Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back from the Dead

Well hellO there!!!

Remember me?

I wouldn't blame you or be at all surprised if you didn't.

After I finished chef training, life changed in CRAZY ways and I got caught up in all of it for a long time.

Then...something exciting happened....I found out I'm *going to be published!*

Yes, you heard it right - some of my recipes are going to be published!! That's all I can say for right now, but I'll give you details later when I can ;-)

Because of this publishing thing, I have been using my recipe-writing energies on that, rather than on blogging.

But then, upon the urging and suggestion of a close (and critical) friend ;-) , I realized I should still keep blogging, and include more health information, with snippets of recipes here and there!

Sooo, for your taste-bud pleasure, today I have come up with a recipe for you! YAYYY!!! I think it's the perfect solution for getting enough greens, but still not feeling like you are eating summer foods. It's a sufficiently Fall-ish salad! Enjoy :-)

Leafy Cranberry Steak Salad
Servings: 1

1 large leaf kale, shredded into bite-sized pieces
1 glug olive oil
dash salt
1 large handful fresh spinach
1/2 pound beef tips or other steak, cooked
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 onion, sliced, carmelized in olive oil and a pinch of salt
handful fresh cranberries
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider or red wine vinegar
1 splash balsamic vinegar
salt, onion powder, and pepper to taste

  1. In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil, and dash of salt. Using your hands, "massage" olive oil into kale for about 30 seconds, until kale is tender.
  2. Place kale and spinach on large plate. Add beef and caramelized onions, and scatter walnuts and cranberries on top.
  3. In a small bowl or glass, combine olive oil, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and spices. Whisk well.
  4. Drizzle over salad and enjoy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Final Presentation - Done and DONE!!! :-D

Well folks.......I have officially finished my final presentation for culinary school!!! Now, this doesn't mean I'm done...QUITE yet...but I'm done with all the big things I am personally responsible for.

It was a written report (ended up being 13 pages) and a 45 minute oral report including a cooking demo of 2 recipes. We had to report on a health topic, come up with a 5 day menu plan that would be supportive to that health condition, come up with recipes for 2 of them and demo them, run a cost analysis for per-serving costs for both recipes, create handouts for each student, write a bio....uhhh and I did a Powerpoint too, b/c that's just how I am ;-)

I signed up to go first. Because, let's face it, I am SO READY to be done! Secondly, because my dear friend is coming this weekend, and I wanted to be free to have fun with her!

It went soooo well, I could not have asked for more! I wasn't nervous in the least, which was very impressive...I've never had to present anything that long before, but it was perfect. I was just myself, crackin jokes, giving info, teaching how to cook....I loved it :-D And everyone said I ROCKED IT!! WOOHOOO!!!!!!

Now...just have our culinary showcase on August 13th, and my entire business plan due the 16th...HA! It'll get done. And all my stupid move-out junk from this godforsaken house with its psychotic landlord and people who are cheating me out of all my time and money aaaaaaand...but we won't get into that now ;-)

My lease ends the same day as my showcase. EEK! Pray for me!

But God has totally taken care of me up till this point (He always does!), especially today, I just gave everything to Him and it went awesome! So it will all be good :-)

And now to repay you for reading my random drivel....the recipes I made today for my presentation! They are both delish, not gonna lie...I definitely recommend them! And...don't tell anyone I told you...but I was told by several people my dishes were the best out of all the ones made today ;-D

Citrus Green Bean Toss
Inspired by “Sesame-Ginger Asparagus”
Good Housekeeping
Servings: 3

This Asian-inspired dish is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, plus plenty of color and flavor to please both body and soul!

• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
• 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 small garlic clove, minced and divided into 2 piles
• Dash lemon juice
• ½ - 2/3 pound fresh green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 cup chopped red cabbage
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
• ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Add honey, coconut oil, 1 tablespoon ginger, toasted sesame oil, orange juice, vinegar, half the garlic, and lemon juice to wok – sauté 1-2 minutes.
2. Add green beans, cabbage, sesame seeds, and the rest of the garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Don’t cook so long the cabbage becomes wilted.
3. Add the 1 teaspoon minced ginger and the salt in the last minute of sautéing. Adjust seasonings to taste.
4. Serve as a side dish to complement a protein, such as free-range chicken, salmon, or shellfish.

Curry “Chicken Salad” Nori Wraps
Adapted from “Collard Wraps with Raw Sunflower Pate” by Ali Segersten
Servings: 4 wraps

You will be amazed at how much this raw, vegan alternative really tastes like chicken salad! Quick and easy to make, this recipe can be adapted for any time of the year – simply switch out the fillings to keep it seasonal.

• 2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked at least 1 hour
• 2 tablespoons coconut oil
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• ½ teaspoon garam masala
• 1 cup chopped celery
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 nori sheets
• 4 small radishes, matchsticked
• 2 cups fresh spinach
• 1 carrot, matchsticked
• ½ cucumber, julienned

1. In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine coconut oil, curry powder, and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until spices become aromatic.
2. In a food processor or blender, pulse sunflower seeds, spice and oil blend, celery, lemon juice, thyme, and salt until fairly smooth, but still slightly chunky (the consistency of a very shredded chicken salad).
3. Lay out nori sheets on a flat surface. Divide the “chicken salad” between the wraps, spreading down center of each sheet. Divide radishes, spinach, carrot, and cucumber between the sheets and add next to the “chicken.”
4. Roll nori fairly snugly against the fillings, folding up the top and bottom halfway through rolling. To make wraps stay sealed, slightly dampen fingertips and run along the outside edge of the sheet immediately before pressing it to the wrap. The moisture should help seal the wrap shut.
5. Slice wraps in half diagonally and serve with a strawberry ginger smoothie.

Friday, July 16, 2010

PB and Chocolate: A Tribute to Nasty Nate

Peanut butter and chocolate has got to be one of the closest things to Heaven we can experience in this earthly life.

Agree? Good. Because there is no argument.

I have oft had this conversation with my dear friend, Nasty Nate, as he waxes poetic about his love for peanut butter M&M's, and I proceed to tell him eating those will kill him, and he accuses me of ruining everything he ever loved.

I told him I would come up with a healthy (-er) alternative for him, and had yet to really get anything good.

Until today. Today...I made...Heaven. And as I was pulling Heaven out of the oven, I thought of Nasty Nate. So here's to you, Nasty - a healthy, low-carb, gluten-free, high-protein alternative to your peanut butter M&M's:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes. *insert oooing, aaahing, and stomach growling*

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes
adapted from Elana's Pantry

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • In a 1/4 cup measure:
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 10 drops liquid stevia
  • fill the rest with coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (I used raw, but she originally called for roasted)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (65% or more)
Frosting (prepare while cupcakes are cooling SLIGHTLY)
  1. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Stir until well melted.

