Cosmic Cauliflower Bites

This healthy snack is out of this world!

  
What you’ll need:

1/2 head of cauliflower, florets only

2 eggs

1/2 cup mozzarella

1/2 cup onions, diced

1 TBS dried parsley

3 TBS almond meal

2 TBS corn meal

2 TBS chia seeds

 salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: Poppy seeds and dried herbs of choice, to taste

  

 How ya do it:

1. Preheat oven to 375¬į

2. Chop cauliflower and onion in a food processor or blender if you don’t have one (like me)

3. Empty the mixture into a bowl and stir in the eggs

4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the cauliflower and egg, and mix well

5. Roll into balls (approx 1 1/2 inches) and place on greased cookie sheet. Press with a spoon to flatten into rounds.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.

  
Notes:

I used a sprinkle of poppy seeds and a pinch or two of fennel seeds and dried sage. 

This recipe was adapted from this: http://potluck.ohmyveggies.com/cauliflower-medallions-chia-seeds/#1MkIv86Rvw4OCA7t.99 

I didn’t boil my cauliflower so the texture came out hearty, tasting a bit like a crab cake!

Happy eating!

Easy homemade hummus

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I have to confess, I rarely measure things. I have learned the most about cooking by “eyeballing” the measurements and have learned that it’s not hard when making fresh or raw items. Baking is another story…and there I am still learning. I have the most fun when I dump a bunch of ingredients into the blender or a pot and part of finding that it comes out tasting like it’s own brand of delicious is half the fun. ūüôā

Here is what I used:
1 can organic chick peas
Approx. 1/4 cup sesame Tahini
Juice of 1/2 medium- size lemon
2 cloves minced garlic

Approx. 1/8 cup organic olive oil
Water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss the first four ingredients into the blender, then add enough olive oil and water until you get a perfect consistency in which to dip your favorite raw veggies.

This is where the fun of creating healthy foods comes in. I have learned that I already know that for one can of chick peas, a half a cup of oil might be too much to add to make hummus. So, I start sparingly and then keep adding and taste-testing (such a chore, but somebody’s gotta do it!) until it’s just right. I always said I didn’t know how to cook, and that I hated it. But the more I practice, I have been delighted to find that friends and family have been asking me to help them make healthy food! It really can be fun to me now and sometimes I think that not measuring anything really is how you get the most out of this food-alchemy!

Today’s winter juice recipe

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The weather is turning colder and my body is calling for the deeper colors of nutrient-dense purples and greens instead of the bright oranges and yellows of summer fruits.

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I juiced the kale leaves and pear then poured that into my blender with the grapes, kiwi and coconut water.

Winter juice:
1 bunch kale
Handful of red grapes
1 red pear
1 kiwi
8oz or so of coconut water

Voilà!

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My favorite green smoothie

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This is so unbelievably delicious. It’s pure food alchemy too, because although it’s vegan, it’s creamy almost like Greek yogurt or a milkshake. Mmm. Without further ado, here’s the skinny. (Hehe…see what I did there?)

Gather the following:

Handful of spring greens
Handful of cilantro
1/2 peeled cucumber
1/2 peeled green apple
1/2 avocado
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp raw almond butter
8oz unsweetened almond or hemp milk

1. Toss all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pat yourself on the back for making a meal that’s both delicious AND jam-packed with nutrients then go about your day making equally awesometastic decisions!

Xoxo,
Mercedi

Everything you need for two weeks of gluten-free and dairy-free deliciousness

You may know that many people suffer from inflammation in their intestines and that gluten is often the main culprit.  It takes about 2-3 weeks for our intestines to heal and for our digestion to become stronger. Then we can begin to re-introduce the offending food in smaller amounts, to determine if we can tolerate it. I decided to do a two week experiment on myself and had some great results!

When I first set out to do this, I was intimidated and thought it would be hard but it was not hard at all! The main thing is to have a good plan for what you are going to eat for everyday of the week (in other words: write it down!) and the rest takes care of itself. I have a marker board on my refrigerator where I spell out the weekly plan for myself in no uncertain terms: breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, dessert. I also go to the grocery store or farmer’s market frequently — about every 3 days.¬† This ensures I have a fridge stocked with fresh fruits and veggies so I can whip up a green juice or a quick salad on the fly and not be tempted to eat a something packaged or processed. I wanted to share an example of exactly what I ate for two weeks because I know how helpful it is to have a solid plan in front of you to go by, and I’ve included links for the foods I made that require a recipe.

Breakfast:

A fresh veggie juice makes the perfect snack or light meal

A fresh veggie juice makes the perfect snack or light meal

*Paleo muffins with honey butter
*Almond porridge
*Teff pancakes
*Fresh veggie juice (add chia seeds to keep you full for longer)
*Egg cooked in coconut oil with dash of cayenne

 

Snacks:

*Celery with sunflower seed butter
*1/2 Avocado with lime and black pepper
*Sliced tomato with basil leaves and balsamic vinegar or sprinkled with sea salt and topped with hemp seeds

 

Lunches:

*Dinner Leftovers or…
*Rotel and brown rice
*Can of Amy’s chunky tomato bisque – I added hemp seeds and fresh lime juice
*Salad with your choice of veggies and homemade dijon vinagrette (see below)

 

Dinners:

*Broiled Salmon (I added lemon juice, salt and pepper) with sauteed spinach or steamed green beans
*broccoli, carrot and potato soup
*Tamale pie  For this recipe, I used teff flour (instead of oat or rice flour) and a can of gluten-free chili
*Refried bean “tacos” on corn tortillas with picante sauce and fresh cilantro
*Baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon
*A big bowl of roasted veggies, My favs are broccoli, carrot, zucchini and garlic cloves roasted in coconut oil. Top with or dip in miso tahini sauce (see below)

Adding dragon fruit makes frozen banana ice cream extra pretty!

