appetizer

roasted poblano soup

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in appetizer, featured, soups, vegetables | 0 comments

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This soup is AMAZING! And so is the weather this week! Could spring finally be upon us?? It’s time to thaw, so I’ve moved my computer outside several days this week to soak up the sun and boost my vitamin D levels. I laugh at my dogs when the sun comes out after a few days of dark, cold weather. They waste no time in finding a sunny spot to nap. They instinctively know their need for sunshine, so I decided I would join them on the patio this week.

A patio is no better place to enjoy a meal when the weather is this nice. I had a couple of poblano peppers in my fridge that needed to be used.  With a slight chill in the air when the wind blows, a warm soup was in order. I came up with this roasted poblano soup with sweet potatoes, and it turned out perfectly.

 

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To start, I broiled the poblano peppers in my toaster oven for about 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

 

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I transferred them to a paper sack and closed it with clothes pins while I prepared the remaining ingredients for the soup.  The steam in the enclosed bag loosened the skin on the peppers, so I can easily remove it before adding the peppers to the soup.

 

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While the peppers were preparing, I removed the skin and cubed the sweet potatoes before transferring them to a saucepan. I added two cups chicken broth to the saucepan and boiled the sweet potatoes in the broth. I covered the saucepan and let the sweet potatoes cook in the broth until tender.

 

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While the peppers and sweet potatoes were cooking, I chopped ½ purple onion, ½ jalapeno, and three cloves garlic.  I sautéed the onion in one tablespoon coconut oil until translucent and then added the jalapeno and garlic and sautéed several minutes more.

 

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I removed the poblano peppers from the brown bag, and using my fingers, sloughed off the skin.  I chopped the peppers before adding them to the sweet potatoes and broth. Next, I stirred the onion mixture, salt, pepper, and cilantro into the broth and thoroughly heated all the ingredients together.  I transferred the soup to the Vitamix, covered it with a lid and towel, and blended on high for a minute.  I poured the pureed soup back into the saucepan, added a couple tablespoons of canned coconut milk, and stirred it in the soup before serving.  This recipe is easily doubled and tastes just as good reheated the next day.

 

roasted poblano soup
Author: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ purple onion, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk
Instructions
  1. On a baking sheet, broil the poblano peppers for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Transfer the broiled peppers to a paper sack, close, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. In a covered saucepan, boil the sweet potatoes in chicken broth for 15 minutes, or until tender.
  4. In a saute pan, saute the onion in coconut oil for five minutes or until translucent.
  5. Add jalapeno and garlic to the saute pan with the onion, and saute for several minutes more.
  6. Remove the poblano peppers from the paper sack, slough off the skin with your fingers, and chop.
  7. Add the chopped poblano peppers, the onion mixture, salt, pepper, and the cilantro to the saucepan with the sweet potatoes and broth.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a Vitamix or other blender, cover, and blend on high for 1 minute.
  9. Transfer back to the saucepan, and stir in the coconut milk.
  10. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving if desired.

 

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creamy sun-dried tomato basil soup

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in appetizer, soups | 0 comments

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Baby it’s cold outside.  And I just can’t seem to get warm. I’ve been stuck in my house for four days due to the recent ice storm that rolled through Dallas last Thursday night.  At first, I was excited to have a few days to snuggle up with the kids and to have an excuse to take some time off and do pretty much nothing.  But I found that in addition to doing pretty much nothing, I did a whole lot of eating.  All I’ve wanted to do is curl up under a mountain of blankets with something warm to eat.  When it’s cold and dreary outside, I could literally eat (or drink) soup for every meal.

Years ago, I asked a holistic nutritionist to give me a set of recommendations specific for me, and he listed having warm foods and drinks to balance my cold and high strung nature near the top of his list.  Heat is a natural relaxer for muscles and the mind, which is why a hot bath and warm mug of something without caffeine does a great job calming you down and preparing your body for sleep.  In fact, heat is the best natural muscle relaxer and one I use regularly for tight muscles in my back and shoulders.

Speaking of sleep, our bodies want more of it during winter months.  More sleep and more calories.  (Yep, that just about wraps up my cravings at the moment.)  The cool thing about the human body is that it’s a lot smarter than we give it credit for – it innately knows exactly what it needs.  When we have cravings, it’s important to listen and meet those needs with the healthiest choices possible.

