Posts Tagged ‘fresh’

Spring Mushroom Risotto with Leeks and Sweet Peas

I am so ready for it to just be spring already. This chilly, dreary weather is getting a tad bit old and we’ve gotten a taste of the warm weather already, so I just wish it would stay. It was near 80º when we were in NYC last weekend and apparently it was in the 70s here in Buffalo at the same time. Today it is in the low 30s and it’s snowing again. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow and the change of seasons, but this has been one of the longest and nastiest winters I can ever recall here.

I guess since the weather isn’t cooperating the only thing to do is to bring the spring to our bellies via delicious spring inspired dishes like this one! Once again this risotto, like the pasta recipe I posted yesterday, was inspired by what looked best in the produce section when we went to the market. I had actually hoped to find fresh sweet peas, but I guess it is still a bit early, so I went with frozen organic sweet peas. You can certainly substitute fresh peas here, you’d just want to quickly blanch them first.

This risotto is so creamy and satisfying it is hard to believe it is healthy. There is very little cheese and really since arborio rice creates such a creamy risotto, if you wanted to make this vegan you could simply leave out the cheese and it would still be incredible. The leeks bring a nice fresh but subtle onion flavor, the mushrooms a nice rustic earthy aroma and taste and the peas are a nice burst of brightness to finish it all off. The fresh tarragon was the perfect unique compliment to all of these flavors, bringing subtle scent and taste reminiscent of anise. You can play with adding in some white wine or vermouth as well as different cheeses, mascarpone or heavy cream, different herbs, lemon zest, etc. There are so many variations on classic risotto and you really can’t go wrong.

I had a dozen local farm fresh eggs that I picked up and want to use while they are at their freshest so I decided to fry up an egg for each of us to serve on top of the risotto. I had never done this before, but I knew it would be incredible and I was right. Such a nice way to finish it off. The yolk was a tad runny and it was just perfect.

Spring Mushroom Risotto with Leeks and Sweet Peas

Spring Mushroom Risotto with Leeks and Sweet Peas
serves 4-6

5-6 cups of organic mushroom broth
2 tablespoons organic olive oil
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms, I used baby bellas
2 leeks, rinsed very well, slice thinly white and green parts only*
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 cups frozen organic sweet peas (I would have preferred fresh, but they weren’t yet at the market)
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt, sauté until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic, sprinkle with salt. Sauté until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and increase the heat to medium. Stir until the edges begin to look transparent, careful not to brown the rice or leeks. Add the mushroom broth, 2 ladles at a time (or approximately 3/4 cup); stirring constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Always adding enough just to cover the rice. Continue stirring and adding broth, waiting for it to absorb and then adding more. Cook about halfway, which should be about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth until the rice is tender but has a bit of a firm bite and the risotto is creamy, another 10-15 minutes. Add the frozen peas and fresh tarragon with just a few minutes remaining, stir to combine. The peas will cook very quickly. Once cooked, turn off the heat. Taste the risotto and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in approximately 1/4 cup of the parmigiano-reggiano cheese, reserving the remaining for serving. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl, top with fresh ground black pepper and a pinch or two of freshly chopped tarragon. Serve with the remaining grated parmigiano-raggiano. This risotto is incredible with a fried farm-fresh egg served on top. If the yolk is just a tad bit runny, it is absolute perfection! Trust me, try it.

* a quick note on cleaning leeks: leeks tend to have a lot of dirt and grit in them. If you aren’t careful when cleaning them, you may think they are totally clean, start cooking with them and find your entire dish has a nasty grittiness to it. This can ruin a dish After trimming off the ends (called the beards) and the dark green tops (save these for stocks). You can run them under cold water at this point, or even better, you can submerge the leeks in a large pot of cold water. Swirl them around to really remove all the grit and dirt. Drain well and then cut.

Spring Mushroom Risotto with Leeks and Sweet Peas

Oh and one last thing to mention, this is what was going on outside my kitchen window while I crafted up this beautiful spring dinner. Ironic, isn’t it?

