Jul 082013
 

Gluten free breakfast breads have been a huge hit in our house over the last few months. I like that these loafs are all super easy to whip up and incredibly delicious to eat. I usually take a slice or two into the office and eat breakfast in complete peace there (sans baby) :-). My preferred brand of flour is Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. It has worked for me every time. I order it in bulk on Amazon now, that’s how much we use it. After trying a dozen or so recipes, here are our 3 best gluten free breakfast breads:

  • Gluten free banana bread. I substitute the sugar for just under a cup of honey. Works great. You can also add more applesauce instead of oil and make this even healthier. Chocolate chips are usually added per the hubs’ request.
  • Gluten free chocolate zucchini bread. To make this gluten-free, simply substitute the flour for gluten free flour. If you want an even healthier version of this, substitute the oil with apple sauce and the sugar with a cup of honey (just one, not two).
  • Gluten free sweet potato bread. Anil liked this a lot. I made two loafs and he never got tired of eating it for breakfast. The only thing you might want to substitute here is the butter. Add some applesauce instead. However, not a ton of butter is used in this recipe, so you decide if it’s worth it!

Needless to say, we’re really not missing our regular flour. The main benefit to me is that going gluten free makes these loafs much lighter and makes them healthier overall. You can’t lose. Let me know what your favorites are! I’m signing off and heading over to Pinterest for more gluten free ideas. Check out my gluten free goodies board over there!

glutenfreebread

 

 Posted by at 9:07 PM
Apr 252013
 

Kale chips are all the rage these days! And why shouldn’t they be? They’re healthy, super delicious and crispy, and don’t take very long to prepare. Anil and I love spicy foods, so instead of the traditional way of preparing these, we decided to add some kick. Kashmiri chili is the perfect addition to these spicy kale chips since it adds a lot of warmth, but not necessarily heat.  I’ve tried many different recipes out there, but had to experiment with the time and oven temperature. This is what I eventually came up with:

Ingredients

A large bunch of organic kale (baby kale works just as well)

Extra virgin olive oil – the best quality you have

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Kashmiri chili (optional) – found at many Asian / Indian grocery stores

spicykalechips1

Directions

1. Thoroughly wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Put on a large, dry, and clean kitchen towel for a few hours, or, if you have a salad spinner, spin away to remove all water.

2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

3. In a large bowl, toss the kale with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, and Kashmiri chili, if you have it on hand.

4. Place on a large baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 20-25 minutes. If you like the spicy kale chips to be more crispy / crunchy, go with 25 minutes and a slightly more brown color. If you prefer them less crispy, go with 20 minutes and the edges just starting to brown. Serve warm with just about anything, though we recommend a nice, cold beer!

spicykalechips2

 Posted by at 12:43 PM
Apr 252013
 

You’re probably used to topping sweet potatoes with either nothing or pecans, sugar, butter, maple syrup or tiny marshmallows. Although I love a good sweet potato casserole, I also like some contrast in my food. I love mashed sweet potatoes. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about how you cut up the sweet potatoes (and let’s admit it, it sucks to cut them up, unless you have a ninja style knife) :-). So to add something different to these health gems, I tossed in some blue cheese at the very end. That’s it. Just peel, cut, boil, and mash the potatoes and toss in about 1/4 cup (or more, if you want to be adventurous) of crumbled blue cheese for every two medium sized potatoes. The cheese will slightly melt and the blue cheese mashed sweet potatoes go great with meats or more veggies on the side. Great substitute for your regular dose of mashed potatoes. Let me know if you like them this way or if you plan to run right back to keeping things sweet!

blue cheese mashed potatoes

 Posted by at 11:54 AM
Apr 252013
 

Did you know that capers are really Mediterranean flower buds? They’ve got a super strong flavor and are usually pretty salty, so a little goes a long way with these guys. The great thing about this lemon caper butter sauce is that you can quickly whip it up and add it to chicken, fish, or even tofu. It goes well with steamed or sauteed veggies as well. Here’s how I made it:

Ingredients

1/2 stick of butter, unsalted

1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons of capers, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon of lemon zest (optional)

 

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest and slowly simmer for a few minutes. This recipe should give you enough lemon caper butter sauce to drizzle over 3-4 chicken breasts or pieces of  fish or meat. Enjoy with a healthy side to make up for all that butter! 😉

 lemon-caper-butter-sauce

 Posted by at 10:42 AM
Mar 012013
 

Here’s a really easy side dish that I just recently created. Thanks to our local online produce service – check them out at byproduce.com – we were recently introduced to purple sweet potatoes. From the inside, they look similar to beets, but their flavor is subtle and sweet, like you would expect. Here’s what I did with them:

Ingredients (for two to three people)

Two large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Three to four fresh rosemary sprigs, stems removed and finely chopped
Sea salt to taste

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in half inch slices and set aside. Mix the honey, lime juice, and olive oil. Toss with the sweet potatoes.

3. Sprinkle everything with salt and the chopped rosemary and put on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 and enjoy warm!

