Sunday, October 16, 2011

Challenge #32 - Remembering a New favorite - Parsnips

I tried parsnips for the first time about a year or so ago.  I love them.  I think of them as sort of in between a carrot and potato.  I haven't had them in a few months, for no reason in particular, I just sort of forgot about them.  So last week, I saw some in the store and bought them.  I made them the other night, super simple alternative to mashed potatoes.

Sea Salt
1 tsp butter (or oil, or whatever you choose)
1 clove minced garlic (optional)

Step #1: Peel and cut parsnips into cubes while pot of water is boiling.
Step #2: Boil parsnips until tender
Step #3: Drain and place in boil.  Add reset of the ingredients and mash.
I used my hand masher because I didn't feel like digging out the mixer and then having to clean it.  Either one will work. I enjoyed my parsnip mash a bit more on the rustic side; creamy and chunky at the same time.

On a side note, I also use the hand masher to make guacamole.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Challenge #31 - "Cheesey" Soba Noodles

I wanted something quick and easy for dinner.  Soba noodles are perfect when I am in a hurry.  You can vary this recipe in countless ways, but here is what I have done a couple of times now.  It's simple and delicious with vibrant color. (Please note, not all soba noodles are 100% buckwheat, please read packages carefully if you are gluten intolerant.  I'm ok if there is  little bit of wheat in them.  I just discovered this the other day.)

Ingredients: (This is for 1 portion)
Soba noodles
10 brussel sprouts quartered
Yellow pepper diced
Small red onion diced
Few handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp goatmilk butter (can use regular butter, coconut oil)
2 heaping tblsp of nutritional yeast (Ok if to use if have candida)
Pinch sea salt & black pepper

Step #1: Boil water for soba noodles while melting butter.
Step #2: Saute brussel sprouts, onions, & pepper until start to get soft.
Step #3: Add spinach, sea salt & pepper to veggie saute.  Boil soba noodles

Step #4:  Reserve a ladle full of water before draining soba noodles.  Add ladle of water to bowl.  Add soba noodles & veggie saute.

Step #5: Add nutritional yeast.

  Step #6: Mix well and enjoy.  This creamy, delicious, and a quick meal.  This is the 3rd time I have made this and it will continue to be in the cooking rotation.

Challenge #30 - A happy accident - Sea Salt Shake

I was going to make myself a chocolate shake as in Challenge #29 without the ginger powder.  I always add a pinch of sea salt to bring out the sweetness in the cocoa, but tonight I was not paying attention.  So I wound up using wrong end of the shaker and adding probably about a teaspoon or so of sea salt.  I was going to try to remove some, then I thought...I like dark chocolate with sea salt so why not try it as a shake.
 It worked, and here is the recipe.  I had to go back and add more stevia & cocoa since it was too salty.  So here is the recipe with adjusting salt to taste instead of my slip of too much salt (this uses the amount of stevia I intended).

Half Florida avocado
3 handfuls of ice
2 heaping teaspoons of 100% cocoa
2 packets stevia
about 1/2 cup coconut milk (to facilitate blending, could use water or almond milk instead)
Splash of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (adjust to desired taste, start with even less if wanted)
garnish - small square of chocolate (optional)

Step #1: Add all ingredients into blender (throw in sea salt with a light hand, maybe start with 1/4 teaspoon).  Blend and taste.  Add more sea salt as needed.
Step #2: Pour into glass.  Shave chocolate square add throw on top if desired. I used 100% chocolate, but you can use any of your favorites.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Challenge #29 - Chocolate Ginger Shake

I really enjoy Taza's dark chocolate ginger.  I am trying to cut back on chocolate because of the sugar.  So I was inspired by the flavors to create this chocolate shake.

Half Florida Avocado
Couple handfuls of ice
2 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of ginger powder (adjust as desired, I like mild)
2 packets of stevia (can use the liquid drops, adjust stevia as desired)
Splash of coconut milk to facilitate blending (I use unsweetened)

Step #1: Throw all ingredients into blender and blend.
Step #2: Taste and adjust if needed.
Step #3: Enjoy

Super simple, satisfied my chocolate craving without the sugar.  Creamy delicious shake with a bit of a kick. Forgot about the photo and took when I was half way through drinking my shake.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Challenge #28 - Quinoa and squash pancakes

Ok this is the last squash recipe for the moment! I have been wanting to try the recipe from the link below for sometime now, but wanted to make something for dinner and decided to use what else roasted squash puree for the filling.  I made a few alterations to the recipe and as I was going, my crepe wound up being more like pancakes.  So here is my twist...Pancakes layered with roasted squash
1 cup quinoa flour
Almond milk -unsweetened (I used this instead of water)
Vanilla extract
 Roasted squash
Pumpkin spice
Vanilla extract
Optional: cocoa powder

Step #1: Mix flour, stevia, vanilla in bowl.  Add almond milk slowly while stirring until get a nice thin pancake batter.
Step #2: Melt butter or coconut oil in pan, add batter.  Once batter has started to cook and is brown n bottom, flip and brown other side.

Step #3: Throw all filling ingredients into food processor or blender and puree until have a nice thick mixture.  I tasted and adjusted spices and sweetness as I was going.
Step #4: Layer alternating between pancake and filling.  I was a little hungry while I was cooking, and well I ate some of the pancakes as I was going, so my stack is a little short!  So try to be patient unlike me!

Step #5: Enjoy!  I had leftovers, threw them in the fridge and ate the rest for lunch the following day.  My "layer cake" was still very good since the pancakes did not get soggy.  This was a pleasant surprise since I did not know how well it would hold up in the fridge.

