Monthly Archives: March 2014

Mango Gazpacho

Best gazpacho ever!

Best gazpacho ever!

I love springing forward for so many reasons, but a big one for me (especially right now) is the fact that there will be a bigger and more interesting and flavorful selection of fruits and veggies available at the store.

This week, my very favorite mango was available at Sams, by the flat.   I have been patiently waiting for their reappearance, checking back every couple of days, and my heart soared when I finally spotted this orange beauty sitting out!

Mango salsa, mango salad, mango smoothies, and this crazy awesome, mango gazpacho are just a few of the many things I make with this super sweet, exotic, and bright tropical fruit.

There are many different varieties, but the smaller, champagne (ataulfo) variety is hands-down my favorite and what I almost exclusively use here in my kitchen.

If you aren’t a big fan of mango, I would guess that you just haven’t had a perfectly ripe, soft, and sweet one yet.  It is crazy how they change as they ripen.  The really pretty, flawless ones that you see in the store and in ads are not ready to eat and honestly, taste terrible.  You have to be super patient with mangoes and allow them to ripen to the withered, ugly state before you eat (devour) them.

If you haven’t had one for a while, follow the above advice on the champagne mango and then let me know what you think!

Now, back to the gazpacho…

Mango gazpacho.  BEAUTIFUL!

Mango gazpacho. BEAUTIFUL!

Just look at this picture and tell me your mouth isn’t exploding with excitement.  Whether it is just me and my hubs having an intimate evening together or if we have a house full of hungry friends, this is one of my favorite ways to start a meal.   You can make it well ahead of time and just let it sit and chill in the fridge while you prepare the main course or entertain your guests.

All of the crispy, colorful bits of veggies  are such a great contrast with the smooth and creamy mango puree!

I can’t wait for you to try this one.  Don’t wait too long…these good mangoes are only here for a couple of months and if you miss your opportunity you will have to wait another season before you can enjoy this beauty of a soup.

As the season progresses, I stock up on the mangoes, big time!   They freeze very well, so I peel them and store them in the freezer.  That way I can enjoy all of my favorite recipes through the fall and winter months too.

Now go out and buy a flat of these orange beauties and give this recipe a try!

XO

Mango Gazpacho

  • Perfectly Ripe Mangoes–flesh of 8 or so–about 2 cups
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 c freshly squeezed orange, tangerine, or mandarin juice (I by the whole fruit and use my juicer)
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped into pretty small pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper
  • generous squeeze of lime
  • salt and pepper, too taste
  • chipotle pepper flakes, too taste
  • cilantro for garnish

In a food processor, blender, or vita mix puree the mango, jalapeno, and garlic together.  Add the citrus juice (including the lime juice) and mix well.

In a medium bowl add the chopped veggies.  Add the mango puree and mix until well incorporated.  Add a dash of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and chipotle pepper flakes and mix.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to your palate.

Serve in small decorative bowls topped with a generous cilantro garnish.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

Quinoa and cranberry breakfast muffins

Warm from the oven!

Warm from the oven!

Fire up the oven and get ready to whip together an incredibly moist and delicious muffin!

This muffin is my take on the Quinoa breakfast cakes you sometimes find at Mama Jeans.  I got lucky and nailed a copycat on my first attempt!

I love this new recipe and am sure I will be serving this muffin on a fairly regular basis here at my house.  I might even bring some samples into class sometime soon!  Sound good?  No, it sounds GREAT!

ENJOY!

Quinoa and cranberry breakfast muffins

Makes about 14 regular sized muffins

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/2 c gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 3/4 c shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 1 c succrant
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t xantham gum
  • 1 t Chinese or Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1 c grated carrots
  • 1/4 c maple syrup or organic agave nectar (honey might work as a substitute)
  • 1/4 c orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)
  • zest from 1 small orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c butter (if you don’t want to use butter, use an extra 1/4 c coconut oil–for a total of 1/2 c of oil)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a big bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  Add cranberries to the wet and mix in well.  Combine the wet with the dry.  Let the batter sit to rest for 5 minutes, or so. The batter will be pretty thick.  Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Serve with a big glass of almond milk and/or a cup of your favorite tea or coffee!

 

My Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole.  Fresh out of the oven

Zucchini Casserole. Fresh out of the oven

It is easy.  It is healthful.  It is breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner!  It is my zucchini casserole!

