Cumin & Dill Maple-glazed Carrots

Cumin & Dill Maple-glazed Carrots

Why was I drawn to these carrots when I went to the market? You see, I don’t like cooked carrots. If I see them at a potluck or on the menu at a restaurant I will avoid them like the plague! I love raw carrots but cook them on the stove or bake them in the oven and make them all mushy on the inside, no thank you. So why was I drawn to these carrots when I had no intention of eating them raw? I think sometimes as a recipe developer I look at certain foods as a challenge. Make a food you hate into something you love. Is that even possible? Sometimes it’s a texture thing and no matter what you infuse, douse, or marinate it in, the texture won’t change. But I wasn’t sure that was the case with carrots, so I placed these beautiful orange roots with their bright leafy greens into my basket and decided to take them on as my challenge.

Fresh Carrots

Long, thin carrots ready for glazing.

I’m pretty sure my husband felt the same as I did because the moment he walked into the kitchen he said, You’re not making those for us, are you? In which I replied, No, I am making them for Peter Rabbit. I don’t think he was amused. I just told him to trust me on this one. I was attempting to make a carrot dish that he and I would love and if they turned out bad he wouldn’t have to eat them, and I would most likely never attempt to bake carrots again.

Glazed Carrots

Dill and Cumin are the perfect blend of herbs & spice.

I knew I wanted to start with maple syrup as the glaze but what herbs and spices to add, I wasn’t quite sure? I opened my spice drawer and literally stared at them for quite some time. My first thought was thyme but I was completely out. Rosemary? No, the combo of maple syrup and rosemary didn’t quite sound right. Herbs de Provence? Hmm, too many herb combinations. I finally settled on dill and decided to throw in a little cumin. I had never combined dill and cumin before and quite honestly thought maybe I was destroying my attempt of liking baked carrots before I even got started. But I went for it because it sounded good in my head and hopefully would translate to my taste buds.

Carrots in a Maple Glaze

Baking in the glaze.

I arranged the carrots in my cast iron Le Creuset baking dish I received as a wedding gift over 30 years ago, and poured the glaze on top. As they baked the maple glaze bubbled up around the carrots. I still might not like the taste, I thought, but they sure look pretty baking in the dish.

I enjoy making new gluten-free recipes and this one has an option to be made dairy-free as well. It also fits in with our eating clean regimen we are doing for the month of January and hopefully beyond.

Layering the Carrots

The Cumin & dill give a nice balance to the maple glaze.

When I took them out of the oven I arranged them on a dish altering the green stems from one end to the other. This helped the carrots all fit and look pretty on the plate at the same time. If you are going to serve them in your baking dish, arrange them this way before baking. Now for the test. They looked good, smelled good, but would they taste good? My husband waited for me to try the first one. I detected his hesitancy even though they did look really good.

Maple-glazed Carrots with Cumin & Dill

Maple-glazed carrots baked to perfection.

I choose the smallest one on the dish and took a small bite. My husband looked at me with curious anticipation. Well? he asked inquisitively. I didn’t answer. At least not at first. I was diving into the rest of the carrot. He took a bite. Oh, wow! he said. I know, right?!! I answered back. We devoured the carrots.

Cumin & Dill Maple-glazed Baked Carrots

The maple-glaze bakes right in making a sweet outer coating.

I was thinking back to my childhood and realized that most of the carrots I ate growing up had been boiled in a pan of water. Well no wonder I didn’t like them! These baked carrots are so delicious they will now become a favorite side dish. Who knew? What a joy to take a food you hate and turn it into a food you love.

Glazed Carrot Pin

Cumin & Dill Maple-Glazed Carrots are the perfect side dish.

If you are interested in trying another dish I made with cumin, you may want to try my Quinoa Salad with Orange Cumin Dressing. It took grand prize in a recipe contest.

Cumin & Dill Maple-glazed Carrots

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Gluten-free
Meal type Side Dish
Cumin & dill are the perfect blend of herbs and spice for these maple-glazed carrots. A perfect side dish with a delicious infusion of flavor in every bite.

Ingredients

  • 8 Medium carrots (organic-thin)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (pure organic)
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 3/4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • sea slat (to taste)

Note

Substitute olive oil for the melted butter for a dairy-free option.

Directions

Step 1
In a small bowl combine melted butter (or olive oil), maple syrup, cumin and dill. Blend well.
Step 2
Cut stems leaving approximately 3-4 inches. Arrange carrots in an oven safe baking dish and pour maple syrup mixture evenly over the top of the carrots.
Step 3
Place carrots in a 400 degree preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 4
Arrange carrots back and forth alternating green stems on each end. Pour any remaining glaze over the carrots. Serve hot.

 

What I Learned from Eating Clean

Nutrient Dense Chopped Salad

When my daughter proposed to eat clean for 30 days, I thought to myself no problem. But then I started truly eating clean and it was a problem. Well, not really a problem, but a major shift in the way I thought about the foods I was putting in my body. To rid yourself of processed sugars and highly processed foods takes great effort, at least here in America where our stores are full of highly processed foods that are full of preservatives and sugar.