Adding dragon fruit makes frozen banana ice cream extra pretty!

 

Dessert:

*bananas and raisins drizzled with honey or agave/date/maple syrup
*Coconut date balls
*Frozen banana ice cream
*Golden milk
*hot herbal tea

 

 

Sauces and dressings:

Having a sauce for your veggies really helps keep them from being so boring.  I like to get creative and mix any of the following together in roughly equal parts to jazz things up:

These staples add flavor and protein to bland veggie dishes.

These staples add flavor and protein to bland veggie dishes.

fresh minced garlic
ginger paste
sesame tahini
mellow (light) miso
gluten free tamari (this is just soy sauce, only gluten free!)
almond butter or even peanut butter
rice vinegar

Examples of two of my favorite combos:
miso/soy/ginger
peanut/garlic/soy/ with a splash of rice vinegar

 

 

Making your own salad dressing is a good thing to do so that you know what’s in them. It really only takes a few seconds!¬† Sometimes I just use olive oil and either a splash of balsamic vinegar, or¬† a squeeze of fresh lemon/lime juice but if you want more flavor you can make one of these:

Homemade Dijon vinaigrette:

1tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of agave nectar or brown rice syrup (optional, to add some sweetness)

Creamy almond dressing:

Take about a tbsp of almond butter and stir in some olive oil until it becomes thin enough to pour. That’s it! May sound weird, but it’s sooo yummy and makes a salad keep you full all afternoon.

 

Notes:

*When adding chia seeds to juice, allow at least 10 minutes for them to “gel” before drinking.

*It is best to eat fresh fruit on an empty stomach.¬† Most foods take about 2-4 hours to digest but fruit passes through the digestive system very quickly, in about 30 minutes.¬† You don’t want it to sit on top your your last meal and have a chance to ferment in there, so try to wait a couple hours after a meal if you plan to eat fresh fruit for dessert.

* When buying store-bought items such as picante sauce, always check the labels to make sure there’s nothing weird in there. Look for items that have only two or three ingredients (ex: tomatoes, garlic, salt.)¬† Also, your local health food store and international market are your friends when it comes to finding more pure items as well as things like teff flour, miso, tahini, hemp seeds, etc.

*If you don’t have much time and find yourself having a less-than-exciting meal (say a quick bowl of lettuce, carrots and tomato with olive oil and lemon juice for lunch) then make sure your next meal is a tasty one or else you’ll fall off the wagon quickly.¬† The body wants foods that are flavorful and that look pretty so if we cut too many corners for speed or frequently eat something that looks like mush, the body thinks this is no fun and as a result we’re less likely to stick to the plan.

 

Lastly…

* I’ll admit it –¬† I LOVE COFFEE!! If you are like me and feel you just can’t do without creamer in your morning coffee — do yourself a favor and try blending your coffee in the blender with 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and some stevia, then sit back and watch as your brain says “Yum!” on repeat.¬† The blender emulsifies it like a latte, with a frothy top layer and everything.¬† As you may know, coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.¬† MCTs burn up as fuel in the body very quickly so they don’t have time to be stored as fat, AND they help speed up metabolism and flush out other fats.¬† It’s a win-win! This coffee is a real treat and since I’ve started doing this, I truly don’t want it any other way! Pro-tip: Pour some hot water into your blender (I do my mug too) while the coffee brews to pre-heat them so that the blending process doesn’t steal the heat from your brew.

 

After doing this for two weeks, all the puffiness that normally surrounds my midsection was gone.¬† My hips also slimmed down. I wish I had taken a “before” shot but here is the after:

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If you’ve been flirting with the idea of going gluten-free, I hope this post inspires you to get creative in the kitchen and encourages you to see just how easy it can be!

Coconut date balls

This middle-eastern inspired treat is gluten-free, paleo and vegan and is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

You will need:
12-15 pitted dates, halved
One package of unsweetened shredded coconut

Optional:
Splash of rose water
Pinch of nutmeg and/or cloveIMG_2181.JPG
Start out by boiling your dates in about 1/2 cup of water just until soft. Drain the water and then either pulse in a food processor or mash by hand (like I did with a potato masher). If using spices or rose water, add them to the mashed dates.

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Scoop dates by tablespoon onto a surface covered in shredded coconut. Work the coconut flakes into the mashed dates and then roll into a ball shape and you’re done!

Sprinkle the finished product with some extra coconut. Makes 12-15 treats.

 

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Enjoy!

Healthy workday snack

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Here is a healthy and filling snack that will keep you away from the vending machine when hunger strikes. I keep a container of sunflower seed spread at my desk and spread it over fresh celery. You could also try dipping carrots.

And yes, that is a dumbbell in the background. I keep a five pound hand weight at my desk and give my arms a little workout whenever I’m on a break/on hold etc. Gotta sprinkle that activity in anywhere you can get it, especially when sitting in a cubicle all day!