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Spicy Spring Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Baby Arugula (Gluten-Free)

Pasta is definitely my go-to comfort meal, it rarely disappoints. I almost always have a couple of pounds of dried gluten-free pasta in the pantry and enough ingredients to throw together a tasty and seasonal dish with it. Plus, I really love how little effort it takes. In the time it takes to preheat the oven and make a horrible processed frozen pizza, you can have a delicious main-course pasta made with fresh ingredients. With all the traveling we’ve had going on and how busy we’ve been I have been craving one of my homemade pasta creations, so last week after we got home from NYC and before we left again for Pittsburgh, I thought up this dish and threw it together for us.

Besides the beautiful spring produce that is finally showing itself at the grocery store, what inspired this dish was a jar of hot pepper spread from Wegmans in my refrigerator. We always have it on-hand for things like sandwiches, soups, eggs, pizza etc. It has a mere 5 ingredients, all natural, and it’s the perfect condiment. It caught my eye the other day and I realized that I had never made a pasta dish with it. I decided to take a trip to the grocery store and let the fresh produce decide the rest. I was definitely craving a spring inspired dish! Though the choices are still limited and it isn’t all necessarily local, I was happy to see more green in the produce section. It feels like we are finally through the winter and onto brighter things, literally.

The asparagus and baby arugula both jumped out at me in the produce section and I thought paired with the spicy peppers, a nice parmigiano-reggiano and some lemon, they would be perfect. Certainly skip the hot pepper spread if you don’t care for spicy or if you can’t find anything like it, or you can substitute it with a teaspoon or two of red pepper flakes. Have fun with it and always start out slow with the spicy ingredients if you don’t like the heat, you can always add more. This pasta just explodes with fresh flavors, the heat from the hot pepper spread brings a nice zing, but it’s not too overpowering, the subtle peppery crunch from baby arugula is fresh and welcomed after a long winter, along with the brightness from the lemon. It is a very light and healthy, but certainly satisfying, spring dinner. If you are looking for a nice vegan spring pasta dish, just leave off the cheese or substitute with your favorite cheese substitute, it will still be delicious.

After a winter of root vegetables, frozen vegetables and just plain ‘blah’ produce, it really is nice to start seeing better fresh produce options again at the grocery store. The farmers market opens in less than 3 weeks (I am counting down the days) and shortly thereafter I will be starting our garden.

Here’s to the spring, more green and a lot sunshine!! (FYI – as I type this, it is snowing)

Spicy Spring Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Baby Arugula (Gluten-Free)
serves 4-6

1 lb asparagus
3 tablespoon organic olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 lb organic gluten-free brown rice pasta (you can use any shape you’d like and certainly you can use regular pasta here, as well)
2 cups organic baby arugula roughly chopped or torn
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 tablespoon hot pepper spread (I buy Wegmans brand, but you can also substitute 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or leave it out)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Lemon zest
fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Clean your asparagus and snap off the tough ends. Cut into 2-inch pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking pan and place in the preheated oven. Roast for 15-25 minutes until tender, but still a bit crisp.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to package directions. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, reserve approximately 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta and rinse in hot water. Place the rinsed pasta in a large serving bowl, immediately add the baby arugula and toss, so it begins to wilt. Then add the minced garlic, hot pepper spread (or red pepper flakes), 2 tablespoons of olive oil and as much cooking liquid as necessary to make the pasta a bit creamy. Toss carefully to combine all the ingredients, add more cooking liquid as needed. Once the asparagus is done, add this to the pasta along with most of the parmigiano-reggiano cheese, reserving a bit for serving. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the pasta, taste the pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything carefully one last time. Plate the pasta individually and top each serving with fresh lemon zest and the remaining cheese.

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Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs


Yes, yet another pasta dish. I am a pasta-aholic, I can admit it. I cannot get enough of the stuff and I am always excited to try out new recipes. The possibilities really are endless and it’s rare that I meet a pasta dish that I don’t love. This recipe is no exception. I came across it a while back and couldn’t wait to try it with a few subtle changes. Even with the bacon and cheese, it is still very light and healthy pasta dish. See you can have your bacon and eat it, too!

