Thursday, May 31, 2012

foodie: peanut butter banana sandwich cookies

i made this dessert a few weekends back to take to our friends' house.  i had never made them before -- and kind of made-up the recipe -- so, needless to say, i was pleased when they turned out well.  (i had to hide them from craig so he wouldn't eat them all before the party! lol)  even better...they're gluten-free, and if you use agave nectar instead of honey, they could easily be vegan too!

here's what you'll need for 6 sandwich cookies...

1 mashed (over-ripe) banana -- about 3/4 cup
1/2 cup creamy organic peanut butter
2 tbsp honey (or agave nectar or maple syrup)
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup chocolate morsels
2 tbsp peanut butter

preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. mix all the cookie ingredients together until combined.

2. divide mixture into 12 cookies (so that you can make 6 sandwiches), and place them on a non-stick baking tray.

3. bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are just slightly browned (you'll see the coconut browning).
4. remove from oven, and allow to cool.

5. while cookies cool, melt chocolate in microwave and combine with 2 tbsp peanut butter.

6. spread filling evenly on 6 of the cookies (you can gently press the cookies flat if you want a more uniform surface to spread the filling on), and then top each with another cookie.

fyi - this is a very, very doughy cookie.  it has the texture and taste of nearly raw dough -- which is exactly how i prefer my baked treats : )

you can store these in the fridge for up to 5 days.  (want to see the recipe that inspired this one?  check it out here.)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

wheat belly (gluten-free) diet day 23

i hope you enjoyed your loooong weekend!  craig and i attended our good friends' wedding this past sunday, so needless to say, it was a totally enjoyable weekend for us : )

i wanted to share with you all a bit more about my gluten-free experiment now that i'm over 3 weeks in.

thinking about taking the gluten-free plunge?

check out these delicious recipes to inspire you along your journey to health:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

foodie: gluten-free eggplant "lasagna"

i have been loving baked eggplant dishes lately -- the combo of buttery eggplant with gooey cheese and fresh tomato sauce is something i never tire of.  for this recipe, i used eggplant layers instead of pasta to create a layered "lasagna" that's scrumptious...and gluten-free!  (this is one of my husband's new favorite hearty meals, despite the fact that it's vegetarian :-)

here's what you'll need for lasagna for 4...

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-1/3 inch rounds
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup ricotta
2 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
3/4 cup marinara sauce
salt & pepper
olive oil

1. preheat your oven to 400.  on an oiled baking tray, lay out eggplant and season with salt and pepper.  drizzle more olive oil over top and roast for approximately 30 min, flipping the rounds half way through cooking.

2. while the eggplant cooks, saute the onion in a bit of olive oil until caramelized.  season with salt, pepper and garlic.  once onions are done, mix them into the ricotta.

3. when the eggplant is done, allow it to cool slightly and then put a layer in an oiled pie dish or baking dish.  top with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture and 1/3 of the marinara and some basil.  add another layer of eggplant and again top with ricotta mixture, marinara, and some mozzarella and basil.  finally, add on more layer of eggplant and the ricotta mixture, and finish it with mozzarella and basil.

4. put the "lasagna" back in the 400 degree oven for 15-20 min or until the edges are bubbling and the cheese is gooey.

trust me, with this recipe you won't even notice the lasagna noodles are missing!!!

enjoy :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

foodie: cauliflower crust pizza

the month of gluten-free recipes continues -- this time with a pizza recipe!  pizza was one of the foods that i anticipated missing during my month long gluten-free experiment, since craig and i enjoy homemade pizza frequently.  but, thanks to this recipe for a cauliflower crust, i'm not missing pizza at all that much.

here's what you'll need for pizza for two...

1 cup cooked, mashed, drain cauliflower (approximately 1/2 medium head)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 egg
olive oil

preheat your oven to 425

1. combine the cauliflower, almond meal, parm, flaxseed, egg and salt.

2. oil your baking sheet or pizza stone well with olive oil.

3. use your hands to press the "dough" into your desired shaped (the crust should be 1/4 inch thick), and drizzle top with more olive oil.

4. bake for 15 min +/- or until edges are browned and center is no longer mushy.

5. remove from oven, and top with desired ingredients -- i used caramelized onions, sauteed red peppers, kale pesto, kalamata olives, red sauce, bleu cheese, ricotta and mozzarella!

6. put back in the oven for another 5 min or so until the cheese is bubbly.  (don't bake for too long otherwise the crust will get mushy again...)

the pizza was truly delicious.  the cheesy, flavorful crust only added to the deliciousness of the toppings.  the only thing is that the crust can be a little "weak" at the center of the pie.  the edges held together well -- sturdy enough to eat with your hands -- but as you reach the center of the pie, you may need a fork and knife.  i read a lot of different recipes, and this seems to be a common occurrence, but if you figure out a way around this issue, let me know!

bon appetit!

