Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cobb Salad

I am so sick of boring salad and a chicken breast. A couple weeks ago I went out to eat and got a Cobb Salad, so I decided to recreate it for my lunch yesterday. It was delicious, light and refreshing.

Cobb Salad
Serves 1

2 C Romaine Lettuce, torn into small pieces
1 hard boiled egg, diced
2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1/4 avocado, diced
1/2 small tomato, diced
red onion, sliced
1/4 cucumber, diced
a few crumbles of blue cheese, optional (you could use any cheese you have on hand)
4 oz grilled chicken, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder

I used Bolthouse Farms Olive Oil Vinaigrette for the dressing. Bolthouse Farms dressing are fruit juice sweetened and natural. They can be found in the produce section, by the refrigerated dressings. Or you could make your own, like THIS one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Banana Coconut Nut Muffins- GF

I am speechless. These muffins are divine. Behold the loveliness...

I fell in love with a new recipe blog, La Tartine Gourmande. Great recipes and amazing two favorite things.

I ran across THIS recipe and since I had some ripe bananas just begging to be used for some baked good, I gave it a try. I didn't have any of the flours that were called for so I substituted a few flours and sweeteners and they turned out wonderful. Moist, light yumminess.

Banana Coconut Nut Muffins
Makes 16 Muffins

3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
2/3 C coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/3 C raw dark agave
1/3 C unsweetened shredded coconut + more for topping
1 C quinoa flour (I didn't have quinoa flour so I ground some quinoa flakes in my coffee grinder to make a fine flour)
1/2 C hazelnut flour or almond (I used almond flour. You can make your own by grinding almonds in a high speed blender until a flour or "meal" forms.)
1/2 C buckwheat or brown rice flour
1/2 C coconut oil, melted
1/4 C unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 C walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the oil and agave and mix well. Add the coconut milk and mix.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, grated coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredient to the wet ones and mix until just combined.
6. Add the mashed bananas and mix gently. Add the nuts and mix gently.
7. Fill the muffins papers nearly to the top. Sprinkle with more shredded coconut.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*You could replace the 2 cups of gluten free flours with whole wheat flour if you prefer to not make them gluten free.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Green" Power Smoothie

I drink this smoothie for breakfast almost every day. It keeps me full for hours, is nourishing and yummy! It isn't really green because I add blueberries, so it is a strange purple/green color. :) It is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, good fats, complex carbs and protein.

"Green" Power Smoothie
Serves 1 (or 2-3 small servings)
About 24 ounces

1 C milk (I use almond milk)
3-4 frozen strawberries
1/4 C frozen blueberries
1/2 ripe banana (mine is usually frozen)
1/2 fresh orange, with peel removed, but leave on the white pith
4-5 kale leaves, remove the leaves from the center rib
2 TB fresh parsley leaves
1/4 avocado
1 TB flax or chia seeds
1/4-1/2 C water
stevia or another sweetener, to taste

*I also add 2 raw eggs for protein. You can use a protein powder if you prefer. I recommend THIS one sweetened with stevia, without artificial colors, flavors and fillers. It is the most natural and the best tasting protein I have found.

Place all ingredients in a heavy duty blender (I have a VitaMix) and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed. I don't like mine really thick, so I add more water. Enjoy the healthiness!

Monday, March 28, 2011

DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

I was almost out of my favorite vanilla extract (organic, gluten free, sugar free) a couple of months ago, and I did not want to spend a bunch more money to buy some more. We have some vodka in the house (for medicinal purposes) and I had some vanilla beans that have just been sitting around, so I decided to try making my own extract. It couldn't be easier and it is better than any vanilla extract I have ever bought. It cost me about $3.00 to make a 4 ounce bottle.

Vanilla Extract
Makes 4 ounces

1/2 C Vodka (we have the cheapest stuff you could possibly buy)
3-4 vanilla beans, cut in half, and then split lengthwise

Place the vodka and beans in a small jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid. Store in a dark place and shake every day for at least 6 weeks.

-I put mine in my cup cupboard so I would see it everyday and remember to shake it.
-The longer it sits, the stronger it will get.
-When my bottle gets down to 3/4 full, I top it off with more vodka.
-If you use a vanilla bean for another recipe, put the empty pod in your extract.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homemade Deodorant

I know this isn't a food recipe, but this stuff is amazing! I have always had very sensitive skin and for years couldn't find a deodorant that didn't give me a rash. I also wanted something natural, without aluminum (which has been linked to Alzheimer's and Breast Cancer). I just didn't use any for a long time. I finally found one, it just wasn't very effective, just ask my family! :)

I searched for recipes online and found that most of them were similar. I decided on one and made a natural homemade deodorant. I have been using is now for several weeks and I NEVER have B.O. Even after a hard workout. And it is very gentle for my sensitive skin. I just put it in a jar and apply it with my finger. I added about 10 drops each of lavender and tea tree oil and it smells wonderful. Give it a try!

