Chocolate Pistacio Snack Balls

chocolate pistachio nut balls

 

These little guys pack a punch, and its as easy as throwing things into a food processor, and then rolling them into a ball.  They are basically raw, except the pistachios I used are roasted…but use sesame seeds or coconut on the outside instead and you have yourself a healthy raw snack.  This is another one that is really versatile.   I think next time I’ll use almond butter and walnuts, with sesame seed on the outside.

There’s no added sugar in these, being naturally sweetened by the dates.  They are also filled with healthy fats, lean proteins, and healthy carbohydrates for energy.  Plus pistachios are natural mood boosters, so eat and enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Snack Balls

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 15 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios,

For the outside:

  • ground up shelled pistachios

Process everything in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste.  Roll them into  palm sized balls and then roll them in the extra pistachios to coat them.    Place them in the freezer to set for a half hour.  Enjoy!

These stay good for a up to a week in the fridge, and up to two in the freezer.

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Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

strawberry granola bars

Okay, so I may be a little obsessed over Granola bars.  I’ve made 3 more batches since my last blog post.  I even ordered a bar pan from pampered chef.  It isn’t here yet, but I’m super excited about it.  I promise, this will be my last post  with a granola bar recipe because I think after this one you guys will get the point about how to make them, and how  customizable they are.  But this one is REALLY good, and I had to share.

I used coconut sugar in this recipe, which has trace amounts of nutrients, and a lower GI then regular sugar, so its at least a tiny bit healthier for you then using brown sugar but it  tastes about the same.  There’s also flax and chia seed in here for added omega 3’s and some weight loss boosters.   The preserve I used are natural, grape juice sweetened preserves, so make sure you read your ingredients,  you don’t want anything with high fructose corn syrup.  And of course, buy organic whenever you can!

Oh and my normal camera’s battery is dead so I had to take pictures with my cell phone, sorry about that.  These guys really deserve better photos.  I’ll take other ones later when the battery charges =)

strawberry granola bars

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pistachios, freeze dried strawberries, flax seeds, and chia seeds)
  • Strawberry preserves

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×10 pan with oil.  Mix all the ingredients together, except the preserves.  I do this by hand.  When its all nicely combined, press most of  it into the pan, reserving about 1/4 of it for the top.  Spread a thin layer of the preservers over the top of the granola mix in the pan, I used the back of a spoon to do this.  Then top with the rest of the granola.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool at least 2 hours, I stuck mine in the fridge over night. Its much easier to cut into bars after it has cooled off.

 

Cut into bars and enjoy!  These freeze great too.

 

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Burgers

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Burgers

These burgers are so easy to make, they’re affordable, and they taste better then any bean burger you can buy at the store.   The best part is, they hold up their shape fantastically, even when frying.   I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed creating them!    This recipe makes about 6 patties.

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Burgers

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can organic kidney beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • pinch of chipotle pepper (I didn’t want it spicy so I only used a bit, but if you like it HOT add more.  Be warned, this stuff is very spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil for cooking

After rinsing the quinoa in a colander under cold water, place the 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups of water, bringing it to a boil and then lowering the heat to simmer.  Cover  and ccok for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

In a food processor add the cooked quinoa with the remaining ingredients (excluding the coconut oil) and pulse until smooth.

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and then with your hand, form patties out of the mixture in the food processor, about the size of your palm and 1 inch thick.       In batches fry up the patties, about 5 minutes on each side.  It will be nice and crispy brown on the outside,  with a smooth consistency on the inside.  Just how a veggie burger should be!

I garnished mine with vegan mayo and organic agave sweetened ketchup, vegan cheddar cheese (daiya brand) and mashed avocados.    (Mash the avocado right in the shell, it makes it clean up a snap!)

