Saturday, June 28, 2014

Green Chocolate Protein Smoothie

Ok here's one more smoothie recipe... I would have to say this is my current favorite.  I crave it every morning!  It is sweet, chocolately, and just delicious. 

Green Chocolate Protein Smoothie

1 frozen banana (I cut ripe bananas in half and freeze them for smoothie making)
2 large handfuls spinach
1 scoop (14 g) chocolate whey protein (I use Tera's Whey)
3/4-1 cup water or nut milk
1 T ground flaxseed meal
2-3 ice cubes

Process in blender until smooth.  Drink up!

Tropical Green Protein Smoothie

Another smoothie for your drinking pleasure!  This one is tropical and very refreshing.  I just can't get enough of smoothies this summer...

Tropical Green Protein Smoothie

1 frozen banana (I cut ripe bananas in half and store them in the freezer for smoothie making)
1/2-1 c frozen mixed tropical fruit (I like mango and pineapple!)
1/2 avocado
1 scoop (14 g) unflavored whey protein (or vanilla whey would be good too!)
2 huge handfuls spinach or kale
3/4-1 c water or nut milk (for a super filling and thick smoothie, you could even use canned coconut milk)
3-4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in large blender and process until smooth.  This is too much for a magic bullet, so you'll need a full size blender to process all of the ingredients.  Makes 1 large serving.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nut Milk and Nut Pulp Recipes! (Homemade Almond Milk + Homemade Brazil Nut Milk + Almond Pulp Freezer Cookies + Brazil Nut Pulp Fudge Balls)

The recipes I'm about to give you require some special equipment... a nut milk bag. These bags are basically very fine mesh strainers, in the form of a bag with a drawstring. They allow you to strain nut milk, chicken stock, and act as a cheesecloth for making your own yogurt.  I use mine mainly for nut milk, and I have been using it a LOT lately.  Since I've been on a smoothie kick, I've also been on a nut milk kick (since it tastes so good in smoothies!)  
Nut milk bags cost between $7-12 on Amazon and are SO worth it if you are interested in making your own nut milk.  In fact, I'm not really sure how to make it without one.  It's a small price to pay for such a valuable piece of kitchen equipment, so I encourage you to buy one!  Just search on amazon for "nut milk bag" and you'll find what you need.  

Homemade Almond Milk

1 c raw almonds
filtered water, to cover the almonds
4 c filtered water

Cover 1 c raw almonds with filtered water in a large glass bowl with a lid and let them soak overnight (really, anywhere from 4-24 hours).  You can let them soak in the fridge or on the counter, at room temperature.  When you're ready to use them, drain the water and rinse the almonds.  Place them in a high powered blender with 4 cups fresh filtered water.  Blend until almonds are pulverized, and then some (about 1-2 minutes).  Next, place the nut milk bag in a bowl with the mouth of the bag open.  Pour the milk into the bag.  The nut pulp will accumulate in the bag and the milk with accumulate in the bowl.  When you're done pouring, (with very clean hands), you will need to squeeze the bag to get the rest of the milk out.  You're squeezing the pulp to extract as much milk as possible.  When you're done squeezing, you'll have yummy almond milk in your bowl and yummy almond pulp in the bag (well, the almond pulp isn't really great by itself, but you can MAKE yummy things with it!).  This makes about 4 cups of almond milk. 

VARIATION: Vanilla Almond Milk
*Add 2 soft, medjool dates, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt to the blender with the almonds and water.  I highly recommend this version!

Homemade Brazil Nut Milk

1 c raw brazil nuts
4 c filtered water

Unlike almonds, brazil nuts do not need to be soaked before using them to make nut milk! Place 1 c brazil nuts in a high powered blender with 4 cups fresh filtered water. Blend until brazil nuts are pulverized, and then some (about 1-2 minutes).  Next, place the nut milk bag in a bowl with the mouth of the bag open.  Pour the milk into the bag.  The nut pulp will accumulate in the bag and the milk with accumulate in the bowl.  When you're done pouring, (with very clean hands), you will need to squeeze the bag to get the rest of the milk out.  You're squeezing the pulp to extract as much milk as possible.  When you're done squeezing, you'll have yummy brazil nut milk in your bowl and yummy brazil nut pulp in the bag (well, the brazil nut pulp isn't really great by itself, but you can MAKE yummy things with it!).  This makes about 4 cups of brazil nut milk

VARIATION: Vanilla Brazil Nut Milk
*Add 2 soft, medjool dates, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt to the blend with the brazil nuts and water.  I highly recommend this version!

