Sunday, December 16, 2012

Banana Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins with Streusel Topping


YUM. I made these muffins yesterday morning and there is only 1 that remains. My husband ate 10 of these in 12 hours. Yes, I said 10. That's basically a muffin every hour. I mean, wow. That's really pigging out. But I can't say I blame him. And I'm really thankful he ate 99% of the muffins, because if he didn't, I would have. Needless to say, they are really addicting. And just god damn delicious. It all happened because I had two really sad overripe bananas just hanging out on my counter yesterday morning. I was going to make my Saturday Morning Pancakes for breakfast, but then those bananas just kept staring at me. USE ME. MAKE ME they said. And why not? Perfect excuse to come up with a new recipe to share on the good ole blog. 


These muffins are gluten free/grain free (of course) and are the perfect thing to make on Christmas morning. Tons of holiday spices are packed into these guys and the bananas just give the right amount of subtle banana flavor without overpowering. And of course adding chocolate chips (and walnuts) just add to the sweetly deliciousness that are these muffins. Now -- the icing on the cake (or in this case the muffin); the streusel topping. I made a few of the muffins without the streusel topping and they were also fantastic, but of course topping anything with chocolate. nuts, honey and cinnamon --- I mean, doesn't that just make everything taste that much better? Yes. Yes, it does. 


BANANA SPICE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS WITH STREUSEL TOPPING
(whew. long title)
2 overripe banana, mashed
4 beaten eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup of agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup of almond milk (or light coconut milk)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil (liquid form)
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1/3 cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (these are so amazing btw)
Makes a dozen muffins


STREUSEL TOPPING
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 pack of truvia

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin liners into a regular sized muffin tray. In a large bowl combine the the first 5 ingredients (all the wet) and blend with an electric blender. In a separate bowl, combine the next 9 ingredients (all the dry) and stir together till combined. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir in your walnuts and chocolate chips. Using an ice cream scooper, fill muffin cups (almost) to the top. (You should have enough batter for exactly a dozen). Bake the muffins for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserting it into the center of a muffin. While the muffins are baking, make your Streusel Topping by combining all ingredients and stirring with a spoon until combined. After the muffins have baked for 10 minutes, take them out and add your Streusel Topping to each muffin by adding a spoonful to the top of each muffin. Using the back of the spoon lightly press the topping into the muffin (VERY lightly so you don't squish the muffin as the batter is still soft). Return to oven and bake for the remaining time. Let cool and enjoy! I will definately be making these Christmas morning! Happy Holidays :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sesame Salmon

This dish I made last night by making use of what I already had in the house. I had bought some fresh filets of Salmon and wanted to do something quick after a LONG day. After looking in the cabinet for ingredients to use, I asked my hubs if he would rather have almond crusted salmon or sesame salmon. He chose sesame. So here you go - a quick and flavor-packed healthy salmon dinner. Hope you enjoy!


SESAME SALMON
2 filets of salmon, skin and bones removed
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
1 tablespoons of black sesame seeds plus more for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon of lemon
Salt
Pepper

Preheat your oven to broil. In a small mixing bowl wisk together the sesame oil, dijon mustard, agave nectar, sesame seeds and lemon. Wisk until smooth.Season your salmon filets with salt and pepper on each side. Place salmon in a baking dish or a non-stick rimmed cookie sheet. Using a pastry brush or spoon, brush (or spoon) the mixture over each side of both filets. Then sprinkle additional sesame seeds on both sides of each filet. They should stick nicely to the salmon. Broil in oven for about 15 minutes or until the salmon is pink and flakes off easily with a fork. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sweet and Savory Acorn Squash

It's that time of the year and I love making roasted squash. Why? It's simple, cheap and tastes awesome. Acorn squash in particular is the kind I cook the most often. I also love butternut squash but I tend to use it in recipes rather than just eat it on it's own. During the season, I always have a couple acorn squashes on-hand because when I can't decide on what to eat, I usually just roast one of these guys up and have it as my dinner.


