Showing posts with label olive oil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label olive oil. Show all posts

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you're like me, you absolutely hate putting any kind of food to waste.  Leftovers must be given away, eaten or frozen for later.  My experience working in food has only increased my desire to never let anything edible go to waste.  The word edible, however, means different things to different people.  Some think that items like refined sugar, vegetable oils, junk food, processed foods, frozen meals, soft drinks, juices and conventional milk are edible.  To me, they only come up on my radar as "edible food like substances," items that never should be considered fit for human consumption.  It is the fresh and nourishing foods should never be wasted.  And so it kills me to throw away any kind of perfectly good food.  Lots of things like banana peels, veggie ends, avocado pits and red pepper seeds can be easily shoved into the compost bucket, but I like to salvage everything I possibly can.  This can be problematic because I hate throwing away burned food or cookies too, yet sometimes it's definitely necessary ;)  Cookie crumbles can be saved for ice cream topping later right?

In the past I have always put my scooped out pumpkin seeds in the trash.  I knew it was possible to use them for something, but had never tried to bother with the annoying orange stringys and was a bit daunted by the whole process.  Turns out using pumpkin seeds is way easier than I had ever realized.  I threw these together one day in an experimentation moment (this tends to happen a lot) and discovered that roasting seeds isn't so scary after all!

I've made these spicy seeds for a couple of times now and each time they are delicious!  I've used sunflower seeds, squash seeds from a butternut squash, and also store-bought pumpkin seeds.  In fact, the photo is actually of roasted squash seeds!  They are all so similar and work very well.

Mmm, naturally sugar-free, spicy and crunchy = the perfect snack!

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
    makes a delicious spicy snack for several people

    2 cups soaked fresh pumpkin seeds (from a pumpkin!)
    2 Tbsp Frank's Red Hot sauce
    2 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp black pepper

To prep your pumpkin seeds:
    1.  Open up your pumpkin using any method that makes you most comfortable.  I wash mine thoroughly and then cut it in half with a very sharp santoku knife.
    2.  Then pull out the seeds gently with your fingers.  If you're careful, you can get a lot of the seeds out string-free with this method.  Inside the pumpkin the stringies should still be attached.  Place the seeds in a small bowl and try to pick out as many strings as you can.
    3.  Cover the seeds with some lukewarm water and about 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt.  Soak overnight.  In the morning, drain the seeds (they will have sunk to the bottom and some left over strings will be on top) and separate any remaining stringies.

To make your spicy seeds:
    1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2.  In a small bowl, toss soaked seeds with hot sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix with hands to combine.  The sauce should cover the seeds and there shouldn't be much excess hanging out on the bottom of the bowl. If there is excess, or if the sauce doesn't fully cover the seeds, just add equal portions of hot sauce and olive oil, or more seeds, until the seeds are fully coated but with not much excess in the bowl.
    3.  Spread out seeds onto a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.  Stir seeds.  Bake for 7 more minutes or until seeds have crisped but have not burned.  This can happen easily so DON'T leave the kitchen!  When done, let cool and store in a sealed air-tight container.

These were definitely a hit with my family for Christmas.  They would also work as a great gift idea during any time of the year.  Who doesn't love a spicy crunchy nourishing snack?  They're a perfect introduction into healthy, real food, WAPF, and Primal eating for those who aren't quite there yet.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grain-free Pumpkin Lasagne And An Update

It's been a while since I posted. I am back at school and am busy.

Here's a lightening fast update:

1. I live in an apartment now, not a dorm and that means I CAN COOK my own meals!

2. This vegetable lasagne was one of my latest. It features layers of spinach, cabbage, onion, pumpkin, ricotta cheese, mozarella cheese, organic ground beef and fresh italian herbs.

"Lasagne" - Primal/grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, full of cheese and veggies and meat, complete with one side "ketchuped"
Here's a mini view of the kitchen - notice the saurkraut fermenting in the background!

3. The recipe is coming!

I miss blogging, but don't worry I am still here!
More frequent posts are hopefully in the near future :) Currently I am swimming in microbiology, genetics and several other fun classes.

