Thursday, August 8, 2019

School Snacks AND Easy Peasy Granola AND Blueberry Banana Whole Grain Muffins


School is starting in T-minus 2 weeks... AH! How exciting and wonderful, yet how many of us parents dread of the renewal of lunch/snack packing? Or the low-grade anxiety of getting back into the natural swing of things that takes a few weeks to get into a more normal groove. Yes, it will come. But, what ways can we prepare and make these transitions more peaceful and full of nourishing vibes?

One of the helpful puzzle pieces is finding and planning ways to nourish and feed our bodies good food and plants. This usually means for me making a big batch of GF muffins or bread or even cookies to have on hand and pack and enjoy for the week. It also involves having a few fun snack and after school foods ready and available. And then also having a few super easy, one-pot or pan type meals ready to go to help with all the craziness. Taking a few steps to plan can help all this go smoothly and of course gathering as much colorful foods from the local farmer's market or beloved garden is one of the best places to start. Can we teach our kids the joy of a piece of fresh fruit for their packed snacks? An apple or peach in all their wonderful beauty and crunch? Maybe a seed or nut butter dip to make fruit or veggies more interesting if need be?

It also amazes me how if you chop up veggies in a special way and make a design with it my kids will more likely eat the veggies. Or if they help me with the chopping and peeling or with the putting together of a salad...then, they will definitely eat more veggies! So many times the easy route seems to be just buying all the packaged items at that stores, but if we could just give ourselves 15 minutes a day or even just 30 minutes at the start of the week we could chop up a TON of finger-picking veggies and fruit that is easy to pack and eat every day that week. These are my most go-to snacks for my kids...fresh fruit and veggies. Sometimes we make hummus or yogurt dips or bean dips to make the dipping more fun, but I bet you will be surprised how fun and colorful fruits in veggies in the snack bag can be. Get a fun reusable case and have them do the refilling each day to even get your kids involved with their own snack making. Making a big batch of homemade hummus or salsa always helps makes veggies look more interesting too ;) What are some tricks and quick recipes that you have? Please share in comments for all of us to enjoy...!


A new make ahead, easy to grab and pack, or after school snacks:




Granola Yogurt Fruit Parfaits Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, seed, egg, and soy-free and VEGAN}

2-3 cups of rolled certified gluten free oats
2-3 cups of rice puff cereal
1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup off molasses
1/3 cup of avocado oil
pinch of sea salt
and a sprinkle of cinnamon 

1/2-1 cup of dried fruit (combo of raisins, cherries, cranberries)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl with your hands and then spread thin on a parchment covered 11x15 baking sheet and bake at 350 for 25 minutes until crispy golden brown. Pull from the oven and pour on the dried fruit and then let cool and dry for another few hours and then your granola is ready for crunchy, tasting, and packing up in a jar for the pantry and ready to pull out for quick breakfasts or snacks. 

When packing a jar parfait, drop the yogurt of choice on the bottom and then layer some fresh berries, banana or whatever fruit you desire and then layer with some granola on top. I especially lot this snack when you can get so many fresh berries and peaches and fruit at the local farmer's market. Lots of fresh flavor, crunch, fiber and beauty. This is an easy breakfast or snack to pack and grab to go out of the house!

Some other easy big batch recipes for packing for easy to-go snacks:

Homemade Hummus

Fresh Salsa

Zucchini Brownie Bite Muffins

Zucchini Mini Muffins

Maple Sunbutter Apple Dip

Millet Oat Breakfast Bars

and another full of fiber whole grain muffin recipe...


Blueberry Banana Whole Grain Muffins Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, honey, nut, seed and soy-free

3 cups of  favorite whole grain gluten-free flour blend (or mix the following)*
   1/2 cup of quinoa flour
   1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
   1/2 cup of millet flour
   1/2 cup of brown rice flour
    1 cup of GF oat flour
* I put all dry grains of the above in my Vitamix dry blender and grind soft into flour*

1/3 cup of tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand for corn-free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup of bananas)
1 lemon freshly juiced and zested (1/4 cup)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/3 cup of avocado oil
1/4 cup of applesauce

Plus 1 cup of fresh blueberries

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the wet ingredients and whip up together well. Lastly fold in a cup or as many blueberries you want. Then, use an oil covered scoop to scoop into muffin tins. Bake the muffins in a 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes depending on your oven.
Pull from the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before biting into :)

Homemade muffins, with ingredients full of nutrients and that you can trust are such wonderful to-go breakfasts and snacks for kiddos. They see it as a treat and really you are treating them to baked good full of whole grains and minerals to feed their brains and energy. I like to make a batch in the beginning of the week and have them ready and available on the counter to quick pack up if need be.

