Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate by Liz Pearson {#Review #CookBook}

Disclaimer: I have received a copy of this book for review all opinions are my own; this post contains affiliate links

Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate Because food, love, and life should be delicious! by Liz Pearson is beautiful book explaining the nutrition value of food, demystifying foods as well as common misconceptions,  and also contains many beautiful healthy recipes along with a life lesson for each recipe.

The first 126 pages are dedicated to the "Bottom-Line Advice On What To Eat For A Long And Healthy Life" and is broken down into five subsections.  In the first subsection it the author addresses the power of super foods such as berries, apples, dark green coniferous vegetables, spices, and more.  The second subsection is dedicated to dietary hazards such as lack of exercise, sugar, tips to reduce sodium just to name a few.   Commonly asked questions in regards to alcohol, vitamin D, multivitamins etc. are addressed in the third subsection, while the fourth subsection is dedicated to demystify food myths and misunderstandings including snacking, coffee and more.  The fifth subsection addresses how to loose weight, keep it off, and stay active.  Each subsection is easy to read, understand, and the "lesson learned" section for each subchapter is very well done capturing the information in a nutshell.

The remaining 162 pages of the book are dedicated to healthy recipes and life lessons meant to inspire the reader.  The recipes are divided by  baked goods, soups, salads, veggie sides, whole grains, beans, fish, chicken - pork - eggs, snacks, drinks and also delectable treats.

All recipes are easy to follow and include a complete nutrition analysis; while there are not too many pictures of the dish each recipe also includes on the adjoining page a Life Lesson including inspirational quotes and a brief summary as Lesson Learned.   Recipes include scrumptious items such as  Apple Pie Muffins on page 133, Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup with Beans and Baby Spinach on page 153 (creamy without dairy), Honey-Roasted Spiced Lentils on page 223,  Orange Ginger Glazed Salmon on page 233, Decadent Chocolate Cake with Caramellized Coconut Icing on page 289 and more.   The bulk of the recipes are easily adaptable to a dairy free diet by using vegan margarine such as Earth Balance and substituting your favorite "milk" (ours is Almond) for cow.

Here is my nitty gritty review

Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate
Beacause food, love, and life should be delicious!
Author Liz Pearson

Paperback: 304 pages

Difficulty of Recipes:       Easy
Cuisine:                            Health conscious American cuisine
Galacosemia friendly:      Yes,  the bulk of the recipes can be easily adapted to suite a dairy free
(dairyfree)                        diet
Pro:                                  Contains lots of easy to follow advice healthy foods, diet, etc.
Good to know:                Less than 75 recipes combined in all sections

Suggested Retail Price: 29.95                                

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rice, Beans, Avocado & Sauteed Rainbow Kale with Creamy Tahini Sauce {#vegan #recipe #dairyfree}

Disclaimer:  I have received free produce however no further compensation; all opinions are my own

Rice & Beans one of my all time favorites when I need to grab a quick lunch - it is so good.  The Whole Bowl here in Portland serves up the perfect bowl; brown rice, secret sauce, black rice topped with avocado, cilantro plus sour cream as well as cheese shreds for "standard" version. It is just so so good and I finally attempted my own version of it by adding sautéed Rainbow Kale.

The hardest part to come up with a sauce…I am happy to report that it worked out.  Tahini, lemon juice, olive oil,  siracha, some water placed in the blender - added more water until the perfect consistency and flavor was reached.  Tangy lemon, creamy and nutty deliciousness. 

The recipe for the entire bowl is really quite simple. A couple of notes before you dive into the recipe.  I like to use dried beans and used enough to make another meal {recipe coming soon}; use canned beans if that is what you prefer.  Black or Orca beans work best - season them however you like.    Be sure to use brown rice please do not substitute with white rice.  I admit {yes, it is true} that white rice is usually our choice but here you need brown rice for the texture and taste of nuts in the grain.  

Creamy Tahini Sauce
  • 1/2 C Tahini
  • 4 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice {about 1 large lemon}
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 C cold water {start with less and add more if needed}
  • 1/2 tsp Siracha
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in your food processor and blend for about 2 minutes or until smooth.  Add more water if consistency is too thick

This sauce is also great as a dressing for any salad.

