Breakfast, it’s for dinner too!

Standard

Sometimes, we crave things like breakfast at dinner time.  Here’s a quick Almond Flour Gluten Free Pancake recipe that is sure to please.  Add a side of fresh fruit and bacon (yes, BACON) and you are good to go!

Image

Almond Coconut Pancakes

Prep time:  5 mins

Cook time:  5 mins

Total time:  10 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill almond flour/meal 
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus a little for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon White Rice Flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare your cast iron skillet with the almond oil.  If you aren’t using a cast iron skillet, GET ONE.  They conduct heat better, once cured provide amazing flavor to food, and can be used for stove to oven dishes.
  2. Whisk your eggs in a medium-large sized bowl.
  3. Add your coconut milk and whisk together with eggs.
  4. Next add your almond flour and mix together.
  5. Then add your shredded coconut, white rice flour, baking soda and mix together.
  6. Lastly, add in your honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Mix together thoroughly.  The batter will be very thick.
  7. Turn the heat down on your pan, the pancakes cook slowly because of the thickness of the batter.
  8. Scoop the batter into the pan and spread it with spoon, careful not to pull the batter up from the pan.  Cook each side 2+ minutes, watch for burning, but also make sure the inside is cooked.
  9. To serve, sprinkle a bit on coconut on top and heated maple syrup.  
  10. ENJOY!

 

I love my butcher, and Winter Stew.

Standard

I met Dennis my butcher in 1995, we have an amazing relationship and I have not strayed from Carl’s Meat Market since the day we met.  From the crazy requests like “can you put those cute little caps on my crown roast of pork?” to “exactly what did they feed the organic cow that makes it Prime Organic vs Organic?” he’s always been patient, informative, funny and most of all honest.

Today, I wanted Chorizo Sausage.  Not any old Chorizo, but Spanish (not too spicy but enough kick to make you want more – you know that flavor, you have to try it one more time, it just keeps calling you back).  I also wanted the sausage without casing.  If you have had any of the dishes I prepare, you know I am disgusted by sausage casing.  It repulses me, and if I am forced to cook sausage with it casing, I will painstakingly remove the meat from the casing and toss it away.

Funny side note, today, when checking out at  Carl’s, a new young man waited on me (this was after a very long discussion on the various types of Chorizo Sausage Dennis and I had – a bystander would have thought we were in the process of solving the world debt crisis, when in fact we were simply discussing the different nuances this particular sausage has).  The young man held up my order and the conversation went like this.

Man:  “Is this all?  What else do you need?”

Me:  “Nope that’s it.”

Man:  “Really, that’s it?”

Me:  “Oh you’re new.”

Dennis:  “she’s a daily shopper, get used to her face.” (Hope that was a good – get used to her face)

And there it was.  I channel my old soul, my grandmother.  I shop every day. No matter what the season. No matter where we are. I shop every day.  I don’t pre-plan meals for the week.  I plan them every day.  Why?  Because on Sunday, I have no idea what the family will feel like on Wednesday.  What the dynamic will be.  What the weather will be.  I channel my grandmother because she was an amazing cook, and if you asked her in the morning what she was making for dinner (something that m kids drive me nuts over), she never knew, and rarely do I (exceptions are holidays and parties – and even then I switch it up a lot).  I think I love cooking so much because of the foundation my grandmother and her Italian heritage gave me; as well as my mother (who is as Irish as it gets) and her attempts to please my grandmother by cooking HER “gourmet” food.  These principals were ingrained in me.  I look to cook. I love to create.  I am not a baker, there’s a huge difference.  Some chefs like Leslie Myers (http://www.foodsensenow.com/) can do both.  That kind of creativity is beyond me, but I aspire to cook and bake like Leslie someday.

So back to the Chorizo Sausage and the amazing Winter Stew…..

Ingredients (all items used were organic and gluten free)

  • 2 parsnips – chopped fine
  • 4 carrots – chopped fine
  • 1 large white onion – chopped fine
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped fine
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds Spanish Chorizo Sausage (casing free)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 can small white beans drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups purple kale (torn into small pieces)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano for topping

Method

  1. In a large pot sautee the first 6 ingredients together for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender
  2. Add the tomato paste and stir
  3. Once combined add tomatoes and vegetable broth
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes
  5. While stew is simmering, in a separate cast iron skillet brown the sausage (you do not need any oil if you are using a “seasoned” skillet)
  6. Once browned, add sausage (including oil from the cooked meat), cooked brown rice, beans and kale to stew
  7. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until kale is tender
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. Serve and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Image

Lemon thyme slow roasted chicken

Standard

ImageImage

Cravings.