  1. In a vitamix, or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, blend peanut butter, sweetener mixture (honey, stevia, coconut milk), and eggs until creamy.
  2. Add salt and baking soda and mix in.
  3. Pour into a bowl and clean out vitamix and dry well.
  4. In vitamix or food processor, pulse peanuts and chocolate chips until they are broken into small chunks.
  5. Add to batter and fold in.
  6. Pour into greased mini-muffin tins.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and firm on the top . ***This baking time will vary! I'm in Colorado, where things take FOR-ever to cook, so just keep an eye on them. I'd try 10 minutes and check them. Also, my oven here is retarded, sooo...I don't know if it was actually 400 degrees lol. Elana called for 350, BUT she also said hers sunk, which mine DIDN'T!! :-D So. Try 400, and keep a close eye on them!***
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, if you CAN....but they are sooo amazing warm! The frosting is really more of a chocolate drizzle and kinda messy, but I was too impatient to make a more complicated frosting, although a true frosting would be delish.
  9. Be a total glutton and eat 4 cupcakes immediately like I did. Hey, I had to take pictures of them, so clearly I had to eat that many........don't judge me.
So there you have it!! These are SO GOOD. Very fluffy and yum! My roommate just walked in and ate one, shoved the entire thing in her mouth, and said "Fthefse awre fsoo gvood!" I then informed her they were healthy and gluten free and her eyes popped open huge and she exclaimed "Really?! These are EPIC!"

So there ya have it, folks...another healthy, gluten free version of junk food that "normal" people even think is delish!

Let me know what you think of it if you make them!

And next on my to-do list....take a photography class. Or just read the manual for my camera so I know how the frick to make it actually FOCUS on what I'm trying to take a picture of.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gluten Free Rosemary "Focaccia" Flatbread

Garbanzo bean flour is one of my new loves. It is super healthy, high in protein, low in carbs, and I think it is absolutely delicious.

In our baking class, we learned how to make a flatbread out of this. While soaking it overnight is ideal, you can even mix this up and have it all made from start to finish in about 30 minutes. The flour has a distinctive taste, but I think it's SO good! It's even better when paired with fresh herbs, like in this version I came up with.

I've pieces of it in place of hamburger buns, for bruschetta, topped with some goat cheese, or just eaten all by itself.....let your culinary genius flow!

GF Rosemary “Focaccia” Flatbread

Inspired by Julia Hellerman

Servings: 8

This easy, delicious, gluten-free flatbread is reminiscent of focaccia, packed with flavor, and the perfect companion for some fresh bruschetta topping or raw goat cheese.


  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 sprig rosemary, stem removed, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of lemon pepper


  1. In a medium bowl, combine garbanzo bean flour, water, rosemary, lemon juice and salt. Mix well, until no lumps are present.
  2. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least ½ hour, or overnight for best results.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour batter into a large cast iron skillet or a greased 9x9 baking pan. Lightly sprinkle with lemon pepper.
  4. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, until bread has pulled away from edges of pan. If in a cast iron skillet, you can flip bread over so both sides brown.
  5. Slice and serve warm, spread with a bit of raw goat cheese, or some fresh summery bruschetta topping.

Friday, July 9, 2010

For Monty and Meryl

This recipe is for the only 2 readers I apparently have, judging from the response to my last post: Meryl and Monty. You are the only ones allowed to use this. No one else. They lose! Thank you guys for reading my blog, and I hope you get some use out of it ;-)

These are Icy Watermelon Mojitos! SO GOOD for a hot summer afternoon, and a great alternative to the super-sugary traditional mojitos. The watermelon is so sweet, it doesn't need any other sweetener! For a more drinkable version, just don't freeze the watermelon first. Enjoy!

Icy Watermelon Mojito (serves 2)

  • 1/2 small watermelon, scooped out into small chunks and frozen; thaw slightly
  • 2 fresh limes, juiced
  • 3 fresh mint sprigs
  • liquid to achieve desired consistency (use water for a virgin mojito, I used white wine, I'm sure vodka would work...I have faith that you can figure it out ;-)
  • 2 lime slices and 2 mint sprigs for garnish
  1. Place all ingredients except liquid in blender and blend on medium.
  2. Add liquid and blend until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pour into margarita glasses and garnish with lime slice and mint sprig.
  4. Go lie in your hammock in the shade and enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What am I , Chopped Liver?

So I mostly think no one ever reads my blog. People always ask me for recipes and ideas, and I send them here to get them, and I take the time to make recipes and write them down for you, but do I get feedback? NOOOOOOOOO! As far as I know, nobody even reads this or uses any of my recipes. Is it worth my time to keep this up? I need some love, people!

Let me know. ;-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Squash Lasagna - Dairy free and gluten free!

Well, just finished ANOTHER homework assignment...and now I think my recipe creativity is pretty used up for a while...but here's one of the recipes! I cooked this for a family who I am teaching gluten free baking too, and they LOVED it! it was very very good, not gonna lie... ;-)

Summer Squash Lasagna

Inspired by Christine Ruch

Servings: 8

Serve this lasagna to your gluten and dairy eating friends, and they’ll never even miss their noodles and cheese! Thinly sliced zucchini make a great substitution for traditional noodles, and blended cashews make a quite convincing ricotta cheese substitute. Delicious fresh out of the oven, this dish is even better as leftovers!



  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into lasagna noodle-width sheets
  • ½ an eggplant, diced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into half moons
  • 4 heaping cups fresh spinach

“Ricotta Cheese”:

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/3 – ½ cup water
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, stem removed
  • 2 large basil leaves, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Red Sauce:

  • 2 32oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion, minced
  • ¼ cup finely shredded fresh basil
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced, stem removed
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds ground bison (substitute mushrooms for vegetarian option)


  1. Once you have sliced zucchini into thin sheets, lay sheets in single layers on top of paper towels or absorbent kitchen towels and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Lay another towel on top of the zucchini, and place a large heavy object on top, to squeeze out the water. Change the towels out every 20 minutes for up to an hour, to be sure zucchini is mostly dry.
  2. Meanwhile, place cashews in a bowl and cover with water; soak until you are ready to make the “cheese.”
  3. Pour crushed tomatoes into a large pot and add garlic, bell pepper, ½ of the minced onion, basil, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well, and allow to simmer over medium/low heat until ready to assemble lasagna.
  4. In blender or food processor, blend cashews, water, rosemary, basil, garlic powder, and salt. “Cheese” mixture should be smooth, but slightly chunky, like ricotta cheese.
  5. In a large skillet, brown ground bison over medium/high heat. Add to red sauce and stir well.
  6. To assemble the lasagna, first put a layer of sauce in a 9x13 inch baking pan. Add a layer of chopped eggplant and carrots, then a layer of zucchini “noodles.” On top of the noodles, spread a layer of cashew “ricotta cheese,” then add a layer of fresh spinach. Repeat the layering until all ingredients are used.
  7. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
  8. After 40 minutes, uncover lasagna and bake for 10 more minutes.
  9. Slice and serve hot, alongside some polenta bruschetta.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Show and Tell!

