Living a healthy life is supposed to be fun and filled with good food!

Tag: gluten free

Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding

Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding

A new summer treat filled with healthy fats and protein! Try my new Strawberry Chia Pudding with a chocolate peanut butter topping!   I received free samples of the NuGo nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post.   You could say […]

Creamy Spring Pea Guacamole

Creamy Spring Pea Guacamole

The warmer weather is here, and so is guacamole season! For a fresher taste this spring try this Creamy Spring Pea Guacamole!   I think we can all agree that guacamole is absolutely delicious! Is it the rich taste of avocado or creamy texture that […]

Socca: Sweet, Savory, Simple

Socca: Sweet, Savory, Simple

Try a delicious, gluten and dairy-free flatbread for your next sweet treat or savory meal! If you’re craving a pizza, crepe, or taco shell, Socca is simply satisfying!

 

This delicious and versatile flatbread, originally from the regions of France and Italy, is naturally gluten, dairy, and nut-free.  Made from chickpea flour, Socca is usually served hot and enjoyed as is.  It can be enjoyed as a simple flatbread, or can even be used as a pizza crust, taco shell, or crepe with your favorite jam!

 

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Ingredients for Socca: chickpea flour, cumin, and fresh rosemary

The Truth About Food Reactions

Millions of Americans each year suffer from food allergies and reactions to foods.  So, if this flatbread alternative is calling your name, you are not alone! Many even mistake the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity.

When our immune system responds to a food substance (a protein), that is a food allergy. Symptoms can be minor, such as itchy eyes or a runny nose, although other symptoms can be much more severe. The most common food allergies, causing almost 90% of food reactions annually, are: dairy, eggs, seafood, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat. Food allergies should always be taken seriously. Whether you are at a restaurant or family gathering, informing others about your food allergy is important.

Food intolerances, on the other hand, are not life threatening, but they are unpleasant. A sensitivity occurs when our body cannot properly digest a food substance. Some examples, gluten, the protein commonly found in wheat, or lactose, the sugar in milk. Symptoms can range from abdominal cramping to diarrhea, and even migraines.

Think you may have a food allergy or sensitivity? Talk to your doctor first. He or she may recommend a blood or skin test to determine if it’s a food allergy. Food sensitivities are not as easy to determine. Health professionals may suggest keeping track of your symptoms in a food log and taking part in an elimination diet to narrow out the food triggers. For more information on food allergies and sensitivities, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

 

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Dukkah fresh out of the oven drizzled with olive oil

In this recipe….

I decided to make Socca as a light and healthy pizza with sauteed mushrooms and fresh arugula. The options for toppings are endlesss! If you prefer to go dairy-free, use a little drizzle of olive oil or a cheese alternative. To make the batter savory, add in your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices. Socca is simply a 1:1 ratio of chickpea flour to lukewarm water for the batter.

 

 

Socca: Simply Sweet and Savory

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 1 to 2 thin pancakes

Serving Size: 1 Socca flatbread

Socca: Simply Sweet and Savory

Use socca as a pizza crust, taco shell, and even to serve with your favorite dip or spread!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (half for the batter)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional add-ins: fresh rosemary, thyme, cumin, garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Prior to cooking, whisk together the chickpea flour and water, one tablespoon of olive oil, and any additional herbs and spices. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Once the batter is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.*
  3. Place a large (10-12 inch) cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven to heat up.
  4. Carefuly remove the hot skillet from the oven and swirl one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Slowly pour in the batter evenly to cover the bottom of the hot pan.
  5. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the batter is cooked through in the middle and the edges are slightly crisp. The batter should resemble a thick pancake. Drizzle additional olive oil on top to prevent dryness, optional.
  6. * If you prefer cooking on the stovetop, cook the socca on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes each side.

Notes

Socca is a great alternative carbohydrate choice for anyone with food allergies and sensitivities. Thanks to the simple ingredients of only chickpea flour and water it is naturally free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy.

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Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Does your kitchen need spring cleaning? Try this simple and versatile recipe for Dukkah!   Move over fairy dust! Dukkah, a delicious Egyptian blend of nuts and spices is pure magic! This versatile topping combines a sweet, savory, and nutty taste all in one. Use it as a crust on […]

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Try a plant based twist for Taco Tuesday! These King Oyster mushroom tacos with a pineapple miso dressing make a unique, Asian inspired meal the whole family will enjoy! Let’s “taco bout” it! Taco Tuesday has become very popular on social media lately and for good reason. […]

Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu

Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu

A new takeout alternative is here! Try this healthy and delicious Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu for your next restaurant craving!