❤ ♡ ❤ ♡ ❤ ♡

Friday, January 28, 2011

Grain-free Pumpkin Muffins.

My mom found this recipe over at Amy's Simply Sugar & Gluten-free blog sometime before Thanksgiving. The original recipe was submitted in her Slightly Indulgent Tuesday's carnival by another blogger. Unfortunately when my mom printed out the recipe, it didn't say who made them! My mom was adventurous and made some edits to the recipe (go Mom!) which were spot on. So here is her lovely delicious creation.

I cannot say enough of these muffins! They are incredibly moist and have great flavor and texture. She was kind enough to ship me a whole package of these muffins when I was away at school over Thanksgiving. I shared them with all my "not gluten-free" friends and they LOVED them. They couldn't even tell they were gluten-free, and EVERY SINGLE person asked for the recipe. After much waiting, here it is! My mom also served them at her own Thanksgiving feast she hosted and NO ONE knew that they were gluten-free. The plate disappeared. Obviously people enjoyed them :)

We currently have a whole bag of these at our house in the freezer. Whenever we need a muffin fix we take one out and pop it into the toaster oven to warm up. All it takes is ten minutes and you have a warm yummy muffin.  These freeze very well! This will definitely be my new "to-go-to" recipe when I need to make muffins. Which reminds me, I need to remake my Morning Glory Muffin recipe without the grains and the sugar!

Grain-free Pumpkin Muffins
    makes about 2 dozen muffins

    2 cups  blanched almond flour
    1 tsp  baking soda
    1/2 tsp  sea salt
    1/2 tsp  each: nutmeg, allspice, cloves
    1 cup  pumpkin puree
    3 real eggs - ours were large!
    1/4 cup  organic extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup  honey/maple syrup
    1 cup  chopped nuts (for topping)
    Optional add ins: raisins, coconut, chocolate chips for topping

To make your muffins:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tins with muffin liners.
  2.  Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, be sure to remove lumps.
  3.  Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5.  Pour batter into muffin tin, about 3/4 cup full for each.
  6.  Bake for 22-24 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

You simply MUST try these muffins! They will change your life they are so delicious! They are certain some nutritious muffins :) These also make a great protein filled snack and breakfast topping!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Carrot Rutabega soup

I really enjoy making soups, especially in the winter time. Soups can be easily packed with veggies, protein and nourishing fats, which is in my opinion, the perfect combination. To make this soup you will need an immersion blender, which if you have not invested in, I highly encourage you to do so. They are so easy to operate and are perfect for soups because they break up all the ingredients really fine and transferring to a blender or food processor is not an issue or too hot (don’t burn yourself!) My words of advice on your purchase – buy a blender with metal or guaranteed not to melt plastic. I have ruined an immersion blender before since the “foot” encasing the blade was made of plastic which came in contact with the bottom of my hot crockpot. Do not worry about spending a huge amount of money on one either. Purchase one made by a reputable brand and enjoy.

Topped with crispy baked onions and Paive cheese

This soup involves loads of roasted vegetables. The end result features a wonderful bright orange color! Also, this recipe does not make too much soup. Sometimes I feel like I am floating in soup after making a recipe, there will be too much leftovers to freeze. When I am look at a soup recipe I am always thinking – what if I do not care for the flavor once I make it? That is one positive to making a smaller pot of soup. With no leftovers, this will easily feed a hungry family of six, or a very very hungry family of four. In my house it is now only me and my parents, so we had about 1.75 quarts of soup left over; and our portions were not large.

Carrot Rutabega soup

1 rutabega, scrubbed, peeled, diced (mine had ~6” diameter)
1/4 vadalia onion, diced in strips

1 large clove garlic, peeled, cut into large chunks
1 small yellow onion, large dice
1 bag normal sized carrots, cut large ones in half – use less if yours are gigantic

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic (mine was from a jar)
3 good dashes red pepper flakes
1 15 oz can organic pumpkin – can use fresh if you have it!
4 cups chicken stock

1/2 stick real grass-fed butter
~1/4 tsp each: allspice, nutmeg, cardamom
~1/8-1/4 tsp cloves
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp oregano
1-1.5 tsp sea salt
~1/2 tsp black pepper

