Month: December 2014

Dijon Vinaigrette

Dijon Vinaigrette

This might be my favorite salad dressing for raw kale.  It’s so easy to make! Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar 2 Tablespoons raw honey (OR) 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (vegan version) Juice from half 

Apples & Almond Butter

Apples & Almond Butter

Three things I almost always have in my kitchen are Apples, Almond Butter, and Chia Seeds.  This combination is really delicious and nutrient dense.  The crispness of the apple, the creaminess of the almond butter, and the crunch from the Chia Seeds work so well 

Chickpea Croutons!

Chickpea Croutons!

Let’s make this clear…I love bread.  I love salad.  I love croutons in my salad.  Here’s a big–BUT, I have a tendency to snack on them while I’m making my salad or to use more than one serving on my salad…sabotage!!  I do my best to eat whole real foods.  That means cutting back on things like bread.  I am not technically gluten intolerant, Thank God!  But I limit it in my diet.  Chickpea croutons are a healthier alternative.  1/2 cup of chickpeas provides 24% Daily Value of Fiber and 6 grams of protein!  Can’t say that about bread croutons.

There are a million different ways to make these croutons.  Get creative in the kitchen! Here’s my go-to seasoning combination for these babies.

Double Roasted Spicy Maple Chickpea Croutons

double roasted spicy maple chickpea croutons

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or) 1 can of cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 

Instructions

Recommended: Cook your own chickpeas, they get crispier this way. Soak 1 cup of chickpeas in water overnight.  In the morning, rinse them well.  Put them in a pot and cover them with water.  Cook them until they become tender, approximately 30 minutes.

That’s not always realistic!  So you can always just buy a can at Trader Joes and call it a day.  wink wink.

Either way, pat the chickpeas/garbanzo beans dry.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  I use a large pyrex dish with edges so that when it’s time to roast the chickpeas a second time I can do my mixing in the same dish without spilling. You can also used a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix your dry seasonings.
  3. In a medium bowl, add your chickpeas and toss them in 1 Tbs oil & half of your spice seasoning. chickpea croutons seasoned
  4. Place chickpeas on lined baking sheet or pyrex dish and roast them in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. chickpeas ready to roastAfter the first 30 minutes, take them out of the oven.  Drizzle them with the maple syrup and the rest of the seasoning.  Mix them up. Put them back in the oven for 15 to 20 more minutes or until they are nice and crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven and let them cool.  If you aren’t using the entire batch for one big salad, store them in a mason jar that has a lid.

Feel free to double or triple this batch so you have these on hand for your daily salad or to snack on!  And like I said…get creative in the kitchen!  Use garlic, parmesan, oregano, greek seasoning, lemon pepper, lemon juice, lime juice, whatever you like to flavor your chickpeas!

xo, Siobain

 

Cheesy Zucchini & Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

Cheesy Zucchini & Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

I might be silghtly obsessed with Latkes. I figured, why not combine them with one of my favorite vegetables?….eh, I mean fruits….In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable; it’s usually cooked as a savory dish.  Botanically speaking, zucchini is a fruit, being 

Organic Applesauce

Organic Applesauce

This is the perfect addition to holiday meals, Christmas or Hanukkah.  It’s so yummy and easy to make. Organic Applesauce Ingredients: 6 organic apples peeled and chopped into small pieces–I used large Fuji apples 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon purified water–enough to cover the bottom of 

Healthy Hanukkah! Baked Sweet Potato Latkes

Healthy Hanukkah! Baked Sweet Potato Latkes

I went to Catholic school from 1st grade until I graduated from High School.  12 years that I am very grateful for.  Most of my family is Catholic, there are a few Protestant Christians, a few that are Jewish, and some agnostics.  It’s a great mix!  I was always fascinated with the traditions of my Jewish cousins because they were different than those that we celebrated as Catholics and Protestants.  It all started when we were children and my brother and I wondered why our Jewish cousins got Christmas AND Hanukkah presents!  But as I grew older and experienced many Passover Sedars and other Jewish rituals, I became enamored with Jewish religion, culture, and the food!  Last night was the 1st night of Hanukkah & I made a healthier version of a traditional dish that is eaten throughout these, as Adam Sandler sings it,  “8 crazy nights!”

