Pesto Spaghetti Squash

I have been in the mood for simple vegetable dishes at night. This one hit the spot. Two nights in a row.

Short and Sweet ;)

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
Serving of Clean Pesto  (I used the hazelnut variation)
~ 10 raisins

Method:

About an hour ahead of time, prepare the pesto and refrigerate (to allow the flavors to soak together). 

For the Squash, cut several slits (about a centimeter each) all around the squash and bake in a casserole dish at 325 degrees for 30 minutes - turn over and bake for about another 30 minutes. Carefully cut in half (longways) the squash as it will be hot.

Toss the spaghetti squash around with the pesto and top with the raisins.



This will serve 1-3 people (in which case you may want more raisins!)

Enjoy ;)

Watermelon Gazpacho

Note: this is still a work-in-progress but I simply had to share. The consistency needs to be a bit thicker but it is still amazingly refreshing.

Watermelon Gazpacho  

3 cups watermelon, chopped (white seeds are OK, toss the brown ones if they are in there)
1/2 cucumber (seeds removed)
4 mint leaves
1/3 cup basil
1/4 cup parsley
1 tsp shallot
Dash pepper
1 tbl olive oil
Splash lemon juice





Method:

Not much of one! Once you have prepped and washed everything above, place everything in a food processor and pulse, blend, viola.

Super easy. Super fresh. Super delicious.



I think next time I will add more cucumber and possibly another veggie to thicken it up. I still ate it with a spoon but you could drink it like a smoothie as well.

Stay tuned for the next version!

Enjoy ;)

Vegan Banana Bread (Grain-free)

If you would have asked me five years ago if I would ever make vegan bread, I would have told you that you were delusional. Not because I had anything against it, but rather the thought of not eating eggs or grains for that matter, would have just been preposterous. I likely would have said something like, "why on Earth would anyone want to eat vegan bread?" or perhaps... "what is vegan?" ;)


Well, here I am, in 2012 trying out vegan recipes to see how my body responds to being egg-free for a while. So far, my body is responding well. Maybe it's all the Vitamin D I've gotten. Or maybe it's the beautiful French music I've been listening to (songs like 'La noyee,' by Carla Bruni... beautiful). Or maybe it's the presence of love in my life. Whatever it is, has put my in a mighty fine mood.

Soaking up the rays...


So, without further adieu...

Vegan Banana Bread (Grain-free)

2 small bananas (ripe but not previously frozen)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 dates (about 5)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups almond flour (I used unblanched)
1/2 cup pecan flour
1 tbls tapioca flour
1 tbls baking  powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Method:

Add the bananas, water, olive oil, vanilla, dates and maple syrup in a good processor. Puree.


Meanwhile, combine the almond, pecan and tapioca flour with the baking powder.


Add the liquid puree to the dry ingredients and stir well. Lastly, add in the apple cider vinegar and mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.


Grease a bread pan (I used coconut oil) and bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Viola!



A proud moment for my first vegan bread ;)


Enjoy ;)

Chia Seed Banana Pudding

Egg-less breakfasts have put me up to quite a challenge. But, this pudding was surprisingly satisfying. I'm pretty sure I am going to have this every-which-way that I can think of having it.

Delicious.






Chia Seed Banana Pudding

2 tbls black (you can use white) chia seeds
6 tbls water
1/4 cup almond milk
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 tbls sunbutter
~ 8 raisins

Method:

Take the banana out of the freezer about 30 minutes prior.

Soak the chia seeds in the water for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator so that the chia seeds begin to expand and 'gel' up.

Pour the almond milk into the chia seed mixture and then mash in the thawing banana. Stir in the sunbutter and the raisins until well incorporated.

Yum, yum, yum.

The frozen banana, once mixed in, keeps the pudding nice and cool bordering an ice cream consistency. Mmmm. So good and no added sugar needed.

Enjoy ;)

Banana Hemp Smoothie

Believe it or not, I haven't eggs with my breakfast all week. I know. I know. But this smoothie is just too good...




