Let me tell you about jicama. Like cauliflower, jicama is wonderful to use in recipes because it’s so versatile. First of all, what exactly is jicama?? Jicama is a sweet, root vegetable or tuber, sometimes called the “Mexican potato” and looks similar to a turnip or radish. It is technically a legume but because it is not the seed but the root, it does not have the anti-nutrients or carbohydrates of beans. Its crisp white flesh can be eaten raw and is often added to salads, slaws, and garnishes, as it lends a refreshing taste and crunchy texture. Kind of reminds me of a water chestnut. Besides being so versatile in recipes, I love that jicama is mainly fiber, so it’s very low in calories (40 calories for a cup!), and because it is a veggie, you know it is packed with good nutrients too – especially vitamin C.
I don’t really eat many beans or legumes. Peanut butter is my one weakness, I will admit. I find beans difficult to digest and not a good protein source for my body. Plus, being little seeds, they contain anti-nutrients that wreak havoc on my gut. If you do choose to eat beans, soaking them overnight and slow cooking them throughout the day will help get rid of those anti-nutrients as well as make them easier to digest.
Besides peanut butter, I must also admit that chickpeas in the form of hummus have been know to be a weakness of mine – such a creamy and tasty snack – and you know how I feel about creamy foods. They’re my favorites. I’ve tried to substitute other fibrous foods for chickpeas in making homemade hummus like sweet potatoes and beets, but I think this jicama hummus will be my new go-to recipe. It most closely resembles the real deal.
I started by washing and peeling the jicama. It was so slippery that I found it difficult, and the end result wasn’t all that pretty. But, the peel is gone and that is what I wanted.
Next, I chopped the jicama into chunks and placed it in my food processor. I processed until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides several times.
I added the juice of a lemon and an avocado, peel removed and cut into chunks. The avocado brings the creaminess lacking in the jicama by itself, and the lemon cuts the sweet taste of the jicama while also helping the avocado stay a pretty green.
I processed until smooth and wow – what a brilliant green color resulted!
Next, I added garlic. I am a garlic girl, so I added a bunch of it. Garlic may make your mouth taste bad afterwards, but the good it does for your body is worth it. The sulfur compounds in garlic are needed for the liver detoxification process, and the sulfer compound allicin, which is responsible for the strong smell and flavor of garlic, is one of the most potent antioxidants. Plus, garlic is a known antibiotic and cancer fighter, especially when eaten raw.
I added a few tablespoons tahini to achieve the robust flavor of traditional hummus, and processed until smooth and creamy. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds.
Lastly, while the hummus was processing, I drizzled in the olive oil and gradually added the sea salt and cumin. A little drizzle of olive oil for garnish and a sprinkle of paprika, and voila! I dipped cucumber slices in the jicama hummus, but any chopped veggie or gluten free chip would be delicious. I also plan to use this hummus as a spread and condiment with our dinner.
- 1 jicama
- 1 lemon
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- paprika and olive oil for garnish
- Wash and peel jicama, and cut into chunks.
- Place jicama chunks in a food processor, and process until smooth.
- Add juice from the lemon and the avocado, and process until smooth and creamy.
- Add minced garlic and tahini, and process until smooth.
- While processing, drizzle in olive oil, and sprinkle in sea salt and cumin.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of paprika before serving.
I have always loved summer and the change of pace it brings – no school or schedules and plenty of sun, swimming, and sleeping late. When my kids were little, I remember them staying in their pjs well into the morning and me planning activities to get us out of the house during the long and sweltering days. But now that they are older, at 11 and 13, our summers have changed quite a bit. During the hectic school year, I dreamed about those lazy, slow paced summer days, (that’s how my mind still wants to think about summer) but now that summer is here, it feels anything but lazy and slow paced. No need to plan activities to keep us busy anymore as my children want to pack more than enough into each day. They have sports they want to play – golf for him, volleyball for her – and between those activities, spending time with friends, catching up on doctor appointments, and trips to the Snow Cone lady and the swimming pool, I wonder – will I ever get to be out of my car? I have finally realized I am just not going to get a darn thing done for the next 10 weeks, and rather than drive myself crazy, I have decided to just GO WITH IT, welcoming all the noise and fun and messiness because I know in a very short bit of time, they will again be back in school, and I will miss them.
