Blueberry and Red Wine Sauce (over chicken)

Normally, I try to eat as seasonally as possible, but I was craving the delicious, juicy summer fruit of blueberries.  A friend of mine who raises her own chickens recently gave me a whole chicken, so I decided to try a new sauce to pair with it.  It captures the essences of both the warm seasons from the fresh blueberries and the colder seasons from tastes that hint at a mulled wine flavor.  I hope you enjoy!

Blueberry and Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups red wine (I used Merlot)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbs potato starch (you can use corn just as well)
6 tbs cold water
1 1/2 to 2 cups blueberries
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves


Method:

Pour red wine and lemon juice into a saucepan over med high heat and bring to just boiling and then turn down to a simmer.  Add in all your spices and simmer for approx. 3 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine cold water and your potato starch and stir.  Turn the heat up on your red wine mixture and pour in your thickener.  Stir gently but quickly.  If the sauce becomes too gummy, you can try to use a spoon to mash out some of the gumminess and also add some wine/lemon juice to read a more desired consistency.  Add blueberries, stir, and heat through.  Serve over baked chicken breasts, duck, or lamb.  Would also be good as a dessert topping!

This sauce is gluten free, grain free, egg free, soy free, dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan.

recipe: savory cornbread

I came up with this cornbread recipe on a whim.  I wanted something that was delicious and able to cater to a variety of dietary needs with just a few mild tweaks.  Most of my recipes take a few times to get down, but this one came out perfect on the first try! 

Savory Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 cup ground cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa flour*
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 tbs baking powder
1 tbs Herbs de Provence**
2 tbs ground flax meal
6 tbs water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar

Method:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients and mix together.  In a small dish, mix your flaxmeal and water together and allow to sit for about two minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the rest of your wet ingredients and then your flax/water mixture and beat together.  Pour into dry mixture bowl and beat until your cornbread batter is combined.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Pour into a greased baking pan and bake for approx. 30-35 minutes.  Serve while hot!

*Don’t waste your time trying to hunt down and then pay for quinoa flour.  You can easily take raw quinoa grains and dry toast them on the stove for a few minutes and then grind them up into a flower in your blender or food processor!

**Don’t have herbs de provence?  That’s ok!  It’s a blend of savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and organic lavender flowers.  You can easily create your own blend or almost-blend at home!

This recipe is gluten free, soy free, egg free, vegetarian, and if you use a rice or almond milk, can easily be both dairy free and vegan.

recipe: emily levenson’s parsnip and sweet potato latkes

Remember my post awhile back on the greatness of parsnips and how many health benefits they bring?  I warned you that you’d be seeing more recipes featuring parsnips!  Today I bring you a recipe that my husband called a “top ten!”  I cannot claim it as mine, though.  I made some mild tweaks to Emily Levenson’s parsnip and sweet potato latkes.  Be prepared to make extra so people can go back for seconds!

(Note: The recipe below is Emily’s original.  I will make mention of my changes below it.)

Parsnip and Sweet Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

1-2 sweet potatos (or yams)
2-4 parsnips, peeled
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 red onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
oil for cooking (safflower, canola)

My changes:  I substituted brown rice flour for the whole wheat, I used a yellow onion, 3 eggs instead of two, and I added about 1 1/2 tbs dill seeds.

Method:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Peel potatos and parsnips and grate/shred in a food processor or food grater — drain if watery.  Stir potato and parsnip mixture together with flour, eggs, onions, baking powder, salt, and pepper (and dill seeds!) till combined well. Heat oil on a nonstick skillet in moderate heat till hot but not smoking.  Spoon latke mixture into skillet and flatten.  Add as many as the pan will hold and cook till golden brown.  (about 2 minutes on each side.)  Transfer latkes onto paper towels to drain.  Keep warm on a rack set in a shallow baking pan in the oven. 

With my substitutions, this recipe is gluten free, vegetarian, soy free, and dairy free.

recipe: quinoa and egg breakfast bake

I can pretty much guarentee you that you’ll see the basis of this recipe coming back again on the blog in a few different twists and varieties.  Because it’s that good.  Quinoa puts a spin on a traditional quiche and gives it not only a health boost, but a bit of flavor variety as well. 

Quinoa isn’t a word you hear tossed around in many homes, but it’s becoming more popular — and rightly so!  It looks like a small grain, but actually — it’s not!  It’s actually a seed and a relative of leafy green veggies like spinach. (!!!!)  What’s wonderful about quinoa is that it is a complete protein.  That means it has all of the essential amino acids.  (This is especially good news for people looking to get their protein intake from non-animal sources.)  One cup of quinoa contains 9 grams of protein which is more than an egg! 

This little health beauty is a complex carb with a low glycemic index which is great for people watching their blood sugar.  It has a decent amount of folic acid/folate and it’s very high in magnesium, calcium, iron, and various B vitamins.  Fluffy in texture and slightly nutty in flavor, quinoa is a non-grain that is gluten free and an easy replacement for rice, wheat, corn, and other grains.

Quinoa and Egg Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:

10 strips of bacon, cooked and torn to small pieces
8 eggs
5 tbs butter
1/2 cup stock (vegetable or bone)
1 onion, finely chopped and diced
1 pepper, chopped and diced (I used an orange one)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1 tsp sage
2 tbs thyme
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
salt
pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking dish with butter or coconut oil.  In a bowl, melt about 5 tbs of butter and add in your eggs and stock.  Whip till blended.  Add in all the aditional ingredients except for the goat cheese and whip till blended again.  Gently stir in the goat cheese.  Pour into your greased baking dish and cover with foil. Gently jiggle the pan to help the quinoa seeds sink to the bottom.  The quinoa should mostly settle to the bottom making a “crust” and will cook while in the oven.  Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before cutting and serving.