Banana Hemp Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
Handful of fresh spinach
1/4 coconut milk (the concentrated canned kind)
2 tbls hemp seeds


Method:

Throw all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse. Blend. Consume ;)




A Yummy Variation:

1 frozen banana
1 tsp cocoa powder (vs blueberries)
Handful of fresh spinach
1/4 coconut milk
2 tbls hemp seeds




From the looks of it, I didn't really have the patience to blend this one up very well...

Mmm... I'm thinkin' this one is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or heck even dessert ;)

Sugar-Detox Variation: 

2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 semi-frozen* green-tipped banana
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cold coconut milk (from a can, full fat, organic)
2 tbls hulled hemp seeds 




Enjoy ;)

Sweet Guacamole Salsa

I lovvvvved this salad. Perfectly fresh, light and clean.

Mmm.




Sweet Guacamole Salsa

1 avocado, mashed
1/4 cucumber (or 1/2 cup), diced
1 white peach, mashed
1 tsp chopped onion of your choice (I used yellow)
3 fresh mint leaves, chopped

Method

Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, give it a healthy stir and that's about it!

Simple and simply delicious.

Enjoy ;)

Bean-free Hummus

I am, in fact, pretty amazed with this hummus. No beans and super delicious. Not only that, it tastes like hummus.

Yeah.

I so wish that I came up with this recipe but I did not. I discovered this one on Damy Health.

Bean-free Hummus:

4 garlic cloves
2 zucchinis, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup raw tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin 
Dash of sea salt








Method:

Add the garlic, zucchini and tahini in your food processor and pulse. Next, add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until the consistency is smooth and looks like that of hummus.

This was so good. I'm pretty sure you could fool average hummus-eater ;)  Spread atop some veggies, on some primal bread or just eat it plain. Awesome.

This will keep in your fridge for about 72 hours. 

Enjoy ;)

Variation 

1 garlic clove
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 zucchinis, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin 
Dash of sea salt

This variation was quite lovely. If you are sensitive to garlic then I would recommend this recipe.

Creamy Strawberry Smoothie

For as much as I love smoothies, I've been thinking I should probably add some more green to mine. And while avocado is technically a fruit, I feel like I'm adding some awesome nutrition to my smoothie if I put one in there AND I was trying to come up with something that didn't have banana since I had already had one in the morning.

Avocados also contain much less sugar - actually zero and a very small amount of carbs (3) while contributing a healthy dose of good fat. You can read more about the nutritional breakdown of the lovely avocado here.


OK, enough of that rambling.

Creamy Strawberry Smoothie:

1 avocado
2 handfuls of spinach
5 frozen strawberries
1/4 cold water
1 tbls coconut flakes
Splash of lemon juice




Method:

Not much of one :) Slice the avocado, add in the spinach and strawberries and blend. Then add in the water, coconut and lemon juice.


Yeah... apologies for the not so great photo as I put this right into a to-go mug. Although, I must tell you, I kept this in the fridge in a to-go mug and ate a few hours later and the green stayed green even with the avocado. I was  pleasantly surprised.

Enjoy ;)

Clean Pesto

I have gotten so use to not having condiments that I typically prefer all my meals that way. In fact, when I see people slathering their meals with mayo, ketchup, BBQ etc I kind of tilt my head like a confused puppy.



Hey, to each their own right?

Anyway, I do LOVE pesto. And making pesto dairy free is actually very easy! And pretty dang healthy from my perspective.

This recipe was adapted from Gluten Free Goddess.

Clean Pesto: 

1 cup fresh spinach 
1 cup fresh herbs, stems removed (I used mint, parsley, basil & cilantro)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup pecans (hazelnuts and pine nuts can work as well)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil



Method:


In a food processor or small Ninja, blend up the spinach and herbs really well. Add in the garlic and pecans and blend until a paste begins to form.



Add in half of the oil, blend some more and then add in the rest of the oil. Blend and pulse and viola ;)  



Absolutely delicious and so very fresh. Love it. I highly recommend this if you are missing toppings for your burgers, chicken, eggs etc.

Enjoy ;)

Lemon Coconut Cream Bars

I seriously think that the stores around me may send me to a lock-down facility due to the obscene amount of Larabars that I purchase. On any given week that I do not make my own bars, I eat about 7 bars. One each day before my evening workout. My addiction (mmm healthy addiction) along with my boyfriend's makes for about 14 Larabars a week.