What are some homemade or quick whole food school-ready snacks and foods you have ready in your kitchen? I would love to hear more great ideas! Another great plan is to have a few easy one-pot or crock pot meals ready for the first few weeks of school starting which may be helpful for parents with hungry kiddos right when you get home, or for teachers who are always putting in those long hours. Here is a link to browse some easy one-pot meals to look ahead and prep for those long days ahead. One of my favorites is Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry!

Much love and light as always xoxo
Stephanie

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Red Bean Basmati Salad with Radish and Cilantro

Hello friends! I know...It's been a while since I posted a new recipe. I promise I have been pouring all of my recipe making and tasting time into my cookbook. It's alot of organizing, writing, and hopefully soon getting into some of the picture taking and testing stages too. All the recipes I want to include are some of my tried and true recipes that I make and share on a more regular basis. They are the ones that I swear by as bringing more hope for this healing journey and beyond that I am trying to share a piece of myself in a very raw and honest way. I am hoping to keep my energy up on this project, so stay tuned :)
So, I hope you are enjoying the first week of summer and finding ways to rest, play and have some enjoyment. Here is a little spring-summer-ish salad recipe I cooked up recently to share with a local community of health-loving friends and now I will share with you in hope to help add a little spice and pungent to your picnic food line-up. This recipe is as much medicine for the damp spring we've been having here in Michigan as much as it is just tasty and nourishing. It has a few pungent components of radish, cilantro, cardamon, cumin and even the red beans. They are all together almost like a summer-salad-version of a kitcheri dish in the Auyvedic food tradition. And, in the Chinese food tradition of eating to help balance your whole system by how each bite and flavor send nourishment to corresponding organs in the body. I am a very 'earthy' person so as this spring has been very wet, damp, swampy, moist, and what ever other words you can use to describe spongy wet weather that barely sees sunshine, then in a sense my body has been holding on to this wetness just like a sponge. I  am chronically a damp earthy person anyways and this means I have to work even more closely with eating foods to help expel the damp and not produce more damp in my digestion and body. I am learning, and like many of us, try and experiment with the plants and foods that might help us thrive and naturally nourish and detox our bodies as a whole.

This recipe is a bunch of those damp-expelling foods into one. It has been an easy helpful dish to pack for a picnic lunch or even share at the potluck. Yes it's flavor and colors may not be on the usual side but sometimes you must look to your food as a healing modality and perhaps an adventure to experience and try new things.
Red Bean Basmati Salad with Radish and Cilantro Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, soy and sugar-free}

2 cups of pre-cooked basmati rice, cook it, cool it and have it ready to mix together- I cooked 1 cup of dry basmati rice with a dash of sea salt and a ts. of coconut or avocado oil with the 2 cups of water

2 cups of pre-cooked small red beans (from dry beans or use 1- 15 ounce can of cooked red beans)
Pour the soft cooked beans from the can into a pot to warm with
1/2 ts. of ground cardamon
1/2 ts. of ground coriander
1/4 ts. of ground fennel
1 ts. of ground cumin
1 ts. fresh grated turmeric or 1/2 ts. of dry ground turmeric
1 ts. of fresh grated ginger or 1/2 ts. of dry ground ginger
1/4 ts. of pink sea salt
1/4 ts. of fresh ground black pepper

Cook the beans with all the spices and if needed a drizzle of water to soften them all together. Then let the beans slightly cool and get ready to mix with the rest of the salad

Chop up 3-4 fresh radishes into very tiny pieces and then save a few slices for garnish
Finely chop handful of green onion (1/3 cup chopped) 
Finely chop handful of fresh cilantro (1/3 cup chopped)

In a medium mixing bowl, dump in the cooked basmati, beans with spices and the fresh chopped veggies. Toss together and dress with some radish or cilantro garnish and serve up. It may need a sprinkle of more sea salt or back pepper, but let the flavors speak for themselves. I love how this is so simple and how the spices from the beans truly are the "dressing" of this salad. No need for more.