To make the soup:
1. In a large pot (this soup did not fill my 8 quart at all), heat olive oil on low-medium heat and add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Let it get to know each other, turn it down if the oil smokes or spices begin to burn.
2. With ingredient group #1, spray lightly with olive oil and toss in salt and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet and place in a 400 degree oven until rutabega is tender.
3. With ingredient group #2, spray lightly with olive oil and toss in salt and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet and place in a 400 degree oven until carrots are soft.
4. While the veggies roast, get out your immersion blender. Add the pumpkin and chicken stock to the pot and whisk together. Bring the soup up to medium heat, where it should bubble and simmer.
5. When the veggies are cooked, add carrots and onions to the pot. Puree right in the pot with the immersion blender. Add the rutabega. Stir.
6. Lastly, add spices, butter and water as needed (depending on how thick or thin a soup you desire). My soup was thick, full of pumpkin and orange goodness with bite sized chunks of rutabega.

The spices for this are not spot on. I think the soup needed another hour to simmer with the final components added in, so the flavor could absorb and disperse throughout. I had some of this soup with greek yogurt for breakfast this morning and I really enjoyed the flavor profile. It tasted fantastic. So my advice would be to make ahead and refridgerate, or make the soup in the morning and serve it for dinner that night. Also, be sure to add some protein to your meal. We did that by cutting up some turkey hot dogs and grating some Paive cheese on top. I also made some "eggs in a nest" - idea from Cara - served on the side for protein.

The soup on top of greek yogurt and banana peices!

Love orange soups? You should check out my Red Vegetable soup, and also my Orange Vegetable soup, for lack of better names! These soups are great because they are packed full of vitamins and they fill you up without being heavy or huge in calories. It’s perfect end for a long day at work, or coming from a walk in the winter cold. And as I learned this morning, it makes a great cold breakfast!

I will give you all a Christmas update hopefully soon. Also, I apologize that I never got recipe ideas for Christmas posted. Things got a little hectic on my end. Please don't forget about my giveaway - it's so exciting! I also have a surprise post for you, so stay tuned :)

Happy Frigid January temperatures (at least here in New England)!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Real Food Recents

Here are some snapshot of real food meals I've enjoyed recently. Eating nourishing food at college (or anywhere) doesn't have to be hard, you just have plan ahead and make it a priority.

Bananas, raw milk, chia seeds, raisins, nuts,
freeze dried assorted fruit, and this "trail mix."

A delicious salad - romaine, spinach, red onion, baked chicken,
olive oil, pomegranate balsamic, spicy pineapple pico de gallo
and red peppers and cucumbers.

I am thinking about making "Real Food Recents" a weekly part of this blog. I hope to inspire others to eat healthier food, while also emphasizing that it does not have to be difficult. My ideas can also (hopefully) spark new ideas in your own mind for creating nourishing meals. As readers, if you like this idea I would really appreciate your thoughts.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Grain-free Organic Basil Crackers

My mom is the cracker fiend. She loves crunchy things. She loves bready things. Not a very good combination for someone who is gluten free! I also love the idea of crackers, but sometimes I prefer not to eat any grains. Last summer I came up with a delicious cracker recipe and I've been making them for my mom ever since. These past few days I've been inspired (and urged by my mom) to make some more crackers, and I knew that I wanted to have a new and even easier cracker option. Today I bought another basil plant, and so I made some crackers.

I adapted Elana's easy rosemary cracker recipe. These crackers really are delicious! They are a perfect snack option when paired with some beautiful raw milk cheese, cold crispy cucumbers, homemade nutella or dipped in some goat cheese. Because they are made with almond flour, they are also relatively high in protein, which I love.

