Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Quinoa is a staple in my pantry. Not only is this little seed gluten-free, but it also contains all of the essential amino acids making it a very adequate source of protein. Quinoa may look like a cereal grain, but in fact it is a ‘pseudo cereal’. Quinoa is in the same family as spinach, swiss chard, and beets. This recipe is one of my favorite lunch bowls to make. This meal comes together in 30 minutes and is full of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fat, and flavor! I feel full after eating this bowl, but never weighed down. This bowl fuels my afternoon with nutrients so I don’t need to take a siesta! Ole!

Mexican Quinoa Bowl 2

1/2 cup regular quinoa
1/2 cup red quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 – 15oz. can black beans, undrained
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 medium avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped carrot, celery, cucumber
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
8 cups greens

Bring quinoa and broth to a boil in saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and broth has been absorbed, 20 minutes. Pour into mixing bowl. Cool to room temperature.
In a small saucepan, pour black beans with juice and minced garlic. Heat over low heat.
Mix together lime juice, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in bowl. Build your bowl by placing greens in bottom of bowl, then quinoa, black beans, veggies, avocado, drizzle with dressing, and finish with some green onions and cilantro.

Buckwheat, Millet & Quinoa Granola

millet buckwheat granola 3

I have always been a granola girl. I love to eat granola for breakfast, but I also love to eat it as a hearty snack. I wanted to highlight some not-so-common whole grains in this recipe – buckwheat, millet, quinoa – they all have impressive nutrient profiles along with good texture and flavor. Did you know that buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat at all? It is a gluten-free fruit seed, so it isn’t even a cereal grain. Millet is often associated with bird seed because, well, it is in bird seed. BUT millet is not ‘for the birds’ only! It happens to be one of the most easily digestible grains! I love its nutty flavor! Quinoa is a nutritional superstar. The texture of this granola is crunchy with just the right amount of soft chewiness – is that even a proper adjective?!! The flavor is delicious and highly addictive! I am not an advocate of eating a lot of coconut oil, after all, it is still a saturated fat. But, it adds a delicious coconut undertone to this granola that can’t be beat!

millet buckwheat granola

1 cup puffed millet

1 cup buckwheat groats

1/3 cup quinoa (I used half white and half red)

2 T chia seeds

1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dried mango

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

In a large mixing bowl, combine millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and chia seeds. Chop nuts and add to the bowl along with seeds, coconut, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add in the dried fruit. Add the melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 60 minutes at 225 degrees F. Let it cool thoroughly. Store in a glass jar.

Vegetable Coconut Curry

vegetable coconut curry 2

A few years ago, when I wasn’t as diligent with meal planning, the witching hour came along (aka the “dinner hour”). I looked in my fridge and saw a bunch of vegetables, so I was determined to use them. I started chopping away. I decided to use my wok for a quick stir-fry. I grabbed a can of coconut milk out of my pantry and added in spices. Voila! A delicious curry was born! Lots of nutrients and flavor in one pan – so easy! This has become another one of my ‘back pocket’ meals. I have switched up the vegetables in this recipe with whatever I have on hand and the result is still delicious! Be creative and enjoy!

vegetable coconut curry

1 large onion, cut into half moons
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 stalks celery, cut into medium pieces
3 large carrots, cut into rounds
1 large zucchini, cut into rounds
1 yellow squash, cut into rounds
2 baby bok choy, cut into pieces
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 can light coconut milk
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup frozen green peas
handful of cilantro, chopped
Vegetable broth as needed

In a large saucepan or wok, sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in vegetable broth or water on medium-high heat until onion becomes translucent. Add cayenne, turmeric, cumin and curry. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Add zucchini, yellow squash, bok choy, broccoli, and coconut milk. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in green peas. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving. You can eat this as is or serve it with quinoa or brown rice.

Raw Berry Pie

Raw Berry Pie 2

This pie. Oh this pie. This pie is the little apple of my eye…even though there are no apples in the pie, but you get my point. Raw desserts are so easy and satisfying to make. All of the enzymes remain unadulterated in raw cuisine so healthy digestion is a benefit. The crust contains ample selenium, potassium, and pure good fat. The berries contain anthocyanins, which are some powerful dietary antioxidants. And whipped coconut cream? I mean really, do I need to say more?!! I wolfed down two of these pies! And enjoyed it. Yep. Every. Last. Bite.

