side dish

wasabi sesame deviled eggs

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in side dish, snacks | 0 comments

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What’s Easter brunch without a plate of deviled eggs?  Eggs have long been a symbol of Easter, as they represent new life.  Eggs and baby chicks also stand for the rock tomb out of which Jesus emerged when he rose again.  Easter marks the beginning of spring, which is the season of new life, as nature starts blooming all around us.  Even though we’ve had a recent cold snap (hopefully our last!) here in Texas, I still see my backyard coming to life again when I take my puppy outside every morning:  new leaves are beginning to grow on the rose bushes and the grass is starting to wake up as well.  What a testimony in all of creation of new beginnings and second chances!  I love this time of year!

 

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I also love adding Asian flavors to recipes – especially the spicy kick of wasabi, the Japanese horseradish that is actually a root with a burn your nose hairs kind of strong flavor.  You can buy it in a powder form, which is the ground up root, or in a ready to use tube or condiment form, which is the kind I used for this recipe.  I chose this Roland wasabi paste because it is made with all natural ingredients and no artificial food colorings.  Because the wasabi root is a member of the Brassicaceae family along with foods like cabbage and broccoli, it has anti-cancer properties as well as anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

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Most deviled egg recipes call for a generous helping of mayonnaise, but for this recipe, I first processed together apple cider vinegar, a little agave nectar, olive oil, and raw cashews for a healthy homemade mayonnaise substitute.  I then added the other ingredients to make my deviled egg filling:  egg yolks from the hardboiled eggs, Dijon mustard, wasabi, juice from ½ a lemon, and a little salt and pepper to taste.

 

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To complete the Asian touch in these deviled eggs, I sprinkled these toasted sesame seeds that I picked up at Whole Foods on top as a garnish.  Toasted sesame seeds are a super versatile condiment that is handy to have around the kitchen.  From sprinkling them as a garnish on coleslaws and salads to dredging chicken and fish in them before baking, toasted sesame seeds contribute flavor and crunch to all kinds of dishes.  Recently, I added them to a homemade hummus, and today I’m using them to top my deviled eggs.

 

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Ever have trouble peeling your hardboiled eggs?  Does the shell ever stick to the white of the egg resulting in a mess when you try to peel them?  Or what about green yolks?  Ever notice the yolks of your hardboiled eggs turning green?  Try these three steps to make perfect hardboiled eggs that are easy to peel and have pretty yellow yolks:

 

1.  Place eggs in a large pot, and cover with 1 inch of cold water.

 

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2.  Place over medium heat until water comes to a full boil, and then cover and remove from heat for 12 minutes.

 

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3.  Remove eggs and place in an ice bath for 10 minutes.

 

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The result is these perfectly hardboiled eggs that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Enjoy them throughout the week as snacks topped with your favorite condiment or make them into egg salads or deviled eggs.

 

 

Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashews
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons wasabi paste, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds

Instructions
  1. Place eggs in a large pot, and cover with 1 inch cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then cover and remove from heat for 12 minutes.
  3. Transfer to an ice water bath for 10 minutes.
  4. Peel eggs, and cut eggs in half lengthwise.
  5. Remove yolks, and set them aside in a small bowl. Put egg halves on a plate and set aside.
  6. In a Vitamix or food processor, process apple cider vinegar and agave nectar.
  7. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, and then add cashews and process until smooth and creamy.
  8. Add egg yolks, wasabi, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, and process until smooth and creamy.
  9. Using a small spoon, spoon egg yolk mixture into the hole in the egg halves.
  10. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and serve.

 

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kelp noodles with spicy peanut sauce

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in entree, featured, side dish, vegetables | 0 comments

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Howdy folks! My family just returned from our spring break trip and the most amazing experience aboard my brother’s catamaran in the British Virgin Islands.  The re-entry is always difficult when you’ve been spoiled (and we truly were spoiled!) like I have been, but alas, real life must go on…

 

So in memory of our unforgettable week aboard Sea Bass – I am making a simple (really, it’s the easiest!) kelp noodle dish that is the perfect light lunch or side at dinner.  Kelp noodles are one of my favorite foods for several reasons.  First, they are crazy good for you, as they’re loaded with all of the nutritious micronutrients from the sea.  Kelp is a seaweed, or a sea vegetable, that acts like a sponge as it’s growing in the ocean, soaking up all of the wonderful vitamins and minerals necessary for health.  Plus, although kelp noodles have the texture and shape that mimics traditional pasta, they contain almost no calories but are filling just like any other green vegetable.

 

A few of the awesome ways adding kelp noodles (and other sea vegetables) can boost your health:

  • Supports the immune system and blood health
  • Promotes an alkaline condition in your body
  • Fights aging
  • Nourishes your thyroid gland
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Leads to healthy hair, skin, and nails

 

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A little more about kelp… Kelp is the most common sea vegetable and a member of the brown algae family.  It grows in the ocean in “kelp forests” and can be found in food products for you to enjoy.  Kelp noodles make a delicious gluten free, grain free meal or the granular form of kelp can be used in place of salt for a seasoning in your cooking.  Just a teaspoon of the granular form of kelp provides your body with 2000% of the daily recommended amount of iodine (needed for a well functioning thyroid) as well as good amounts of magnesium, calcium, and iron.  In addition to trace minerals, kelp also contains healthy doses of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K and proteins.