So, every 2 weeks, I write about 6 recipes. For whatever, reason, I kinda JUST realized I should post them up here! The ones I've made are always good (we are required to actually MAKE 1 of the 6 we write), so I would assume the others should be good too. Just as a disclaimer, though, I can't guarantee they're all winners, because most of them I wrote sitting at my laptop, not by cooking them! BUT the one from today, I have made, and let me say......I've made lentil burgers before, and they were NASTY as heck - to quote my dear friend Nasty Nate, "Why are you eating a plate of dog poop?" Yeah......they kinda tasted like that too.

THESE, however, are different. I wrote them for our Ethnic Cuisine homework, so they are inspired by Levantine cuisine - and they are GOOD, man! I cooked all of them and just kept them in the fridge, so they were easy to grab, even really quick and eat them cold in the morning for breakfast. You can go crazy with the toppings - caramelized onions and mushrooms, avocado and tomato, the saffron mint yogurt (which I partially stole from Heidi Swanson) creative!

Enjoy! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, and how they turn out! I'm still learning too, so any suggestions you have are more than welcome! :-)

Levantine Lentil Burgers with Mint Saffron Yogurt

Inspired by “Vegetarian Lentil Burgers” by Heidi Swanson

Servings: 8 burgers

These burgers are a hearty, protein packed and flavorful option for vegetarians, or those simply looking to cut back on their meat consumption. The mint saffron yogurt adds the extra kick to make these burgers something special!


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups cooked black lentils (reserve ½ cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, divided
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (1 tablespoon reserved for sautéing onion and eggplant)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ eggplant, chopped
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • ½ cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 mint leaf, finely chopped
  • 8 small mint leaves and parsley sprigs, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, heat ½ tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add cumin and stir, and heat approximately 5 minutes, to toast spice and bring out the flavors. Remove from heat. Add paprika after oil is removed from heat, as it tends to lose its potency as it is heated.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups black lentils, eggs, ½ cup rice, and spice oil mixture to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a bowl, and add the remaining ½ cup of lentils and ½ cup of rice, thyme, parsley, and salt. Mix well and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Heat a large heavy skillet (cast iron works well) over medium heat. Shape mixture into patties approximately the size of your palm, about 1 inch thick. Add the remainder of the ¼ cup coconut oil to skillet and cook patties covered, 4 at a time, for 7 to 10 minutes. If the bottom has not browned after 10 minutes, turn up the heat. Flip patties and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until browned on both sides.
  5. While patties are cooking, sauté chopped onion and eggplant in coconut oil until tender and browned, approximately 10 minutes.
  6. To prepare yogurt sauce, place pinch of saffron threads in 1 tablespoon boiling water – allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Take yogurt and add the chopped mint leaf. Add saffron water and stir well.
  8. After all burgers are cooked, top with sautéed onions and eggplant and add a large dollop of saffron mint yogurt to the top. Garnish each patty with a mint leaf and parsley sprig, and serve warm.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Culinary School Midterms

Wellllllll, it's been a while, huh??

Life's been pretty crazy - I just finished my last day of midterms today, praise God! I was SO freaked out about them. Because listen to a description of them:
DAY 1:
  • 125 question written midterm
  • Ingredient ID (walk into the kitchen, and 25 random spices, flours, grains, vegetables, etc. are laid out and you have to know what they all are. Including different KINDS of seaweed. Tamarind paste? Asafoetida? Kombu? Yeah.)
  • Knife skills
DAY 2:
  • Impromptu cooking - pick out of a hat a type of grain and a type of sauce (pureed, dairy-free white sauce, gluten free roux, nut and seed sauce, etc.) and use whatever's in the kitchen to make a sick-wicked dish to showcase your skills.
DAY 3:
  • Impromptu cooking 2 - Make a soup, either carrots or cauliflower as a base, and a salad to showcase your skills.
  • After cooking, we had to perfectly plate a serving, present it to our instructor and tell her what it was, and then leave her with her big evaluation sheet about our dish. Then, we were called back in one by one and told her evaluation. Think...Iron Chef. ;-)
Sooo........this sounded kinda scary to me. Luckily, everything went very smoothly (thank you St. Joseph of Cupertino and St. Martha!!!)

The first day of cooking, I drew pureed sauce and polenta. SO I made this roasted tomato and garlic romesco sauce to put over a spicy pepper polenta stuffed in a roasted green pepper. It turned out very well, and my instructor REALLY enjoyed it! And.......if ya's the recipe!!

Spicy Polenta Stuffed Roasted Pepper
  • 1 poblano chili, sliced in half
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • bottom half of 1 green pepper, de-seeded and de-veined
  • 1 onion + 1/2, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • a few leaves fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • ancho chili powder and cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. Slice all tomatoes in half and place skin side down in a pan with at least 2" sides. Add poblano chili and green pepper half. Sprinkle on 1 onion, then nestle smashed garlic cloves underneath the tomatoes, so they don't burn. Drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs.
  2. Roast at 450 degrees for about 20 mins. After 20 minutes, the green pepper half should be done. Remove from pan, set aside, and place pan back in oven for another 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. Boil the 4 cups water. Once it is at a rolling boil, add the polenta in a small stream, stirring constantly. Reduce to low heat and stir almost constantly. If you don't stir frequently, it will make huge lumps.
  4. Sautee the 1/2 onion chopped and add to polenta.
  5. Remove poblano chili from roasting pan, return pan to oven, and chop the chili and add it to the polenta. Add in red peppers, cayenne, and ancho chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste. If it needs more kick, give it some!
  6. Cook until it has reached desired consistency - approx. 30 minutes if you want it thick.
  7. After 45 mins-1 hour, the vegetables should be done roasting, and the pan should be pretty juicy. Remove from oven.
  8. Remove woody stems (from the herbs), and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin into the pan - discard skin. Setting 1 tomato aside, carefully pour contents of pan into a good blender or food processor. You may want to add some fresh herbs and garlic at this time! Process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and squish the remaining tomato into the sauce (this makes for an earthier sauce, which I like - if you want it smooth, puree it all!) Taste and adjust seasonings.
  9. Place on stove to reduce if you want a thicker sauce, or add some veg or chicken stock if you want it thinner.
  10. Place roasted green pepper back in oven for a few minutes to heat back up.
  11. Remove from oven and fill with your polenta. Pour some of your delicious roasty sauce over the top, and garnish with some fresh basil, thyme, and tarragon.
  12. Enjoy!