Roasting a squash is super simple and there are many ways you can season/dress the squash. My favorite way is sweet and savory, using cinnamon, agave nectar and a delicious drizzle of truffle oil. (Let me tell you how good my kitchen smells when this is roasting!) This recipe is so simple, I don't even have measurements for you. Everything is "drizzled" and "sprinkled" which you can adjust to your liking.


SWEET AND SAVORY ACORN SQUASH 
1 medium acorn squash
Olive oil (I used roughly a tablespoon for each half)
Butter (melted) or butter substitute of choice (I used roughly a tablespoon for each half)
Agave nectar
Truffle oil
1 packet of Truvia
Cinnamon
Salt

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. With a very sharp knife, cut the squash lengthwise (stem to bottom) and using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds. Next, fill a glass baking dish with 1 inch of water and place in each squash half (skin-side down). Over each squash half, drizzle the olive oil and then season with salt. Next, drizzle your melted butter or butter substitute and then sprinkle the Truvia and cinnamon. Add the agave nectar (by drizzling of course!) to both halves and as the finishing touch, add the savory truffle oil. Mmmmmm. Did I mention how much I love truffle oil? Omg. That smell makes me moan. The truffle oil I just sort of sprinkle on each half right before I put it in the oven. You will notice a little pool of liquid has formed in the bowl of each squash. Take a spoon and coat the rest of the squash with the liquid before baking. Roast in the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. I like to eat this squash as a "squash bowl" and just take my fork and eat the inside. The skin of an acorn squash is also edible but I think the inside is most tasty =)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp and Mushrooms (Gluten Free!)

Mmmmm Fettuccine Alfredo. I mean, who doesn't drool over it? As a kid, I absolutely loved Fettuccine Alfredo. I was a major pasta girl and I would have been totally fine eating pasta every single day for the rest of my life. And Fettuccine Alfredo topped the list. Unfortunately Fettuccine Alfredo is probably one of the most fattening and unhealthy things you can eat ---damnit!


Not to fear. I came up with a deliciously creamy Alfredo sauce that is practically fat free. I also made this recipe gluten free by using these amazing noodles called Shirataki Noodles. These noodles are fantastic with only 3 carbs and 20 calories per pack. They are made from tofu and shirataki which comes from the root of an Asian plant called Amorphophallus Konjac also known as yam flour. Although it sounds weird, they are a great pasta or noodle substitute and I use them all the time like in my Now that's a Miso Soup! recipe. They come cut as Fettuccine, Spaghetti or Angel Hair.


I personally think these noodles are great as I mentioned above, but if they are not your thing, I highly recommend buying Dreamfields Pasta (in this case Linguine since they don't have Fettuccine). Dreamfields pasta tastes EXACTLY like regular pasta. There is absolutely no difference in look or taste. But unlike regular pasta, it's low on the Glycemic Index, with a net carb count of 5 digestible carbs. However the pasta is not gluten free. You can click on the link above to read more on it.

Click to enlarge. And Drool.

Last night I made my husband's Fettuccine Alfredo using Dreamfields Pasta as he prefers it over the Shirataki Noodles. It also came out delicious - so much that he ate his entire bowl before I could photograph it. Trust me, if you like pasta as much as us, this recipe is a total winner.

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO WITH SHRIMP AND MUSHROOMS
1 package of Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki Noodles
6 uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 cup of mushrooms of choice (I used a mixed blend of baby bellas, shiitake and oyster)
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter substitute such I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or Earth Balance
1 wedge of Laughing Cow's Light Creamy Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon of fat free sour cream
1 tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Serving Size is for 1 person.
(of course you can double the recipe for 2 people, triple it for 3, etc.)


