Friday, March 28, 2014

Caramelized Onion White Bean Dip

Happy Friday!! These past couple of weeks have been real doozies for me.  I went from one cold to another which my body has just been thrilled about haha.  In all seriousness though this needs to stop because my nose is not a happy camper.  Anyways I don't want to jinx myself but I think I'm on the road to recovery.  So last night, because I'm feeling a little better I wanted to experiment a little in the kitchen.  I was planning on making greek burgers and wanted a spread to go on them that was something other than hummus, so I just threw this one together.  I have made similar ones in the past, but I didn't have a lot of time to spend on it and just wanted to make it simple.  I love the sweet taste of caramelized onions.  They are so easy to make, but they taste so rich and complex.  I am a huge fan of french onion soup which is a small inspiration for the dip that I concocted.  I love making dips with white beans as well because they are so creamy and smooth.  A little trick that I learned a while back is if you add in the liquid from the can of beans into your dip it adds great flavor without having to add more oil or fat into your dips!  Just wanted to add in that this is a super affordable dip to make, so if you're fighting with a budget and don't want to splurge on getting tahini to make fresh hummus this is a great alternative!  P.S.  As I am writing this it is pouring down rain here and I love it.  Many people think that it rains all the time in the Pacific Northwest and it does rain quite a bit, but we don't really get those intense down pours of rain, we usually just get drizzles.  So this is always a treat for me (hah I'm such a nerd!)

C A R A M E L I Z E D  O N I O N  W H I T E   B E A N  D I P  R E C I P E

☂ 2 cups of sliced onions
☂ 1 (15 oz.) can of great northern beans, drain the liquid into a cup and DO NOT RINSE BEANS
☂ 6 Tbsp. of liquid from the can of great northern beans
☂ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
☂ salt and black pepper to taste

Place a pan onto medium-low heat and add olive oil and onions.  Caramelize the onions until they begin to turn golden brown.  We are not trying to get burn marks on the onions, just trying to make them melty and delicious.  This will take about 30-40 minutes (this may seem like a while, but it is totally worth it to get the flavor we are looking to get) and remember to stir them occasionally.  
☂ Add salt and pepper to the caramelized onions and cook for another minute and then pull them off the heat and add them to a food processor. 
☂ Add beans and 6 Tbsp. of bean liquid to the food processor and blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
☂ Taste the dip and season it with salt and pepper to taste!
☂ WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

[These are my lettuce wrap greek burgers that I served with the dip.  This will be a recipe I will post in the near future, incase you were wondering!]

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

I have the most beautiful dog in not only the whole world, but in the universe.  It's a fact that really can't be changed so we accept it.  His name is Cody, but is also called Codychoms, Codery, Toady, Bumble Bee, Rumble Ree, and Buttface (by my dad).  He is a 14 year old border collie mix mutt and we've had him since he could crawl underneath the small space between our kitchen countertop/cabinets and the floor.  Sometimes he's been mischievous like when he use to dig out of our yard and run around the neighborhood which is why you may notice he has just one eye.  Sometimes he still is mischievous like when he steals our tissues and eats them (what is that all about?!)  Or when he hops onto the couch when he thinks no one is home (this secretly cracks me up.)  What I love most about him are the little things like when I let him go outside and he rolls around happily on his stomach.  Or when he gets exciting and runs back and forth around the house.  He's really a special guy to me and a great source of love and joy.  That being said I like him to know how much I love him and care about him so when I have the time I make him homemade treats.   He loves these treats and they are also very good for him!  Pumpkin is great for dogs; it helps their digestion because it gives them fiber and is believed to help prevent cancer!  When you're making dog treats yourself you know what's going into them, and I can guarantee you if you buy treats you're going to be getting more fillers than actual pumpkin or the good ingredients that you want for your dog. 

P U M P K I N  P E A N U T  B U T T E R  D O G  T R E A T S  R E C I P E

☂ 2 cups of white rice flour
☂ ½ cup. gluten-free oats
☂ 1¼ cups canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin with no other ingredients)
☂ 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (natural variety with no added sugar)
☂ ¼ tsp. salt
☂ parchment paper

☂ Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
☂ Mix together all ingredients until they are well combined.  
☂ Roll out the dough until it is roughly a ½ inch thick.  Cut into small rectangles (it will make around 20 treats) and place them onto the baking sheet.
☂ Poke each treat with a fork a few times so that the treats remain flat and don't puff and create air holes.  
☂ Bake for 45 minutes.
☂ WALAH!  Enjoy and I hope your doggie starts feeling nourished