Now.......TODAY......was AWESOME. It was a bit stressful during it, b/c it was taking wayyy longer than I expected to make a freaking soup and salad, but I ended up finishing right on time! And.....during my critique, my instructor said my soup was their FAVORITE out of the whole group, and it was the only one they wanted to eat the whole bowl of! I had achieved an amazing depth of flavor, but not one of the ingredients overpowered any of the others. YAY!!!!! SO exciting to hear!!! So want this recipe too? ;-) It is SUPER good, not gonna lie. I'll try to give it to you as accurately as possible, though I didn't actually measure while I was making it.

Coconut Lime Carrot Soup
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 Tbsp chili paste
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small potato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 3 cups veg stock
  • 1.5 cans of 13.5 oz coconut milk
  • 1 generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  1. In a large pot, heat coconut oil over med heat. Add cumin and chili paste and cook for 1-2 mins, till you can smell the flavors - be careful not to burn it!
  2. Add all chopped veggies and caramelize - approximately 10-15 minutes. You'll know they're done when they're brown and wonderful looking and smelling out of this WORLD!
  3. Add veg stock and coconut milk, stir well, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until all the veggies are tender. Taste at this point and adjust seasonings to your liking. I added salt and cayenne pepper at this point.
  4. After veggies are done, remove from heat, carefully pour into food processor or blender, add lime zest, and puree (if you want chunkier, don't puree long).
  5. Pour back into pot and stir in lime juice. Taste and again adjust for seasonings - more lime if you want it, more ginger, more cayenne, etc.
  6. Serve with a cilantro leaf and some curly lime zest as a garnish. SO GOOD!!! :-D

And salad! I made a Pomegranate Citrus Roasted Asparagus salad. My instructor also loved this, and said I achieved the perfect balance of sweet and savory in the dressing! Unfortunately, I have no idea what proportions I actually used in, but I'll try to recreate it for you!

Pomegranate Citrus Roasted Asparagus Salad
  • Asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Any greens you like - spinach, arugula, random baby greens, lettuce, etc.
  • walnuts
  • maple syrup
  • pomegranate molasses
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbs water
  • dried currants
  • 1 pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 1-2tsp red blush raspberry vinegar (I think that's what it was
  • a touch of pomegranate molasses
  • 3 Tbs? olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. First, place asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, toss, and roast in oven at 450 for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, wash greens and put together dressing - simply whisk together all ingredients, and adjust to taste.
  3. Next, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Pour in some maple syrup, pomegranate molasses, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, and a bit of water if needed. Add some walnuts and stir constantly until heated and nuts have soaked up most of the liquid, and liquid has begun to become sticky.
  4. Remove walnuts from pan and place on a plate to cool.
  5. When asparagus is done, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. To assemble salad, shred greens if not already bite-sized, add asparagus (saving some spear tops for garnish), and toss. Add some dried currants and the walnuts and pour on some dressing. For garnish, try placing 3 asparagus spears side by side and wrapping with a curly-q of grapefruit zest. Sprinkle smaller zests around the top. Voila!

Ok...phew. And now I have to go work so I can afford to eat this month.

Enough recipes for you? ;-)
Let me know what you think of them if you make any!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Brilliant Musings.

When I was little, I was extremely fearful. And needy. And timid. And I am sure I missed out on a LOT because of that. In fact, I know I did. When I got to college, all that changed. I finally came out of my shell, learned how to really trust God, and have been so FREE ever since then. I want to grab life by the horns, be my own person, and take advantage of EVERYTHING that comes my way!

Because of this, I sometimes tend to overdo it. I so resent the fact that I missed out when I was younger, I feel the need to do and see EVERYTHING now. And to be my OWN person so much that, I feel like I have to do things by myself. And not rely on anyone.

I mean, picking up and moving across the country all by myself will be an AWESOME, liberating adventure, right?? And I'll be so cool and independent, and become more of my own person, and have SO much fun...right???

Welllllll........I've been learning a few things about myself. And about life. No matter how cool and "independent" and "trendy" something may seem, and no matter how amazing what you're doing is, or how beautiful the place you are in is.........if you have no one to share it with, it is meaningless.

Now, not TOTALLY meaningless. Yes, I absolutely LOVE the program I'm doing - every second of it! And Colorado is BEAUTIFUL. But.......after a while, cooking all this delicious food for yourself gets a bit lonely. And...staring out at the mountains but having no one to go hiking, or camping, or biking, or fishing with just makes you feel even worse. Being 2,000 miles from anybody who gives a darn that you even exist is...well...hard sometimes!

I sat in Mass today, looking at all the families and the moms on Mother's Day, and I was close to tears the whole time! I have just found that, no matter how "cool" and "independent" my plan seemed in my head, and how much I thought I would be lame for needing people or relying on anybody........everything pales in comparison to love. And there's nothing wrong with needing people. We were MADE for community, and to love and be loved. Yes, I love learning about health and cooking. But what REALLY makes me happy about those things is gaining the knowledge to help others live better lives, and cooking FOR those I love.

So it's just like I'm kind of missing a piece to the puzzle right now. Yes, I am INCREDIBLY blessed to have the opportunity to follow my dream and complete this Natural Chef program, and I am enjoying it SO very much. I am living in a gorgeous state with awesome outdoors activities. I live in a nice house. But without the people you love...the puzzle has a hard time staying together quite like it should.

Well, that's my most recent epiphany. I know, brilliant, right? I mean, who would have thought you need people you LOVE around you to really be happy??? And that, as social beings, we can't live totally isolated and just do work and school 24/7??? CRAZY.

Sometimes I'm just a little slow in the area of being ok with needing people ;-)

So, if you're someone I love........thanks for being there for me and giving me purpose. I miss you, and can't wait to see you again and COOK for you! :-D

And reward you for having to read all my senseless ramblings have 2 awesome recipes to share with you! Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Guess What I Did...!!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, mark this day on your calendars!!! (Well, actually last night). I have officially made, without following a recipe, a GLUTEN-FREE COOKIE that is DELICIOUS, did not turn into a PUDDLE when I baked it, is not DRY, WEIRD-TASTING, or like a CRACKER! And I had my roommate, who is a "normal person," taste it, and she said it was REALLY GOOD and tasted like a REAL COOKIE!!! :-D :-D :-D


I was really really craving oatmeal raisin cookies, because the tea we had in class Friday for some reason reminded me of them. Now, I love Elana's Pantry, and her recipes are usually AMAZING. However, I've never gotten her cookies to work for me. They always turn out super greasy and thin and way too crunchy and crumbly, and just kinda weird. So I thought, hmm...I have tons of buckwheat flour, which is WAY cheaper than almond flour anyway...and I like buckwheat, and it's super good for you. I should be able to make a buckwheat cookie, right???

