Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “No-tatoes”

mashed cauliflower potI was shocked when I tried this recipe… SHOCKED! I love mashed potatoes. Always a past-time at Grandma’s Sunday dinner (alongside her fried chicken, of course), present at every holiday get-together, the epitome of comfort food. It is hard not to love them. Well, I had a head of cauliflower one evening, had heard of this concept, and decided to play. A GREAT alternative to mashed potatoes for ANY occasion. And the two biggest holidays are just around the corner… Crazy, I know, but maybe this is a must try for those family shindigs!  I’m addicted to these and I’m O.K. with that! Because my hubby was in for some comfort food this particular evening, we paired it with some “fried chicken”, HOWEVER, this chicken was battered with an EGG WASH and some ALMOND FLOUR – totally gluten-free, grain-free. Just lightly fried up in some olive oil at a moderate heat, and it made a nice fried-like coating, perfect complement to the mashed “no-tatoes” 🙂

  • 1 head Cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 large cloves of Garlic (using pre-peeled garlic makes this easiest)
  • To taste – Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Grass-Fed Butter (preferably organic)
  • To taste – Black Pepper

Let’s get mashin’….

Fill up a large stock pot with a couple inches of water and set on stove on high, using a steamer insert in the pot, and cover with a lid. While you wait for the water to start boiling, cut up the florets and stems of the large head of cauliflower. Then, slice up the cloves of garlic. It’s easiest to use already peeled garlic that you can grab at most markets, but you can peel your own if you’d rather. Once the water is boiling, throw into the pot the stems, half of florets, and garlic. Salt everything liberally. At this point, put in the rest of the cauliflower, season with a bit more salt, replace the lid, and steam everything until it is soft, approximately 10 minutes. Test with fork to make sure the veggies are tender and don’t need to steam longer. Once the florets are done, put everything into a colander and let it drain. Once done draining, place everything into a food processor and add some black pepper and the butter. Process everything until smooth. Taste test for seasoning adequacy. Serve right away, place on a very low heat in a crock pot/warmer OR low heat on stove, to keep warm for ongoing enjoyment (at if at a gathering, etc.)

PRINT RECIPE: Garlic Cauliflower Mashed No-tatoes

fried chicken 2fried chicken and cauliflower mash

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy! ❤

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Spicy Chipotle Bean Dip

Chipotle Bean DipIf there is one thing I love whipping up in the kitchen,  it is “appetizer-like” food. I dig experimenting with all sorts of ingredients that can form into a great dish to bring to a party, have out for game day chow, or even pair with wine or special cocktails. There is an endless list of appetizer/snacks that can be created. I tend to find something, tweak it, and make it my own… and then next time I do it, it will become something even more fabulous because I will add or delete something (or a little less fab, you never know 😉 ) – it’s my creative side coming out, what can I say 😉

Anyways, the other day while playing in the kitchen, while occasionally glancing to watch football with my honey, I decided to try this dip out. It turned out to be AMAZING (if I do say so myself) with just enough kick, to serve with pita, chips or crackers (all gluten or grain free preferably) vegetables, spread it on a wrap or taco…

It has minimal and simple ingredients, making it a quick appetizer to whip up for game day or to bring as a dish to share at a party. It is a tad spicy, but not overbearing. It is a smoky-spice, giving it a rich flavor that is very satisfying.

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 & ½ Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce, or more, to taste
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dark Chili Powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Chipotle Bean Dip prep

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cannellini beans, chipotle peppers, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and chili powder. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.

PRINT RECIPE: Spicy Chipotle Bean Dip

I’d recommend DOUBLING the recipe, as it goes super fast!! Enjoy!

What the heck is a Cannellini Bean?

Well… for starters it is a cool name for white kidney bean 🙂 . White kidney beans are a protein-rich starchy vegetable, full of vitamins, minerals and an excellent source of dietary fiber. Adding them to your diet offers a variety of health benefits such as promoting digestive health and preventing heart disease. White kidney beans are large and squared at the edges, unlike smaller white beans, such as navy beans. Kidney beans, like other beans and legumes, are rich in both types of dietary fiber — soluble and insoluble. Both forms of fiber offer health benefits. Want more info on these guys? http://www.healwithfood.org/healthbenefits/cannellini-beans.php

XOXO

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Creamy Curry Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)

Creamy Curry Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)I. Love. Soup. There, I said it. I am not ashamed of this. I am fascinated with all of the kinds of recipes that can be conjured up into wonderful goodness in that Le Creuset soup pot. You can make cream-of soups, chunkie soups, detoxifying soups – the list can go on. I ESPECIALLY love those creamy, cozy, nourishing soups. This afternoon, as my hubby and I were toying with ideas of what to make for college football game day snackies and eventually dinner, we thought a delicious, creamy, curry soup utilizing cauliflower sounded like an appetizing option. Yes, a creamy, curry, cauliflower (say that three times, why don’t ya) soup was what I was going to aim for come dinnertime. I made something similar some time ago, which was pretty good, but this one I concocted was an absolute winner, if I may say so myself ;-). It was very simple to whip up, can act as the main event or be a nice little side dish.  Cauliflower is in season from August to December, so it is a delightful addition to the menu as we creep on into Fall. Try it out!