Almond Pulp Freezer Cookies

Now, I hate to waste food.  So I like to find recipes to use the pulp leftover from making nut milk.  These cookies are the first thing I ever tried making with nut pulp.  I am always on the lookout for more good recipes, so please post any recipes you have made with nut pulp!  I would love to try them!

1 c (128 g) almond pulp
1/4 c rolled oats
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c raw honey
1/4 c raw almond butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 T cinnamon
2 c brown rice puffs OR brown rice crisps

Mix ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.  Roll into balls then flatten slightly. Freeze on cookie sheets until frozen, then transfer to containers to store in freezer.  For me, this made about 32 cookies.

I was in the process of licking the food processor bowl clean...
So good...

Brazil Nut Pulp Fudge Balls

Adapted from Rawtarian

I'm not kidding, this might be my favorite dessert recipe of all time.  I tasted this and a smile literally broke out on my face.  They are DELICIOUS.  

Leftover brazil nut pulp from making brazil nut milk (a little less than 1 c)
1 c cashew meal (I find mine at Trader Joe's; you could also make this by pulverizing cashews in a food processor until they create a fine, powdery meal- it will have more texture than flour)
10 large, soft medjool dates, pitted (about 1 c) (I find mine at COSTCO)
5 heaping T cocoa powder
4 T unsweetened, shredded coconut
pinch sea salt

Process all ingredients in food processor until a huge "mass" forms.  Basically, you will see a large "ball" rolling around in the food processor.  At this point, all ingredients should be well blended.  Roll the mixture into small balls.  Store them in the freezer.  For me, this made about 25 balls.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Mujadara is a traditional Middle Eastern rice, lentil, and onion dish.  We've enjoyed it at many local Middle Eastern restaurants and have loved every version we've tried.  It was only a matter of time before we tried making it at home, and I am sure glad we did!  The complex flavors of this dish make it downright addictive, from the sweet caramelized onions to the toasted pinenuts and hints of cinnamon, it is the perfect combination of textures and flavors that makes you want to keep eating more!  


3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
4-5 T grassfed butter
sprinkling of sea salt
1 1/2 c cooked basmati or long grain white rice
1 1/2 c cooked green or brown lentils
1/4 c pinenuts, toasted in a dry pan on high heat for 5 minutes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
pepper and salt to taste

1. Caramelize the onions by cooking them in the butter over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure they don't burn.  You want them to cook down but not get too brown.  Part way through the cooking time, sprinkle them with a bit of salt.  
2. While the onions caramelize, toast your pine nuts by placing them in a small pan, turning the heat to high and toasting for 5 minutes, stirring the pine nuts often to make sure they don't burn.  They should start to brown a little and give off a nutty aroma.  At this point, remove them from the heat.  
3.  Once the onions are caramelized, stir the rice, lentils, pine nuts, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper into the onion mixture.  Then enjoy!

Honestly, you can use whatever quantities you want in this dish!  Have 3 cups of leftover white rice?  Throw it all in.  Love the taste of pinenuts?  Use 1/2 c instead of 1/4 c.  The quantities I used happened to work for us- we love the flavor of onions and wanted equal parts lentils and rice.  Don't like onions as much?  Only use 1 or 2.  Just don't leave anything out!  You'll lose some of the great complexity of the dish.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Grandma's Potato Salad

Rem grew up eating his grandma's famous potato salad, which is a traditional take on potato salad and absolutely the best version I have ever had!  His grandma passed the recipe down to his mom, who passed it to Rem when he moved out and wanted to make it himself.  We make it frequently in the summer when cold salads just hit the spot!  

The original version calls for all-purpose flour and granulated sugar, both of which we typically exclude from our diet, but I was able to make some simple substitutions that do not change the taste or texture from the original at all (gluten-free all purpose flour for regular flour, and raw honey for granulated sugar)!