Click HERE for the recipe. I use coconut oil in place of the shea butter, which means it melts if things get too warm, but it still works great. The coconut oil is also anti-bacterial...another level of odor killing. It was very liquidy so I did add more baking soda then called for, probably about 1 cup total. I kept adding baking soda until it was a more solid paste. This made enough deodorant that it will probably last me a year. You only have to use the tiniest amount, just a little smear.

A couple of cons, but none of them bad enough to deter me:

1. It does sting a little on freshly shaven skin.
2. It isn't clear. It can leave a white residue on clothes. If your arm pits are slightly damp it tends to dissolve the baking soda and cornstarch enough that it won't leave much of a residue, but it is still very effective.
3. Some people have commented that because of the coconut oil it can leave oil stains on clothing. I haven't experienced this yet, but they say they just pre-treat the stains with a tiny bit of dishsoap or shampoo before washing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New York Style Cheesecake - GF

This is one of my family's favorite recipes, even the GF haters love it. I have made this same recipe several times and it is always a hit!

Gluten Free New York Style Cheesecake

1 1/2 c raw macadamia nuts
1 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
3 T agave nectar
3 T almond flour/meal

Place the macadamia nuts, 1 c of the shredded coconut, vanilla, salt, and agave nectar in a food processor or high speed blender; process until ingredients are well combined. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining 3/4 c shredded coconut and flour.

Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of a greased 9 in springform pan, set aside.

4 packages (8 0z) cream cheese, room temperature
1 C agave
1/8 C coconut flour
5 eggs
1/3 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cream cheese, agave and coconut flour and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in cream and vanilla.

Pour mixture over crust and bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer or until center no longer looks wet or shiny. Turn oven off. Let cool for 1 hour in oven with door ajar. Remove cheesecake to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

*To prevent top of cheesecake from cracking while cooking run a knife around the edge of the pan before placing in oven.

Fruit Topping
2 C fresh or frozen fruit, mashed a little
1/2 C agave (or more or less to taste)

In saucepan combine fruit and agave. Cook on medium heat until boiling, turn temperature down to low and let simmer until desired consistency. Cool before serving with cheesecake.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - GF

Gluten Free Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
Serves 8

Crust Layer
1/4 C unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
2 C almond flour
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
3/4 C agave (I used half agave and half palm sugar)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then add vanilla, egg, agave and sea salt.

2. Add baking powder, and almond flour and cinnamon.

3. Scrape into an 8 by 8 metal pan and spread out over the bottom. Bake for 15 minutes and remove to cool.

Filling Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1-15 oz can of pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 agave (I used half agave and half palm sugar)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

1. Beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth and without lumps. Add eggs, agave, vanilla extract, and melted butter, and beat until incorporated.

2. Next, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and mix just until smooth. Set bowl down on counter top a couple times to get out air bubbles.

3. Pour pumpkin mixture over crust and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until center jiggles a bit when you move the pan. It will set up and sink down upon cooling overnight in the refrigerator.

Serve topped with fresh whipped cream to max out the decadence factor. Let eyes roll back in head.

Recipe Notes:
~Make these one full day before you want to serve them, so they have time to set up and reach maximum yumminess.
~If you want to make a half recipe, go for it! I made a small version in an 8 by 4 loaf pan.
~Bake this cake on the middle rack in your oven.
~Try to beat as little air as possible into the filling so it doesn't crack on top.
~You can amp up the spices if you like, using your favorite blend from a pumpkin pie recipe.

An original Paula Dean recipe, adapted by Lauren at Healthy Indulgences, adapted by Tressa

Garlic Sauteed Swiss Chard with Noodles

*This recipe is linked to Seasonal Sunday over at Brittany's blog Real Sustenance. She is so inspiring, you have to check out her amazing recipes!

I made a resolution to post pictures with each recipe, so here you are! They probably won't be the most beautiful photos, but I'll post a picture.

Garlic Sauteed Swiss Chard with Noodles
Serves 4-6

3 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard (I used Rainbow Chard, but Green Chard will work as well)
1 pound whole grain spaghetti (I used this GF Brown Rice Spaghetti, sold at Good Earth)
2 large Roma tomatoes
1 1/2 C fresh grated Parmesan
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta al dente (this cuts the starchy carbohydrates down significantly). Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Set aside. If using GF pasta, check product instructions to see if it is recommended to rinse your pasta.

2. Remove the leaves of the chard from the center stem. Discard the stems and coarsely chop the chard.

3. Heat oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the chard to the onion mixture and mix well to coat with oil. Cook 5-8 minutes until leaves are tender. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

5. Add the cooked spaghetti and reserved pasta water to the skillet and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Serve alongside a grilled chicken breast, or cut up the chicken and throw it in the mix. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chocolate Cake Doughnut Balls - GF

I made these for my family and everyone liked them, even the GF haters. :)

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Doughnut Balls

2 eggs, beaten
2 C buttermilk (you can make your own by adding 2 TB of apple cider vinegar to 2 cups milk or other dairy alternative)
1/4 C butter, melted
5 C gluten free all-purpose flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 C sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

1. Beat the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a large bowl with a whisk.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold slowly into the wet ingredients, mixing by hand with a wooden spoon. When the ingredients are mostly combined, use your hands to knead a few times to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.

3. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Heat 2-3 inches of canola oil in the bottom of a pot until very hot (375 degrees F). Make the chocolate glaze (recipe to follow) and keep warm until ready.

4. Using a small cookie dough scoop. Carefully drop each doughnut ball in hot oil with fingers, being cautious not to splash oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides (just a few minutes). You will need to cook just a few at a time, but the cooking doesn't take long at all so this goes quickly.

5. Remove donuts from oil with a slotted spoon or spatula, and place on a plate lined with two layers of paper towel or brown paper to absorb oil. While still warm roll in chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

5 TB unsalted butter
4 oz. Semisweet chocolate chips
2 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C hot water

1. Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In the top pan of the double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar, vanilla and hot water until combined.
3. Set the top of the pan over the simmering water and keep the glaze warm until read to use.
4. Dip the doughnuts, one at a time, into the warm glaze, covering the top half of each with glaze.
5. Place the doughnuts, glazed side up, on a wire wrack and let the glaze set for 10 minutes.

Chicken Piccata

This is the recipe my mom makes for our family all the time. It is one of our favorites.

Chicken Piccata

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1.5 T butter
1.5 T olive oil
Flour (we use a GF flour blend)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup drained capers
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 can quartered artichoke hearts

1. Either pound the chicken out thin or butterfly the breasts. Dredge in flour, and set aside.
2. Heat oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the chicken breasts until lightly brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
3. To the pan add the lemon juice, chicken broth, capers, garlic and artichoke hearts. Simmer until the chicken is done.

I serve this dish with the Brown Rice with Parmesan, Lemon and Herbs and broiled asparagus.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

1 TB all fruit raspberry jam
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1 TB fresh citrus juice (orange is my favorite)
2 tsp filtered water

1. Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk together.

This is good with any salad, but I especially love it with this Chicken, Apple and Candied Pecan Salad.

Brown Rice with Parmesan, Lemon, and Herbs

I made this for dinner last is now one of my favorite side dishes!

Brown Rice with Parmesan, Lemon, and Herbs

1 C brown rice
water, or chicken broth for a richer flavor
2 TB unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped medium
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 C minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 C chopped fresh basil (I didn't have fresh so I used about 1 TB dry)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (about 1/2 C)
1 tsp grated zest and 1/2 tsp juice from one lemon

1. Place rice in medium saucepan. Place your index finger on top of the rice and fill with water/broth until it reaches the first knuckle of your finger.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as you can see the bubbles boiling up through the rice, cover and reduce to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Do not remove the lid before 45 minutes.
3. Meanwhile heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until foaming; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Once the rice is done, flush with a fork. Stir in onion, pepper, parsley, basil, Parmesan, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cover the dish with a clean kitchen towel; let the rice stand for 5 minutes; serve immediately.

*Adapted from The New Best Recipe Book

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake

This is delicious! Decadent and rich. I have been trying to not eat dairy so I modified a recipe and used coconut milk in place of cream.


1 cup whipping cream or coconut milk
2 1/2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
7 organic free-range eggs
1 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/8 tsp stevia extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Organic cacao powder for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the inside bottom of a 9 inch springform cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Wrap a large piece of foil around the outside of the pan, covering the bottom and sides, to catch any leaking drips. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, gently heat the cream/coconut milk over low heat. When the cream is fairly hot, melt the chocolate chips by adding them slowly to the pan as you whisk. Add the butter, in pieces. Whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted. Add the vanilla extract. As soon as the mixture is melted, smooth, and glossy remove it from the heat.

Using a wire whisk attachment, beat the eggs, light brown sugar and sea salt until the eggs are foamy and doubled in volume, roughly 3-4 minutes.

Slowly add the cooling chocolate mixture to the eggs, and beat gently until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for one hour, until the cake is set and cracked. It will still appear a bit loose in the center, underneath. This is fine.

Place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool. When the cake is close to room temperature, lightly cover and chill the cake overnight.

Before serving, gently loosen the cake from the sides of the pan using a thin flexible spatula. Release the Springform clasp and remove the ring.

Dust the cake with a sifting of cacao powder with maca and drizzle raspberry sauce (recipe to follow) over the top. Serve with a few fresh raspberries is desired.

Raspberry Sauce
2 C raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1/4 C fresh squeezed orange juice
1 T orange zest
1/2 C agave nectar

Process the raspberries in a blender until smooth (if using frozen, thaw first). Strain the raspberries through a strainer to remove the seeds.

Place the raspberries, orange juice, zest and agave in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer until thickens slightly. Remove from heat and cool before serving.