Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Green Apple-Kale-Avocado Slaw

It's almost time for the school year to close and official summer to commence. The coming Memorial Day weekend has people sprucing up their yards and venturing to the farmer's market looking for fresh greens and plants.  It's time to pull out the grill and have the friends and family over, and time to cook up a few great salads and grill the rest. And maybe an adventurous, but simple fresh kale slaw could catch your attention...
I was making a kale slaw I loved for years- my Tangy Kale Slaw- but then discovered a little avocado in place of some of the nuts and seeds was just the right move to try something a little different.
This is a bunch of curly kale, but you could use some lacinato kale too for this recipe. Both work great and you'll find that you like one variety over the other. Or perhaps you have some growing in the yard and if you do, you usually have TONS of it as it grows and need a little inspiration to keep up :)
I used some crunchy sweet and tart green apples in this slaw and if you cut them small and thin, they are the perfect match to the soft kale after its been rubbed with the sweet lime dressing. This recipe is ridiculously simple- so you can add or take away from it depending what is fresh that week in your garden or what you got on hand before a last minute cook-out. I hope you give it a try and seek a little green crunchy (maybe said at one point to be odd), but wonderful fresh and tasty kale slaw.
Green Apple-Kale-Avocado Slaw Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed and soy-free

1 (1pound) bunch of fresh kale (washed, dried and finely chopped)
2 small green tart apples, finely chopped
2 very ripe avocados, finely chopped in chunks
1/3 cup of organic raisins
1/3 cup of finely sliced red or sweet onion
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro or basil or a combo

sweet lime dressing
2 TB olive or avocado oil
1 fresh lime squeezed (2 TB's juice)
1 TB of red wine vinegar
1 TB of Dijon mustard
1-2 TB of maple syrup
healthy pinch of salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, mix by hand the kale and herbs and apples and half of the avocado. In a small Ball jar, mix and shake up all of the dressing ingredients and then pour over the slaw and use your hands to massage well into the finely chopped leaves. Then top with the rest of the avocado, and raisins and optional onions. You can add more or less of the dressing if needs more and you can half or double this recipe depending on your group size.
Happy chopping, and ENJOY xoxo

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

This pan of messy, juicy, red delicious goodness is rhubarb strawberry crisp. It might not be the most delicate of desserts, but it's rich one-of-a-kind flavor and goodness will have you melting from the inside out in love for it. 
It is also special because I feel like it is the kind of dessert that you can only really make during rhubarb season. And rhubarb season is the ring-in-signal for the farmer's market opening and gift of all the spring produce and plants. 
This recipe I actually made with some leftover frozen strawberries from last summer, but it would be  divine in a few weeks when you can find both fresh local strawberries and rhubarb at the same time at your local farmer's market. Although a fruit crisp can be successfully and wonderfully made with frozen strawberries too :) but if for some reason you have local fresh strawberries popping up in your backyard or market- you are the luckiest :)
The deep red beauty of rhubarb and strawberries, and the combo of tart and sweet flavors is something I wait for each spring and early summer. It's like you've been holding on throughout the winter months for this precise moment. And when you finally get to see these gifts popping up from the earth- all you can do is offer thanks and truly delight in it's gift.  
Rhubarb is one of those foods that I feel like you either love because you know what to do with it, or otherwise just look at it and say, "Oh that's pretty, and people eat that?!" Rhubarb is actually full of many health benefits. Like many hidden benefits in plants, they are packed full of vitamin C and B and full of minerals, vitamins and even protein. They help promote healthy digestion and in some places of the world is used as a medicinal component to constipation. If you haven't tried rhubarb yet and always think about trying it then this recipe is for you. This is hands down my favorite way of eating it and once you give it a whirl you will wonder why it took you so long :) Happy Baking!
Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed, egg and refined-sugar- free}

2 cups of cleaned and chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup of water

2 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries (whole small or larger halved)
1/3- 1/2 cup of maple syrup (or you can use a mix of honey and syrup)
pinch of sea salt
juice from one lime

2 cups of certified GF rolled oats
1/4 cup of rice flour
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
 2 TB of potato starch
* Or use 2/3 cup of your fav GF flour blend*

1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of room temperature soft coconut oil
pinch of sea salt

In a medium sauce pan, put the fresh chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of water and let the rhubarb cook down for about 10 minutes on medium heat, it will turn into a mushy saucy mixture with not much stirring and mashing. Then add in the 3 cups of strawberries and let those get soft and juicy and add in the 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Cook for another 5 minutes but not letting the strawberries get too mushy or break down. Then pour the hot fruit mix into a 9x9 Pyrex baking pan.  Then in a small bowl, mix the dry oat and flour and sugar mixture with the coconut oil and make a crumble. Then sprinkle the crumble over the strawberries and rhubarb. Then bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minute until the crumble is crispy and the fruit is bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving with come coconut ice cream. Or top with some yogurt for breakfast ;) 
You can make this recipe for a 9x13 pan or double it if you are making it for a crowd. The recipe for the 9x13 pan is brought up to 3 cups of rhubarb and strawberries and the crumble mixture can be made 1/3 bigger as well. So you need 3 cups of oats and 3/4 cup of flour and 2/3 cup sugar and coconut oil. It is pretty easy to make this recipe in small or larger amounts depending on how much you want to have.  
I hope you give rhubarb and this recipe a try... Super simple and so delicious this time of year!