Cliffs notes version of the History of Hanukkah:

Under the rule of Alexander the Great, the Jewish people practiced religious freedom and blended into society.  Over a century later, the successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region.  Antiochus began to oppress the Jewish people by making them worship Greek Gods and forbade them from practicing their religion.  He desecrated the Temple by raising an altar to Zeus and mandating pigs be sacrificed (a non-kosher animal).  Most of the Jews were angry and a revolution began.  The rebellion was led by the Maccabees Family and their armies.  They were able to overthrow the Syrian armies in 165 B.C.E.. Judah ordered the temple to be cleansed and a new altar to be built.  There was a problem, they only had one nights supply of oil needed for the Menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to burn all night–every night.  They faithfully lit the Menorah and a miracle happened, the one day supply lasted for 8 days.  Enough time to prepare consecrated oil and rededicate the Temple.  An 8 day festival was declared to remember the miracle of the oil and rededication of the Temple.  The name “Hanukkah” means “to dedicate”

Read more about the history of Hanukkah here

One of my favorite Hanukkah customs is eating foods that have been prepared with oil (fried!) such as latkes (potato pancakes) and Sufganiyah (jelly doughnuts).  Are you drooling yet?! These fried foods are eaten to commemorate the miracle of the sacred oil.

This is a recipe for a healthier version of the traditional fried latkes, because I’d gain one pound a day if I was eating fried potatoes and doughnuts for dinner 8 nights in a row!  These Latkes are full of flavor and are baked instead of pan fried.

Baked Potato Latkes

close up baked latkes

Ingredients (makes about 8 latkes)

  • 1 large organic sweet potato, grated
  • 1 large organic russet potato, grated
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of minced rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (OR) 2 vegan “flax eggs” 1 Tbs. ground flax + 3 Tbs. water = 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • coconut oil (OR) olive oil

latkes ingredients

Instructions

  1. Scrub the potatoes and cut off any bad parts. I leave the peel on.  Grate the potatoes by hand or in a food processor.  Squeeze out the excess water from the potatoes.  I used my hands and a strainer.  You can also use cheese cloth, or a clean flour sack dish towel.
  2. Mince the onion, garlic, and rosemary.
  3. Lightly Sauté the garlic and onion with 1 Tablespoon of oil until onions soften.  Use medium heat. Set aside.
  4. Place the grated potatoes in a large bowl. Add the garlic, onion, parmesan cheese, eggs, rosemary, salt, and pepper. latkes ingredients in bowl
  5. Mix very well.       latkes ingredients grated and mixed
  6. Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Two Baking Options

  • Spray a baking sheet generously with cooking spray or cover it with parchment paper.
  • Form the mixture into balls and press them flat onto baking sheet. Drizzle, spray, or brush the patties lightly with oil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes (on upper oven rack) or until the top of the latke starts to brown and the edges are crispy.

latkes on baking sheet ready to bake

OR

  • spray casserole dish generously with cooking spray
  • Spread the mixture evenly in the dish (but not very thick, or it won’t crisp up)
  • Drizzle, spray or brush top of potatoes with coconut oil.
  • Bake until the top starts to brown and the edges are crispy aprox. 30 minutes.
  • To serve, cut into squares–like you would cut lasagna

Serve immediately with homemade apple sauce!  These latkes are 100 calories each.

baked latkes and apple sauce

Note: Latkes are best served warm out of the oven.  If you need to, reheat in the oven on a baking sheet at 375° F for about 5 minutes or until heated through.

 

Enjoy!

Tomorrow I will share a homemade Organic Apple Sauce recipe that goes perfectly with these latkes.