Cold fall afternoons and an early setting sun always set me up for some type of food craving.  I wanted slow roasted chicken like there was no tomorrow.  A quick stop at Carl’s Meat Market and Golden Harvest to purchase what I would need and I was on a quest to make slow roasted lemon chicken.  I rarely perfect a recipe on the first go around, but a homerun was hit last night. It’s so easy (don’t tell my mom, as I’m going to make it when we see her Thanksgiving weekend)!

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken legs and 4 chicken thighs with skin on
  • 3 tablespoon of EVOO
  • 3 unwaxed lemons (2 for slicing 1 for juice)
  • 1 bottle of white wine (1/2 cup for cooking, the rest for drinking) – I use a brand called Kitchen Sink, it’s inexpensive and quite tasty
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (if you have fresh use a whole handful)
  • 3 large garlic cloves sliced in chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • pre heat oven to 325
  • Put all the ingredients (except 2 sliced lemons) into a zip lock bag and mix well
  • Place into a heaving roasting pan – making sure the skin side of the chicken in facing up, top with sliced lemons, additional salt and pepper and top with an additional 1/4-1/3 cup of wine (you don’t want chicken to dry out).
  • Cover very tightly with foil and place in oven and cook for 1:45.
  • Remove the foil after 1:45; turn oven up to 400 and cook the uncovered chicken for an additional 45 minutes.  At this point, the skin on the chicken will be golden brown and the lemons will be caramelized.

Serve with…..

Roasted rosemary potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts…..and more WINE.

This was an amazing, relatively healthy (if your husband doesn’t eat the caramelized chicken skin and VERY EASY dinner to prepare.

Enjoy!

Soup is good food

Standard

Today is Halloween.

Today is cold.

Today I rode my bike.

Today I craved soup.

Image

Simple Hearty Pumpkin Soup

  • 3 cups Organic Vegetable Broth (you could also use chicken)
  • 1 cup red organic quinoa (previously cooked – I make 4 cups at a time to be used M-F)
  • 1 can (15oz) Farmer’s Market Organic Canned Pumpkin
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 1-2 cups grilled chicken cubed (this was left over from a previous meal – I always make extra)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Process

  1. bring broth and pumpkin to a boil, reduce to simmer
  2. add chicken and quinoa simmer for 5 min
  3. add spinach and kale simmer for 2-3 minutes or until tender
  4. add seasonings and serve

Breakfast super food? I think so!

Standard

breakfastMy new favorite breakfast!!

Tricolored quinoa, apples, bananas, nuts, cranberries, chia seeds, maca powder and warm almond milk.

So is Quinoa everything they say?  Read on….an except taken from The World’s Healthiest Foods.org

“Perhaps the most striking health benefit provided by quinoa is its overall nutrient richness. When the nutrient composition of this food is analyzed in depth, the results are unusual and striking. While quinoa can be eaten in the same way as a grain, or ground into flour like is so commonly done with grains, it lacks some important nutritional shortcomings of grains.

One of the shortcomings overcome by quinoa involves its protein content. Most grains are considered to be inadequate as total protein sources because they lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. The relatively low level of both lysine and isoleucine in the protein of grains is what causes these amino acids to be considered as the limiting amino acids (LAAs) in grains. In other words, these LAAs prevent grains from serving as complete protein sources in our diet. By contrast, quinoa has significantly greater amounts of both lysine and isoleucine (especially lysine), and these greater amounts of lysine and isoleucine allow the protein in quinoa to serve as a complete protein source.

In terms of fat content, quinoa once again overcomes some of the shortcomings of most grains. Since it takes nearly 350 calories’ worth of whole wheat to provide 1 gram of fat, whole wheat is not generally regarded as a significant source of fat, including essential fatty acids or heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (like oleic acid). By contrast, since it only takes 63 calories’ worth of quinoa to provide 1 gram of fat, quinoa is typically considered to be a valuable source of certain health-supportive fats. About 25% of quinoa’s fatty acids come in the form of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and about 8% come in the form of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA—the omega-3 fatty acid most commonly found in plants and associated with decreased risk of inflammation-related disease.

Neither quinoa nor any grains qualify as good vitamin E sources in our WHFoods rating system. However, in the case of quinoa, or rating system does not do full justice to the fact that quinoa contains significant amounts of certain tocopherols (vitamin E family members) largely absent from most grains. For example, one cup of quinoa provides 2.2 milligrams of gamma-tocopherol—a form of vitamin E that has been more closely associated with certain anti-inflammatory benefits in health research. Quinoa is also a good source of RDA nutrients like folate, copper, and phosphorus in contrast to whole wheat, which does not qualify as a good source in our rating system.

Yet another key mineral—calcium—is especially concentrated in quinoa in comparison to grains. On an ounce-for-ounce basis, quinoa provides over twice the amount of calcium as is found in whole wheat.

