Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I was never a huge fan of popsicles as a kid, but one summertime treat I did love was fudgesicles. These were my preferred treat of choice from the ice cream man. A few years ago when I was pregnant, I had this random craving for fudgesicles, however this was after my food conversion to whole foods, so I attempted a few "all natural" fudgesicle products that I found at my local co-op, and they definitely hit the spot. This random fudgesicle phase did indeed pass with time and the birth of my first son and I haven't really thought about it much since. But the other day as I was blog rolling, Ali from The Whole Life Kitchen posted a recipe for avocado fudgesicles, and I was thus inspired to create my own version (I'm now in a huge popsicle phase since my son and I picked up some popsicle molds at Target the other day).

I love that Ali used avocado as her base; this wonderful fruit (or vegetable depending on who you talk to) is full of almost 20 essential nutrients and it's been said that humans can live on them exclusively for periods of time. Ali's recipe is intended to "hide" the avocado, so you're eating it without knowing it, and turning a not-so-healthy treat from your grocer's freezer aisle to an absolutely healthy treat! Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook also has some fun uses for "hiding" the avocado in recipes you wouldn't normally think they would be in.

Before my food conversion, I was never a big avocado fan. In fact, I don't know that I had ever eaten one until I was in my early twenties, as we never ate them at home growing up (it was a lot of boxed meals thanks to mom and Betty Crocker... mac n' cheese, Rice a Roni, and Hamburger Helper, etc.). When I did discover them (and learned that they are not, in fact, as exotic as one midwestern girl might think), I was so elated I started buying them at the grocery store every week and making guacamole like crazy. (The first time I made guacamole for my mom, she exclaimed, "Oh, you made that green stuff!")

I also consumed a lot of avocados in my raw food days a year or so back, as this is considered a staple of that eating lifestyle due to it's high fat and nutrient content. Raw foodies use them in dressings and salads, on top of "main" courses, and always in lots of dessert recipes. This is where I first learned that it pairs so well with carob or cocoa for a delicious vegan chocolate pudding. 

So... needless to say... we nearly always have them on hand. And when my son asked me about making popsicles the other morning, a fudgesicle recipe started brewing in my brain. This is what I came up with; the best part is that you (or your kids or your spouse) will never know you're eating your fruit (again, or vegetables) with this recipe.


1 avocado
2 bananas
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch salt

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or other high powered blender. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 6 or more hours.

Makes 6-8 fudgesicles.

(Hubby never even knew avocados were in theses!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sweet Potato & Pea Quinoa

At any given time, I have random cookbooks and food magazines stashed in strategic places around my house, you know, for easy access whenever I might be in the mood to browse them (which is a lot). I keep some in both bathrooms, some on my nightstand, some in the kitchen (obviously), and just about every other room in the house. I am somewhat of a neat freak, so it always looks clean and organized to the untrained eye, but I know where these treasures lie.

My current main level bathroom read is an issue of Vegetarian Times from sometime this spring, and I have re-read the article on incorporating frozen veggies into your meals at least thirty times. My husband is out of town this weekend on a guy's trip, so I had free reign in my kitchen tonight to make dinner sans meat (this does not happen very often. Most nights, my husband asks me not, "what's for dinner," but rather, "what meat is for dinner?"). So, with this freedom in mind today, I decided to make a version of one of the recipes from that VT article, called Gingery Quinoa Salad with Apples, Peas, and Coconut.

Now I say that I made a version of this (in typical Kelly fashion) omitting some ingredients and adding others (I've never really been a recipe follower). What came out of that pot turned out to be so good, my three year old commented at dinnertime, "Mommy, this is really yummy!" (after I had to bribe him to take the first bite).

And the funny thing about me and quinoa is that I seem to make a lot of it in the summertime, more than any other season and I don't know why? Something about the hot weather just makes me crave it. Weird.

