Gluten Free

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

If you’re looking for a new vegetable dish to try  tonight I highly recommend this Braised Red Cabbage with Apples.  Here is why:

  • It’s super easy, taking only about 10 minutes to throw together
  • It’s pretty hard to screw up
  • It tastes kind of like a candied version of a vegetable, making it easy to palate for non-veggie lovers, and a treat for veggie regulars
  • The health benefits are through the roof, yo
  • It pairs really well with mashed sweet potatoes, which are also super easy, and just about any protein you want to throw together

While “cabbage” has a pretty boring and bland reputation (one that may or may not be justified depending on the dish), red cabbage is its sexy cousin.  Not only is it glamorous in color, but it cooks down to be wonderfully sweet when paired with apples, and its health benefits are sky high.

What health benefits, you ask?  Well, pretty much any vegetable in the cabbage family has anti-cancer properties thanks to its sulfur-based glucosinolates.  From whfoods.org; glucosinolates “are cabbage’s trump card with regard to “anti-cancer” benefits. The glucosinolates found in cabbage can be converted into isothiocyanate compounds that are cancer preventive for a variety of different cancers, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.”

But red cabbage is also especially high in antioxidants thanks to its deep red, actually purple, color.  Here’s another little snippet from whfoods.org:

“A recent study showed that a 100 gram (about 3 ounces) serving of raw red cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins. Green [...]

Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

Oatmeal Breakfast Bar Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

We have four breakfast eaters in our house, including one toddler and one four-year old, and not everyone is always delighted about the idea of an oatmeal breakfast.  While I’m happy to make other things for breakfast when there’s time, oatmeal is such dependable staple we’ve figured out how to make it stay interesting and attractive…for everyone!

The secret is the Oatmeal Breakfast Bar.  Like a taco bar – but for oatmeal.  A variety of toppings that each person can pick to customize their oatmeal just how they like it.  Even though there may be a large number of toppings at play, more toppings doesn’t necessarily translate into more time or effort if they’re all easily accessible.

This morning I glanced at my counter (picture above), and realized that the number of oatmeal toppings we have on a daily basis is  a little bonkers.  But it’s really ok – I just pop things out of the fridge or cabinet – both of which are within arms’ reach of the counter.

This all evolved quite naturally, thanks to a very picky toddler.  At times the requests get a little obnoxious (syrup and cinnamon on top of the oatmeal – not mixed in, etc).  Even with the super picky requests we’ve managed to keep everyone happy over the years while only cooking one main ingredient: oatmeal.

So here’s what we have going on currently in our “toppings bar”:

  • Cinnamon
  • Raw honey
  • Real maple syrup
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Coconut oil (this really helps the oatmeal stick with you through the morning)
  • Hemp seeds for protein – you could also add any kind of nuts you like
  • Pumpkin seeds – full of protein and minerals, and store [...]

Meal Plan Menu Week of September 7-13, 2014

Meal Plan Menu Sept 7-13

Meal Plan Menu Sept 7-13

I had to post this particular meal plan menu, because it’s a celebration of something I love: traditional Italian tomato sauce!  I didn’t always love tomato sauce, but when I started making it myself (and especially when my Italian husband started to make it in large batches) I really began to appreciate how wonderful and versatile tomato sauce is.

In next week’s meal plan menu, you’ll get a chance to make your own simple tomato sauce from scratch and see just how much fresher and more delicious it is than store-bought options.  Then you’ll get to savor your work in two wonderful summer dishes: the Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan and a Traditional Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.  Sometimes traditional is simply comforting, after all.

 This is the meal plan menu for next week, Sept 7-13, came out this past Thursday morning.  But if you sign up before next Monday and shoot me an email I’d be happy to send it to you so that you can enjoy these delicious dinners:

  1. Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Steamed Broccoli
  2. Super Healing Summer Soup with Greens, Garlic and Chickpeas and Sardine Toasts
  3. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and a Spinach Salad
  4. Brazilian Black Beans with Red Pepper, Kale and Jasmine Rice

Enjoy these meals that are loaded with summer’s best produce.  Along with the full meal plan menu and shopping list, you’ll receive the easy-to-prepare recipes and a calendar for the week that describes how to prepare in advance for a super efficient week of dinners.

Sign [...]