  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 medium Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt, plus more to season
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large head of Cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
  • 4 ½ cups Vegetable Broth
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • Black Pepper, to season

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat until melted and coating the bottom. Cook the onions and ¼ teaspoon salt until onions are soft and translucent, about 9 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Add cauliflower, vegetable broth, coriander, turmeric, curry, cumin, red pepper flakes and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until cauliflower is fork-tender, about 15-17 minutes.Creamy Curry Cauliflower mixPour the mixture into a Vitamix, food processor (in batches), OR high-powered blender, and add the coconut milk. Purée until smooth, adjust any of the seasons if need be to taste, mix again if so, and then return the soup to the pot. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to purée the soup right in the pot.) Again, taste and add more salt, pepper or spices if you’d like. **NOTE** If you want to make it slightly thinner, just add splashes of more vegetable broth.

PRINT RECIPE: Creamy Curry Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)

Who would have thought Cauliflower was so fabulous…

Because of its beneficial effects on numerous aspects of health, cauliflower can easily be described as a superfood. It helps fight cancer, boosts heart health, it’s an anti-inflammatory, it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, it boosts brain health, it supports detoxification, has digestive benefits, and has plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Read more at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx 

Yummy in my tummy 😉

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Good Morning…

Larry's Beans coffee mug

As I was putting the dishes away this morning, pouring my cup of coffee (into one of my favorite diner-like mugs – I have a collection…), my mind floated into a state of appreciation. An appreciation of my life, how I’m grateful for all of the things that I have, i.e. my husband and his incredible drive, vision and love for me; my little furry child that finds a way to snuggle with me just as I’m waking up; my safe, cozy home; the food that is put on my table everyday; the clean water that I have access to; my daily schedule that I am blessed to have flexibility with when I need to; the yoga classes I’m able to attend… I digress :-).  I walked out onto my patio to check on the many herbs in what I’ve affectionately coined as our “terra-ce cotta garden”, and to let our little feline run around a bit, and I took a deep breath. The air was cooler than it has been (thank goodness), zero clouds, and the was sun illuminating the sky. The smell of the morning air reminded me of several nostalgic scents that sooth my soul and bring a smile to my heart. It is a beautiful day – we can make it into what we want it to be.

 

11Smells-1

11 Smells Soothing To The Soul…

  1. Grilling on a Weber charcoal grill
  2. A sudden breeze of lilac flowers from a neighboring bush
  3. Grandma’s homemade cinnamon buns
  4. Burning of autumn leaves
  5. A handful of rich coffee beans
  6. The worn pages of an old book
  7. Clean ocean air blowing off of the sea
  8. Grandpa’s aftershave left on your clothes after embracing him
  9. A freshly bathed infant, with that hint of baby powder
  10. Crisp, pure mountain air on a sunny afternoon
  11. An evening campfire

Yummy Turmeric Smoothie

turmeric smoothieThis morning I was poking around on some of my fav websites and saw a short article about a smoothie that stood out to me because of the tremendous amount of information being shared lately about one if its key ingredients: the fabulous spice Turmeric. I personally buy it in bulk (Frontier Natural Products Co-Op brand, 1lb – I get it via Vitacost) and just fill my spice bottle when needed. Known mainly for cooking up in Indian cuisine, Turmeric has a lot of other health benefits, one being a crazy good anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant… a lot of “anit’s” 🙂  My hubby puts it on his eggs in the morning, makes a rockin’ grilled shrimp dish with it (recipe to come 🙂 ), and there is so much more that can be done with this healing spice.  ANYWAY, this article shared a yummy smoothie recipe utilizing this great spice, along with some other key ingredients, as well.

The smoothie recipe was adapted from the Collective Evolution article Turmeric Smoothie Recipe. I am going to relay it to you the exact way I made it this morning, as it was the perfect way, with this combo of ingredients, to start my day.

Add all ingredients into a Vitamix or high-powered blender and process until smooth. The article said to try to drink this smoothie in the morning before you have anything to eat. It is creamy and soothing, and it was a great way to start of the day!

