Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

A fellow Paleo friend shared this recipe with me last week.  When I first read the recipe I was a bit skeptical. I honestly didn't think it would be possible to make a good tasting spinach artichoke dip WITHOUT using mayo and cheese! I already had some raw cashews on hand so I was ready for the experiment.  I'm all about healthy eating right now so I was anxious to try it.  

The results?  It was pretty darn good!!! I first tried eating it with cucumber slices (because corn chips are not Paleo or good for you) but it just wasn't the same.  I needed to splurge a bit and dip with some good, salty chips. We have to cut ourselves a little slack, right? Hey, at least the spinach dip was healthy!  

The cashew cream was super easy to whip up with a food processor and I'll definitely be making this again soon.

Thanks for the recipe, Katie!!!


Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip (Paleo and Vegan)
Source: Paleo Spirit

Ingredients

- 2, 10 ounce boxes frozen, chopped spinach
- 2, 14 ounce cans or jars of artichoke hearts
- 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil (I used extra)
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 or more garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 t. sea salt
- 1 t. onion powder
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1/4 - 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 - 2 c. (approximate) cashew cream*

Instructions

1.  Defrost the spinach and squeeze out the excess water. Set aside.
2.  Drain and roughly chop the artichokes.
3.  Saute the onions in the olive oil until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
4.  Stir in the chopped artichokes, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne and heat through.
5.  Add in the spinach and lemon juice and stir until heated through.
6.  Stir in the cashew cream*.

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*How to Make the Raw Cashew Cream

Ingredients

- 1 c. raw cashews (whole cashews, not pieces)
- fresh, filtered water

Instructions

1.  Rinse the cashews well, place in a bowl with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Cover the bowl and soak the cashews for a MINIMUM of two hours but preferable overnight.
2.  Drain the cashews, rinse under cold water and place in a food processor with 3/4 c. of fresh, filtered water. Process on high for several minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides, until you have a very creamy texture. You can add up to 1 c. of water, depending on the consistency you like.

Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 c. raw cashew cream.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Guilt Free Chocolate "Ice Cream"

My kids love eating ice cream after dinner. They don't have it too often around here as we try to keep it as a special treat. While we were eating dinner, I told the kids we were going to have some "healthy ice cream" tonight and they were so excited and all for it!  

We've made "ice cream" before out of frozen bananas but this recipe has a little different twist. Adding in some almond butter and cocoa powder for a chocolate version.

The kids were anxious to help create this concoction and their bowls were completely empty within minutes!


Kid tested...mom approved!!!



Guilt Free Chocolate "Ice Cream"
Source: www.isavea2z.com

4 or 5 frozen bananas
1 T. almond butter
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. (or more) coconut milk

Cut up bananas and freeze them overnight or longer. Put the frozen bananas into your food processor and mix until you see finely shredded banana pieces. Add almond butter, cocoa powder, and 1 T. coconut milk.  Add in more coconut milk until it's the consistency you want. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Healthy Spaghetti

I discovered something new tonight....spaghetti squash. Why have I never cooked with this before?!?! It was so easy to prepare and once it's fully cooked, it just peels off in strands that look just like spaghetti.  It definitely holds true to it's name SPAGHETTI squash.

So tonight I gave it a try, not sure of what to expect. Spaghetti squash has a naturally buttery flavor and the texture completely fooled my taste buds.  I did not miss the standard, highly processed, pasta noodles that I would normally serve with spaghetti sauce. I loved it and can't wait to find other recipes to use this wonderful squash in!


This is what it looks like after it's been roasted.  I took a fork and the "spaghetti" strands just flake off.


It only takes a couple minutes to get all the strands out and onto your plates.  Then top with your favorite spaghetti sauce and be prepared to be fooled.  What a great meal! I'm so excited I discovered the spaghetti squash!


Healthy Spaghetti
Source: Adapted from www.isavea2z.com

1 lb. hamburger or sausage
Jar of spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice spaghetti squash lengthwise down the center, remove seeds and roast cut-side down for 40-45 minutes.  (You'll know it's done if you can easily poke your fork into it.) Flip cut-side up when roasting is complete and allow to cool slightly before harvesting strands with a fork by scraping with the grain until the squash is cleaned.

