Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Eggplant Pizza Casserole

*WARNING* -May be habit forming

Ok, so I'll admit. 
I don't know much about eggplant.
When the hubs and I were at Sprouts last week
I wanted to buy an eggplant to broaden our veggie horizons.
I found an amazing recipe on Pinterest
(you can find the original recipe HERE)
and I wanted to try it out.
Neither one of us knew how 
to pick a good eggplant.
So the hubs asked 2 different guys in the produce dept
and neither one had the answer.
So my brilliant hubby pulled out his iPhone
and found the answer on eHow.
So apparently they should be dark purple
very shiny and give to gentle pressure.
When they become dull, they are no longer good.

So, now on to my modified version of this fantastic recipe!
If you make it once,
you'll make it again :)

Eggplant Pizza Casserole

2 - med eggplants
1 lb - Organic grass fed ground beef 
1 - 13.66oz can Organic Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
2 - 15.5 oz jars Pizza Sauce (check ingredients - I buy Fresh & Easy brand)
3 Tbs - minced chives
3 Tbs - minced parsley
1 Tbs - dried thyme
1 - 2 tsp potato starch or arrowroot starch*
Olive oil

Brown the ground beef in a pan, drain fat and add salt to taste. Set aside. Slice eggplant into 1/4" thick discs. (I like them thin but you could go thicker) Brush both sides with olive oil and brown them in a hot pan. Set aside. Simmer the coconut milk over medium high heat in a small saucepan until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. *(If not thick enough, add 1 - 2 tsp starch to thicken) Add chives, parsley and thyme. Next take your browned eggplant and place a single layer in the bottom of a 9" by 11" pan sprayed with olive oil. Spoon some of the pizza sauce over the eggplant and a layer of ground beef. Repeat until you have used up all the eggplant, sauce and beef. (about 3 layers) Pour the herb cream sauce over the top and bake at 375 for 25 - 30 minutes. Let it rest a few minutes before serving. This is seriously so delish!!! I couldn't wait for lunch the next day to eat the left-overs! Then I doubled the recipe and made it again for Sunday lunch after church. Everyone loved it! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Enchilada Style Stuffed Peppers

Since changing my way of eating I've been craving Mexican food.
Mexican and Italian.....*sigh*

Being gluten free and corn free and dairy free
has pretty much taken my favs out of the picture.
But these stuffed peppers have given me
a little bit of what I miss.

Enchilada Style Stuffed Peppers
4 bell peppers (any color - I prefer yellow or red, but he hubs likes green)
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1/2 medium onion - diced
1 roma tomato diced
1 - 15oz can organic black beans, drained & rinsed
1 - 4 oz can diced green chilies (don't drain)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 - 28oz can enchilada sauce

Cut peppers in half, stem to tip and remove seeds. Brown ground beef together with onions. With grass fed ground beef I never have to drain any fat. (pretty cool) Microwave the peppers for 3 minutes to soften. You can skip that part if you prefer your peppers more crisp. Mix remaining ingredients, except for the enchilada sauce in a bowl. Pour enchilada sauce into a 9" x 13" baking pan. I line mine with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Place peppers in the pan and divide the meat filling equally into the peppers. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes. Spoon some of the enchilada sauce over the peppers. YUM

I serve this with guacamole and I add cheese to the tops of the ones my hubby is going to eat.....lucky duck :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

If you would have told me a year ago that my favorite snack
would be raw cauliflower and roasted red pepper hummus
I would have doubled over laughing!

Guess what?
I love this stuff!!!
Give it a whirl....
you might just love it too!
Of course you can eat it with flat bread or pita chips,
but I'm watching my carbs and the crunch of the 
raw cauliflower satisfies my need for crunchy goodness :)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 - 15oz can Organic Garbanzo beans - drained
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves shallots or garlic
1/3 jar roasted red bell peppers (about 1 whole roasted pepper)

Place all ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth.

Refrigerate any leftovers.
I like to keep this in the fridge to snack on during the week.
Hope you like it as much as I do!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hubby's Favorite Pork Carnitas

There are very few things that make my hubby happier
than coming home to find pork carnitas
simmering in the slow cooker.
I mean he would happiliy eat this every single night.
and maybe even throw in a few lunches too!
I'm not kidding...
The boy loves him some yummy pork :)

Pork Carnitas

2 - 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tblsp olive oil
1 yellow onion quartered
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or shallots)
1 orange, halved
1/4 cup Coconut oil

Mix salt, oregano and cumin with olive oil and rub all over the pork. Place 1/2 onions and garlic in the bottom of slow cooker and place pork on top. Add remaining onions and garlic. Squeeze the juice of the orange over the pork and add the 2 halves of the orange to the slow cooker. Cover and cook 8 - 10 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Remove pork from slow cooker and cool slightly. Pull apart with a fork and in a large frying pan melt the coconut oil over high heat. Press the shredded pork with a spatula and fry until crispy. Flip over and repeat on both sides. Serve over rice. I add black beans and quacamole....YUM!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Is it possible to be addicted to Green Smoothies?

