexpensive product, and contains B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin E. While it is starchy and should be eaten in moderation, it's a great alternative to heavy potato-based side dishes. 

These polenta tots are easy to make, and they are always a crowd pleaser... especially for little guys. You can serve them along with breaded and baked fish or chicken, or on their own with a fun dip (how about warm marinara?) for a fun afternoon snack or party appetizer!  

POLENTA TOTS

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 18-ounce sleeve organic polenta, cut into 1-inch rounds, and then diced into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup liquid egg whites
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Lightly spray the foil with olive oil spray.

Cut the polenta into 1-inch thick rounds, and then cut each round into bite-sized squares, roughly the size of tater tots.

Add the cut polenta tots to a bowl. Add ¼ cup of liquid egg whites to the tots, and toss until the polenta is well coated. Add ¾ of a cup of finely grated Parmesan and a pinch of black pepper to the polenta, and gently toss until the polenta is coated in cheese.  

Place the coated polenta bites onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the polenta for 12 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

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Roasted Mushroom Bisque with Cashew Cream

The past few months have been filled with fun travel, and I've been a little off the map. We've been filming Ted 2; set life is great, but now that I'm back in LA, I'm more than ready to share all of my new favorite dishes that I've been cooking up for fall. Even LA has a little chill in the air these days...

 When the weather drops I start craving warm nourishing bowls of soup.

 This Roasted Mushroom Bisque is so satisfying and decadent but without the fat and calories in your typical creamy soup. This creamy soup is 100% dairy free, and can easily be made vegan. Instead of slow-you-down-clog-your-arteries heavy cream, I'm using a raw cashew cream to give this dish its rich deliciousness, and of course, that cashew cream is adding an extra element of protein.

 The stars of this show are immune-boosting mushrooms! Mushrooms are low in calories, and high in vitamin D. They have a meaty umami flavor, and are a great addition to any healthy diet. 

 As a BIG bonus this bisque can be used for more than just soup! If you add a little less stock to the mushroom and cashew mixture you will have a sauce that can be used for a fine-dining style pasta dish... Or use the sauce to ladle over your favorite chicken, meat or veggie dish! How about in between sheets of lasagna? So many options.

 And on that note... I'm about to go snuggle up with a warm, delicious, bowl of this goodness!

 Roasted Mushroom Bisque with Cashew Raisin Cream Two Ways

for the bisque-

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 3-4 cups homemade chicken stock (or substitute with veggie stock)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • freshly ground pink peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup Merlot/Cabernet vinegar blend (or Madeira)

for the cashew cream-

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • pinch of smoked sea salt
  • freshly ground pink peppercorn
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock (or substitute with veggie stock)

 garnish- 

  • thinly sliced fennel
  • roughly chopped parsley
  • roasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

 On a parchment-lined baking place the mushrooms. Top them with shallot, garlic and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and roast the mushrooms for 30 minutes or until browned and tender. While the mushrooms are roasting, pour boiling water over the cashews, and soak them for 30 minutes.

Once the mushrooms are roasted, cut them up into large chunks.

In a Nutribullet, or in a high-powered blender, add the chunks of cooked mushroom, shallot, and garlic, flax,  and 1 cup of the chicken stock. Blend until creamy. Once smooth, pour the mixture through a strainer and into a large cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the remaining stock, soy sauce and pepper to the pan. Heat the mixture on low. Simmer the soup for 5-6 minutes, until the soup is hot and the flavors have come together. Be careful not to boil the soup. Once heated through, add the vinegar or Madeira to the mixture. Stir, taste, and simmer for another few minutes.

 While the soup is simmering, make the cashew cream. In the same blender (it doesn't even need to be cleaned since it's all going in the same pot!), add the soaked cashews, raisins, salt, pepper and some of the chicken stock. Puree until smooth.

 Add the cashew cream to the pot of soup, and swirl it in. Ladle into a bowl. Garnish with thinly sliced fennel, fresh parsley, and pine nuts. 

 Add more or less stock depending on the desired thickness of your bisque. If you add less liquid, you can make a silky smooth purée to serve along with roast chicken, or as a sauce for pasta.