Brown hamburger or sausage and drain grease. Add your favorite spaghetti sauce and season with extra Italian seasoning to your liking. Heat through.

Serve warm sauce over the spaghetti squash.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies


For the last week and a half, I'm proud to say that I've cut out 90% or more of processed foods from my diet. I've noticed great results not only on the scale, but more importantly in my energy level! I've been eating lots of proteins, veggies, fruits, raw nuts, etc. and it's amazing how full I feel throughout the day now.  For instance, instead of sugary cereal, I've been eating eggs with spinach for breakfast. If I get hungry after lunch, I'll snack on some nuts or fruits/veggies and it easily gets me through until dinner time. I've been baking a lot with almond flour and coconut flour as well as making yummy smoothies with organic frozen fruit, bananas, a little honey, and almond milk.

Every now and then I will have a craving for something sweet and that's when I'll grab one of these. I've experimented with several Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipes and this is by far my favorite! They taste great right out of the oven and also freeze well. I'll make a batch, eat one, and put the rest in an air-tight container in the freezer so I can grab one here and there throughout the week.

My daughter will usually help me make these cookies and I had to laugh the first time we made them.  I told her we were making "Healthy Cookies". When I went to pull them out of the oven she said, "Those don't look like cookies!!!!" So don't let the looks of them fool you. They taste great AND are good for you!


Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 T. Coconut Oil, melted
2 T. Honey
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 T. unsweetened almond milk
1 c. blanched almond flour
1 1/2 T. coconut flour
1/4 t. Celtic sea salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 c. high quality chocolate chips (I've been using 1/2 dark chocolate and 1/2 carob chips to make them even healthier)

Preheat oven to 350. 

Beat wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl.  Mix dry with wet and fold in chocolate. 

Line cookie sheet with parchment and scoop rounds tablespoons onto cookie sheet. 

Bake 9-10 minutes. Cool and store in air-tight container or freeze. Makes 10 cookies.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Roasted Asparagus

Here's a great veggie to make in the winter while there's 7+ inches of snow covering the grill on your back deck.  Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies and this is a super easy, delicious way to prepare it in the oven.

I've been dreaming of Spring lately. Clear blue skies....warmer weather and nice walks outside to get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. Once the weather warms up, this is also a great way to prepare asparagus and throw it on your grill.




Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients
  • Asparagus, as much as will fit on your rimmed baking dish
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking dish with tin foil or parchment paper.
  3. Snap the cut ends off all the asparagus and place on the baking dish in a relatively single layer.
  4. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. 
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with a spatula just to evenly coat all the asparagus.
  6. Put in the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. 
  7. Remove from pan and serve immediately. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

All-American Meatloaf

I made meatloaf for dinner last night and everything inside of it was healthy! I told you I'm on a health kick. I was a little skeptical when I first read the recipe and noticed that I would be using cauliflower instead of bread crumbs! However, it turned out great and my kids even liked it. (I kept the cauliflower part a secret...but they had no clue! :)


This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare, but it made enough for 2 or more meals.  So tomorrow I will pair it with a different veggie and dinner with little be on the table within minutes.  It feels good knowing I am feeding my family food that is healthy.


All-American Meatloaf
Source: Living Paleo for Dummies by Melissa Joulwan

1/2 c. Cave Man Ketchup (recipe below)
1/2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. honey
1/2 head cauliflower
2 t. coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 t. coconut aminos (substitute for soy sauce)
1/4 t. hot pepper sauce
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 c. fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1/3 cup)
2 lbs. ground beef

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix the Cave Man Ketchup with the vinegar and honey; set aside.

2. Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems, and then place in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is the texture of fine breadcrumbs, about ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. Place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. To the cauliflower, add the eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, coconut aminos, hot pepper sauce, coconut milk, and parsley. Mix until combined, and then add the cooked onions and garlic and ground beef; mix well.

5. Pat into a meatloaf pan with a perforated bottom, or pat into a loaf shape with your hands and place on a roasting rack set on a baking sheet to catch drippings. Brush the loaf with half of the ketchup glaze; bake for 45 minutes.

6. Brush with the remaining half of the glaze and continue to bake another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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Cave Man Ketchup

One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/3 c. water
2 T. cider vinegar
2 t. honey
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of allspice

1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

2. Cool the ketchup to room temperature before using. Transfer to a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator.