Side Dishes/ Appitizers

Simple Guacamole

Guacamole

So simple and satisfying to eat, guacamole complements many dishes that I make. I love avocados as a side to almost any breakfast I make, but I usually loose ½ due to me being the only one who wants avocado all the time. So when I make guacamole, I use lemon so it can last a few days in the fridge…no waste.

Guacamole goes great with most any baked/grilled chicken dish, of course as a chip dip (and when I say chip I mean healthy chips such as homemade plantain chips…YUM!), I love to make eggs over easy and lay them on top of sautéed greens (with mushroom and garlic), then spread guacamole over the over-easy eggs and eat…one of my quick favorite breakfasts.

I have a few ideas to use guacamole:

Buckwheat Tacos With Shredded Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash With Avocado Salad IMG_6169 IMG_5707

IMG_5800 IMG_5377  IMG_5595  IMG_5594

How do you eat guac??

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • ¼ tsp. unrefined salt- or to taste
  • 3 ripe/soft avocados
  • 2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tbs. chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions:

1. Place garlic and salt in a stainless steel bowl, then mash well.

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2. Next add the avocado and mash with a fork.

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3. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mash until the desired texture is achieved.

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Lebanese Lentil Porridge – Mujadara

 mujadara

I love lentils and garbanzo beans, that’s why I could never be 100% Paleo. I do well with digesting them (as long as I properly prepare them) and so for now there is no reason to take them out of my diet. Gluten on the other hand was making it’s way and settling in my digestive system for a while even though I usually (99% of the time) at only sprouted spelt flour plus fermenting it. My body just wasn’t doing well with it. One of the first gluten free “diets” (not really a diet) I tried was Paleo. To go from a traditional foods/ancestral lifestyle to that was not easy and took some planning, but that’s what I do best…I have a passion for personalizing meal plans to fit the needs of individuals so naturally I had fun with it. However, I traveled a lot at that time and had to compromise.

The good news is that I did Paleo for 30 days and found that it is not right for me, that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you. I think it’s great for people with autoimmune diseases and other issues. Plus some people just like it and if it works for them…great! So I have kept the Paleo principles with me while enjoying foods I do well with such as lentils, garbanzo, buckwheat, basmati or jasmine rice, grass-fed butter and homemade grass-fed yogurt! All which are NO No’s with Paleo. I don’t eat those thing all the time and I keep it at a maximun of 1/2 Cup – 1 Cup of beans/legumes/grains/seeds per day total…and that works for me.

Enough about me and my Paleo adventure, on with the recipe….

Ingredients:

  • 1 C lentils, washed and soaked overnight in an acid medium such as 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, homemade whey or fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ C basmati or jasmine rice
  • Water or bone broth
  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed Butter, ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. unrefined salt

Instructions:

  1. Soak lentils in filtered water overnight or 12-24 hours with an acid medium
  2. After a good soaking, rinse soaked lentils and place in a pot.
  3. Wash the rice very well and add it to the lentils.
  4. Bring to a boil in fresh water or bone broth 1 ½ times the amount of lentils and rice. (For every 1 C  lentils and rice use 1 ½ C water or bone broth.)
  5. Once water has boiled, simmer and cover.
  6. In another pan, melt butter or olive oil on medium-low and sauté the onions until limp and turning golden and add to the lentils.
  7. Next add the salt.
  8. Add more water to the lentils if needed, the lentils should not be watery but should have a little liquid so it will not burn.
  9. Simmer until lentils are soft and tender, about 30 minutes.

Serve at room temperature. With leftovers you can make lentil veggie cakes!

Since this is best served at room tempurature, it makes a great portable food.

Healthy Alternative To Popcorn!

Healthy Popcorn Alternative

This may seem a little strange, but when you love munching on the occasional popcorn like I do, but then get a stomachache for the nest couple day, it’s nice to know there is something that can substitute that comfort. I accidentally made these yummy little bites of flavor that reminded me of popcorn. I was baking a tray of cauliflower and broccoli (at 350 for about 20 minutes) that I drizzled with olive oil and salt, and when I took it out and put it on my little ones plate, he said “no thanks”. I guess the florets were too big fro him, so I popped the little heads off, sprinkled with nutritional yeast and noticed how much they looked like popcorn, so I told him it was little popcorn cauliflower and he ate it all up, and then cleaned up what was left in the pan.

Next time I’ll bake the florets small, pour melted grass-fed butter on them and sprinkle with salt. Then dust them with nutritional yeast. I’ll have to try this one next time I sit down for a movie…could you just imagine someone in a movie theater offering a bucket of cauliflower to the person next to them?…”Excuse me, would you like some delicious organic cauliflower baked in grass-fed butter, sprinkled with Himalayan salt and topped with nutritional yeast, it’s a healthy alternative to popcorn?” HA.

This is one of those things that’s better off enjoyed at home, unless you are somewhere that other people are like minded.

