Thursday, December 27, 2012

Braised Collards & More...

After two weeks of "eat whatever you want until Christmas", I'm totally over it!  Feeling sluggish, irritable, bloated, addicted to sugar, and overall not so good just doesn't last long around here.  My husband always jokes that my "bad" eating habits are still better than most peoples normal diets, while this makes me feel better :) eating gluten-free vegan Christmas cookies everyday, still have SUGAR in them!  The most detrimental, toxic, addictive, disease causing drug that exists.  So out goes the sugar. 

It's all about small goals, but strict ones.  Completely eliminating any and all sources of sugar (including honey and super dark chocolate), works better for my success rate than saying "oh I can have one bite of dark chocolate, or some honey in my raw almond butter".  Nope.  None.  Zilch!  But it works.  I did this right after Thanksgiving for 16 days, and now I've started over, I'm on day 3 and I already feel a gazzilion times better than I did on Christmas day where I had so many cookies and truffles I lost count!

Anyway, this was not supposed to be a post about sugar, but about the amazing dinner I made tonight.  I did a braised collard greens variation with mushrooms, carrots, onion, and garlic in a chipotle infused olive oil, ghee, and chipotle spice (YUM!), and then blanched asparagus on a bed of arugula with fig balsamic.  Yes, we had protein too, a bison burger with pickled veggies on top, but that wasn't the star.  Making fun veggies side dishes makes me really excited!  I know, total dork, but when you eat "salads" 4-5 times a day it starts to get really repetitive, so you gotta keep it interesting.

Braised Chipotle Collard Greens
2 bunches collard greens, washed, deviened, and chopped
1/4 yellow or white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 box (8oz or so) mushrooms, washed, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 tbsp Ghee
2 tbsp Chipotle infused olive oil (from EVOO)
1/2 tsp Chipotle spice (Penskey's)
1/4 c organic chicken broth
salt to taste

Prepare all your veggies (wash, chop, etc). 

Using a large sauce pan, melt ghee and olive oil over low heat.  Add in onion, garlic, and carrots.  Cook about 5 minutes.

Add in collard greens and mushrooms.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add spices and chicken broth, and cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.  The bitter flavor of the collards cooks out the longer you braise.

Blanched Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus

By far my favorite way to prepare asparagus...the easiest, and the healthiest.

Wash your (organic) asparagus, and chop off the hard end parts.

Bring pan of water to boil, and prepare a bowl of ice water near the stove.

Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook 2-5 minutes depending on the size of the spears.  You're looking for the spears to be bright green.  Don't over cook, don't want them to be mooshy.

Remove from boiling water and immediately drop into the ice water.  Once they've cooled, dry them off and serve how ever you want.  These are great to store in your fridge and eat as a veggie snack during the day too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peanut Sauce...but not!

We love sushi, who doesn't!  But when you have a gluten and soy intolerance the experience can be a little trying.   Sure I've ordered plenty of sushi and not dipped it in soy sauce, instead using lemon and ginger as a topper, but sauces really make it so much better.  So, I make my own and bring it with me!  I have recently eliminated all legumes (peanuts, cashews, beans) because my daughter might have an allergy, this means my peanut sauce recipe has turned into an almond sauce, and it's just as good if not better!

Most peanut sauce recipes call for soy sauce or gf tamari (still soy), or even Braggs amino acids (soy), but I've discovered coconut aminos!  Made by Coconut Secret, you should be able to find it at your local Whole Foods.   Doesn't taste like soy sauce (cause its not) but it is a great substitute.  When I made this sauce last night of course I didn't write down the exact amounts of each ingredient, so you will have to taste as you go with this one.  You can make it thinner by adding more liquid, or thicker by adding more almond butter.  This would be awesome on a lettuce wrap, topped on grilled chicken, used over pad Thai noodles, or as your sushi dipping sauce!