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Happy Spring!!  Even though it's currently 40 degrees outside, there are flowers blooming and there has been a bunny eating the dandelion greens in my front yard the past few days. And yes it is one of the cutest things I've ever seen!  So last post I mentioned that I wasn't sick anymore, but oh boy was I wrong.  The sickness came back with a vengeance and about ten times stronger.  I was beginning to feel like I was one of those doomed who got sick with the black plague in the Middle Ages and never got better.  I can be dramatic sometimes, or most of the time.  That's the reason I've been slightly MIA.  That's also the reason why you're getting another soup recipe because that's really what I felt like having.  This recipe is really dear to my heart and I make it all the time, sometimes once a week.  I discovered chicken tortilla soup last year and ever since have been totally obsessed.  If you have read my about me, really I use any excuse to eat tortilla chips (we all have our vices, right? right.)  That being said, this soup has plenty of delicious elements.  Honestly, just typing about it is making me crave it and it's 8:30 in the morning haha.  I'll just get to it then and tell you seriously to make it because you are missing out if you don't.

C H I C K E N  T O R T I L L A  S O U P       R E C I P E

☂ 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, fully cooked, diced (I like to get bags of frozen chicken breasts because they are super convenient and I just follow the cooking directions on the bag)
☂ 2 red onions, diced
☂ 1 Tbsp. olive oil
☂ 7 garlic cloves, finely minced
☂ 1 jalapeno, finely minced, seeded (if you enjoy spicier food feel free to keep in the seeds or add in another jalapeno)
☂ 10 cups of chicken stock (I use Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Bouillon to make my stock)
☂ 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
☂ 15 oz. can corn, drained
☂ 15 oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed
☂ juice of 2 limes
☂ 2 tsp. ground cumin
☂ 1 cup cilantro leaves
☂ black pepper to taste
☂ 2 avocados, diced
☂ bag of tortilla chips

☂ Heat olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat.  Add in red onions and begin to saute.
☂ Once the onions have softened, add in jalapeno and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes making sure the garlic doesn't burn.
☂ Add diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, cumin, and black pepper.  Give it a stir and let it cook for a minute.
☂ Add in chicken stock.  Turn heat to high and let the soup come to a boil.
☂ Let the soup boil for 10-15 minutes so that the flavors begin to concentrate.  
☂ Turn the heat to medium high and add in diced chicken, lime juice, and cilantro.
☂ Once everything has warmed through turn the heat to low and the soup is ready to serve.
☂ To top your bowl of soup add diced avocado and tortilla chips.
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Friday, March 14, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Crumble

I've been sick a few days this week, and what do I decide to do the minute I get better?!  Make dessert of course (haha!)  At least this one is somewhat healthy.  The great thing about apple crumble is it's one of those perfect foods that is acceptable at any time of day even though it's totally a dessert.  That's what I love about it.  I make it quite frequently and right now--I don't know if it's just in the PNW, but apples have been seriously cheap--so I've been making it even more.  It doesn't take very long to whip up either so it's great for a weekday dessert.  But really, I just love baking anything with apples in it because it fills the house with such a cozy scent.  It's one of my favorite smells in the whole world.  

A P P L E  C I N N A M O N  C R U M B L E     R E C I P E

Apple Filling
☂ 8 cups of thinly sliced apples, [cored, seeded] (you want a variety of apple that is firm and crisp such as Gala)
☂ juice of a large lemon (or 3 small tangerines [cuties])
☂ 4 Tbsp. sugar
☂ ¼ tsp. ground ginger
☂ ¼ tsp. nutmeg
☂ 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
☂ 3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Crumble Topping
☂ 1½ cups of gluten-free oats
☂ 1 tsp. cinnamon
☂ 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
☂ 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
☂ 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
☂ ½ tsp. fleur de sel sea salt (or ¼ tsp. table salt)

☂ Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
☂ Combine all apple filling ingredients and place into a 9" by 13" pan.
☂ Combine all crumble topping ingredients and spread oven the apple filling in the pan.
☂ Bake for 45 minutes.
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chicken Meatball Soup

This soup was kind of a happy accident.  It was getting close to dinner time and I just needed to throw something together with what I had on hand.  That was about a month ago and I've made it three times since. I think especially when I'm in a bind I'll usually throw together a soup.  This is for a few reasons.  One being that you can pretty much just gather everything you have on hand (be it a can of beans, leftover veggies, condiments [such as sriracha, peanut butter, or tamari], it's really fun to incorporate different ingredients you have laying around your kitchen.  Another being that it all cooks in one pot, so there are minimal dishes which is really probably my biggest motivator.  But lastly, it's a great way to make sure you're getting a good balance of veggies, meat, grains and whatever else you need in your diet. This soup in particular is a really comforting and hearty soup that's perfect for when you've had a long day, it's cold out, and you just want something soothing.  I think my favorite element of this soup is the fresh basil.  As you'll notice I have a tendency to want to put basil in pretty much everything.  In this soup I think it just adds a pop of freshness that chicken soup can really use.