Challenge #27 - Macaroons with roasted squash

This recipe is inspired by Ana, my wonderful nutritionist.  I altered a very simple sugar free macaroon recipe she gave me using  more of the roasted squash I had.  I would also just like to note the amount of mileage I got out of 1 squash.  This is an amazing way to stretch your dollars.  I think the squash cost me $5-6 at the farmers market and I got several meals/desserts out of one.

Roasted kabocha squash (thess than a quarter of the squash)
Canned pumpkin (few tablespoons)
Stevia (1-2 packets)
Vanilla extract (couple cap fulls) (Option, use almond extract instead)
Coconut flakes (unsweetened)
Coconut flour (few tablespoons)
Cinnamon (optional, to taste)

Step #1: Puree squash, pumpkin, vanilla and spices in food processor.  Slowly add in coconut flour and coconut flakes to puree until you have a consistency to make a small ball that allows it to stick together. (See previous recipes for photo of puree)

 Step #2: Form small balls, place on lined baking sheet, then squish down a little to flatten slightly.

Step #3: Baking on 350 for about 10-12 minutes or until brown.  Please note, you will want to check on these about half way through ans keep a close eye on them.  Additional options, haven't tried this yet, but you could throw in cocoa or carob powder.

Step #4: Enjoy!  Please note, these are really really yummy and if you have a hard time with self control like me, you might want to make so many in a batch shown below.  The plate of squash macaroons disappear very quickly!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Challenge #26 - More squash...dessert any one?

I had left over squash and pumpkin so I decided to try a little experimenting in the dessert department.
I know this is going to sound a little wacky, but just give it a try.  My husband actually liked this (he eats a Standard American Diet) and agreed the texture was right too so here goes...
Kabocha Squash Chocolate Shake (Nope, I'm not joking)

Roasted kabocha squash
Canned pumpkin
Vanilla extract
Pinch of Sea Salt (helps bring out the sweetness of the cocoa powder)
100% Cocoa powder (2-3 tablespoons)
Coconut milk(I use unsweetened)

Throw all of the above ingredients in a blender.  I tasted and adjusted as I went along, so I don't have exact measurements.  Here is the result.  It tasted like a chocolate milkshake, had a very similar texture (thick and creamy), and was delicious!  You could also substitute carob for the cocoa as well.

Challenge #25 - Kabocha Squash

I found some kabocha squash at the Farmer's market and decided to give it a try.  I got quite a few recipes out of one squash, so more to follow, but first, this is what kabocha squash is...
And this is what it looks like when you cut it open.  Wiki describes it as a Japanese pumpkin.
This recipe has given me a an opportunity to try a new squash and experiment with re-working something I have been wanting to try for awhile pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli.
So here is Squash "Ravioli"... and yes it's a little out of the box!
Kabocha squash
Canned pumpkin
Sea Salt & pepper
Stevia (optional)
Butter (I use goat milk butter)
Rosemary (or sage, I just did not have sage on hand when I was making this)
Vegetable broth

Step 1:  Slice squash, sprinkle with sea salt & pepper, and roast in oven on 350 until tender.

Step #2:  Cut up squash and add to blender/food processor with about half a can of pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, little stevia.  I judges quantity by how much stuffing I would need for my "ravioli".  My tip would be to taste puree as you go, which is what I did and adjusted my seasoning from there.  I did read up that the green skin of this squash is soft and edible, so I kept it when I cubed the squash.
Step #3: Thinly slice a large turnip for the ravioli.  You can use a mandolin, but I struggles so cut my slices by hand.
 Step #4: Add some puree to the turnip.  It's ok if it is not all in the center.  When you fold the turnip round in half, you want a little to seep out and act as the glue.
Step #5: While you are making the ravioli, melt butter and rosemary in a pan.
Step #6: When butter is melted, remove rosemary and add ravioli.  Want to let ravioli begin to brown and the turnip to get soft.  Flip to second side and repeat.
Step #7: When both sides have browned, add in a little vegetable broth to coat the bottom.  This will create a little sauce for the ravioli and also finish to soften the turnip.  You will see some of the stuffing leaked out a bit, but it added to the sauce, so it was a hapy accident.  The thinner turnip wrappers made for better "ravioli" to stuff and keep closed.
Step #8: Enjoy!  This was a yummy and savory dish.   I am in the process of coming up with some alternate ideas for change up the turnip depending on what I want to final outcome to be as the turnip can be a little bitter.  Since I all the ravioli you see in the pan above, I would consider this a success! Final plated version below.

Challenge #24- Sweet Potato Salad

Something that I used to absolutely love was potato salad.  Sadly this means a recipe of many No's for me.  But on the bright side this has given me the opportunity to create a delicious alternative that is simple to make and healthy as well.
The No's: White potato, mayo
The Swaps: Sweet Potato (and who doesn't love sweet potato!), Dijon dressing

Sweet Potatoes (2-3)
Red Pepper
Yellow Pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Dijon Mustard (about 1-2 tablespoons)
Sea Salt

Step 1: Peel and cut sweet potatoes into cubes.
Step 2: Boil until potatoes are fork tender
Step 3: While potatoes are cooking, juice 1 lemon and mix in mustard and sea salt to taste and set
             aside. Finely chop all  other ingredients and add to large bowl.
Step 4: Drain sweet potatoes and let cool (until no more steam coming from potatoes).
Step 5: Add cooled sweet potatoes to bowl of other ingredients.  Toss everything together with dressing.
Step 6: Enjoy!  I let this sit in the fridge to let the flavors develop before eating, but this is only a suggestion.