So, I decided to make another variation of the date/almond bar to save some pesos and have a change of pace ;)

Lemon Coconut Cream Bars: 

14 dates (pitted)
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbls coconut oil
Dash of sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tps lemon juice

Method:

In the small portion of your Ninja (or other blender), pulse up the dates until they turn into a smooth consistency. Set those aside in a bowl. Finely grind the almonds and then add the almonds, dates and coconut flakes to the large portion of the blender. Pulse until well blended. Add in the coconut oil, salt, vanilla and lemon juice. Stir with a a large spoon to mix everything together and then blend. You may need to blend and stir a couple times to get the consistency you want. You want it to to the point where they will hold together.

They will be a tad crumbly but after rolling them and shaping them into bars, they should stay together. I made mine into bars, wrapped them in cellophane and stored them in the fridge. As always, you can make these into whatever shape you wish ;)

Yields ~ 5 bars




The subtle lemon along with the coconut added a really unique and delicious flavor to these bars. Definitely a make again in our bungalow.

Below are some other bar recipes on this site:
Enjoy ;)

-Sunshine Girl 

Summer (Cold) Ratatouille

Ratatouille is one of those dishes that I tend to forget about. Why I wonder? It's so wonderfully delicious and full of nutrient dense loveliness. Maybe it's just so that when I do remember, I'm wowed with the awesomeness of the flavors.

Well anyway, I just so happened to have all of these ingredients and with my new love for cold potatoes, especially in the heat of the summer, ratatouille seemed to like the perfect dish.



Summer (Cold) Ratatouille

1/2 lbs red fingerling potatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow summer squash, chopped
2 scallions, diced
1 eggplant
1 tbls capers
Dash of thyme
Pinch of rosemary

Method:

Hours or the day before:

  • Boil the potatoes, allow to cool and place in the refrigerator
  • In a large skillet with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, cook up the zucchini, squash and onions. Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator
  • Bake the eggplant (slice in half lengthwise, score the flesh, drizzle olive oil on and back flesh side down at 400 degrees for about 20 min and face-up for about 10 minutes). Chop into pieces. Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator

Once all the items have been chilled:

Chop up the potatoes (skin on or off, I leave mine on), add to the zucchini, squash and onions and then add in the eggplant. Next, add in the capers and seasoning. Give it a healthy stir and place back into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Serves ~4




Ratatouille can be prepared either hot or cold. I loved this method. Simply delicious.

Enjoy ;)

Grain-free Baked Granola

I used to eat quite a bit of cereal. Not for breakfast. I was a cereal for dinner type of gal. So, I thought I'd come up with my own variation of a cereal.




This can be eaten in a variety of ways. Trail mix style, with almond milk (or other alternative), toss it in some coconut yogurt...Mmm.



Also, these measurements are not exact. But... pretty close ;)

Grain-free Baked Granola


1 egg white (organic, cage-free)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls 100% pure maple syrup
Dash of sea salt 
1-1/4 cup almond slivers
1-1/4 cup walnuts (crumbled)
1/2 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes
2 tbls black chia seeds
1/4 cup seed mix (pumpkin seeds,  sunflower seeds etc-  I used 1/4 cup the Enjoy Life seed mix)
* If you do the above, it has some dried fruit in it, otherwise use 2 tbls seeds and 2 tbls dried fruit
2 chopped dried figs 


Method:

In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg white, vanilla, maple syrup and salt until thoroughly combined. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir vigorously. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I used a cake pan) and spread the granola evenly. Bake at 300 for about 25 minutes.


Allow to cool before you dig in to let the flavors set. I keep mine in the fridge. A word of caution: this is super yummy so make sure you keep in mind that this is all nuts and seeds and dried fruit!

Enjoy ;)




Chocolcate Prune Squares

Careful... we all know what prunes are notorious for... Oh, but a little is good for ya.' In fact, very good for you. Prunes are in case you didn't know or remember, dried plums. They are not only loaded with antioxidants, they are a great source of soluble fiber and help to lower cholesterol. OK, blah, blah, blah... On with these no-bake super quick n' easy bars. (Here is more on the great prune if you're that interested).