When my daughter told me last week that she was making
and drinking green smoothies,
I'll admit that I thought she was crazy.
I mean the thought of drinking
green leafy vegetables and fruit
was the last thing on my list of yummy treats.
But after hearing about how she had tons of energy
after drinking green smoothies
I figured I'd give it a whirl.
Guess what?
I'm addicted!!!
Here's my recipe,
hope you like it!

Green Smoothie

1 cup So Delicious Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk beverage
1 cup organic baby spinach
1 cup organic frozen peaches
1/2 small organic banana (cut into chunks)
1/2 dropper Vanilla Cream Stevia liguid

Place spinach leaves in your blender first and then add remaining ingredients. Blend on high speed until thick and creamy and spinach is pretty much pulverized. In my Ninja this only takes a minute or so. Pour into a glass and enjoy! The cool part, for me anyways, is that this mixture stays creamy and doesn't seperate so I don't feel like I have to race to finish it. It tastes like a yummy peach and banana smoothie. You don't really taste the spinach at all. There's just a bright freshness to it. I'm totally addicted. You could switch out the fruits and or try kale instead of spinach to suit your taste.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Yummy Creamy Avocado Dressing

It's hard to believe,
but yesterday it was 94 degrees outside
and it's only the first week of March.
This kind of weather makes me want to eat
cool fresh salads.
Unfortunately for me, I have so many food
sensitivities that I can't just buy
salad dressing at the store...
 I have to make it.
So here is one of my new favs!
I can just imagine this poured over
a crisp wedge of iceberg
or even as a dip for fresh veggies!

Yummy Creamy Avocado Dressing
(the coconut milk does not add coconut flavor)

1 - 13.66 oz can Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk
1 - large ripe avocado - peeled and cut into chunks
2 to 3 green onions - chopped
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 clove garlic minced or minced shallots
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Add all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Seasoned Salt

I had originally planned on sharing my fantastic new recipe
for Roasted Carrot Chips with Seasoned Salt with you today.
But sadly, the carrot chips did not work out
quite as fantastic as I had hoped.
It's back to the test kitchen on those guys.
I did eat each and every one of them
and they were delicious
but they were more like flat little roasted carrots
and not so much like "chips".
Really tasty, but not what I had planned.
So today you can have my recipe for Seasoned Salt.
This is fantastic on fries or steaks
or just about anything in my opinion :)
I hope you enjoy it!

Seasoned Salt

2 tblsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp coconut crystals or 2 packets of Sweet Leaf Stevia
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp arrowroot starch

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Pour into a clean empty spice jar

Monday, February 6, 2012

Crustless Spinach and Bacon Quiche

I have a hard time making food just for myself.
I know I need to do it.
And if I make something like this quiche,
I'll have breakfast for the entire week
or maybe lunches instead.
So this is a win win for me.
The coconut milk gives this quiche
such a wonderful creamy texture.

Let me first say that I am NOT a fan of turkey bacon.
I call it "fake-un".
I have never found it to be even remotely as wonderful
in texture or flavor as real bacon.
But real bacon is extremely inflammatory
so that is no longer an option for me.
I now buy Applegate Organic Turkey Bacon.
I've found that if I cut the turkey bacon into tiny pieces
and fry it with some olive oil until it's crispy
it comes a lot closer to the real thing.

Crustless Spinach and Bacon Quiche

6 - large free range eggs

1 - 13.66 oz can Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk
(does not add the flavor of coconut to the quiche)

1 tsp sea salt

1 - 5 oz bag fresh Organic Baby Spinach

1 pkg Applegate Farms Organic Turkey Bacon - cut into small pieces and fried

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a pie pan with olive oil. Combine eggs, coconut milk, and salt. (you can use a food processor or blender if you like). Layer the spinach and bacon in the bottom of the pie pan. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set.

Super fast, super easy, SUPER tasty!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cinnamon Muffins

I can't tell you how grateful I am that there are so many wonderful
bloggers who  are so willing to share their tremendous skill
and knowledge and the recipes they have created
with the rest of us!
I came across this fantasic recipe for Cinnamon Bun Muffins
You can find her fantasitc original recipe HERE.
Her blog is amazing!

There are a few ingredients I can't have
because of my own food sensitivities
so I subbed out what works for me.

