When 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…)
If 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…)
Over 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 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…)
This 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…)
Valentine’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.
Calling all chocoholics! Peanuts in healthier chocolate couldn’t be more delicious! This is a chocolate bar you can feel a little less guilty about eating. mr. Good(for you)bars are made with only five ingredients and unlike regular chocolate bars they contain no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, and no emulsifiers or other food additives. They’re a healthier alternative to store bought chocolate and are so simple to make. Below are a few tips for making this chocolate. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
It’s the beginning of September and this time of year has me thinking about all the things school related. I’m pretty sure that’s what prompted me to make these cookies. Milk and cookies is the quintessential after school snack – the ideal kid comfort food. Even though I try to eat healthy most of the time I’ve never outgrown my love for cookies. Every now and then I crave a good cookie – one that is golden brown, a little crisp at the edges, and soft and chewy at the center. (more…)
These Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut are sweet, tart, creamy, and delicious – sounds more like a dessert, doesn’t it? Sweet potatoes are a great year round vegetable but I’ve always thought of them more as a fall/winter vegetable, that is, until I started making this recipe. Lime and coconut are classic tropical flavors and these two simple ingredients transform ordinary mashed sweet potatoes into a fantastic side dish that is not only healthy but simple to prepare. This is a great recipe to add to your summer cooking repertoire. Below are a few photos and tips that may help you prepare this dish. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post.
You’ll need 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes as well as a few limes for this recipe. Four medium sweet potatoes is roughly the equivalent of 2 lbs. There are 4T of lime juice needed so 2 limes should yield enough juice but if you want a garnish you’ll need 3 limes.
Securely wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and place seam side up on a baking sheet. The sweet potatoes may ooze a bit during baking – that’s ok, but if this happens the aluminum foil may get stuck to the baking sheet, making it very hard to clean. When you place the package seam side up this is less likely to happen. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour, or until the sweet potatoes are tender can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. The total cooking time may be a little more or less than 1 hour depending on the size, thickness, and how many potatoes you are using. Start testing them after 45 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are tender let them cool for at least an hour before unwrapping them – they’ll be too hot to handle before that. This is what they will look like when you unwrap the packages.
Cut a slit up the center of each potato to remove the skin.
The skin will separate easily from the insides of the sweet potato and come off almost in one piece. I think this method of preparation is much easier than peeling and boiling the sweet potatoes.
The recipe calls for melted butter but if the potatoes are warm enough you can put them into a mixing bowl right on top of the unmelted butter and the residual heat will melt it. Then simply add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all together. I use a potato masher like the one pictured above but the tines of a fort will work as well. Once everything is well combined transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
You can toast the coconut flakes in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees but watch them closely as they are baking because like other nut meats, they go from perfectly golden brown to completely burned very quickly.
Just prior to serving sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each sweet potato individually in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. (This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1½ hours depending on the size and thickness of the sweet potatoes. Start testing them after 45 minutes.)
Once the potatoes are tender take them out of the oven and let them cool for 1 hour. Remove the aluminum foil from each potato, remove the skin, and place them into a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, lime, salt and pepper, and mix well using a potato masher or the tines of a fork. Transfer to a casserole dish. Just prior to serving, reheat for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Top with toasted coconut and garnish with lime if desired.
If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you will love these Gluten Free Raspberry Fudge Flowers. While I adore chocolate I have always been put off by the intense sweetness of fudge. I know some people are crazy about fudge but I think the amount of sugar in most fudge recipes masks the depth of flavor for which chocolate is known. These pretty little dessert flowers have the consistency of fudge but without loads of added sugar, which, with the help of a couple of tablespoons of strong coffee, allows all of the chocolaty goodness to shine through. Except for 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur (which you can leave out if desired), there is no refined sugar in this recipe. All of the sweetness is derived from the natural sugars in the dates, which are combined with the other ingredient to create a healthier alternative to traditional fudge. A 1.5 oz. piece of fudge has about 150 calories and somewhere around 29 grams of sugar. By comparison these Raspberry Fudge Flowers have 130 calories and a mere 7 grams of sugar. That is a huge difference in sugar content! And, they are gluten free and require no cooking to boot! This recipe was inspired by the popular Lara Bar recipes that are all over the food blogosphere. I experimented with peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (and various combinations thereof) but found that cashews produce a texture most similar to fudge – soft and chewy. Serve these with dollops of whipped cream and you will be in (a healthier) fudge heaven! (more…)