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Here’s what I learned yesterday.

If you have guests coming and no food except for a bag of chips of some kind, you can still make a marvelous dip for those chips in under five minutes. Oh, and you can utilize leftovers, while doing it!

Throw a can of beans of any kind ( I used black beans) into the food processor, add a handful of nuts (I used walnuts,) a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and paper and a bit of water and process until smooth.If you want, you can add parsley or cilantro and/or some onion and garlic. My guests loved the dip! and my kids loved it for lunch the next day.

This recipe does contain vegetables, but overall is not so healthy. However, it is a-delicious and b-can make stubborn kids eat veggies. My mother used to make it when I was a kid and I have yet to meet a person who didn’t like it. Butter makes it taste great, but coconut oil is a pretty yummy healthier option. Olive or other vegetable oil doesn’t work here. Gluten-free breadcrumbs are a good option.

Take one head of cauliflower and divide it into florets.Put it in a cast-iron skillet with 1/2 cup of water, cover it up with the lid and let simmer until the water evaporates. Then, add about 1/3  stick of butter and enough breadcrumbs to cover the whole thing. Turn the flame up to high and mix periodically, while cooking. Cook until the crumbs turn darker, but not too dark (4-6 mins. )

I also like to add broccoli florets to this dish.

 

 

 

 

Even after making the zucchini casserole yesterday, we were left with extra zuchinis. Here’s what I threw in the blender today:

1 zucchini

7 ice cubes

1 banana

1 cup orange juice

1/2 avocado

It turned really yummy and the yield was 2-3 servings.

Next time, I will try this interesting smoothie.

What else can I do with zucchinis?

 

My twin babies fell madly in love with zucchinis. So, I buy big quantities of zucchinis and put them in pretty much every vegetable dish. I even like them raw in a salad. Their mild taste works for the days when there isn’t a single cucumber in the fridge. Since,in my opinion, a casserole is the easiest dish to feed the whole family, I like to make this simple zucchini bake. It tastes delicate enough to eat the leftovers for breakfast. Zucchini is rich in nutrients, especially manganese and vitamin C. One cup of cooked zukes contains 1.64g of protein and .15g of omega-3 fatty acids.

You can make this recipe vegan by using flax or chia, instead of an egg and a vegan cheese instead of cheddar. I personally never tried using quinoa or gluten-free flour here, but am sure it’s possible. If you manage to make this casserole free of gluten, please, write me a note!

Ingredients

 4     cups unpeeled, chopped zucchini (and/or yellow summer squash)

¼     cup chopped onion

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

 2/3 cup whole wheat flour

½  tsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. agave syrup

 1     egg

 1     cup grated cheddar cheese,  set aside ½ cup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients and stir well. Mix in all other ingredients  (except for ½ cup cheddar cheese) and stir well. Pour into a greased 8-inch pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle the second ½ cup grated cheddar cheese on top and bake an additional 15 minutes.

 

This is my favorite soup. Warm, hearty, full of spices and veggies, it can heat up a cold winter night and add substance to summer lunch. If you add a couple of pieces of toast to a bowl of this soup, you have a nice meal right there. Croutons work, too. You can also have a small bowl of this soup as an appetizer. When selecting vegetables for the soup, keep the red/green balance in mind. The vegetable mixture  has to be about 50% red and 50% green. In this recipe, I put things like broccoli and sweet potatoes. There is also nothing wrong with string beans and squash: be creative, but keep the red/green balance!

The yield for this recipe is a large soup pot, for about 6-7 people.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup broccoli  florets

1/2 cup kale leaves, separated from the stalks

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup cup celery, chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, diced

1/2 cup whole wheat penne pasta or uncooked buckwheat

1/2-3/4 can garbanzo beans

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt, paprika to taste

2 tbsp. curry powder

3 garlic cloves, pressed

7 cups of water

Put the carrots and the sweet potatoes in the water and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the vegetables, cover and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, the pasta or the grain and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes (taste the pasta or the grain for readiness.) Add olive oil and the spices and simmer for a minute or two. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes before serving.

 

Since we have three little kids, it’s hard to go out in the evening. So, I learned to make some gourmet foods at home. Flatbread is one of those foods. The best part about this recipe ( taken from here) is that the bread is easy to make and is gluten-free. Then, you can put whatever you want on top and tell the kids it’s pizza. I like bell peppers, sundried tomato spread, portobello mushrooms, chunks of tofu, onions, tomatoes, zucchinis to top my flatbread…I sometimes put a bit of goat cheese on top and sometimes I forego the cheese altogether and the dish still tastes amazing. The recipe here is a suggestion. Make the basic flatbread and put whatever you want on top. After the bread is made, don’t forget to top it off with arugula leaves, some salt and olive oil.