Sweet Potato & Pea Quinoa

1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 of a medium white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup chicken broth
salt, pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup unsweetened, shaved or shredded coconut

Toast almonds in a small saucepan over medium to low heat until browned (about 8-10 minutes). Shake the pan often to evenly brown all almond pieces. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut oil, then add onion, ginger, and sweet potato. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add quinoa, chicken broth, and a pinch of salt and pepper (be sure not to overdo the salt as the chicken broth is already quite high in sodium). Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15-20 minutes until quinoa is cooked through. Turn off the heat, add the frozen peas, coconut, and almonds, and stir to coat. Put cover back on the pot and let rest for about 5 minutes, until the peas are thawed. Serve warm, but is also good served at room temp or even chilled from the fridge.

Makes 3 servings.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Ra-Kel

**Update: this post was published before my lab tests confirmed my gluten sensitivity, so if you are strictly gluten free like me, I recommend using my hearty, seedy bread in place of the sprouted grain bread in this recipe.**

It's not a Reuben... it's not a Rachel... it's a Ra-Kel! Okay, a little cheesy on the name, but you have to admit, creative? (Actually, I can't take the credit, my husband is the one who thought of the name.) Anyway, a wonderful sandwich recipe, name or no name.

Tuesday night has officially become "sandwich night" at our house. It all started a few months ago when I went back to my day job after my maternity leave with my second child. I'm in the office all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so if nothing more than that, these are long days, but Tuesdays are even longer because I also teach yoga that night. So from the time I get home from work and picking my boys up from daycare, I have only one hour in which to change diapers, feed my baby, play with my three year old, and make dinner. Needless to say, I need a quick dinner option. Bingo! Sandwiches to the rescue.

A few years ago when I gave up grains entirely, we pretty much did without sandwiches or anything with bread for that matter. Since that time however, I have discovered that I can eat sprouted bread every once in a while with no real catastrophic side effects to my body. So our once a week sandwich tradition works out just fine.

As a side note-- I can't recommend it enough-- if you must consume grains-- please soak or sprout them! This is such an important step in enhancing the digestibility and maximizing the nutrient content in them. Katie at All About Fasting has a great article on this. Did you know that before the industrial revolution, nearly all grains were soaked, sprouted, and/or fermented naturally before being processed? Meaning that everyone who ate grains back then already had the work done for them?! And now not only are most grains (or grain products) that are sold in grocery stores not soaked, sprouted, or fermented, but they are actually stripped of all nutritional value-- and even bleached so they look "cleaner"! (Don't be fooled by Big Food advertising that they are better for you because they add a bunch of stuff, like vitamins and minerals... because there are also tons of added preservatives, and colors, and dyes, and trans fats... trust me, they are not better for you.) Also check out Sally Fallon's must-read book, Nourishing Traditions, for more information on this topic and the importance of traditional food and it's relationship to healthy humans.

Ok, 'nough said on that for now... let's get to that recipe!

The Ra-Kel

4 slices organic sprouted bread (such as Ezekial 4:9)
2 tablespoons mayo
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup thinly sliced, cooked chicken breast
1/2 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Spread mayo and mustard evenly on one side of all slices of bread. Top two slices of bread with chicken, pear, and cheese. Put remaining slices on top of chicken mixture. Place sandwiches on a heated non-stick griddle pan and grill for 5-8 minutes per side until toasted (if not non-stick, butter the outside of sandwiches before placing in pan). Slice each sandwich in half and serve.

Makes 4 sandwich halves.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blueberry Popsicles

I love a good book. You know the kind; it's so good you can't put it down and you find yourself ignoring all the chores calling your name... and it's hard for me to ignore chores because I'm a do-er. Sitting still, no matter what the reason, has never come easily to me. So here I am this afternoon during the boy's naptime, reading, feeling a little guilty for all the dog hair that needs to be swept up, but I just can't help myself.

This is also how I feel sometimes when I get in the kitchen. I just can't help myself; I get addicted to the experimentation and find myself asking questions like, "What happens when I put an apple, mint, and miso into the Vitamix? Do I get a really fantastic dressing?" And before I know it, it's been like an hour (or two or three) and I have all of these bowls and jars filled with my food experiments.