Much love as always, and happy baking xoxo

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Banana Quinoa Muffins or Bread [LOW-FODMAP]

Last fall I had a severe episode of digestive distress. Even while eating gluten free, dairy free and eating my usual clean diet. Sometimes the digestive issues are not really about the food, but are about the stress in our lives around us. I notice digestive distress always comes out in me when I am emotionally and physically stressed. It almost feels like in my head I am saying... "I am ok" but then after a few days my body says, "nooooo, you're not!" and in that recognition I become aware of the mind body connection once again. Have you heard the expression, 'your brain is in your gut'? Well this especially becomes true to me when I am experiencing uncontrollable stress. 
Something that has helped me is to eat very simply for a few weeks and go on the FODMAP diet. I am not one to promote diets of any kind really, but I gave this regimen a try after some help from a GI specialist friend and within a few days my IBS symptoms calmed completely. I gave the diet a try for two weeks pretty strict and then started back to my usual food flow slowly the following two weeks. To be honest- it really wasn't that hard because of already eating GF but there were some foods that had certain enzymes in them that were aggravating my stressed out nervous system. Onions, garlic, honey, and apples are just some of the few foods I tend to eat a lot of or put into my cooking to add flavor. I don't consider myself "sensitive" to these foods- just see it as foods that aggravate because of their enzymes and for some reason when I am in a spiral of digestive issues I see the most success of getting out of that downward spiral by slowing down and eating just the few things that my system agrees with.... which for me includes rice (preferably basmati or jasmine), chicken, and root veggies minus beets because they are higher on the FODMAP and drink lots of ginger or peppermint tea to calm my system as well.
Well last month I had a similar digestive stressed episode and it went on for a few weeks and then I had a light bulb go off and remember how eating the FODMAP way helped calm my system down and get me back on track. So I tried it again and low and behold, within a few days I was feeling much more myself and not so stressed. So these little muffins came into creation during that time because they are simple and VERY low FODMAP foods so they are a comfort while you are going through a stressful time.
I have made this recipe more than a few times now and sometimes it ends up being made into muffins or my latest way was just right into the bread pan. I love both ways. The bread is so moist and reminiscent of a good ol' classic banana bread recipe. I love the cruch of the quinoa and the moist bite of the banana. This is my favorite go to banana bread recipe now and especially when needing a little treat in times of stress and eating more simply. This recipe is so simple and it won't dissapooint whether you are looking for a vegan GF banana bread or you are on the hint for a low FODMAP baked goody. 
Banana Quinoa Muffins (or Bread) [LOW FODMAP] Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, honey, nut, seed and soy-free
1/2 cup of quinoa flour
2/3 cup of GF oat flour
1/3 cup of dry whole quinoa 
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup of white rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca 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 (1/4 cup)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil 

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the wet ingredients and whip up together well then use a coconut oil covered scoop to scoop into muffin tins ot pour into (2) coconut-oil-greased bread baking pans. Bake the muffins in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes depending on your oven, the bread will bake longer for 30-35 minutes depending on your size of pan and oven. 

I hope that you are not in need of a FODMAP baked good that is comforting to the digestive track, but if you are, this is your recipe. I hope you are well and happy baking, xoxo

Much love as always, 
Stephanie

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hawaiian Pineapple Pepper Crockpot Chicken and Coconut Basmati Rice

So this is the kind of dinner that comes out of cleaning out my freezer space. I had leftover frozen pineapple from Easter-week, a lost lone bag of roasted red peppers and some frozen chicken. I thawed all out over night and put them in the crockpot the next morning with a few other staples to flavor and when 4-5 o'clock rolled around- dinner was ready and it was easy to feel like a queen being served dinner with no effort. Which after days of needing to cook and bake from scratch and keep up with all the food allergies, it is always a treat to have the crockpot do most of the work :) And it gets me ready after cleaning the fridge and freezer out to do a big trip of grocery shopping the next day.
I love when something is thrown together out of leftover ingredients and it turns out so great you start thinking how you would actually need to buy the actual ingredients to make it again next time. This recipe is also somehting you can find done a multitude of ways depending on your preferences. I just used what I had and made it work. Now if only I could get my kids more excited about it... they are picky about just about everything. They did give it a try though and the sweetness and rice made it worth it :) Hope you give it a try or at the least go into your freezer space and find what kind of ingredients you need to use up and clean out. Happy cooking, xoxo
Hawaiian Pineapple Pepper Crockpot Chicken Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and seed-free} 

2 lbs of thawed or raw chicken 
(use what you got or what your preference is...if I was to choose I would do a mix of white and dark meat to keep the best flavor and moisture from the chicken)