In a medium size pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute or so. Meanwhile, season your shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the shirmp and mushrooms to the pan and lower heat to medium-low. Cook the shirmp and mushrooms slowly so you don't overcook them and stir occasionally, flipping the shrimp. While it's cooking, take your noodles and drain them in a colander. Rinse cold water over the noodles for about 30 seconds and shake them to eliminate water. When the shirmp and mushrooms are almost done cooking, put the noddles in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Return noodles to the colander and shake them again to drain out any excess water. Pat dry with a paper towel if necessary. Next, take a medium size sauce pan over medium-low heat and add the butter substitute, stirring it around so it starts to melt. Add the Laughing Cow cheese and the sour cream and mix for a few seconds as it begins to melt. Add the noodles to the pan and mix well. (Just like you're making Mac 'n Cheese!) Pour the Shrimp and Mushroom mixture into the pan and sprinkle with the fresh Parmesan. Mix until combined and the Laughing Cow cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. And have a delicious guilt-free PASTA FEAST!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweet Roasted Root Veggies

AKA Candy. These roasted roots are simple to make and taste deliciously sweet making you want more. I made these on Thanksgiving and have still been eating leftovers. For some reason they seem to get better (and sweeter) each day. I like them hot or cold and I'm thankful that these addictive vegetables are perfectly healthy!


SWEET ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES
3 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes)
4 medium parsnips (peeled and sliced on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces)
5 medium beets (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 pound bag of baby carrots, about 3 cups (or 4 medium carrots peeled and sliced like the parsnips)
Olive oil
Salt
3 Truvia packets (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all your veggies to a lined cookie sheet or a rectangular baking dish. Season generously with salt and mix with your hands. Drizzle good quality olive over the veggies until well coated and mix with your hands again. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on your oven), checking occasionally to stir veggies. Right before they are ready, take the veggies out and stir one last time. Taste to see if they need another drizzle of olive oil or more salt. If so, add to your liking and stir. Sprinkle 3 packets of Truvia (or drizzle some agave nectar) for extra sweetness (this is optional of course). Stir one last time and add back to the oven to cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

If anyone were to ask me, I would say Pumpkin Pie is the perfect Fall desert.....that and Apple Crisp. (Which will be posted soon so stay tuned!). I think it's because in each bite, I taste everything I love about Fall and the Holiday Season; cinnamon & sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cloves......It brings me back to my childhood in Connecticut during the beautiful Fall weather living on good ole' Riley Creek Trail (yes, my last name was also my address - one of which was filled with deer, bunnies, birds, squirrels - Bambi's Forest to be exact).

A favorite restaurant near my hometown in CT (Hopkins Inn, Fall 2011).
Although I do miss those few months up north during the Fall season, there is no complaining today about the weather in Miami - it was the most gorgeous day outside. Perfect weather for a Halloween night! And this pumpkin pie comes right in time!

 You will love this easy and healthy gluten-free Pumpkin Pie for any excuse this Fall and upcoming Holiday Season!

PUMPKIN PIE
CRUST:
1/2 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of Splenda, Truvia or Stevia (sugar substitute of choice)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of butter, butter substitute (I used Earth Balance) or softened coconut oil
1/4 cup of agave nectar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Combine the wet into the dry and blend until mixed well. Next, grease a 9 inch pie pan or pie tart with oil or butter. Next take the crust mixture and using your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 6 minutes until a light golden brown. Let cool completely before adding the filling.


FILLING:
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin (100% pumpkin, no added sweetener)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of Splenda, Truvia, or Stevia (sugar substitute of choice)
2 eggs
3/4 cup of light coconut milk (you can of course use full fat too)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of ginger

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add to cooled pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the pie. Allow to cool COMPLETELY. Seriously, this is a "make or break it" deal. It will be VERY difficult, but make sure you wait until the entire pie has cooled before cutting into it. I highly recommend making the pie and then eating it the next day. Or making it in the morning, refrigerate all day and then serve it at night for desert. The pie needs time to solidify and set so it doesn't fall apart. I tried eating this after it cooled for 20 minutes and it fell apart. The next evening, I went back to the pie and it was absolutely perfect!


It is now the third day and I'm ready to finish it off......Why not? I mean, it's Halloween, right?

Happy Trick or Treat :)

- J

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Butternut Squash and Kale Salad


























Autumn is here! Well, sort of. It is still 80 degrees here in Miami....but at least the humidity has subsided and at night, it has finally started to cool down. Anyway, it's the end of October and I am counting down the days for "Winter" weather (Winter for Miami of course).

