Hearty Quinoa Bowl

 

quinoa bowl

I am truly blessed with wonderful female role models and friends.  When I look around and realize I am surrounded with beautiful, loving, giving, and Godly women, it makes my heart full.  We have each walked through marriage, and some of us parenthood, at different times and stages, but at the core, we are all just women trying to gracefully stand in the shoes we are privileged enough to wear.  I couldn’t be more thankful.  I welcome the similarities we share and humbly embrace the differences.  That is, after all, what grace is, right?

Most of my girlfriends have older children as we were a bit late in the game.  I love how each of my friends understand I am a full-time mom of two young boys, so if they want to visit, more often than not, they come to me.  Actually this system works out beautifully because we can sit around my family table or in our playroom with a nice warm cup of tea and focus on each other.  I try to schedule a “friend date” for myself once-a-week as it does my soul good.

My offering, in return for their coming to me, is food.  You know, all things go back to food for me!  It’s my love language.  This quinoa bowl is a staple for brunch visits.  I generally make it with a side of fruit, or even better, pancakes.  It is packed with beneficial protein  that keeps you satiated until your next meal.  Because I generally have some sort of green or vegetable with every meal, this is no exception.  The addition of kale chips gives this bowl the texture and taste it needs to feel complete.  This recipe may appear to be time consuming, but you can prepare the kale chips while the quinoa cooks and then quickly add the perfectly fried egg.  Done.

*I have decided not to take offense when my sweet husband grabs the hot sauce bottle before every meal without even tasting anything  first.  In this case, I would recommend following his lead and adding a few dashes of your favorite “hot” to this dish.

If you aren’t currently investing in time with friends, I highly recommend it.  We are good for each other.

 

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Hearty Quinoa Bowl

2 cups bone broth – homemade or a high quality store bought

1 cup quinoa – rinsed

1 bunch kale – rinsed, deveined and torn into small pieces

4-5 fresh mushrooms – rinsed and sliced

1 carrot – grated

2 cloves fresh garlic – peeled and chopped

fresh eggs

olive oil to drizzle

pat of real butter

hot sauce – to taste

grated pecorino Romano cheese – to taste

pink salt and pepper –  to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook quinoa, carrots and garlic in broth according to package directions.  In a bowl toss the kale pieces with a drizzle of olive oil and pink salt.  Place kale on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy.  Turn the chips one time during cooking to ensure evenness.  While the kale and quinoa are cooking, add 1/2 the pat of butter to a sauté pan and cook the mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms and add the second 1/2 of the butter to the same pan and cook the egg the way you like it.

To a bowl add: cooked quinoa, mushrooms and kale chips.  Layer the egg on top and add a dash of hot sauce and cheese to taste.

Healthy Mac N’ Cheese

 

I am sitting here with a little one under the weather.  And, after feeding him bone broth rice and a smoothie, he is resting nicely.  I was also thinking of napping myself since neither one of us got any sleep last night, but making this blog post won out.  Yea!  I love how I continually think to myself, after a restless night, that “I will definitely nap tomorrow”, and NEVER do.  I always seem to have something that could be done rather than napping, and this day is no different.  I can hear the rather loud hum of my spinning washing machine in the background and know it will soon begin “beeping” to let me know it’s time to put down the computer and change out the clothes.  It is truly never ending when you run a loving household full of people.  I honestly don’t mind, but I wanted to ensure I got this recipe to you as it has been a big request for some time.   So, I am going to press on and ignore the rhythmic “beep” that is about to occur.

I have honestly tried this classic dish many different ways using several different vegetables, but this one got major approval from my family, so it is the keeper.  Sometimes it takes 100 tries to finally nail something down worthy of writing about and sharing.  I have looked for many years for the perfect inspiration to completely renovate one of my all-time favorites.  I do have a really good recipe using butternut squash, and will share that one with you sometime around Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Those are the times I usually make that particular dish as the gourd squashes are in season.  But, for now we are going to use cauliflower as the base for this decadent rendition.  I wanted this make-over to be much more than the standard macaroni and cheese.  I wanted more than two ingredients.  I wanted protein and spices and vegetables.  I have managed (after many failed attempts) to pack all of those requirements into this super healthy, super tasty dish.  We, often times, eat it for lunch with a side salad or fruit.  My 3 year old usually eats 2 bowls and if I must confess, so do I.  If you are worried about the cauliflower taste, don’t be.  You really wouldn’t even know it was there if I didn’t tell you.