Reasons we crave warm foods during winter:

  • Warm foods heat up our body temperature from the inside out.  When it’s freezing outside, our bodies need all the help they can get to maintain the optimal temperature.
  • Warming our bodies takes a lot of energy!  So we need some extra calories and nutrition in the form of hearty and nutritious root veggies, greens, meats, healthy fats, and probiotic foods during the winter.
  • Our bodies specifically crave carbs not only to meet the extra calorie requirement but to also give us a boost of natural endorphins and the happy neurotransmitter serotonin to battle the winter blues.
  • Warm foods are grounding for our bodies.  They give us the support we need during the ups and downs of winter weather.
  • Our immune systems need that extra boost from warm bone broths and cooked foods packed with vitamin C and zinc like garlic, onions, and leafy greens such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

Healthy winter foods to serve warm and satisfy your cravings:

  • Starchy (carb) vegetables:  pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, and beets
  • Non-starchy vegetables:  garlic, onion, celery, cauliflower, artichokes, and leeks
  • Greens:  Brussels sprouts, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, kale, Belgian endive, fennel, radicchio, escarole, and frisee
  • Healthy fats:  olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, coconut milk and cream, coconut, nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs, and meats
  • Protein:  eggs, meats, nuts, and seeds
  • Homemade bone broth
  • Herbs and spices
  • Creamy probiotic foods like kefir and yogurt or cultured vegetables like sauerkraut

A few tips for preparing healthy warm foods this winter:

  • Spice it up!  The temperature of food is not the only thing that warms your body.  Warming spices like cayenne, chili pepper, chipotle chili, cumin, curry blend, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, mustard, and anise also heat your body form the inside out.
  • Make your own bone broths for soups and stews to give your body an extra immune system boost and to benefit for your gut health.  Place bones in a large stock pot and cover with water.  Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and simmer over low heat for at least a day.
  • Add a small amount of healthy fat in the form of olive, coconut, or sesame oil to your soups and stews, roasted and stir-fried veggies, sauces, and dressings.  Or add an avocado or coconut milk or cream for a creamy texture.  Fat is a slow-burning fuel for steady energy.
  • Incorporate probiotics into your cooking in the form of kefir, yogurt, and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut to further promote a healthy intestine and immune system.  A healthy gut is the first step to a healthy immune system and body.  If you avoid dairy, try dairy free alternatives to kefir and yogurt made with coconut milk.  I like to substitute kefir for cream or buttermilk and yogurt for sour cream in dips, spreads, sauces, and dressings.  Just note that heating probiotic foods kills the good bacteria you’re seeking for your digestive health.
  • Throw in something green with every meal for the added vitamin C and zinc, which are both immune system boosters.
  • Drink warm beverages like warm lemon water or teas.  Many decaffeinated tea varieties contain warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.  I have a tea kettle constantly warming on my stove.  I also like the Cuisinart tea kettle for a convenient cup of tea.
  • Essential oils are a wonderful and healthy winter warming tool also.  Diffusing winter oils and adding them to baths and body creams can help with body chills, chapped lips, indoor germs, joint stiffness, and depressed moods.  Try these winter essential oils: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, black pepper, citrus oils like tangerine, orange, lemon, and grapefruit, pine, cedarwood, spruce, rosemary, peppermint, spearmint, myrrh, sandalwood, rosewood, and frankincense.

Last Thursday evening, on the night of the winter storm that covered Dallas with ice, my family enjoyed this creamy sun-dried tomato basil soup.  It hit the spot.  We all licked our bowls.  I served the soup with a few rolled up slices of roast beef prepared fresh at Whole Foods.

 

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To start, I soaked a 2-ounce package of sun-dried tomatoes in a half cup of water (or enough to cover the tomatoes) for at least 30 minutes.  Sun-dried tomatoes provide tons of vitamins A, C, and K plus a healthy dose of potassium and iron.

 

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Next, I chopped a small purple onion and three cloves of garlic.  I added two tablespoons of olive oil to a medium saucepan, and cooked the diced onion and garlic in the oil for about five minutes or until translucent.