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Skillet (Vegan)

 

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Its been some time since my last blog post, we were spending some time with family in Wyoming.  Between the steak houses and the family cooking, it was hard to stay healthy.  Of course, vacation is over and its time to get back on track, and this time my husband is totally on board with me.  This is my take on a Cheesy Mexican skillet dish.    To keep this as healthy as possible, remember not to cook your vegetables too long, you don’t want them soggy and over cooked.

 

Vegan Cheesy Mexican Skillet

  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp chili pepper (or less if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1/3 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic broccoli florets
  • 1 package vegan shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp organic stone  ground mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, diced (let to sit 10 minutes)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup Monterrey jack vegan cheese (daiya brand)
  • salt to taste (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable broth up till it starts to steam.  Add the onions and mushrooms, cover and let simmer for 3 minutes over medium heat.  After 3 minutes, uncover it, and add the broccoli, vegan chicken, chili pepper, and oregano.  (At this point, If  it all starts to stick to the pan, add a bit more vegetable broth, but no more then 1 tbsp)  After a minute, add the mustard, tomatoes, green onions, and vegan cheese.    Let the cheese melt into the dish, stirring for another minute.  Add salt to taste (or omit)

 

I served this with fresh organic corn on the cob, and brown rice.

Stevia – What 1 dash REALLY means

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This is Stevia.  Stevia is an herb, like oregano or basil.  I often say, “1 dash Stevia” in my recipes, and I thought that I should clarify exactly what I mean by that.  A dash of stevia is about the size of your pinky nail, and it is sweeter then a tbsp of white sugar.   My stevia comes from Trader Joe’s, but you can find it in large groceries as well, usually in the supplement isle because the USDA does not approve it for sale other then as a dietary supplement.  Japan has been using for centuries, and its very safe, has no glycemic index, and will not make you gain weight, or get cancer like other sugar replacers.

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This is 1 dash of stevia. It comes with this little scooper.

 

Stevia is not the same thing as Truvia.  Truvia has xylotol in it, which is a fruit sugar.  It has sugar in it.  Real Stevia is NOT sugar.  The only ingrediant it should have in it is STEVIA.

The Trader Joe’s Stevia has a little spoon that comes with it, and when my recipe calls for 1 or 2 dash’s of stevia, this is what I mean.  I love it, it is the only sweetener I use, besides honey and agave.  So, I hope I’ve cleared some things up for the people who were curious.

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas

 

I was at the grocery store, and I saw a pre-packaged dish called Bombay potatoes and chickpeas.  Its an Indian dish where the potatoes and chickpeas are cooked in a rich tomato sauce.   It looked so good, but of course the sodium was 28% of the recommended daily allowance, so I passed it up.  (Not to mention all the added preservatives and whatnot that are also lurking in it!)  But I had to try it, so this is my attempt to make bombay potatoes.  Amchur powder is a bitter mauve powder made from green mangoes, and it goes really well with potatoes.  The chili pepper that  I used is from Kashmir (hence the name), a place in Northern Indian.  It is VERY hot, so only use a pinch of it in recipes, or exclude it completely if you don’t like spice.   So I have no idea if this dish tastes anything like actual Bombay potatoes and chickpeas, but its really good regardless.    To my credit however, I did research a bit  before attempting to make this and found many different recipes.  The basics are all here, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, ginger and onions….if anyone has ever had this dish before I’d love to hear from you to see if I hit the mark!

Waxy potatoes are always better to use then regular russet potatoes because they are less starchy, plus their glycemic index is less.

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmir chili pepper
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp amchur powder
  • 3 waxy potatoes, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • salt

In a wok heath the broth till it steams, then add the garlic, ginger and onion, cover and cook for 4 minutes.  Uncover it, add the  cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili pepper, stirring constantly, cooking another 2 minutes or until its fragrant.  Add the crushed tomatoes, and the amchur powder, and stir it up so the sauce mixes with the spice mixture.  Add in the potatoes, cover it back up and cook 30 minutes over medium-low heat.   The smaller you dice the potatoes the less time it will take to cook.  They are done when they are easily pierced with a fork.  After 30 minutes add the chickpeas, stir it up, and cook, covered, another 10 minutes.   Season to taste with salt.