Rice, Beans, Avocado & Sauteed Rainbow Kale
  • 2 C dried black or orca beans soaked over night {use less if you do not want leftover beans}
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 2 C chopped onions
  • 1 large garlic clove  minced
  • 1 C diced celeriac
  • 4 - 5 C of water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 C brown rice
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 8 oz Organic Rainbow Kale 
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • Creamy Tahini Sauce
  • 2 scallion cut into rings
  1. Saute chopped onions together with minced garlic and celeriac in the hot olive oil.  When fragrant
  2. Add the drained beans mix them under the onion mixture and quickly add the water.  
  3. Bring to a slow simmer and transfer everything to a slow cooker.  
  4. Cook in your slow cooker on high for 4 hours
  5. About an hour before serving prepare rice -> I use Alton Brown's method its perfect
  6. Start heating the olive oil in a deep pan just about when the rice is ready
  7. Add garlic to the oil sauté for a minute or so before adding the Rainbow Kale.  Mix it up with the oil and garlic; stir frequently until it turns bright green in color.  Add lemon juice to the kale as well as some salt
  8. Assemble the bowls 
  9. Add a scoop of rice, top the rice with generous amount of Tahini sauce, add a scoop of beans, place the sautéed rainbow kale around the beans, top with avocado and scallions.
Note:  I like to top mine with Siracha but since the other members of this family do not enjoy spice 
          as much as I do nobody else does.  Otherwise I would probably add more siracha to the tahini

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ginger Chicken patties on Udon Noodles {#dairyfree #recipe}

The other day I got chicken thighs in anticipation to make some kind of vegetable - curry - chicken kind of stew but it just did not happen.  Do you have those days when you envision this great dish, but then lack complete inspiration to make it?  Well, that is what happened to me.  I thought of my vegetable - curry - chicken stew and was completely uninspired.  Yes,  uninspired an you just know that is not a good premise to start cooking any dinner as it will not turn out. That is at least how it turns out in this house. just not good…

Finally a light went on {at least in my head - I'd say that in German} - ding ding ding - yes, my new fantastic Ninja can do so much more than make smoothies.  Worth a try to chop {grind} the chicken with all the ingredients right in it.  Let me tell you - this was the easiest ever.  The ground chicken sausage - yes, that is what I turned it into - was ready in no time to be formed into individual little patties.  I baked these little beauties, cooked up a pack of Udon Noodles and a successful dish was on our table. Successful = the entire family loved it, and that makes this mothership happy. 

The Udon Noodles with chicken patties bursting with flavor with only one negative side to it.  There were no leftovers since everyone had seconds….

Ginger Chicken Patties

  • 1 lb dark chicken cut into chunks
  • 1 scallion cut 
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 TB fresh ground ginger
  • 2 tsp plum sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 pack Udon Noodles
  • 1 TB plum sauce (for glaze)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (for glaze)
  • 3 scallion cut into rings
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp siracha
  • 3 scallion cut into rings for garnish
*** Preheat oven to 350F ***
  1. Place chicken chunks, scallion pieces, garlic cloves, ginger, plum sauce, and soy sauce in kitchen machine {I use the food processor bowl of my NInja with Auto iQ Pulse}. Process until all ingredients are minced together.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Form little chicken patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked all the way through
  4. Cook Udon Noodles according to package directions
  5. Prepare glaze by combining 1 TB plum sauce with 1 tsp soy sauce in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Remove chicken patties from the oven, place them in the glaze, until all of them are evenly covered.  Add scallion and combine.
  7. In a separate bowl combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, ground ginger, with siracha and mix until well blended.  Pour over the cooked Udon noodles and combine in a serving dish.
  8. Top noodles with the Ginger Chicken patties.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Butternut Squash Ginger #Soup for #12WeeksOfWinterSquash {#Vegan #dairyfree #recipe}

Happy Monday!  Guess what time it is?! It's winter squash time and my friend Heather and Joanne are hosting another round celebrating 12 weeks of winter squash.  Now this is already the second week and I sadly missed the kick-off week but here it is.  Delicious, succulent, sweet, with a hint of heat and bright orange color -> meet the Butternut Ginger Soup.

This is the easiest soup you will ever make - really take my word for it; my kitchen assistant Mia Rose and I prepared it in a snap.   Plus it is so tasty…I honestly was a wee bit worried because Ron is not - unlike me - the biggest winter squash lover but you know what?!  He actually said "this soup is amazing" yes true,  I could not make it up because he would totally call me out on it. Perfection on a dark, grey, cold night…

Butternut Ginger Soup
  • 1 Tb Olive Oil + 1 tsp of seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tb minced ginger
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 medium squash, peeled, cubed and seeds reserved
  • 3 - 4 C of water (depending on how thick you like it - we like it very thick and use only 3 C)
  • 3  scallion cut into rings for garnish
  • 1 Tb Tofutti "sour cream" or other sour cream for garnish
  • Salt, Pepper, and optional cayenne pepper to taste

*** Preheat oven to 375 F ***
  1. Place squash seeds in a small baking dish and toss with 1 tsp of olive oil. Once oven is preheated place it in the oven.
  2. Remove seeds from oven afar about 15-20 minutes or until fragrant, toss them with a pinch of salt. 
  3. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in pot add garlic as well as ginger.  Sautee for a couple of minutes until fragrant then add the curry paste. Be careful not to burn it.
  4. Add squash and mix it under the spice mixture; after a minute or so add the water, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer - covered - until squash is soft about 20 minutes
  5. Blend the soup by using an immersion blender.  Be very careful not to burn your self as the hot liquid splatters and can burn you.
  6. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
  7. Laddle into soup bowls.  Put a dollop of "sour cream" onto each bowl and sprinkle with toasted seeds and scallions.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Spicy Asian Salad {#vegan #recipe} #ad

Disclaimer: I have received produce from San Miguel Produce ~ all opinions are my own

Salad is one of our every day favorite sides.  Most meals in my mind are not complete without a salad and I am one of the lucky mothers who does not need to sneak veggies into a meal because my entire family loves greens.  I am not trying to pat myself on the back because that is not me but their love for vegetables and greens has to be directly related to the fact that we have salad at basically every meal.  And yes,  I am also the mean mother who makes their kids taste everything - you know, the "no thank you" bite.

