These Pumpkin Lentil Flax Crackers would be perfect as an appetizer for a Thanksgiving gathering. They’re festive and chock-full of healthy ingredients like lentils, flaxseed, coconut oil, and beets – yes, beets! This recipe was a bit of an accident. Earlier this year I was trying to make a cracker in honor of Valentines Day and wanted to use a natural ingredient to color the dough red so I added beets, which did in fact make the dough a beautiful shade of red. The only problem was that when baked the color of the dough faded to orange. The crackers still tasted delicious so I posted the recipe anyway but they were not what I had envisioned. I did, however, make a mental note to recycle this recipe for Thanksgiving because the crackers turned out to be the perfect shade of pumpkin orange! If you don’t like beets I hope you won’t shy away from making these delicious crackers. I don’t like beets but I love these crackers. I know it sounds odd to use beets as an ingredient in crackers but you don’t really taste them – they just give the crackers a hearty, earthy quality that would be lacking without them. (more…)
I suspect there are millions of people who regularly eat cold cuts for lunch who are now looking for alternatives in light of the research released yesterday by the World Health Organization declaring processed meats a carcinogen. While the news media focused mainly on meats such as bacon and hot dogs, the research defined processed meat as “any meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, smoked, or otherwise transformed for the purpose of enhancing flavor or improving preservation”. This definition encompasses a wide variety of cold cuts – a lunch staple for many. I gave up eating cold cuts for lunch years ago because of their unhealthy additives and high sodium content. (One 4 oz. serving of a popular brand of oven roasted chicken breast deli meat that claims to be healthy contains 976mg of sodium. Compare this to only 143mg of sodium for the same size serving of Basic Roasted Chicken Breasts.) As a substitute I began roasting chicken breasts and shredding the meat to use in sandwiches and salads. Basic Roasted Chicken Breasts wasn’t a recipe I considered worthy of sharing until yesterday. The World Health Organization cancer report was all over the news, undoubtedly striking fear into health-conscious consumers. I hope sharing this simple method of preparation will help convince at least a few people to ditch cold cuts in favor of Basic Roasted Chicken Breasts. (more…)
This recipe for Maple Glazed Pumpkin Seed Clusters comes with a warning – you will NOT be able to stop eating these! The combination of salty, maple sweetness is seriously addictive. Fortunately these delicious little clusters are a healthy treat, as they contain no refined sugar and are roasted in coconut oil instead of the overly processed oils that are typically used for roasting nuts and seeds. In addition, pumpkin seeds are one of the best plant sources of zinc, a mineral that is important for optimum immune function. Maple Glazed Pumpkin Seed Clusters are super simple to make – just a couple of minutes of prep and 20 minutes in the oven. (more…)
Next time you’re tempted to reach for a piece of candy grab one of these Guilt Free Chocolate Pecan Turtles instead. Your craving for something sweet will be satisfied and you will be guilt free because these delightful little treats are made with healthy ingredients like dates, peanuts, flaxseed, dark chocolate, and pecans – and they contain less than half the sugar of a traditional chocolate turtle candy. A 1 oz. serving of the most popular brand of chocolate turtle candies has 13g of sugar. The same size serving of these Guilt Free Chocolate Pecan Turtles has only 6g of sugar! (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…)
Looking 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.
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.