I hope you give it a try and ENJOY!

Much love and light as always, xoxo

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Chocolate Orange Mousse


Just in time for Valentines! I haven't been posting much because I have taken on some other work with my food creating. I am also working on putting together a cookbook. YES! FINALLY- it's happening. I will be putting together all of my loved and favorite recipes with a little extra writing and stories to the mix but I am hoping to get that into hands by next year. But this past weekend I found myself busy cooking and loving at another wellness retreat and served these beauties as a little after meal treat. They are just that- a little treat- a few bites of chocolate goodness to savor those last moments around the table and in laughter. I hope you surround yourself with LOVE this week and always and remember to love well you have to start with loving yourself xoxo

Chocolate Orange Mousse Cups Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut-free}

1 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips
2 cans of full-fat coconut milk
1 organic orange zested (1 TB) and squeezed (1/3 cup of juice)
1/4-1/3 cup of maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
drizzle of pure vanilla
1/4 cup of cocoa powder

In a sauce pan, melt all of the above ingredients until melted and smooth and whisked all together. You MUST make sure not to get too hot or to burn, so heat must be on low to melt the chocolate and coconut milk but when that happens, turn off the heat and whisk more together. 

In a small bowl whisk the following:

1 TB of pure plain gelatin (I use Great Lakes brand)
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage or water works too

Then quickly pour into your blender or Vitamix and let it bloom and set at the bottom of the blender until you pour in the warmed melted chocolate mixture. Then slowly blend on low and work your way up too a high blend while the mixture is getting creamed and frothy. Then pour the mixture into little quarter-pint jars or little cups or dishes for serving. Let them stiffen in the fridge for 4 hours or over night. You can make a few days ahead of time and make them ready to serve as well. I serve up with some fresh fruit or some raspberries that have been crushed and combined with a little fresh orange or lime juice. I hope you LOVE and ENJOY! xoxo

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Chicken Schwarma + Coconut Basmati + Cucumber Salad + Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

Here's a meal that you cannot forget. You know the ones... they stick with you. The smells, the textures, the memories. It has all the qualities of warmth, love, nostalgia even. It may just for me because it does remind me of my time of living overseas in Israel. It also reminds me of friends I have eaten it with. It is the kind of meal that you make for a crowd and sit around the table for hours and laugh and tell stories. So I shared this meal with a group of lovely women I cooked for at the most recent Women's Wellness Retreat. I got to share a piece of my story and my heart with these beautiful brave women. And now, I am sharing this meal with you. I hope you give a try and recreate this same nourishing and loving meal for all of your people.  It is the kind of meal that offers space for CONNECTION, LOVE and a shared LIFE together. ENJOY!

Chicken Schwarma Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, sugar and nut-free}

2-3 pounds of chicken thighs (I search down local, organic or all-natural meat for cooking)
2-3 TB of olive oil
2 fresh lemons-squeezed for 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
2-3 fresh garlic cloves finely minced
1-2 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of ground black pepper
1 ts. of ground cumin
1 ts. of ground coriander
1 ts. of ground turmeric
1 ts. of ground paprika
1 ts. of ground cardamon
1/2 ts. of ground cloves
1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
1/4 ts. of cayenne pepper

In a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish spread out the raw chicken thighs, drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle all the spices and salt and pepper over. Then use a fork or your hands to massage the spices into the meat. Then cover with foil and let it chill in the fridge over night or at least for an hour. Then bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes covered and 15-20 minutes uncovered until it is fully cooked. Let cool for a minute and then you can either serve as is or slice each piece into a few pieces and make it more easy to serve on rice or pita.
The meat is super flavorful, juicy, tender and full of goodness. I like how it has it's own sauce and can be easily put over rice, lettuce, in pita or on a flat bread. A flawless chicken dish!
Cucumber Salad or Israeli Salad
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, sugar and nut-free}
4 English cucumbers, sliced, quartered and halved again (1/8th of a circle piece)
2-4 small campari, cherry or Roma tomatoes (basically need 1/2 cup of tomatoes, diced)
1/3 cup of finely chopped onion, I used red onion for this recipe
1/2 cup of fresh finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup of fresh finely chopped mint
2 lemons squeezed for juice (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup of olive oil
big pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper

Chop all of the above in a large bowl and drizzle in the lemon and olive oil and herbs and viola, it is that easy. You can add more or less of all of the ingredients depending on what you got on hand or growing fresh or your preferences. It is a simple, but absolutely perfect salad. Crisp and cooling- delicious!
I make this curry recipe as a meat-alternative to this meal, but also it is good all mixed in with the meat and over the rice because it not only has all of the same spices but add textures and flavors you can not plan more perfectly! The recipe is here- Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry, but I will also put it below just to have them all in the same place :)


Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and sugar-free, vegan if you use vegetable stock}

2 TB of avocado oil for sauteing
1 large onion finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves finely minced
1-2 TB of finely grated fresh ginger*
1-2 TB of finely grated fresh turmeric*

2 cups of raw washed, cut into bite sized pieces, cauliflower
2 cups of pealed and cut and cubed pieces of sweet potato

1 14 ounce can of diced organic tomatoes
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
2-3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can of organic pre-cooked garbanzo beans
1 ts. of curry powder
1 ts. of ground paprika
1 ts. of ground cumin
1 ts. of ground coriander
1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
pinch of cloves
1 ts. of sea salt
hearty pinch of fresh ground black pepper
optional: 1-2 TB of tahini, or a nut butter like almond or peanut for extra thickness and flavor

2 cups of fresh finely chopped greens (spinach, kale or chard)
handful of fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of raisins (I like a mix with golden raisins included ;)

for serving:
serve over prepared basmati or jasmine rice (or quinoa)
limes juice and wedges
sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley

In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger with the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, when it cooks down, add in the bite-sized cauliflower, sweet potato and spices and cook for another 5 minutes, then add in the coconut milk, tomatoes, beans and broth. Let cook, bubbling and covered for 15- 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the broth reduced. Then add in the raisins, fresh greens and herbs and let those get soft. It is ready for serving now, or you can turn off the heat and let it sit and cool a bit and thicken up. Then serve with prepared basmati rice. With a slice of lime and a sprinkle of some fresh herbs too. 

*If you do not have access to fresh ginger or turmeric root, then you can for sure used dried spices. I would start at 1 ts. each and add in more if you desire a little more punch...


And lastly I will give my instructions for the BEST coconut oil infused basmati rice and the steps to make it flawless each and every time!

Coconut Basmati Rice 
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed and soy-free}

2 TB of coconut oil
3 cups of basmati rice
6 cups of pure water
hearty pinch of sea salt

So this recipe depends on how much rice you want to make I would suggest to make at least 6 cups of cooked rice for 4 people- so that would be about 3 cups of dry rice. You can make more or less of that amount. The key is to always have double the water for the amount of rice you have. 

So first step is to melt coconut oil in a medium to large pot. Once the oil is melted over the heat, add in the dry rice and let it toast and saute for a few minutes. It will start to give off an amazing aroma and you will look to see it has almost changed it color to look more toasted. Then add in all the water and the hearty pinch of sea salt and cover. Let the water come to a boil and then turn off the heat to a low simmer. You will have to watch this so that the water does not overflow. Once you start the simmer it will cook for about 10-15 minutes and will start to soak up all the water and you will see little poke holes formed. When you see this- turn off the heat and let it continue its cook in the pot, covered but no more flame. In about 10 minutes it will be ready to removed the cover and fluff up. It will be just about PERFECT- not too sticky or wet! and the subtle sweetness from the coconut oil and sea salt is just the perfect touch for any curry dish!

Layer all of the above recipes to create the most perfect of meals! I hope you recreate this lovely meal and share in CONNECTION, LOVE and LIFE.

Much love as always, xoxo