Basil Crackers
adapted from Elana's Pantry

1 cup blanched almond flour
3/4 cup unblanched almond flour (Or you can use 1 3/4 cup unblanched or blanched - does not really matter)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped basil
1 Tbsp Tuscan olive oil (olive oil infused with herbed spices)
1/2 tsp: celtic sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder
1 real egg

To make your crackers:
1. In a medium sized bowl, combine almond flour, spices, olive oil and egg. Fold together with a spatula until combined into a paste.
2. On a 13x17 baking sheet, move your cracker "dough" to the sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and roll to desired cracker-like thickness. Peel away the plastic wrap. I used a silicon baking sheet cover, so if you do not have one of these be sure to grease the pan or use parchment paper.
3. When the "dough" is all rolled out, take a pizza roller to cut the unbaked dough into squares. Make lines longitudinally and then across. You can add little fork holes for decoration, but that is optional. 
4. Bake in a 325 degree convection oven for 10-15 minutes or until crackers come together and are golden brown. Enjoy! Keep in the fridge for longer than 3 days or risk annoying mold!

I thought that the recipe didn't make much cracker, but it did fill up my cracker jar nicely. We will just have to see how fast they disappear! I ate some crackers tonight with my stir fried veggies, dipping them in the sauce; they hold up really well.

I gave them to my mom and dad to taste test and my mom loved them. My dad, who has the blandest taste buds ever (he can't handle any different taste or spicy food) declared that they were "strong." My mom and I died laughing!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Basic Dressing

A good salad dressing can sometimes be the one thing between you and a good salad. While I don't mind eating my salads "dry" (most dressings have soy oil), I've found that I tend to enjoy and be more satisfied with my salad if I really enjoy the dressing.

[Photo credit:]

I recently pulled out one of my favorite books, the Versatile Vegetable, a Body Ecology book, which I received for Christmas two years ago. I love Donna Gates and the principles behind BED are very important for good digestion. If you haven't heard of her I urge you to pick of one of her books, lectures or browse the website. There is so much good information there!

Inside the book there are several GREAT vegetable recipes for every kind of vegetable you can think of! There are also several sauces and dressing recipes too. My search for a good basic salad dressing with no yucky ingredients has ended. I found it here!

Basic Dressing
adapted from the Versatile Vegetable

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp flaxseed oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
other spices as desired - I like kelp flakes, garlic and onion powder, cayenne pepper

To make the dressing:
1. In a glass measure, add ingredients one by one.
2. Whisk well until ingredients are fully incorporated.
3. Pour into a salad dressing jar and refrigerate.
4. Pour liberally over every type of vegetable salad! Enjoy.

Unfortunately, the picture isn't the greatest. In my house we try to reuse things, especially glass bottles. Here is an old salad dressing bottle which we kept (but threw away the industrial oil laden dressing) and now it holds our real salad dressings. As you can see it still has the label gunk on it. Separation is natural. Be sure to shake well before serving!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Organic French Dressing

Recently I've been dying to try several french dressing recipes that I've been eyeing. Today I was finally in the mood to break out and make some, but I couldn't bring myself to use any of the recipes I found (making your own is much more fun), so I just used them for inspiration in the back of my mind instead. I am really happy with the end result so far. It is currently sitting out on the counter for a few hours to let the lacto-fermented juice from the pickle jar do it's work before I place it into the refrigerator.

This recipe is super creamy and has a nice spice to it. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

French Dressing

4 Tbsp organic tomato paste -  I used Muir Glen
3 Tbsp mayonnaise - Wilderness Family naturals, or make your own homemade
2 Tbsp organic maple syrup
3 Tbsp juice from the pickle jar - I used Bubbies brand
3 oz organic and raw apple cider vinegar - Bragg's
7 oz organic olive oil
1/4 tsp organic garlic powder
1/2 tsp organic onion powder
3/4 tsp sea salt - I use Celtic sea salt
1/8 tsp kelp flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper

To make your dressing:
1. Place all the ingredients in a small glass bowl.
2. Mix together with a whisk until spices are well distributed and the mixture is opaque.
3. Pour into your favorite salad dressing jar and let sit out on the counter for a few hours.
4. Refrigerate and use on luciously delicious green salads!

Here are some other good recipes which helped inspire mine:

Lexie's french dressing

Enjoy your delicious salad!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Red Vegetable Soup

Waiting to share this recipe with you has been agonizing! The original post was actually created on April 8th! I did not have lots of time over the school year, and so I am finally posting up this wonderful dish. This recipe is probably one of the simplest dishes I have ever made, and yet it is extremely flavorful. It stands as one of my most favorite meals I have ever had. I love this soup! I know you will too.