The subtle crunch and bold flavor from the fennel is so wonderful and the heat from the chilies is what I live for in a spicy dish. The original recipe calls for red jalapeños, though I could only find green, I think the red would have really been nice for a pop of color. It also called for seeding the chilies, but I left them in, when I tasted the peppers while I was cutting they didn’t have too much heat, and I really wanted a good kick. It is rare that I find something to be too spicy. If you want a more subtle spice, certainly leave the seeds from the chilies out and you can always make it spicier at the end, if it needs it, by adding in some red pepper flakes. The recipe also called for adding in crushed fennel seeds untoasted, I felt like toasting the whole seeds first would give a much better flavor by releasing it during toasting, not only did it taste great, the house smell amazing. Additionally, the original recipe called for pancetta instead of bacon. Since we buy all of our pork from Sojourner Farms, a local pasture-raised farm, I decided to use some of the delicious bacon that we purchased from them, instead. I would advise not to substitute dried herbs for the fresh stuff in this dish, it would surely be missed. It is also important to use a low-sodium broth, as you will reduce the broth down and you will also be getting some salt from the bacon (or pancetta), you can always add more salt to taste, before serving. I am a big fan of using the pasta water to thicken and bring back liquid to a pasta dish, just go slow so you don’t add too much, but don’t leave this step out, it can make or break a dish without sauce, like this one. Obviously, I also changed the original recipe by substituting gluten-free spaghetti, if you aren’t gluten-free you can use whatever your favorite pasta is, a nice whole-wheat spaghetti would be great, I am sure.

If you wanted to make this vegetarian you could easily leave out the bacon and use a vegetable broth instead of chicken, you may just want to add in a bit more fresh herbs to bump up the flavors. It would still be very tasty and hearty.


Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs
serves 8
Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine

6 slices of farm fresh local, pasture raised bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large jalapeño chiles, finely chopped – remove seeds if you want less heat
2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, cut into thin wedges with some core attached
1 1/2 cups low-salt organic free-range chicken broth
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
11/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 pound gluten-free organic brown rice spaghetti (or whatever your favorite pasta is, gluten-free or not)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided

Toast the fennel seeds in a large dry skillet over high heat, until slightly brown and fragrant. Remove the seeds and set aside. Sauté bacon in the same large skillet over medium heat until golden and a bit crispy. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the bacon drippings in skillet. Add garlic and chiles; sauté over medium heat 1 minute. Add the fresh fennel; cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Mix in broth, 2 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice, and the toasted fennel seeds. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is very tender, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until tender; drain. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Transfer pasta back to the pot or a large serving bowl.
Uncover skillet with fennel mixture and return to high heat. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add fennel to pasta. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 cup cheese, and pancetta. Add cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if it’s too dry. Toss pasta; transfer to serving bowl if it was in a pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons parsley over. Serve with cheese.

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Citrus Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds


I have sung quinoa’s praises many, many times on this blog, so I think you know by now how I feel about it. It really is a super food and incredibly versatile. This salad caught my eye while I was searching the web last week, looking at recipes. I couldn’t wait to make it as a side for dinner and to enjoy the leftovers throughout the week for lunch. I ended up doubling the recipe so we had extra for leftovers.

This salad has a bright and sunny taste to it and it was the perfect side with the grilled pork steaks from Sojourner Farms that we were making. It was even more perfect being that it finally warmed up a bit here. It was a balmy 42º when we were getting ready to start dinner last night and rather than heating up the oven and cooking inside, we decided it would be the perfect night to fire up the grill. Honestly, it felt a bit like a heat-wave, it has been such a brutal and frigid winter here. I am actually calling “Uncle” on the 2010/11 Winter season, officially here and now! I am done, I want to see the sun, some lovely flower buds and the beautiful green grass and trees. We have been buried since early December in so many feet of snow. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow and I still, after all these years of living here, get excited with each and every flake that falls and even the major storms, but this year I have hit my limit. Thankfully Spring is just around the corner and with the Spring comes more green and more fresh produce, which I am equally missing.