This dish would be really good with some chutney and naan bread.

Peanut Sauce

I made this tonight, and it is my BEST peanut sauce to date. I hadn’t planned on putting it up on the blog….so I ate it before I got to take any pictures. However, since it was SO yummy, I changed my mind last minute. If I make this again I’ll add a picture…in the meantime, here’s a picture from the web. I served this over brown Rice noodles, but it would be delicious over soba or rice as well.

sesame peanut noodles

sesame peanut noodles (Photo credit: tiny banquet committee)

 

Peanut Sauce

  • 4 tbsp all Natural Peanut butter (use sugar free, the kind that separates from the oil…if you can grind your own, even better!)
  • 1/3 cup of warm water
  • 2 tbsp amino acids
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, grated let to sit for 5 minutes (I used garlic paste actually, from the indian grocery)
  • juice of half a lemon (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce (more if you like things spicy, or omit altogether)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, diced really small

In a sauce pan, add the peanut butter, water, amino acids, honey and garlic and stir it over medium heat, bringing it to a boil and stirring constantly to melt it all together. This should take about 5 minutes. Lower the heat, continuing to stir, about another 2 minutes, it will thicken and reduce. Add the lemon, srirach, vinegar and cilantro and stir another 5 minutes over low heat.

garnish:

raw sesame seeds

green onions

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Its a cold rainy day today, the kind of weather you would expect in Autumn, or maybe even later winter, definitely not the type of weather you would think of in late June.  Honestly, though, nothing surprises me in Washington anymore.  This soup is a comfort food of mine, full of protein and fiber, and chock full of nutrients.    Make this over rice for a more filling meal, or eat it as I am, as a soup.

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

  • 2 cups cooked Lentils (I used Green Sprouted Lentils from TruRoots)
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 can diced tomotes
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 can coconut milk

Heat the broth in a pan and when it starts to steam, add the onions, cover and cook 3 minutes.  Uncover and let it  cook another minute, adding the garlic and ginger and stirring until it becomes fragrant.  Drain a little bit of the liquid off the tomatoes, and add them into the onions.

While that’s cooking through, add the coconut milk to the cooked lentils, and heat it up over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion/tomato mixture to the lentils/coconut mixture, and continue to cook over medium heat, uncovered, another 5 minutes.   Season it with salt.

Tea Time!

What is the one thing that you can consume, besides organic, local produce, that will help you on your journey to good health?  The answer is tea.  Just like food, tea is medicine.  Each plant has different health benefits, each a unique taste, and some you need to boil in order to release the healing properties, while others you can just steep.  Tea can do all sorts of things, from cleansing the liver, the kidneys, the colon, to clearing acne and helping people through menopause.  Some tea even helps maintain a healthy weight.  There is a lot of tea out there, but today I’m going to share with you some of my favorites.

I get my green tea and oolong from a little tea shop in Seattle, but the herbal teas are made from a very awesome lady nearby who sells at the local farmer’s market.  If you are having a hard time finding any teas, I highly suggest shopping online at Mountain Rose Herbs (click the name to be redirected to their site)

 

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry Leaf Tea:

This tea does not taste like raspberries, although its really yummy.  Raspberry leaf tea is used as a diuretic, and can be used to help ease diarrhea, and to calm sore throats.  One of the best things to use it for, however, is if you are trying to get pregnant.  It is a uterine stimulant, and as such should not be taken during the early stages of pregnancy.