In fact,  I used some leftover bisque and cashew cream to make this fine-dining style pasta dish! Just boil some of your favorite pasta, add the thick mushroom and cashew mixture to the cooked pasta, toss gently, drizzle with truffle oil, or season with truffle salt, and serve!

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Mint Chocolate "Ice Cream" Bars

Yes, it's September, but it's still BALLS HOT here in New England. We're in Boston shooting Ted 2, and I wanted to come up with a healthy gluten-free refreshing treat to keep us cool and happy on set. One of the actors mentioned he was in the mood for some mint chocolate chip ice cream and my wheels started spinning...

I love when inspiration hits at the unlikeliest moments! Back in the kitchen, I whipped up a bunch of these to satisfy our cravings for something minty, chocolatey, and cold. But, I also kept mind that we all need lots of good energy to keep us going during the long shoot days. This treat hides spinach so well and will satisfy your sweet tooth, but without the crash you get from a grocery store treat made with refined sugar. Plus, this homemade explosion of goodness has loads of protein and healthy fat, which will help our bodies move better and our brains work faster during the long scorching days.

Enjoy these last hot days of summer with this fun cool treat!

Mint Chocolate "Ice Cream" Bars

for the chocolate crust-

  • coconut oil spray. 
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the mint cream filling-

  • 2 cups cashews soaked in water for a few hours
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water for a few hours
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen spinach
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a few tablespoons of water, to thin the cream if necessary

Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with plastic wrap, and spray well with coconut oil spray. In a bowl, mix together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, flax seeds, and vanilla extract. 

Add the half of the chocolate mixture to the bottom of the lined baking dish, and place it in the freezer to set up while you work on the filling.

In a high-powered blender, add the soaked cashews, soaked dates, spinach, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, peppermint extract, and vanilla. Blend until a smooth cream forms.

photo 3.JPG

Add water if the cream is too thick and doesn't blend well. With a spatula, spread the mint mixture over the chocolate layer in the 9 x 9. Use the remaining chocolate mixture to spread on top of the mint layer. 

Place back in the freezer for 2-3 hours, or until it sets. Slice, smile, and serve!


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Blender Brownies

I LOVVVE brownies! And as much as I love eating them, I love making them!

I’m always looking for new easy healthy ways to make my favorite dessert… life is all about treats, but treats don’t have to be big weights slowing down our bodies and minds. Treats can be yummy, sweet, AND packed with good nutrition too!

This brownie recipe is a one-stop shop! You throw everything into a blender and call it a day. The recipe also uses silken tofu, which is a super easy base for any brownie batter; it adds proteins, eliminates the need for eggs, and gives the brownies that soft texture we love.

Besides the tofu, I also throw in some powerful sexy seeds. You’ll hardly notice these hidden guys, but they will increase the nutritional value of the brownies by a TON! There are hemp seeds which are high in omega threes, flax seeds which are high in fiber and omegas, and chia seeds which are high in both, AND are known to help suppress appetite!! Hey there chia, we love you!

Go on, boogie away and make your blender brownie today!

BLENDER BROWNIES

Ingredients:

  • 12 pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more to garnish
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons cacao nibs, reserve one tablespoon for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 heaping tablespoons brown rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • coconut oil spray
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Soak 12 pitted dates for 30 minutes. Spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil spray.

To a high-powered blender, add the silken tofu, almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons of the cacao nibs, vanilla, soaked dates, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sprinkle of cayenne, and pinch of kosher salt. Blend the mixture. Periodically pause the blending to scrape down the sides with a spatula.

Once the first set of ingredients are fully incorporated, add the brown rice flour and baking powder. Pulse until just incorporated, be careful not to over-blend the mixture at this stage.

Transfer the batter to the sprayed baking dish. Top the brownies with the reserved cacao nibs and the sliced almonds. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the brownie is set. Let cool completely before serving.

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Striped Bass Ceviche with Avocado Mousse

Does anything say summer better than a bright, fresh, cool, crisp yummy ceviche?