Quinoa is an equally impressive food in terms of its overall phytonutrient benefits. In many Central and South American countries, the leaves of the quinoa plant are valued for their betacyanin pigments, which provide some of their bright reddish shades. But even the seeds themselves can be phytonutrient-rich and can provide significant amounts of antioxidants like ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid.

The antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol are also especially plentiful in quinoa. In fact, the concentration of these two flavonoids in quinoa can sometimes be greater than their concentration of high-flavonoid berries like cranberry or lingonberry.

Considered in combination, these diverse nutrient benefits of quinoa give it uniqueness among grain-related foods. For us, this high overall level of nourishment provided by quinoa may qualify as its greatest health benefit.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Most of the quinoa studies that we’ve seen in this area have been animal studies. However, we believe that the preliminary indications for humans are very promising. Research has shown the ability of daily quinoa intake to lower levels of inflammation in fat (adipose) tissue in rats and in the linings of their intestine as well.

We’re not surprised at either of these results because a wide range of anti-inflammatory nutrients is already known to be present in quinoa. This list of anti-inflammatory nutrients includes phenolic acids (including hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids), members of the vitamin E family like gamma-tocopherol, and cell wall polysaccharides like arabinans and rhamnogalacturonans.

Somewhat more controversial in this anti-inflammatory nutrient list are the saponins found in quinoa. Saponins are the bitter tasting, water-soluble phytonutrients found in the outer seed coat layer of quinoa. (More specifically, the saponins found in quinoa are derived from hederagenin, oleanic acid, phytolaccagenic acid, and serjanic acid.) The quinoa saponins have been shown to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, soaking, boiling, and milling can reduce their presence, and, in general, this reduced presence is usually regarded as a good thing since it can make the quinoa much more enjoyable for most people to eat. In research to date, the relationship between and anti-inflammatory benefits of quinoa and saponin levels has yet to be clarified. However, even though more research is needed in this particular phytonutrient area, the list of anti-inflammatory nutrients in quinoa remains impressive.

Other Benefits

We have yet to see large-scale human studies on intake of quinoa and risk of type 2 diabetes or risk of cardiovascular disease. However, we would expect such studies to show significantly reduced risks. With respect to type 2 diabetes, quinoa simply has too many things in common with other foods known to decrease risk. At the top of the list here would be its fiber and protein content. Quinoa is a good source of fiber—one of the key macronutrients needed for health blood sugar regulation. It also provides outstanding protein quality, even in comparison to commonly-eaten whole grains. Strong intake of protein and fiber are two dietary essentials for regulation of blood sugar. Because chronic, unwanted inflammation is also a key risk factor for development of type 2 diabetes, the diverse range of anti-inflammatory nutrients found in quinoa also make it a great candidate for diabetes risk reduction.

Animal studies have already demonstrated the ability of quinoa to lower total cholesterol and help maintain levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). While we would expect these results in humans as well, we would also expect the anti-inflammatory nutrients in quinoa to help protect human blood vessels from inflammatory damage. Protection of this kind would also provide reduced risk of many cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis. We expect to see future, large-scale human studies demonstrating the benefits of quinoa for risk reduction in this area of cardiovascular disease.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in quinoa also make it a likely candidate for cancer risk reduction in humans. Given the preliminary animal results involving the digestive tract, risk reduction for colon cancer may turn out to be a special area of interest.

A final area of likely benefit involves decreased risk of allergy—especially for individuals who have adverse reactions to certain grains and seek practical alternatives. Already, several public organizations have recommended quinoa as a substitute for wheat whenever the avoidance of this gluten-containing grain is required. The low-allergy potential of quinoa—coupled with its relatively high digestibility—has also made it a food of special interest in the diet of children and toddlers.”

So maybe, before you pour that bowel of granola or oatmeal, you may want to consider QUINOA!

 

Looking for a different pre-ride breakfast?

Standard

This week, Jeff and I decided to simply remove all simple grains.  What does this mean?

We took out things like oatmeal, crackers, bread, cookies and muffins (we even removed all dairy and eggs).  Even though these items were gluten free, they are simple and just don’t pack the punch foods like quinoa and Amaranth can.  So on Sunday afternoon, I went ahead preparing loads of healthy “grab” food for the week.  This plan wasn’t done to loose weight, but to basically clean out our system from poor sources of carbohydrates and to help me further recover from two Ironman events in 8 weeks.

So, rather than my go to breakfast of oatmeal, raisins and coffee (I haven’t had any in two days);  I had 4 dates, 1/4 cup of mix nuts (walnuts, pecans and almonds) and 10 oz. of fresh juice (which consisted of 2 apples, 1 enormous carrot, 1 celery stalk, two slices of mango and a large piece of fennel).

My ride today is a super easy spin, so no major scientific data will be deduced.  But, I am eager to see if my “hunger” creeps in at the 1:30 mark.

Stay tuned.