Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wild Rice and Mushroom Lentil Burgers

The simplicity and flavor of this simple little wild rice and lentil burgers is really amazing. How can with only a few simple ingredients you can make a big batch of goodness with such simple and wonderful flavors be so filling?  I love that this recipe is cost efficient and can be made in a batch and savored for many weeks to come from the freezer. Truly a recipe to give a try and see what you think. 
Sometimes the vegan and vegeatrian option look a bit plain, and this might look a bit plain even from the pictures. But somehow with a little healthier condiments, herbs and deep rich earthy flavors you can come up and truly enjoy the option whether you are a meat eater or not. This is not a meal in place of a beef burger- this is a burger of it's own style and flair. It truly cannot be compared because it is a fulfilling nourishing option just as it's own self. It begs to be accepted for just as it is and not to be fit into some meat comparison box. I hope you give it a try- why not, right?!? I know you will be wonderfully surprised and delighted :)
Wild Rice and Mushroom Lentil Burger Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, soy, seed, nut and sugar-free, vegan

1 cup of chopped small portabella mushrooms
4 cloves garlic finely grated or minced
1 TB of olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1 cup of dry wild rice
2 cups of pure water

In a small pan, saute the garlic and muchrooms in the oil with some salt and pepper until they are soft and then add in the dry wild rice and saute that together dry for 3-4 minutes and then add in the water and bring to a boil and turn down the heat to low and cook until the water is gone and because this is wild rice- it will take a bit longer- about 20-25 minutes. Once the water is gone, turn of the heat completely and cover and let it sit and cool for this is the last stage of cooking the rice and getting it soft.

At the same time the rice is cooking you can be cooking the lentils....

1 TB of olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves finely grated or minced
1 medium (about 1/2-2/3 cup) of finely chopped sweet yellow onion
2 cups of washed (or prevoously soaked) green lentils
1 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of black pepper
4 cups of water

In a medium pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft, then add in the lentils without the water and saute for a few minutes to gain the oil and flavors. Then add in the water and cover and let cook on the medium heat. Cook on medium to low heat for 45-50 minutes until the lentils are more than cooked, but they start to get soft and mushy. Keep stirring and making sure they are able to be moved well- If you have a large ladel or spoon you can mush in the pot and try and get the lentils to be half mushed up and half whole. This isn't really important, but you for sure want your lentil mixture more mushy than hard. Then let cool for a few minutes so you can mix with the wild rice.

In a large mixing bowl add...

the cooked wild rice mushroom mixture
the cooked mushy lentils
1/2 cup of organic ketchup (or you can use crushed canned or even fresh tomatoes or tomato paste to avoid sugars)
2 TB of coconut aminoes, you you can use wheat-free tamari sauce too
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 TB of dried Italian herb blend (rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram)
1 ts. of dried basil leaves
optional: if you want to use fresh herbs, use 1/2 of the dry herbs amount and add in a handful of fresh basil or other available fresh herbs
Mix all together and let sit and cool and you can form a handful (3/4-1 cup amount) of the mixture and form it into a patty to place on a parchment papered baking sheet. This amount will and should make 12 burger patties, you you can make 1 giant lentil loaf, or 2 smaller lentil loafs too by putting parchment paper in a loaf pan and pouring the mixture into the pan. You can brush or drizzle a little extra organic ketchup on top of the patties or loaf for a little extra flavor and good looks. 
Then bake the patties in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes until crispy on the edges and still soft in the middle. The loaf can be baked for 1 hour if it is one large loaf, and about 45 minutes for 2 smaller loaves. 

Serve with a salad or side of veggies. The burger is pretty simple so that you can add a variety of side or sauted veggies to the serve with. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and freeze the patties to warm up later for summer-time cook outs, or for a vegetarian otpion alongside other meals. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Green Apple-Kale-Avocado Slaw

It's almost time for the school year to close and official summer to commence. The coming Memorial Day weekend has people sprucing up their yards and venturing to the farmer's market looking for fresh greens and plants.  It's time to pull out the grill and have the friends and family over, and time to cook up a few great salads and grill the rest. And maybe an adventurous, but simple fresh kale slaw could catch your attention...
I was making a kale slaw I loved for years- my Tangy Kale Slaw- but then discovered a little avocado in place of some of the nuts and seeds was just the right move to try something a little different.
This is a bunch of curly kale, but you could use some lacinato kale too for this recipe. Both work great and you'll find that you like one variety over the other. Or perhaps you have some growing in the yard and if you do, you usually have TONS of it as it grows and need a little inspiration to keep up :)
I used some crunchy sweet and tart green apples in this slaw and if you cut them small and thin, they are the perfect match to the soft kale after its been rubbed with the sweet lime dressing. This recipe is ridiculously simple- so you can add or take away from it depending what is fresh that week in your garden or what you got on hand before a last minute cook-out. I hope you give it a try and seek a little green crunchy (maybe said at one point to be odd), but wonderful fresh and tasty kale slaw.
Green Apple-Kale-Avocado Slaw Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed and soy-free

