I am newer to the whole veggie noodle trend, mostly because I didn’t want to invest in a spiralizer unless I knew I would get frequent use out of it. For awhile, I made due by putting my dusty cheese grater to use to make zucchini noodle strips. And then I found this:
Only $5 at Whole Foods and I was sold. I was a little skeptical at first if it would really work, but it does! And not only does it turn out lovely long zucchini noodles, I get a few bonus rotini shapes too. The only downside is it’s hard to spiralize the entire veggie because you run the risk of nicking your fingers in to the bargain. A brief search on Amazon, however, located this one* that solves that problem and is still small enough to be tucked into a drawer.
While my traditional pasta sauce works well with these noodles, I think they were meant for this pesto recipe. You can serve it over slightly warmed noodles, or since the weather is heating up, eat it cold. This pesto is a snap to put together and it can even be frozen.
Five-ingredient walnut pesto
1.5 cups of basil
1/2 cups of walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/8 tsp salt
dashes of freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix on high until everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon onto noodles of choice (I recommend zucchini!) and stir until noodles are coated. Personally, for my own bowl, I like to mix in the pasta by hand. Store any extras in an air-tight jar in the freezer.
The hardest thing about modifying your diet can be figuring out just what the heck your now going to eat. This month, I’ve been following the anti-candida diet which cuts out all sugars and drastically cuts carbs among other things to address the problems that come with a systemic yeast overgrowth.
Since I’m a big fan of hummus which is not ACD-friendly, I needed an alternative for a hearty and satisfying snack. And thankfully I found it in baba ganoush. I also had to switch out raw carrots for the first couple of weeks and replace those with rutabaga – a veggie with strong anti-fungal properties.
I came up with this snack to satisfy my usual carrots + hummus cravings. Usually, I’ll just slice it in rounds and pile on the tomatoes, but it can also be down-sized by cutting the rutabaga into smaller circles or fun shapes with cookie cutters. If you do this, just be sure to eat the scraps instead of pitching them because #zerofoodwaste.
The baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve typed “baby” instead of “baba” while writing this post. LOL
Peel and slice the eggplant into disks about ¼’ thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and if desired, drizzle with avocado oil. Bake eggplant in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Cool slightly.
Place eggplant and remaining baba ganoush ingredients (except the water), in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides a couple of times. Add water to thin if needed.
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Baba ganoush can be kept in the fridge for several days if stored properly in an airtight jar.
For the Pizzas:
Peel rutabaga and slice thinly (about 1/8” ). If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes for smaller, bite-sized appetizers.*
Spread baba ganoush on the rutabaga slices and add a piece of basil if desired, plus a slice of tomato.
*Baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker
*If making these into bite-sized appetizers, use cherry tomatoes.
Today is Day 4 of the full Sugar Detox Challenge. I’m also adding the twist of following the anti-candida diet which you can learn more about here.
One of the keys to succeeding with any diet change, is preparation. Mental and physical.
So much of what and how we eat is tied up in our emotions, our memories and our culture that breaking from your traditional diet can be tough. I’ve found the best way to mentally prepare for a diet changhttps://shebloomflourish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1024&action=edite is praying about it and leaning on God to get me through. But I also put that faith in action by researching recipes and articles…you could say it’s “thought for food.
To prepare physically, there are several practical steps to take to increase success:
Remove the foods that are a source of temptation: This is key if you really struggle with giving into cravings. If it’s not in your cupboards or fridge, it’s not very likely that you’ll run to the store to feed the temptation.
Meal planning: Although I always recommend planning meals -including snacks – because it saves time, mental stress and money, this step is especially important when you are following a new diet and dealing with foods that may be unfamiliar to you.
Meal prep:This is meal planning’s often overlooked partner and an area I still need to grow in. Meal prepping, especially for snacks that require more than grabbing a handful of something, helps avoid the pitfall of reaching for whatever is most convenient, but not diet-friendly.
Four days into the anti-candida diet and I’m grateful for taking these steps. The hardest part so far is not reaching for my usual standbys of raisins or carrots and hummus. All healthy, but the higher sugar and carb count counts them out for the strictest part of the anti-candida diet.
Now on to the cauliflower soup…
As part of my meal prepping, I made a HUGE pot of this over the weekend, which takes care of my lunches for this week and most of next.
It’s simple to make but packed with flavor and other goodness that eating cauliflower, onions, garlic and curry bring.
Saute onions and garlic in a little water in a large stockpot until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add cauliflower and seasonings and add more water until it’s not quite covering the cauliflower.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 35-40 minutes.
Cool slightly and add to a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. You will probably have to do this several times, so make sure you have an extra pot on hand to transfer the blended soup into.