Are you a fan of Chinese food takeout on the weekend?  Join the club! Making your own favorite recipe with healthy modifications saves you money and calories! Instead of deep frying, these crispy textured tofu cubes are baked! I know we all love a weekend splurge, but this orange tofu recipe will make you want to eat in instead of ordering out! Can we all say Fri-yay?

Citrus Fruits that Brighten Winter

When it comes to citrus fruits many of us think of delicate cocktails or smoothies in the summer. Citrus fruits are actually in season during the winter! What better time to get a boost of vitamins and minerals to get us through the cold and snowy season! Citrus, such as the Cara Cara orange in the recipe, is loaded with Vitamin C, folate, and dietary fiber. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to fight free radicals and aids in building collagen to keep our skin glowing.

Besides having a cute name, Cara Cara oranges give a beautiful pink hue and tangy taste. Some say the taste reminds them of cranberries! These gorgeous, seedless citrus favorites are in season during the winter to early spring.  Try them in a smoothie, a winter salad, or as a marinade!

 

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The beauty of Cara Cara oranges

What’s the Deal with Soy?

In today’s food industry, soy has come a long way from the previous fears and misleading health claims. This plant-based, complete protein (containing all of the essential amino acids our body needs) comes from the soybean. There are numerous forms of soy out there besides the soybean, edamame. Tofu is the beancurd from soy milk. It works great in stir fries, soups, and desserts! If you want another option for sneaking soy in your diet, try tempeh, soy sauce, or miso. Or, if you want to try an alternative to cow’s milk, try a fulfilling glass of soy milk.

As we know, soy is an excellent source of protein, but it also provides calcium, iron, unsaturated fats, and fiber. Soy also contains isoflavones; mostly recognized is the estrogen-like compound, phytoestrogen. Because these compounds function like hormones, many feared an increased risk of hormone-related cancers. Current research mentioned in the Harvard School of Public Health newsletter has found that soy consumption as early as in adolescence may reduce risk for breast cancer occurence and recurrence.

Further research is ongoing for cardiovascular disease risk and blood pressure. However, replacing meats high in saturated fats, such as red meat, with soy foods suggests a beneficial outcome for the heart. This is because soy contains unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals.

orange tofu
Pressing tofu with a towel and teapot

In this Recipe…

In thirty minutes, you will have a tasty restaurant-style tofu with better nutrients and less saturated fat! Compared to the deep fried method, the tofu is coated with corn starch and seasonings, and then baked for a delicately crispy texture. For this crispy tofu method I was inspired by Cookie and Kate’s Crispy Tofu recipe (see here). Prior to coating the tofu, make sure to press the tofu with clean towels (or paper towels) to soak up the extra water and moisture. While the tofu bakes, make the sauce to save time. You will even have enough time to cook a side vegetable and whole grain to make this a complete meal. I added broccoli and kale with brown rice as a foundation for the orange tofu.

 

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Tofu baked crispy without the excess fat!

 

Corn starch is naturally gluten free, but for those gluten sensitive I recommend a certified gluten free corn starch product. In addition to gluten free corn starch, you will also need to substitute Tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce. For those that prefer a vegan option, substitute maple syrup for the honey to give sweetness to the sauce. Any meat lovers that are still not convinced to try tofu? Feel free to bake a lean protein like pork or chicken; the coating will still work great for any protein source. For cooking with meat, make sure the internal temperature is within the recommended range. Also note that cooking times for different protein sources will vary.

I would like to also take the time to give a very special thank you to our dear friend, Jordan Edwards. He has been a best (and loyal) friend of my husband’s since early college days and living abroad in Ireland. With his amazing culinary skills, especially in Asian cooking, he helped me create this delicious recipe. I still can’t believe we created an amazingly crispy textured tofu with half the calories! In addition to feeding my husband and I often with his cooking talents, he has also welcomed us into our new city of beautiful Boulder, Colorado. This recipe would not be as tasty without his help!