So I Googled gluten-free buckwheat cookies, and nothing seemed quite right - they all had all those expensive bizarre gluten free flours that are super hard to work with and, in my opinion, taste kinda weird sometimes. Finally I found one that called for buckwheat flour and rice flour, so I thought, surely I can substitute something else for the rice flour?

So I used this recipe just to get the basic ratios of how much flour to oil and baking soda and whatnot, but other than that, I winged it!

It is not sugar-free totally, but I used sucanat and honey, which is FAR better than the processed-sugar-packed traditional recipes. Also, the recipe I was looking at called for 1/2 c of butter. I used about a tablespoon, and for the rest I used coconut oil, and it worked FINE, so I'm sure you could use all coconut oil if you wanted it completely dairy free.

As for egg free, I'm not sure if flax seed and water would work as a sub, but you should try it! Ya never know! You might need to add xanthan gum or arrowroot or something to it as well, I'm not sure.

Instead of the rice flour, I used almond flour, because that is what I had, and it's MUCH healthier for you - wayyyy lower glycemic and all that fun jazz.

SO. Here is my amazing, delicious, gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookie recipe!!!

Preheat oven to 375.

  • .5 c almond flour
  • .5 buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
Sift together these ingredients and stir well.

  • 1/2 c sucanat
  • 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp or so honey
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
Cream together with a hand mixer (I did this by hand, was a pain lol).
To these liquid ingredients, add:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture 1/3 at a time. Mix well. Add:
  • 1/2-3/4 cup gluten-free oats (maybe more, I don't think mine were oat-y enough)
  • approx 1/2 cup raisins
Stir. Depending on the altitude and humidity, you may need more liquid or more dry ingredients - play with it until it looks right. If the batter is too sticky, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes - this helped a lot!
Drop spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet greased with coconut oil or lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 375 for about 7 mins (maybe less, maybe more, depending on altitude). I'm in Colorado, so if you're closer to sea level...these could cook VERY quickly. Keep an eye on them!
Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from pan to cool (or devouring) ;-)

Oh man...I gotta go eat one now! They're soooo goooood!!!!

Enjoy! Let me know how they turn out for you if you make them!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Love Affair with Coconut

I love coconut. In fact, I might go so far as to say I'm obsessed with it.

Number one, it is SO FREAKING good for you! It's full of lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fatty acid with anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It's a great immune booster. Its oil is perfect for stir frying because it has a smoke point (unlike olive oil, which is actually NOT good for cooking at high heats, because the oil goes rancid). The oil can also be used as a skin moisturizer and has been shown to have AMAZING results, and as a hair conditioner (I can attest to the fact it works AAAAAAAA-MAZINGLY for this!) It is great in smoothies, baked goods, stir fried dishes......basically, I use it in EVERYTHING.

So you can imagine how much I was in heaven today when I made this Raw Coconut "Tapioca," inspired by Elana. Ohhh yes, you heard me right. COCONUT...TAPIOCA....mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

Here's the low-down:
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 15 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp or so vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp or so honey
  1. Put cashews and coconut milk in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and honey to taste.
  3. Put chia seeds in a large mason jar, add coconut milk mixture, shake vigorously, and refrigerate.
In a couple of hours, you should have what is the equivalent of a dairy free, raw, coconutty, absolutely divine "tapioca" pudding! It really is amazing how much the consistency is like real tapioca....and the coconut milk and cashews make it SOOOOOOOO creamy and delicious......WOW. I LOVE THIS STUFF. And it's so easy to make!

I highly recommend it :-)

Have a lovely day....hope the weather for you is as GLORIOUS as it was here today!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Papaya, Papaya...

I made these recipes a while ago and hadn't gotten the chance to post them yet...but then I made one AGAIN today, and decided I must post it :-)

I found this recipe for Papaya Salsa at one of my favorite blogs, Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. The first time I made it, I added pineapple, and it was lovely - a huuuuuuuge hit with my roommates! This time, mangoes were on sale, so that's what I added! This is also SO good!

(I changed the original recipe a bit here and there :-)
  • 3 cups diced fresh papaya (about half of a large papaya)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup or so diced fresh mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 to 2 limes, juiced
  • dash extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Add all ingredients together, stir, and allow to sit for a few minutes for flavors to incorporate. I think I'll make a salsa chicken bake for dinner tonight.....mmmmmm!!!!

Since this recipe only took up half of the big honkin papaya I bought, I made a Stuffed Papaya Bake also.

I took the halved papaya, scooped out the seeds, filled it with ground buffalo cooked with onions, garlic, some tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes, threw in a bit of greens, and sprinkled mozzarella cheese on top. I put the papaya skin side down in a glass baking pan filled with water up to about 1/2 inch from the top of the papaya. I baked this at 350 until the papaya was tender, about 30 minutes. Adapted from

(You like how my laptop is in the background of the picture, don't you? Classy, I know.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Comfort Food :-)

I have been craving macaroni and cheese like CRAZY.

Luckily, that guy in my class gave us each huge blocks of cheese! And I had quinoa noodles! So I used the leftover cheese sauce from the chicken parm I made the other day, added some more almond milk, and made mac and cheese. YUMMM!!!

I also have the finished product of that banana cream yumminess I was dreaming of last post...

First, I made a pecan crust:

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 5 dates
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
  1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse - should still be slightly chunky.
  2. Press into bottom of pan and bake at 350 for approx 8 mins.
Then, make the ginger cream from my last post - I also added cinnamon to it this time.

Take 2 bananas and slice them. Spread one layer of ginger cream over crust, then make one layer of banana slices. Add another layer of cream, another layer of bananas, then cream. I garnished with a few chinese cut banana slices (sliced at an angle, so they are long) in the shape of a flower and sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon.

Voila! Delish! Me likey :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Career as a Pastry Chef? Mayhaps...

So yesterday I got voted "Best Presentation" again for my dish... :-D The 2 women across the counter from me just stopped and watched me, and they were like "Wow..I'm just SO impressed with Karen today...I just see all this energy exploding from within her, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!" lol It was pretty exciting.

My dish was a Citrus and Green Tea Kanten with Ginger Cream. Our class was on sea vegetables, so all the dishes had seaweed in them. Kanten is basically just healthy jello. You make the gelatin out of agar agar, which I spent my whole undergrad plating bacteria on in labs......who woulda thunk I'd be cooking with it now! Haha so bizarre...