 

Kelp noodles couldn’t be easier to prepare.  No cooking is necessary – just soak them in purified water, and top them with your favorite spices or sauce.  I chose a spicy peanut sauce for my noodles today, which got an enthusiastic thumbs up from all three of my family members (although Kayley preferred hers a little less spicy).  I used a gluten free curry paste (always check condiments to make sure they’re gluten free, as gluten likes to hide out in condiments) to add a kick to my peanut sauce, and whipped it up using my Magic Bullet blender.

 

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kelp noodles with spicy peanut sauce
 

Ingredients
  • 1 package kelp noodles
  • ½ cup organic peanut butter
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon water (or more until desired consistency is reached)
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • juice of 1 lime

Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, soak kelp noodles in purified water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a blender, combine peanut butter, coconut milk, water, curry paste, tamari, and juice of a lime and blend until smooth.
  3. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the water from the kelp noodles.
  4. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce, and serve.

 

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mashed rutabaga

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in side dish, vegetables | 0 comments

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Remember the vegetable game?  The one where you sit in a circle and everyone picks out a vegetable and you go around saying each other’s vegetable names with one catch – you can’t show your teeth, giggle, smile, or laugh.  When it comes time to choose your vegetable name, it’s no wonder someone always chooses rutabaga.  Try it now – try to say rutabaga with your lips covering your teeth the whole time.  Still makes me laugh.

 

Up until last weekend, I don’t think I’d ever eaten a rutabaga.  If I’m being honest, I’ve seen them sitting there in the basket at Whole Foods with the other root veggies like beets and turnips, but I’ve been happy to pass them by.  But last weekend, my family went to a hunting and fishing lodge nearby, and mashed rutabaga with Brussels sprouts was served with fish.  I just had to try, as I’m always up for a food adventure…well, a vegetable adventure.  Rob started laughing immediately because he knew we would be having mashed rutabaga at our table some time during the week.

 

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Well, he’s right.  On Monday, I picked up my first rutabagas.  Ugly little guys, but the purple tinge at the top is kinda pretty.  So I steamed them and “mashed” them in my Vitamix with a little coconut oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, as that was the spice I detected in my Rough Creek Lodge meal.  And…ew!!!  They were SOOOOO bitter.  Everyone in my family tried them, and we agreed – we did not like my mashed rutabaga.  But, I’m not one to give up.  I researched a little and turns out you are supposed to peel them before steaming them, and choose smaller ones to avoid bitterness.  So back to Whole Foods I go to pick up more rutabagas.

 

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Second batch:  roasted em with no skin to allow em to caramelize, bought small rutabagas.  Hmmmmm…much much better.  I added vanilla extract, but I’m still not satisfied.  So back to Whole Foods I go to pick up some more rutabagas.

 

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Third batch:  roasted em with no skin, bought cute little small ones, added vanilla extract, and ½ of a roasted butternut squash.  And…fantastic!!

 

So if you are like me and have never been introduced to the rutabaga other than during a round of the vegetable game, give them a try!  They’re rather healthy too, of course!  Rutabagas contain more than half the daily recommended amount of vitamin C – a good thing this time of year.  Plus, they’re super high in fiber, so they promote gut and heart health as well as a full tummy and weight loss.  Rutabagas provide a few trace minerals too – calcium, quite a bit of potassium, magnesium, and a little manganese.  They are a member of the cruciferous family, so they contain compounds that are good for detoxing and cancer protection.  Quite nutritious and delicious!

 

mashed rutabaga
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetable, side dish
Serves: 4 – 6
 

Ingredients
  • 3 small rutabagas, peeled
  • ½ butternut squash, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brush a little olive oil on them, and then roast the rutabagas and butternut squash for 1 hour.
  3. Scoop out the squash from the peel and put in a Vitamix or food processor.
  4. Add the rutabagas, coconut oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and vanilla.
  5. Blend or process until pureed.

 

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butternut squash sauce

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in entree, side dish, vegetables | 0 comments

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Holy guacamole!  Driving the kids to school today, we were listening to the radio when the morning show host stated that Superbowl Sunday is the number one day for avocados – 53.5 MILLION pounds of avocados will be consumed on February 3rd.  Wow!  After dropping the kids off, I headed to Whole Foods for my weekly grocery trip (two days late, I might add), and the first display after walking in the door to the produce section was a huge table of avocados and all the fixings for homemade guac.  And if you’d rather buy it already made, tubs of that were stacked in ice too.

 

Having no avocados in my house is something that just can’t happen, so I loaded up on two bags this week just in case they run out.  53 million avocados is a lot of avocados needed for the game day festivities!

