Peanut butter Granola bars

I know I said the last granola bar recipe was going to be my last granola recipe, but I wanted to really show the versatility in making these.  So THIS is my last granola bar recipe.  I promise.

For this recipe, I replaced the coconut oil with peanut butter and almond butter.  Because all you really need is a fat of some kind.  (You could use butter, bananas)

I soaked my chia seeds this time because I was having an issue with the ones on the outside of my bars falling off.  I seem to have solved that problem this time.

Not only did these come out really crunchy, but they are also the cheapest granola bars I have made to date.  I just kind of threw them together with whatever I had on hand.  (Time to food shop!)

Peanut butter 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 natural peanut butter (nothing but peanuts)
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds, soaked for a minute
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pepitas and dried cranberries)

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20-30 minutes (it should be nice and browned on the top)  and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

 

 

 

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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.

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.

 

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.

Crispy Thai Tofu and Eggplant with Basil Sauce

Its been a bit since I’ve posted!  To my readers, I’m very sorry its been so long.  My husband has returned from his last underway, and we have been readjusting to life together.   One of the things that is very hard for me, which I’ve written about in A Nutritionist and a Navy Chef, is the fact that he is not vegan and we don’t exactly see eye to eye on issues of nutrition.  When he comes home, I tend to slack a bit more on what is allowed into my house, and I have to cook dinner with him in mind.  This meal, while not the healthiest dish one could make, introduces him to tofu.  The tofu is nice and crispy, and it is cooked in coconut oil.  Coconut oil might be the healthiest of all the oils (especially when you’re frying tofu, since you can heat it up to high temps without it becoming a carcinogen) but it still raises bad cholesterol.  But everything in moderation, tofu is still healthier then eating fried chicken and it is full of probiotics.  This dish was inspired by a dish I had at a Thai restaurant the other night, and while Thai dishes are usually made with fish sauce, this instead uses Amino acids to  keep it nice and vegan.   My husband actually really liked it, so I was quite relieved!

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  • 1 cube extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup ener-g egg replacer (thats 1/2 cup after mixing it with water)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 tbsp amino acids
  • 2 dash’s stevia
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp sriacha sauce (more if you like spicy)
  • 3 green onions, cut long
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 12 basil leaves, roughly cut

Heat the oil until it melts in a pan, and while its heating up, coat the tofu in the egg replacer, and then cover in corn starch.  Cook the coated pieces in the coconut oil in batches, we are using a small amount of oil here, so you will have to turn them every few minutes.  They don’t take long to cook, about 2 minutes on each side.  I used a small sauce pan to this.   Put the cooked pieces on a plate to drain.

In a wok, mix the amino acid, stevia and water, add the garlic and eggplant, cover and cook 7 minutes.  Check it after 5 minutes and give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking.  After 7 minutes, add the pepper and onion and cover back up and cook another 3 minutes.  Then add the green onions, ginger and basil leaves.

When the vegetables are done cooking, add the tofu pieces, and mix to coat with the sauce.  Serve with brown rice.

 

 

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

Green Olive Tapenade over Vegan Cutlets and Pasta

So I mentioned I had bought a whole lot of olives, and besides snacking on them every time I open my fridge, I’ve  been brainstorming up some recipe ideas.  This meal is really quick to make, and its fancy enough to impress any dinner guest!  You can exclude the cutlets if you wish and just server this over pasta, or for my non vegan friends, the tapenade would work wonderfully over white fish or chicken.

I have to say, that the vegan fake meat is not what it used to be.  Its really great for people who are transitioning to the vegan lifestyle.  I have to mention, however, that there is debate about the risks and benifits associated with consuming too much of the soy bean isolate that is used to create these fake meats.  While eating tofu and tempeh, (the fermented version of the soy bean) is excellent for your health, it is hard to digest the soy protein isolate.   I see no reason to forgo the stuff completely, however eat it in moderation, just to be on the safe side.

All fake meat products use vital wheat gluten as one of the main ingredients.  So this is NOT a gluten free food.

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Olive Tapenade:

  • 10 green olives stuffed with red peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 organic vine ripe tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive oil

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients up until its roughly chopped.  It should only take 1 minute.

 

“Chicken”

  • 2 Vegan “Chicken” cutlets (I use gardien brand)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • salt and pepper

Melt the coconut oil in the pan, and cook the cutlets 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  When its done, season one side with salt and pepper.

 

I served this over regular  pasta (unfortunately I was out of rice pasta which would have been my first choice, but my son is home sick today and I couldn’t run out to the store).  Just place the cutlets over the pasta, then scoop a nice serving over the chicken.

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