 

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I added 2 ½ cups of chicken broth, the soaked sun-dried tomatoes with soaking water, sliced teardrop tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to the saucepan.  After bringing all the ingredients to a boil, I reduced the heat to medium-low, covered the saucepan, and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.

 

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I poured one 5.4-ounce can of Native Forest coconut cream into the large Vitamix container.  Then I added the contents of the saucepan into the Vitamix as well.  I covered the Vitamix with the lid and then a towel to prevent injury before turning it on low and working up to high speed.  I blended the soup in the Vitamix on high for about a minute.  I served this creamy sun-dried tomato basil soup garnished with pine nuts.

 

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creamy sun-dried tomato basil soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, appetizer
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2-ounce package of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in ½ cup water
  • 1 purple onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • large handful of teardrop tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons basil or handful of fresh chopped basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5.4 ounce can coconut cream
  • optional: garnish with pine nuts
Instructions
  1. Soak sun-dried tomatoes in ½ cup water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Chop the purple onion and cloves of garlic.
  3. In a medium saucepan, saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil for five minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes with the soaking water, teardrop tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Pour coconut cream into the large Vitamix container.
  7. Add contents of the saucepan, cover, and blend until smooth for at least a minute.
  8. Serve warm with optional pine nuts as a garnish.

 

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carrot ginger soup

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in appetizer, entree, soups, vegetables | 0 comments

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Boy, October came and went before I had time to blink twice.  I always think I am prepared for the frenzy that is fall, but looking back, I never am.  The culmination of crazy for my family is always the first weekend of November, as both of my children’s birthdays fall at this time…one day apart.

  • November 3rd, 3:42am – Kayley’s 14th birthday
  • November 4th, 4:30am – Ben’s 12th birthday

Two years and one day separates them.  Wow.  I’m always excited but never ready for them to turn another year older.  Kayley is frighteningly close to learning to drive – yikes! – and only one more year before we are officially the parents of two teenagers – yikes again!

We’ve tried every which way to celebrate their birthdays so that they each will feel special.  And man, when they were small, I would break my back trying to do it.  But in the last few years, we’ve settled into a nice tradition that both the birthday girl and birthday boy seem to be happy with.  We pick one night for our family to celebrate together (with separate celebrations with friends for each plus a few extra little surprises on their actual days).  Most years, our family consists of my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend.  The kids pick a location for dinner or a meal for me to make, I bake 2 cakes of their choosing, we sing to them both, and they open their presents together.  But this year is the first year we’ve celebrated with just the four of us – grandparents are enjoying two weeks in Italy, and my brother is getting MARRIED in Bora Bora!  Congratulations Cam and Brandi!  We love you!!

It’s a busy time for our family, and now that the weekend is over, I’m beat.  Whenever I start feeling this way, it is time for me to cleanse.  I try to detox once every season, and I find that after the whirlwind that is September and October, I have a couple of short down weeks at the beginning of November, after the kids’ birthdays and before Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities begin, when I can hunker down and focus on me.  Here are a few of the indications that I need to detox…

  • I don’t feel like myself
  • I feel tired
  • My temper is short for no reason
  • I feel overwhelmed
  • I’m not sleeping well
  • I feel “puffy”
  • A little too much sugar (even natural sugar) has seeped into my diet
  • My self-control with food is slipping
  • We are eating out at restaurants too much
  • I just need a good re-boot or re-start to get me back on track
  • I need a week to get my life back in order

Cleansing is so much more than just cleaning out my insides.  It is a mental and spiritual detox too.  After a week of cleansing, I feel like a new person.  Not only does my energy bounce back, but I feel really good “in my skin”.  I sleep better, and I have a better, more positive outlook on life.  When I cleanse, I take time out from EVERYTHING because it is so much more than food; it’s like hitting the reset button on my life.  I will fill you in next week on how my week of detoxing goes…

This carrot ginger soup is an example of a meal I will be eating this week.  The inspiration came from the Vitamix carrot ginger tofu recipe.  I don’t eat tofu, so I made some simple adjustments to the recipe to come up with a comforting winner.  And it’s beyond easy to make.  I don’t do hard while cleansing.  Everything I will be preparing this week will be a breeze.