That's kind of how this recipe happened. It's very simple, but oh my, so yummy, and from my kitchen, also so very healthy. Perfect for these continually hot summer days. And blueberries again? You betcha! Sorry, I hope you're not getting sick of the blueberries in my posts, but it's just what we in my house have been craving.

Blueberry Popsicles

1 cup whole plain yogurt
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup Xylosweet

Mix ingredients together in Vitamix or other high powered blender. Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer until frozen.

Makes 4-5 popsicles.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vegan Blueberry Ice Cream

I've been inspired by such delicious and dairy-free ice cream recipes as popularized by raw food enthusiasts (I should know... I used to be one). I do eat some dairy now, although I limit it to the occasional plain whole milk yogurt, certain cheeses, and very rarely--- organic full fat ice cream. With this recipe, however, I can serve it to my family without guilt.. good for you coconut fat, no refined sugars or additives, and mostly fruit sweetened. I like to make this in the afternoon for a nice cool-me-down-summertime-snack.

And really, the fruit can be interchanged with any combination of fruit you like. (My three year old asks for blueberries every single day, so this choice was a no brainer for me.) I'd love to hear about your  experiments, so leave me a comment!

Vegan Blueberry Ice Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
1 can (13.5 oz) full fat coconut milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch salt

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or other high powered blender until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. With my cheap-o Rival ice cream maker, I usually have to let it run for 40 minutes, take a 10 minute break to let the ice cream maker cool down, then run again for 10-15 more minutes. It's still a bit runny at this point, but put it in the freezer for 2-4 hours and it will get a nice, even, ice-creamy consistency.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Green Chicken Curry

I'm a big, big fan of anything curry. Just say the word and I get giddy. Some of my favorite cuisines for dining out are Thai and Indian. So, as you can imagine, I am whipping up a curry dish often in our house. This recipe happens to be one of my favorites- green chicken curry. So simple, so tasty, you'll be saying, "ohmygosh" on your first bite (ok, maybe that's just me). I love to load my curries with veggies and make them fairly thick so that you can go sans rice and enjoy a healthy, low carb, high protein meal without a second thought for the traditional starchy side. If you do however enjoy the sop-up-all-that-soupy-goodness-of-this-dish factor that you get with rice, white or otherwise, try it over a batch of quinoa instead.

Green Chicken Curry

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper
1/2 white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 -2 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffanade

Heat coconut oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and drop into pan when oil is hot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through, flipping chicken halfway. While chicken is cooking, chop onion and garlic. Add to pan with cooked chicken. Add coconut milk, broth, curry paste, and fish sauce. Stir to combine. Then add the arrowroot powder and whisk around to get the mixture nice and thick. Lastly add the broccoli florets and cook until just bright green.

Serve up in bowls and top with fresh basil, and if you like it hot, also try some sriracha sauce.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quinoa Oat Bars

This recipe sort of just came together. It started off as the soaked granola recipe from Cooking God's Way, but I realized after I had already melted butter and coconut oil in a bowl that I didn't have enough oats. So I pulled out some other pantry ingredients and... created this recipe instead. Once I had a finished (and super tasty) product, I struggled with what to call it. Bars, for sure, but what kind? Peanut butter, oat, quinoa, teff, soaked, gluten free? I landed on gluten free quinoa oat bars, because it just sounds good and healthy (to me, at least). And although I made these into bars, they could easily be made into cookies or even scones.

I also hesitated posting this recipe just because the list of ingredients is a bit more lengthy than I prefer. But it turned out so good that I felt any attempt to make it on your behalf would prove fruitful. That said, I hope you won't let the ingredient list stop you from trying it as it is a fantastic alternative to sugar-and-white flour-laden traditional pan bars seen at most picnics and parties this time of year.

And I know it is good; not only did I eat about four bars when it came out of the oven, but my toughest critic- my three year old son- devoured a few bars himself in one sitting. (Then he asked me to save the rest for him. The conversation went something like this, "Mommy, dooooonnnn't eat anymore... save them for me for after my nap!!!")