Raw Berry Pie 3

Crust

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup Brazil nuts

3 Medjool dates

tiny pinch of sea salt

Berry Filling

1 cup fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries)

2 tablespoons all-fruit jam (blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry)

1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of a food processor, combine pecans, Brazil nuts, dates, and salt. Pulse until mixture becomes a coarse meal that is sticky. Divide mixture into 2 individual mini-pie pans and press evenly to make pie crusts. In the same food processor bowl, combine fresh berries, all-fruit jam, chia seeds, and vanilla. Pulse until the berries are broken down, but still have some texture to them. Pour berry filling into pie crusts. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or place in freezer for 1 hour to solidify the filling. Top the pies with coconut whipped cream and serve in the pie pan. Devour!

Whipped Coconut Cream

1 – 15 ounce can full-fat coconut milk

stevia, to taste

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Put the can of coconut milk in the back of the refrigerator overnight. Open the can of coconut milk and place the solidified “cream” in a bowl.

Mix this “cream” with electric beaters until it takes on the consistency of whipped cream.

Add in the stevia and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.

Whipped Coconut Cream

Peanut Sauced Veggies & Noodles

Peanut Sauced Veggies & Noodles 2

Peanut butter is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with. It is so versatile in its applications. Sweet, savory, raw, baked, dressing, sauces…speaking of sauces, this sauce is killer good. Creamy, salty, slightly spicy with a bit of tang. Mmmmm. It’s so yummy. Feel free to use any vegetables you like in this dish. They are only made better by swimming in peanut butter sauce!

Peanut Sauced Veggies & Noodles

8 oz. dried spaghetti or thin noodle of choice (I used a sweet potato/buckwheat blend)
1/2 of a sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
4 cups of fresh veggies – zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, celery, baby bok choy
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (use 100% pure – no oil or sugar added!)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
Crushed red pepper, if desired

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. *Sauce tip: reserve some of the pasta water to thin out the peanut sauce. Heat a large flat-bottom pan over medium heat. Drizzle some grape seed oil in pan. Sauté onion, carrot, and celery for about 5 minutes. Add in the other vegetables and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add pasta into vegetable mixture.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together peanut butter, coconut milk, coconut aminos, ginger, lime juice, and garlic until smooth. Pour over vegetable/pasta mixture, tossing to coat. Heat through over medium heat. Garnish with chopped scallions, if desired. Enjoy!

Sicilian Chickpea Stew with Swiss Chard

Sicilian Chickpea Stew with Swiss Chard 2

Chickpeas are pretty cool. I have always loved the shape of the humble chickpea (a.k.a garbanzo bean). So cute with its almost tulip-like shape. Aside from its looks, it is very nutritious – a little “powerhouse” for digestive support! Did you know that 65-75% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber? This type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine, which is the colon. Can you say scrub brush? Recent studies have shown that chickpea fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce pretty large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line our intestinal wall. By supporting our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from chickpea fibers can help lower our risk of colon problems, including colon cancer. Application: eat your chickpeas.

Not only does this recipe highlight chickpeas, but swiss chard as well! Swiss chard is a beautiful vegetable in my opinion. It contains many antioxidants and nutrients. Swiss chard is one of the most popular vegetables in Mediterranean cuisine. This recipe has just the right balance of slightly earthy, slightly spicy, slightly salty, slightly sweet…it is very satisfying to the palate and good for the soul!

Sicilian Chickpea Stew with Swiss Chard

1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth

¾ cup quinoa

2 tsp. grape seed oil

1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves cut into ribbons, stems finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

16 pitted kalamata olives, halved

¼ cup golden raisins

1 – 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

2 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

1. Combine broth and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. in Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chard stems and onion. Reduce heat and caramelize the chard stems and onion. This will take about 20 minutes to get a nice, rich golden color. (See photo below on the left) Add in the garlic, olives, raisins, chickpeas, chard leaves, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Pour vegetable broth over mixture. Bring to a simmer and reduce liquid by half. (See photo below on the right) Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Divide quinoa among 4 shallow bowls. Spoon chard mixture over top, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Sicilian caramalizeSicilian reducing

Spiced Dal with Cilantro Yogurt

Dal with Rice 2

Dal is a dried pulse (lentil, pea, or other type of bean) that has been split. The word dal is also used to name the thick stew made from these pulses. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisine and boasts an impressive nutritional profile. It is typically around 25% protein by weight, giving it a similar protein content to meat. It is also rich in the B vitamins thiamine and folic acid, as well as iron and zinc.