Muffins -

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 free range eggs
1/3 cup of the "cream" from a can of organic coconut milk *(please see my note)
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup

Note: When you open a can of organic Coconut Milk, it has usually seperated. The "cream" is at the top of the can, and the water has settled to the bottom. I use the thick "cream" as a replacement for the yogurt in the recipe because I can't have dairy. If you open a can and it has recently been shaken, you can always pour it into another container and place it in the refrigerator for a while until it seperates again.

Topping -

2 Tblsp ground cinnamon
4 Tblsp coconut crystals
2 Tblsp Earth's Balance Coconut Spread

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all wet ingredients until smooth and then add coconut flour, salt and baking soda. I use a mesh sieve to sift the coconut flour into the bowl to break up any clumps. Mix until smooth. Fill 8 muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.
Mix cinnamon, coconut crystals and coconut spread with a pastry blender or a fork until combined. Divide the streusel among the top of the 8 muffins. Bake for 20 minutes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Celery Root Hashbrowns.....the key to happiness?

Who knew that this funny looking root
could be the key to my happiness?
When my Cyrex test results came back from the Nutritionist
saying that I could eat rice and potatoes,
I was overjoyed!
I love me some potatoes!
But since adding those foods back into my diet
I haven't felt the same clarity as before.
It's hard to explain.
I'm still pain free,
but the weight loss has stopped
and it feels like I'm working with a dimmer switch,
if that makes any sense.
So I've decided to take rice and potatoes out
and see how I feel.
When my daughter told me that she made hashbrowns
from celery root,
I said "what does that even look like?"
I had to google it before I headed out to Sprouts
so I didn't wander aimlessly through the produce department.
So this morning I peeled it and shredded it
and fried it up with some olive oil
and can I just say that this is a life changer for me.
Celery root doesn't taste even remotely like celery!
So delicious and I'm so not missing my potatoes anymore :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Poor Man's Pepper Steak and Cauliflower Rice

Every Sunday after church I make lunch for the entire family.
It's something I love doing
and the time we share laughing and eating is priceless.
Changing our eating habits has been expensive!
(to say the least)
I've tried to be creative in stretching my shopping dollars.
With grass fed beef steaks at $9.99 a lb,
I chose grass fed ground beef for $5.99 a lb as a substitute.
Hence the "Poor Man's Pepper Steak" recipe was born!
And since some of the family is now grain free
we used Cauliflower Rice in place of white rice.

Poor Man's Pepper Steak

1 lb ground grass fed beef
1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce (Coconut Aminos)
1 clove garlic (or shallots) minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup green onion -thinly sliced
1 cup red or green bell peppers cut into 1 inch squares
2 stalks celery -thinly sliced
2 tomatoes cut into wedges (optional)
1 tblsp arrowroot starch (or potato starch)
1 cup water

Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium heat. Do not drain pan juices. Add soy sauce and ginger and stir into cooked beef for about a minute. Turn the heat up and vegetables and toss until tender. Add starch to the cup of water and stir until dissolved. Pour into pan and stir to thicken. If using tomatoes, add them after the other vegetables are done cooking and just heat through. Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice.  (Serves 4)

Cauliflower Rice
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic or shallots, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 tblsp Earths' Balance Coconut spread
1 tsp sea salt

Pulse cauliflower florets in food processor. The cauliflower will break down a bit as it cooks, so you don't want to chop it too fine. Do it in batches for the best results. Heat oil in large saucepan and saute onions and garlic until soft. Add the chopped cauliflower and chicken stock. Cover with lid and cook on medium-low heat about 10 minutes. Remove lid and add Earth Balance spread and salt and cook for another 5 minutes to allow some of the liquid to cook out. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and serve.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

You may have noticed that sometimes in my recipes I list "organic"
 and sometimes I don't.
Truth is, I use organic as often as possible
depending on availability.
I choose organic as my best, first choice.
The reason my recipes don't always say organic
 is because I'm lazy to type the word over and over.
So whether it says organic or not,
you can assume that I mean organic.

Just being honest here :)

This soup is a favorite in our household
and I hope you enjoy it too!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

4 (14 oz) cans organic diced tomatoes (or 4lbs fresh)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery - diced
3 carrots - diced
3 yellow onions - diced
6 cloves garlic or shallots - minced
3 cups chicken broth
3 bay leaf
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 - 14oz cans organic coconut milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Strain the chopped tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Roasting the tomatoes brings such a rich tomato flavor to this soup!