This recipe is gluten free, grain free, soy free, and could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon.

recipe: black bean brownies

Who doesn’t love soft, gooey, warm brownies?!  About a year ago, I learned about black bean brownies.  Like most people, I was initially skeptical.  Beans in a dessert?  I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.  But after giving it a go, I discovered that black bean brownies are decidedly delicious — whether you need to eat gluten free or not!  While they’re not the most healthy of all desserts, they’re still a step up from traditional brownies on the health and nutrition factor.  Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive, allergy friendly, and super easy to make!  I made these brownies with my friend Katie and here’s the recipe we came up with:

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

1 can (or 15 ounces) of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
dash of salt
1 tbs maple syrup
3/4 cup sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil or butter an 8×9 inch baking pan.  Mix all ingredients together into a bowl and beat for 5-8 minutes with a hand mixer.  You can use a fork to mash up the black beans some more.  If you don’t like the idea of any black bean texture in the brownies and want it completely smooth, you can blend in a food procesor instead.  (We didn’t have one on hand, so that didn’t happen.  Otherwise we probably would’ve!)  Pour batter into your greased pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or till set in the center.  Allow to cool, cut, and serve!

These brownies are gluten free, grain free, soy free, vegetarian, and could be dairy free with the appropriate substitutes. 

recipe: parsnip and toasted walnut soup

Parsnips are an absolutely wonderful root vegetable and one of the least appreciated!  It is packed with health benefits just waiting to be taken advantage of.  Parsnips are lower in calories than carrots and potatoes.  They’re naturally sweet and their calories come more from natural sugars vs starch like in a potato.  High in folic acid and vitamin B6, they’re an excellent food choice for women who are trying to conceive or pregnant.  Other vitamins and minerals that parsnips provide are vitamins C and E, copper, maganese, lots of potassium, fiber, and niacin.  Parsnips have been known to be used as a diuretic, antioxidant, aid in reducing obesity, a treatment for kidney disease, and is beneficial for those dealing with asthma

What is not to love about this superfood?  For all its benefits, it’s worth incorporating into the diet.  Last night, we made soup from parsnips that is easily vegan/vegetarian friendly. 

 

Parsnip and Toasted Walnut Soup

Ingredients:

2 med sized or 1 giant carrot, chopped into small pieces
3 large parsnips, chopping into small pieces
(the two should equal roughly 4 cups when chopped up)
1 med onion, chopped and diced
1/2 cup olive oil
3 generous handfuls of walnuts (maybe 1 1/2 cups?)
4 cups broth (vegetable or bone)
2 1/2 tbs potato starch (or other thickener of your choice)
3 1/2 tbs thyme
2 tbs nutmeg
1/2 tbs corriander
salt
pepper

Method:

Chop up your carrots and parsnips and set aside.  Heat 1/4 cup of your olive oil in a large skillet/sauce pan and sautee diced onion till soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add in walnuts, stir, and toast/sautee another 5 minutes.  Add in your chopped carrots and parsnips and remaining olive oil and sautee for approx 10-15 minutes.  Add potato starch and stir well into the mixture and allow to soak in for about 3 minutes.  Pour in your broth, stir, and simmer.  Cover and simmer, stirring every few minutes, for another 10 minutes.  Make sure the carrots and parsnips are soft and well cooked.  Set aside and allow the mixture to cool down enough to pour into a blender or large food processor.  Pour entire mixture into your blender/food procesor and pulse till liquified.  Return the liquid soup back to the pot/skillet and add in all your spices, stir and blend.  Heat through for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb.  Serve.

This recipe is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, and can be vegetarian and vegan if you choose vegetable broth.

recipe: healthy chocolate peanut-butter fudge

Yes.  It does exist.  Let me explain:

Coconut oil is a fantastic substance that is known to provide all sorts of health benefits.  The key here is to not be afraid of the word “fats.”  Mainstream culture has given us the idea that fats are bad and that natural fats in food will make YOU fat.  Not true.  Eating refined sugars, refined carbs and junk food and not living an active lifestyle can make you fat.  Eating natural, whole, healthy fats can actually help you maintain your weight and help the foods you’re eating deliver their health benefits to you much more effectively.

Coconut oil is pretty easy to digest and it aids the body in absorbing minerals, fat soluble vitamins, B vitamins, and some amino acids.  Many people also say that coconut oil helps you LOSE weight because it increses your energy, boosts your metabolism, and helps improve thyroid function — all of which are beneficial to losing weight.  It doesn’t negatively effect your blood cholesterol and it is a known anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties. 

This is a semi-raw, dairy free healthy fudge recipe because one of the main ingredients is coconut oil as well as cocoa and one of the most natural sugars you can find — honey. 

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup raw honey (may add a bit more if you like your fudge sweeter)
1/2 cup peanut butter
dash of salt

Method:

Place your coconut oil in a glass or heat-proof container.  In a sauce pan, boil some water.  Place the coconut oil-filled container in the water and allow about 1/3rd of the coconut oil to melt.  Do this to help preserve the “raw” qualities of the coconut oil, thereby, preserving its nutritional benefits. Once partially melted, pour all the coconut oil into a blender or a bowl for a hand mixer.  Add in the rest of your ingredients and blend or beat till mixed together.  Important: I’m not sure why, but if you mix the ingredients too long, the coconut oil will separate as you can see that mine did a little bit.  Be careful to get your fudge JUST mixed and not overmixed to avoid separation.  Take a small baking dish and line it with parchment or wax paper and pour your fudge into the dish and spread it out equally.  Chill for 1 hour.  Cut and serve.

This recipe is gluten free, grain free, egg free, soy free, dairy free, and vegetarian.  While I’ve not used agave nectar, I’m sure some experimentation could be done to make this recipe vegan as well.