Part of what happens when my kids are home during the summer is this – I become a human ATM machine. Can anyone relate? All of those fun summer activities come with quite a price tag I’m finding out – $2.50 for frozen yogurt, $20 for the movies, $25 for water balloons and crud war supplies, etc. I am determined not to raise entitled kids, which I find increasingly difficult in the year 2013, so I have declared that my kids will work for their money this summer – not at a “real” job, but for me. In addition to their required chores they do for a set allowance, I came up with a list of chores, each for a set amount of extra money, so they can earn spending money for activities like those listed above. I laid out the rules for them and warned that I would not be open for loans, so they’d better be working a little each day, so when they are invited to do something fun, they will have the cash to fund it. So far so good – they have both jumped on board and I think even like having their own cash and choosing how to spend it.
Several of the chores I listed are also life skills I would like them to be learning like making dinner for the family. They have each taken at least one turn with me in the kitchen, preparing a simple meal. This week, Ben made these Thai spiced turkey burgers. He loves any kind of food he can mix together with his hands – like making kale chips and meatloaf – so burgers was an appropriate choice for him.
To make these Thai spiced turkey burgers, he started with some ground turkey and an egg in a large mixing bowl. He created the Thai flavor by adding several other ingredients to the turkey. He loves using any kind of kitchen gadget, so he cut up a red chilli and a bunch of green onions with a knife, shredded a zucchini with the grater, and minced the garlic with a garlic press. He added ginger, coriander, and a little sea salt also.
The very best part is mixing all of the ingredients together using his hands and forming 4 – 6 patties.
He pan-fried the turkey burgers in a little sesame oil (chili oil is also very good) over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side.
I picked up a loaf of Paleo bread from the freezer section at Whole Foods. It’s made with almond and coconut flour and is gluten and dairy free. He toasted pieces of Paleo bread and layered the toast, a piece of Romaine lettuce, the Thai spiced turkey burger, and a few avocado slices on top of each.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1 red chilli, diced
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Optional: 4 - 6 slices of paleo bread, 4 - 6 lettuce leaves, and one avocado, sliced
- Combine all ingredients except sesame oil in a large bowl, and mix together well using your hands.
- Form 4 - 6 patties, and place on a plate.
- Heat sesame oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and fry each patty for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
- Serve each patty on top of a slice of paleo bread and a lettuce leaf, and top with avocado slices.
I’m on a role with traditional Southern recipes…potato salad…baked okra…and now for something sweet…banana pudding. With a little extra yumminess on top – a nutter butter crumble. Nutter butters might be my favorite packaged cookie and one I definitely miss since omitting gluten. Because peanut butter and bananas go together so perfectly, I decided to try a nutter butter crumble to go with this banana pudding instead of the typical shortbread cookie or vanilla wafer.
I started with some good quality peanuts. Peanuts are actually not a nut but a legume. Legumes are quite similar to a nut in that both are little seeds encased in a pod. But legumes come from a different family of plants and you will find multiple seeds in their pods versus only one with a nut. Nuts also do not break free of their pod on their own as legumes do, and nuts do not adhere to the wall of their pods as legumes do. Even though peanuts so closely resemble a nut, alas, they are different…they are a legume, containing more than one seed per pod. Because peanuts are a legume, many people who are allergic to nuts can still eat peanuts and vice versa. When picking out your peanuts and peanut butter, go for quality – always choosing organic to avoid the fungi Aspergillus that produces aflatoxins, which are known carcinogens for our bodies.
I used my Magic Bullet to process the nutter butter crumble, but a food processor or Vitamix would also work well. I combined a little almond flour, coconut sugar, peanuts, and peanut butter and pulsed until a crumble formed.
Next, I made a very simple vegan and paleo banana pudding by whisking together arrowroot starch (tapioca starch would work well too) and coconut sugar in a medium sauce pan. The coconut sugar is darker in color, like the color of brown sugar, so the pudding has a caramel color to it. I chose coconut sugar over regular white table sugar because its glycemic index is lower than white sugar, and it is less processed and actually contains some nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium. I slowly added 3 cups of almond milk (coconut milk would work well too), whisking continually over medium heat until it became thick and bubbly.