*Eliminate pepper if following the anti-candida diet
I’m not really sure if “cake” is the right work to describe this dessert. Pie doesn’t really fit either, although this does have a crust. But after doing some research to see if there was a more fitting name for this confection and turning up nada, I’m running with cake. Food people, if I’ve missed named this dessert, please let me know. I’m all ears.
Ever since radically reducing my sugar intake a couple of years (and more on this to come next week), I’ve tried to stick to desserts that use mostly fruit to sweeten them. After seeing similar concoction around the Web, I knew I had to try my hand at my own version.
This recipe combines the recipe for my dark chocolate pudding mousse with an almond-coconut-chocolate crust sweetened only with date paste. If you want more “cake,” then double the recipe for the pudding.
The best part? You won’t regret eating a second, or third, piece. It’s a cake that will make your taste buds and your body sing – even if it’s not made for a birthday. 😉
Sometimes, I think the best recipes are those that are cobbled together…a little of this, a little of that, nothing measured. Just a few favorite ingredients in a bowl, in a cup, on a plate. Snacking especially lends itself to improv eating.
Although my go to snack often is enough to satisfy, sometimes, I’m looking for something a little bit more…
This snack is by no means intended to approximate the traditional Cajun jambalaya in the rice-veggies-meat sense, but it does mimic the dish’s mish mash approach to pulling ingredients together.
Peanut butter + banana have long been a favorite of mine. (In my white-bread eating days, it was especially satisfying eat the pb+b on a toasted plain bagel.)
Add in naturally sweet dried coconut and raisins and the hint of cinnamon and you have an unconventional, yet satisfying snack. I usually toss all these ingredients in a bowl, but for the pictures, I used a small canning jar, because it just looks prettier.
If you have a nut allergy, substitute in sunflower seed butter. And if you prefer eating raw, use a raw nut butter. I recommend using a salted nut/seed butter as it complements the delicate sweetness of the fruit.
I grew up in a home where we ate quite a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. But somehow the avocado eluded us. And guacamole? The first time I tried it I was in my late twenties.
It was love-at-first-bite.
But chips, guac’s side kick, are rather low on the healthy eating spectrum, sprouted, organic, GMO-free or not. And despite their salty, crunchy tastiness, I’ve been looking beyond the vegan label to examine what I’m actually putting into my body. Because eating a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily = a healthy diet.
So when I want a healthier compadre for my guacamole, I round up some sweet potatoes and put them to work. According to WebMD, sweet potatoes are full of calcium, potassium and vitamins A & C.Both recipes are simple to prepare and contain a small handful of ingredients.
But before we get to the recipes, I wondered…are there any foods or dishes that somehow eluded you in childhood that you discovered as an adult?
It’s funny how much we talk about the weather, at least around these parts. Perhaps it’s because we’re all in it together, this waiting for spring to be spring.
I check weather updates repeatedly as if somehow my multiple visits per day to our local weather station’s website will translate to warmer temperatures in the forecast. Even now my fingers are itching to check it once again. The calendar says it’s spring, but the temperatures seem reluctant to leave winter behind. I need to remind myself as I remind my children that it is the Lord who controls the weather and, thankfully, He is not bound by a calendar.
And for our table, I looking to grace it with recipes that incorporate springtime vegetables and my favorite minneola oranges which are only available for a short time in the stores where we live .
So I was excited a few weeks back to have this recipe arrive in my inbox from Minimalist Baker. I tried it out, but didn’t like the combination of the beans and quinoa with the lettuce, though I might have liked it better with kale (it’s a texture thing). So I made a few modifications to come up with the Oh-lay! Early Spring Salad featuring a pumpkin seed parmesan.
1. If toasting pumpkin seeds, place in a pot over high heat and toast until you hear the seeds begin to “pop”, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Combine all pumpkin seed parmesan ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until roughly crumbled.
3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well until emulsified.
4. Prepare all salad ingredients, combine with dressing and parmesan and serve.
Use about one large handful of salad greens per person.
If serving to a crowd, combine the greens, asparagus and cilantro in a large salad bowl, but serve the remaining toppings and dressing on the side for guests to add as desired. That way if you have leftovers, the greens will remain fresh.
Pumpkin seed parmesan will keep for at least one week if refrigerated in a jar.
For the longest time I could not bring myself to eat pasta with sauce on it. Chalk it up to getting the flu after eating spaghetti for dinner. Instead, I requested my spaghetti be served with Italian Salad Dressing.
Years went by until I worked up the nerve to start eating pasta with a little bit of sauce, but it wasn’t until I went to Venice, Italy as a senior in high school that I finally understood why people love pasta.
I started making my own sauce a few years ago when I switched to eating vegan and also cutting back on oils (most store bought sauces contain oil and many also contain sugar). The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease book which also inspired my change in diet.
Since we are a family of six and this sauce freezes well, I make a large quantity. That way, I only need to prepare this about once a month. It makes enough to fill about five large mason jars plus a few smaller jars for pizza sauce.
