Blue Cheese, Rosemary, and Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers

Blue Cheese and Rosemary Wild Rice Stuffed PeppersWhen a recipe title says that something is “stuffed” one immediately assumes that the dish will be decadent and delicious yet I have found most stuffed pepper recipes fall flat in this regard. The peppers are usually filled with a boring mixture of meat and rice and end up turning a pale shade of green when baked before toppling over in the casserole dish. Sometimes, however, a few simple tweaks to an otherwise basic recipe can transform a “ho-hum” dish into something truly extraordinary and such is the case with these Blue Cheese, Rosemary, and Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers. Traditional stuffed pepper recipes usually call for green bell peppers but in this recipe I use red, green, orange, and yellow bell peppers. The combination of colored peppers adds a visual vibrancy to the dish which is reason enough to use them, but I also like that the skins on the red, orange, and yellow peppers retain their brightness when baked, unlike the green peppers whose color becomes dull when cooked. (more…)

Gluten-Free Blueberry Almond Granola Muffins

DSC_0052_edited-3If you like granola and you like muffins then you will LOVE these Gluten-Free Blueberry Almond Granola Muffins! They’re full of super healthy ingredients like almond meal, avocado oil, and fresh blueberries. Unlike some muffins, which can be dry and crumbly, these muffins are tender and moist with a subtle earthy quality due to the addition of granola. There is something magical about the combination of blueberries and almonds (or in this case almond meal) – these ingredients complement each other so perfectly. Maple syrup is the primary sweetener in these muffins and the recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons, so at first bite you might think they are not sweet enough. In fact each muffin has just 8 grams of sugar. That’s a very low sugar content when you consider that some blueberry muffins contain as much as 44 grams of sugar.  However, this lower sugar content allows the most intense blueberry flavor to shine through. Trust me – you will see what I mean once you try these! You can use any kind of gluten-free granola for this recipe but choose one without added oil if possible. (more…)

Quinoa Cannellini Cakes

Quinoa Cannellini CakesOver the past several years the food blogosphere has been completely overrun with quinoa recipes so I was reluctant to publish this post but these little Quinoa Cannellini Cakes are so delicious I just had to share! The first time I had ever heard of quinoa was probably about 10 years ago. Back then it was being touted as a revived ancient grain and a nutrient dense alternative to rice and beans. Since then quinoa’s popularity has exploded and now it seems every food blog, cookbook, lifestyle magazine, and restaurant is espousing the virtues of quinoa and using it in new and different ways. People are making desserts, muffins, and pizza crusts with quinoa, and even drinking it. Quinoa’s versatility and nutritional value has made it a darling of the health food world. It’s a gluten-free superfood and is considered a “complete protein” because it has all 9 essential amino acids, making it appealing to vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who are simple trying to eat less meat. So if you haven’t yet incorporated quinoa into your diet start now! (more…)

Apple Flax Breakfast Squares

Apple Flax Breakfast SquaresApple Flax Breakfast Squares are a healthy alternative to a morning muffin. They’re gluten-free, grain free, and contain no refined sugar, which also makes them paleo friendly. Each square has 9g of protein, 9g of fiber, and a whopping 5,600mg of omega-3 fatty acids!   Serve alongside some freshly brewed coffee and you will have a delicious and nutritious start to your day. (more…)

Clean Chicken Salad

_DSC0040This chicken salad tastes so clean and fresh. It doesn’t have the heavy, mayonnaise-laden texture that is characteristic of most chicken salads, especially the store bought varieties. Clean Chicken Salad is “clean” because it’s made with homemade avocado mayonnaise instead of store bought mayonnaise, which usually contains factory refined oils such as soybean oil or canola oil. If you’re a fan of clean eating then you know that it’s all about eating whole foods, or “real” foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. This means steering clear of highly processed and refined foods. Most people don’t think of mayonnaise as a “processed food”, but, in fact, the oil in almost all commercial mayonnaise is the result of a highly intensive refining process whereby chemicals are used to extract the oil from various seeds. Factory refined oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil are thought to cause widespread inflammation in the body and have been linked to diabetes, cancer and heart disease in multiple studies. So make you own mayonnaise! It’s SO much healthier and it tastes better too. Just be sure to use unrefined oil such as avocado oil or olive oil. (more…)

Easter Peeps in a Nest

Easter Peeps in a NestIf you have no time for decorating Easter eggs this year then try making Easter Peeps in a Nest instead. The whole process (excluding the time needed for them to set) takes no more than 15 or 20 minutes. I had plans to decorate eggs and cookies this year but got so busy with work that I couldn’t fit it in. It left me feeling nostalgic for the times when my girls were little and we devoted an entire afternoon to decorating eggs and cookies. When I saw the idea for these Easter Peeps in a Nest on The Today Show the other morning, I thought they looked simple and quick and that making them would fill the little hole I had in my heart for days gone by. I searched and searched on-line for the recipe but couldn’t find it so I decided to just wing it. I think they came out pretty cute! (more…)

Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade

_DSC0008Looking for an Asian inspired dish with a twist? Look no further. These roasted shrimp have the classic Asian flavors of soy and ginger with the unique addition of agave nectar. This is a fast and versatile seafood entrée – the shrimp can be roasted in the oven or grilled, with equally delicious results, and they are cooked to perfection in less than 10 minutes. Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade has been in my cooking repertoire since I first saw the recipe in a 1998 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. The original recipe calls for honey instead of agave but several years back, when agave nectar was all the rage, I started substituting agave for honey and I have been making this dish that way ever since.

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Valentine Red Lentil, Beet, and Flax Crackers

Valentine Red Lentil, Beet, andFlaxValentine’s Day is coming up so I thought it would be fun to make gluten free heart-shaped crackers. Before making these crackers I had never used red lentils but I’d heard about them and thought they might produce a cracker in honor of Valentine’s Day that was some shade of red.  Well, it turns out red lentils are not red at all, but more orange in color.  I thought I could fix this by adding some beets and was encouraged when the dough mixed up to a beautiful deep, ruby-red color – perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately the crackers lose that beautiful deep red color when baked.  I was going to rework the recipe to omit the beets but they give the crackers an earthy quality that would be lacking without them and, more importantly, everyone that tried the crackers said they were delicious as is and that I shouldn’t change a thing.

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Raspberry Filled Christmas Tree Cookies

DSC_0094_edited-5I love Christmas cookies decorated with royal icing but they’re an absolute pain to make.   You have to mix up several batches of icing for all the different colors you want, fit multiple pastry bags with tips, and then carefully fill each bag with icing.  All that before you even start decorating!  It’s very time consuming and the clean up is no fun either.  These stunning Christmas cookies are much less work but no less beautiful.  The idea for these cookies comes from the The New York Times. Their recipe calls for a linzer cookie dough but I opted for a classic sugar cookie dough because I thought the paler color of the dough would highlight the red raspberry jam better. Plus, I already had a batch of sugar cookie dough in my freezer just waiting to be transformed into Yuletide goodness! (more…)

1 Easy Cranberry Sauce

DSC_0074_edited-1The operative word here, or in this case number, is 1.  The recipe for 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce calls for 1 bag (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of orange juice. That’s all it takes to make a delicious homemade cranberry sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and tart to complement your Thanksgiving turkey. If there was a contest for the simplest recipe ever this one would surely be in the running. Just put 3 ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on high, and cook for 4 hours. (more…)

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