Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chipotle Black Bean and Yam Stew Recipe

This black bean stew is warming and comforting, just perfect for a blustery fall day. I like to serve it over cooked quinoa topped with a cilantro and cabbage slaw (recipe to follow). It just feels better to eat something raw with a cooked meal. I always feel my meals are better digested this way.

The great thing about this soup is that it is tomato-free. I love tomatoes and put them in nearly all of my soups and stews, though I know some people need to avoid them. With this recipe I use fresh lime juice to provide the acidity.

Tom made a very large pot of this black bean stew last week. I actually wanted to post it then but didn't even have a second to take a photo and get on the computer. Now that I am back from my trip to San Francisco I had a chance to make it again today and now share it with you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Coconut Sugar Apple Crisp

We really are not just about sweets here. Really we're not! But this week it seems we are, huh. Hope some of you enjoyed the White Nectarine Ice Cream I posted last weekend. More main dish recipes to come next week I promise!

Since I will be going out of town for four days I thought it was high time for another delicious giveaway. This awesome giveaway is for 2 pounds of coconut sugar! I used coconut sugar from Essential Living Foods to make this fabulous gluten-free apple crisp.

What is Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar is a low glycemic granulated sweetener with a glycemic index of 35. Compare that to honey of 75, agave nectar of 30, pure maple syrup of 54, or sugar (sucrose) of 95. Coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar as it is also called is made from the dried sap of the coconut palm blossom. Sounds lovely doesn't it? But what does it taste like?

I find the taste mild with slight molasses undertones, possibly even a little like maple syrup. The flavors marry well with spices, which will be quite perfect for your autumn baking needs. Coconut sugar can be substituted 1 for 1 in baking. Use it where you would use brown sugar, Sucanat, or white sugar. I used it in my apple crisp recipe with absolutely delicious results! I have used it before in cookies and muffins and it works great. I have also used it to proof yeast with great results as well. Those with cane sugar allergies will find this sugar suitable for their needs.

To be entered in this drawing, leave a comment below with your name or initials and a brief note if you would like. It is always fun to hear from you! The giveaway will be open until 11:59pm PST on Monday the 28th of September, 2009. I will announce the winner in my next post. So please keep an eye out for your name sometime early next week! Enter twice for more chances to win. Either add a link to this post on your blog or share this on Facebook or Twitter. Have fun! :) Please note, this drawing is now closed.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Apple Crisp Recipe

I am a big fan of just about any type of cooked apple dessert. This is a great recipe to add to a weeknight meal because of the ease of prep time involved. You also do not need to have much experience in the kitchen to make this. So go ahead and enjoy! My favorite variety of apple to use here is Granny Smith though the Gingergold variety works great too!

3 to 4 baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin (⅛-inch thick)
2 to 4 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 ½ cups rolled gluten-free oats
½ cup sweet rice flour
½ to ¾ cup coconut sugar*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup melted virgin coconut oil (or butter)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place all ingredients for the filling into a 7 x 11-inch baking pan. Gently stir together with a large spoon. A good gauge for sufficient fruit is to fill your pan almost to the top with sliced fruit. It will cook down quite a bit. See the photo below.

In a small mixing bowl stir together the oats, rice flour, sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Add oil and vanilla and stir together with a fork. Using your hands, crumble the topping evenly over the filling.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the juices are bubbling up and the topping is lightly browned.

*Notes: Use organic brown sugar, Sucanat, or maple sugar in the topping instead of coconut sugar if desired. Sometimes I add 1 to 2 tablespoons more oil to the topping if the mixture seems to need it.
Lemon Juice can be omitted if you are sensitive to citrus.

