Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sweet Potato Hash Browns - a healthy side dish cooked in coconut oil.

Healthy potatoes? Absolutely! These colorful gems are full of wonderful nutrients. Some might say they are even a superfood.

I am always open to new ideas...well, almost always.

When my daughter made these for us, I was completely blown away at how incredibly delicious they were.  It's also a fast way to cook sweet potatoes, which is always a plus, and the leftovers disappear by the next day...if there are any!

This flavorful side dish is almost too easy, and complements almost any entree. Here is something that you might not know...they are incredible in burritos.

You will need just three simple ingredients, some salt and pepper, and a hot skillet or grill. 

Sweet Potato Hash Browns
3-4 sweet potatoes, washed and dried. I buy organic so I can leave the peel on.
1 large onion. I use yellow, but any type you have is fine.
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Grate sweet potatoes and set aside.
Chop onion into small pieces.
Heat coconut or other oil in a hot skillet or on a hot grill.
Add sweet potatoes and onions to hot oil and cook until slightly browned and tender. Turn every 3-5 minutes, or as needed to cook evenly.

Serve them up with your meal.

If you have leftovers they are wonderful warmed up for breakfast.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Jo's Zuppa Soup - a gluten free dinner idea

Who's Jo, you might ask...Jo is my mom. She loves this soup!

I realize most folks call this, Zuppa Toscana Soup...but my mom just calls it Zuppa soup, and that's the only way I've  know it.

She got the recipe from a friend a few years ago. While she was recovering from back surgery, she asked me if I would make her some. And of course I did! In fact I made a double batch so she could take some home and freeze it for several "ready-made" dinners.

Personally I think it's a little heavy on the fats.  I'm going to suggest a few lighter substitutions, and I will definately make a lighter version next time as well. We have cholesterol watchers at our house!

I like that fresh kale is added to this soup, and I just happened to be growing some in my garden. The kale adds  nice color to the soup, not to mention it's a super healthy vegetable.

 I should mention it's gluten free.  Just be sure to check the labels on the sausage and the bouillon.

Jo's Zuppa Soup
1 lb Italian sausage, check labels for gluten free if needed. Optional - use a less fat sausage.
4-5 pieces of bacon, sliced or cut up in chunks. Optional - turkey bacon for less fat.
1 lg white onion, diced. I probably used a yellow onion.
1 cup heavy cream. Optional - half & half, or 2% milk for less fat.
3 lg potatoes, peeled and sliced.
2-3 tsp minced garlic.
1/4 bunch of fresh kale, chopped.
1 tsp crushed red peppers.
5 chicken bouillon cubes. Gluten free if needed. Herb Ox is gluten free.
10 cups water.

Cook sausage in a large kettle. Drain off fat. Add crushed red peppers, saute another minute or two. Remove sausage from kettle and chill until ready to use.
In same kettle cook bacon, onions, and garlic. Spoon off as much bacon fat as possible.
Add chicken bouillon, and water. Bring to a boil.
Add sliced potatoes and kale and cook until soft. Add cream or lower fat options and sausage; heat thoroughly.


I made my family's favorite, Quick  Homemade Dinner Rolls to go with this soup.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fiber & Protein Rich Chocolate Breakfast Pudding - gluten & dairy free

I just love this colorful breakfast! 

My daughter sent me this picture of her breakfast a few weeks ago. Wow! Not only was it a great photo, but it looked absolutely delicious! 

Since my husband and I had already had breakfast, I decided to make it for dessert that night.

Chia pudding has become quite popular.  It's a nice break from the regular breakfast routine, providing some protein, fiber, and healthy fats...this is nutritious. Top it with some fresh fruit...even better!

This recipe provides 10-11 grams of protein when divided into 4 servings, and 7 grams when divided into 6 servings. It also provides 16-18 grams of fiber when divided into 4 servings, and 10-12 grams when divided into 6 servings.  Raw cacao powder has more antioxidants and your pudding will have  stronger chocolate flavor as well.

If you prefer to use regular unsweetened cocoa, which is absolutely fine. (so do I in many recipes)  The fiber and protein grams will be a little less, but guess what...so will the fat grams. Each 2 Tbsp serving of unsweetened cocoa powder actually has 3 grams less fat than raw cacao powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder will give you a pudding with a milder chocolate flavor, which you probably already guessed.

Choose what is best for you... use whatever you have on hand and give this pudding a try!

Fiber & Protein Rich Chocolate Breakfast Pudding                  Serves 4-6
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy substitute, I used half rice milk and half coconut milk
1/2 cup raw cacao powder, unsweetened cocoa is fine but you will have less grams of protein & fiber.
1 frozen banana, sliced
6 oz of pitted dates, remove pits before weighing
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter, or other nut butter of your choice
unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on top
blueberries, strawberries, or other fruit of your choice
Chopped nuts to sprinkle on top

In a heavy duty blender combine all ingredients except coconut, fruit, chopped nuts. Purée until completely blended. Dates and frozen bananas may take a little longer to incorporate. Stir once or twice or as needed until mixture is nicely blended.

Spoon into small custard dishes or similar type dish. Let chill for about an hour to overnight, or enjoy right away. This mixture thickens so quickly a long chilling time isn't necessary, but I think it enhances the rich chocolate flavor. Top with chopped nuts, fresh fruit, and unsweetened coconut.