I’ve listed my favorite websites I scoured over (be aware not all sites are 100% GF):

  1. Eating Well
  2. The Gracious Pantry
  3. Clean Eating (for a good list of what is clean and what is not)
  4. Wellness Mama
  5. 100 Days of Real Food
  6. Elana’s Pantry

I learned why it is better to eat brown rice instead of white. Did you know that white rice is really brown rice, it has just been stripped of nutrients and fiber? Then it is polished to make it look nice and pretty for our consumption. I also learned grains that have been ‘fortified’ have vitamins and other nutrients added back in because they strip the grain from their natural nutrients. Then there is instant white rice that not only is stripped of nutrients but loaded with preservatives in order to keep it ‘fresh’ until you quickly cook it. I guess the best way to look at it is to eat foods the way God put them on the earth, not the way man has boxed them to make a profit. Brown rice takes a long time to cook, generally about 45 minutes, so make up a large pot and divide it into serving sizes for your family. Place the serving size into a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. About three minutes in the microwave will thaw and heat the rice!

The very best benefit of eating clean is how it literally changes your taste buds. Last Saturday, my husband and I went to see a movie. To let you in on a little fact, he enjoys going to the theater because of the movie popcorn. He has refused to go to the movies in the past if he has been on a diet because he can’t have the popcorn! I have told him for years how terrible movie popcorn is but I must just sound like a nagging wife, because I have never been able to persuade him. He told me ahead of time that even though we are on this ‘eating clean’ thing, he was still going to have a little movie popcorn. He bought a small bag and put the ‘movie butter’ aka ‘fake butter’ on it. We sat down and he ate maybe five bites before turning to me and saying,’I can’t eat this, it tastes like chemicals in my mouth!’ I have to tell you, I was doing a little happy dance inside. Click here MOVIE POPCORN to find out the calorie counts. You might be as shocked as I was!

When I went into my usual coffee-house to buy a latte, I asked for a regular latte with whole milk. Normally I ask for a Cubano, which adds sugar at the bottom of the pour. They know me as a regular, so when I received my drink, they had made a Cubano rather than a straight no sugar latte. One sip and I knew the old sugar culprit was in there. It tasted sickening sweet. Wow! Had I truly been drinking that all along? If anything, the changes from eating clean have made me very aware of my old eating and drinking habits.

If you didn’t follow along on the eating clean regimen this past month, I do hope you try it sometime. It truly gave me a whole new appreciation of food.

 

 

 

Savory Pancake with Asian Slaw & Shrimp

Asian Slaw & Shrimp over a Savory Pancake

My husband and I visited Seattle last month and went to a fabulous restaurant called Tanaka San, by chef, Tom Douglas, where he ordered a savory pancake. I, of course, was unable to taste it because it was thickened with flour, but there were a few nice gluten-free items to choose from. He said the savory pancake was amazingly delicious and that I should try to create something similar for my blog. And so I did. Does it taste the same? No, probably not even close, as I didn’t know what I was comparing it to, but my rendition is tasty and worth cooking up. If you visit Tanaka San you may be interested in taking a seat where we did, on the high stools that over-look the chef’s kitchen; the best seat in the house in my opinion! Of course, if you are out for a romantic dinner then take the table for two (the restaurant is much prettier than the industrial kitchen but I loved watching them cook).

Tanaka San's Kitchen

Tanaka San’s Kitchen

As I watched the chef (not Tom Douglas) but an assistant chef, mix up the batter, he placed two small strips of bacon on the grill before pouring the batter over the top. As the pancake cooked he mixed up a little tangy slaw of some sort. After the pancake was plated he placed it on the top and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.

Making Savory Pancakes

The insides of a savory pancake.

I believe they made their pancakes strictly from cabbage as their main base but I decided to add a little potato as well.

Crispy Savory Pancake

Crispy Savory Pancake.

I also changed it up a bit by adding three sautéed jumbo shrimps on top, not only for the taste but for the presentation. The Asian slaw is a very simple mix of cabbage, rice vinegar and raw honey. Add fresh scallions and sesame seeds on top, along with the shrimp and you have a very lovely presentation. Like I said, I have no idea if this comes anywhere close to Tanaka San’s version, but to this gluten-free cook, it was mighty tasty and good enough for any dinner party!

Savory Pancakes with Asian Slaw & Shrimp

Savory Pancakes with Asian Slaw & Shrimp.

I like to leave the tails on my shrimp because they look prettier on the plate that way. I know it’s a little messy having to pull them off but I think most guests don’t mind.

Savory pancakes, Asian Slaw, and Shrimp is Yum on a Plate

Savory pancakes, Asian Slaw, and Shrimp is Yum on a Plate

A small bite of shrimp, a touch of Asian slaw and the savory potato-cabbage pancake make a very yummy combination. You could even make them bite size with only one shrimp on top for a nice hors d’ oeuvre.

Bite of Savory Pancake

A delicious bite of tangy and savory.