In addition to nutrients, this dish has an incredible flavor profile! The warm spices are balanced nicely with the cool cilantro yogurt and the fresh citrus adds just the right amount of acidity to round out the flavors. I show this dal being served two ways – with Basmati rice or with quinoa – they are both very good, so feel free to use whatever grain you like. This dish is simple, yet has that quality of drawing you back in for another bite and another and another…it is so delicious!

Dal with Quinoa

2 large carrots, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder (depending on how much heat you want)

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 cups dried red lentils

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or lime juice

1 cup basmati rice (or quinoa)

1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, curry powder, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add in a bit of water, if needed, to prevent vegetables from sticking.

Add the lentils and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very tender 12 to 16 minutes. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.

Meanwhile, cook the rice (or quinoa) according to the package directions.

Combine the coconut yogurt, cilantro, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Serve the lentils over the rice, topped with the cilantro yogurt and additional cilantro leaves. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.

Chocolate Cherry Berry Smoothie

Chocolate Smoothie 2

Chocolate for breakfast. That’s how we roll around here. Let me give you a few reasons why we love to start out our day with chocolate. Now, I am not suggesting that we eat chocolate candy bars. No, not that kind of refined chocolate. We indulge in raw cacao. Cacao beans are rich in natural antioxidant compounds with many health benefits including reducing inflammation and improving circulation. The typical candy bar can’t boast those benefits! This smoothie makes my kids do the happy dance. With kale, berries, and cacao who wouldn’t do the happy dance?!!

Chocolate Smoothie

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 cup kale

1/2 ripe banana

1 Tbsp cacao or cocoa powder

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1/3 C frozen blueberries

1/3 C frozen cherries

Add ingredients to blender in order listed. Blend until smooth. Serves one.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffine

Some over-ripe bananas were staring at me today. What to do with these beauties? The possibilities are endless. In walks my little guy who happens to request a chocolate chip cookie. Brilliant idea! Banana and chocolate are a match made in heaven…o.k., so really anything and chocolate are a good match in my opinion, but you get the point. We “enjoy” Enjoy Life chocolate chips because they are allergen-free AND they taste good.

These muffins are moist, flavorful, and sweet. They are a favorite after school snack for my kids. Or bedtime snack. Or morning snack. Or the “I’m too hungry to wait for dinner” snack too! Honestly, these muffins are a great dessert too! I need some more over-ripe bananas. These muffins lasted about 24 hours. I knew I should have made a double batch!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Bite

2 medium-sized bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
1 flax “egg” (1 T. flaxseed meal mixed with 3 T. hot water, let sit and “gel” for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
3/4 t. xanthan gum or guar gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini-chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, coconut palm sugar, almond milk, flax “egg”, and applesauce.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Don’t overmix.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Coconut Waffles

Coconut Waffles

I make waffles every week. Every. Single. Week. I always double or triple or quadruple the recipe so I can freeze them for the week. Then we simply reheat the waffles in the toaster on busy mornings. This saves my bacon on crazy mornings! So, I don’t eat bacon, but you get my point. This waffle recipe is an ultimate favorite with my family. They are light, slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, melt in your mouth waffles! (My mouth is seriously watering just typing the description!) Our favorite toppings are: 100% pure maple syrup, blueberries, bananas and walnuts, coconut cocoa peanut butter, and almond maple butter. What is your favorite waffle topping?

Coconut Waffles 3

Coconut Waffles 2

2 cups gluten-free flour*

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 1/2 cups canned full-fat coconut milk

*I have made these with a good quality whole-grain flour for my non-gluten free friends and they are incredible! (I grind my own wheat and use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour) No need for the addition of xanthan gum, if using regular flour.

Preheat waffle iron.

To prepare the batter, in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, salt and coconut milk until combined.

Spray the preheated waffle iron with non–stick cooking spray. (If you have a non-stick waffle iron, there is no need to use cooking spray) Pour batter onto the waffle iron, close the lid and cook until golden brown.
Serve plain or garnish with fresh fruit and maple syrup.