Sauteed Sea Scallops with Strawberry and Celery Salsa

Sauteed Sea Scallops with Strawberry Salsa Sauteed Sea Scallops with Strawberry Salsa

Sea scallops are a wonderfully decadent treat, especially when crisped up in some butter and olive oil.  I love ordering scallops at restaurants on a special occasion, but there’s really no reason to limit them to a restaurant experience; you can make them at home just as well and they’ll be more affordable.

The key to making delicious seafood at home is to start with good seafood, then to not overcook it.  With good-quality seafood I find that it’s actually much easier than other proteins like chicken or steak to prepare.  They have so much flavor on their own that a simple salsa on top is enough to make a restaurant-quality dish.  If you can, buy fresh (not frozen) scallops, which will sear well.  Frozen scallops will still be very tasty, but because they hold on to some water, won’t form that golden crust.

This recipe is from Eat Happy Meal Plan.  Check out the whole week’s menu here.  Sign up and get the other recipes along with the shopping list and weekly planner that will save you time and energy here.

Scallops with Strawberry Celery Salsa
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
1 lb domestic wild sea scallops, preferably fresh (fresh will sear better than frozen, but frozen will still taste great)
3 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into ½ inch dice*
2 stalks celery cut into 1/3 inch dice
2 limes, juice and 1 tsp zest reserved
1 tsp honey, raw and local [...]

Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice

Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries

I am very excited to share this Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice recipe, because it really helped me break my breakfast rut and is perfect for summer.  It takes so little active time to prepare at night, then no time at all in the morning to pop out of the fridge.  And it feels like eating dessert for breakfast which is always fun.

For breakfast I’m usually pretty boring: a lot of oatmeal during the winter and granola during the summer, and mix it up on weekends with pancakes, waffles and the like.  But I have been getting so tired of my go-to breakfast, and I really wanted something cool and something fast (still rushing one kiddo off to camp most of the week!).  I also really love to get something extra nutritious into my body first thing in the day to start things right, but am not quite at the point of eating leafy greens before 11am.

I have also been reading Mark Fuhrman’s excellent book, Super Immunity, which makes a very compelling case for the healing powers of natural plant-foods.  He has a recipe for Forbidden Rice Pudding, which uses a Chinese purple rice that is actually higher in antioxidants than blueberries!  Antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.  Eating antioxidants can have a wide range of health effects, including reducing the risk for cancer, inflammation, aging, and cell damage.  It’s good to eat antioxidants.

This seemed promising; the nutritional power of berries in a rice pudding that can be  made [...]

  • Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan
    Permalink Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved ParmesanGallery

    Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers, Shaved Parmesan, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers, Shaved Parmesan, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan

You know it’s a good food week when your leftover meal is even better than the original meal the leftovers came from – such is the case with this Arugula and Steak Salad. Using leftover Lime-Marinated Steak and grilled onions and peppers from Eat Happy Meal Plan’s Lime-Marinated Steak Fajitas I created this super simple and fast salad.

This salad is really well-balanced: bold steak paired with sweet onions and peppers, peppery spiced arugula, and all tied together with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.  I added a little crunch with some sunflower seeds, and what could be wrong with some shaved Parmesan on top?  (It pairs so nicely with the balsamic vinegar!)

No worries if you don’t enjoy steak – simply sub in whatever protein you prefer – tofu, chicken, or even even shrimp will all work with the lime marinade and ultimately result in a great salad.

Arugula Salad with Grilled Steak, Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 20 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Serves:  4

Ingredients
5-7 ounces arugula leaves
1-2 cups leftover grilled steak, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1-2 cups leftover grilled onions and peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 ounces parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the arugula leaves and spin or pat dry.  Place in individual bowls or a [...]
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole
    Permalink Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with lots of good stuffGallery

    Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers and Cannellini Beans

Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers and Cannellini Beans

Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with lots of good stuff

While putting together the Eat Happy Meal Plan for next week I inadvertently ended up with a bit of a Mediterranean theme – including this Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole.

Mediterranean food is renowned for its health benefits as well as its tastiness and, for lack of a better term, the level of satisfaction this way of eating provides.  Because it’s not deficient in any major food group (lookin at you fats) and includes a lot of variety in foods and flavor, it’s a very satisfying way to eat, which also happens to make it very sustainable.

This casserole is a bit of a smorgasbord of Mediterranean ingredients – kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, cannellini beans, feta cheese (look for authentic goat or sheep milk varieties), fish, and fresh herbs.