Carlos and I have been traveling a lot lately and I'm so looking forward to a weekend at home cooking up yummy Fall dishes. This is my first of the week that came to me while I couldn't sleep the other night. (Sometimes the best time to think!) This seasonal salad is a perfect side dish for any holiday dinner or as a main meal for a Fall inspired lunch!


BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND KALE SALAD
1 butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 bunch of kale
1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup of dried cranberries (unsweetened - make sure no sugar is added)
The juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take your kale and cut into thin slices. Add to a large salad bowl. Add the juice of one lemon, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Massage the kale with your hands for 3 minutes, mixing everything together. This helps to take away the bitterness of the kale and almost "cook" it slightly, but still keeping it raw (for all you raw foodies out there). You will notice that it will decrease in size. Set the kale aside. In a large bowl, add the cubed butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Mix with your hands so each pieces is well coated. Spread the butternut squash evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. In the meantime, toast your pumpkin (if not already toasted) over low heat until they become fragrant. Let cool. Once your squash is done, let it cool slightly until just warm (about 20 minutes). Top with Honey Mustard Tahini Dressing and serve!

Happy Fall everyone!

- J

X

Honey Mustard Tahini Dressing

Honey mustard dressings have always been a favorite of mine, but they are usually loaded with sugar. This is a simple and fantastic alternative that only requires 5 ingredients.

I made this dressing last night for my Butternut Squash and Kale Salad recipe and it was the perfect compliment! It's tangy, sweet and has a subtle nutty flavor from the tahini, giving the dressing a creamy consistency. This is the perfect dressing to have on-hand in your fridge as it will go great with any salad!

HONEY MUSTARD TAHINI DRESSING
4 tablespoons of dijon mustard (creamy, but no sugar added)
4 tablespoons of agave nectar
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of tahini
The juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients in a small to medium size bowl and whisk until combined. Dress over your fav salad and enjoy! *Side note: if you feel that the dressing is too tangy, add more agave or sugar substitute (such as splenda, truvia, stevia, etc.).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mussels in White Wine with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

O mussels. What can I say? I love to eat you. Simple as that. I made these delicious mussels over the weekend and was so happy to find LARGE sized mussels. For some reason it's been so difficult lately to find mussels that are larger than the size of a nickle. And how frustrating is that? You buy mussels closed - so you have no idea what you are going to get. Luckily, I went to my favorite fish market on Saturday and was promised I wouldn't be disappointed. So I took my chances and we FEASTED on these delicious guys all night. Four pounds of them. For two people. Yep. I love to eat you.

I did these mussels in a simple white wine garlic sauce and added a ton of fresh herbs. The addition of the sausage (I used a pre-cooked lean chicken sausage - but you can use whatever you like) adds a ton of flavor and will fill you up so you don't have to make anything else for dinner. Hope you enjoy!


MUSSELS IN WHITE WINE WITH SAUSAGE AND CHERRY TOMATOES
4 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any mussels that are open)
8 ounces of lean chicken sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bulb of fennel, chopped (about 1 cup)
8 garlic gloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups of onion, chopped
1 cup of good quality white wine
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of organic butter (I used whipped so it was less fat)
1 pinch of saffron
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
3 tablespooons of chopped basil
2 tablespoons of chopped chives
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large soup pot over medium high heat, melt the better and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and fennel. Cook until fragrant and until the onion is translucent. Add your sausage of choice (I used organic pre-cooked lean chicken sausage, but whatever kind you want to use will work fine. If you use uncooked, be sure that you cook it well in the oil and butter before adding the rest of the ingredients). Add the 1/4 cup of chopped parsley, saffron, salt, pepper and mix well until all flavors are combined. Add the white wine and stir. Cover the pot and steam until the mussels are all open (about 5 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, basil, chives and cherry tomatoes. Stir till combined and serve hot!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Last night I made these delicious Mediterranean style stuffed peppers with herb & sun-dried tomato chicken sausage and cauliflower rice....yep! Totally gluten free and grain free, and I promise you would never know the difference.



I decided to use chicken sausage because that is what they had available and fresh yesterday, although you could use any kind of lean meat (turkey, chicken, or even LAMB which would make this even more Mediterranean!). I decided to use actual sausage instead of pre-ground meat and it turned out amazing. You get thicker pieces of sausage in each bite, and as my husband said last night, it tastes more "sausage-y" this way (as opposed to using ground meat)....if that makes sense.

Click to enlarge.
The cauliflower rice component is what I personally think makes these little guys fantastic. Usually stuffed peppers are loaded with a specific grain such as rice, pasta or even tabouli, which are all high glycemic index. The cauliflower rice is a fantastic grain free, low GI alternative that's gluten free. The "rice" helps to fill out the stuffing in each pepper and when combined with the sausage, these pepps are packed with flavor!

My hubs said this is his new favorite recipe and I hope you all enjoy it too!

MEDITERRANEAN STUFFED PEPPERS
6 medium size peppers, caps removed and seeds and ribs scooped out
1 pound of lean sausage meat ( I used sun-dried tomato & herb chicken sausage, about 4 to 5 links)
1 medium head of cauliflower, bottom trimmed off and roughly cut into 4 or 5 segments
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of chopped white or sweet onion
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes (I used ones packed in olive oil)
2.25 ounce jar of black or green sliced olives
2 teaspoons of capers
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon of chopped oregano
Feta cheese for topping the peppers
Homemade or store bought tomatoes sauce of choice (optional)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Take your de-capped peppers (with the seeds and ribs removed) and steam them for 10 minutes. When finished, place aside in a casserole or baking dish.

To make the cauliflower rice, use a food processor and pulse a few segments at a time so it's in the consistency of a rice. (I usually break it up into two parts with a medium size cauliflower. So I first pulse 2 or 3 segments, pour into a large bowl, and pulse up the rest). BE SURE to not over pulse. You do not want the cauliflower to get mushy. You want it to have a nice texture. Here is what is should look like:

Click to enlarge.

Coat a large and deep skillet with olive oil and set on medium to high heat. Add the minced garlic and let it become fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes or so). Add the cauliflower rice a little at a time, mixing well. Add another tablespoon or 2 of olive oil or even butter (up to you) and mix till combined. Turn up the heat to high and let the cauliflower cook up nicely. (You want it to start to brown and crisp up so it has some more texture. Make sure you don't add too much liquid, otherwise it will become mushy). After about 10 minutes or so, add the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Let the "rice" cook up another 15 minutes or so. While it's cooking it should be sticking to the bottom of the pan in places and you will have to scrape it with a spoon. This is a GOOD thing. You will notice it start to brown and spots which will give it a nice flavor and texture (just make sure it doesn't burn....obviously).

Click to enlarge.
After the rice is finished, put aside in a bowl and let it cool. To expedite the cooling process, I chilled it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Once cooled, preset your oven to 375 degrees. Pour rice into a larger bowl and add the sausage links by removing the casting on each link and massaging the meat into the rice mixture. Add the basil, rosemary and oregano to the mixture. Once combined, over-stuff each pepper and drizzle olive oil over the stuffed tops (about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon over each pepper).

Click to enlarge.

Bake peppers at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the peppers are crispy at the edges and the meat is cooked through (and browned on top). Top with crumbled feta cheese and/or your favorite tomato sauce.  Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slow Roasted Salmon


Have you ever slow roasted? I'm officially obsessed. If you wish for a delicious, beyond tender meal that you barely have to do any work for, then you must get a slow cooker. I literally spent 5 minutes in the kitchen and was able to watch ALL of NBC's The Voice (come on, I know you watched it too) while checking emails and enjoying a bottle of vino with the hubs. Then after 1 hour.... "DING!" Dinner is READY. It's like you have a personal chef in the kitchen doing all the work. You are just the brains behind the project.


