**Please note this post was written prior my gluten sensitivity discovery. The recipes listed below, while delicious, are not gluten free.
Today Chicago was more panicked than I've seen it in awhile. The grocery stores were full, parking lots stacked with cars like when you used to line up matchbox cars as a kid. And though Chicago has the highest price of gas in the country, cars were lined up like the pumps were dispensing gold. This all begs one question-has no one in Chicago lived here during a winter? Yes, I know we are supposed to get more snow than we have sine-gulp-1967 (which my father recounted to me today. He said that as the blizzard was gaining momentum he had to pick up my mother from the el stop and it took him an hour to go around the block. awesome, can't wait.) But this all still seems like we're panicking as if the world were ending! Thankfully, it is not. Just some snow. Some beautiful, lovely, fluffy snow.
So let's plan our snow day!! I've begun planning thusly-I've moved my clients up a day (since I know I won't be able to get out of my garage on Wednesday!), I've thought about what food I have in my house (really, enough to last me a full two weeks) and-most importantly-I've planned what recipes to test. Oh, yes, darlings. a day full of delicious dishes, fabulous baked treats, mugs of hot tea laden with honey and lemon, a crackling fireplace and maybe a movie or two! Not bad, right? Here's a sampling of a few of the recipes I'm contemplating....and just remember, i'll look at recipes and then figure out how to change the ingredients around to be gluten free or include chia seeds or remove the dairy. So, check out these links and see if you're inspired to play in the kitchen during our snow day!
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper and Charred Tomato Soup (drizzle kitchen recipe), French Chocolate Macarons, Figgy Buckwheat Scones, French Apple Tart, Truffle dusted popcorn (drizzle kitchen recipe).....those are just some that have been on my list lately.
What recipes will you be playing with in the kitchen during this snowstorm??!!
Monday, January 31, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Ok, get ready darlings. Today's post is a long one....there's just too much vital information that you must know about-NUTS! So, if you can get through all my exciting information surrounding these little nutritiont powerhouses I know that you will have a much better understanding of your need to incorporate them into your daily food routine.
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts are among some of the most common nuts in the American culture (peanuts are actually a legume, not a nut!). They sound delicious, don’t they? But then your thoughts of noshing on some delicious roasted nutty-ness are halted by the thought that they are pretty fattening, right? Well, friends, I have some good news for you. If you haven’t heard yet, the past decade has resulted in some incredible positive research touting the amazing health benefits of nuts including reduced cholesterol and lowered incidence of heart disease and stroke. Hooray for walnuts on your salad! Hooray for almonds on your oatmeal!
Let’s start with almonds. They’re fairly inexpensive, readily available, and easy to incorporate into almost everything! Their nutritional composition boasts heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein and dietary fiber. Almonds also contain a substantial amount of vitamin E (in the alpha-tocopherol form), a fantastic antioxidant that has also been proven to lower the risk of heart disease. The skins of almonds boast hefty amounts of flavonoids, strong antioxidant properties, which when combined with the vitamin E content from the meat of the nut can dramatically help reduce cholesterol levels. (Almonds eaten without the skins are still fabulously healthy, but made even healthier when eaten in the whole form – skin on).
A few of my favorite ways to incorporate the health benefit of almonds into my diet are:
- Drinking unsweetened, vanilla almond milk in lieu of cow’s milk
- Using almond meal (ground almonds with skin on) to substitute for ¼ of the flour in a baked recipe, and definitely in pancakes and waffles!
- Tossing some toasted almonds over salad
- Sprinkling almonds over some greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. Mmmmmmm!
- Sprinkle some almond slivers over tomato soup to give a bit of crunch
In addition to all these incredible heart healthy benefits of almonds, they contain a whopping 7.62 grams of protein per serving (1/4 cup) which is more than an egg! Which means almonds are a fantastic snack as they provide you with plenty of protein to keep you fueled after your body uses up sugar and plenty of good fats to keep you feeling full longer.