 

 

 

Crispy Baked Orange Glazed Tofu

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Crispy Baked Orange Glazed Tofu

Ingredients

  • Coating for Tofu:
  • 1 15 ounce package extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (or more to coat)
  • Salt and pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • Orange Glaze:
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Juice and Zest of one Cara Cara Orange (or another type of orange), approximately 1/4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium (or tamari for Gluten Free option)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Additional toppings: chopped scallions, sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the coating and toss the tofu to coat.
  3. Spread the coated tofu on a greased or non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy.
  4. While the tofu bakes, make the sauce (below).
  5. For the Sauce:
  6. Combine in a small bowl, the juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and broth.
  7. Heat the sesame oil on medium heat and saute the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  8. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a simmer for 5-7 minutes. To thicken the sauce, mix the cornstarch and a small amount of water to make a paste prior to stirring or whisking in the sauce. Once the sauce reaches the desired consistency turn off the heat and set aside.
  9. Once the tofu is baked to desired level of crispiness, remove from the oven. Toss the tofu and sauce in a medium bowl and serve. Top with scallions and sesame seeds, optional.
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Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier or eat more vegetables for 2017, try this delicious Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad! Salads aren’t just a summer thing! These beautiful and delicate blends are good all year round. To keep up with the winter season choose vegetables such […]

Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk

Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk

Winter is coming and so is soup season! Try this Creamy Tomato Lentil soup recipe to keep you warm and satisfied! This recipe for a creamy tomato lentil soup uses low fat coconut milk and lentils to keep you feeling fulfilled with energy-boosting MCT fats, […]

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Bites

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Bites

roasted cauliflower

A quick and elegant recipe pairing vitamin and fiber-rich cauliflower and Harissa spice!

Harissa, simply put, will add spice to your life!  This Middle Eastern and North African food treasure (found in a paste or powder form) consists mainly of chilies, garlic, varying spices, and olive oil.  You can find this spicy gem in most natural food stores or the ethnic food aisles at your local grocery store; I used the Trader Joe’s version providing only 10 calories per serving.

If you want to be bold, try making it at home; one of my favorite blogs, The Kitchn, shares a great article on homemade Harissa.  As roasted cauliflower and even cauliflower rice (or pizza) is such a trend right now, I thought it would be fun to pair this fiber and vitamin-rich vegetable with a little heat!

harissa

A Simple Recipe

Making this dish couldn’t have been easier, in fact it really doesn’t require a recipe.  No-recipe cooking is popping up on many food magazine and blog websites, i.e. Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart, as convenience in the kitchen is a huge factor in meal planning.  This recipe simply involves Harissa as a rub, throwing in some garlic, and then roasting the cauliflower.  I even felt silly typing out a recipe, but I felt it would be important to have the oven temperature and roasting time accurate since no one wants charred cauliflower!

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Before roasting the cauliflower, it can either be sliced as steaks or in little florets; I’ve even seen whole cauliflower roasted like it’s thanksgiving day (which I will try next!).  Prior to chopping or slicing the cauliflower, make sure to remove the leaves and cut the bottom stem, so you have a flat surface on the cauliflower when using a knife.  While I attempted to slice at first, some broke into florets and I had a nice medley.  The florets were easier for spreading the Harissa paste as I used my hands, and so, I would recommend using a pastry brush to spread if going with the cauliflower steaks.

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This roasted dish makes an excellent main entree on a bed of leafy greens, whole grains, or even as a sandwich.  For meat and seafood lovers, the cauliflower can be a great accompanying side dish, as I did with my lentils.

As the temperature is dropping this fall, go ahead and experiment with the warming heat of Harissa.  I hope you enjoy this incredibly quick and easy recipe!

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa Spice

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa Spice

This dish only requires few ingredients. Feel free to add in the garlic to the baking sheet for more flavor. Feel free to add more Harissa paste to coat if necessary (versus more olive oil as Harissa paste is only 10 calories per serving).

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped or sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Harissa Paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the oil and Harissa paste (add more paste if needed).
  3. Rub the cauliflower pieces with the paste mixture (add the garlic) and place on a lightly greased or non-stick baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until roasted.
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Stir Fry Makeover: Curried Tofu and Rice Noodles

Stir Fry Makeover: Curried Tofu and Rice Noodles

Print Curried Tofu and Brown Rice Noodle Stir Fry Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes Healthy version of a classic noodle stir fry! Ingredients 8oz brown rice noodles, uncooked 8oz, extra firm tofu, cubed Coconut oil, 1 tablespoon 2 […]


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