Monday, May 21, 2012

breathe...just breathe.

have you ever noticed how instantly calming the breath can be?  when someone says "just take a deep breath" -- though it's often the last advice i want to hear in that moment -- i'm always surprised by how quickly its soothing effect takes place.

for thousands of years, yogis have noticed the profound effects of breathing practices, called pranayama.  the goal of these practices is to soothe the body, calm the mind, and equalize the energies in the body.  and the coolest thing is, you don't need a mat, any equipment, or even a teacher to tap into the benefits of the breath.  all you need is a moment, and a willingness.

our thoughts and feelings are linked to our breath.  ever notice when you get stressed or anxious your breathing gets more rapid and shallow?  whereas when you're relaxed, it slows and deepens?  well, you can also work this effect in reverse.  if you slow and deepen your breath in a moment when your emotions are going haywire, you can begin to dissolve the tension instantly.  very cool.

simple breathing exercise, such as "the perfect ten", where you attempt to count 10 consecutive exhales and inhales -- in and out through the nose -- without the mind wandering off (easier said than done), can be done just about anywhere at anytime.  other pranayamas, such as alternate nostril breathing, are a bit more advanced, and can be used to balance the energies in the body, and also can effect which brain hemisphere is dominate and therefore, how we think.

so, when the going gets tough... breathe.  just breathe. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

foodie: gluten-free chickpea salad

when i started this gluten-free month, the one concern i had was about lunches.  i really like having sandwiches and pitas and wraps, but i don't want to become dependant of gluten-free breads, either.  so, for the sake of health, i've been opting for healthy whole foods...which is really best anyway : )  in search of some yummy lunch options, i developed this chickpea salad recipe that's great by itself or over lettuce.

here's what you'll need for chickpea salad for two...

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 shallot, lightly sauteed if desired to take the "edge" off
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp plain, full-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
1 tbsp horseradish sauce
salt & pepper
herbs - i used chopped basil and chives

1. lightly mash 1/2 of the chickpeas and leave the other 1/2 of the can whole (for texture reasons :-)

2. mix everything together!

serve by itself, with a pickle or over lettuce to make it into a true salad.

i think this could also be great with chopped nuts -- like walnuts or pecans -- and sliced grapes.  i'll let you know if i come up with any other concoctions that are worthwhile.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

foodie: apple pie "granola" (gluten-free breakfast)

ever since going gluten-free for my month long wellness experiment, i've been looking for an easy breakfast to replace my usual overnight oats (since commercial oats are often contaminated by wheat exposure).  looking for something that would offer a bit of sweetness, i developed this super simple recipe for apple pie "granola".

here's what you'll need for 2 servings...

1 apple, chopped
1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped nuts (i used pecans and walnuts)

preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. mix together apple, butter, vanilla, nuts and cinnamon.  spread evenly on a baking sheet.

2. bake for 20-25 min until apples are golden brown and nuts are toasted.

you can enjoy some immediately, or allow it to cool and save in the fridge for up to 4 days.  the recipe makes 2 servings.

for breakfast, i had some with almond milk and peanut butter one morning, and some with plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, and peanut butter (again) another day.  yum!

Monday, May 14, 2012

savor the moment

credit {here}
may 6th marked the end of my last weekend of yogadharma (my yoga teacher training).  when i began the program back in september 2011, looking ahead at the next 9 months (15 weekends in total -- fridays 5-9, saturdays 12-6, sundays 12-6) seemed like an exciting and somewhat daunting task.  and now, being on the other side of it, it seems to have passed all too quickly.

that happens so often in our lives.  we welcome something new into our lives, and for a while, it seems that it will always be there.  and we can't imagine it any other way -- forgetting what it was like before.  and then, it draws (inevitably) to a close, and we can't believe it's over.  like the blink of an eye.  and, we often find ourselves asking: could i have savored it more?  where did the time go?

when you're in the thick of it, we can take things for granted...i know i can at least.  our lives become so busy that what was once new now seems expected, and we come to anticipate it being a part of our lives.

on our yoga mats, we're encouraged to be mindful.  to still the mind (as best we can) and sink into the present moment.  it's the only moment we've got.  instead of thinking about your to-do list, or worrying about a conversation you had earlier, you're asked to breathe, settle in, and sit with whatever comes up moment by moment.

and, the beautiful thing is, the more mindful you become, the more grateful you become for what you have in your life right now at this very moment (even if it seems like it'll be there forever, or you took it for granted before). 

choose not to let a single moment pass you by unnoticed or unappreciated.  it is a choice. 

i shared the following quote with my yoga students this past week, and i'd like to share it with you now.