You do have to cook the quinoa, but other than that the preparation is as simple as tossing chopped ingredients in a bowl (many of which conveniently coming from the pantry), mixing, then transferring to a casserole dish to bake.  Twenty-five minutes, easy peasy.

Serving of Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole Serving of Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole

Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers and Cannellini Beans
From: Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 55 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Serves:  4 with leftovers

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well in a fine-mesh sieve
2 cups chopped tomatoes with liquid from about 1 can
3 roasted red peppers, about 1 jar, cut [...]

  • Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad
    Permalink Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad Gallery

    Kale Salad with Avocados, Strawberries and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Avocados, Strawberries and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad

Looking for a fresh take on your old kale salad?  This tasty dish has the best elements of Spring: sweet strawberries and creamy avocado paired with crispy red onions and savory pistachios.  If you haven’t tried a massaged kale salad, this is a good excuse to give it a whirl.  Massaging the kale with a little salt and olive oil – just for a few minutes – improves the flavor and wilts the kale slightly so that it’s tender.

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar enjoy each other immensely, so I thought I’d use a nice balsamic vinaigrette, which also has the nice benefit or mellowing out the onions so that they’re also sweet and crisp.  If you’ve been buying your salad dressing from the store you might be amazed at how simple and fast this dressing is – it literally takes about 30 seconds to whisk together!

Thanks to generous amounts of avocado and pistachios, this salad is substantial and filling enough to serve as a light main dish at lunch or dinner.  It also makes a lovely side dish to a little roasted or grilled fish.  Get more great recipes in my new cookbook here.  And definitely come on over and like us on Facebook!

Enjoy and Eat Happy!

Kale Salad with Avocados, Strawberries and Balsamic Vinaigrette
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados, pits removed and cut into ¾ inch cubes
2 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and quartered
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup [...]

Warm Lentil Salad with Kale and Portobello Mushrooms

Lentil Salad with Kale and Mushrooms Lentil Salad with Kale and Mushrooms

This lentil salad right here is a bowl full of health.  Lentils are off the chart on a number of awesome nutrients, including molybdenum, folate, copper, phosphorus and iron. (Sometimes I seriously wonder how something so boring looking can be so incredibly full of good stuff.)  Throwing in the kale and portobello mushrooms makes this salad a pretty epic dish of vitamins and minerals galore.  Need a pick-me-up?  Put down the 5-hour energy and make this for dinner.

Not that that’s the only reason to eat it.  The secret to this dish being super delicious is the tangy Dijon and apple cider vinegar vinaigrette.  There is something about this vinaigrette and lentils that is just harmonious.  There’s this tangy-savory dance going on.  I frequently make this dish with a little bacon, but this vegan version using mushrooms is just as good – and it’s all because of the vinaigrette.

These are regular old el cheapo green lentils, which actually look quite brown.  Other lentils are more beautiful and some, like red lentils, cook faster.  But in general I enjoy green lentils just fine, especially in a salad like this.

For the full fabulous week of meals, and a convenient shopping list and planner that’ll help you save time, sign up for the Eat Happy Meal Plan here.

Recipe:  Warm Lentil and Kale Salad with Portobello Mushrooms
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Serves:  4

 Ingredients
1 ½ cup lentils*
1 small onion, minced
1 [...]

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken
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    Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Spring brings out my obsession with all things Strawberry Rhubarb.  Strawberry rhubarb pie was my favorite growing up (ok, one of my favorites, I mean apple and pumpkin are favorites too.. but definitely my favorite spring pie!), but anyways these days – although I still love pie – I also look to get my fix of the beautiful combo in other food applications.

This past week I was thinking of a nice light salad.  A little sweet, a little tart and citrusy, but still filling enough to make it a meal.  What I ended up with is a convenient little dish, in which strawberries and rhubarb marinate together in citrus juices for a bit (while you’re poaching some lovely chicken), creating a sauce that works as a dressing for your salad greens.  The orange and lime juices soften the raw rhubarb and the honey adds just enough sweetness to make the rhubarb delightfully tart.  It’s also lovely with a little goat cheese, although that’s certainly optional.

(A note: eating raw rhubarb is cool – it’s the leaves that are toxic – they’re typically not even attached when sold, but just be sure not to eat them).

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

And if you’ve never poached chicken do not fear.  You’re literally boiling it in water so it’s about as basic and fast as it comes – you can make it fancy by adding a little wine or vinegar, [...]