Oh yeah, one more thing, dome jerky bits, that would be a nice addition in the bowl or on the side.

Grain-Free Zucchini “Hummus”

Vegetable Humus

Traditional hummus is made with garbanzo beans which are a NO No for Paleo folks. If you called this hummus in front of a Lebanese person, your likely to get a raised eyebrow. This dish would actually be called Mtabal Kusa (spiced zucchini) which is made the same way as the famous baba ghanoush (the eggplant dip found in Middle Eastern restaurants).

I still use garbanzos on occasion but I love using vegetables as replacements. I used the insides on light green squash that I had shelled out for making squash pancake fritters. Then I steamed them in a little water so I wasn’t using raw which can cause gas, zuchini is one of those vegetables that there is contovercy over eating it raw or cooked, I feel better eating it cooked so that’s what I choose. Then I made it just as I would hummus or babaghanoush (m’tabal).

I’ve also made this with steamed cauliflower, cabbage, roasted butternut squash and grilled eggplant. All tasted amazing! I think any squash or root vegetable such as beet, parsnip, turnip and so on would work too, as long as it is well cooked prior to use.

Feel free your to adjust to your liking such as more salt (like me), more lemon (like me), or more garlic.

Ingredients:

  • 2 C zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • ¼  C fresh squeeze lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. unrefined salt, or to taste
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • ¼ C tahini
  • olive oil for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Steam or roast the zucchini or other vegetable until soft, then let cool to room temp/warm.
  2. In a food processor, place the fresh lemon juice, salt and garlic and blend well.
  3. Add the zuccini or other vegetable, and blend well until smooth.
  4. Take out and place in a mixing bowl, whip in the tahini with a fork.

Taste it to make sure it’s too your liking, add more of anything you think it needs. If you feel it’s too thick, add a little water or lemon juice. If too thin, add tahini.

For dipping tools, I love radish coins, carrot sticks, and celery. You can use any veggies you like for dipping!

~Enjoy~

Shared with Fat Tuesday

Delicious Pad Thai

Delicious Pad Thai

 

This recipe is super easy when you have all the ingredients on hand, so unless you have an Asian kitchen, you probably need to get the ingredients from pretty much any store that has a small Asian section (health foods stores or a Whole Foods type store carries the ingredients).

Although this is easy, it take some preperation the first time making it, but the second time is much quicker.You can prepare a day in advance so the ingredients can be thrown together the next day.

This recipe goes well with another easy Red Curry dish and some refreshing spiced tea.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz dry Rice noodles, linguine size

PAD THAI SAUCE:

  • ½ C warm water
  • 1 ½  Tbs. tamarind paste or 1 ½ Tbs. any other molasses (cane, carob, etc…) plus juice of 1 lime (tamarind is sweet and sour so this mixture can substitute the flavor nicely.
  • 5 Tbs. fish sauce (no MSG or preservatives)
  • 1-3 tsp. crushed chili or cayenne, to taste (optional)
  • 3 Tbs. coconut sugar or brown sugar (Note: this may seem like a lot of sugar, but you need it to balance out the sourness of the tamarind – this balance is what makes Pad Thai taste so amazing!)

Meat and Marinade:

  • 1 ½  cups chopped chicken breast and/ or thigh (or same amount in whole shrimp)
  • Marinade for Chicken: 1 tsp. arrowroot starch
  • 3 Tbsp. Braggs amino acids or Coconut amino acids
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced (optional)

 

  • 1-2 Tbs. coconut oil for frying
  • ¼ Cup chicken stock or water

 

  • 3 large eggs, scrambled (optional)

 

Topping:

  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • ½ C fresh coriander/cilantro, minced
  • 1/3 C crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (or other nuts, such as cashews)

 

Instructions:

Preparation:

  1. First assemble the Pad Thai sauce by dissolving all ingredients in a jar with a lid with a fork then store in fridge until ready for use. (Stores for up to 3 weeks in the fridge)
  2. Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 30-60 minutes (or you can dip them in boiling water but soaking them seems to give better texture.) You could soak these and drain them a day in advance and store in fridge until use.
  3. Cut the chicken into strips (or if using shrimp, leave whole) and place in a bowl along with the rest of the marinade.
  4. Mix well, set in fridge until needed. You can marinate over night if you like.
  5. If using eggs – In a separate pan, scramble eggs with a little coconut oil (this will be added to the chicken after it is cooked) omit if using shrimp.

Cooking:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan on med-high.
  2. Add the chicken/shrimp in marinade and fully cook. Add a little chicken broth at a time if needed to prevent sticking.
  3. When the chicken/shrimp is fully cooked about 10 minutes later, add scrambled egg (omit if using shrimp).
  4. Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over.
  5. Using two utensils, use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer “hard” or crunchy, but chewy-sticky wonderful!
  7. Lift noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion, and crushed/chopped nuts.
  8. Add fresh lime wedges to squeeze over each portion.

This recipe was modified slightly from HERE.