Oranges and other citrus are in season right now, but I have never been a big orange eater. However, I have been trying out different types of oranges and tangerines and I am liking them more each time, I particularly like them in dishes instead of just plain. The tangerines in this salad were perfectly juicy and sweet but not too overpowering. You could certainly use your citrus of choice, oranges would be just as good. The fresh scallions and parsley were both perfect, I changed the original recipe a bit by adding garlic and adding a bit more sriracha, since I like spicy, though even with increasing the sriracha it was still a very subtle spiciness, not intense by any stretch of the imagination. This salad is best served room temperature and it was perfect with the grilled pork and green beans with pine nuts that I also made. This salad was great as a side, but would also be great as the main dish or an appetizer. Additionally, it would be a nice vegan dish to bring to a party. If you double the recipe as I did, just top each individual serving with the toasted almonds and keep them on the side, this way they won’t lose that lovely crunch by sitting in the fridge with the salad. Just top each serving individually as you serve them.

Citrus Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds
Serves 4
adapted from Cooking with Amy

1 tangerine, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (remove as much of the membranes as you can)
1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed well
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
1/2 lemon, preferably organic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
1/2 tablespoon sriracha, or more to taste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced toasted almonds

Toast your almond slices ahead of time and set aside.

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, then toast it in a dry medium saucepan, over medium heat for a few minutes until it is fragrant.

Add the water and salt to the quinoa, and bring to a boil over a high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the quinoa out on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature quicker, while you prepare the salad.

Before cutting the lemon, finely grate the zest and then squeeze the juice into a large serving bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic, scallions, parsley and sriracha. Once the quinoa has cooled and is room temperature add in the quinoa and tangerine pieces, season to taste with salt and top with almonds and a bit of fresh parsley just before serving.

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Coconut Quinoa and Spinach Salad

I came across this recipe on Sprouted Kitchen earlier in the week and was so excited that I had every ingredient on-hand to make it. I was happy I had time to put this together last night. It has been a very busy week with a lot of quick meals and leftovers, though I have still been able to stick with the cleanse, which I am proud of. I am feeling incredible, today is day 12 of 14 and I feel light and so much less weighed down and “blah”. It definitely helps that in the last 12 days I have been able to make it to six 90+ minute yoga classes and I will be getting to 2 more in the next 2 days. Starting this new year out as healthy as I can be, has made me so happy and ready for everything that lies ahead. It is incredible what a cleanse does, not only for your body, but also your mind. The brain fog is lifted and you are left with an exorbitant amount of energy. You can’t believe it until you try it for yourself.

Beyond being beautiful to look at with all the colors, there are so many wonderful flavors in this salad and all of the textures work great together, the crispy crunch from the pomegranate seeds and pistachios finish it so nicely. The coconut flavor is subtle and the crispy shallots? OH MY! This recipe calls for salt in a few places, I still included it but went very light. I made this as a main course for dinner last night and had it again for lunch today, though it would make a great side dish or starter.

Coconut Quinoa and Spinach Salad
Serves 6 as a side, less as a main dish
Via Sprouted Kitchen

1 cup organic quinoa
1 cup light organic coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable broth or water

2 large shallots
2 tablespoons coconut oil (If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, canola oil will work as an alternative, which is what I used)

1 cup fresh organic pomegranate seeds
4 cups (ish) organic baby spinach
1/2 cup toasted pistachio nuts

2 tablespoons orange juice (Lemon or lime juice will work here as well)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the quinoa, coconut milk, water and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, this will take about 10-12 minutes. Empty quinoa into a bowl and allow to cool. If you want it to cool quicker, you can spread it out on a cookie sheet in a thin layer.

Slice the shallots width wise into thin slices. Heat up the oil in a medium saute pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add in the shallots. They will begin to move around in the pan, once the edges turn golden flip them over or gently toss them around, they can burn quickly so watch them. Set up a double layer of paper towels, remove the shallots just as they turn brown and drain on the paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix the orange juice, thyme, olive oil and a few small pinches of salt and pepper.