So it was an exciting moment yesterday when  box of delectable greens from Cut'N Clean Greens arrived at my house yesterday bearing all kids of green goodies.  Yes one big box of greens take look…

The first salad to make it to our dinner table Asian Salad aka EnerCHI Salad.  The salad is conveniently packaged pre washed and can make it straight from the box into the salad bowl.  Some of the pieces were still a bit larger than bite sized but I cut them as they were tossed into the salad bowl.  I always make my dressings in the bottom of the salad bowl, then put the salad on top of it and toss right before serving.  Please meet the Spicy Asian Salad

Spicy Asian Salad

  • 1/2 tsp Siracha
  • 2    tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1    tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 3    tsp toasted sesame ooil
  • 3    tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp plum sauce
  •  1   garlic clove pressed or finely minced
  • 1 box EnerChi Salad
  • 1/2 C of diced unpeeled tart apple

  1. Mix all of the ingredient for the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl until it is well combined
  2. Add salad together with apple pieces and toss until the dressing is evenly distributed
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Smoothies for breakfast - a #review of the Ninja Auto iQ Blender System - {#productreview #ad}

Disclaimer:  I have received a Ninja Auto iQ Blender System from Ninja ~ All opinions are my own

How is everyone?!  It seems like I have gotten lazy with my blog but believe me,  it has been - just like everyone else - super busy around here.  The girls ran Junior Cross Country which meant practice twice a week in addition to all of our other regular stuff.  I will tell everyone more about that soon because surely everyone cannot wait to hear about my kiddos ;) - Work has been busy and yes,  I am SO behind on my blog. How did this happen again?  Well, yes I know why because the thing to transpose my thoughts to a post has still not yet been developed….okay so now what does this all have to with the Ninha Blender System? Hang on…okay so do you remember my first ever food blogger conference that I attended this fall?  Yes,  the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle where I had just the greatest time.  Ninja was one of the conference sponsors and I am quite excited to review the complete Ninja Auto iQ Blender System.

Yes, super exciting but truth be said as I was not quite sure what to expect and after all a blender - albeit an older model - was already in this house.  Newsflash…OH - MY - WORLD {really people I am not making this up} what on earth were we missing.  The old blender? Glad you ask it is now retired on a basement shelf collecting dust.  What is it about the Ninja Auto iQ Blender System - let me tell you; the girls have always asked for smoothies at breakfast time but I did not deliver because you know my old blender a) did not blend that well, and b) a pain to clean up. Now let me tell you over the weekend I made my first blueberry smoothie using a recipe from the handy dandy recipe guide and have not stopped making breakfast smoothies since.  - Wow!!! So could, perfectly blended plus a snap to clean up.  It could not be easier.  Place the fruit, vegetable, "milk" in the Nutri Cup place it on top of the blender and one minutes later the smoothie is ready.  One of the reasons I am so excited is because MiaRose now finally finishes her morning smoothie without a complaint - no longer is it a fight to get her to drink her fortified OJ or Almond Milk. Take a look at our smoothies….

Saturday was also the one day of the year for me to make Zwiebelkuchen {Swabian Onion Tart} - it happens only once a year since chopping 2 pounds of onions is not my favorite thing to do but you know what?  Yes,  you guessed it - I peeled the onions and processed them in a couple of batches in the Ninja Food Processor Bowl.  Let me just say that Zwiebelkuchen may be happening at least a second time this fall in our house

…and then there was also the Vegan Banana Chocolate Mousse happened, Alena was in chocolate heaven.
The details

Blends - Chops - perfectly
Smoothies come out perfectly blended
Easy to use
Works fast
Cleans easy
Endless options

A little bit bulky

The blender system specs
1 1500W Motor Base  With Auto-iQ™
1 72 oz. Blender Pitcher
1 Small 18 oz. Nutri Ninja® Cup
1 Regular 24 oz. Nutri Ninja® Cup
1 Jumbo 32 oz. Nutri Ninja® Cup
1 Pro Extractor Blades™
3 Sip and Seal™ Lid(s)
1 Food Processing Bowl & Blade Accessories
1 Inspiration Guide
1 Rachel Beller 3-Day Jump-Start Plan
1 Rachel Beller's Best Selling Book Eat to Lose, Eat to Win

Retail price for the entire system: $249.99


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