I created the recipe when on vacation in La Jolla over spring break. It was an instant hit in our family. I vowed to make it went I returned home, I did, and it was just as tasty as before! I made up a ginormous batch last week and had it with extra pulled roast chicken for dinner each night before my early morning bakery shifts. It was nice and easy on the tummy, satisfying and so delicious. [Notice the yummy crispy roasted chicken skin in the picture.]

Roasted Chicken and Roasted Red Vegetable Soup

3 large sweet potatoes, washed and quartered
2 large red peppers, washed, seeded and halved
3/4 large vidalia onion, peeled and quartered
1 bag of organic carrots, cut off ends and washed

1 small fresh chicken
4 cups chicken stock
olive oil as needed
real butter as needed

To make your soup:
1. Open chicken from bag, rinse well with warm water. Take out the giblets/organs and set aside.
2. In a large roasting pan (for oven), place chicken in the center and cut up veggies around the chicken on the sides.
3. Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Pour olive oil over the top and rub into the chicken, top and bottom.
4. Arrange the red peppers so that they have the skins down and the insides facing up, making a cup shape. Place the rinsed giblets inside.
5. Drizzle veggies with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes, then add about a cup or more of chicken stock and cover, roasting until vegetable are tender and chicken juices run clear.
7. Remove pan from the oven, let the chicken rest in a separate dish lightly covered with foil for about 10 minutes as you prepare the soup.
8. On the stove top, bring remaining chicken stock up to a simmer on medium heat. Take the cooked vegetables and place into a food processor, blender or Vitamix and process in batches until totally pureed. [You can also place all the cooked vegetables right into the pot with the stock and use a hand blender, I think this method works best.] Add 2-4 Tbsp of butter, and salt and pepper to taste to the soup and simmer until ready to serve.
9. Uncover the chicken and break it down, separating the wings, thighs and cutting off the breast meat. Save the bones for making stock later and remove as much of the meat and fat from the bones as possible. Be frugal!
10. Serve the soup in bowls, with chicken on the side. Or if you prefer, you can shred the chicken further and stir it into the soup.

This picture is from our stay in La Jolla. I served the soup and chicken with roasted spaghetti squash and some local gluten free cornbread. I was more than satisfied, however, with just soup and chicken.

Be sure to serve this soup with lots of real butter, because the good fats in the butter help you absorb all of the nutrients from the vegetables, like fat soluble vitamin A.

One final note: This is a thick, pureed soup. For a thinner consistency, add more chicken stock, water or raw cream.

-Update 2/23/10-
Here are the most recent photos of the version I made when I was at home.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olive Oil

[photo credit: the Nibble ]

Hello Everyone!

I HAD to take time out of my busy day to keep you all updated. I've been featured at Kim Hartke's blog. A month or so ago I contacted a few fellow slow food bloggers asking them all the same question: which olive oil is best? Kim was thinking the same thing, and she has posted an article with some answers! Click here to read Kim's findings.

If you are new here, thank you so much for visiting! I hope you will stop by more often.

To all of you regulars ;) I have finally figured out my class schedule and I am 4 weeks into the semester (one fourths of the way done - can you believe it?). I am having a great time studying and have really been enjoying all my classes. Especially physiology! I'll probably get the schedule up this weekend.

From sunny California,

PS - I just finished the batch of "monster smashie" cookies I made in my previous post. They are truly delicious! They keep VERY well in the fridge if you individually wrap them in some plastic wrap and then put them in a plastic baggie. Now I only wish I had more of them!

-Update 3/6/10-

As I promised!
My class schedule, for all of you who want to know what I am taking this semester:

Physiology MWF 12:30-1:20pm
Physiology Pre-lab F 1:30-2:20pm
Physiology Lab F 2:30-5:30pm
Abnormal Psychology T 1:30-4:20pm
Bowling T 10:30-12pm
World Civ II TR 8-9:15am
Old Testament Hist and Lit MW 10:30-11:45am
Early Christian Acts M 6-8:50pm