 

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To start, I soaked a third of a cup of raw cashews in a 5.4 ounce can of Native Forest Coconut Cream in my large Vitamix container.  The healthy fat in cashews and coconut helps you absorb the fat soluble carotenoids in the carrots.  Plus, fat makes everything taste better, bringing out the natural flavors in the veggies.  Most of us grew up fearing the fat, but good fats are not only beneficial for your body, but they are also absolutely necessary for good health, especially brain health as the type of fat in coconuts has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory.  In addition, coconuts are packed with vitamins C, E, Bs, and magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and selenium.

 

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While the cashews were soaking in coconut cream, I steamed a one-pound bag of organic baby carrots, a small purple onion (peeled and cut up), and about 8 cloves of garlic (peeled) for about 30 minutes in my George Foreman electric steamer.  I love this appliance.  I can prepare freshly steamed veggies in minutes.  Carrots are naturally sweet vegetables.  I choose to steam them over roasting them for this recipe, so less of their natural sugar will caramelize and they won’t be as sweet.  The high fiber and nutrient content of carrots makes them a good cleansing food, and the sulfur-rich onion and garlic provide a key component for liver detoxification plus lots of other valuable vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids.

 

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I added 4 cups of chicken broth (either homemade or organic, free range from a box), sea salt, pepper, and about a 1 ½ to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped) to the Vitamix with the cashews and coconut cream.

 

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I added the steamed carrots, onion, and garlic to the Vitamix and firmly secured the lid.  I placed a towel over the top to avoid getting burned by any splatter and turned on the Vitamix on low first, and then moving to high.  I blended the ingredients into a soup for about one minute and then transferred it to a medium saucepan to thoroughly heat the soup over medium heat.  I plan to enjoy this carrot ginger soup with a simple green salad.

 

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carrot ginger soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, entree, vegetable
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound bag of organic baby carrots
  • 1 small purple onion, peeled and cut up
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • 1 5.4 ounce can Native Forest coconut cream
  • 4 cups homemade or organic chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in the coconut cream in the large Vitamix container.
  2. Steam the carrots, onion, and garlic for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and ginger to the Vitamix container.
  4. Add the steamed carrots, onion, and garlic to the Vitamix container.
  5. Firmly secure the lid on the Vitamix, and cover with a towel to avoid injury.
  6. Turn on the Vitamix on low, then moving to high, and puree the ingredients into a soup for about one minute.
  7. Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat thoroughly over medium heat.

 

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watermelon gazpacho

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in appetizer, featured, soups, vegetables | 0 comments

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Have you noticed how heavy a watermelon is?  Watermelons are filled with water making them the heaviest melon out there.  92% of a watermelon is water, so it’s not surprising that they are extremely good for hydrating.  This Texas heat and humidity in August is brutal, and for a girl like me who likes to stay active despite the extreme temperature, watermelon is a favorite.

Gatorade and other sports drinks are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and other fake stuff, so I’d much rather snack on hydrating foods and find natural ways to replenish fluid loss.  One of my rules of thumb is to always stay ahead of the game when it comes to hydration.  I’ve found that once I’m dehydrated, I’m done for – my energy is zapped.  There’s just no catching up when it’s 102 degrees and humid.  I have a 3-day tennis tournament this weekend, and even though it’s only Tuesday, I’m already working on building my hydration by drinking A LOT and preparing meals like this watermelon gazpacho.

 

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Before I get into all the reasons you should add watermelon to your summer diet, I want to stop and brag on my daughter for a second.  I am a happy mama because of so many of the choices she is making lately.  Even though Rob and I are what many would call healthnut-exercise junkies, we do not push it on our kids.  Neither of us were into food or fitness from birth, in fact we grew up to be sugar-loving non-gym goers.  It wasn’t until we hit 30 and got a taste of just how good our bodies feel when we eat right and exercise that we became so passionate about it.  We have definitely educated our kids about proper nutrition, and they see the way we choose to eat and take care of our bodies, but we don’t require them or force them to eat like we do.  (Of course, we would love it if they did!  But forcing them can backfire.) However, because we are the ones who buy the food, we don’t keep junk or sodas in the house, so that does cut down on the trash our kids consume.  Many people ask me “Do you let your kids drink soda?”  My answer is “Yes.”  When they are somewhere that a soda is offered, yes, they are allowed to drink it.  Do I cringe inside every time, yes, I do, but again, the decision to care about what they put into their bodies has to be theirs, we believe.  We can only lead by example and show them just how rewarding it is to fuel your body properly.