Time to add a mashed ripe banana. As I smashed this banana with a fork in a small bowl, I couldn’t help but remember making baby food for my each of my kids. They are 11 and 13 now – my 13 year old is now looking me in the eye! When she was an infant, I was definitely the farthest thing from healthy. Those were my cookie dough, yellow cake with frosting, Cool Whip with a spoon eating days. But Kayley wouldn’t eat baby food from a jar. So I quickly learned how to make my own, freezing different pureed combinations in ice cube trays. Her favorites to start with were mashed avocados and mashed bananas. Hence the memory when mashing this banana. Bananas are an easy food to digest, one that’s good for the gut when suffering from any uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. Plus, they provide lots of energizing nutrients, most famous for their hearty dose of potassium. As my pudding was thick and bubbly on the stove, I whisked in the mashed banana. After a minute, I turned off the heat and added the vanilla.
To assemble the puddings, I layered slices of banana and nutter butter crumble on the bottom of 4 (I really could have stretched it to 6) small glasses. I divided the pudding on top of the nutter butter crumble in each of the glasses. The pudding oozed down in the spaces between the banana and crumble, and I refrigerated the glasses for a couple of hours. The last step was to top each with more sliced bananas and nutter butter crumble. I’m not the best at creating pretty presentations, but the taste makes up for it. Enjoy!
- ½ cup almond flour
- 5 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons organic peanut butter
- ½ cup organic peanuts
- ¼ cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 3 cups almond or coconut milk
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Combine almond flour, coconut sugar, peanut butter, and peanuts in a food processor and process until a crumble forms. Set aside.
- Mash one of the bananas. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, whisk together arrowroot starch and coconut sugar.
- Over medium heat, slowly whisk in almond milk, stirring continually until thick and bubbly.
- Whisk in mashed banana, and cook for 1 more minute.
- Turn off heat, and whisk in vanilla.
- In 4 - 6 small glasses or bowls, layer slices of banana and then a couple spoonfuls of nutter butter crumble.
- Divide pudding over the crumble in each of the glasses.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Top with banana slices and remaining nutter butter crumble. Enjoy!
As far as I know, fried okra is mostly a Southern thing. And since I do live in Texas, I happen to like it. Okra comes in season right about now, so cartons of local organic okra are on display at the grocery store. But I’m not big into frying my foods, which other than pickled is the only way I’ve eaten okra. I don’t even own a fryer, and I don’t pan fry much either. So I decide to give baking okra a try – and turns out it’s pretty darn good!!
Okra is a green pod of a vegetable with lots of little white seeds tucked inside. Also known as gumbo pods, okra is a very low calorie vegetable at 30 calories per serving and contains lots of fiber and vitamin A, actually the highest amount of the antioxidants beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein. Okra also provides vitamins B, C, and K and minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. Honestly, I was surprised to learn how healthy these little green pods are – I’d kind of written them off as a pretty empty food. I’m happy to report that is not the case.
The first step in baking okra is to get the pecan crust ready. I combined a cup of toasted pecans, a cup of coconut flour, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne in the food processor and processed until a homogenous grainy mixture formed.
I transferred the pecan mixture to a large plate, and dredged each whole okra in the mixture, pressing down on each piece so as much coating as possible would stick. I then placed the coated pieces of okra in a greased baking pan.
I baked the okra for about 30 – 35 minutes, until they were good and crispy, and then let them cool before removing from the pan, so the pecan crust wouldn’t fall off immediately. These passed the taste test – in fact, I think they turned out delicious! I have to say I am surprised at how much I like them! Pecan crusted baked okra makes an easy, healthy, and tasty appetizer, snack, or side dish for the summer.
- 1 pound okra
- 1 cup toasted pecans
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of cayenne
- coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine pecans, coconut flour, sea salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor, and process together until an even grainy mixture forms.
- Transfer pecan mixture to a plate, and roll each piece of okra in the mixture, pressing the mixture into each piece of okra to coat.
- Grease a baking pan with coconut oil, and place each coated piece of okra in the baking pan.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until crispy.
- Cool slightly before removing from the pan and serving.