The health benefits of cauliflower are great, and I am certain you are aware of most of them by now.  So, I want to introduce you to a somewhat unfamiliar ingredient called nutritional yeast.  “What is it” you ask?  It is deactivated yeast.  A more formal definition from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen is “nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses, and then harvested, washed and dried with heat to “kill it” or deactivate it”.  It is a good source of vitamin B 12, folic acid and protein,  and has a bold nutty flavor.  Many vegans use it as a cheese substitute.  It is a nice addition to  this recipe as it increases the nutritional value while enhancing the bold flavor I was looking for.  Win Win!  I truly hope this becomes a future classic for your family.  Enjoy!

 

Healthy Mac N’ Cheese

1 16oz package brown rice noodles

1 small head of cauliflower – steamed

1 cup raw cashews – soaked overnight, if possible

5 TBSP warm water

2 medium cloves garlic

1 cup goat gouda cheese – shredded

1 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 cup almond milk

Cook noodles according to package directions.  While the noodles are cooking, steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes, don’t overcook.  To a blender add the remaining ingredients and blend until creamy.  Drain the noodles and add the cream sauce.  Stir until well combined.

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Ginger Turmeric Dressing

Homemade Ginger Turmeric Dressing
Homemade Ginger Turmeric Dressing

I have been testing this homemade dressing for a few weeks.  I served it to our guests for Super Bowl Sunday and it was a huge hit,  so I guess it’s time to share.  I am actually not going to bog you down with much writing in this post and let the product speak for itself.  I love salads.  And I love salad dressing.  This recipe combines two of my daily favorites and ensures I am fighting inflammation as well as keeping my digestive system happy.  Done and Done……

Here you go.  I hope you enjoy this simple yet hearty dressing.  I recommend using it on salad greens, as a marinade for chicken or a dip for crudités.

 

Homemade Ginger Turmeric Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp garlic powder

dash of pink Himalayan salt or celtic sea salt

dash of black pepper

1 tsp raw local honey

In a small bowl add olive oil and mustard.  Whisk the two together.  Add all the spices and continue to whisk until well combined.  Whisk in the honey.  Refrigerate leftovers in a glass container.  Remove from the fridge a few minutes before you need to serve.

Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potato

 

Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potato
Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potato

This is a new, healthier spin on the classic.  I used to love a good “stuffed” baked potato.  You know, the kind loaded with butter, sour cream, cheese and a few chives.  Chives are green.  That’s makes it healthier right?  Well, at least that’s what I told myself.  I completely understand the desire for carbohydrates.  That is, honestly, my weakness.  Because of this weakness, I had to invent an alternative to satisfy my craving.

My version of a “loaded baked potato” is truly loaded. It begins with a vitamin C packed sweet potato and includes lots of yummy vegetables and healthy fats.  Not only is this a perfectly balanced meal, it is super simple to prepare.  I generally make this dish for lunch as it gives me the energy I need to get through the remainder of the day.

For more simple, family friendly recipes, check out my monthly column in Upstate Parent Magazine.

 

Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potato – Serves 2

2 medium sweet potatoes

½ TBSP extra virgin coconut oil

½ yellow or white onion – chopped

1 large clove garlic – chopped

2 medium carrots – chopped

½ bell pepper – chopped

5-6 stalks asparagus – chopped

½ cup broccoli – fresh or frozen

4 mushrooms – chopped

1 cup fresh spinach

1 tablespoon bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce – adjust the amount you use based on your taste preference

Preheat oven to 350.  Bake the sweet potatoes for approximately 45 minutes or until soft.  In a large skillet on medium heat add the coconut oil.  Add the onion, garlic and carrots.  Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the pepper, asparagus, broccoli and mushrooms.  Cook for 4-5 more minutes.  Turn heat to low and add the spinach.  Toss until wilted.  Drizzle the soy mixture over the vegetables and toss until well incorporated.  Open the sweet potatoes and load them with the vegetables.