This is a-list appetite food at its best… ceviche has the classiness of sashimi, but you don’t have to be a master sushi chef to make it. In fact, even though you start out with raw fish, the citrus juice  in the marinade technically “cook”s the fish. That’s crazy right? Ok, to really cook something you need heat, and I won’t get into the scientific mumbo jumbo, but the acid in citrus does similar things to raw fish that heat does. Anyhow, science isn’t what matters here… what really matters is that you will be LICKING the bowl after you try this.

And this dish does more than just taste good… fish like striped bass are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids (just like hemp seeds), and those omega 3’s are super helpful for a strong functioning brain and body, inside and out. Some studies have shown that eating foods rich in omega 3’s can even make your skin look better.

And let’s not forget I’m serving this bright tangy ceviche on a creamy avocado basil mousse. Avocado, with all of its healthy fat and nutrient-rich goodness, is my favorite!! Love me some fresh avocado!

There’s always  a big wow-factor when I serve this dish, especially considering how easy it is to make. And you can have fun with your plating on this one! A simple ring mold, or even an empty soup can that has had both the top and bottom cut out, can help you stack this ceviche on top of a beautiful swoosh of mousse. If you don’t have a mold, you could also plate this in a martini glass for a fun presentation!

Get ready to impress your friends with this recipe, and put a smile on everyone’s face.

STRIPED BASS CEVICHE WITH AVOCADO MOUSSE
Serves 3

For the ceviche-

  • 1 lb.  striped bass
  • ¼  cup fresh orange juice
  • ½  cup fresh lime juice
  • ½  cup pineapple juice
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 3 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 tablsepoon avocado oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt

For the mousse-

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • Large handful of fresh basil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of water

Dice the fish and place the it in a bowl. Pour fresh orange juice and lime juice over the fish, and let the it “cook” in the fridge for 3 hours.

Mix pineapple juice, jalapeño, radish, shallot, oil, in a bowl and set aside in the fridge. 

Place all of the avocado  mousse ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

When you are ready to plate your ceviche, dollop a large portion of the avocado mousse on the dish you’re serving the ceviche in, use a mold to form salad or place in a cocktail glass for a fancy fun look! Squeeze out fish liquid when ready to use, and avoid excess liquid. Layer the fish with the radish salad.Top with fresh baby basil leaves and serve with baked wontons or plantain chips!

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Quinoa Breakfast Pizza

So…..what do you do you with leftover quinoa? You make a pizza, obviously! Well, maybe not so obvious.. but it's a darn good idea

Making breakfast pizza,  with our friendly super food, Mr. Quinoa, and his fine friends egg whites, spinach, flax seeds, and almond cheese creates a well balance, substantial and satisfying first meal of the day. There are a a lot of terrific benefits from consuming most of your calories from breakfast, followed by a moderate lunch, a snack, and small light dinner. First, you have a much better chance of burning those calories throughout the day. Secondly, a big breakfast wakes you up and revs up your metabolism. And third, over time, creating this pattern of consuming more calories early in the day might help lead to sleeping better and keeping off those extra pounds!

And let's talk about quinoa a little more... while it looks and cooks like a grain quinoa is technically a seed. AND it happens to be a grain-like seed that's loaded with protein. In fact, it’s actually one of the few plants that is considered a complete protein. That means it has all of the essential amino acids that a human body needs. On top of its protein goodness, quinoa has a ton of fiber. Fiber-rich diets have benefits that include: lowering cholesterol, helping to control blood sugars, and helping in reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. As an extra bonus, quinoa also happens to be gluten-free!

Yay! Everyone wins with quinoa! And with pizza! This quinoa breakfast  pizza is the best way to have a happy cooking, happy tummy, happy day ahead!

QUINOA BREAKFAST PIZZA 
Serves 1-2

  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup liquid egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
  • 5 sprays Bragg's liquid amino acids
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • 1/4 cup shredded almond cheese (or your preferred non-dairy cheese)
  • pinch of black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves
  • Sriracha

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spray a medium sized non-stick pan with olive oil spray on medium heat. Using a spatula, press the quinoa into the pan in an even layer and let it cook for 1 minutes. Spray the quinoa with liquid amino acids, and add the chopped spinach evenly over the quinoa. Next, sprinkle the spinach with flax. Pour egg whites into the pan, and top with pepper and the shredded almond cheese. Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes or until the eggs have completely set!