When I don’t have tomatoes on hand from my garden, my favorite brand of canned tomatoes are Muir Glen’s organic diced or whole tomatoes because 1. they’re organic and 2. Muir Glen took the BPA out of their can lining. Thankfully, I can buy these in bulk at BJs to save money.
Whenever I had to do a research project for school, I always leaned toward more sober subjects, like “why suntanning is bad for you” or “pollution in the environment.” Why I didn’t think I could combine my fondness for science with something fun like…chocolate…is beyond me.
My oldest son, on the other hand, gets it. Several times in the past couple of years, he has checked this book out from the library. The first time was for a research project in second grade and just for fun after that. I like his style.
And reading through that book, it suddenly clicked with me why chocolate’s health benefits are touted…it’s a vegetable! “Eat your veggies” suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.
Of course, chocolate stops being a health food when paired with sugar and milk. Which is why recipes like this one for Dark Chocolate Pudding-Mousse are the answer to keeping your taste buds and body happy.
The inspiration for this recipe came from a bonus recipe pack for the Oh She Glows cookbook, but I added a few extra ingredients including the full-fat coconut to further mask the avocado. When you first mix it up, it has the texture of pudding, but will take on the texture of mousse once refrigerated. To keep a more pudding-like consistency, try adding your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk a 1/2 cup at a time (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk).
A note of caution: If you are trying to lose weight, eat this recipe sparingly because avocado and full-fat coconut milk are heavy hitters in the fat department, even if it is plant-based fat. On the flip side, if you find yourself shedding too much weight from eating a low-fat, plant-based, carb-light diet, then by all means indulge away.
And though, spooning it on a plate with sides of mashed potatoes and greens might be carrying it a little too far, I’m all for serving this to my children as an extra treat a breakfast. After all, what better way to start the day than with a cup of fruits and veggies?
Peel avocado, remove pit and put in food processor.
Add date paste, breaking into small pieces to help with the blending.
Add remaining ingredients (except nondairy milk),
Blend ingredients until smooth, anywhere from 1-3 minutes.
If too thick, add nondairy milk 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency.
Eat immediately or place in refrigerator for later.
An avocado that easily yields when gently pressed and is free of bruises works best.
Be sure to carefully read your stevia package to make sure it is pure as many stevia products are a blend and may include undesired ingredients. I bought my stevia at Trader Joe’s and it came with its own scoop. One hundred percent pure stevia is potent so the scoop is tiny, less than 1/8 tsp.
I use roasted almond butter in my recipe because that is what I have on hand. If you want to keep it raw, use raw almond butter.
This recipe thickens as it chills, achieving a mousse-like texture. Adding nondairy milk (I like unsweetened vanilla almond milk best) helps return it to a pudding. This pudding should be consumed within 3 days of eating and must be kept refrigerated.
In December, we watched The Hundred Foot Journey, a story about an Indian family who reestablishes their family restaurant in France after a tragedy in their homeland. It’s also a story about a love for food and the nuances of putting together a dish and how strongly a meal can evoke memories of ones loved and gone. Perhaps, it’s no mystery then of why Jesus had us remember His sacrifice with bread.
And though this recipe could not do justice to a traditional Indian curry, I find it rather tasty. I took inspiration from this curry sauce, added my own twist, and poured it over a stir fry for Christmas Eve. (Hint: Naan bread is an excellent companion to this meal, perhaps even essential for sopping up the sauce. My husband used this recipe to make our naan bread, but subbed in vanilla soy yogurt and soy butter so I could eat it.)
For the stir fry, simply choose a selection of vegetables you like best paired with a side of rice, if desired. For a more authentic taste, I suggest tucking in cauliflower, peas and potatoes.
selection of fresh vegetables (suggest cauliflower, peas, butternut squash, potatoes, onion, garlic, green beans)
for the kashmiri curry sauce
2 small or 1 large onion
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. can full fat coconut milk
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. red chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. corriander
1 tsp curry
for the stir fry
If using, cook the rice according to package directions.
Dice onions and chop remaining ingredients (except peas, if using) into bite sized pieces. Rinse.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet until it begins to smoke.
Add onions + veggies requiring a longer cooking time first. Stir fry until just fork tender, then add quick cooking veggies (e.g. peas) and cook until just heated through.
Spoon rice then stir-fried veggies into bowls and pour sauce over top.
for the kashmiri curry sauce
In a large saucepan, saute diced onions in a little water or veggie stock until translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add minced ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes to let flavors combine.
I prefer letting each person add their own sauce to suit their preference which is why I add it at the end, but you could try simmering the veggies in the sauce instead of stir frying them if preferred.
This sauce freezes well. Just be sure to cool it completely before freezing.
You may finely dice the tomatoes if you prefer small pieces.