Main Dishes (5)
As you may or may not know, my dad has been living with us. It’s so great to have him here and I love being able to cook him healthy meals. Just by getting him on these awesome superfood shakes and eating organic whole foods, he’s lost 16.8 lbs in a week! (Perhaps living with a health coach helps too?)
I think the coolest part of watching him experience the beauty of whole foods is that he’s not hungry. He still eats carbs and fats and never feels deprived. He actually pushed part of his meal away the other night because he was full. It was truly a Kodak moment.
One of my dad’s favorite recipes I’ve made so far, was the quinoa “fried rice.” It's also my oldest daughter's favorite. (She calls quinoa baby noodles.) I love this dish because it's loaded with veggies and full of flavor! In case you’ve been living in a cave, or um, at McDonald’s this past year, quinoa is a protein-rich seed that is a staple for many vegans and vegetarians. It’s a perfect protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids found in animal proteins. Super cool right?
If you're not vegetarian, feel free to add some high quality animal protein to this dish. If you're vegan, omit the egg. Basically, this is your dish, so do what you want with it :)
Quinoa "Fried Rice"
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 t minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup green onions
3 to 4 cups cooked quinoa
2 tbsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
3 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (use soy sauce or shoyu if you don’t have Bragg’s)
salt + pepper, to taste
Over medium heat, saute garlic in sesame oil for roughly 1 minute. Add vegetables and cook until thawed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add quinoa**, soy sauce and mirin. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa has absorbed the liquid.
In the middle of your saucepan, push fried quinoa to the side to create a hole. Crack eggs inside the hole and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Gently mix the quinoa and eggs. Let cook for an additional minute. Mix again. Repeat until egg is completely cooked. Season with salt + pepper.
Top with green onions
**quinoa needs to be briefly rinsed before cooking to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins.
This week on my reset, I've gotten to experiment even further with some amazing yet simple recipes. Since I'm sharing a few of my favorites with you, I couldn't leave this soup out! It's so easy to make and so delicious! It's surprisingly filling too. I tweaked it a little bit and added some spinach, garlic and black pepper. Why wouldn't I?
Please don't let the fact that this soup looks like baby food deceive you. It's divine!
On a side note, If you don't have Bragg's Liquid Aminos sitting around, feel free to use some sea salt.
What?? You don't know what Bragg's is? Well then you need to check this out pronto.
Now for the recipe.
1 large or 2 small zucchini cut into chunks and steamed
2 handfuls steamed spinach
1/4 cup raw cashews
Fresh Herbs (I used 2 huge handfuls of cilantro. Dill or basil would be another option.)
2 cloves chopped garlic
Salt or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (to taste)
Soak cashews in enough water to cover for one hour. Drain. Combine cashews, zucchini, salt or aminos, and herbs in a blender, and mix until smooth, adding water as needed for desired consistency. Pour into saucepan and reheat gently, but not to a boil. For chunky soup, you can add steamed or chopped veggies of your choice! I topped mine with some chives and onions because that's how I roll. This recipe serves 1, so if you want more, feel free to double or triple the recipe.
I've been intrigued with homemade veggie burgers lately. Unfortunately, none of the ingredients made my heart skip a beat. Then, right before we left for Montana, I was thumbing through one of my Whole Living Magazines when I came across something spectacular and borderline holy. Quinoa patties. One look at the ingredients and I knew I needed to make them a part of my life. I’m so glad I did!
For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), let me tell you a little something about this super versatile food. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. In fact, it’s the only “grain” that is a perfect protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids found in animal protein. This fact makes it an ideal protein for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa is amazing for you!! Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Believe it or not, it was once considered "the gold of the Incas." Don’t you love when you learn something new?
When preparing quinoa, I always like to remind clients to wash it first. This removes the soapy looking saponins that coats quinoa seeds. The easiest way to do this is by running cold water over the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. This will help remove the bitter taste too.
Now that you have your PHD in quinoa, let’s move on to the recipe. You can make this recipe gluten free by substituting crushed almonds or oat flour for the bread crumbs.
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten (organic and local if possible!! The animals are treated so much kinder than factory egg farms)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add patties, cover, and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining patties
Everyone in the family loved these. My husband had this to say, “I’d rather have this than a burger.” Score!
We made them into “burgers” with some ezekial buns, onion, romaine and a little pineapple-cilantro mustard. I was also thinking about doing a greek style quinoa burger with cucumbers and homemade tzatziki sauce. The possibilities are endless.
I’m always looking for ways to sneak vegetables into my kids’ food. While my oldest is great at trying just about anything, the only way my youngest likes vegetables is if they’re on somebody else’s plate. To be honest, (and this might surprise some of you) I’m not a mom who pushes healthy food on my kids. While a majority of the population in my line of work is focused on the obesity epidemic, my recovery is a gentle reminder that there is a whole other end of the spectrum. Eating disorders.
I’m a firm believer that if I am questioning my daughters food choices now, they will not learn to trust themselves around food in the future.
I will never deprive my children or question their eating habits. I will only lead by example and guide them when appropriate. I have to be so careful to never project my past with food and onto them. I’m much more interested in raising daughters who can make good choices and learn to trust their bodies than I am forcing them to eat a bowl full of vegetables.
It’s important for all of us to remember what it was like to be a child and how tastes and textures affected us. I remember being a little girl, and breaking into tears after finding an onion in my bean burrito at Taco Bell. Today, onions are one of my favorites! Trust that your children will find their way. Heck, if I can find my way, anyone can!
