Raw Healthy Pumpkin Banana “Shake”

This is super healthy and tastes great.    Perfect flavor combination with the canned pumpkin and the “Pumpkin Pie Spice” for the upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving holiday to entice picky children yet with all the healthy nutrition and non dairy aspects parents love.   This is naturally sweet on its own, but you can add a little bit of sugar, honey or stevia for added sweetness.  I utilized a few “light coconut milk” cubes to add some healthy fats give  a nice frothy rich milkshake feel to a “raw” shake.  I finished it off with some sweet nutmeg spice and chopped walnuts sprinkled on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 “light coconut milk” cubes or 1/2 cup unfrozen coconut milk (coconut milk frozen in an ice cube tray)
  • 1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin (I used Trader Joes brand from last year)
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (I used Almond Breeze)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin Pie spice, couple shakes to taste (I used Trader Joe’s brand or you can make homemade)
  • stevia,  a bit of honey, sugar to taste (I didn’t need any)
  • Optional : top with  sweet nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice and chopped wlanuts

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients except sweetener in a high speed blender
  2. Taste and add sweetener if necessary
  3. Pour into two glasses and top with sweet nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and chopped walnuts
  4. Serve and enjoy

 



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Basic Green Drink Recipe for 1

 

This is my basic “go to” recipe for my green drink I make in my high speed blender a couple times a week.  Great for beginners.  I like this recipe because the ingredients are easy to find, store and blend together in a snap.  There are a lot of “extras” you can add, or variations you can do with  this basic recipe which I will be going over here in the future.  I think adding in a a few basic “green drinks”  made for just one person is an simple quick starter item to add if your starting a healthy diet.  Just add in a couple of times a week if your just beginning out, and then start getting more creative.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped Dino (also called Tuscan)  kale
  • 1 small apple or 1/2 of a large apple,  sliced, skin on (your choice)
  • Half to one whole banana (I use frozen banana slices for a colder drink)

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vita Mix) for a minute or two, until well blended.

Optional: (you can add a small scoop of vitamin fortified “Greens” powders, there are many on the market, I use Green Vibrence, Vital Scoop, ect.  There are many on the market at Whole Foods or any supplement or vitamin store.

Drink and Enjoy

This drink is filled with lots of nutrition and less than 200 calories if using unsweetened Almond Milk, and around 230 with an added greens powder

 

 



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Curried Mango Ginger Chutney

Yay!  I am so happy with this  delicious and healthy recipe I came up with on the fly last night.  I was craving Indian food and had been ignoring this  lonely little mango I  purchased last week that I knew was going to go bad if we didn’t eat it pretty soon.   I  have been seeing quite a few recipes with mango being used in chutneys or as an interesting accent to modern Indian cuisine.  A quick internet search for mango chutneys resulted in several recipes, but they all  had an ingredient list that called for more than just one little mango.  I took the best of the many recipes that I found (this one recipe by Alton Brown being my favorite) and reduced it down in ratio so my one little mango would work fine.

This chutney would go great with white fish,  whole roasted chicken, chicken breasts, and probably even pork.  If you reduced the “heat” (chile flakes) I bet kids would love this with healthy chicken tenders.    Could also go well with all types of vegetarian or vegan Caribbean, Indian or African dishes.  I would even serve with goat cheese on crostini or with crackers.  I will be trying many variations of with lots of dishes in the future and put the links as I do them in this post.  Last night I didn’t feel like running to the store to get fish, so  I marinaded organic chicken breast in an easy Indian spiced marinade for an hour.

Lastly this is GREAT for cancer patients going through chemo.  I loved bright and spicy Indian chutneys and spicy food with curries when I was undergoing chemo.  The bold flavors really cut through the yucky chemical taste chemo can leave.

 

Serves 4 as a side to a main dish,  Store in an airtight container for 7 days up in the freezer for up to 2 months

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup grade B (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • Chopped 1/2 of a red bell pepper (optional)
  • a quick grate of lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the mango away from the pit and roughly chop the flesh
  2. In a separate bowl combine water, cider vinegar, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice,  optional lemon zest and set aside
  3. In saute pan heat oil over medium heat and add the chile flakes and toast just to flavor oil
  4. Keep heat at medium, and add red onions until they begin to sweat and get soft
  5. Add ginger and if using, the optional red pepper and saute for 1 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the mango and cook for 1 minute
  7. Add the mixture in bowl to pan and stir to combine
  8. Bring the mixture to a slight simmer, reduce to low and stir frequently
  9. Season with a fresh ground sea salt and white pepper (optional)
  10. Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered so the liquid can evaporate and reduces into a thick coating over the fruit. Aprox 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!  Let me know how you use it and I’ll add it to the notes here.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Coconut Curried Chickpeas

By all my recent Facebook posts and photos one might easily imagine I am some major chickpea fan.  It seems like lately I’ve been putting chickpeas in everything.  The truth is  I only recently made chickpeas from scratch for the very first time.  I, for the first time ever, did the whole “soaking overnight and then finishing  on the stove” thing.  After eating chickpeas made from scratch I have a whole new appreciation for this little ingredient, which by the way, I had never really liked at all (except for pureed in hummus) prior.

