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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Almond Cookies

This recipe was perfect for the Holidays this year!  These are a little different than your typical sugar cookies made with white flour, but these taste GREAT and are so much better for you.  These cookies bake up a little more cakey in texture than crispy-crunchy.

Almond Cookies
Makes 15 Cookies

2 cups fine ground almond flour
1 Tbsp pure almond extract
2 free range eggs, slightly beaten
1 pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp Spoonable Stevita stevia powder (more or less to taste)

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking.  Mix together almond flour, almond extract, eggs, sea salt, coconut oil, lemon zest, baking soda and stevia.

2.)  Shape dough into Tablespoon sized balls one inch apart on cookie sheet.

3.)  Bake until puffed and golden, about 14-18 minutes.  Cool cookies on baking sheet about 2 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.

TIP:  Top dough balls with raw sliced almonds or raw pine nuts then bake for a decorative touch.  For another variation, drizzle baked and cooled cookies with melted unsweetened chocolate mixed with stevia.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chicken Almond Stir Fry

3 Tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos
1/4 c coconut milk (full fat, organic, no sugar added, BPA-free can too!)
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
3 cloves of organic garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs chicken breast (free range and organic), cut into 1/2 inch strips
Stir Fry:
8 oz rice noodles (find them in the oriental foods isle)
3 Tbsp coconut oil

3 c broccoli, organic
1 c sliced mushrooms, organic
3 stalks chopped celery, organic
1 c organic snap peas
3 scallions, chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
1 c almonds
  1. Place rice noodles in glass bowl.  Boil about 3-4 cups of water.  Pour over noodles and set aside to soften until end of preparation.

  2. Combine all marinade ingredients in glass bowl.  Let marinate for approximately 20 minutes.

  3. Place almonds onto a cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees F for about 20 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove and let cool.

  4. Heat wok or large skillet on Medium-Medium High heat.  Add 1 T coconut oil.  Stir fry the broccoli over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

  5. Add remaining coconut oil and stir fry mushrooms, celery and snap peas for 2-3 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

  6. Remove chicken from marinade and place into wok.  Add 2 t sesame oil and stir fry the chicken until cooked thru, about 5 minutes.

  7. Add vegetables back into pan.  Add almonds and scallions.  Mix well to heat thru.  Serve immediately over the softened rice noodles.
**TIP:  To make Advanced Plan, omit the noodles.  Eat as is or over a bed of organic salad greens.  YUM!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Apple Pumpkin Soup

I intend this soup to be served more as an appetizer than the main course as it is a sweeter pumpkin soup than you may be used to.  This is perfect to prepare during the fall when fresh organic apples and cider are in abundance!   This makes about 10 servings.

8 cups chopped fresh pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
4 c unsweetened organic apple cider
3 small tart apples, peeled and chopped  (we used granny smith -- low in sugar!)
1 medium organic white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon & nutmeg
2 organic garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

1/2 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1.)  In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until pumpkin and apples are tender.  (This can also be done on the stove top in a large pot for 1-3 hours until both pumpkin and apples are tender.)

2.)  Meanwhile, toss fresh, washed, and dried pumpkin seeds with coconut oil and sea salt.  Spread onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 250° for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

3.)  Once Pumpkin and Apples are soft, cool soup slightly; process in small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a large saucepan; heat through.

4.)  Serve soup into bowls or for a festive flare in small hallowed out pumpkins (a great party tip!).  Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Hummus is a great snack and can be used in quite a few ways.  The most popular is with pita chips or vegetables as a dip.  One of our favorite ways is on top of crisp, organic spring greens for simple yet filling lunch.  We've also been known to slather the middle of a whole grain pita with leftover hummus then stuff full of organic sprouts, avocado and tomatoes -- yum!

However you enjoy it, hummus is a healthy alternative to mayo, ranch, or other condiments or dips.  It is high in protein, moderate in calories, includes Omega-3s from the olive oil, and is rich in B vitamins and many vital minerals.
This is by far our favorite way to prepare hummus.  Roasting the garlic brings out its nutty and sweet flavor and cuts down on the sharpness.  It's well worth the time!  Try it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Roasted Garlic Hummus
Makes 8 Servings

2 cups organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp organic tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds, found in the ethnic food section of your grocery store)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup warm filtered water
1 entire head of garlic (more/less to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1.)  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Cut off the very top of the garlic head (about 1/4") so that the tops of most of the cloves are exposed slightly.  Coat with a little olive oil and wrap securely in aluminum foil.  Roast garlic in oven for 1 hour.  Remove and allow to cool.

2.)  Using your fingers, squeeze the soft, roasted garlic out of each clove into food processor or blender.  Rinse and drain cooked or canned chickpeas.  Add them, and all other ingredients, to the food processor and blend until completely smooth.

