Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:55

Rainbow Soba Noodle Salad

soba-noodle-saladWe’re in the middle of moving back to Montana. Between packing, working, swim lessons, The Bachelorette (yep, I said it) and tying up all the loose ends in Boise, my time in the kitchen has been cut in half and I'm feeling it. Hey, health coaches are human too. All I have to say is thank God forShakeology!

I wanted to make something easy and nutritious that would last a few days so I decided to make this rainbow soba noodle salad with the ingredients I had in my fridge. (Basically, I took ingredients from four different recipes I found online and came up with this gorgeous nutritious masterpiece.) I was really happy about how it turned out though!

Have you ever tried soba noodles? They’re made with buckwheat but don’t be fooled by the name. They’re gluten-free! Buckwheat is actually related to rhubarb, not wheat, rye or barley! Buckwheat has a well-balanced assortment of essential and non-essential amino acids; the building blocks of protein. It is considered a superior source of protein when compared to wheat, rice and even millet!

Bottom line? Buckwheat rocks!

Ready for the recipe? Let’s go!

Salad Ingredients
1 package soba noodles**
1/2 head purple cabbage shredded 
1 bundle chives cut up
1 red pepper diced
1 orange bell pepper diced
1 yellow pepper diced
4 handfuls spinach
1 big bunch of cilantro cut up  (you can never have too much in my opinion)

Dressing
1 lime juiced
4-5 handfuls cilantro (remember you can never have too much)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup shoyu (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup brown sugar brown rice syrup. (This ingredient is optional but I'm not gonna lie. It makes the pasta salad so yummy)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 jalapeno (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped ginger (optional)

Instructions
Cook soba noodles as instructed. Drain and run under cold water. Mix with all the vegetables.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and toss into the salad. The salad stays good for about 3-4 days :)

Enjoy!!



**Remember to read the label on your soba noodles. Many brands are imposters and use wheat flour with the buckwheat. Not cool but a fact none-the-less.

Published in Side Dishes
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:45

Quinoa Burgers

quinoa-veggie-burgersI've been intrigued with homemade veggie burgers lately. Unfortunately, none of the ingredients made my heart skip a beat. Then, right before we left for Montana, I was thumbing through one of my Whole Living Magazines when I came across something spectacular and borderline holy. Quinoa patties. One look at the ingredients and I knew I needed to make them a part of my life. I’m so glad I did!

For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), let me tell you a little something about this super versatile food. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. In fact, it’s the only “grain” that is a perfect protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids found in animal protein. This fact makes it an ideal protein for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa is amazing for you!! Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.  Believe it or not, it was once considered "the gold of the Incas." Don’t you love when you learn something new?

When preparing quinoa, I always like to remind clients to wash it first. This removes the soapy looking saponins that coats quinoa seeds. The easiest way to do this is by running cold water over the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. This will help remove the bitter taste too.

Now that you have your PHD in quinoa, let’s move on to the recipe. You can make this recipe gluten free by substituting crushed almonds or oat flour for the bread crumbs.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten (organic and local if possible!! The animals are treated so much kinder than factory egg farms)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add patties, cover, and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining patties

Everyone in the family loved these. My husband had this to say, “I’d rather have this than a burger.” Score! 

We made them into “burgers” with some ezekial buns, onion, romaine and a little pineapple-cilantro mustard. I was also thinking about doing a greek style quinoa burger with cucumbers and homemade tzatziki sauce. The possibilities are endless.

Enjoy!

Published in Main Dishes
Thursday, 22 March 2012 19:37

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

lemon-poppy-seed-muffinsRaise your hand if you’ve been to Costco.............

Now raise your hand if you’ve tried their lemon poppyseed muffins..............

I know. They’re amazing. Too bad they’re basically giant cupcakes with 690 calories and 38 grams of fat. Yikes! 

While I'm not one to count calories anymore, this shocked me.

Good news though. I have a healthier version!

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Dry Ingredients

1 3/4 cup oat flour (oats in the vitamix)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chia seeds

Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp lemon zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients
In another bowl combine the wet ingredients
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently until combined.
Fill each well of a muffin tin that has been lined with cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Published in Desserts
Thursday, 15 March 2012 17:31

Banana Oatmeal Almond Bars

banana-almond-oatmeal-barsWe’re huge fans of bars at our house.  No, not that kind of bar! (That was like 10 years ago). I’m talking about the whole food bars that are taking the market by storm these days. Let’s be real though- they’re expensive and most of them still contain a lot of sugar. Well, check these babies out! I took three different whole food bar recipes and after adding and subtracting ingredients, this baby was born. No butter. No added sugar. They are totally vegan and super quick and easy. My kids love them and actually call them cookie bars. WINNING!
I feel so sneaky (insert malicious laugh) because kiddo number two (Carsyn) disdains all but a handful of food items. I seriously wonder how the kid functions some days. I have to be creative in trying to find foods she will accept. This recipe is a blessing. If you do have a picky eater, give these a try. Plus, they’re great reheated and the perfect breakfast bar.