Before you assemble the salad, be sure your quinoa is room temperature or it will wilt the spinach. In a large salad bowl, spinach, the cooked quinoa, the pomegranate seeds and pistachios with the dressing. Leave a bit of the pomegranates and pistachios to garnish the top with. Garnish the top with the rest of the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and all of your crispy shallots. Top with fresh ground black pepper and enjoy. You will love it.

* If you aren’t going to eat the salad in one sitting, which I didn’t, you can mix it up half at a time and leave the rest of the elements separate, this way you can mix it again the next time you serve it and it won’t be soggy.

How beautiful is this pomegranate?

By the way, I am fairly certain a pomegranate is one of the most beautiful and tasty things that nature has to offer.

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Banana Almond Butter Smoothie

You all know by now that I am on a two-week cleanse and have become obsessed with smoothies in this time. I have been having so much fun experimenting with different flavor combinations and new ingredients. This past week, the first week of my cleanse, I discovered the magic of dates!! Now I know why they call them “nature’s candy”. Sweet enough to pop in your mouth whole to conquer any cravings, but all natural, fresh and cleanse friendly. My new-found love of dates came by accident, I happened across a container of something called “organic date coconut rolls” in the bulk section at Lexington Coop and became intrigued when I noticed they looked like little cookies and had only two ingredients: organic dates and organic coconut flakes. That’s it. Both ingredients are cleanse-friendly, so I bought them. They are incredible and so delicious, so much flavor and perfectly sweet. I have enjoyed maybe one a day or one every other day and they have been the perfect way to handle any sweet cravings I may have. Yesterday, when I went to the Coop to stock up on some things I needed for this week, I grabbed a pound of fresh organic Medjool dates to use in smoothies, eat on their own and to possibly experiment making my own date coconut rolls with. I thought tossing one date in a smoothie would be a nice natural and whole way to add a bit of sweetness. I was right. It was the perfect bit of sweet in this delicious smoothie. If you don’t like dates or can’t find them, you could certainly substitute a tablespoon of maple syrup, honey or agave syrup to your smoothie.

I also bought a jar of unsweetened almond butter for a recipe I am excited to try after my cleanse is over, but while in the shower this morning (yes, I think about food in the shower) I thought it would be great in a banana almond butter smoothie. So, I decided to experiment a bit this morning and wow, I am glad I did. This smoothie is the best one I have made yet, it has the perfect amount of sweetness and it is so wonderfully creamy that you actually feel like you are having a milkshake. I had meant to freeze a banana last night but forgot, so I just added a handful of ice cubes, if you use a frozen banana you can leave the ice cubes out. Frozen bananas are amazing in smoothies, such a brilliant way to get the chilly frostiness!

Do yourself a favor and make this smoothie, you will be amazed that something so good for you can taste so sinfully delightful.

Banana Almond Butter Smoothie
serves 1

1 cup organic unsweetened almond milk
1 organic banana (preferably frozen)
2 tablespoons unsalted, unsweetened organic almond butter
1 fresh Medjool date, pit removed and cut in half
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
Whole nutmeg, grate a small amount into the blender just before blending
A small handfull of ice cubes (if your banana wasn’t frozen)

Add all the ingredients to your blender and process until smooth!

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Peaches and Cream Smoothie

I have really been loving smoothies while I am on this cleanse. They have been the perfect morning breakfast, light, but still substantial enough to keep me going until lunch. A lot of mornings I get up and I am out the door before 7am for Mysore yoga (a self-led Ashtanga yoga practice) and I don’t eat beforehand. When I get home (or to the studio) I am hungry but pleasantly relaxed and not ravenous for a large breakfast. The smoothies are perfect. I have been playing around with all the different fresh and frozen organic fruit and fruit juices I have, some have almond milk, others don’t and I have added in the ground flax-seeds when I think I could use it (these can certainly be left out in this recipe or any of the others). This smoothie was so delicious. I am so obsessed and amazed with almond milk. I have never been a big milk drinker, but I really don’t care much for soy milk either, when I tried almond milk I knew that was the one for me.

This was yesterday’s smoothie, cleanse day number 7! I am now in week 2 and excited to experiment with new smoothies and other breakfast options. Got any smoothie recipes to share?