Here are a few other healthy sweet potato recipes:

Healthy Sweet Potato Skins

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Happy New Year.  I can’t believe it’s the end of another year.  Time is zooming by.  I hope you all had a wonderful, safe and healthy holiday season.  We have spent the last few months unpacking, setting up and settling into our new house.  It’s finally starting to feel like home.  I am looking forward to the coming days of just “being” instead of my previous state, which entailed things being hung, fixed or unpacked.  2014 was a very blessed year for me and I am so thankful for my family, friends, neighbors and a few strangers I met along the way.  Having these people, encounters and experiences help to make my life full and I couldn’t be happier.

Even though I have not posted in a while, I assure you I have been hard at work in the kitchen creating, testing and eating some very yummy food.  I am excited about the many recipes I am planning to share with you over the next year.  This particular recipe combines two of my favorite foods into one nutritious, quick and easy family meal.  Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can easily take on the flavors of sweet or savory in many simple dishes.  They are also extremely beneficial to someone following a clean eating lifestyle.  Some have even deemed them a “superfood”.  I tend to agree.  As whfoods.com states “One difficulty in describing the health benefits of sweet potatoes is knowing where to begin. There are a surprising number of nutrient categories responsible for the health benefits of this underappreciated tuber. Among these categories are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients.”  Read more about the health benefits here.  I know I can sometimes get off on a tangent, but this particular food is very important to incorporate into your weekly meal plan.  I hope this recipe helps you get acquainted with this special root vegetable.

 

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

1 TBSP coconut oil

3 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped

1/2 white onion – chopped

1 large sweet potato – peeled and chopped

4-6 medium carrots – peeled and chopped

4 cups broth – either vegetable or bone broth

24 oz organic strained tomatoes

45 oz organic black beans – I use Eden Organic

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper powder

1 TBSP chili powder

sea salt and pepper to taste

avocado

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven melt the coconut oil.  Add the garlic, onion, sweet potato and carrots.  Cook until vegetables are tender.  Add the turmeric powder and cook until well combined.  Add the broth, tomatoes and beans.  Add the remaining spices.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30-45 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with fresh avocado.

Here are a few additional recipes to help get you on your way:

Healing Mineral Broth

7-Minute Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

 

Black Bean Bowl with Raw Kraut and Salted Yogurt

Black Bean Bowl with Raw Kraut and Salted Yogurt
Black Bean Bowl with Raw Kraut and Salted Yogurt

This dinner bowl was created completely by accident.  We just moved into our house and most of the kitchen boxes have not been unpacked.  I don’t know how many of you have moved several times in your life, but I am not a fan!  I really hope this is our last one for a while.  But, I am certain my hubby will get bored in the next few years and take us on another ride.  Deep down, I really love it.  Well, maybe not the packing and unpacking, but seeing it all come together, I do enjoy.  As for dinner, I managed to find my Dutch oven, and then went into the mountain of paper bags lining my pantry to find a bag of dried black beans and basmati rice.  Because we eat vegetarian most of the time, beans are a staple at our house.  Fortunately, everyone in my family enjoys them.

For this bowl, I layered everything together for the perfect presentation.  The layering is what makes a food bowl truly special.  The addition of raw kraut is fantastic, even though it may sound a bit odd.  Raw kraut is very beneficial for gut health.  During the fermentation process, natural probiotics are created making kraut a superb food for healthy digestion.  I add kraut to my diet several times per week, if not everyday.  It makes a great topping for soups, salads or even a side dish to a sandwich.  The other topping to this bowl that may raise questions is salted yogurt.  I use Greek yogurt to replace anything that calls for sour cream.  Adding a bit of sea salt and olive oil to plain Greek yogurt gives it a hearty and bold flavor.  I hope you enjoy this yummy dish.

 

Black Bean Bowl with Salted Yogurt and Raw Kraut

cooked black beans – soak beans overnight and  slow cook them with garlic, onion and turmeric

basmati rice – you can use brown or white

green leaf lettuce – chopped

1 1/2 avocados – smashed and blended with sea salt and ground garlic

raw kraut – I use Farmhouse Culture

salted yogurt – 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt and 2 teaspoons olive oil

salsa

grated goat gouda cheese

Layer your bowl in whatever order you desire.