I have heard the argument that there is really no difference between soaking/cooking peas yourself or just buying them ready to eat in a can, but my taste buds and “brain” don’t believe that to be true At all.  I find chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked from scratch can have really amazing flavor and texture which I find totally lacking in canned chickpeas.  I love  cooking them to just barely  “el dente” after soaking them over night and then sauteing them in a variety of herbs, spices and sauces.

I came up this really healthy and tasty little curry dish on the fly the other day,  and it tasted amazing!  You can use canned chickpeas, but I highly recommend, if you have the time and don’t mind the planning, utilizing chickpeas made from scratch.  This is great to make ahead snack/dish and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of day.  This reheats well in the microwave.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cooked chickpeas or 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil or your choice)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of cayenne (to your desired “heat”, I used 2 tsp because I loved hot spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry
  • 4 coconut milk cubes or 1/3 cup lite or regular organic coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat until hot
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add onions and carrots and begin to saute
  4.  About 2 minutes in, add the garam masala, cayenne and curry and mix in well, allowing the flavors to infuse in well with the carrots and onions.  About 3  minutes or until the onions soft and carrots with still a bit of crunch.
  5. Add chickpeas and saute  a couple minutes until heated through anl flavors well distributed to chickpeas
  6. Add tomatoes and stir a minute or too, again until ingredients heated through and flavors well distributed
  7. Finish by adding coconut milk “cubes” or or coconut milk and stir until heated through  brought to a slight simmer or slightly “steaming”
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Can be eaten alone, in a roti, or as a side dish

 

 

 



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Healthy Chocolate Almond Butter “Milkshake”: Vegan or Organic Dairy

This shake is packed with protein and and healthy fats.  Super fast, easy to make, filling and great for recovery after working out.  I used almond butter because I like its flavor better than peanut butter, but you can substitute peanut butter if that’s what you prefer.  For me this is super “decadent” tasting, so I make a batch and split it into 2 servings of 8 ounces each.  Works out to about 210 calories each with over 25 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my vitamix) until well blended.
  • Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder on top
  • Serves 2.  Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 



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Slow Cooker Indian Curried Chickpeas (Super Healthy!)

 

This is a super healthy, slow cooker version of curried chickpeas made from scratch with the dry beans. Curried chickpeas is one of my favorite snack foods on the planet!   I call this recipe “Indian Comfort Food”.   Cook up a big batch of this and then store in your fridge for a fast quick snack or meal on the go.  Tastes awesome  topped with chopped cilantro and red onions, or cooled with an organic Greek yogurt or healthy cashew cream.  Some people love these served as the main protein in a Middle Eastern wrap dish.

I have been on quite the Indian food kick lately.  That’s a good thing because Indian food has a flavor profile filled with lots of yummy  spices and aromatics which are packed with nutrition, cancer and disease fighting properties.   With a slow cooker you just take the dried beans or peas,  throw in the additional ingredients, set the heat and timer, and your done.  Couldn’t be easier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tomato (optional) diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 3 green chilies (serrano, habanero, or cayenne) stems removed chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 cups of water
  • Optional:
  • a couple tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • low fat or non fat plain organic Greek yogurt or cashew cream
  • lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

  • Put the chickpeas, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chilies, spices and water into the slow cooker (I use a 3 1/2 quart cooker, but you can use are larger one if you like)
  •  You have two cooking options: Cook on “High” for the first 6 hours, stir, and then on “Low”  until the beans are cooked to your desired tenderness.  Or you can cook it on “Low” for 12  hours or until the beans are to your desired tenderness.
  • To serve, add the chopped cilantro and stir in a little Greek Yogurt or stir in some cashew cream to give the beans an added delicious little creaminess.

Serve and enjoy!   Keep a container for easy snacking in the fridge. These are so yummy, I know you will love this recipe.

 

 

 

 



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Roasted Carrots with Rosemary

I just love admiring carrots at the Farmer’s Markets, and they are one of the veggies that I consistently add to my cart at the grocery store.  They are super versatile and easy to work with.  They also have a long shelf life so even if I can’t use them right away, I know they will still taste great 5 days later.  Carrots are extremley rich  in Vitamin A and beta carotene as well as having natural anti inflammatory benefits.

On a funny note, my boyfriend is kind of obsessive compulsive, and for some reason,  has been currently obsessed with carrots for the past few months.  We live near a muti purpose grocery store with an amazing produce section, and lately he keeps coming home with bushels of carrots.  And when I say “bushels” he comes home with the whole “kit and caboodle” of the carrots: with the 2 foot long stems on them.  I tell him “You can have the long stems cut off buy the check out clerk or I’ll cut them off right now with some shears”.  But “NOoooooo” he does not want the long stems cut off until he eats them.  So basically we have what looks like a spider plant living in our fridge until he (the boyfriend) decides to eat them.  He  just loves eating them as snacks  while watching TV or working on the computer.  Lately when I go to the store,  he is always reminding me  “Don’t forget to get me some carrots, and only the real kind.  The kind with the stems”.  I have no idea why all of a sudden he has just become obsessed with eating raw carrots (with stems on, god forbid we cut them off first) all the time, but he is obsessed.  I’m not complaining since they are healthy, I just think its kind of funny or aka: weird. ( He will probably be very annoyed with me if he reads this.)