Cheers! L’Chayim (pronounced “li-KHAY-eem”) which translates “to life”

–Siobain

Spicy Garlic Broccoli

Spicy Garlic Broccoli

Health Benefits of Broccoli: Cancer fighting, immune boosting properties High fiber which aids in appetite control & may help reduce Cholesterol Anti-inflammatory Phytonutrients that help the body detoxify Vitamin C + other powerful antioxidants Bone health & osteoporosis prevention (Calcium + Vitamin K) Heart blood vessel health 

Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Patties

Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Patties

Ingredients (Serves 4) 2 cups of cooked black beans (or 1 can drained & rinsed) 3/4 cup cooked quinoa 1/4 cup of minced red or yellow bell peppers 1/4 cup of roasted corn (fresh raw corn also works nicely) 1/2 a small onion, finely chopped 

Roasted “fruit & root” soup

Roasted “fruit & root” soup

Working with seasonal produce is a great way to eat a plant based diet without breaking the bank.  Seasonal produce is normally very reasonably priced.  Butternut squash is available at every farmers market and grocery store this time of year.  I was planning on roasting my butternut squash to adorn a kale salad, but last night was chilly and perfect for soup!  I happened to have all the ingredients for a yummy seasonal soup sitting on my kitchen counter & in my pantry (except garlic, had to send the hubs to the market for wine & garlic).   My husband had “the best butternut squash soup ever” in Pebble Beach a couple weeks ago, while on a business trip.  I told him that I could make butternut squash soup and he said “no way”.  I took that as a little challenge (wink wink).  For this recipe you will need a blender.

butternut squash soup

Health Benefits of Butternut Squash

  • Electrolytes–potassium, magnesium and calcium
  • Carotenoids–The recommended DV intake of vitamin A = 3,000 iu’s for men & 2,333 for women. 1 cup of butternut squash contains 14,882 international units!! Butternut squash is one of the best sources of four carotenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The body converts alpha- and beta-carotene into retinol, which is the form of vitamin A needed for healthy eyes and skin. read more here
  • Antioxidants–1 cup butternut squash has 32% DV Vitamin C, 13% DV Vitamin E, 17% DV of manganese.
  • Fiber–1 cup of cubed butternut squash has 3 grams of fiber

Roasted Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients (serves 4 as a “starter”)

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 good sized sweet potato (I used 2 small)
  • 2 apples–granny smith, gala, honeycrisp, fuji (whatever kind you like)
  • 1 medium onion—white, brown, red (again, whatever)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth aka 1 quart—preferably low sodium (you could also use chicken broth, but I don’t eat meat)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

ingredients butternutsquash soup

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel & chop butternut squash into chunks, this is the most time consuming part of this recipe.  Make sure you really peel it well until all you have is the beautiful orange squash. Warning: your hands may turn orange like an Oompa Loompabutternut squash peeled roast soup
  3. Peel and chop your sweet potatoes and apples Sweet Potatoes Peeled soup
  4. Place your squash, apples and sweets into a baking dish (or sheet pan).  I recommend a pyrex casserole dish or a baking sheet with edges that way you can stir oil & seasoning in dish vs. dirtying another bowl.  It also makes it easier to stir while its roasting without pieces falling off the tray in your oven.  chopped sweet potatoes apple butternut squash roasted
  5. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil onto your squash etc. and season with salt & pepper.  Stir it up! (in a Bob Marley voice) seasoned for roasting butternut squash apple sweetpotato
  6. Roast squash, sweet potatoes and apple in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes while roasting.  Set aside when finished.
  7. While that’s roasting, chop your onion & garlic.  Sauté onion with 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil in skillet until onions are soft. Then add garlic and sauté another couple of minutes.
  8. Add butternut squash, sweet potatoes, apple, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, water, cinnamon to your blender.                soup ingredients in blender
  9. Blend until smooth!                                                                blended butternut squash soup
  10. Pour Soup in a large pot and heat until hot!butternut squash soup heating on stove

Garnish: I used spinach for mine, and I added Turkey Kielbasa + spinach for J’s.  We also added a few dashes of cayenne pepper to our bowls.  I love it with cayenne because it cuts perfectly through the sweetness of the soup.  You can also garnish with pumpkin seeds, walnuts, basil or other fresh herbs, bacon, greek yogurt..whatever floats your boat!
soup garnished ready to serve butternutsquash

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

xo, Siobain

quickies!

quickies!

Somedays it’s really hard for me to get to the gym, or the Rose Bowl for a jog, or to yoga.  I’m juggling early morning clients, trying to have healthy (& yummy) meals prepared for my husband & myself, running errands for my grandma, more