While the tomatoes are roasting, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium low heat. Add the celery, carrots, onions, and garlic and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth and bay leaf. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and coconut milk. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. (You can also blend in small batches in traditional blender or food processer) I use the immersion blender stopping just before it's totally smooth. We like the texture of the tiny bits of vegetables, but it's totally up to you how smooth to make it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pumpkin Black Bean Chicken Chili ( for the slow cooker)

I'll admit, that until recently
when my food choices were severely limited,
I was not one to venture out and try new things.
In my book, pumpkin was something you ate in a pie.
It was sweet and had cinnamon and nutmeg involved.
I didn't grow up eating pumpkin.

Guess what?

A pumpkin is a squash.....a vegetable.
Not sweet at all.
Kinda neutral in taste.
But loaded with great stuff for your body.
Who knew? ( apparently a lot of people besides me)
Anywhooo...I'm a big fan of pumpkin these days
and we eat it often.
So here is the chili recipe that we had on Christmas Eve.
(My nephew said it was a good thing
I didn't tell him it had pumpkin in it
until after he ate it)

Our entire family loved it.
I served it with coconut flour muffins
and you can find that recipe here.
The muffins taste very much like cornbread
and you can bake the recipe in an 8 x 8 pan
instead of muffin tins for a more traditional "corn bread".

Hope you love it too.

Pumpkin Black Bean Chicken Chili

1 cup chopped organic onion
1 cup chopped organic yellow bell pepper
3 cloves garlic - minced ( or shallots)
2 tblsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
4 - 15oz cans organic black beans - rinsed & drained
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 - 16oz can organic pumpkin puree
1 - 14 1/2 oz can organic diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1 - 14oz can organic unsweetened coconut milk

Saute onions, yellow pepper and garlic in oil for about 8 minutes or until soft. Stir in oregano, cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Best Darn Spaghetti Sauce Ever!

If your house is like our house,
then spaghetti is your "go to" food.
Everyone loves it.
It's quick and easy and oh so tasty too.
The problem I've run into is that even most of the organic
spaghetti sauces have things in them that I can't have
like sugar and garlic.
Luckily for me my wonderful Daughter in law
 shared this recipe with me.
Try this once, and you'll never buy sauce in a jar again!

The Best Darn Spaghetti Sauce

2 - tblsp Olive oil
1 - organic onion - diced
1 - small organic red pepper - diced
2 - 14 1/2 oz cans organic diced tomatoes (with the juice)
2 - 8oz cans organic tomato sauce
2 - tsp dried basil
1 - tsp dried oregano
1 - tsp sea salt

Heat oil in pan and saute the onion and peppers until soft. (You could certainly add a few cloves of minced garlic at this point as well)  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened. If you have children or picky eaters that don't like chunks of tomatoes you could use an immersion blender to puree the sauce or carefully transfer the sauce to your food processor and pulse for a few seconds. I added browned grass fed ground beef, but you could add chicken or any other meats as well. This sauce is seriously fabulous! And yes....it's just that easy! Serve over your favorite g/f pasta or spaghetti squash and enjoy!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oye Chico! Picadillo!

My wonderfully handsome hubby was born in Havana, Cuba. His family immigrated to the United States when he was 6 years old. Had they just waited a few more years......he would have developed the Cuban accent and I could have been married to Ricky Ricardo :) I joke with him all the time that he would get bigger tips as a plumber if he had an accent. Imagine Antonio Banderas coming to your door...."Hallo....do jou need sum help wis jour plumbing?" Now this is my opinion and you don't have to agree with me, but I have always found latin men to be the most gorgeous men on earth! Something about the dark eyes and thick curly hair :) My family came here from Europe. My father was Dutch and my mother German. We came to this country from Holland when I was 18 months old so I have no accent either. My parents had enough of an accent for the rest of us :) It used to annoy me when our children would tell people they were Cuban. Um....Hello? What about the Dutch and German? I guess Cuban is just more exotic :) So with that in mind I decided to share one of my hubby's favorite Cuban recipes with you. It is truly "fantastico"!

1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp oregano
4 cloves garlic or shallots -minced
1 medium white onion -chopped fine
1 small green bell pepper - chopped
1/2 cup beef stock
8 oz can tomato sauce
3 - 4 small potatoes - peeled and diced
1 jar sliced pimento stuffed green olives
olive oil for sauteing
salt & pepper to taste
In a frying pan combine ground beef and oregano. Brown and drain fat. Remove beef and in the same pan, heat olive oil and saute the onions, green pepper and garlic until soft.
Return the ground beef  to the pan along with the beef stock and tomato sauce. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Add the diced potato. Cover and cook another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Remove the cover and add the jar of olives (I use about 1/2 of the juice in the jar as well) and cook uncovered 15 minutes or until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Serve with cooked white rice and avocados.