A few days ago my boyfriend came home with the above photographed,  multi colored carrots, and I thought they were way too pretty just to snack on raw, so I told him I would cook them.  He tried the cooked ones from this recipe and gave it a big thumbs up.

Ingredients:

  • Small bushel of carrots (Aprox 7 to 10) washed, greens cut to 1 inch from top of carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh or dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  2. Toss carrots, onion, and rosemary with olive oil.
  3. Lay out on a tin foil rimmed baking pan
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for aprox 40 minutes until carrots are browned and soft enough to pierce through with a fork



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Raw Coconut Banana Chai Spiced “Shake” (Vegan, Raw)

I love healthy smoothies. and I’ve been tooling around for years coming up with all different flavors and ingredients.  I thought I would share my new favorite.

My two favorite thickeners are coconut “cubes” (just coconut milk frozen in an ice cube tray) and frozen banana slices.   I also like to have the following items in my freezer at all times, frozen pureed fruit, almond milk, coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato purees, and wine (yes I even freeze leftover wine to make cubes for sautes).

The frozen coconut cubes and the bananas both give a really creamy depth that can make almost any  smoothie taste like a “real” shake made with ice cream.  When I am craving something sweet like soft serve ice cream I pop  a bunch of frozen and unfrozen banana slices with cinnamon and nutmeg into the high speed blender to make a bowl of  creamy goodness, which you would swear is made with real cream.

So imagine my “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this” moment a couple of weeks ago when “The Diva Dish”  blogger posted a recipe for a “Coconut Vanilla Chai Milkshake” , containing lots of ingredients I usually use in smoothies.  I embedded the link to “The Diva Dish”  recipe as well, but posted my own version with a few alterations here.  Thanks Diva!

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (regular or low calorie… I used low calorie)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 coconut milk ices cubes
  • 1 tsp ginger (fresh or powdered)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp allspice or pumpkin pie spice

Optional Add Ins or Exchanges:

  • For a much richer and creamier shake use 1 cup coconut milk instead of almond milk
  • For a healthier drink with protein add in 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. I use Tera’s Whey from Whole Foods
  • For more  Omega 3’s and antioxidants 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds or White Chia Seeds
  • To make a little sweeter add some  liquid stevia, powdered stevia or certified organic agave nectar
  • Reduce  coconut/almond milk or add more bananas for a thicker shake, or add more coconut/almond milk for a less thick shake

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender or Vita Mix until creamy.  Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Enjoy




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Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf

I first made this pilaf with chef Rebecca Katz , author of the “Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, during a cooking class  of hers I attended last February at the Draegers Cooking School.  The photo above  was taken at that class. The pilaf was served with orange citrus chicken and kale with sweet potato.

I was only recently introduced to quinoa a few years ago,  and this is my favorite  recipe.  Quinoa is a really great source of protein, as that  it is a “complete” protein, containing all the essential amino acids we need to get through our diet.

I love Middle Eastern and Northern Africa flavor profiles, and they  work especially well with quinoa. This dish would be a great side to my North African Lamb Chops recipe.  The cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric spices take me back to the first time I ever tried Moroccan food when I was young.

I make this all the time, because its fast, easy, and a great snack to make ahead and keep in the fridge. I used carrots, fennel and yellow crook neck squash in this particular preparation, as that those were the veggies I had on hand today, but this recipe tastes especially good with toasted almond slices, onions and raisins.  To really brighten up the final product, I squeezed half a lemon on it and sprinkled a little fresh mint. Chef Rebecca was kind enough to give me permission to to reprint this recipe in full.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Thanks Rebecca!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallots finely diced
  • 1 medium size fennel bulb
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup dry organic quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 3/4 cups of filtered water or vegetable stock
  • sea salt to taste
  • Optional: 1 yellow crook neck squash
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint or parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the shallot, fennel, carrot, and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally with a spoon for about 3 minutes until the vegetables start to sweat.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and cardamom, then stir in vegetable stock or filtered water, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil
  3. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  4. If you decided on using the crook neck squash: saute the squash in olive oil over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes until tender.  Set aside until quinoa is done cooking
  5. Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with a fork, then add the optional squash and parsley or mint
  6. Do a quick taste and if you want, add a quick squeeze of lemon juice to add some acid or “amp” up the flavor
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Will stay fresh stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days
  • Nutrition Per Serving:  Calories: 270; Fat: 10 grams; Carbohydrates: 39 grams, Protein: 8 grams
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