The one challenge with slow roasting fish, is getting the right flavor. You will have no problem whatsoever (as long as you know how to use your slow cooker of course) with getting a beyond moist and succulent fish. It will cook perfectly. However, the slow roaster tends to obtain a lot of liquid since its covered the whole time. It's really important to season the fish well and garnish with fresh herbs, drizzle with oil and/or top with your favorite sauce to enhance the overall flavor.


For this dish, I did a very simple slow roasted salmon with bright flavors using fresh dill, parsley and lemon zest. I served it alongside a quick cucumber Greek salad, but you can also serve with my Heirloom Tomato and Hearts of Palms Salad which compliments the salmon great.


SLOW ROASTED SALMON
3 to 4 Wild Alaskan Salmon filets (about 2 pounds of salmon total), skin and any bones removed (ask your fishmonger to remove for you!)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
1 cup of white wine
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
3 fresh dill springs
Salt and pepper
Fresh chopped parsely (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
Fresh chopped dill (about 2 tablespoons)
The zest of 2 lemons 
Olive oil of choice for drizzling 

First off, let's start with the slow cooker. There are many different ways you can slow cook this dish. I used my brand new Cuisinart Multicooker from William Sonoma. Set your slow cooker on low and combine the water, veggie stock, white wine, onion, dill and couple teaspoons of salt and pepper. Mix gently in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes so the flavors combine. In the meantime, season salmon filets with a light amount of salt and pepper. Add the salmon filets, cover and slow cook on low for 1 hour or until opaque and just fork tender. (*Side note: it's best not to lift the cover off too much while the salmon is roasting, but you will have to check on your salmon toward the end. You may not need a full hour of cooking time depending on your machine). Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, dill and lemon zest and drizzle with your favorite olive oil for some extra flavor (I used a basil infused oil that tasted lovely with the fish). Serve with your favorite salad such as this Heirloom Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grouper Mar-acruz


My mom came down to Miami a few weeks ago for her birthday. We had the perfect girls weekend while my husband was away for a friend's bachelor party. We had so much fun, we decided to extend her trip for another day =)

On her last night, (my husband was now home) she cooked us an amazing grouper veracruz for dinner after we both had a LONG day at work. I re-did this recipe last weekend and it came out absolutely delicious! I am naming it Grouper Mar-acruz (because if you know my Mom, we all call her MAR --- short for Mary of course).

This dish is a great go-to staple that is easy to make and healthy to eat. It goes something like this...

Click to enlarge.


GROUPER MAR-ACRUZ
2 (6 ounce) pieces of Grouper (skin off, bones removed)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
The juice of 4 small limes
The zest of 4 small limes
2 teaspoons of olive oil
2 medium shallots, sliced
1/4 cup of green pitted olives or a pre-made olive tapenade
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon of sugar substitute (such as splenda or truvia)
1/3 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Place grouper in a medium casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Rub each side of both filets with garlic cloves. Pour lime juice and lime zest over filets. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Click to enlarge.

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and saute until soft and translucent (about 3 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes, olive tapenade, raisins, bay leaf, Herbes de Provence and splenda. Add white wine and reduce heat to simmer (uncovered) and stir occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and put aside in a separate bowl.

Add an extra 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan over medium-high heat. Add the filets and cook on each side until fork tender (about 5 minutes per side). Pour tomato mixture over filets and cook for another minute. Serve fish topped with fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peach Raspberry Sangria


Meet Hurricane Isaac. Yep. It's been a lovely weekend here in Miami Beach! It's Sunday and the three of us (Me, Carlos and Stella) have been inside since Friday night. Well. My husband took advantaged of the GNARLY waves dude on Friday night before the storm got bad. I seriously think he would sell his left arm just to surf for an hour.


Me on the other hand, have absolutely no desire to venture out into Mr. Isaac's storm party. So instead I made myself a nice cocktail while I watched this guy attempt the waves from our bedroom window. This Sangria was a "what do I have in my fridge right now that I can make a cocktail out of??" And surprisingly it's a new fav.