Quinoa Oat Bars

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
3/4 cup cream or coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups old fashioned oats (if you're gluten intolerant, make sure your oats are certified gluten free)
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup teff flour
1 c sunflower seeds
3/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup peanut butter, softened
2/3 cup xylosweet
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch salt
3/4 cup raisins

Mix first 10 ingredients in large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let set overnight or 12 hours.

After soaking time is up, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine remaining 7 ingredients into the quinoa oat mixture and give a few really good stirs to ensure all of the ingredients are well coated and evenly distributed. Pour batter into parchment paper lined bar pans (I used one 9'13 pan and one 8'8 pan) and spread to an even layer with a spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool on wire racks for 30 minutes. Cut and serve.

Makes one 9'13 and one 8'8 pan of bars. Enough for your next company picnic or family reunion!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chocolate Mint Shake

The mint from my garden has take over and since it was so hot today, I wanted to create something that utilizes this refreshing herb and quench my need for something cold. This shake did the trick. It's super simple: just add to a blender, blend, and drink! The coconut meat and/or milk gives it its amazing satisfying creaminess while keeping it dairy free (for those who, like me, need to avoid dairy in an ice cream obsessed world).

I've always been a huge fan of the combined flavors of mint and chocolate. In fact, my favorite ice cream growing up was always peppermint bon bon. (Little did I know then that the ice cream was not naturally that bright green color... but rather the result of some not-so-good-for-you artificial colors! I was very disappointed when I found this out!) But with this recipe, my suggestion is to go a tad light on the mint at first, as it can be quite overpowering if you accidentally use too much, but if it's not minty enough for you, you can always add more, blend, and taste.

So with that, go pick that mint from your garden that you've been puzzled at what to do with and blend yourself bliss!

Chocolate Mint Shake

Meat from one coconut (or 3/4 cup coconut milk)
2 cups ice
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
6 mint leaves
3 tablespoons Xylosweet, agave, or raw honey
1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender.

Enjoy on a hot, sunny afternoon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vanilla Almond Milk

We don't buy conventional cow's milk at our house. And when we do buy cow's milk, we buy it raw straight from our local organic dairy farmer. (Why raw? Learn more here...) So what to do when the mood for milk strikes? I make nut milk. During my raw food days, I made nut milks all the time. They are great as a post-workout replenishment. Easy to make, delicious to drink, and nutritious to boot, this vanilla almond milk recipe is a fabulous substitute for anyone looking to reduce or eliminate their dairy intake, or for those just wanting to try something new. Works great for breakfast or snack time with a granola bar.

Vanilla Almond Milk 

1 cup raw almonds
4 cups water
2 dates, pitted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Soak almonds in a bowl covered with water for eight hours or overnight. In the morning, drain the water and combine almonds and 4 cups of water in a blender or Vitamix. Add dates, vanilla, and salt. Turn on blender and run at highest speed for 1-2 minutes. Pour mixture into a nut milk bag set over a large bowl. Squeeze the "milk" out of the nut milk bag (try to remove as much liquid as possible, all that will be left in the nut milk bag is the pulp). Drink warm out of the bowl or transfer to a glass container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Campfire Series: Mediterranean Burgers

We're back from our 10 day road trip to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. We braved it and camped out for half of our stay, proving for some more great campfire recipes to share. Although these burgers have ingredients that might not normally get packed in your dry goods tote, you can make the patties in advance, throw them in a ziplock bag and pack in the cooler. Then, when your campfire is ready, you just toss them on the grate for an easy campfire dinner. You'll feel like such a gourmet camper as you soak in the vibrant Mediterranean flavors of these burgers, you may never go back to regular old patties again.

Mediterranean Burgers

1/4 white onion
1 garlic clove
6-8 sundried tomatoes
1 pound grass-fed ground beef (Why grass-fed? Learn more here...)
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffanade
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper

Finely chop onion, garlic, and sundried tomatoes and combine in medium sized mixing bowl. Add ground beef, feta, basil, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Shape mixture into four patties. Cook over hot campfire grate (or grill) for about five minutes on each side until you reach desired doneness.

Serve topped with pesto (recipe to follow).