Asian Spiced Almond Sauce
Combine the following in small sauce pan:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey (or agave)
1/4 cup almond butter (i use the raw bulk nut buuters)
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/3 cup coconut aminos
2 tablespoons water
spice to taste: (sprinkle in little at a time)
garlic powder

Let simmer until well combined, stirring constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Enjoy:)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce (gf)

Sometimes my best meals come out of last minute ideas, and throwing together whatever is in the fridge that day.  Last night I had thawed chicken breasts, but was so sick of our usual veggie and protein meal that I needed something to kick it up a notch.  All it takes is a good sauce!  I've been on a mustard kick, so mustard cream sauce was born.  I also used this Bavarian spice from Penskey's for the veggies and it complimented it perfectly.  I had made sweet brown rice earlier in the week, so what's used below is already cooked rice.  I assume this sauce would be good on a white fish or salmon as well.

For the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless, organic chicken breasts
salt, pepper, Bavarian spice sprinkled on top
Spectrum spray olive oil

this goes in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes.  in the mean time you can prepare your sauce and chop whatever veggies you'd like to have for a side.  we did zucchini, chard, and onion.

For the sauce:
1/2 cup organic low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp ghee (this is clarified butter, and will not effect dairy intolerant people)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup cooked sweet brown rice

in a saucepan on low gently stir in all ingredients and let simmer until your chicken is done.

Plate your chicken & veggies and pour generous amounts of your mustard-rice sauce on top, and eat up!
This was so delicious and easy, enjoy~

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Babyland & Xmas Cookies

In bed at 7:50, asleep by 8:30, up at 1am...nurse, cry, fuss, nurse, asleep at 3, up at 5:15, asleep at 6am, up at 6:45m.  Can we say "zombie"!  All I can think about is coffee, I want an almond milk latte from Dazbog, right now, as my drip coffee ain't cuttin it.  And I'm supposed to run 7 miles today, and go to work for a couple hours, and make more cookies, and ...oh yeah take care of my baby!  There's not enough time, energy, and coffee in a day. 

But she's so cute! This is Tessa hanging out with Sadie while I baked yesterday :)

We spent the day making xmas cookies yesterday, and they turned out amazing.  The negative about making cookies is you eat so many of them in the baking process to make sure they're good, done, acceptable. etc.  So you gotta package them up quick and get them out da house!  I did Ginger Molasses, and Pumpkin Pecan cookies, and with the help and inspiration of Karina at GlutenFreeGoddess, they turned out amazing!

Happy Holidays Ya'll, I'm going to get my coffee!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
4 tablespoons coconut milk (or non-dairy milk)

Organic Sugar


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

I use a hand mixer to mix the coconut oil and molasses into the dry ingredients. The mixture will be sandy and crumbly.

Add the coconut milk one tablespoon at a time.

Mix after each spoonful to keep a close eye on the consistency. You don't want the dough too sticky. It should still appear somewhat crumbly- but- when you pinch the dough it should stick together and feel like cookie dough. I used four tablespoons of Natural Value BPA free coconut milk to get to this consistency, and it turned out perfect.

Wrap one half in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge to chill for 5-10 minutes.  This makes the dough easier to work with, but if you leave it too long the coconut oil will harden too much.

The easiest way to make these is to make little dough balls with your hands, roll them in sugar and place on a baking sheet.  I actually think they tastes better this way, but you can also do it cookie cutter style by rolling out the dough and making cut outs.  Either way they go in the oven for 8 1/2 minutes.  Let them cool, and they crisp up as they cool.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Cookies


Whisk together dry ingredients:
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup GF oat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
Beat the wet ingredients with the sugar:
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
2 tbsp flaxmeal/ 6 tbsp water (Replacer for 2 large eggs)
2 teaspoons organic GF vanilla
1 cup organic light brown sugar 
Add in the dry ingredients and beat till combined.
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
For topping:
Whole pecans.

Mix in the choc chips. Your cookie dough will be soft and a little sticky.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Use two spoons to form the cookie dough into balls a little smaller than golf balls. Place the balls onto the baking sheet.  Press a pecan onto the top of each cookie. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until firm, my perfect bake time was 16 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack. Makes A LOT of cookies :)