PEACH RASPBERRY SANGRIA
1 bottle of dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
4 cups of club soda (not seltzer as it's full of sugar)
3 ounces (aka 3 shots) of St-Germain liquor
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
2 very ripe peaches, sliced
1 pint of fresh ripe raspberries


Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and stir. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes so the juice from the fruit has time to come out and combine with the liquor. Serve over ice and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Banana Bread (Gluten Free, Grain Free)


I realized today that I have not yet posted a gluten free bread recipe. How did that happen?? It was perfect timing because I had bananas that were overripe and ready to go!

I love banana bread. It's really not your typical "bread" but more of a sweet treat that you can easily have for breakfast in the morning, a midday snack or even as desert after dinner. I love adding raisins and walnuts to the bread for extra sweetness and texture. The cinnamon and nutmeg give it that homey spiced flavor that reminds me of Fall (even though it's August in Miami and 100 degrees out).


I use a combination of coconut flour and arrowroot powder to serve as the "grain" of the bread. Coconut flour is great in this because it keeps the bread extra moist and flavorful and the arrowroot powder helps to thicken things up and give it a soft, chewy texture. (*Side note: arrowroot powder is a gluten free replacement for cornstarch, used in many baked goods as a thickening agent. It is almost identical to tapioca flour (you could use either for this recipe).

BANANA BREAD (GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE)
2 very ripe medium size bananas, mashed
4 beaten eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup of agave nectar (I like the dark amber one for this)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil (in liquid form)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup of raisins (optional)
Makes two mini loafs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the the first 5 ingredients (all the wet) and blend with an electric blender. In a separate bowl, combine the next 7 ingredients (all the dry) and stir together till combined. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir in your walnuts and raisins, or even try adding chocolate chips. Add batter to 2 very well-greased mini loaf pans (I used 5 1/2 inches x 3 inches x 2 1/4 inches high). (On one of the loafs I sprinkled more chopped walnuts on top before putting it in the oven. This is optional). Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a loaf comes out clean. Serve with your favorite jam, butter, honey or cheese. Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grilled Tofu Veggie Bowls

One of my favorite salads to make during the summer is my Grilled Tofu Summer Salad. This week I wanted to do something similar using grilled tofu but I wanted to incorporate different flavors and veggies I had on-hand. This main course dish is a healthy and meatless alternative to a one-pot meal that you can make ahead and eat throughout the week. Very satisfying and totally filling. You wont need anything else!

GRILLED TOFU VEGGIE BOWLS
2 14 ounce packages of firm light tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound of asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces
1 12 ounce jar of olive oil marinated artichokes (quartered)
2/3 cup of smoked sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup of sliced black olives
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/3 cup of freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup of chopped chives
4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus 2 more tablespoons at the end for dressing
2 tablespoons of butter or butter substitute of choice
The juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, drizzle olive oil over cut asparagus and season with sea salt. Spread evenly over a cookie sheet and bake on the top rack under the broiler for 7 minutes. (Alternatively, you could also grill your asparagus if you have enough room on your grill!) Once finished, remove asparagus from cookie sheet, put in a large bowl and set aside to cool.


Place your cubed tofu in another large bowl. In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter or butter alternative (such as I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) and the minced garlic. Whisk until combined. Pour over the tofu and carefully mix with your hands to coat each piece evenly. (Be careful not to break the tofu). Using an indoor or outdoor grill ( I think an indoor grill is easier for tofu), spray with non-stick grill spray and heat to medium-high heat. Start grilling up the tofu by placing each piece on the hot grill. (Depending on how big your grill is, you may have to do this in 2 batches). Let your tofu grill on each side for about 10 minutes each (this time may change depending on the type of grill you use), or until the tofu is browned and grill marks are visible on each side. Once all the tofu is grilled, set aside on a plate to cool (you can expedite this by placing in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes).


In the meantime, add your artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and black olives to the large bowl that the asparagus has been cooling in. Toss till combined. Add the tofu once it has been cooled, then add the basil and chives and toss till combined. Add your remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss together well. Serve into individual bowls and drizzle with some more olive oil if desired. Serve with sliced avocado and garnish with lemon. Enjoy!