Savory Pancake with Asian Slaw & Shrimp

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Meal type Appetizer, Main Dish
Misc Gourmet
An infusion of flavors burst with the combination of this savory pancake with Asian slaw and shrimp. Cook them large or make small ones for an appetizer.

Ingredients

Pancake

  • 1 1/2 cup Potato (shredded)
  • 1 1/2 cup Cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 bunch Scallions (sliced and 1/4 cup greens reserved for topping)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Gluten-free Flour Mix
  • 6 medium slices Bacon (cut in half)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper (ground)

Slaw

  • 1 cup Cabbage (shredded)
  • 3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Raw Honey

Topping

  • 12 Large Raw Shrimp (sautéed)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds (toasted)
  • 1/4 cup Scallion Greens (reserved from cut scallions for pancake)

Note

Make small mini-size pancakes with one shrimp on top and serve as an appetizer.

Directions

Slaw
Step 1
In a small bowl combine honey and rice vinegar. Mix well and add 1 cup shredded cabbage. Toss and set aside to marinate.
Pancake
Step 2
In a large bowl shred potatoes and Cabbage. Cut scallions about 2/3 up the stocks and add to potato and cabbage mix. With remaining greens, slice at an angle (about 1/4 inch slices) and reserve for topping. Add egg, gluten-free flour, salt and pepper to the pancake mix and toss to combine well.
Step 3
Cut bacon strips in half and lay two halves down side by side for each pancake in a non-stick fry pan or pancake griddle. Pour enough batter to cover the bacon strips (about a 4" round). Cook until crisp on each side.
Topping
Step 4
While pancakes are cooking, remove any veins by slicing down the back of the shrimp and pulling out the dark vein. Saute shrimp in butter and olive oil just until they turn pink on both sides. Remove from heat and reserve for topping.
Step 5
Toast Sesame seeds under the broiler until they turn light brown. Watch carefully, they can burn quickly. Set aside for topping.
Step 6
Assemble by placing pancake (bacon-side down) on a dish. Add about 1/4 cup slaw on top of pancake followed by three cooked shrimp, green scallions, and sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Jalapeno Maple Bacon Meatloaf Mini’s

Jalapeno Maple Bacon Meatloaf Mini’s is what’s for dinner. I know, I know, they say bacon is not that good for you. But is it not that good for you because it is full of nitrates? Because I would agree, nothing with nitrates are good for you. Or are they really all that bad? There is some controversy over whether nitrates and nitrites are as bad for you as you have been led to believe. You can read about the nitrate controversy here. I’m still a little unsure, so I bought nitrate-free organic bacon. And I’m not advocating bacon everyday because it still has an extremely high saturated fat content but a little bacon every now and then is okay. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?  I read a t-shirt once that said ‘Everything’s Better with Bacon’. I’m not sure I agree, but it is awfully tasty on this new recipe I created.Mini Jalapeno Maple Bacon Meat Loaves

Mini Jalapeno Maple Bacon Meatloaf’s are perfect for a dinner party.

These meatloaf mini’s are about the size of a medium potato, so they really are perfect for serving at a casual dinner party where every guest receives their own individual meatloaf wrapped in a blanket of bacon.

GF Meat Loaf Mix

The fixings of a great meat loaf.

And don’t let the word ‘jalapeno’ scare you. It adds just a slight amount of kick but not enough heat to really notice. If you like things extra spicy you could always add a few extra peppers into the mix or throw in the seeds, where a lot of the heat resides. I always remove them because I like a little kick but not that much. And be careful when you are handling peppers. The oil from the seeds can be extremely potent! I learned the hard way. I was making salsa one summer, cut open the jalapeno peppers and got some of the oil on my fingers. I then proceeded to wipe my eye. That was a BIG mistake! It literally burned for days, so be extra careful when you are handling spicy peppers!

Sliced Jalapeno

The hotness is on the inside!

For those of us who suffer from Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you must be very careful when it comes to eating meatloaf. Most meatloaf, especially in restaurants or at someone else’s house for that matter, will most likely have bread crumbs in the loaf. I decided to substitute quinoa flakes and they worked very well in helping hold them together.

Preparing Mini Meat Loaves

Wrap each loaf in a little bacon blanket.

Mold the meatloaf mini’s in the shape of a potato and wrap each one in a half a slice of bacon (I had pretty thick bacon, so I pulled the slices a bit to try to stretch the fibers).Then baste each loaf in a small amount of pure maple syrup.

The maple glaze

Glaze the top of each bacon strip with a little pure maple syrup.

I did have to turn the broiler on for a few minutes at the end of baking in order to fully cook the bacon. You may or may not have to do this depending on how thick your bacon is to begin with. Serve them with my caramelized root vegetable dish and my Asian Pear Salad to make a perfect meal.

Jalapeno Maple Bacon Mini-Meat Loaves

Individual meat loaves make it easy to serve.

Jalapeno Maple Bacon Meatloaf Mini’s

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo
Meal type Main Dish
The combination of sweet and spicy will make these Maple Bacon Meatloaf Mini's a family favorite! The individual size makes them perfect for a casual dinner party, too.