Garnish with basil leaves and Sriracha if you like things spicy and enjoy!

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Spinach and Parsnip Puree - Healthy Plating

Plating gives me as much joy as cooking food. I'm always looking for creative, healthy ways to bump up the wow factor on any dish I serve, and veggie purees are one of my favorite tools for making a plate of food more exciting to eat. 

I love vegetable purees because, first and foremost, they taste so good. They’re silky and luxurious, and they are a great way to pack in a ton of veggies into your meal. Purees can also easily be transferred to a squeeze bottle, and then that squeeze bottle full of gorgeous puree can be used to make designs and squiggles on any plate of food that you serve.

Two of my favorite veggie purees are parsnip and spinach. And don’t get intimidated by the word puree… it's a fancy word, but these recipes are super easy. All you need is an immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools) or a regular blender, a pot, and some happy veggies and you’re on your way to a beautiful, vitamin-rich plate of food.

Who said we shouldn't play with our food?

Spinach Puree

  • 1 ½ cups frozen spinach, thawed but not drained
  • ½ cup homemade vegetable or chicken stock
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon liquid amino acids

Add the spinach and stock to a medium pot. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer until it is warm, and the spinach has fully heated through. Turn off the eat, add the juice of half a lemon and 1 teaspoon of the liquid amino acids to the pot. Using a handheld immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the spinach mixture until smooth. 

Using a funnel, transfer the puree into a plastic squeeze bottle. Squeeze the puree however you would like onto your plate of food. This looks great as a topping to a piece of fish or chicken!

Parsnip Puree

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup light coconut milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter (Earth Balance)

Add 2 chopped parsnips to a pot. Fill the pot with water until the parsnips are covered by at least an inch. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the parsnips until they are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. You can check their tenderness by piercing them with the tip of a knife. If the blade goes in smoothly without resistance, your parsnips are fully cooked. Drain your parsnips and add them back to the pot. Add the coconut milk, almond extract, a pinch of salt and the Earth Balance to the parsnips.

Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients in the pot until they form a smooth puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the mixture to a regular blender and blend until smooth. I like the immersion blender because it simplifies the process. If the puree seems too thick to your liking, you can add a little more coconut milk until you get the consistency you prefer.

You can serve the puree by spooning it directly onto a plate. Or alternatively, using a funnel, you can fill a squeeze bottle with the puree, and then squeeze the puree onto the plate however you like.

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Raw Chocolate Brownies with Rich Chocolate Shell (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Protein packed brownie dough… UM, yes please! Hemp seeds, dates, nuts, raw cacao… It’s like a love affair that you just don’t want to keep a secret! 

Not only does it feel like a seedy celebration, but this recipe takes little more than a food processor. No oven, no flour, NO REFINED SUGAR, no fuss. 

OH, and why stop at just the brownie when you can have a drizzle of chocolate sauce? Exactly. 

Super excited to share this versatile recipe... Feel free to swap out certain nuts and seeds for your favorites. I like to serve mine with a banana "ice cream" (pictures above, recipe coming soon)!

Have fun with this raw yummy goodness. I’m smiling now just thinking about how happy you’re going to be when you get cracking in the kitchen on this one!

Raw Chocolate Brownies with Rich Chocolate Shell (Gluten Free & Vegan)

For the brownie:

  • 6 dates soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • ⅓  cup sliced almonds
  • ½  cup hemp seeds
  • ¼  cup flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Just over ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt

For the chocolate shell:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus a little extra for extra love)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick

For the brownie:

Line a 9 x 9 baking dish (glass or ceramic preferred) with wax paper.

In a food processor, blend all of the brownie ingredients until the mixture is thick, blended, and a dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the baking dish. Place the dish in the freezer and let the brownie set for 6 hours or preferably overnight.  