Banana Almond Oatmeal Bars
2 ½ cups quick oats
¾ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup raisins or cranberries
2 tablespoons flaxseeds (optional)
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons almond butter
3/4 cup applesauce
2 large smashed bananas
This recipe doesn't get much easier.
It's as simple as mixing
up all the ingredients!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 x 8 inch pan with tin foil and spread the “dough” evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or let cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!
If you think cookie dough is addicting, just wait! If you're nervous about your kids trying these, feel free to add a few tablespoons of honey, agave or maple syrup to sweeten them up even more. You can also drizzle some over the top.
Published in Desserts
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 00:02

Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I ate gross amounts of Brussels sprouts.  I’d microwave them and then douse them with mayo, ranch, parmesan cheese and lemon. Disturbing. I know. If I only knew then what I know now.........

While I’m no longer creating the above tummy-churning concoctions, I have found a new favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts. In fact, I was so excited about this recipe, I think my husband was a bit concerned. (Truly) This recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Roasting them makes a little miracle happen right in your oven. It’s a beautiful thing.   

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees

Toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread evenly on baking tray

Sprinkle with salt and pepper  

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until some of the sprouts begin to brown

Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil with the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.

Toss Brussels sprouts and enjoy!

Published in Side Dishes
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:02

Homemade Cashew Milk

cashew-milkMy kids love soy milk and almond milk, but let's face it; many of them are processed. This recipe for cashew milk creates very rich, creamy and sweet nut milk with no preservatives or unknown ingredients. You can have better tasting nut milk without lecithin, xanthan gum, potassium citrate or any other mystery ingredients! My kids love this cashew milk; especially my two-year old. You can use it in cereals, for smoothies, for baking, by itself (It’s like a vegan protein shake!) and I love it in my coffee or tea in the mornings.

This is one of my favorite recipes because it is so quick and easy! I make it once a week. As a busy mom, it's nice to pour a glass in the morning and feel totally satisfied.

Cashew Milk

Ingredients: (these amounts can be altered to suit your individual tastes I usually double the recipe.)
1 cup raw cashews
4 cups water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Before making milk the cashews should be soaked in water at room temperature for 3 hours or more. (I usually just soak mine overnight) and then thoroughly rinsed. Soaking the cashews starts the nut germinating and increases the nutritional content of the nut. It also reduces the natural enzymatic inhibitors present in the nut and improves digestibility and nutrient absorption.

1. Discard soaking water and rinse cashews thoroughly until water runs clear
2. Place all ingredients in a blender. (I use a vitamix. If you don’t have a vitamix, you may have to strain the cashew milk.)
3. Process on high speed 20-30 seconds
4. Store in glass mason jar in refrigerator for up to a week.

Cashew milk is very foamy when first removed from the blender but usually settles after sitting for a few hours in the fridge.
Published in Juices & Nut Milks
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 13:36

Super Easy Stuffed Acorn Squash

stuffed-acorn-squashWhen I was in California for Christmas, my husband took me to Whole Foods. We don’t have one in Boise, so needless to say, I was in HEAVEN! I seriously felt high. Before we checked out, I made my way over to the pre-made foods harbored safely behind glass casing. That’s when I spotted a little piece of culinary genius calling out my name. Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, almonds, barley, cranberries and much more! $5.99 and it was all mine!

So, let’s cut to the chase. It was fantastic!! So fantastic that I eagerly jumped online and googled the recipe hoping to mimic its sheer awesomeness. I was left disappointed. Every recipe I found for the “Whole Foods Stuffed Acorn Squash” was more than I wanted to commit to.  Although rated as being super delicious, it was also labeled as being time consuming as all heck. This wouldn’t work for me. I had to let go. For now.

I know this sounds super crazy, but once back in Boise, I couldn’t stop thinking about that dang acorn squash recipe. It was that good! Then, on one of my monthly (all right weekly) Costco runs, I encountered the best thing since organic non-GMO sliced bread. Smack dab in the middle of the frozen section was Village Harvest Whole Grain Creations with barley, quinoa, wheatberries, cranberries and almonds! That’s right folks. EVERYTHING that was in my beloved stuffed squash from Whole Foods!! I wouldn’t have to spend hours tediously cooking every grain in my cupboard.


whole-grain-creationsI was able to recreate the Whole Food squash recipe with a fraction of the labor and price. Of course, I’m a little bias, but I actually think mine was better. In fact, if you live in Boise, I suggest dropping everything you have going on and running to your nearest Costco. I’m dead serious. There is so much you can do with this one product!

Here’s the recipe. All you need is some acorn squash, olive oil, salt and pepper, vegetable stock and a bag of wholesome brilliance (aka Village Harvest Whole Grain Creations!)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice acorn squashes in half, and scrape out seeds and strings. Place face down in large casserole or roasting pan and fill with 1/2 inch of vegetable stock, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove, reserve any remaining stock, and place face side up in pan. Fill each cavity with about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the Village Harvest Whole Grain Creations. Drizzle with olive oil and any remaining stock, and cover tightly with foil. Bake until squashes are cooked and slightly soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking.

Walla! You have a gluten-free, dairy-free high-fiber vegan meal or side dish with hardly any prep time! You’ll seriously feel like a rockstar after making these.