Italian Plum Variation: Use 4 to 5 cups pitted, halved plums in place of the apples or a combination of the two. Toss with 3 to 4 tablespoons arrowroot; increase liquid sweetener to 4 tablespoons; omit lemon juice. Source: www.nourishingmeals.com

Other recipes where coconut sugar would work:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

White Nectarine Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

As promised, here it is, finally, the White Nectarine Ice Cream. Naturally sweetened and of course gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. The photo doesn't do this recipe justice. The consistency and flavors are simply amazing. Even after 24 hours of freezing, it is still soft and easy to scoop just like traditional ice cream made with cream and sugar.

When I make this, my kids practically eat the whole container in one sitting. I have to cut them off and hide the container in the back of the freezer!

So let's celebrate the end of summer with one last hoorah and eat ice cream! This luscious dairy-free ice cream blends a few natural sweeteners for layer upon layer of deep, rich flavors. The maple syrup I use here is not really to add any extra sweetness. Instead it adds an extra dimension of flavor, especially if you use Grade B maple syrup which is less refined, higher in minerals, and richer in flavor.

You should still be able to find white nectarines at most health food stores and food co-ops, at least that's the case here. If not, try yellow nectarines or peaches. I just bought a bunch of white nectarines for freezing so I can make this recipe as a special treat during the year.

This recipe does require a few more ingredients and does take a little extra time compared to my Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream, but the end result is soooo worth it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Summer Vegetable Kitcheree

Kitcheree is a highly nourishing, hypoallergenic stew made from mung beans and brown rice. It assists in the detoxification process as it is very easy to digest. The spices and summer vegetables create a luscious stew that can be made in just minutes using a pressure cooker, though you don't need one to make this.

I know, I know, summer is nearly gone and Autumn will be upon us soon enough. I am not ready yet. I'm still savoring every last bit of this warm, dappled September sun. Sure, we harvested all of our sugar pie pumpkins and other winter squash today and my daughter was already asking when will I be making pumpkin scones and pumpkin pie, not yet though. Summer is still here, let's just be with it while it lasts.

I'll be sharing the White Nectarine Ice Cream you all keep asking me about in my next post. We'll say farewell to Summer, celebrate the fun times, and eat ice cream. Are you with me? :)

For now, how about using up the summer veggies in this fantastic bean and whole grain stew! This recipe is perfect for those of you who are vegan and following the Elimination Diet, particularly during Phase 2…...and will also work for those of you simply desiring a fast, healthy, and tasty meal. I made this stew and packed it into two large Thermos containers for our recent wild blueberry picking adventures in the mountains. We all enjoyed a bowl of warm stew after the sun had set. There was a certain chill in the air and having a warm meal was just divine! Tastes good + nourishing = blissed out, happy, energetic, and ALIVE!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Super Antioxidant Smoothie

We've been drinking a lot of these yummy, dark purple smoothies lately. Since fresh fruit is in abundance right now, why not?

For those of you on the elimination diet, this drink is great during the two day green smoothie cleanse. Yes, I know, it's not green, but it still works, especially if you are feeling bored with the color green and need a change of pace. It does actually have a little spinach in it so we could technically call it a green smoothie, hey!

The beautiful purple color in this smoothie comes from Anthocyanins (from Greek: (anthos) = flower + (kyanos) = blue). Anthocyanins are plant chemicals that act as powerful antioxidants, in fact, they are over 40 times more potent that vitamins A and C!

Fruits and vegetables are the staff of life. They contain signaling molecules that tell our genes how to operate. So if we are sitting on the couch all day eating potato chips and drinking soda, our genes respond in a way that sets the stage for disease. But if we are drinking purple (or green) smoothies, thinking wonderful thoughts, enjoying life, and eating whole grains, beans, and other amazing whole foods, our genes say hooray, let's be healthy and vibrant!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs and Sweet Onions

Every now and then I will bake a whole, organic chicken for dinner. Since figs and sweet onions are in season right now I am finding more creative ways to use them!