With all that said, back to Kayley.  This summer, she came home from camp, and after thinking about it and mulling it over with a good friend who happens to be a non-soda drinker, she decided she was done with sodas.  She has not had even ONE soda all summer.  And that’s not all.  She has decided she cares about what she puts in her body and has drastically cut back any junk and has joined Rob and I at the gym.  She has clearly made the connection that when she eats junk, she feels like junk and plays her sport like junk.  Kayley, from birth, has been kind of like Rob and I were from birth, which is a sugar-holic.  So, Rob and I are extremely happy for her that at the age of 13, she is making healthy choices for her body.  And feeling good is influencing other areas of her life too.  I about fell over after walking into her clean room and spotted her neatly made bed on a Sunday afternoon.  Just had to take a break from watermelon to share.

 

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Back to watermelons.  Watermelons are not only hydrating, they are also energizing.  The 92% water along with the high fiber, high electrolyte, and high natural sugar content serves as an excellent natural invigorator.  Watermelons provide 20% of your vitamin C for the day plus plenty of vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium.  And, that bright red color gives away the high amount of the powerful antioxidant lycopene found in this refreshing fruit.

I am instantly a fan of any recipe I can make in a blender, as like everyone else, I’m busy!  I don’t typically have time for meals that require a long preparation when it comes to everyday lunches and dinners.  I also don’t care to be in my kitchen cleaning a million dirty pots and pans, so a one pot or one blender recipe is my cup of tea.  This watermelon gazpacho is a sweet twist on the traditional gazpacho, making it one that is also kid approved.

 

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To start, I cut up about 8 cups of watermelon and added it to my large Vitamix blender.  I then cut up several other phytonutrient packed veggies – tomato, purple onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, garlic, red chile pepper, and basil leaves – and added those to the Vitamix as well.  Finally, I added a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt for added flavor before blending.  I saved about half a cup of cut up veggies to float on top as a garnish.

 

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watermelon gazpacho
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer, soup, vegetable
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ purple onion
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 1 red chile pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • large handful basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Cut watermelon, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, onion, and chile pepper into chunks.
  2. Reserve about ½ cup of the cut up veggies for a garnish, and add the rest to a large blender.
  3. Peel 2 cloves of garlic, and add to the blender.
  4. Add basil leaves, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt to the blender.
  5. Puree into a soup.
  6. Pour into soup bowls, and garnish with cut up veggies.
  7. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.

 

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jicama hummus

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in appetizer, condiment, featured, snacks, vegetables | 2 comments

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Let me tell you about jicama.  Like cauliflower, jicama is wonderful to use in recipes because it’s so versatile.  First of all, what exactly is jicama??  Jicama is a sweet, root vegetable or tuber, sometimes called the “Mexican potato” and looks similar to a turnip or radish.  It is technically a legume but because it is not the seed but the root, it does not have the anti-nutrients or carbohydrates of beans.  Its crisp white flesh can be eaten raw and is often added to salads, slaws, and garnishes, as it lends a refreshing taste and crunchy texture.  Kind of reminds me of a water chestnut.  Besides being so versatile in recipes, I love that jicama is mainly fiber, so it’s very low in calories (40 calories for a cup!), and because it is a veggie, you know it is packed with good nutrients too – especially vitamin C.

 

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I don’t really eat many beans or legumes.  Peanut butter is my one weakness, I will admit. I find beans difficult to digest and not a good protein source for my body.  Plus, being little seeds, they contain anti-nutrients that wreak havoc on my gut.  If you do choose to eat beans, soaking them overnight and slow cooking them throughout the day will help get rid of those anti-nutrients as well as make them easier to digest.

Besides peanut butter, I must also admit that chickpeas in the form of hummus have been know to be a weakness of mine – such a creamy and tasty snack – and you know how I feel about creamy foods.  They’re my favorites.  I’ve tried to substitute other fibrous foods for chickpeas in making homemade hummus like sweet potatoes and beets, but I think this jicama hummus will be my new go-to recipe.  It most closely resembles the real deal.