For the chocolate shell:

Add all of the chocolate shell ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture over the heat until everything is fully incorporated. Once incorporated, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes so that it has time to set. With a spoon or small spatula, drizzle the mixture on top of the brownie and place the dish back in the freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight so that the chocolate layer can fully harden, and can form a beautiful shell.

To serve:

Take the brownie out of the freezer. Run a very sharp knife under hot water, and cut the brownie into squares. Serve topped with your favorite frozen dessert!

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10-Minute Butternut Mac n' Cheese

Photo by Vanessa Stump

Photo by Vanessa Stump

Mac and cheese baby! Yup, that’s right, our beloved mac and cheese the healthy way - and not to mention the quickest version possible! This 10-minutes meal is one of my favorite recipes from season 2 of Recipe Rehaband it's the dish I get asked about the most by my fans.

This mac comes loaded with pureed butternut squash. Butternut squash is full of immune boosting vitamin B6, fiber, and can even help with blood sugar regulation and eye health. The squash also offers great creamy flavor, and a familiar color that kids love and associate with cheese, but without all the fat that comes from using lots of cheddar.

This is comfort food on every level! So, go ahead and indulge in a nicely portioned bowl of yummy-goodness!

10-Minute Butternut Mac n' Cheese
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 box rigatoni (1 lb.)
  • 4 packets 100% Butternut Squash Green Giant Veggie Blend-Ins (or 1.5 cups pureed butternut squash)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk
  • 1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted Gluten Free breadcrumbs

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the rigatoni. Cook until tender, about 8-9 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large sauce pan add the 100% veggie blend-in butternut squash, low sodium chicken stock, reduced fat milk, grated cheddar cheese, parmesan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes and allow the sauce to start to thicken.

Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and grated nutmeg. Turn the heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is fully cooked. Stir frequently.

Strain the cooked pasta, and add it to the butternut squash sauce. Mix until the pasta is fully incorporated with the sauce.

Serve into bowls, and garnish with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.

Enjoy!

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Super Spinach Smoothie

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s equally important to eat healthy snacks regularly to keep your blood sugars balanced and your energy up throughout the day.

Smoothies are a great mid-morning snack. My kitchen is always stocked with nuts and seeds, fresh fruit, leafy greens, protein powder, and frozen bananas in the freezer. Any combination of those things will lead you on a path to a fiber and protein-rich tasty morning treat.

This smoothie includes some of my favorite nutrient powerhouses: spinach, strawberries, pears, and hemp seeds. You’ll love the fruity taste, and the spinach, which I assure you, you will not taste at all, will increase your iron, zinc, vitamins A,C and E AND make the smoothie the perfect shade of healthy vibrant green. Yum!

SUPER SPINACH SMOOTHIE
Serves 1

  • 12 raw almonds
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • ½ a pear
  • 2 large strawberries
  • ½ scoop vegan protein powder
  • 2 cups water

Combine all of the ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend until the smoothie is smooth and frothy. Serve immediately.

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Chia Pudding

AHHHH I want pudding! Who doesn’t love pudding? Pudding is a crowd pleaser, and it brings out the kid in anyone. Unfortunately, most puddings are loaded with fat and sugar; both of which will drain you of energy and make your feel sluggish. Blah! No one loves that.

This chia pudding is delicious and creamy, but it doesn’t have any dairy, eggs, or processed sugar. That means this dessert is vegan, gluten-free, and good for you. Did I mention it’s the easiest pudding to make? If you can mix something in a bowl and put it in the fridge, then you’re all set for this recipe.

Serve the pudding in a martini glass, a mason jar,  or other fun cup or bowl, and top it with your favorite healthy toppings. Serve to your soon to be very happy family and friends.

Chia Pudding
Serves 2

  • 1 ¾ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • dollop of honey

In a bowl, add the almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla, and honey. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for 5 hours or overnight, stirring once.

Top with fresh berries and shaved coconut, or sliced banana and almonds, or even shaved dark chocolate with pomegranate seeds. The combinations are endless!

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Homemade Chocolate Nut Butter

LOVE chocolate. I eat it on a regular basis, and I can’t imagine life without this delicious and amazing ingredient. When you eat dark chocolate (70% or higher), or cocoa nibs, you’re actually eating something that is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and helps with proper heart and brain functioning. Chocolate is an indulgent treat your body can get behind!

Sometimes, magic happens in the kitchen. In fact, with a delightful attitude, it happens often :) Today, I was inspired to make some kind of chocolate spread. Hands down, this nut butter is one of the best things I’ve ever made. It’s sure to become your new favorite energy-creating, antioxidant-rich snack. Run, don’t walk to your blender, and whip up a super easy batch of this incredible homemade chocolate nut butter!

Homemade Chocolate Nut Butter
Makes 2 small mason jars

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • ¼ cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 ½ cups ground raw almonds 
  • 1¼ cup cocoa nibs
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender.  A food processor will work, but the texture will not be as smooth as it is when mixed in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture resembles a smooth nut butter.

Enjoy it with sliced apple, sliced banana, spread on top of GF crackers or toast... or just on a spoon works great for me!

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Tuna Tartare With Avocado And Baked Wonton Chips

photo 4.JPG

Sometimes we all need to treat ourself to a classy plate of food.  When I'm in the mood for a special treat that's loaded with healthy fat and brain boosting omega-3's, I go no further than tuna tartare. This tuna tartare is made even better with the addition of creamy avocado and crunchy wonton chips.  Don't let the word "chips" fool you... these wontons are lightly coated with coconut oil spray, and they are baked instead of fried. You get the same satisfying crunch as a fried wonton, but without all the excess oil, fat, and calories. 

This recipe couldn't be easier. The trickiest part is not eating the tuna straight out of the mixing bowl before you get it onto the plate to serve to your guests.

Tuna Tartare with Avocado and Baked Wonton Chips

Serves 2-4

  • 3/4 lb. grade A tuna, about 1.5 inches thick, diced in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon or 10 sprays of liquid aminos
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white or black
  • 5 wonton wrappers
  • coconut oil spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chia seeds

Special Equipment: one 2-3 inch ring mold

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Start by dicing your fresh Grade A tuna steak in half, lengthwise.  Dice the two halves so that you have small, bite-sized pieces of tuna.

In a bowl, add your tuna, liquid aminos, and sesame oil.  Let the tuna marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  

In a separate bowl, add your diced avocado, finely diced jalapeno, flaxseed oil, and freshly grated ginger.   Gently mix everything together; be careful not to break up your avocado too much.

Cut 5 wonton wrappers in half diagonally so that you have 10 wonton triangles in total.  Place the wonton triangles on a baking sheet. Spray each side of the wonton with coconut oil spray.  Sprinkle the wontons with a dash of ground cumin, followed by a dash of chia seeds.  Place the wontons in the oven for 3-4 minutes, take them out and flip each wonton over.  Bake the wontons for another 3-4 minutes until they are brown and crispy on both sides. Watch them carefully as they bake; they can burn easily.  

To assemble the tuna tartar, start by placing a ring mold in your serving dish.  Place the avocado mixture in the bottom of the mold, and top with the tuna. Sprinkle the top of the tuna with sesame seeds.  Lift the ring mold up and you will be left with a perfect mound of avocado and tuna.  Repeat the process, and use the rest of the avocado, tuna, and sesame seeds.  Serve with the baked wonton chips.

Enjoy scooping up each delicious bite!

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Have your Cake and Eat it Too

brunch

A great brunch makes any day brighter.  Hosting a brunch is a casual way to get friends, family, or even clients together.

I always like to serve something fun and unexpected when cooking for guests. For this brunch it’s a Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake. What’s the secret? Black beans! Trust me, you won’t taste the black beans, but you will feel like you’re spoiling yourself with a decadent morning treat. Without the guilt and sugar crash regular chocolate cake gives you, this extremely high protein and rich in fiber cake will surprise even the pickiest dessert lovers!

This spread was for one of my client's brunch meetings. In addition to the cake, I served: a platter of dried fruit, a plate of smoked wild Scottish salmon garnished with sliced lemons, red onions and capers, sliced whole grain bread, a bowl of berries dressed with a little lime juice and a touch of honey, and a bowl of roasted mixed nuts.