Anyway, I made the kanten and gelled it in small glass teacups with grapefruit supremes at the bottom. Once it hardened, I put the Ginger Cream into a pastry bag with a star tip, and did small dollops in the middle of each cup, and then placed orange peel shavings on top of the cream. I served all the cups on a white platter with an orange slice with a mint sprig in the middle, on the corner of the platter. :-) I didn't get a picture this time...but I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

This was DELICIOUS. The Ginger Cream was to DIE for. I ended up just eating it by itself! Then I went to the store to buy cashews and make it for myself...I'm thinking of something....perhaps a pecan/date crust, banana slices, cashew cream...we'll see what comes of that tomorrow evening when I have a bit of time to spend in the kitchen ;-)

Here is the recipe for this LOVELY kanten! Be sure to dissolve the agar agar completely, and use the exact amount it calls for - if you use too much agar to water, you will get a very hard, rubberlike the stuff you plate bacteria on ;-)

  • 1/4 cup agar agar flakes
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 large pink grapefruits (or some other fruit you think sounds lovely, but apparently pineapple doesn't work)
  • 3 Tbs loose leaf green tea
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice (from supremed grapefruit)
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or raw honey
  1. In saucepan, combine agar flakes and water - let stand for 15 mins. Supreme (slice the grapefruit w/o the membrane on the slices) grapefruit over bowl, reserving juice. Cut into chunks and set aside.
  2. Put saucepan on high heat - bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil for approx 1 min, then reduce heat to medium and stir until agar is completely dissolved.
  3. Turn off heat and stir in green tea. Cover and allow to steep for 5 mins.
  4. Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer into large measuring cup with pouring spout. Stir in maple syrup or honey, 1/2 cup reserved grapefruit juice, and orange juice.
  5. You can arrange grapefruit at bottom of glasses, but they all float to the top when you pour in the liquid
  6. Pour agar mixture into glasses and put in fridge to set.
Ginger Cream
  • 1.5 cups cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1.5 tsp ginger juice (to get this, you have to grate ginger on a microplane, place the pulp in a nut milk bag/fine mesh strainer, and squeeze the juice out. A pain, YES - worth it, ABSOLUTELY!)
  • 1 maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 Tbs water (ok, this was a bold-faced lie. I used at LEAST 1/4 cup I'd say...the freakin Vitamix would NOT blend and I was getting soooo frustrated...just put in water until it will whip into a cream-like consistency)
  1. Drain cashews and place in blender w/other ingredients and blend until smooth, adding water as needed.
  2. Spoon or pipe onto kanten with pastry bag.
  3. ENJOY!!!

Also, I had to share what I had for dinner tonight, b/c I was in HEAVENNN!!! It was SO easy to make, but SO good....I made a chicken parm with a cheese sauce, and it was sooo ridiculously flavorful...OH my gosh! A guy in my class apparently received this like 20 lb cheese wheel as a so he gave out huge wedges of it, and I needed to use it up, soooo this was born!

Basically, I took a chicken breast, stuck it in a pan with some homemade spaghetti sauce under and on top of it, sprinkled some grated cheese on top, stuck it in the oven at 375 for about 20 mins, and BOOM, that was done!

For the cheese sauce, I melted about 1 Tbs butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, added 1 Tbs buckwheat flour (yeahhhhh gluten free!), stirred that until it was incorporated, added, probably ended up being like 1 cup of almond milk....maybe a little less...I would add 1/2 cup and add more as needed. Anyway, I let that simmer and stir for a minute or 2, then added the cheese and stirred. I added a dash of garlic powder, some salt and pepper aaaaaaaand there you have an amaaaazing cheese sauce!

I served the chicken over spaghetti squash (WHICH, by the way, does NOT freeze and reconstitute well when case you were wondering *cough*) and drizzled the cheese sauce on top.


Enjoy :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Shall Take This Opportunity to Brag :-D

Today in class, we learned about salads and sprouting.

My group made a Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Minty Yogurt Dressing.

Can we say YUM??

AND.........I'm so excited and proud........we finished this recipe in really good time, so I actually had time to THINK and not be insane, and plan out the presentation for it this time. And it definitely paid off! I think it came out really well, and everyone was SUPER impressed. Actually....not to brag TOO much....but it was voted "Coolest Plating Technique" AND the Kitchen Manager brought it out to the table and said, "I just want to show you guys this. This, I think has perfect presentation, because it has height and depth, it takes up a perfect amount of the plate, the contrast between the dots of dressing and the smoky paprika and the white plate are very pleasing to the eye......." etc. :-D :-D :-D

Here's a picture I snuck of it (sorry about the horrible quality, I just took it with my phone!)

I'm not gonna lie............I WAS SO PROUD!!! I've felt more or less like a retard in the kitchen so far, so that definitely made me feel a LOT better!! And OH my gosh, was it delicious too!!! I felt like a REAL.LIVE.CHEF.

I love it too, because I've always LOVED art, and I think I have an eye for it. Majoring in Biology, that wasn't incorporated so much, so art had kinda fallen by the wayside. Now though...I'm combining my passion for health and natural healing and cooking WITH art and it's just.........*sigh* SO WONDERFUL. :-)

Soooo...I figured I'd go ahead and give you guys the recipe too :-)

  • 1.5 cups quinoa, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbs raisins
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin (we added an extra 1/8th at the end too)
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 medium orange, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, or unsweetened dried cranberries, minced
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • 1 head lettuce to make "lettuce cups" (iceberg might have worked better than the romaine we had, but it has almost no nutritive value, and the darker green of the romaine looked nice)
  • (We also ended up adding about 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper at the end, to give it a little kick. It could have even taken a bit more, I think)
  1. Drain and rinse quinoa. Place in med saucepan with 2 1/4 cups water or stock, bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook, covered, for about 20 mins or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa tender, not mushy. (We cooked ours 12 mins, but we're also in CO so cooking time tends to be longer. You don't want to overcook it, b/c then it will be like quinoa mush instead of individual quinoa grains). Remove to sheet pan and fluff out grain to cool.
  2. Place raisins, coriander, cumin, lemon juice, orange juice, yogurt, red pepper flakes, salt, and mint in blender. Blend on high, scraping sides as needed. Add olive oil slowly to emulsify. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  3. Place cooled quinoa into large bowl and fluff with fork. Add dried fruit and pistachios. Drizzle with enough dressing to coat and flavor.
  4. Place lettuce cups on large beautimous platter. We used an ice cream scoop to scoop out a serving and place it in the center of each lettuce leaf. We then garnished with a twirl of carrot shaving, dressing drizzled, and a sprinkling of smokey paprika. YUM! and BEAUTIOUS! :-D
Hope you all enjoy..........just had to share my exciting news :-D

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flourless Walnut Brownies, Healthy Pudding, and Healthy Fudge!

I made these to gorge myself on after Easter Vigil - THEY ARE AMAZING AND I HAVE BEEN CRAVING THEM SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!! And they're healthyyy!!!!!