Ingredients

  • 1lb Hamburger (preferably organic grass-fed)
  • 1/2lb Spicy Italian Sausage (preferably organic)
  • 1 Large Egg (preferably free-range)
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa Flakes (generally found in the cereal section)
  • 5 medium slices Bacon (preferably organic- reserve 3 slices for wrapping)
  • 1 Medium Jalapeno Pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup (reserve one tablespoon for basting)
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Seed

Note

I didn't pre-cook the bacon that went inside the meatloaf but I found it didn't cook that well during the oven time. I would recommend cooking it before adding it to the uncooked mixture.

Directions

Step 1
Take two strips of bacon and cut into small pieces. Slice open jalapeno pepper and remove seeds, dice.
Step 2
In a large bowl combine hamburger, spicy Italian sausage, egg, quinoa flakes, chopped bacon, diced jalapeno pepper, garlic, maple syrup (reserving 1 TBSP) and spices. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Step 3
Form six individual mini loaves in the shape of a potato and place on a plain cookie sheet or one that has been covered in parchment paper.
Step 4
Take remaining three slices of bacon and cut them in half. Place a slice around the middle of each loaf.
Step 5
Baste each bacon slice with the remaining maple syrup.
Step 6
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes at the end to cook bacon thoroughly if needed.

This recipe was shared on the following blogs: TheDIYDreamer 

 

Sweet Italian Sausage Lentil Stew

There are certain foods that taste especially good on a cold blustery day and a hearty soup or stew perfectly meets that desire. Probably one of my all-time favorite winter stews is my Sweet Italian Sausage Lentil Stew. If you normally don’t care for lentils, this recipe might change your mind. Trust me on this one! It is a rich, creamy stew that is simply delicious. I’ve had numerous people say they don’t care for lentils but love this recipe. It freezes well if you make a large pot and it is perfect reheated due to the depth of flavor that richens the longer it sits.

Sweet Italian Sausage & Lentil Stew

A thick, rich bowl of Sweet italian Sausage Lentil Stew.

I live on the rolling hills of the Palouse and am surrounded by lentil, wheat, garbanzo and pea fields. We are in winter now, so our fields are not this beautiful golden hue that they are in late July and early August. When the fields are covered in snow the rolling hills throw beautiful shadows and the soft bending of light produces a true work of art.  In the spring they are covered in a brilliant velvet of green as the crops burst through the rich soil and then gently change to the golden waves of grain pictured below. My favorite Palouse photographer is Alison Meyer. Her working is stunning, although I think my little snapshot below competes pretty well.

The Palouse

Beautiful rolling fields of the Palouse.

And let me tell you, we do have winters here! The farmers appreciate heavy snowfall in the winter, bringing ample moisture to the ground when it melts in early spring. But I’m not sure how much my husband appreciates it when the snow shoveling comes around! This is a picture I took from my deck a few years ago. This snow fell all in one night!

Snow

An over abundance of snow!

And it’s on days like this that a warm bowl of Sweet italian Sausage Lentil Stew tastes so good. Lentils are an ancient grain. In fact they are mentioned in the Old Testament when Jacob trades a bowl of lentil stew for Esau’s birthright. If you have never tried lentils, they have an earthy flavor and best of all are inexpensive. You generally can pick up a bag of lentils at the store for just over a dollar. Another favorite lentil recipe is my Red Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale.

Bowl of Lentil Soup

Sweet italian Sausage is a perfect blend with the earthy flavor of lentils.

Simple ingredients such as carrots, leeks, spinach, Italian sausage, lentils and cream make up this soup. I hope you try it and let me know what you think.

Lentil Stew

A close up view of Sweet Italian Sausage Lentil Stew.

Sweet Italian Sausage Lentil Stew

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Gluten-free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Soup
An all-time favorite! The combination of earthy lentils and sweet Italian sausage make for a delicious bowl of stew, especially on a cold winter's day.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 2/3 cups carrots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup leeks (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 cup dry lentils (rinsed)
  • 5 cups beef bone broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach (organic 16 oz.)
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Step 1
Saute sweet Italian sausage until fully cooked. remove from heat, set aside.
Step 2
Chop carrots, leeks, onion, and celery. In a large pot, melt butter and oil together and add chopped vegetables. Saute until onions are transparent.
Step 3
Add minced garlic and stir.
Step 4
Add beef broth, red wine vinegar and mustard.
Step 5
Add dry lentils and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking. Once stew has come to a boil turn heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Step 6
Add sausage and spinach to pot and simmer another 10 minutes.
Step 7
Add milk and cream, stir to fully incorporate.
Step 8
Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 9
Serve warm.

This recipe has been shared on the following blogs: NourishingJoy

 

 

 

French Tarragon over Creamed Eggs

French Tarragon over Creamed Eggs

The winters are long here in the Pacific Northwest. Cold begins settling in around the end of October and lasts until as late as early June. This morning was a foggy, misty morning with a bit of hoarfrost clinging to the branches. As I write I am watching a quail peck at the hard ground for a little bite of food, which seems so scarce this time of year. I am thankful we don’t have to forage that way during the winter.