Chocolate Prune Squares:

9 oz pitted prunes
1 cup unblanched almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8 tsp seat salt

Topping:

1 cup chocolate chips (dairy, soy free - I use Enjoy Life)
1/8 tsp sea salt 

Method:

In a food processor or small blender, blend up the prunes so that they are completely broken down. Add in the almond flour and blend some more. A dough will start to form. Lastly, add in the coconut flakes and salt and mix well.

Spread the dough evenly in a glass dish (~5x7"). It took using a spoon and some elbow grease for me to get these out so you could line the dish with foil or parchment paper.

Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and heat for another minute. They should then be just about melted, stir in the salt and whisk. The rest of the chocolate chips will melt.

Pour the chocolate over the dough. I sprinkled some coconut flakes over top as well.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then place in the fridge to set (I did overnight). Take out about an hour prior to cutting up into bars to ease cutting them as the chocolate will be hardened.

Makes ~ 8 squares

I wrapped mine in cellophane so that they can quickly be grab-n'-go.


Oh my goodness... delicious lil' protein & antioxidant bites... 
 

Enjoy ;)

-Sunshine Girl

Chopped Beet & Apple Salad on Butter Lettuce

I don't know if it's because spring is settling in or if summer is about to begin, but I have been in the mood for fruit and veggies lately. As in, that is all I've been craving. Salads, smoothies, raw fruits, raw veggies and maybe a touch of fresh herbs. Heavenly.

Anyway, this made for a fabulous light dinner. You can even pair with your favorite gluten free beverage ;)


Chopped Beet & Apple Salad on Butter Lettuce: 

1 can beets (can use fresh too of course - this was a last minute meal idea) 
1 apple (I used Pink Lady) 
~ 2 tbls crumbled walnuts
2 hard-boiled eggs 
4-6 butter lettuce leaves 
1 tbl honey
1 tbl lemon juice
1/2 tsp water
Pinch fresh parsley

Method: 

Chop the beets and apple and toss in a medium-size salad bowl. Add in walnuts and chopped hard boiled egg (boil water with a pinch of salt and splash of olive oil, add in the eggs and boil for 13 minutes. Either fridge for a couple of hours or place in cold water in the fridge to speed up the process). In a small dish, combine the honey, parsley, lemon and water. Pour the honey mixture over-top and stir well. Serve cold on the butter lettuce.



Serves ~ 2

I don't know why I don't eat butter lettuce more but I think I'm going to. It really is a different type of lettuce and has a bit of sweetness to it that other greens do not.

This salad can be adjusted in many ways. I think next time I may add some onion or cucumber. Mmm maybe both...

Enjoy ;)


Oat Fruit Bars/Cookies

I made these in the shape of a cookie, but myself and some others actually think this more like a 'fruit bar.'


Moving into a new home, I wanted to make my kitchen smell yummy, try out my oven and I had to do something with three bananas.

I wanted to do something a little different and didn't want to use eggs because well, I eat a ton and same with nuts so I did what I usually do and perused the Web and eventually concocted my own recipe.

This recipe is highly customizable, so try some different things and let me know how it goes ;)


Oat Fruit Bars/Cookies:

3 very ripe bananas
2 cups certified gluten-free oats
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chocolate chips (dairy, soy and nut free)
1/4 cup dried sour cherries, no sugar added
1 tbls honey
1 tbls fig jam
1/3 cup (actually I used a little less) coconut oil, melted

Method:

Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl, add in the vanilla, honey and fig and mix well. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend thoroughly until a batter starts to form. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, at 15 minutes turn down to 300 degrees and bake for 7 minutes then turn the oven off and leave in for about another 4 minutes. I baked them this way for two reasons: 1) I wanted the them to be very soft and 2) I didn't want to burn the bottoms since there is a lot of fruit in these I thought it could happen easily.

Yields ~ 11 medium sized cookies


I will experiment with this, I think you could actually drop onto the pan in one piece (about 1/4" thick) and cut into bars, or bake in a glass baking dish and cut into bars. Either way, they are still quite delicious.

These are super moist and chewy. You could add some nut butter to bring some hardening to them if desired. I highly suggest storing these in a refrigerator. 

Caution: These are extremely addicting...