I also like to quintuple this recipe and freeze the unused portions in ziploc bags. Whenever I need dinner, I thaw some flatbread dough, roll it out and put something on top. Then I bake the flatbread for 10-20 minutes and dinner is ready!

note: you can use 1 egg instead of the psyllium husk

Flatbread:

– 1 cup quinoa flour

-1/2 -1 tsp salt

-1 tbls psyllium husk

-3/4 cup (2 dl) water

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 F).

Mix the salt, psyllium husk and flour together, add the water gradually so that it resembles a thick porridge, wait for a couple of minutes and then spread the batter on to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Topping

4 tbsp. pesto sauce

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 tomato, thinly sliced

1/3 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled

Arugula leaves, salt, pepper,olive oil

Spread the pesto sauce on top of the flatbread and put all of the veggies on top of the sauce.sprinkle some goat cheese over the veggies and bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15minutes. Take out of the oven and generously put arugula leaves on top. Put salt and pepper to taste.

I know, the name spells:  “The Weirdest Cake On The Internet,” but it tastes awesome! I found this delicious raw cake recipe about a month ago and never found time to make it. Too bad, because it only took me 30minutes today! If you like lemon flavor, feel free to also add a  few drops of lemon extract. The original recipe asked for jicama. I used something simpler and more readily available.

 

 

 

Cake
1/2 cup finely grated white turnip
1 1/2 cups Granny Smith Apples, pealed and grated finely
2 cups almond flour (almonds, ground in a food processor)
4 tbsp.  flax meal  (flax seeds, ground finely)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup poppy seeds

Mix all ingredients well. Separate into two halves. Take the first half and form in a shape of a cake.

Frosting:

1 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
Juice of 1 lemon  ( zest opti0nal)

Beat/Whip the coconut oil with beaters! Whip again and add the agave. Then, add the lemon juice.

Assembly:
Top the first layer of the cake with Frosting. Form the second half of the dough into another layer on a  separate plate. Flip the plate to place another layer on top of the frosting.Frost the whole cake: top and sides. Sprinkle Poppy Seeds on the sides and maybe on top, as well. Top with Lemon zest curls or slices. Refrigerate for an hour or more. Serve at room temperature.

Fourth of July will be here very soon. Before you start feeling bad for vegetarians, I have a really awesome bean burger recipe to share. It’s is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. I found this recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine and changed a thing or two. The original recipe asked for quinoa, but I felt that buckwheat, while similar in texture, has a more “meaty” look to it. That, and I had some leftover buckwheat laying around. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1.5 cup cooked buckwheat

1 cup onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, grated

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil – drained and finely chopped

1.5 cups black beans ( cooked or canned and drained) – I like to use canned spicy beans here

1.5 cups water

2 tsp.   steak seasoning

2 garlic cloves, minced

optional: a few drops of Tabasco sauce

Salt, pepper to taste

Olive oil for oiling the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium frying pan, sautee the onions, the tomatoes and the carrots for about 4 minutes, mixing periodically. Use the oil form the tomatoes to sautee. Add the beans, the spices and the water. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mixture to the food processor, add the buckwheat and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Oil up the baking sheet. Form 8 patties, using your hands. Arrange the patties in the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the patties are crisp on top. Flip the patties and bake for another 10 minutes, until both sides are crisp and brown.

Serve in a whole wheat bun with lettuce and tomato. Mayonnaise, ketchup and cheese are optional.

I have a few recipes of healthy cookies that I like to use. This one I found on a Russian website a year or so ago. It’s simple, gluten-free, can be made vegan and always turns out fabulous! Occasionally, I add raisins or almond slices to this recipe.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs (or chia substitute)

1/3 cup buckwheat honey

1 tsp coconut oil

Warm up the oven to  325°F. Mix the eggs or the chia gel with the powdered sugar, add honey, добавить мед and flour and mix well.  Cover the dish with the dough with a kitchen towel and let stand in  a cool dry place for thirty minutes. Cover the baking dish with parchment paper and oil it up with coconut oil.  Put the dough on the parchment paper, using a tablespoon. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. Optopnal :sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving.

  1. Plantains contain high levels of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. They are also low in sodium, have no cholesterol and contain natural mood enhancers. Nutritionally, plantains are similar to bananas. I like plantains as an interesting potato alternative once in a while. I buy black plantains (they are sweet inside) or let the plantain ripen and turn black on my windowsill.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the baking dish with some olive oil. Slice the plantains lengthwise into skinny strips that are about 3 inches long. Place the plantain slices in the baking dish, sprinkle them with some more olive oil  and  place them in a hot oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the fries over and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the fries are crispy. Lightly salt the plantain the minute it comes out of the oven. You can also sprinkle the plantain with spices, such as curry, cayenne or garlic on these fries.

    Salsa and lime juice work well as an accompaniment.

    photo credit: healthbent

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