So without further ado... our take on Rem's grandma's potato salad

Grandma's Potato Salad

Potato Salad Base:
3-4 lb. Russet potatoes
4 hardboiled eggs
1 bunch green onions, diced
4 ribs celery, diced small
1 jar dill pickles (*You will need 1 cup of the pickle juice for the sauce.  Take the pickles and puree them in the food processor to create a homemade relish.  You will need 1/2 cup of the relish for the potato salad)
celery seed
black pepper

Potato Salad Dressing:
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 c bob's red mill gluten free all-purpose flour
1 huge squirt of yellow mustard (about 3 T)
1/4 c raw honey

1. POTATOES: Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces.  The actual size doesn't matter a whole lot, as long as the pieces are roughly the same size.  Dump the potatoes into a large pot, fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes, and boil them on medium high until the potatoes are soft.  You can test them by smashing a potato against the side of the pot with a fork.  If the potato easily "gives" and falls apart, it's done.  Or you can remove a potato and just eat it to test for doneness!  Just wait a minute or so to eat it after removing it from the pot do you don't burn your mouth!  Once the potatoes are done, drain them (don't rinse!) and let them cool off a bit.  I usually just leave them in the colander I drained them in!

2. EGGS: While the potatoes are boiling, hard boil your eggs.  Place them in a small pot and fill the pot with water until it just covers the eggs.  Place the pot over high heat until the water starts to boil.  Let the water boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat, remove the pot from the stove, cover the pot, and let it sit (off the heat) for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, rinse the eggs with cold water.  Then peel them, dice them up, and put them in a LARGE bowl. (We usually skip this step because I make a mass amount of hardboiled eggs at the beginning of each week to have on hand for breakfasts, snacks, and dishes like this!)

3. CELERY AND GREEN ONIONS: While the eggs and potatoes are cooking (this dish requires lots of multi-tasking!), dice up the celery and green onions.  Add them to the large bowl that you are putting the eggs in.  

4. SAUCE: Now it's time to make the sauce!  In a small saucepan, combine: 1 cup of dill pickle juice, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 c gluten-free all purpose flour, 1 huge squirt yellow mustard, and 1/4 c raw honey.  Cook this mixture over medium heat, whisking the whole time.  After a few minutes, the mixture will start to "come together" and really thicken up.  Keep whisking and cooking until the mixture is very thick and difficult to continue whisking.  Remove from heat.  Set this aside.

5. RELISH: After you've cooked the sauce, put the rest of the contents of your dill pickle jar in the food processor (or a magic bullet!) to make your own relish.  Process until mostly smooth.  Whisk about 1/2 cup of this into your sauce.  If you want a thinner sauce, add even more.  Store the rest of your relish in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

6. MIX IT ALL TOGETHER: At this point the potatoes should be somewhat cool.  Add them to the large bowl (that already has the egg, celery, and green onions in it).  Pour the sauce on top of the potatoes, then sprinkle celery seed, salt, and pepper over the whole mixture (Sprinkle a generous amount of celery seed and pepper, and just a bit of salt.  You can always add more later!)  Mix everything together and refrigerate!  This stays good in the fridge for up to 5 days.  The recipe makes a lot!  So if you live alone, I would invite some friends over to help you eat it.  Or make half of the recipe.  Or plan on eating potato salad for every meal for the next 5 days.  It's entirely up to you! :) 

Tips and substitutions:  Instead of using the pickle juice and making your own relish, you can substitute 1 cup of water or vinegar for the pickle juice, and use store-bought relish instead of pureeing your own.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Almond Joy Balls

The last week of school there are always tons of potlucks and gatherings featuring a boatload of some healthy and some very unhealthy food.  Well, one of the parties featured Whit's frozen custard, which, if you have never tried it, is AMAZING.  Not a part of my normal diet, but I do enjoy the occasional ice cream treat from time to time, and I sure as heck enjoyed it at that party.  These balls are an ode to the flavors in Whit's Almond Joy frozen custard.  They are EXACTLY what I was going for when I set out to recreate all of the flavors in that ice cream.  No, they do not taste like ice cream, but they do taste like delicious chocolatey, almondy, coconutty heaven.  