3.)  Scrape ingredients off sides of food processor to make sure it blends evenly.  If you find that the hummus is too thick, you can add additional olive oil.  Add it slowly, allowing the mixture to combine fully before adding more liquid.  Hummus can get watered down quickly and then it's too late, so be patient with this step.

4.)  Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil over top.  Fresh organic veggies are the perfect pair!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Raspberry, Avocado and Mango Salad

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 ripe mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped raw hazelnuts or sliced raw almonds

1.)  Dressing: Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender until combined.

2.)  Combine greens, mango, avocado and onion in a large bowl.

3.)  Pour the dressing on top and gently toss to coat.

4.)  Divide the salad among 5 salad plates. Top each with the remaining raspberries and sprinkle with nuts.

Serves 5.

How To: Homemade Beef Stock

I want to share my recipe for beef stock.  It is something so simple to have on hand for an array of recipes.  We purchased a quarter of a cow for the first time a few months back.  With it, we were given all the leftover bones wrapped up and have had them in the freezer.  I decided to use up these soup bones on a day off from work to make a very flavorful stock.  If you've never made stock before, I highly recommend giving it a try.  It makes your house smell WONDERFUL!  By the end of the day of simmering, Dave came home and said he could smell the tantalizing aroma all the way down at the front door of our a apartment BUILDING!  That was alllll the way down the hall from our place.

Making any homemade stock takes a long time, but most of the preparation is hands off, and the results are so worth it!!  I find it especially rewarding with beef stock because the store-bought varieties are either way too salty or have no flavor.  Even when buying organic stock, salt is a big issue, and so is the cost!  Homemade is a great way to save a TON of money and control what is put into it.  So, when you have a day or weekend to spend at home, give this a try and freeze until needed for your favorite recipes. To make the stock last many months, you can freeze it in bags, containers or even ice cube trays (to add just a little to sauces).

Beef Stock Ingredients

6 pounds beef soup bones from grass fed beef 2 large onions, organic
4 large carrots, organic
1/2 cup water, filtered
4 stalks celery, including leaves, organic
1/2 cup chopped parsnip (optional if you can tolerate), organic
1/2 cup cubed potato (optional if you can tolerate), organic
8 whole black peppercorns, organic
6 sprigs fresh parsley, organic
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, organic
14 cups water, filtered
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).  Slice onions.  Chop scrubbed celery and carrots into 1 or 2-inch chunks.  In a large shallow roasting pan place soup bones, onion, and carrots.  Bake, uncovered, about 60 minutes or until the bones are well browned, turning occasionally. This process is very important to beef stock (versus chicken stock).  It produces browning (the Maillard reaction) which produces the rich flavor of the stock.  Roasting also releases fat.  A little beef fat is good, especially when it's rich in Omega-3's from grass fed beef, but even then too much ruins the taste of things.

  2. Drain off fat.  Place the browned bones, onion, and carrots in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Pour 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan and rinse. Pour this liquid into soup pot.  Add celery, tomato, parsnips, potato parings, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and garlic.  Add the 14 cups water.

  3. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 5-8 hours depending on how concentrated you want the flavor.  Strain stock (we used unbleached cheese cloth as it's the most natural way to strain.  You can also use a strainer or seive).  Usually you discard meat, vegetables, and seasonings.  I picked out the meat pieces and used them in a soup the next day.  You'll definitely want to use fresh veggies though.

  4. To clarify stock for clear soup: In order to remove solid flecks that are too small to be strained out with cheesecloth, combine 1/4 cup cold water, 1 egg white, and 1 crushed eggshell. Add to strained stock. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Strain again through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.  You'll be good to go!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Wouldn't you agree that summer demands that you eat watermelon?  Enjoying watermelon slices saturated with sweetness on a heat-drenched summer day -- YES!  Its juicy nature and bright color make it a natural HIT to any outdoor barbecue.  I thought of this recipe while grilling up peaches and plums on the grill one night for dessert.  I thought to myself "What would watermelon taste like thrown on the grill?"  After a quick Google on the subject, I found people do it!  I gave it a try -- so worth it!  Watermelon caramelizes ever so slightly when it's briefly grilled-- who knew?   This recipe will serve about 8, a great appetizer to your next outdoor dinner party!

8   slices organic watermelon (seeds removed)
2   tbsp olive oil
2   bunches watercress, trimmed
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint
2   tbsp balsamic vinegar
1   cup crumbled goat cheese
1   lemon
     Salt and pepper

1.)  Heat grill. Brush watermelon slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill watermelon 1-2 minutes on each side.

2.)  In medium bowl toss watercress and mint with vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3.)  To assemble, sprinkle each grilled watermelon slice with goat cheese. Top with watercress mixture.  Squeeze each dish with a bit of lemon juice to taste.  Serve immediately.

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