This recipe is one of my favorites because my kids make them with me. They are given choices. (I decided to take a picture of mine because it’s obviously much more colorful.) It’s been fun to see how their bagel pizzas have transformed over the years. Presley actually put broccoli and asparagus on hers last night. Carsyn (who has a dairy allergy) stuck with sauce and her vegan cheese Daiya. That’s O.K. though. She made it herself and felt good about it.
What she didn’t know is that the sauce was loaded with veggies like carrots, butternut squash, onions and tomatoes. The secret is pulverizing the hell out of them in the Vita-mix. It’s one of my sneaky mom tricks that I can feel good about! If you’re in a hurry, feel free to use a jar (preferably organic) of sauce and add the veggies into it.
This is a recipe I found a few years ago that I really liked. (I added the extra veggies.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves,mashed and minced
3 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, picked and torn
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft (about 5 minutes).
Stir in tomatoes and vinegar and increase heat and bring to boil. Next, reduce heat to medium and cook until thickened (about 10 minutes).
Stir in basil and oregano for about 5 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Season the sauce with sea salt and pepper.
To kick it up a notch, I add some steamed spinach, broccoli, squash and extra carrots. I add the sauce to the veggies and pulverize it in the Vita-mix. You don’t have to write it in the comment box. I already know it’s brilliant. :D
Use immediately or store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge (it should keep for up to two weeks), or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
As far as the pizza goes, I follow these guidelines.
Non GMO bagels are important. It’s estimated that 96% of the wheat in the USA is genetically modified. Our bodies do not recognize it and therefore cannot digest it. It’s no surprise that gluten intolerance and sensitivity has reached epidemic proportions. Some experts estimate that 100% off our population is sensitive on some level. Coincidence? Doubtfully.
I use Ezekiel sprouted wheat (usually found in the freezer section) or Dave’s Killer Bread bagels. I buy ours at Fred Myers in the organic section. Sure they are a little bit more expensive, but it’s worth it to me. I look at it as an insurance plan.
Raw Cheese or Daiya Cheese
Of all the vegan cheeses, Daiya is the best taste wise. It actually melts and contains no soy.
Raw/ local cheese is another option. Although I don’t do much dairy at all (I break out like a hormonal teenager and my heart breaks at how the cows are treated to produce milk products you buy in a grocery store) I will do some raw cheese once in a while. It doesn’t affect me like pasteurized cheese and I know exactly where it is coming from. Keep in mind that milk proteins are like tinker toys. The second you pasteurize milk, the molecules become unrecognizable to the body. Just like GMO wheat, this is part of the reason we see such a huge increase in dairy intolerance. Plus, once pasteurized, all the beneficial enzymes are killed anyway. If you’re curios to learn more, here is a great article.
OK, sorry to rant, but I think it’s important for people to know these things :) I'm just looking out for you because I care. Truly.
So, now that you’re an expert on GMO wheat and pasteurized milk products, heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cut your bagels in half and spread with that yummy vegetable-laden sauce. Top with diced veggies. I like spinach, onion and mushroom. Add a sprinkle of cheese if you’re up to it and stick in the oven for 15-18 minutes.
Most importantly, have fun making them with your kids and giving them choices that honor their tastebuds instead of your rules.
I know, I usually only post vegan recipes but I have to get over the idea that eating a piece of cheese or posting a fish tacos recipe will force me to be inducted into some hippie hall of shame. You see, I kind of hate labels. I guess if I had to give myself one, I’d say I’m vegan-ish. My body and mind do best without dairy and heavy meats. I know this about myself and so I do what works for me. I do eat fish, cheese, and organic eggs once in a while. When I'm tuned it and listening to my body, it's easy to make the right choices. I know for me personally, when I give myself a label, I don't do as well honoring what my bodies needs on any given day.
The first time I ever made these was on accident. I’m not a cook who measures ingredients. I look up recipes but don’t really follow them. I throw in a little bit of everything and hope for the best. Well, this was the best. Ever. I had tons of people asking for the recipe. The problem is that I didn’t have a true recipe. I had to go back and work on the logistics but I think I finally got it down.
This recipe is my husband’s favorite hands down. It’s super healthy and a great way to get some raw veggies in your daily routine. The pineapple-cilantro slaw makes me heart skip a beat every time I make it. If you’re not a fan of fish, you can always substitute some tofu, mushrooms, black beans or organic meat.
Baja Fish Tacos With Pineapple Cilantro Slaw
2 lb mahi-mahi
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tablespoons cilantro
3-5 tsp chili powder (depending on how hot you like it)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp minced garlic
8 corn tortillas
Pineapple Cilantro Slaw
Cut the mahi-mahi into 16 equal slices. Combine the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, coriander, and garlic. Coat the mahi-mahi with the marinade and let set for 30 minutes before cooking.
**In the summer we always grill the fish. In the winter, we usually cook it in the oven. I prefer it on the grill though. If you’re doing it in the oven, I recommend wrapping the fish and marinade in some tin foil. Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 mintues.
Place on some warm corn tortillas and top with pineapple cilantro slaw and other fixings that I recommend below!
Pineapple Cilantro Slaw
2 cups fine-shredded red cabbage
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp minced red onion
1/2 cup diced pineapple
2 tsp minced jalapeños
2 tsp chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients and allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes. A few hours would be the best case scenario. Drain any excess liquid.
Serve with any fixings you like! I recommend some black beans, brown rice, diced avocados and salsa! (If you live in Billings, YOU MUST TRY The Hungry Mexican Salsa from Natural Grocers. Worth every penny.)