I found this PIN on Pinterest and knew I needed to give this zucchini recipe a try.  It worked out great last night, as I had everything that I needed sitting in the fridge waiting to be part of this dinner.  So with a few of my usual modifications, I whipped this brilliant dish together in no time.

The house smelled soooo good as I waited for the casserole to finish cooking.  When I pulled it out of the oven it was easy to admire the bubbly goodness of the dish.  I have to admit, waiting for it to cool was almost maddening though, it smelled THAT good!

Most importantly, there is the flavor.  Make sure you use organic, ripe tomatoes!  Sliced and cooked over the top like this, they add a huge amount of natural sweetness to the savory casserole.  The nuttiness of the gluten-free, almond crust pairs just beautifully with the bright, acidic lemon juice and herb-crusted, browned zucchini.

I just finished a BIG bowl of the leftovers.  OMG, It was so tasty, I am temped to eat more!

You have to try this one soon!  I just know you are going to love it!

Zucchini Casserole

Serves 5-6

Almond Meal Crust

  • 1 1/2 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 T water 
  • Sprinkle chipotle pepper flakes and a super tiny bit of stevia before cooking, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Grease a casserole dish.  

Mix together all ingredients into a medium bowl.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Casserole

  • 2 # zucchini, sliced.  You could also use yellow squash here.  
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • chipotle pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 t marjoram
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sprinkle of dill 
  • 8 eggs, mixed well
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 c baby kale mix, chopped (I use the organic mix from Sam’s – baby kale, spinach, beet greens, carrots)
  • 2 T lemon juice or squeeze a 1/2 of a fresh lemon 
  • 1/2-3/4 c mix of feta and parmasean OR nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 t dried oregano

Make the Almond Meal Crust.  

As the crust is baking, begin to make the casserole.  

Add the EVOO and some chipotle pepper flakes to a skillet and warm over med-low heat.  Add the sliced zucchini.  Sprinkle the top of the zucchini with salt, pepper, dried marjoram and dill. Crush 1/2 of the garlic over the top.  Flip when the the first side has browned just a bit.  Crush the last 1/2  of the garlic over the top of the zucchini.  Cook until browned.  Set aside and cool.

In a medium bowl, stir the eggs and the green onions together.  Add the chopped kale mix and stir well.  

Add about 1/2 of the cooked zucchini on top of the almond meal crust.  Pour 1/2 of the egg/veg mix over the top.  Sprinkle with all of the cheese or nutritional yeast flakes.  Sprinkle with the lemon juice.  Top with the last of the zucchini and egg mix.  Place the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with the dried oregano.  

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350, or until the casserole is cooked to your liking.  If you want it a little more brown on top, turn up the heat to vari-broil low (or just low broil) and cook for 2-3 minutes, until you like the color!  

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve! 

 

 

 

Lentil curry soup

Curry, lentil soup

Curry, lentil soup

After a bowl of this soup, my taste buds were doing a happy dance!

Seriously, the picture on this one does not do it justice.  It is thick, hearty, and we especially loved the richness of the coconut milk combined with the earthy and spicy curry!

This soup was so much better than any chili I have ever tried and perfect to warm my belly on a cold and snowy night.

Rumor has it, bad weather is moving in and temperatures will soon be dropping.  Why not try this one tonight?!

Do something different tonight.  Do something smart.  Do something that will make you feel good!  EAT THIS SOUP!

Lentil and curry soup

Serves about 6

  • splash of EVOO
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T ginger, grated
  • 1 jalapeno, frozen and grated OR minced
  • 2 T red curry paste
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 c red lentils
  • 6 c broth–veg or chicken
  • 1/2 c tomato paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T cane or coconut sugar
  • 1 c dry white wine (I use charles shaw, sauv blanc)
  • shrimp, optional (I use large, frozen raw shrimp)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • cilantro
  • green onion, chopped

In a big stew pot, add a splash of oil, chipotle pepper flakes, and the chopped onion.  Cook over medium-low for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add the bell pepper, ginger, and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the curry paste, cinnamon, and curry powder, stir in well and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the lentils, tomato paste, coconut milk, jalapeno, and broth and mix well.  Add the sugar, wine, and lime juice.  Allow to cook covered over low heat for 30 minutes or until the lentils have softened.  Uncover and continue to cook until the soup has thickened to your desired consistency.  If you are adding shrimp, do that now and cook until they are done–about 10 more minutes.  Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as needed (salt, pepper, etc).  Serve with a generous garnish of cilantro and green onion.