C H I C K E N  M E A T B A L L  S O U P       R E C I P E


☂ 2 (13.3 oz.) packages of ground chicken, 95% lean
☂ 3 cups broccoli stems, chopped
☂ 2 cups carrots, chopped
☂ 1 medium red onion, chopped
☂ 6 garlic cloves, minced
☂ 12 cups of chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Bouillon to make my chicken broth)
☂ 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
☂ 1 cup basil
☂ 1 Tbsp. olive oil
☂ 1 cup basil, finely chopped
☂ ½ tsp. salt
☂ black pepper to taste

☂ Place a soup pot on medium-high heat, add the olive oil, broccoli stems, carrots, red onion, and black pepper.  Saute until the onions begin to turn translucent.
☂ Turn the heat down to medium low and add the garlic.  Saute for 1-2 minutes.
☂ Add the chicken broth and turn the heat to high.  Let the soup boil until the vegetables have become tender.
☂ While the soup is cooking combine ground chicken, salt, and basil.  Form into 13-14 meatballs.
Once the vegetables in the soup have become tender (don't worry if it looks like the broth has boiled down a couple of inches in the pot, it's just becoming more flavorful), turn the heat down to medium-high heat and add in the meatballs and rice.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is done and the meatballs have cooked through.  
Taste and adjust seasonings and if it is too salty add in a little water.  
☂ TIP [If you have leftover soup, the next day it will not have much broth because the rice will continue to absorb the liquid, so just add in a little chicken broth and water to bring the soup back to life.]
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

In the past I always gave peanut butter cookies the shaft.  They didn't taste like I felt a peanut butter cookie should.  Plus there were always superior cookies so it wasn't really a problem.  When I became gluten free, cookies became a little bit harder to make and I began to think that peanut butter cookies might actually be good gluten free.  When I became egg free it became even more challenging.  The tofu in this recipe replaces the egg, and honestly I think it's even better with the tofu.  If you're worried about it I assure you that you don't even taste it.  And if you want to totally make these cookies over the top you can turn them into ice cream sandwiches because they are freakin fabulous like that.  When I do that I use soy vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe's.  It is seriously one of my favorite desserts I have ever had.  

F L O U R L E S S  P E A N U T  B U T T E R   C O O K I E S  R E C I P E

☂ 1 cup of creamy peanut butter (the cheap stuff, I used Kroger brand)
☂ ½ cup light brown sugar
☂ ½ cup silken tofu (i use Morinaga Silken Tofu that comes in a 12 oz. box and is in the canned food isle of the grocery store)
☂ 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
☂ ½ tsp. fleur de sel sea salt (or ¼ tsp. table salt)
☂ ½ tsp. baking soda
parchment paper

☂ Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
☂ In a bowl, mash up the silken tofu with a fork until it almost smooth and will blend easily into the dough.
☂ To the tofu add the rest of the ingredients and mix them together until everything is well combined.
☂ Line one cookie sheet with parchment paper (I usually spray the cookie sheet first so that the parchment will adhere to the cookie sheet.)
☂ Form the cookie dough into 9 balls and place on the cookie sheet.
☂ Get a cup of warm water and a fork.  Dip the fork in the water before stamping each cookie as show in the first photo.  Dipping the fork in the water prevents the cookie from sticking to the fork.
☂ Place the cookies in the oven for 14-16 minutes depending how crunchy you like your cookie.
☂ After baking pull the cookies out of the oven and let them sit for at least 30 minutes to harden.  When you first pull them out they will seem too soft and not done, but they just need to sit.  
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Friday, March 7, 2014

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Southern inspired food always makes me feel somewhat nostalgic.  My dad's side of the family lives in the south (Alabama and Louisiana) and I think part of me feels really connected to my southern roots.  There is something so nice about the south that is so different from anywhere else I have been.  There is a kindness and love that you can feel from the people.  A feeling of care and family.  After spending some time in Atlanta for a little over a month a couple years ago I always said that I could see myself ending up there.  Then I took a buzzfeed quiz on what state suited me the best and I got Georgia.  Now if that isn't fate then I don't know what is (HA!).  Anyways I love to cook up some southern food when I want something flavorful and comforting.  I think when people think about southern comfort food they often associate it with fried or unhealthy, but it really doesn't have to be that way.  You can totally pack something with a lot of good southern flavor without feeling awful after you eat it.  I think red beans and rice is a perfect example of this. 