"if you pay attention at every moment, you form a new relationship to time.  in some magical way, by slowing down, you become more efficient, productive, and energetic, focusing without distraction directly on the task in front of you.  not only do you become immersed in the moment, you become that moment." - michael ray

choose to be where ever you are.  be the moment.

namaste : )

Friday, May 11, 2012

foodie: my favorite gluten-free lunch (with avocado!)

as you know, i'm going "gluten-free" for a month to see if it clears up my pesky stomach issues and makes me feel overall better.  without gluten (i.e. wheat), my usual lunch of a pita sandwich is a no-go for the time being, but i'm not missing it at all because of my new favorite lunch of avocado topped with sauteed onions and goat cheese.  (is your mouth watering yet?!)

here's what you'll need for lunch for one...

1/2 avocado, in-tact and scooped out of the skin
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 oz goat cheese
1 tomato, sliced
lemon wedge
salt & pepper

1. saute onions in olive oil.  season with salt and pepper.

2. squeeze some lemon on the avocado (if desired) to keep it from browning, and fill it with goat cheese and surround with tomatoes. 

3. top everything with the hot onions as soon as they're done so that they can begin to melt the cheese!

4. garnish with chopped chives, or herb of your choice.

(for a vegan option, replace the goat cheese with chopped kalamata olives to add some richness.  i had that version the other day and it was delish too!)

bon appetit!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

wheat belly (gluten-free) diet day 8

howdy all!  i hope you're enjoying all the yummy gluten-free, whole foods recipes on my blog lately.  my "wheat belly" diet is going well, and overall i'm feeling really good.  check out the video below for updates about my experience so far, surprising waist shrinkage, and more!

keep checking back for more updates and gluten-free recipes!

if you're wondering about the book "wheat belly" or why i'm going gluten-free for a month, click {here}.

Monday, May 7, 2012

foodie: how to use leftovers for stuffed peppers

stuffed peppers are hearty, filling and delicious...and they are a fabulous way to use up leftover veggies, rice and cheese.  i'm all about simple, all-in-one meals, and stuffed peppers fit that to a "t".  (plus, they're gluten-free in honor of my month-long wellness experiment :-)

here's what you'll need for 4 stuffed pepper halves...

2 red peppers, washed, halved and seeded
leftovers!!! (i used vegetarian baked beans & sauteed onions, but you could also use rice or quinoa and any cooked veggies you have on hand - get creative with it!)
1/4 cup marinara sauce
2 tbsp bbq sauce
1/4 cup bleu cheese
salt & pepper

preheat oven to 425

1. place peppers in a cast iron skillet or pie plate, make sure they're secure and don't wobble.

2. mix "leftovers" together and season with salt and pepper if need be, and fill all pepper halves equally.

3. mix together marinara and bbq (you could also use salsa), and top peppers with it.

4. sprinkle with cheese.

5. pour 1/2 cup of water in the base of the skillet before baking so "steam" the peppers.

6. every 15 min, spoon some of the water in the base of the skillet over the peppers so they don't dry out.  cook for 45 min or until the peppers are super tender the cheese is bubbly and filling is lightly browned.

this one-dish dinner is super easy to make, and a great way to make use of all those leftover cooked veggies and odds-n-ends you have in the fridge.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

foodie: cacio e pepe spaghetti squash (i.e. cheese & pepper)

after watching a chef make cacio e pepe (i.e. cheese and pepper) spaghetti on the martha stewart show, i couldn't get the recipe out of my head.  the simple combo of parmesan and fresh cracked pepper just sounded so appealing -- and simple to make!  i swapped out the traditional pasta for spaghetti squash and added in a few extra veggies for some texture and flavor, and the final result was delish!

here's what you'll need for pasta for 4...

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup peas, defrosted in microwave
1/2 cup parmesan, grated or shredded
1 tbsp garlic
2 tbsp heavy cream
salt & pepper
olive oil

1. first off, you have to roast your spaghetti squash - pierce the skin with a fork and roast in the oven on 400 for 40 min or so until it is super tender.  allow to cool, cut in half and scoop out seeds.  shred flesh with a fork and set aside.

2. as the squash bakes, saute the onion and cauliflower in some olive oil until tender and slightly caramelized.  as it cooks, season with garlic, salt and pepper.

3. in a large bowl or pot, mix together cooked veggies, parmesan, heavy cream, salt and LOTS of fresh cracked pepper.  add in squash and peas.  toss to combine.

this dinner was super simple, and totally delicious.  enjoy it on its own, or serve it with a simple side salad or piece of baguette.

bon appetit!

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