Fresh farm eggs in cream

Fresh farm eggs in cream

I recently purchased farm fresh eggs and fresh cream from a local market. I love eggs baked in fresh cream. If you are dairy intolerant, I’m not sure of a good substitute (so sorry). You could possibly try almond or rice milk, but I have not, so I’m not quite sure how the outcome would be. One reason this recipe works so well, is that the cream thickens as it bakes, so using a different milk might not work well. if you can tolerate dairy, and you enjoy soft-boiled eggs, I can almost guarantee you will love this recipe. Tarragon is one of the spices that works perfect with eggs. I picked up some fresh tarragon from a local market when we were in France a few months ago, and I try to use the spice as often as I can, it is one of my favorites.

French tarragon over creamed eggs might just be the easiest recipe I have on my blog. It works perfect if you have company, because you can bake them all at once. And they make a beautiful presentation in their individual ramekins. They taste very similar to soft-boiled eggs, but that bit of whole cream adds a delicious taste to the dish, so fresh and creamy. Another favorite egg recipe to try is prosciutto & kale quiche.

French Tarragon over Creamed Eggs

French tarragon is the perfect spice for creamed eggs.

Even though it appears there is a large amount of cream in this recipe, there actually is a very small amount, making the calorie count not too bad; only 2 tablespoons of cream per ramekin making the dish 190 calories. That’s not too bad when you consider a cinnamon roll is almost 600 calories! Okay, a cinnamon roll sounds pretty good but remember we are eating clean this month! No sugar, no processed foods. I hope you are doing well on it if you are following eating clean for this month. I am so proud of my family. We have a group family text going and post our meals each day to show what we’ve been eating. It hasn’t been easy, especially for my youngest son who is not married and doesn’t do a lot of cooking on his own, but I have been very proud of how well he is maintaining eating clean, at least 10 days into it! They say if you can stick with something for at least 21 days it can become habit-forming. Eating clean would be a good habit for us all.

A Bite of Creamed Eggs

A delicious bite of Fench tarragon Creamed Eggs.

French Tarragon over Creamed Eggs

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Dietary Gluten-free
Meal type Breakfast
The individual ramekins of creamed eggs with a sprinkling of French Tarragon make this an easy but elegant dish to serve your morning guests.

Ingredients

  • 8 Medium eggs (organic free range)
  • 8 tablespoons cream (whole fresh cream)
  • 1 tablespoon French tarragon (for sprinkling)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for inside of ramekins)

Directions

Step 1
Take butter and swipe the inside of each of the four ramekin dishes.
Step 2
Place two tablespoons of cream in each of the four ramekins.
Step 3
Crack two medium sized eggs into the cream of each ramekin.
Step 4
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and French tarragon over the top of the eggs.
Step 5
Place in a 425 degree oven for 10-14 minutes (14 minutes if you like your egg yolks firm).
Step 6
Serve hot from the oven.

This recipe has been shared on the following blogs: WasteNotWantNot

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Hemp Hearts

Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Hemp Heart

Hemp hearts? What are they? Here in my town we have a Hemp Festival once a year and the logo is a large marijuana looking leaf, which is what a hemp leaf looks like. So naturally, when I was given a packet of hemp hearts at the food blogger’s conference I attended in Washington state back in September, I thought, ‘Well, they just passed the new marijuana law making it legal, so maybe they’re spreading the love around.’ You think I’m joking, i am telling you I absolutely thought that! This little packet of hemp hearts sat in my cupboard for months until I finally took it out, read about its contents, and looked up the company on their website. I couldn’t have been further from the truth!

Hemp Seed & Strawberries on Leafy Greens

Hemp seeds provide a nutritionally packed nutty flavor in every bite.

This little seed packs quite the nutritional punch. They are higher in protein and omega 3 & 6 than flax and chia seeds, and they are lower in carbohydrates than flax and chia seeds. They are non-GMO certified and hemp has no known allergies associated with the actual seed. They have a nice little nutty flavor and are great sprinkled on top of salads, oatmeal, or in your favorite smoothie. You can purchase Hemp Hearts here.

(Hemp hearts are naturally gluten-free, but only guaranteed within the <20ppm, which is the acceptable threshold by the World Health Organization and Health Canada for a gluten-free claim.)

Many of you who are following along on eating clean have been asking about a food list. One of my favorite resource guides for shopping comes from the Real Food Forager. Or if you shop at Costco, here is a great list of everything that is organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, or free-range: Costco Eating Clean Shopping List. (Please note, she is not Celiac or gluten-intolerant, so some of her items may be off-limits to those of us who are). One thing is for sure, this lifestyle takes more time and effort to eat healthy and clean. And the dishes! Let me tell you about the dishes. Okay, if you are eating clean, you already know. I have done more dishes in the past five days that my  hands look permanently pruned! But the reward is less garbage. Ha! Actually in two ways. Less garbage in my body and less garbage in the trash can. If you are not buying boxed processed foods, your trash can is not going to fill up as fast!