L O U I S I A N A  R E D  B E A N S  A N D    R I C E  R E C I P E

 4 (15 oz.) cans of dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
 12 oz. package of andouille chicken sausage, cut into medallions (I used the Open Nature Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage from Safeway)
 1 green bell pepper, diced
 1 medium onion, diced
 5 garlic cloves, minced
 1½ Tbsp. olive oil
 ½ Tbsp. cajun seasoning (my favorite is Tony Chachere's The Original Creole Seasoning)
 2 tsp. chicken bouillon (my favorite is Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken bouillon)
 2 bay leaves
 ½ Tbsp. dried basil
 ½ tsp. salt
 ½ tsp. black pepper
 cooked rice

 Place soup pot on medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and andouille. Let the andouille fry until it has browned on each side and then remove it from the pot and place onto a plate and set aside.
 Reduce heat to medium-low and add the remaining ½ Tbsp. of olive oil, bell pepper and onion.  Saute until they begin to soften then add the garlic and cook for another couple minutes.  If there is any burning or sticking in the pot, feel free to add a little more olive oil or a little bit of water.  
 Once the vegetables have cooked, add the andouille back into the pot, as well as the kidney beans, cajun seasoning, bay leaves, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
 Add water to the pot so that everything is covered and add in the chicken bouillon and give everything a good stir.  Turn heat to high.
 Cook on high until the water has cooked down and the mixture has thickened (It will take around 30-45 minutes), making sure to occasionally stir so that it doesn't burn on the bottom.
 When the mixture has thickened, come in with a potato masher and mash a few times so that most beans remain whole, but some add to the thickness of the mixture.  If it becomes too thick add a little bit of water.
 Taste the red beans and check it for seasonings, depending on your desired spice level you may want more cajun seasoning, but be careful because it does contain salt so don't over-do it!)  If you want it to be subtly more spicy just add extra black pepper.
 When the red beans are done serve over rice.
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Candied Nuts

Oh my goodness, I love these.  I really do.  I've been making candied nuts for a while now. It doesn't really matter what kind of nuts you have on hand, so this recipe is super versatile.  This recipe is also super simple, but I just wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to make something so delicious.  These are great on their own, in a salad (my personal favorite way of eating them), or in a parfait or any dessert that needs a little crunch.  I happened to have cashews on hand this time, but I usually make this with walnuts or almonds and those are both equally as good.  

C A N D I E D  N U T S  R E C I P E

☂ 1 cup of nuts (I used cashew pieces)
☂ 3½ Tbsp. sugar
☂ sprinkling of fleur de sel sea salt (optional)

☂ Place the nuts into a pan and then turn the pan onto medium heat and let them sit for a minute.
☂ Give the nuts a toss and then continue to let them toast.
☂ When they begin getting a few small black marks (takes around 3-5 minutes), turn the heat of the pan off and add the sugar.  
☂ Toss the nuts in the sugar letting the sugar melt and begin to coat the nuts.
☂ When the sugar has all melted pour the nuts onto a plate in a single layer and sprinkle with a little bit of fleur de sel.
☂ You can eat these hot or let them cool, they are delicious either way!
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Potato Salad with Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

First of all I would like to state that the potatoes shown above are in fact sweet potatoes, not yams.  Yams are orange and often try to impersonate sweet potatoes, especially trying to play it off when they turn into fry or pie form, but they are not fooling me.  That aside, I am so happy to share this recipe with all of you. I was never really a fan of potato salad growing up, but as I got older I liked it okay, nothing too special. I thought I'd try to jazz it up a bit first of all by using sweet potatoes and then avocados in the dressing to make a creamy dressing.  Since I've started eating dairy free a year ago I always miss eating creamy foods.  Even though there's good recipes for a vinegar based potato salad, I definitely wanted to try giving this salad that creamy element I crave.  This potato salad definitely delivers on that and is ridiculously addictive, and I'm okay with that.

P O T A T O  S A L A D with                   A V O C A D O  C I L A N T R O  L I M E  
D R E S S I N G 

4 medium/large sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt and black pepper

☂ 1 large (or 2 small) avocado
☂ juice of 2 limes
☂ 1 garlic clove
☂ 1 Tbsp. olive oil
☂ 1 tsp. sugar
☂ 1 tsp. salt 
☂ 1 tsp. black pepper
☂ 1 tsp. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce)
☂ 2 Tbsp. cilantro leaves, washed and dried

☂ Preheat oven to 400F degrees
☂ Cut sweet potatoes into ½ to 1 inch circles and then slice the circles in half (to make half moon shapes).  
☂ Place sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss everything together to coat.
☂ Bake for 40 minutes.
☂ For the dressing, add all ingredients EXCEPT cilantro to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
☂ When the dressing is smooth, add the cilantro leaves to the food processor and pulse it a couple of times just to mix the cilantro into the dressing.
☂ Once the sweet potatoes have cooked, place them into a large bowl.  Add the dressing while they are still warm and toss it all together to coat.
☂ Taste the potato salad and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
 WALAH!  Enjoy and start feeling nourished