Peaches and Cream Smoothie
serves 1

1 cup organic unsweetened almond milk
1 cup frozen organic peaches
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla
1 tablespoon ground organic flax-seed
small drizzle of honey (you can add more if you wish, I am trying to go very light with the sweeteners during the cleanse)

Combine ingredients in blender and blend until frothy and smooth.

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Roasted Winter Vegetable Ragout

I made such a big batch of Roasted Winter Vegetables last week that I have been enjoying them lots of different ways ever since. Because Mark refuses to eat beets, I have been slowly making a dent in them all by myself and I have been loving it. I had about half of them left, so, I decided to take the remainder and make this ragout over the weekend, I served it over some brown rice with a lot of freshly ground black pepper, for a nice hearty and hot winter lunch. There was enough that I also enjoyed it served over some organic brown rice linguine last night for dinner. There is still one small serving left and that will be a great lunch tomorrow. There really are many ways you can do this, the main point is to create a quick and easy chunky tomato sauce. I didn’t have diced or whole canned tomatoes so I just used the crushed tomatoes that I had and then I added some sun-dried tomatoes slices in. Because there are onions and garlic in with the roasted vegetables you really don’t have to add much. I added baby spinach for some green crunch. This was great over the brown rice and brown rice pasta, it would also be great over polenta, quinoa or millet.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Ragout
serves 3-4

3 cups leftover roasted winter vegetables (or however much you have)
1/2 of a 28 ounce can organic crushed tomatoes (put the remainder in a leftover container in the fridge for another meal later in the week)
2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium
Pinch or two of dried herbs de provence
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes sliced
2 cups organic baby spinach

Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth to a large pan over a medium-high heat, bring to a simmer. Add in the herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted vegetables, cook over a high heat about 15 minutes. Stir in the baby spinach and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon over rice, pasta, polenta, etc.

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream


Ever since I got my ice cream maker, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making a vegan ice cream. This ice cream is so creamy you would never ever know it is dairy free. Mark didn’t believe me. I liked it better than most ice creams I have ever had, because it was a bit lighter and didn’t give my stomach that heavy feeling after I ate it, like many ice creams can. I also really loved how easy this was to make. Basically no work at all. A lot of people are hesitant to bake and cook with coconut milk for fear the coconut flavor will outshine the other ingredients. There is relatively no coconut flavor from the milk, so it doesn’t over power the taste of the pumpkin or the spices.

Each spoonful of this ice cream actually tastes just like a perfect bite of crustless pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top. I can’t recommend enough using fresh pumpkin puree if you can. If you can’t some good quality canned organic pumpkin puree will do.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
adapted from So Good and Tasty

1 – 14 ounce can organic coconut milk (full fat, not light)
1 cup unsweetened organic almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup organic pure cane sugar (coconut sugar, palm sugar or sucanat, also work great)
1 1/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree (you can use canned if you don’t have fresh, but fresh is much tastier)

Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk to combine well. Let chill for about an hour in your fridge. Once it is thoroughly chilled, follow instructions for your ice cream maker.

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Gluten-free Apple Crisp

NOTE: I posted an updated version of this recipe – here! The new version is still gluten-free but it is also vegan and refined sugar free!

This is my Mom’s recipe, she is an incredible baker. My Dad does most of the cooking and my mom does all of the baking. Every Fall she whips up a pan of this just for me, with the freshly picked apples from the tree in their yard and it is the best. She made a big pan of it for dessert for the big dinner I made last night. This is what Autumn tastes and smells like! This recipe is super simple, I have made it a couple of times myself, though somehow it is never as good as when my mom makes it.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

4 cups of peeled and sliced apples (4 med)
2/3 – 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free flour (your favorite all-purpose will work perfectly)
1/2 cup certified gluten-free oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter softened

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Grease a square 8″ x 8″ pan. Place apples in pan.
Mix remaining ingredients cutting butter in to make crumbly consistency.
Sprinkle over the apples and bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm topped with fresh whip cream or your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Gluten-free Apple Crisp

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