Almond Joy Balls

10 soft medjool dates, pitted
2 scoops (28 g) chocolate protein powder (I used organic, grassfed dark chocolate Tera's whey)
1 c almonds
1/2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
1-2 T unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

Process all ingredients in food processor until ingredients all stick together enough for you to roll it into balls.  You can vary the texture (smooth to chunky) by processing it for a shorter or longer time.  The balls will be fairly sticky when you roll them.  Put them in a freezer safe container and freeze them to store.  They will still be a little gooey straight from the freezer... yum!

TIP: I only buy this Whey when it is on Manager's Special at Kroger, or a stupid good deal at  At full price it is super expensive.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Before doing our current Detox, I was on a baking kick (probably part of the reason we decided to do the Detox....)  During this baking kick, I told a friend of mine I was going to make carrot cake cupcakes.  3 weeks later, I finally got around to making them and called her right away.  I tried a cupcake before taking them to her and was blown away by how good it was.  Dense, just sweet enough, and full of subtle flavors like cinnamon and cardamom.  The icing on the cake?  No added sugar in the cupcakes themselves.  You might even be able to get away with calling these carrot cake muffins!  But then of course you would need to leave off the frosting... which is kind of amazing. The frosting does have a small amount of maple syrup, but it's super rich from the cream cheese and not too sweet.  My friend LOVED these cupcakes, as did many other taste tasters.  One friend called them "friggin' awesome." Enough said!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

adapted from Paleo Newbie

8 soft medjool dates, pitted
1 c hot water (I microwave mine for 1:11)
1/4 c apple butter (or unsweetened applesauce)
1/3 c whole milk (or coconut milk)
3 large eggs, whisked
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c almond flour
3/4 c cashew meal (you could omit this and use all almond flour)
2 T coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c raisins
1 1/4 c grated carrot (I used shredded carrot and just chopped it up a little finer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat your cup of water and place the dates in it for about 5 minutes.  Then place the softened dates in a food processor along with the apple butter. Process until it forms a thick paste.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients (milk through vanilla) to the food processor and process briefly until uniform.  

Stir the dry ingredients (except for the raisins and carrots) together, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well mixed.  Next, fold in the carrots and raisins.

Place cupcake liners in muffin tins, then pour batter into tins about 2/3 full.  For me this made 18 cupcakes.  

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake.  Let cool before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. full fat organic cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. salted, grassfed butter (or unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp salt), room temperature
1/3 c maple syrup
1 T cinnamon

flaked unsweetened coconut

Whip cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon with handheld mixer until fluffy!  Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting.  Top the cupcakes with pecans or flaked, unsweetened coconut if you want!  You will have leftover frosting, so you can make a half batch if you want.  Or you could just eat the leftover frosting with a spoon.  Take your pick.

*If you don't have time to let the ingredients come to room temperature, microwave the butter until it is soft but not melted, and squeeze the cream cheese package between your hand until it is soft.  

Banana, Blueberry, and Greens Smoothie

Wow, it's been awhile!  The end of this school year was a whirlwind, but now that I'm on break from school for the summer, I think I'll be able to update the blog more frequently.  I have quite a few yummy recipes stocked up to share... so stay tuned!  

The recipe I have to share today may look absolutely disgusting, but it's incredibly delicious, healthy, and a new favorite of mine.  Lesson: don't judge a book by it's cover.  

Rem and I are currently doing a 28 day Detox that involves drinking fruit, veggie, and soaked nut smoothies for a portion of it.  Truth be told, before doing this Detox (1 week ago) I didn't think I was a huge smoothie fan.  One short week later, I am a smoothie lover.  The recipe below is my current favorite!

Banana, Blueberry and Greens Smoothie

1 frozen banana, cut in half (I freeze mine in 1/2 banana chunks)
1/2 c frozen organic blueberries
3/4 c water/milk/almond milk (*I used homemade almond milk)
2 large handfuls organic baby spinach
30 g raw organic walnuts, soaked in a covered bowl of filtered water for 4-8 hours OR 1/2 avocado

You have a few options here:
Option 1: You can throw everything in a regular blender and blend it until smooth.  I like my smoothies thick, and I actually eat them with a spoon rather than drinking them.... but if you want a thinner smoothie, add more water/milk/almond milk.  
Option 2: Put your spinach and almond milk in a single serve magic bullet and blend until smooth.  Then add the banana, blueberries, and walnuts OR avocado and continue to blend until smooth.