1 medium red onion thinly sliced and chopped
4 garlic cloves minced or finely grated
2 inches of fresh ginger finely grated
2 ts of sea salt (more or less)
1/2- 1 ts. of black pepper
2 cups of fresh or frozen pineapple, thawed to have at least 1/2 cup of juices
drizzle of olive or avocado oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of coconut aminos (or sub a soy-sauce or aminos-sauce)
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar 
1/4 cup of tapioca flour

In your crock pot dump and mix all of the above ingredients and cook at the medium or low 6-8 hour time. I put the chicken in first and sprinkled in the spices and onion and stired to move all around and then added in the pineapple and peppers and made sure the suaces also got evenly mixed around too. I sprinkeld the tapioca flour last over the wet liquids and used a spoon to kinda mix in and make sure it was evenly dissolved in. Then I covered and set the heat and let it cook all day. When it was in there 6 hours it was done and the chicken could probably be easily shred up if you wanted to make tacos or fajitas out of the meat, but the chicken can be scooped out too in whole pieces and placed over the rice. 

Coconut Basmati Rice Recipe
2 TB of coconut oil
2 cups of basmati rice
3 cups of water
1 cup of coconut milk beverage
1 ts. of sea salt

In a medium saucepan, warm up some coconut oil and cook the rice in the oil for a few minutes while it gets toasted. Then add in the water and coconut milk and salt. Cook on medium to high heat until it is bubbling and then I turn the heat to low until the water is cooked in and then I turn off the heat completely and cover with a top and let it sit for 10-20 minutes for it to further the cooking process with no heat. Then I open up and fluff up and it is ready to serve. 

I topped this dish with fresh chopped cilantro, but green onions might also work. Like I said, whatever you got is what to go with ;) Some fresh lime or sea salt might be a nice finishing touch too if it needs it. 

Hope you get inspired to clean up the fridge and freezer and make something fabulous. Happy cooking and much love, xoxo

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring Miso Vegetable Soup

I made this spring inspired miso soup for the last retreat I cooked for. It came out warm and filling, yet had that light and flavorful touch I was hoping for. Sometimes when spring truly comes we are ready to give up the thick, creamy and hearty soups that have been keeping us warm and nourished throughout the winter, but still our bodies are needing that lighter, warm and nourishing broth and vegetables to help get us through the whirlwind of spring and seasonal changes. This soup used the miso based broth which I was new to trying, but I was pleasantly surprised to truly love it especially paired with sauted mushrooms and wild rice. Such a flavorful touch and grounding combo. I hope you give it a try, especially if you are looking for ways to try miso, bok choy or even the fresh spring peas that you might be starting to see at your newly opening farmer's market.

I wasn't able to snap more pictures and thankfully I captured one before the soup got eaten up, but hopefully these flavors and new recipe ingreidents will leave you inspired to give it a whirl- seriously worth it if you are feeling adventurous and looking for a warm and delightful spring soup.

Much love and happy cooking, xoxo
Spring Miso Vegetable Soup Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed and nut-free}

3-4 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 cup of sauted mushrooms
1 TB of olive oil
1 cup of wild rice cooked in
2 cups of water and 1/2 ts. of sea salt

In a small pot, saute the garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until soft, then add in the dry wild rice and saute the dry rice into the oil for a few minutes, then add in the water and a good hearty pinch of sea salt. Let cook on medium heat until it starts to bubble- then turn down heat to low and cover and let cook at low until water is gone and then turn off the heat and let it sit under cover for another 15 or so minutes for the rice to finish it's cooking. Then it is ready to dump into the rest of the soup...

In a large soup pot add the following...

1-2 TB of olive oil
1 bunch of boy choy washed, dried and cut up (about 2 cups)
3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup of white onion finely chopped
1 cup of finely chopped green onions or scallions
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of black pepper

Saute the above until soft, about 10 minutes, then add the water, beans, cooked wild rice and the rest of the ingredients. Once the water is warm with all the soup ingredients you can drop in the 2 TB of miso paste and watch it dissolve and flavor the broth. Let it cook in for another 5 minutes, but then it is ready to serve. It is a super quick soup to make after you make the rice rice. It is ready to serve within 15 minutes or so after everything is mixed into the broth together. 

6-8 cups of water (can add more if you want it more brothy)
1 29 ounce can of white beans 
1 heaping cup of fresh spring sweet peas
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
2 TB of Eden shiro rice miso paste

If you would like to sub in thinly sliced asparagus unstead of peas, I think that could be a nice spring touch. If you wanted to add in kale instead of boy choy I think that could work too, but the bok choy truly adds a simple new flavor and I love how the stalks get soft and easy to eat within the soup. Give it a try!

Much love as always! Hope you are finding new ways to stay inspired int he kitchen this spring- this soup is here to help and also if you haven't gotten to your local farmer's market yet- that is a great place to start as well.... you should be seeing some spring greens, peas, and asparagus popping up.