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Friday, January 22, 2016

Creamy Goat Cheese Sausage "Pasta"

Creamy Goat Cheese Sausage "Pasta"

YUM!   Today I did something a little different for lunch based on a recent Goat Cheese craving I've been having. About a month ago I cut out all dairy (more on that another time!)  Eliminating cheese and milk and all things dairy has gone pretty smooth actually, but this Goat Cheese log was staring longingly at me from the grocery store fridge last week and I could not resist it!  It has been waiting patiently to be used and enjoyed; today was that day. 

I heated up some Hearty Tomato Sauce, tossed in the Goat Cheese to make it a creamy pink sauce, along with some spicy Turkey Sausage, and served it all over some Zucchini "spaghetti" pasta (meaning yes, this is a Gluten Free* meal!)  Every. Single. Bite. Delicious. 

If you love Goat Cheese the way I do, this is a great application:  Hot liquid/ Hot sauce + Goat Cheese = instant cream sauce to use on anything and everything!!!

Here is how I did it:

-Heated Veggie packed Hearty Tomato Sauce up on stove (which I made yesterday - recipe for that is below)

Veggie packed Hearty Tomato Sauce

-Veggeti'd a medium Zucchini to make the quick GF* Zucchini Spaghetti!

-Put 2 Tbsp of Goat Cheese into the bottom of a large bowl
-Topped that with 1/3 cup precooked spicy Turkey Sausage, chopped
-Added 1 cup of the heated Hearty Tomato Sauce and stirred everything up into a melty pinky delicious cream sauce
-Poured that onto the Zucchini Spaghetti
-Topped with a little fresh cut Cilantro
-Ate and thoroughly enjoyed!

Here is a close up:

*As always, if you follow a Gluten Free diet because of a serious medical condition, please be sure to double check the ingredient lists of all foods used in these recipes; using "Certified" GF products is safest, as Gluten likes to hide in all sorts of things!!

Hearty Tomato Sauce Recipe:

Heat 1-2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in pan
Add a large pinch of Red Pepper Flake (or less if you don't like things too spicy)
Add 4 large cloves of Garlic, sliced (or less if you don't like things too garlicky)
Heat through, stirring a minute or two 
Add 1/2 large can of Organic diced Tomatoes
Simmer 15 minutes 
Add 1 pint of Mushrooms, sliced and 1 cup of Sweet Peas
Simmer another 15 minutes
Add handfuls of fresh Baby Spinach, cover and turn off heat
Allow to cool, stir Spinach into dish and the put in fridge overnight to enjoy tomorrow! 

You could eat this right away, but sauces like this one always taste better the next day, because all the flavors have had a chance to marinate and marry!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Madras Curry Veggie Stack

Madras Curry Veggie Stack for lunch!

So this is truly a pile of veggies.  4 servings worth!!!  It is also: Gluten Free*, Dairy Free, & Vegan/ Vegetarian!  Don't be afraid though - it was DELICIOUS!   Trust me.  It turns out that veggies are the easiest way to increase fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and reduce calories - win, win, win, win!  I think the issue most people have here is with flavor and satiety.  I have no  interest in eating food that isn't delicious and I have to feel full and satisfied when I'm done.  There are a few ways to achieve this, which I employed today for my super delicious and filling lunch:  Madras Curry Veggie Stack!

-vary textures
-vary flavors
-vary colors
-add herbs
-add good fats
-vary temperatures (something hot on the plate with something cooler or just room temperature)

Our brains really pick up on all these things while we are eating, even when we don't realize it.  If you are (even subconsciously) entertained by your meal, I am convinced you will be satisfied. 

I achieved this today by stacking things up, 4 layers of goodness, one layer at a time....

1/2 cup grated Carrots is the base

First layer:  1/2 cup of grated Carrots, fresh, and cold out of the fridge

2nd layer - 1 cup hot mixed Veggies!
Second layer:  1 cup of hot mixed Veggies; today I used Target's Market Pantry Frozen "Stir-Fry Blend": Broccoli, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Red Peppers, and Water Chestnuts, plus some Frozen Green Beans and Sweet Peas.  (Incidentally, Peas are a great plant protein and help give you a sense of fullness!)  

I tossed them in my new favorite sauce: Maya Kaimal's "Madras Curry Indian Simmer Sauce". 

This sauce has some kick, which I love, but also a non-dairy creaminess to it as well, from Coconut Cream (good fats!); striking a perfect balance on the tongue!  I also pick that up at Target, in bulk when it goes on sale for $4 instead of the usual $5 a jar.

2nd layer is now complete

Third layer:  1/2 Avocado, chopped.  This provides a non dairy creaminess, good fats and a different texture to the dish, and obviously a huge YUM factor!

3rd layer:  1/2 Avocado, room temp, chopped

Fourth and final layer:  Chopped fresh Cilantro - adding freshness and a cool zing!