Enjoy ;)

-Sunshine Girl


Berry & Peanut Butter Smoothie

Yikes, can't even say that this one is Primal. Legumes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I tell people all the time that legumes are the devil. But every once in while...?

They'e called exceptions for a reason ;) 


Berry & Peanut Butter Smoothie:

3 good-sized fresh strawberries
~ 1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/3 cup vanilla coconut ice cream ( I use Coconut Bliss )
1/3 cup water
1 tbl unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbl peanut butter


Method:

Blend the strawberries, blueberries and vanilla ice cream together and then add in the rest of the ingredients.

Easy, fresh and delicious!

Enjoy ;)

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

YUMMY!

Lol. OK, I had to get that out as I am eating (drinking?) this right now. It's delicious! I've been having a hard time with consistency of smoothies lately and I think it's because I wasn't adding a banana because I eat a banana every morning right when I wake up before my workout so I didn't want to double up.

 Apologies for the poor photo, I apparently was in a hurry to have my smoothie :)



Note that the measurements aren't exact but pretty close.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie:

1 large banana
4-5 frozen strawberries
1/3 cup vanilla coconut ice cream (I use Coconut Bliss)
1 tsp dairy free cocoa powder
1/2 tbls coconut flakes
1/3 almond milk

Method:

Blend the banana, strawberries and ice cream together first then add in the rest of the ingredients. Blend thoroughly and viola!





This was divine after a nice long hike. Definitely hit the spot.

Love my Saturday hikes :)))


Enjoy (on the back patio in the sunnnnn ;)))

Strawberry and Pistachio Salad

Talk about a light satisfying lunch. This was simply heavenly.

I've been in the mood for salads lately. Give me some veggies and fruit with a bit of protein!!! Constantly craving veggies and fruit (a little too much on the fruit but I'm working on it ;)).

 This took a about two minutes of prep-time. So easy.

Strawberry and Pistachio Salad

Large handful of spinach (about 2 cups)
Small handful of baby carrots (about 8), shredded
3 strawberries, sliced
5-8 pistachios
1-2 tablespoons of Almond 'Cream Cheese'  (fantastic substitute for a feta feel!)


That's it my friends. Light, beautiful and yummy salad.

Enjoy (outside in the sun ;))

Almond 'Cream Cheese'

Cheese.

I use to love cheese. So much so, that some of my friends when we were in high-school would see me and say "Hey, got any cheese?" Mmm. Brie, Munster, Provolone, Swiss, Gouda... In fact, there wasn't a cheese that I tasted and didn't like. I think what I missed most is the companion to whatever it was that I was eating. Apples, slices of meat, breads.

I have made progress on the bread situation (some of my breads are here) so cheese was next.

Many of the cheese alternative products out there have casein which is derived from dairy milk. And soy. Neither of which jive for me.

This recipe was adapted from an awesome site that I am in love with called Healthy Living How To.

Almond 'Cream Cheese'

1 cup blanched almonds (make sure they are blanched or you can blanch them on your own)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
 Dash of salt




Method:

In a KitchenAid or other electric mixer, place the blanched almonds and 1/4 cup of the water. Mix on the lowest level and then add in the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Add in the rest of the water and put on the next level and then the level after so that it is whipping the 'cheese.' Add in the salt and whip some more.

There ya' have it. Some pretty good imitation cheese. Its no brie, but it's a nice substitute ;) I had it today with carrots and some salami for an afternoon snack.

I just had a thought that I'm not sure I can shake... Grain-free bagel with lox, capers and this cheese? Um I think I have to do some investigating...

Enjoy ;)

Coconut Vanilla Frosting

I had a hard time getting my frosting to fluff up prior to this go-around but using coconut butter along with the oil solved this problem. Yay ;) I found the idea for this on a website called, The Clothes Make the Girl.

Coconut Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tbl 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 tble honey


Method:

In a small bowl, mix the coconut oil and coconut butter, microwave for about 20 seconds and stir. It should be softened but not melted. Place in the fridge for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, combine the vanilla, maple syrup and honey. Pour that into the coconut oil and butter blend and whisk until it becomes fluffy.

If it is too runny, add more softened coconut butter.

This is enough to cover one small cake.


Grain-free Vanilla Pound Cake

 Talk about melt in your mouth. Mmm. 

Enjoy ;)