 

Both of my kids can make their own killer guacamole; in fact, it’s one of their favorite easy snacks to make.  Ben prefers his spicy and adds green chiles and cayenne (he adds cayenne to anything he can), and Kayley likes her super creamy and nutty, so she adds chopped pecans.

 

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But avocados aren’t just for guacamole!  Their creamy richness can be substituted for cream in lots of recipes.  I have been wanting to make a butternut squash sauce ever since seeing a macaroni and cheese recipe made with it at a local restaurant.  I think I said before that I crave anything creamy and second to avocados, sweet potatoes and squashes like butternut and acorn are my favorite foods.  But, by the looks of most ready-made butternut squash sauces, they contain a lot of cheese and cream, which I avoid.  Dairy just does not do my body good, so I don’t eat much of it.  I decided to use an avocado in my butternut squash pasta sauce and serve it over spaghetti squash, and I think it turned out pretty darn good.

 

 

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I grew up fearing fat, did you?  Don’t fear the fat.  The right kind of fats are healthy and really important for our bodies to function right.  Plus, they’re a great energy source – and a very stable, long lasting one too.  I can tell you that I am a much more pleasant person to be around now that I am a fat burner instead of a carb junkie.

 

 

About 85% of the calories in an avocado, or about 20% of the actual fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit) is fat.  It’s a good, healthy, anti-inflammatory kind of fat that is mostly monounsaturated – the same kind of fat as olive oil.  The fat in avocados helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, so it’s good for your heart.  Avocados have lots of other vitamins and minerals too.  In fact, an avocado has the same amount of potassium as three bananas!  So scoop up the guacamole on Sunday!  For a sweet twist, try my sweet potato guacamole.

 

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butternut squash sauce
 

Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sage
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup water
  • optional: toasted chopped walnuts, chopped sage

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut butternut squash lengthwise, and scoop out and discard the seeds.
  3. Place squash halves cut side down in a roasting pan with the cloves of garlic.
  4. Roast for about 45 minutes.
  5. Scoop butternut squash out of the shell and into a blender.
  6. Peel garlic and add to the blender with the olive oil, sage, salt, pepper and avocado.
  7. Blend until creamy, and add 1 cup water. Add more water until desired thickness is achieved.
  8. Serve over spaghetti squash or your favorite gluten free pasta.
  9. Top with chopped walnuts and fresh sage if desired.

 

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moroccan cauliflower couscous

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in featured, salads, side dish, vegetables | 0 comments

 

My mom was in town visiting last week.  We are blessed that Grandma and Grandpa chose to have their second vacation home right here in Big D.  Mom is particularly fond of a Moroccan vegetable stew at one of our favorite Santa Fe restaurants, Harry’s Roadhouse, so I knew she would really like this couscous.

 

I was also hoping Rob would be a fan because since I cut gluten out of my diet, I never make couscous anymore.  In my pre-gluten free days, we loved couscous, and I would make it as a side dish probably once a week.  Our favorite recipe was this tasty Moroccan inspired one that is served cold, more like a salad.

 

I’ve been wanting to try using riced cauliflower in place of traditional couscous.  Cauliflower is one of those stealth foods that I can sneak into recipes, and it mimics (or at least I think it does…Rob doesn’t always agree) the ingredient I am trying to replace, usually grains.  It was surprisingly easy to turn into “couscous” – I just hoped it would taste good too.

 

Rob was so excited when he saw what we were having for dinner – what he thought was an old favorite.  He took a bite, then another bite…I held my breath.  He proceeded in conversation like normal, and before I knew it, he had a second helping on his plate.  It wasn’t until after dinner, and he was partaking in his standard ritual of entering his calories into MyFitnessPal, that the truth came out.  This is the part of the evening when I have to come clean about all of the ingredients I’ve used because he needs to break down the meals to enter his foods (He’s an Ironman triathlete who is meticulous about his diet.).  Shocked is an understatement (in fact he said he felt tricked) when he learned he had eaten and even liked cauliflower for dinner.  So, if this “couscous” recipe can pass his test – and he definitely gives it a thumbs up – you should give it a try.

 

One quick health note about my friend cauliflower…It is extremely low in calories at only about 30 calories per cup, making it an excellent substitution for high glycemic, high calorie grains as a side dish or salad.  Choosing foods that don’t spike your blood sugar help stabilize your energy level, mood, and mental focus, and they also help ward off weight gain and the growing threat of diabetes.  Replace high glycemic grains with vegetables and you gain all of their vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients as well.

 

moroccan cauliflower couscous
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetable, side dish, salad
Serves: 6
 

Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until cauliflower is “riced”.
  3. Place riced cauliflower in a cooking pan, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a medium bowl, and add carrots, red bell pepper, onion, pine nuts, and raisins, stirring to combine.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, curry, and salt and pepper.
  7. Drizzle the dressing over the cauliflower mixture and toss to coat.
  8. Refrigerate before serving.

 

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