Chocolate Walnut Flourless Brownies

makes 24 brownies

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 c. unsalted butter (I used half butter and half coconut oil, but all coconut oil would work)
3 T. instant decaffeinated coffee (I omitted this)
1/4 t. kosher salt
2 c. black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 banana
1 T. vanilla extract
4 extra large eggs
1/3 c. light agave nectar (I used ¼ cup honey and about 5 drops stevia)
2 c. walnuts, chopped and divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper. Spray pan and paper with oil.

Melt chocolate and butter (or coconut oil). Stir in instant coffee and salt. Mix well. Set aside.

Make sure that your black beans have been well-rinsed and drained. Fit a food processor (or use VitaMix) with a steel blade, add beans, banana, vanilla extract and one egg. Process until completely smooth, about 2 – 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add chocolate mixture and process again until smooth.

In a separate bowl, place remaining 3 eggs and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 -2 minutes. Add agave and mix for another 1 -2 minutes, until light. Put bean mixture into bowl with eggs and mix on medium thoroughly incorporated. Mix in 1 c. of chopped walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with remaining walnuts.

Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until a toothpick clears the center. Let brownies cool before cutting them. Store in refrigerator.

Mocha Cream Cake (this makes awesome FUDGE if you leave out the eggs!!!) And you can use the frosting as pudding or to top the brownies)

-15 oz can black beans (rinsed and drained)

-3 eggs

-1/4 c butter (or coconut or grapeseed oil)

-1/2 cup of light agave nectar (or honey/stevia)

-6 tbs cocoa powder

-a couple pinches of salt

-1 Tbs vanilla extract

-1 Tbs of instant coffee (I omitted this)

-1/2 cup of pecans

-2 tsp of baking powder

Mocha Cream Avocado Icing

-2 ripe avocados

-1/2 cup of agave nectar

-4 Tbs cocoa powder

-1 Tbs + 1 tsp of instant coffee (I omitted this)

*Optional -1 Tbs of hazelnut liqueur


*Preheat the oven to 350*F

*Place the first seven ingredients in a food processor set to "high". Puree until smooth (about 2-3 minutes).

*Add in your pecans and baking powder. Set the food processor to "low". Pulse until the nuts are cut into pea sized bits and the baking powder is mixed throughout.

*Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick oil. Fill the pan with cake batter and place it in the middle rack of your oven.

*Set your timer for 33 minutes. It is ready when the mixtures is slightly puffed in the middle (with some cracks) and does not deflate when brought out of the oven.

*While the cake is cooking:

*Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and place it along with the next 4 ingredients in the food processor

*Process on high until the icing is smooth and thick (icing consistency-about 2 - 3 minutes)

*Cover and refrigerate until the brownies are cooled


*Allow cake to cool completely in the fridge for two hours or more. Otherwise you will have very crumbly cake :(

Monday, April 5, 2010


Can I just say..........

NUTRITION SCHOOL IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I'm out here, and in my 3rd week and I.LOVE.IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the people in my class are AWESOME and so fun and nice. We come in and tell each other about the latest article we read, or recipe we tried, and we recipe swap....and all the chefs who teach us are ALSO amazing! The first one who came is a raw foodist, which is very interesting. She's more of a hippie type, but she's an herbalist and very very knowledgeable and very nice. The second one owns a soup company here and is very sweet. The third one is HILARIOUS and so down-to-earth, and she's the hardcore chef-y one who has been teaching us basic cooking and chef skills.

And I must say I was SO ridiculously excited today when she whipped out NOURISHING TRADITIONS and asked if any of us were familiar with it. I almost fell out of my chair I was raising my hand and waving it around so enthusiastically (yes, I'm a nerd. I know). I was SO glad to hear her say this book sums up her nutrition philosophy and her life. I have been SO excited to learn more about this nutritional direction, and so far all the other chefs have been vegetarian raw-foods type people, which is totally goes against Weston Price's findings about nutrition. I was going to ask them how they reconciled their food philosophies with Dr. Price's, but I'm SO glad my favorite chef follows the same philosophy I try to :-) AND she has Celiacs, so she's also gluten-free! She's so nice, but hardcore and funny, and helpful and encouraging. I'm so excited for everything I'm going to learn from her!!!

So the first two weeks were kinda boring, b/c we basically sat in the classroom and listened to the different chefs and the kitchen manager (who, by the way IS JIM HALPBERT. Seriously...he reminds me of him so much IT IS SICK. If I hadn't already found the most incredible man in the world, I would TOTALLY be in love with this guy ;-)

This past Friday, however, we finally GOT IN THE KITCHEN. It was our knife skills class. We each had our chef knives, bamboo cutting boards, and a PILE of vegetables. I learned to supreme an orange, chiffonade mint leaves, julienne potatoes, properly cut an onion (never knew how, apparently!), Chinese cut celery, roll cut carrots, fine dice (the chef complimented me on my beautiful dicing skills :-D ) and so many other things!! I LOVE learning all these random awesome things about nutrition and cooking.

For example, did you know to get the tough part off asparagus, you just break the bottom off where it snaps easily? And, did you know you start building flavor for soup as SOON as you start making it? At home, we always threw everything in the pot and let it simmer, b/c that would "intensify the flavors." WRONG!!! Before you put in the vegetables and spices, you must caramelize them in oil. The oil and heat bring out the sugars and the full flavors of the vegetables, and open up all the aromatic properties of the spices. THEN you can add it to the soup, and it will be delicious and flavorful! I tried this out this weekend, and for the FIRST time, I had soup that TASTED like something!! And you know what? Just because I like you so much...I will share my basic recipe with you all ;-)

Indian Jerk Bean Soup
  • 2 cups dried bean/rice mix from bulk bins at store (soaked overnight or all day~8 hrs-ish)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 turnips, sliced
  • any other veggies you like! Go crazy!
  • coconut or olive oil
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • allspice
  • salt
  • pepper
After the bean mix has soaked, rinse them thoroughly. Add water to pot (about 2 inches or so above the line of beans - you might want to add more depending on how liquid-y you want the soup). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for at least 45 mins (taste beans to tell when they're cooked).

Meanwhile, heat up a large cast iron skillet on medium heat with some oil in it. I use coconut, because it is better for high heats than olive oil. Add onions and carrots (hard veggies) and caramelize (about ten minutes) stirring often. Also add the spices, to give them a chance to permeate the oil and make it tasty goodness :-) As for amounts...I honestly didn't measure any of them. I added quite a bit of cumin and salt, and smaller amounts of cinnamon and allspice. Really you just have to keep tasting it and see what else it needs.
*Another interesting note..."It always needs more salt" according to my teacher lol. It brings out all the other flavors.
Add softer veggies and minced garlic and caramelize for a few more minutes. Veggies are done when they are goldeny and smell AMAZING.