4th and final layer:  Freshly cut crisp Cilantro!

Don't worry if you don't like spicy things, or this sauce in particular....the idea here is to eat loads of good for you Veggies, meanwhile enjoying it and feeling full at the end of this healthy meal!  So find a sauce you like, keeping an eye on the ingredients, portion size, AND the calories, sodium, fats etc.  

Bottom line here is, if you can eat one meal full of veggies AND actually enjoy it - well you may do it again and again and find yourself many steps closer to better overall health and possibly a smaller waist line!  Enjoy all of it :)

PS.  This meal is also DAIRY FREE and VEGAN/ VEGETARIAN, in addition to GLUTEN FREE*!

*As always, if you follow a Gluten Free diet because of a serious medical condition, please be sure to double check the ingredient lists of all foods used in these recipes; using "Certified" GF products is safest, as Gluten likes to hide in all sorts of things!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Super Easy Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Muffins

Super Easy Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Muffins

My kids have been asking for Blueberry muffins, so when I saw some good looking fresh blueberries at the store this week I picked them up.   I took the easy route and used my standby Banana Bread recipe and they turned out great - we all loved them!

-Super Easy to make
-Super Delicious
-Jam packed with healthy stuff (Blueberries, Bananas, Oatmeal, Eggs)

These are GREAT for quick and easy breakfasts, easy snack time, or pair one with some scrambled eggs and avocado for a healthy lunch or dinner!  Check it out:

Super Easy Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Muffins

Super Easy Gluten Free* Blueberry Banana Muffins Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350, Grease Muffin Tin (I use a Canola Oil Spray)

In a large bowl whisk 2 Eggs.
Then add the following: 
3 Bananas, chopped or mushed with a fork, depending on ripeness
1 cup Gluten Free Trader's Joes All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats

1/2 cup Sugar

1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 Pint Blueberries

Mix everything using a handheld electric mixer
Scoop into muffin tin (using a 1/4 cup measuring cup makes this super fast and less messy!)

Bake 20 minutes, turn and bake another 5 minutes, depending on how browned you like your tops; enjoy! 

*As always, if you follow a Gluten Free diet because of a serious medical condition, please be sure to double check the ingredient lists of all foods used in these recipes; using "Certified" GF products is safest, as Gluten likes to hide in all sorts of things!!

Super Easy Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Muffins

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Curry Creamy Soup

Curry Creamy Soup

Happy New Year!

Realizing that again I have become delinquent with my starts and everything is on full speed through the holidays and then you find yourself in January wondering what to do and just trying to stay warm.  Even the kids asked me for soup yesterday!  They are not big soup eaters actually and only truly love one soup, my "Curry Creamy Soup" which incidentally has no cream or any dairy in it at all, but is essentially a hot bowl of pureed veggies.   My eldest son reconfirms each time I make it "Momma you didn't use a recipe?!"  As if the last five times I answered him "nope, I made it up myself!" may have been misremembered.  That or I have made them the guinea pig one too many times with healthier, less than delicious meals - oops!  Lucky for me they are great at trying things AND being honest about what they think.  (In our house the system is:  2 thumbs up = GREAT, 2 thumbs down = YUCK, and one thumb up and one thumb down = I'm not sure - I get this one a lot!)

Well it is true, I made this soup up one day and all three boys loved it so much that I quickly wrote down the recipe and have made it many more times since then.  Though none of them seems to enjoy Zucchini otherwise (I love Zucchini!!) this is the only way I can get them to eat it and love it at the same time!

You may be wondering what is Zucchini even good for?  Well if you are looking to lose weight/ cut calories, stay healthy OR slow the aging process you NEED zucchini in your life!      Here is the skinny on that: why Zucchini is your friend!

So here it is, my Vegan, Dairy Free, Vitamin packed "Curry Creamy Soup" Recipe, enjoy with a sandwich, a salad, as an appetizer or a snack, or any other way you can get all this goodness into your day!

Amy's Curry Creamy Soup

In a heavy pot heat 1 Tbsp Canola Oil

Add to it:
1 Onion, chopped
1 large Garlic clove, sliced,
1 tsp Curry Powder

Stir occasionally for a couple minutes until you start to smell all the wonderful smells and only the tiniest bit of browning begins

Then add:
3 medium sized Zucchinis, chopped
1 bag organic baby Carrots
2 cups Water

Then bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for an hour, checking on it a couple times.
Remove lid if you wish to reduce the liquid a bit or turn off (after confirming veggies are all soft!)

It will look like this:

Curry Creamy Soup cooked in pot

Allow to cool a little, then spoon into blender.....

Only fill 3/4 of the blender, allowing room for mixing and steam etc.  Blend until a creamy consistency forms and everything becomes a beautifully golden color and velvety smooth: 

Pour into bowls, add Salt to taste and some fresh cut Cilantro and enjoy!