PRINT RECIPE:  Yummy Turmeric Smoothie Recipe

ALL of the ingredients have tremendous health benefits, but to highlight a few of my favorites…

TURMERIC – “Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. It is what gives curry its yellow color, and has been used in India for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Turmeric is high in curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” Read more: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/

CINNAMON – “Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon as a superpower used to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps and also believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation. It can lower your bad cholesterol, lower your blood sugar, which is good for those with diabetes, and has anti-fungal properties.” Read more: http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html

MACA  – “Maca is a root that will grow in the Andes mountains of Peru.This root has been used like a food source for hundreds of years, and many Peruvians use it for its medicinal purposes.  Mineral deposits which includes calcium supplement, mineral magnesium, and iron are all located in maca, in combination with C vitamin and nutritional vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12. It has a exclusive sense of balance of proteins, carbs, anti-oxidants, plant sterols, minerals and vitamins. Maca offers energy, given it account balances the endocrine system, such as the adrenals, pancreatic, pituitary and thyroid gland.” Read more: http://macapowderbenefits.net/

Nut-Free Spinach Basil Pesto

Pesto PicSo, we don’t normally have pine nuts hanging around the house, so we needed something that was sans-nuts when creating a pesto. This pesto is AWESOME on gluten-free pasta, veggie noodle pasta, vegetables, homemade flatbreads or pizza, or used as spread on a wrap! It is packed full of flavor. We even used fresh basil from our famous “terrace cotta pot” garden 🙂 .You can also kick it up a notch with a little bit of red pepper flakes. POW! We made the pesto to originally accompany a homemade, flatbread-type pizza one Sunday afternoon (well, the flatbread wasn’t “homemade” – we used Sami’s Bakery gluten-free lavash).

  • 4 cups of fresh Spinach
  • 2 cups of fresh Basil
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (can be optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • ½ teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (give or take, depending on how/if you like the kick)
  • 1/3 cup & 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  1. Add the spinach, basil, garlic, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper (optional red pepper flakes) in a food processor or high powered blender. Blend for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the olive oil while the machine is running. Continue to process until the mixture is smooth.
  1. Serve with pasta, veggies, as a spread, etc. The pesto can be stored in a jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It also freezes well.

If you like a thinner pesto you can add a touch more of the olive oil.

PRINT RECIPE: Spinach Basil Pesto – Nut Free – Recipe

**Although there are many recipes for a from scratch, gluten-free pizza crust or flatbread, Sami’s Bakery is a great source for gluten-free breads, rolls, lavash (a Mediterranean flatbread), pita chips, etc. – www.samisbakery.com . We have access to some of their items at a local natural food store to some of their products, however you can order online, as well. NOTE: Sami’s Bakery technically cannot label their millet/flax, etc. items as “gluten-free” because their facility also makes other products that are made with ingredients that contain wheat or gluten, therefore there is a possibility of traces of them. If you are highly sensitive to these, please research further with them directly if you are interested in checking them out.

Grilled, Spicy, Organic/Grass-Fed Lamb Burgers (gluten/dairy-free)

BeFunky_Grilled Spicy Lamb Burgers.jpgWe don’t eat a lot of meat on a regular basis, but when we do, we have come to love this recipe. We love lamb – lamb chops, burgers, grilled, cooked in the cast iron… etc. Organic, grass-fed lamb also has some nice health benefits.

This recipe is wonderful! We used freshly chopped herbs from our “terrace cotta pot garden” 🙂 that made them even more special!

 

We chose to make this recipe GLUTEN-FREE and DAIRY-FREE by not using pita rounds/buns or feta/goat cheese, however you can dress up with the optional below fixin’s, which are incredibly complimentary to them. Serve with a side of sautéed green beans or grilled asparagus.

MAKES ABOUT 4 BURGERS

  • 1 pound of ground Grass-Fed Lamb
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh Mint – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh Cilantro – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh Oregano – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Garlic – chopped1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon of All-Spice
  • ½ teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground Black Pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 4 Pita Rounds (or buns) & 4 ounces of Feta or Goat Cheese

*IDEA: Try additional dressings like fresh spinach leaves, grilled or roasted red peppers and a slice of red onion. Scrumptious!

  1. Preheat grill at a high heat.
  2. Put the lamb in a large bowl, and mix with the mint, cilantro, oregano, and garlic. Season with cumin, allspice, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and mix well. Shape into 4patties.
  3. Marinate patties in olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice for 30 minutes.
  4. Brush grill with oil. Sear burgers on each side for 1-2 minutes, for desired charring. For a medium temperature burger, reduce heat to low and cook each side for 5-6 minutes.  Heat the pita pockets or buns briefly on the grill. Serve burgers alone or the option to wrap them in pitas/buns and dress with feta or goat cheese.

PRINT RECIPE: Grilled, Spicy, Organic, Grass-Fed Lamb Burgers

So what’s the skinny on organic, grass-fed lamb…

Organic, grass-fed lamb sourced from local farms is about as good as you can get. The cleaner the meat, the better. For example, organic standards help lower the risk of lamb getting contaminated feed and 100% grass-fed lamb may be available from local farms with small flocks, which provides a more natural life and environment for their them. Lamb is high in omega-3 and 6 fats, selenium, zinc and B-12, as well as other important B vitamins.