Add everything to the beans and keep simmering until the beans are done. Keep tasting it and adding spices as needed.

My friend was here this weekend for Easter, and she LOVED this! I was so happy! IT TASTED LIKE SOMETHING!!!! YAYYY!!!

We also made flourless walnut brownies, and flourless chocolate cream cake! Which, interestingly enough, if you somehow forget to add the eggs or something, turns out as delicious fudge! (not that we'd know that from experience or anything....*ahem*)


Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to School :-)

SO today was my first day of Natural Chef training!!!

Everyone in my class seems SUPER nice, and I have already made an "adventure" buddy too, which is awesome!

The class is going to be..........amazing :-) It was slightly intimidating, just because I don't really have culinary the thought of having to do exams, be evaluated, make up our own food for midterms and finals, do a culinary showcase for 60+ people, and do a culinary externship is, well, SCARY.

I'm sure it will be doable once I've learned what I'm supposed to...but right now...ACK! Oh MAN am I excited to learn everything though! YAY YAY YAY YAY YAYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been rough out here so far...I moved across the country by myself to a place where I don't know ANYONE. So...yes, lonely. But I know things will get much better now that school has started.

Should be having some preeeeeeeeeeeetty SWEET recipes for you guys soon! Be excited!!! :-D

Monday, February 22, 2010

My life is over.


....Ok, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic. BUT...get this. My dear friend just sent me 2 articles about agave nectar, which I SWEAR by...telling how HORRIBLE it is for you!!! Granted, this is only one source and maybe it's not all totally true...but that one source IS Sally Fallon, who is like THE god of holistic nutrition. And she's a smart cookie and does her research. So it's probably totally true and reliable. :-(

Apparently, agave is produced the same way as HFCS and even MORE concentrated fructose than HFCS. Ugh, I don't even know what to DO. Apparently...I mean, understandably so...the best way to go is just mostly avoid sweeteners. If you do eat it, use raw honey, organic maple syrup, molasses...ya know. NATURAL stuff. While it doesn't keep your blood sugar from spiking, those things aren't as BAD as processed sugar and stuff, so used sparingly, they're probably the safest things. I don't know about Stevia...I'll have to read more about that too. Apparently xylitol is death too. Produced using chemicals, then the crystals are forced out of solution by adding ETHER and then they are extracted using ROTARY EVAPORATION or CENTRIFUGATION. I used that junk in ORGANIC CHEMISTRY to synthesize chemicals, man!!! This is just ridiculous and scary. are the links if you are interested in reading more about it:

I gotta get back to work..just had to freak out and rant. Peace out, yo, and stay away from the sweet stuff! IT WILL ALL KILL YOU!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wow, time flies....hehehhh.. :-/

Sooo, yes. It has been over 2 months since I last wrote in here. Partially because life has been crazy getting everything pinned down and paid for for Natural Chef School, partially b/c I've been uninspired as far as food goes, and partially because I have new things occupying my time ;-)

BUT I am back! With a vengeance!

I have started the Master Cleanse and Clearvite program, so I'm going to chronicle my ventures on here. I only did 3 days of the Master Cleanse, which was actually GREAT. It's supposed to balance your blood sugar and get rid of all the antigens in your body, so it can kind of clear out and start over. Basically, for 3 days, all day I drank 12 tbsp organic fresh squeezed lemon juice and 12 tbsp grade B organic maple syrup in 7.5 cups of filtered water. Also, I could eat raw or steamed vegetables I had NEVER eaten before. And let me tell you....I now know there was a REASON I had never eaten them. EW.
Anyway, it was AMAZING how good I felt doing this cleanse! I had tried to do a 3-day juice fast 2 summers ago, and the morning of the 2nd day I blacked out and got a migraine, and that was the end of THAT. This, though...I never even got hungry! If I did start feeling any slight hunger pangs, I just took a swig of my concoction and they went away INSTANTLY. It was crazy! And the syrup kept my blood sugar level the whole time, so my head was clearer than it ever is. I felt awesome! Haven't felt quite as good since I've started incorporating food back into my diet...but hopefully that will level out.

Now I'm doing the Clearvite program, which is also for detoxification and to find any food allergies and heal them. I'm in the first 4 days now, in which I can only eat mostly fish, some chicken and turkey, and lots of gluten-free grains, fresh fruits and veggies, minus corn, tomatoes, soy, and peanuts. Random. Oh, and everything has to be ORGANIC. I tell you what, you don't realize how many little things go into what you eat until you think that EVERYTHING has to be organic. It really limits what you can have.

So basically, it's a pain in the buttox, but if it'll make me better...I'm up for the challenge! So I've been trying new recipes and stuff out, and they've been pretty darn good so far! So I have new stuff to share with you now, and I'm newly inspired! So here goes...

Day 1
  • Clearvite shake with frozen berries and rice milk
  • small bowl of maple buckwheat flakes in rice milk
  • Sunflower pate wraps - these.were.AMAZING. Yes, yes, it sounds weird...but honestly, it tastes just like chicken salad, except it's made out of sunflower seeds! I based it on the recipe from one of my fav blogs, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, and tweaked it a bit based on what I had. Here's the recipe I followed:

Sunflower Pate:
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 5 hours
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely diced shallots
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
A few sprinkles freshly ground black pepper
A few shakes of sea salt
A dash of Spike

sliced raw broccoli
sliced raw cucumber

sliced raw carrots

Organic nori sheets for the wrap

Place all ingredients for pate into food processor or blender (I used our VitaMix). Blend until fairly smooth. Take sheet of n
ori and spread some pate down the middle. Add desired fillings. Roll into a wrap, and wet the edges with fingertips, to get the nori to stick to itself and stay closed.

VOILA! A delicious and nutritious gluten-free, Organic, Clearvite Diet-friendly lunch! OH SO GOOD!


  • -Citrus chicken I have previously posted the recipe for, except I used oranges and lemons, and cherries because I didn't have any cranberries.
  • Boiled beets
  • Roasted brussel sprouts - cut brussel sprouts in half, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Place on top rack of oven at 450 for about 10 mins. Delish!

Oh, and for random snacks throughout the day, I ate apples, I think....Oh, and I made some cashew butter by putting some cashews, melted coconut butter, and a bit of water in the blender. It was very watery at first...but after I put it in a container in the fridge, it's actually the perfect consistency! I made ants on a log with it and it was yummmm :-)

Day 2
  • Clearvite shake with 1 orange, 1 tbsp coconut oil, a handful of shredded coconut, ice cubes, and rice milk

TO BE CONTINUED.... since it's been a week since I started writing this post and still haven't had time to finish ;-)