Next, let’s touch on walnuts. With similar health benefits as almonds, walnuts can also boast their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect against heart disease and stroke, high amounts of vitamin E, plenty of fiber and protein. The form of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linoleic acid, that is in walnuts are especially important to consume since it is essential for optimal function of every cell in the human body, but is solely obtained by food. It is not created in the body. So a simple addition of crushed walnuts on your cereal or in your salad can help put your body on the right track to heatlh!
Here are some of my favorite ways to include walnuts into my diet:
- Make a salad dressing with toasted walnut oil: 1 T. toasted walnut oil, ¼ t. Dijon mustard, 2 T. lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Top sautéed pears with greek yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup and toasted walnuts.
- A fabulous addition to any salad!
- Make a snack mix with dark chocolate chips, dried blueberries and walnuts (but don’t forget ½ cup is about a serving size!)
A few other nuts that are important to mention are pecans, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts. All three nuts are also high in fatty acids (like omega-3 and omega-6 which are the most commonly known), have plenty of protein, fiber and vitamin E. They are all important to add into your diet as they all have cardiac benefits including reduction of the following-stroke, development of Type II diabetes, dementia, advanced macular degeneration and gallstones. Pecans have especially been a source of interest since a study at Purdue University found a link between the form of Vitamin E in pecans and the ability to kill prostate cancer cells. In addition to the health benefits mentioned above, hazelnuts also have good amounts of folate, arginine and B vitamins. While Brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium, which is beneficial in skin health and will help give you a healthy glow.
Hopefully you are now convinced that even though a serving of nuts seems small, ¼ cup, that they have the ability to pack a wallop of nutrition along with plenty of protein and good fats to keep you full. In addition they have incredible amounts of fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Vitamin E and in some Vitamin B. Nuts are an affordable way to help add protein to a vegetable salad, crunch to soup and are a great breakfast topper. So grab a handful today and make your heart happy!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
As I look out onto a beautiful winter day in Chicago, I remember that this picture perfect scene is misleading. You see I am all cozied up inside with the warmth of a fireplace and the heat from the oven, wearing a tank top and pajama bottoms, listening to music and drinking a steamy cup of café au lait. And the sunshine that is filling the room would lead my mind to think that it might, just might, be warm outside. Eeeeh. Wrong answer, try again! It is in fact 25 degrees outside. Oh, yeah, baby-it’s cold outside.
So, the impending question is what to make on this lazy Sunday? This beautiful day that lends a lovely chill to the air…..and the answer is a (gluten free and dairy free!) creamy roasted red pepper and tomato soup, garnished with quinoa, rice “cheddar” cheese and basil. Alternatively you could certainly use any cooked grain you would like, wheat berries, barley, brown rice. And, of course, if dairy is not an issue for you feel free to use mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese (just be sure to toss it in a teensy bit of flour before adding it to your soup).
And who knows, depending on how inspired I feel today I may also throw together a lovely French Apple Tart (a la fabulous pastry chef Sara Moulton) to munch on with some tea for dessert-or an afternoon treat!
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Free of the Top 8
Free of the Top 8
- 3 red peppers, tops sliced off, cored and sliced in half lengthwise
- 3/4 lb. plum tomatoes, slice in half lengthwise
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 ½ T. sweet smoky paprika
- 3 cups good quality vegetables stock
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (or any other cooked grain or rice)
- 1 cup rice cheddar cheese, (I happen to love a brand called Daiya)
- ¼ cup sliced fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat the peppers and sliced tomatoes with olive oil and place on the parchment paper, tomatoes cut side down. Roast until their skins are blistered and charred, about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat a medium to large stock pot. Sauté the onions with a hearty glug of olive oil until they begin to sweat, you want them to be translucent not browned.
- Add the sliced garlic and sauté 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the smoky paprika and stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in the vegetable stock, turn the heat down to low and place lid on top.
- Once peppers and tomatoes are nicely charred, add them to the stock and continue simmering the soup another 20-30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until nice and smooth (alternatively you may do this in batches in a blender. Just be careful that the steam doesn’t cause the top of your blender to pop off while in process!)
- Once all blended fold in the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese and the basil.
Happy Healthy Eating! -kendra