You’re welcome,

Rachel

Published in Side Dishes
Monday, 28 November 2011 15:14

Wonderfully Raw Fruit Pie

dessert-recipesI am so grateful this week to Joshua and all the staff of Integrative Nutrition for an amazing retreat/conference in Costa Rica! The conference inspired me in many ways; emotionally, spiritually, energetically and even in the culinary sense. I left there feeling like a new woman. Outside the amazing people, beautiful scenery and intense self- development and business training, I believe the raw chocolates and cakes had a little something to do with it. Yes my friends, the Blue Spirit Retreat, located in Nosara harbored a to-die-for raw chocolate and dessert bar. Let’s just say that I spent a lot of time at the bar while on vacation with my new friends;) My how things have changed in my life!

As a self-diagnosed lover of all things sweet, I was pleasantly surprised at how satisfied I was by small amounts of the raw, organic and vegan treats! Mainstream desserts that we have grown accustomed to are loaded with artificial colors and flavors; not to mention highly processed sugar, dairy, flour and other junk that even the winner of this years spelling bee would have trouble pronouncing. I must say it felt wonderful to honor my body and not feel crappy for indulging in something that also tasted delicious!

Inspired by Costa Rica, and my beautiful roommate Jessica (she is the owner of Beaming With Health) I came home on a mission to create a delicious fruit pie my whole family would love! 

Mission accomplished!! Not only did I make this pie in under 10 minutes, but it is also kid tested and approved!

Ingredients 

Crust:

2 cups almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. (I used almonds)

1/2-1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla bean

5 pitted medjool dates

2 tablespoons agave nectar

Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

Place nuts in food processor or vitamix and process until crumbled and close to flour-like. Add the coconut oil, vanilla, agave, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pulse another 5-6 times. Add the dates last, one at at time, and continue to process until the crust holds together when you squeeze it between your fingertips. Press into a pie tart or pan and freeze for 30 minutes. You can also make mini pies! (pictured)

Toppings

Take any fruit (preferably organic) you like and cut it up into small pieces about the size of your thumbnail. Here are some suggestions that everyone is familiar with but don't be afraid to go crazy! Starfruit anyone?

Kiwi

Mango

Peaches

Strawberries

Blueberries

Raspberries

Remember this pie needs to stay cold because it is made from real, whole foods and is not processed.

Keep cold right up until serving. Enjoy!!

Pura Vida,

Rachel

Published in Desserts
Monday, 28 November 2011 15:08

Really Real Fruit Bars

fruit_barsHere’s a challenge for you all:

Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a good look at the ingredients in your favorite brand of popsicles. Those “fruit” popsicles you and your kids love so much are nothing but corn syrup and artificial colors and flavorings. Even the bars made with real fruit are still sweetened up with tons of added sugar. Not cool.

Popsicles are meant to keep you cool and the added sugars and artificial sweeteners in store bought brands actually deplete the body of nutrients and the ability to stay hydrated.

Don’t worry, I have an answer to all your premeditated popsicle prayers! Drumroll please!

Introducing Really Real Fruit Bars

I sampled these myself and they might be my favorite thing ever. Plus they look cool, leading my kids to believe I’m pretty much the coolest mom ever!

Ingredients

Diced Organic Peaches

Diced Organic Strawberries

Organic Blueberries

Organic Kiwi Slices

Organic White Grape Juice

Instructions

Organize all the fruit tightly into the popsicle mold, add juice and freeze!


Published in Desserts
Saturday, 26 November 2011 19:50

Homemade Trail Mix

homemade-trail-mixTrail mix is one of my absolute favorite snacks. It's portable, delicious and can be pretty healthy, too. As a parent, it's tough to find healthy pre-packaged snacks that aren't loaded with preservatives. If you do find them, they will most likely cost you a pretty penny. What I've started doing recently is exploring the bulk section in the organic section at Fred Meyer.  Dried fruits, nuts, vegan chocolate chips, toasted coconut- you name it?! Both my girls love these! I keep them in little ziplock snack bags so they are easily accessible. Because my kids aren't meat eaters outside of the occasional salmon, we use a lot of nuts in our home. Not only are nuts a good snack food, but research is supporting eating nuts as being good for your heart health. Current dietary guidelines suggest eating 1 to 2 ounces (a small handful) of nuts each day.
The nice thing about these too? They're able to be adapted quite easily for different taste buds.
Here are some ideas for ingredients:

Goji Berries
Hemp Seeds
Raisins
Sunflower Seeds
Dried Apples
Dried Cranberries
Peanuts
Almonds
Shredded Coconut
Dark Chocolate Chips 
Pistachios
popcorn
Soy Nuts
Karob Chips
Dried mangoes, pineapple or apricots
Pumpkin Seeds
Pepitas
Dried Bananas

A good, satisfying trail mix typically consists of sweet and salty flavors. I like to always include nuts (protein), dried fruit and some form of chocolate in my own mixtures. Trail mixes are loved by kids and also make great gifts. Simply tie a cellophane bag with a pretty bow, stick on an attractive l
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