 

Healing Mineral Broth

Healing Mineral Broth
Healing Mineral Broth

I make this healing broth all year round, but this batch is on a targeted mission.  My family has a very special friend who has taken on, not at her choosing, the fight of her life.  She was diagnosed about 4 weeks ago with pancreatic cancer and given only a few weeks to live.  Even though this sort of diagnosis is devastating, she is a true fighter.  I have had the privilege of spending time with her the past few weeks and her faith and resolve truly astound me.  She is also very open to alternative methods for helping fight this beast.  One of these alternative methods is food.  Not just any food, but true healing foods.  Foods that were created to benefit and protect our bodies. Foods that were created to be used as medicine. This is where I have had the pleasure of helping this sweet family.  We have been bombarding them with information, fresh juices and now this mighty broth.

Most of us are deplete of the vital minerals needed to keep our bodies running healthy and efficient.  The human body uses these minerals for many things such as bone and blood cell health.  If an essential mineral is lacking, the body will not be able to work at its best.  With the standard American diet chock full of preservatives, GMO’s, artificial everything, high levels of processing and environmental toxins; it’s no wonder we are sicker than ever.  I very respectfully say all these things as I know how hard change can be.  I made the decision to try to limit, if not remove, most of these things from my life about 10 years ago.  It was not an easy task, but one that I am so grateful I did.  From that one decision came health, energy, vitality and most importantly, the ability to help others.  This recipe is loaded with the vital nutrients needed to sustain our bodies at a very healthy level.  I would recommend making a batch of this broth every few weeks and either use it to prepare soups or just drink it from a mug.  I use it to replace store bought broths that are often loaded with sodium.  I hope you prepare this yummy broth for your family and then pass the recipe along to someone you love.  Often times when a loved one is sick, you are at a loss for what you can do to help.  Make this recipe for them and share all the added benefits.  Sometimes a little bit of information and a gesture of love can encourage someone to continue the good fight.  Enjoy!!

 

Healing Mineral Broth – Adapted from www.rebeccakatz.com

 

6 unpeeled carrots – cut into thirds

 

2 unpeeled yellow onions – cut into chunks

 

2 leeks, white and green parts – cut into thirds

 

1 bunch celery – cut into thirds

 

4 unpeeled potatoes – 2 red and 2 purple

 

2 unpeeled sweet potatoes – quartered

 

5 unpeeled cloves of garlic

 

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

 

1 8-inch strip kombu

 

12 black peppercorns

 

1 TBSP ground allspice

 

2 bay leaves

 

1 tsp celtic sea salt

 

filtered water

 

Rinse all the vegetables really well, including the kombu.  In a large stockpot, add all the vegetables except the salt.  Add filtered water leaving about 2 inches from the rim.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Decrease the heat to low.  Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours.  Strain the broth through a large sieve.  Add salt and stir.  Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen after coming to room temperature.

Homemade Hummus

Hummus

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I have posted.  We have had a whirlwind of sorts the past few weeks.  Just to give you a bit of background where housing is concerned….my husband gets bored very easily.  When we were newly married we decided to take on the renovation of a small mill house.  That one little project turned into a passion the both of us possess, and we have flipped many a house over the past 19 years.  We have done everything from sanding hardwood floors to stripping wallpaper to installing an entire 2nd floor in a house.  All the while with big smiles on our faces.  Needless to say, we haven’t lived in one spot very long.  We stay the required 2 years so that we will miss the capital gains taxation and then move on.  The house that we sold last week was no exception.  We built it 2 years ago almost to the day and the last 2 weeks have been spent packing it up and saying “goodbye”.  Our new house (the 4th on this particular street) won’t be ready for several months.  So, we are spending quality time with family and friends, taking trips and making memories this summer to pass the time.  I plan to share our journey with you in discussing healthy travel snacks, exploring new restaurants and local sights in the cities we visit.  Please stay in touch with the blog and Facebook over the next few months.

Back to today….This recipe is one of my most requested.  I have been making homemade hummus for quite a while now and finally got it perfected.  I usually make a batch once a week and my family generally eats it in some capacity on a daily basis.  It is a great snack dip for carrots and celery or as a spread on a sandwich.  Try it however you think would work.  I hope you enjoy this quick, easy and nutritious recipe.

 

Homemade Hummus

2 15 oz organic canned chickpeas – drained and rinsed

2 TBSP tahini paste

1 large clove fresh garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2-2 tsp celtic sea salt – salt to taste preference

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP water

In a blender add the ingredients in the order listed.  Blend until creamy.  Feel free to add additional water or oil to get the desired consistency.  You should have a creamy texture.