 

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I started by washing and peeling the jicama.  It was so slippery that I found it difficult, and the end result wasn’t all that pretty.  But, the peel is gone and that is what I wanted.

 

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Next, I chopped the jicama into chunks and placed it in my food processor.  I processed until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides several times.

 

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I added the juice of a lemon and an avocado, peel removed and cut into chunks.  The avocado brings the creaminess lacking in the jicama by itself, and the lemon cuts the sweet taste of the jicama while also helping the avocado stay a pretty green.

 

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I processed until smooth and wow – what a brilliant green color resulted!

 

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Next, I added garlic.  I am a garlic girl, so I added a bunch of it.  Garlic may make your mouth taste bad afterwards, but the good it does for your body is worth it.  The sulfur compounds in garlic are needed for the liver detoxification process, and the sulfer compound allicin, which is responsible for the strong smell and flavor of garlic, is one of the most potent antioxidants.  Plus, garlic is a known antibiotic and cancer fighter, especially when eaten raw.

 

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I added a few tablespoons tahini to achieve the robust flavor of traditional hummus, and processed until smooth and creamy.  Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds.

 

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Lastly, while the hummus was processing, I drizzled in the olive oil and gradually added the sea salt and cumin.  A little drizzle of olive oil for garnish and a sprinkle of paprika, and voila!  I dipped cucumber slices in the jicama hummus, but any chopped veggie or gluten free chip would be delicious.  I also plan to use this hummus as a spread and condiment with our dinner.

 

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jicama hummus
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer, snack, vegetable
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 jicama
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • paprika and olive oil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Wash and peel jicama, and cut into chunks.
  2. Place jicama chunks in a food processor, and process until smooth.
  3. Add juice from the lemon and the avocado, and process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add minced garlic and tahini, and process until smooth.
  5. While processing, drizzle in olive oil, and sprinkle in sea salt and cumin.
  6. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of paprika before serving.

 

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pecan crusted baked okra

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in appetizer, side dish, snacks, vegetables | 3 comments

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As far as I know, fried okra is mostly a Southern thing.  And since I do live in Texas, I happen to like it.  Okra comes in season right about now, so cartons of local organic okra are on display at the grocery store.  But I’m not big into frying my foods, which other than pickled is the only way I’ve eaten okra.  I don’t even own a fryer, and I don’t pan fry much either.  So I decide to give baking okra a try – and turns out it’s pretty darn good!!

 

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Okra is a green pod of a vegetable with lots of little white seeds tucked inside.  Also known as gumbo pods, okra is a very low calorie vegetable at 30 calories per serving and contains lots of fiber and vitamin A, actually the highest amount of the antioxidants beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein.  Okra also provides vitamins B, C, and K and minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, and manganese.  Honestly, I was surprised to learn how healthy these little green pods are – I’d kind of written them off as a pretty empty food.  I’m happy to report that is not the case.

 

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The first step in baking okra is to get the pecan crust ready.  I combined a cup of toasted pecans, a cup of coconut flour, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne in the food processor and processed until a homogenous grainy mixture formed.

 

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I transferred the pecan mixture to a large plate, and dredged each whole okra in the mixture, pressing down on each piece so as much coating as possible would stick.  I then placed the coated pieces of okra in a greased baking pan.

 

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I baked the okra for about 30 – 35 minutes, until they were good and crispy, and then let them cool before removing from the pan, so the pecan crust wouldn’t fall off immediately.  These passed the taste test – in fact, I think they turned out delicious!  I have to say I am surprised at how much I like them!  Pecan crusted baked okra makes an easy, healthy, and tasty appetizer, snack, or side dish for the summer.

 

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pecan crusted baked okra
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer, vegetable, side dish, snack
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound okra
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine pecans, coconut flour, sea salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor, and process together until an even grainy mixture forms.
  3. Transfer pecan mixture to a plate, and roll each piece of okra in the mixture, pressing the mixture into each piece of okra to coat.
  4. Grease a baking pan with coconut oil, and place each coated piece of okra in the baking pan.
  5. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until crispy.
  6. Cool slightly before removing from the pan and serving.

 

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