Whomever you choose to serve it to, this brunch will guarantee a happy and energy-filled day ahead.

SECRET INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE CAKE

Serves 12

for the cake-

  • 2 15-ounce cans low sodium black beans
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 6 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • A few drops of water (as needed to blend)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Olive oil spray

chocolate icing-

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line two 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper, and spray with olive oil spray. Set aside.

In a high-powered blender add the beans, eggs, salt, honey, vanilla, coconut oil and water. In a small bowl whisk the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and carefully add to the blender. Mix gently with a spatula before turning the blender back on. Blend until well mixed, about 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the two baking pans. Tap the pans lightly on the countertop to prevent air bubbles.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in their pans. Carefully flip the cakes out of the their pans, and place on a cooling rack. Cool for another 15 minutes before icing.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the icing.

Mix the coconut oil and honey in a medium size bowl. Slowly stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the Greek yogurt until smooth.  Lastly, add in the shredded coconut.

Use half of the icing to ice the top of one cake.  Place the other cake on top of the first, and ice the top of the second cake.  Cover the top of the cake with shredded coconut.

Slice and serve!

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Smoked Salmon Spring Roll

salmon spring roll

We all get into snack ruts, but I like to make each meal a treat.  Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day is an important way to keep your blood sugars balanced, and your energy levels up.  

Springs rolls are one of my go-to snacks.  Rice paper is a great vehicle to fill with all sorts of fresh veggies, flavorful herbs, and light proteins. The options are endless! Today my combination of choice is: rich smoked salmon, creamy goat cheese, blanched asparagus, and fresh herbs.  But I promise, these rolls are fireworks of flavor! Visually, these are beautiful when sliced, but they also give you an energy boost between lunch and dinner.

 

SMOKED SALMON SPRING ROLL 

Serves 4-6

  • 3 sheets spring roll rice paper (preferably brown rice paper) 
  • 6 slices (approx. 8-oz.) of smoked salmon (preferably Scottish, no sugar added, low salt)
  • 6 asparagus stalks, trimmed and blanched until al dente
  • 1/2 cup arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onion sprigs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves removed from stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 lemon, sliced, served on the side
  • liquid aminos, served on the side

Prepare all of your ingredients to assemble the spring rolls: blanch 6 asparagus stalks, chop the arugula and the spinach, thinly slice the green onions, remove the leaves of the basil and mint from their stems, and crumble the goat cheese.

Fill a large bowl or baking dish with very warm water.  Assemble each spring roll one at a time by dipping the rice paper into the warm water for 1-2 seconds, to moisten and soften it.  Lay the moistened rice paper on a cutting board or flat surface. In the middle of the rice paper circle, lay down a few mint and basil leaves, two slices of smoked salmon, two asparagus spears, a third of the crumbled goat cheese, and a third of the spinach and arugula.  Leave two inches uncovered on either side of the filling, and about an inch on either end of the filing.  Fold the uncovered sides of the rice paper over the filling, wrap it tightly like a burrito. Repeat the process until you have three filled spring rolls. 

Slice the spring roll into halves or thirds, depending on how many people you would like to serve. Serve with freshly sliced lemon and a small dish of liquid aminos. To avoid excess sodium intake, use the liquid aminos sparingly; the salmon is salty and flavorful on its own.

Enjoy this fresh, satisfiying, and nutritious snack!

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Afternoon Energy Boost

It's 3 o'clock... you're starting to feel a little sleepy. Nap time isn't an option, but a healthy energy boosting snack is!

Try these Prosciutto roll-ups! They're easy, tasty, bursts of protein and flavor!

   

What you'll need:

  • Prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • Light Jarlsberg Cheese, thinly sliced
  • Baby Spinach
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Honey mustard

Lay down a few slices of prosicutto.  Smear a bit of honey mustard on one end of the prosciutto.  Add a few pieces of spinach on top. Lay half a slice of cheese on top of the spinach.  Grind fresh pepper on top.  Start rollin', on the cheese end of the meat.  

Roll up as many of these treats as you'd like. A good serving size is three per person.  

Get ready to take on the rest of your day! 

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