Bowl of Yum

Using Hemp Hearts in your salad is one way to get your Omega 3 & 6’s.

One of the delicious parts of this salad is the homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. I will post it along with the salad ingredients. I would love to know how you are doing eating clean. Where are the pitfalls? What has been the most difficult so far? Is it something you will continue past the 30 days? I know for certain it has changed us and how we view our food. It is important to remember to drink lots of water. Shoot for 64 oz per day if you can.

A few blog posts ago I talked about the herbicide Glyphosate (Round-up) and how some farmer’s use large quantities of it just before harvest to force the grain. A new article from a researcher at MIT has recently written on the health impact of Glyphosate and predictions are that half of all children will have autism by the 2025 due to this chemical. That’s only 10 years away! Click here if you are interested in reading this article. Not only what we eat but how it is grown will affect us all.

Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Hemp Hearts

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad
The nutty flavor and nutritional value of hemp hearts are a perfect addition to this strawberry and avocado salad with a strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients

salad

  • 6-8 cups leafy greens (assorted lettuce leaves)
  • 6 Large strawberries (organic-sliced)
  • 1 Medium avocado (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts

vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup strawberries (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (raw)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (ground)

Note

Add chopped grilled chicken for an added boost of protein.

Directions

salad
Step 1
In a large salad bowl add leafy greens. Chop avocado and slice strawberries. Add to salad greens.
Step 2
Sprinkle hemp hearts over the top of the salad mix and gently toss.
vinaigrette
Step 3
Place sliced strawberries, balsamic vinegar, oil of choice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper into a blender.
Step 4
Blend until strawberries are fully pulverized.
Step 5
Just before serving, sprinkle preferred amount of vinaigrette over salad greens and toss.

 

 

 

 

The Healing Power of Bone Broth

Healing Bone Broth

Have you heard all the hype about bone broth lately? This little broth that you cook on your stove from 24 to 48 hours touts that it can heal a leaky gut, improve joint health, reduce cellulite (can I hear an amen!) and boost your immune system, to name a few. New York venders are selling their homemade broth for up to $9 a cup! But you can make it at home for a whole lot less and it fits in perfectly with eating clean. Simmering meat bones in a pot with other healing vegetables causes the bones, marrow, and ligaments to release healing compounds such as glutamine, proline, glycine, and collagen, and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, silicone, magnesium, and others, all which have the power to transform your health. Here is a list of its benefits:

  1. Helps heal and seal your gut, promoting healthy digestion: the gelatin found in bone broth attracts and hold liquids, including juices in your digestive tract, because the gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid.
  2. Fights inflammation: the proline, glycine, and arginine, all amino acids, have anti-inflammatory effects.
  3. Reduces joint pain: When you boil the cartilage, chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds are released into the broth, all which promote reduction of inflammation and relief of joint pain.
  4. Inhibits infection: studies have proven that bone broth has specific medicinal qualities that can significantly reduce cold and flu viruses.
  5. Promotes Strong, healthy bones: the calcium and magnesium, along with other nutrients pulled from the bones plays a large role in the formation of healthy bones.
  6. Promotes nail growth and healthy hair: you can thank the gelatin and collagen in the bone broth for this added beauty feature.

If that isn’t a powerful enough list to start you cooking bone broth, I don’t know what is, especially if you are celiac. Leaky gut and inflammation issues are huge battles for those of us who live with this disease. The Nourished Kitchen wrote a great article on not only the benefits of bone broth, but the culinary and frugal benefits as well.

Making Bone Broth

Ingredients for a good bone broth.

When purchasing bones, they are generally found in the freezer section of your health food store. Look for grass-fed beef bones, or if making chicken stock, cook up a roasted whole free-range organic chicken, then use the bones to make your broth. And the best thing is, it is SO EASY to make! Throw the bones in a large pot, add vegetables, such as celery, onion, carrots, (a teaspoon of cider vinegar also helps draw out the nutrients) add water and start simmering, and simmering, and simmering, until all those healthy nutrients are drawn from the bones.

I added a few kale leaves and a bunch of parsley to my pot as well. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, put a lid on it, and check it about every 6-8 hours to see if you need to add more water. Beef bone broth should simmer for about 48 hours to allow all the nutrients to be pulled, and chicken should simmer for approximately 24 hours. Remove all vegetables and bones from the broth, strain, add a little salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool before placing in Ziploc freezer bags and freezing.

Final Stages of Bone Broth

Final Stages of Bone Broth

Now pour yourself a healing bowl of broth, or use it in your favorite soup recipe, or any recipe calling for broth. Let the healing begin!

A Bowl of Healing Bone Broth

A Bowl of Healing Bone Broth

Here are a few of my favorite soup recipes:

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

This hearty vegetable beef soup is rich and complex with flavor. By far the best vegetable beef soup recipe!