 

 

 

Orange almond cake

Cake with dark chocolate drizzled over the top

Cake with dark chocolate drizzled over the top

Loaded with protein and lots of delicious flavor, this gluten-free, dairy-free cake is a really fantastic way to end a beautiful dinner.

Succrant is an unprocessed cane sugar that reminds me a bit of brown sugar with a hint of molasses flavor.  It is available in bulk at Momma Jeans.  I think it makes this cake a standout, but if you don’t have it in your pantry, just use regular cane sugar.

Try a piece of this moist, nutty, yet sweet cake after you have finished a big bowl of my Lentil Curry soup!

Orange almond cake

Serves 8-10

  • 2 1/4 c almond meal
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 organic tangerines, peeled and seeded
  • 2 small organic oranges, peeled and seeded
  • 1 t vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 1/2 t double action baking powder
  • 1 c succrant (you can use up to 1 1/2 c if you want a sweeter cake)
  • dark chocolate, melted (optional) or icing of choice

Preheat oven to 320 degrees F.

Put the almond meal and fruit in the blender (or food processor) and mix for 1 minute or so, until the oranges have been pureed.  Add the succrant, baking powder, eggs, and vanilla.  Blend until well mixed.

Grease a springform pan and fill with the batter.

Bake for 40-45 minute, or more to cook through.  

I drizzled melted chocolate over a piece for the pictures.  For the remainder of the cake, I just spread the melted chocolate over the cake, kind of like a frosting.  I gave it some time in the fridge to harden before serving.

Perfectly cooked!  Topping added later!

Perfectly cooked! Topping added later!

 

 

Favorite peanut butter pumpkin dog treats!

Treats fresh from the oven.  You can see the score marks.

Treats fresh from the oven. You can see the score marks.

Yes, this really is a recipe for dog treats!

Being snowed in allows me a little extra time to do the things that I usually put on the back burner.  Making dog treats is one of those things.  I don’t know why, because they are so darn simple to make…plus fresh treats always make the kids sooo happy!

The oven was already nice and hot from making a fresh batch of quinoa blueberry muffins (recipe will follow at some point) and the dogs were going a little stir crazy from being house bound with the frigid out door temps, so this was the perfect time to whip together a batch.

If your dog(s) like(s) pumpkin and peanut butter like ours do, this will be a big hit at your house!  These treats are so much better for your dog than most of those over-the-counter dog treats, that are loaded with wheat, corn and chemicals!

4 simple ingredients are all it takes to make this healthy treat:  organic oats, peanut butter, eggs, and pumpkin.  Yep, that is it!    I don’t usually measure anything, so you may need to adjust the liquid/dry ratio a little–especially if your peanut butter is on the dryer side.  Just play around with it–you can’t screw this up!  Store the treats in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Tobi was happy to model for this blog post!

Tobi was happy to model for this blog post!

Peanut butter pumpkin dog treats!

  • 1 1/2 cups whole organic oats
  • 1/2 c organic peanut putter
  • 1/2 c organic canned pumpkin
  • 2-3 eggs
  • maybe a dash of cinnamon, totally optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  

Put the oats into the food processor and blend to a flour consistency.  Add the other ingredients and blend just until it is well mixed.  The batter should be thick — somewhere between brownie and cookie consistency.  

On a greased cookie sheet, spread out the batter using a spatula.  Using a pizza cutter or a knife, lightly score to make it easier to break into individual treats once cooked and cooled. 

Bake for about 30-45 minutes (depending upon the moisture in the batter)–until lightly brown and crispy.  

 

 

Blueberry juice smoothie

Blueberry juice smoothie

Blueberry juice smoothie

Breakfast this morning…

Enough said!

Blueberry juice smoothie

Juice your favorite veggies and fruit.  My favorite mix is this:

  • ginger
  • beet
  • celery
  • cucumber
  • kale (this is the organic mix that I get from Sams–beet greens, spinach, carrot, baby kale)
  • apple
  • tangerine

For the smoothie you will also need

  • More kale mix
  • Frozen blueberries

Pour this into your vita-mix or blender (reserving some to drink!).  Add a big handful of kale and about a 1-1/2 c frozen blueberries.  Blend to smoothie consistency.  

Bubbling up with good energy!

Bubbling up with good energy!

Drink and enjoy!