Be Calm Tea

Be Calm Tea

Be Calm Tea:

This tea is a mix of different things:

wood betony – cleanes the kidneys, eases anxiety

Rose petals- also  help to stimulate the kidneys

Calendula- helps with skin problems and aids in indigestion

Basil leaves- Soothing and cleansing, intestinal parasites, acne, immune
stimulant, antidepressant

Lavender – also an antidepressant; Headaches, nervousness

Red Clover Tea

Red Clover Tea

Red Clover Tea contains isoflavenes, which latch on to estrogen receptors.  This tea is excellent for people going through menopause.  Or as I like to use it for, to  keep my skin acne free.  This tea must be boiled in order for the isoflavenes to be released.

Moon Beam Tea

Moon Beam Tea

Moon Beam Tea:   

Another blend of herbs:

Red Clover: Red clover flowers (simmer): Colds, skin problems, blood cleanser

Nettle: Kidney troubles, hypertension, gout, hay fever, PMS, and scurvy.  Nettle is wonderful if you are trying to loose or maintain your weight.

Peppermint: aids in easing coughs and lends a wonderful flavor.

Calendula: helps with skin problems and aids in indigestion

 

 

I also drink Dandelion tea, and roast the roots into coffee quite often.  It is an excellent liver tonic.  You can read more and about dandelion at my post here.

 

Keep all your herbal teas in glass containers so they stay fresh for a long time.  It doesn’t take very much of the leaves to make a tea, you can steep 1 tsp in 3 cups of water and still have wonderful tea.  I drink my teas plain, but by all means add stevia or honey to yours, or some fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Eggplant and Zucchini Indian Stir Fry

Eggplant and Zucchini Stir Fry

 

I learned to cook this dish from an Indian family that I used to work for as a nanny.  It was my first meal I cooked without oil before I even knew that cooking without oil was a way.  The eggplant and zucchini in this dish cook in tomato juice, and it is simply spiced with just a bit of turmeric, a hint of ginger, and a bit of garlic.  I make this dish over brown rice, and eat it as  a main course, but it could of course be a side dish as well.  One zucchini with the skin has about 2g of protein, 2g of fiber, and a ton of vitamin A.  Since it is a low energy food, it keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps manage weight.

I could only use half the zucchini in this recipe, it was so huge!

I haven’t mentioned what allicin is in a while, so just a reminder as to why we let the garlic sit for 5 minutes:  when garlic is cut it releases healing enzymes called allicin.  These enzymes are antibacterial and help to ward off germs.  Usually these enzymes would be released when we chew but since most people don’t chew thoroughly, it is best to let the knife do the work for us.  Many studies have been conducted on garlic and its healing properties and they have concluded that people who consume at least 6 cloves of garlic a week are much less likely to get sick.  Taking garlic extract pills is also very useful…but why take a pill when you can just make delicious meals with fresh garlic and get the same effect!

 

Eggplant and Zucchini Indian Stir Fry

  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and let to sit at least 5 minutes to release the allicin
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 green zucchini, diced (you can dice them larger then normally if you are having this as a main dish)
  • 1 eggplant, diced (again, you can dice it bigger)
  • (optional) 1 yellow squash, diced
  • salt to taste

Heat the vegetable broth in a large wok with  a lid, and when it begins to steam, add the diced tomatoes and cover it up for 5 minutes, cooking over medium heat.  The tomatoes will begin to break down.   After 5 minutes, add the garlic and the ginger and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the onions, cover it back up, and cook another 3 minutes.  Add the turmeric and stir it all up until it looks yellow.  Next add the zucchini and the eggplant, and the squash if you’re using it, cover it up and cook 15 minutes.  You might not even need to cook it for the full 15 minutes,  depending on how large you made the chunks, how crowded your pan is, or in my case how large the zucchini is!  (I had to cook mine for longer then 15 minutes because the zucchini was so  big that at first it didn’t all fit into my wok!)  Every so often check on it, give it a stir, make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and the eggplant and zucchini aren’t over cooking.

You want the vegetables to become a bit translucent, but not wilt so much that they fall to mush when you stir your dish.

When its done, season it with a bit of salt, and enjoy!