If you like a pudding that is a bit less thick, feel free to mix in a couple more tablespoons to one fourth cup more of the non-dairy milk product.

My husband had never had chia pudding before and wanted to know everything that was in it.
He also said he would eat another dish full tomorrow!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fresh Tahini Sauce

Here is a super quick & easy recipe for tahini sauce that you will want to make again and again.

Tahini sauce will add a little zing to your sandwiches and burgers. Use tahini as a dip for veggies or try it on a salad. Switch it out for the tartar sauce next time you serve onion rings or baked salmon. 
The ideas are endless. 

Here is my favorite way to use tahini sauce...in a falafel wrap! Yum!

Tahini Sauce                      Makes 1 cup
1/2 cup tahini
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp salt or to taste
4 Tbsp water
Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and serve with falafel or chill to serve with vegetable sticks.

Weight watcher points for tahini sauce count as 2.5 points for 2 Tbsp.


Rhubarb Grows Like No Other! Perfect Add-In To A Fruit Crisp...

Just when I think I'm making jam all day...I take a peek in the garden and find this!

It's actually kind-of perfect though, because since I picked all those marion berries yesterday for jam, I have plenty to make this yummy Rhuberry Crisp too!

You may remember this recipe from last summer. It was kind-of an experiment that turned into one of the best fruit crisps we had ever eaten.

If you didn't try this recipe before...I certainly hope you do soon!  Even "non-rhubarb" fans will love this!

Gluten Free Rhuberry  Fruit Crisp                 Serves 8 -10 depending on size of pan.
1/2 cup brown rice flour, sorghum, or any other gluten free baking blend. 
1/2 cup old fashioned oats, gluten free. 
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped.  (Any nut of choice)
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1 rounded tsp cinnamon.
1/4 cup butter, or non-dairy substitute.
4 cups marion berries. (Other varieties of berries are fine too)
1 1/2- 2 cups rhubarb, cut into pieces just under 1/2 inch.
3 Tbsp corn starch.
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract.
1 Tbsp lemon juice.
1 cup agave or honey. (I used 1/2 of each) For vegans use agave or pure maple syrup...or both.

Preheat oven to 375.
Set aside a 7 1/2 x11-inch or 9 x13-inch rectangular baking pan.  I used the smaller size - we like a thicker crisp.
In a small bowl add flour, oats, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir together. Cut in butter or non-dairy substitute. I use a pastry cutter and then finish with my fingers to incorporate the butter as much as possible.
Set this mixture aside.

In a large mixing bowl add berries and rhubarb, gently mix. Sprinkle corn starch over fruit and add the rest of the ingredients over the corn starch. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Microwave fruit mixture for 3 minutes. Stir. Microwave 2-3 minutes more. Stir.
Pour fruit mixture into baking pan. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over fruit.
Bake for 40 minutes. Fruit should be bubbling all around the golden colored topping.
I always peek a little early just to make sure my topping isn't getting too brown.
Let sit briefly or let cool to room temperature.

And don't hesitate to add some ice-cream or a non-dairy frozen variety on top of your crisp.
We like to whip up some Allergy Friendly Vanilla Soft Serve, it's just enough sweetness without any extra added fat or sugar.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Peanut Butter No Bake Granola Clusters - gluten free

I've posted these originally as a Sunbutter recipe, but if you can have peanut butter,  I really must insist you try it. The flavor combination is quite possibly... perfect.

You can make them formed in round shapes, or let them spread out a bit like in the picture below.

We like to keep these in the freezer...they are almost like eating candy.

Peanut Butter No Bake Granola Clusters                Makes 15-18 depending on size
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup regular or natural peanut butter.  Any nut butter of your choice will work.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of your favorite granola, I used a low-fat, gluten free granola.
1 cup old-fashioned oats, I used gluten free.
2-3 Tbsp chopped nuts, any variety. I used mixed.
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, I used an allergy friendly chip.

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.
Combine agave, peanut butter, and coconut oil in a small sauce pan. Over low heat stir constantly until mixture is smooth and warm. Remove from heat and add vanilla, stir.  Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl combine all the rest of the ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix well.
Pour cooled syrup mixture over oat mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. It's ok if they melt a little.

*For a chocolate flavored cluster, add chocolate chips to warm peanut butter mixture and stir until all or almost all chocolate is melted. Stir cereal mixture into chocolate mixture (I add it to the sauce pan) and mix well.

Spoon out mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, or use a cookie scoop for a more uniform shape.
Refrigerate or freeze until set.  Store in refrigerator or freezer as well.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Quinoa & Oat Waffles - gluten free

You can't go wrong with a heart, healthy breakfast! Lots of fiber and no fat in these gorgeous waffles.

Gluten Free Quinoa & Oat Waffles                   Makes 3 large  waffles
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
2 cups oats
1/4 cup oat bran
2 1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp salt In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until mixed well. Let sit about 5 minutes and heat up the waffle iron. If you're not using a non-stick waffle iron, I suggest using a non-stick spray.
Measure one cup of waffle batter and pour into hot waffle iron. Cook for 11 minutes.
Serve immediately or cool on a wire rack.
*As the mixture sits it will continue to thicken if desired add a small amount of water and mixed well.

These are delicious with nut butters, warm pure maple syrup and cut up fresh fruit

 I like to make a double batch of these and freeze them for a quick breakfast on work mornings, or pack them in my lunch with peanut butter and jam as a gluten free sandwich.