Tuscan Bean Soup (gluten & dairy-free)

Pour yourself a delicious bowl of Tuscan Bean Soup and allow the rich flavors to warm your bones on a cold winter’s day!

Leek & Asparagus Soup

Leek & Asparagus Soup topped with a dollop of yogurt and finished with leek garnish.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

If you love Thai, you’ll love this Thai Coconut Curry Soup! Spicy, Sweet and Savory all in one bowl.

Healing Bone Broth

Serves 32
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 48 hours
Total time 48 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Soup
Misc Freezable
The healing power of bone broth has a long list of benefits for your body. Drink this broth and heal your leaky gut, joint pain, inflammation and much more!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Large beef bones
  • 1 Medium onion (sliced in wedges)
  • 2 Medium carrots (chopped in half)
  • 2 celery stalks (chopped in half)
  • 1 bunch parsley (small)
  • 2 Large kale leaves (optional)
  • water
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

Step 1
Place beef bones and all vegetables in a large stock pot. Cover with water, add vinegar, and bring to a boil.
Step 2
place lid on pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 48 hrs. Check pot every 6-8 hrs and add more water as needed.
Step 3
After 48 hours, remove all vegetable and beef bones from broth. Run broth through cheese cloth or a strainer and salt and pepper to taste. Allow broth to cool.
Step 4
Place broth in 1 pint Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze for using in any recipe that calls for broth or simply drinking as a broth soup.

This blog post has been shared on the following blogs: TheChickenChick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grain-free Triple-Berry Muffins

A delicious triple berry muffin that is paleo & eating clean good for you.

New Year’s Day has come and gone and I’m checking in on all of you who decided to eat clean this month. Maybe you didn’t start yesterday because of all the New Year’s Day snacks and that’s okay! Start whenever you want. My poor husband wandered around the kitchen yesterday like a lost puppy. ‘Can I help you?’ I asked. ‘This is going to be a long thirty days. It’s not sustainable’, he said. ‘What do you mean not sustainable? It’s just eating real food?’ ‘Yes, but I can’t have my chips, and you just dumped my Coke Zero down the sink. I’m ready to watch my New Year’s Day football and there are no snacks.’ ‘I have carrot sticks for you.’ ‘I’m going to the store’, he said. ‘What are you going to buy?’ ‘I’m going to see if they make clean microwave popcorn.’ I laughed out loud. ‘They don’t, but if you can find non-GMO corn we can air-pop some and melt a little of our grass-fed butter on top.’ He was right, there wasn’t much to snack on. I’ve been sick the past few days with the flu so I haven’t been to the grocery store. About twenty minutes goes by and he walks in the door carrying two bags. ‘I bet you are curious what I bought?’ ‘Will I be taking anything back?’ I asked. ‘You’d be proud of me,’ he said with a smile. And yes, I was proud of him. He bought organic lettuce, grapes, apples, bananas, Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn seeds that are certified non-GMO, Dave’s Killer bread (he’s not celiac and it’s eating clean compliant), 100% fresh squeezed orange juice, tomatoes, avocados and free-range eggs. Maybe I’ll get him to stay on for thirty days after all and hopefully convert him to this lifestyle. I have an Eating Clean in 2015 Pinterest Board if you’d like to follow, which has lots of clean eating recipes and tips or if you are interested in following along on the blog just sign up under the subscribe area (right-side on computer, bottom of the screen on your cell phone).

I know I can’t do thirty days of eating eggs for breakfast, so I created grain-free triple-berry muffins. They are moist, contain no sugar, and best of all taste good. One of my favorite grain-free recipes are my apple-pie muffins, which are eating clean qualified.

Grain-free Triple-berry Muffins

Moist grain-free Triple Berry Muffins

 

Here are a few blogs you should check out that will help you with your journey of eating clean. There are a lot of good recipes to be found!

  1. The Gracious Pantry
  2. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
  3. The Lean Clean Eating Machine

I find that reading labels really opened my eyes to what I was eating. I’ve always read labels because of my food allergy but never really paid attention to all the sugar, preservatives and dyes, contained in the foods I was putting in my body. No wonder we’ve seen such a huge increase in cancer and other diseases. So even if it’s difficult for you to jump 100% in to eating clean or whole 30, making baby steps in that direction is still worth it. JK Gourmet makes a really nice ultra-fine almond flour.

 

Grain-free Triple Berry Muffins

Serves 10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 18 minutes
Total time 33 minutes
Dietary Gluten-free, Paleo
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
These deliciously moist grain-free triple berry muffins are perfect if you are on a paleo or clean diet. One bite and they will become a morning favorite.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Almond Meal (ultra-fine)
  • 1/2 Large Apple (or 1/2 cup organic applesauce)
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup (pure)
  • 1/3 cup Avocado Oil (or coconut oil melted)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla (pure)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (aluminum-free)
  • 1/3 cup Frozen Organic Blueberries (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Frozen Organic Raspberries (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Frozen Organic Blackberries (chopped)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2
Cut the apple into smaller chunks and place in high powered blender. Add maple syrup, oil of choice, and vanilla to the blender. Blend on high until apple is pulverized.
Step 3
Place blender contents into a mixing bowl and add almond meal and baking soda. Blend until fully combined.
Step 4
Chop berries and add to muffin batter. Blend gently with a spatula until berries are evenly distributed throughout batter.
Step 5
Spray a 12 muffin size tin with non-stick spray and place 1/3 cup of batter in each muffin cup. This will fill approximately 10 cups.
Step 6
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until muffin is done in the center.