Roasting the figs and onions with the chicken brings out mouth-watering sweet and savory flavors in the juices. The onions practically melt in your mouth after 2 hours of roasting. To serve, slice the chicken and drizzle with the juices, onions, and figs. I serve this over brown rice but cooked quinoa or steamed, mashed winter squash would be equally as delicious. We also like to add a few green olives on the side as a treat. :)

This recipe would also be delicious served with my Zucchini Bake and a green salad with my Everyday Salad Dressing. Or try it with this Soaked Whole Grain Flatbread recipe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whole Grain Flatbread (gluten-free, yeast-free, vegan)

I have had a number of emails over the summer for a gluten-free flatbread recipe. I also get emails and requests for yeast-free breads. So here is is, the best of all worlds....yeast-free, gluten-free, rice-free, whole grain goodness, and quick & easy! What more could you ask for. Oh yes, it tastes great too.

I made this again for dinner last night. While it was baking, one of my 20 month old twins was standing next to the oven as I opened it to take a peek. Immediately he started to let me know that he wanted some by his grunting and fussing (they don't talk much yet)! He patiently paced back and forth next to the oven until I pulled it out. As I set it on the counter he pushed a stool over and leaned over the hot pan to take a sniff. "Mmm" he said. "Hot" I said!

I cut into the bread after a few minutes and immediately he grabbed a bit out of my hands and gobbled it up, piping hot. I continued to cut it into squares to serve with dinner. I noticed that he kept grabbing the squares, hopping down off the stool, running away, then coming back for more. Well what I found was that he was hoarding all of the bread and placing it on his plate set at the dining room table! I just had to laugh!

All of my children love the bread as do the other children I had taste test it. My plan is to make this bread often and put it in my daughter's lunchbox along with something to spread on it. Small containers of almond butter and homemade blueberry jam or hummus will be perfect.

You can refer to the post I did on Packing a Healthy School Lunch and download a handy chart while there for more tips and ideas.

Last night after dinner was done and the kids were in bed, I mixed up two more batches of the dry ingredients and put them into sealed, glass containers. It is so much easier to mix everything up while all the ingredients are already out on the counter!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Healing Quinoa Cabbage Soup

This very simple, nourishing soup aids in detoxification, though you'd never guess by the taste. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to prepare....perfect if you feel like you are starving during Phase 2 of the Elimination Diet!

Cabbage is a potent detoxifier. It contains a host of phytochemicals, including, isothiocyanates. This group of compounds is a potent inducer of the liver's Phase II enzymes, which detoxify carcinogens. These compounds also stimulate the destruction of human tumor cells.

And you know, we all need a little help with the detoxification process! Just imagine all of the chemicals our bodies need to process on a daily basis (I won't get into it, it's just too depressing sometimes). Let's look at what we can do.

Cabbage family vegetables, which include Brussels Sprouts, kale, collards, and broccoli, all help with detoxification. That's why we like to eat a lot of them. Green Smoothies are a great way to add in raw cabbage, kale, and collards! Brussels Sprouts are great roasted. Broccoli is good just about any old way. I like to lightly sauté it with lots of garlic and then add a little water to the pan and cover. It quickly cooks by steaming, but is still bright green and crisp-tender.

I like to cut the carrots into matchsticks for this soup. Just make sure they are not too small or they will get overcooked. To create the matchsticks, first cut the carrots into diagonal rounds and then cut them lengthwise into thin strips.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Honey Kissed Peach (or Blueberry) Muffins

The frost peaches are in and we have surely picked our share. 130 pounds that is! I have spent the weekend pitting, cutting, freezing, and dehydrating these sweet, juicy little morsels of summer nutrition. A way to remember summer, eat local, reduce our carbon footprint? Or just enjoy fresh!

We have also been picking blueberries, blackberries, Italian plums, apples, pears, and red plums. Over this past weekend I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning processing it all and making jam. Spiced peach jam, cherry-peach jam, blueberry-honey jam, and blueberry-apple-lemon jam. You can make a sugar-free jam by using Pomona's pectin. So far I have used grape juice concentrate and honey to sweeten my jams. I also made one with sugar just to see what the difference was in taste and texture.

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