 Posted by at 8:17 PM
Jan 022013
 

Manchurian tofu or paneer is one of those dishes that is so easy to whip up that it makes an appearance at least every few weeks in our house. It’s hearty, satisfying, and pretty healthy too (unless you use full-fat paneer). Here’s how you can recreate it:

Ingredients (for 2 people)

A bunch of baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 container of cubed extra firm tofu, baked or fried (see below) OR
2 cups of fried cubed paneer
1 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup of fried onions
1/4 cup of soy sauce, more as needed
1 cup of water
2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste
1 green Thai chili (optional)
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
More water and corn starch as needed

Directions

1. Fry the paneer or tofu, or for a healthier version, bake the tofu (be sure to drain it really well first) on parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with some cooking spray at 350 for about 10 minutes. Turn over after 10 minutes so the other side can brown. Take out the oven when both sides are a light golden brown.

2. Heat the oils in a large wok on medium-high heat and add the ginger-garlic paste and green chili. Stir and saute for about a minute.

3. Add the bok choy and saute for about 6-7 minutes. Then add the soy sauce and fried onions, followed by the cup of water and half the cilantro. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Dissolve a tablespoon of corn starch in a little bit of water and add to the mix. The cornstarch will allow the sauce to thicken when taken off heat. Simmer for another 5 minutes and taste a bit of the sauce. Add more soy sauce as needed and adjust the amount of cornstarch and water as well (if needed).

5. Take off heat and set the wok aside for a few minutes so that the sauce can thicken. Add the other half of the cilantro on top. Serve warm with white or brown rice.

 Posted by at 12:37 PM
Dec 052012
 

Got some soggy / overripe bananas that you need to use up? I’ve got just the thing for you! I often need a quick and healthy topping for pancakes and waffles that I make for weekend brunch. Considering all the overripe bananas that we have at the end of the work week, I decided to create a topping for these sweet brunchy type of foods.

Here’s what you do: Slice 2 to 3 overripe bananas (horizontally) into small 1/2 inch rounds. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat and add the bananas, two tablespoons of water, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar. Add more water as needed. Bring to a slow simmer and serve on top of pancakes or waffles. If you want to be naughty, top with whipped cream. Voila! Brunch is done.

 Posted by at 12:10 PM
Dec 052012
 

With a newborn in tow and no one else around during the day, getting meals on the table has been close to impossible! Enter the slow cooker. Our Crockpot has been a real life saver over the last few weeks. I modified this shredded buffalo chicken recipe. It’s so easy and makes the best tacos, so you can look like a pro cook, even if you don’t have any time to slave away at the stove!

Here’s what you do (to feed 2-3 people): Take about 3 thawed boneless and skinless chicken breasts and place them in your slow cooker. Pour over about half a 12 oz bottle of your favorite buffalo sauce. We like Frank’s wing sauce a lot! Mix in about half a packet of your favorite ranch dip mix. The trick here is to find one without MSG, if you care enough to leave that out of your food. Be sure to coat both sides of each chicken breast with the mix and sauce. Once this is done, close the crockpot, cook on low for at least 5 hours and then take the chicken out. Shred each breast on a cutting board, toss with two tablespoons of butter (this is where it gets naughty!) and put back into the crockpot. Cook on low for about 10 more minutes and serve with your favorite taco toppings. We like celery and blue cheese, but let your imagination go wild here. Not the most culinary recipe, but delicious, easy, and very fussy newborn friendly!

 Posted by at 12:07 PM
Sep 162012
 

This is by far the most refreshing drink I’ve had this summer, even sans alcohol! The recipe is quite simple too. Use either a seedless watermelon or make sure you remove the seeds out of a regular one. Cut the watermelon up into small cubes and add about 3-4 cubes to a tall glass. Muddle the cubes and a few ice cubes along with some fresh mint leaves and just a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add a shot (or two!) of your favorite white rum and top off with ginger ale. Say ahhh and enjoy :-)

 Posted by at 5:05 PM
Sep 152012
 

Even if it gets too cool to grill these outside, these tangy kabobs can still be grilled indoors on a George Foreman (or other type) of indoor grill on the stove. These are simple, healthy, and very versatile, as you can pair them with just about any side salad, potato dish, hummus & pita, or mixed rice dish you can imagine.

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 people)

About a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 8 oz container of greek yogurt
1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese – any kind, best flavor with the kind with Mediterranean herbs mixed in
Zest of half about half lemon
Juice of about ¼ of a lemon
½ teaspoon of dried rosemary
½ teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
Cooking spray, if needed

Directions

1. Cut up the chicken and mix all ingredients except for the chicken in a large bowl.

2. Marinate the chicken pieces in the mixture overnight or for at least 4 hours.

3. Heat up your grill and spray with cooking spray if necessary. You can optionally place the chicken on skewers.

4. Grill the chicken until fully cooked, or no longer pink from the inside. Serve warm!

 Posted by at 2:24 PM