 

 

 

Eating Clean vs Whole 30

Organic Veggies

There are a few differences between Eating Clean vs Whole 30, so if you are ready to join me for this January journey, check out the differences to determine what might work best for you. At this point I just can’t wait to get started. I’m sitting at the computer today with a sore throat, snuffly head and the chills…ugh. And the worse part is I brought this on myself. The culprit that dragged me down this path of Echinacea tea and chicken soup, is sugar. Yes, sugar! Did you know that eating sugar actually lowers your immune system for up to four hours after you eat it? I just came off of Christmas and my will power is about as good as a kid at Halloween. Mounds of homemade almond toffee and gluten-free sugar cookies are about as enticing as the Witch giving Snow White that shiny red apple, only that apple would have actually been good for her minus the poison! If I would just see sugar as poison in my own body, which is what it is, I could possibly resist it (read my article on Why Sugar is Toxic). Okay, I have been sleeping next to a sick hubby, so I’ll give him a little part in my flu misery.

As you know, New Year’s Day is tomorrow! We are on the final countdown and I wanted to give the reasons for Eating Clean vs Whole 30.  While there is truly not a right or wrong in either plan, jumping to ‘eating clean’ might be an easier adjustment than shooting straight for the Whole 30. So what is the Whole 30 all about? It is 30 days of eating only what is on the approved list. You can find the shopping list here. Whole 30 completely eliminates all sugar (honey & pure maple syrup included), all dairy, all alcohol, all legumes, and all grains.

What is allowed? Vegetables, fruit but no fruit juice, beef, bacon (as long as it contains 0% sugar and no nitrates) and all fish and crustaceans are allowed as long as they are not farm-raised. The shopping list gives you the best choices by highlighting the foods in blue. Coffee is okay but not recommended, and my thoughts are, ‘Why drink it if you can’t add anything to it?’  If you want to start the Whole 30, check out the Whole 30 Forum for questions you might have.

Fresh Citrus

Juicy Citrus! Yum!

This is why I have decided to go ‘clean’ for 30 days instead of Whole 30. I figure if I eat clean for 30 days, then I can try the whole 30 for another 30 days because I will have eliminated all processed foods and sugar from my diet already; I’ll be halfway there! If you are interested in getting updates and encouraging sentiments along the way just sign up on the right-hand side of this page under ‘subscribe’. If you are viewing on a cell phone it is at the very bottom of the page.

What is NOT allowed on Eating Clean? No sugar and no processed foods. This includes just about anything in the store that is pre-packaged, unless they list 100% pure ingredients with no added gums, preservatives, or sugars. No ketchup (here is an easy homemade ketchup recipe) or mayonnaise (here is an easy homemade mayonnaise) or condiments of any sort (including salad dressing), no cereals, no frozen foods like pizza or TV dinners, no coffee creamer, no ice cream, no soda. Okay, you get the point. You may have coffee on the eating clean program and you may add creamer, just not store-bought creamer. Here is a recipe to make your own vanilla coffee creamer. Did you know this is what you are drinking when you add vanilla creamer to your coffee? Here is a list of the ingredients: Water, Sugar, Palm Oil, Corn Syrup, Contains 2% Or Less Of The Following: Sodium Caseinate* (A Milk Derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Mono And Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Carrageenan, Salt. *Sodium Caseinate Is Not A Source Of Lactose. Oh my, it is hard to pronounce some of those words!

So what is different from the Whole 30? Fresh squeezed juice, dairy (as long as it is organic, grass-fed), grains that are not processed (no white of any sort), and two sweeteners, honey and pure maple syrup. Beef, pork, bacon (as long as it does not contain sugars or nitrates), and all fish and crustaceans, and poultry are allowed. I found a few recipes here on my site that are compliant. Just click on the image.

Vegetable side dish

GF-DF Stack O’ Veggies

Roasted Root Veggies

Roasted Root Veggies

Chili-lime infused chickpeas

GF-DF Chili-Lime Chickpeas

Leek & Asparagus Soup

Leek & Asparagus Soup topped with a dollop of yogurt and finished with leek garnish.

Asian Pear-Chevre Salad with Maple-Dijon Dressing

GF-DF Asian -Pear & Chevre Salad

Blueberry Spinach Salad

GF Blueberry Spinach Salad

Cancer-fighting Quinoa Salad

GF-DF Quinoa & Orange Cumin Salad

Apple Pie Muffin Paleo, GF, DF

GF-DF Apple Pie Muffin

Zucchini Boats Italian Style

GF Italian Zucchini Boats

 

 

 

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