1 (1pound) bunch of fresh kale (washed, dried and finely chopped)
2 small green tart apples, finely chopped
2 very ripe avocados, finely chopped in chunks
1/3 cup of organic raisins
1/3 cup of finely sliced red or sweet onion
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro or basil or a combo

sweet lime dressing
2 TB olive or avocado oil
1 fresh lime squeezed (2 TB's juice)
1 TB of red wine vinegar
1 TB of Dijon mustard
1-2 TB of maple syrup
healthy pinch of salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, mix by hand the kale and herbs and apples and half of the avocado. In a small Ball jar, mix and shake up all of the dressing ingredients and then pour over the slaw and use your hands to massage well into the finely chopped leaves. Then top with the rest of the avocado, and raisins and optional onions. You can add more or less of the dressing if needs more and you can half or double this recipe depending on your group size.
Happy chopping, and ENJOY xoxo

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

This pan of messy, juicy, red delicious goodness is rhubarb strawberry crisp. It might not be the most delicate of desserts, but it's rich one-of-a-kind flavor and goodness will have you melting from the inside out in love for it. 
It is also special because I feel like it is the kind of dessert that you can only really make during rhubarb season. And rhubarb season is the ring-in-signal for the farmer's market opening and gift of all the spring produce and plants. 
This recipe I actually made with some leftover frozen strawberries from last summer, but it would be  divine in a few weeks when you can find both fresh local strawberries and rhubarb at the same time at your local farmer's market. Although a fruit crisp can be successfully and wonderfully made with frozen strawberries too :) but if for some reason you have local fresh strawberries popping up in your backyard or market- you are the luckiest :)
The deep red beauty of rhubarb and strawberries, and the combo of tart and sweet flavors is something I wait for each spring and early summer. It's like you've been holding on throughout the winter months for this precise moment. And when you finally get to see these gifts popping up from the earth- all you can do is offer thanks and truly delight in it's gift.  
Rhubarb is one of those foods that I feel like you either love because you know what to do with it, or otherwise just look at it and say, "Oh that's pretty, and people eat that?!" Rhubarb is actually full of many health benefits. Like many hidden benefits in plants, they are packed full of vitamin C and B and full of minerals, vitamins and even protein. They help promote healthy digestion and in some places of the world is used as a medicinal component to constipation. If you haven't tried rhubarb yet and always think about trying it then this recipe is for you. This is hands down my favorite way of eating it and once you give it a whirl you will wonder why it took you so long :) Happy Baking!
Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed, egg and refined-sugar- free}

2 cups of cleaned and chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup of water

2 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries (whole small or larger halved)
1/3- 1/2 cup of maple syrup (or you can use a mix of honey and syrup)
pinch of sea salt
juice from one lime

2 cups of certified GF rolled oats
1/4 cup of rice flour
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
 2 TB of potato starch
* Or use 2/3 cup of your fav GF flour blend*

1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of room temperature soft coconut oil
pinch of sea salt

In a medium sauce pan, put the fresh chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of water and let the rhubarb cook down for about 10 minutes on medium heat, it will turn into a mushy saucy mixture with not much stirring and mashing. Then add in the 3 cups of strawberries and let those get soft and juicy and add in the 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Cook for another 5 minutes but not letting the strawberries get too mushy or break down. Then pour the hot fruit mix into a 9x9 Pyrex baking pan.  Then in a small bowl, mix the dry oat and flour and sugar mixture with the coconut oil and make a crumble. Then sprinkle the crumble over the strawberries and rhubarb. Then bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minute until the crumble is crispy and the fruit is bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving with come coconut ice cream. Or top with some yogurt for breakfast ;) 
You can make this recipe for a 9x13 pan or double it if you are making it for a crowd. The recipe for the 9x13 pan is brought up to 3 cups of rhubarb and strawberries and the crumble mixture can be made 1/3 bigger as well. So you need 3 cups of oats and 3/4 cup of flour and 2/3 cup sugar and coconut oil. It is pretty easy to make this recipe in small or larger amounts depending on how much you want to have.  
I hope you give rhubarb and this recipe a try... Super simple and so delicious this time of year!

Much love as always, and happy baking xoxo

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Banana Quinoa Muffins or Bread [LOW-FODMAP]

Last fall I had a severe episode of digestive distress. Even while eating gluten free, dairy free and eating my usual clean diet. Sometimes the digestive issues are not really about the food, but are about the stress in our lives around us. I notice digestive distress always comes out in me when I am emotionally and physically stressed. It almost feels like in my head I am saying... "I am ok" but then after a few days my body says, "nooooo, you're not!" and in that recognition I become aware of the mind body connection once again. Have you heard the expression, 'your brain is in your gut'? Well this especially becomes true to me when I am experiencing uncontrollable stress. 
Something that has helped me is to eat very simply for a few weeks and go on the FODMAP diet. I am not one to promote diets of any kind really, but I gave this regimen a try after some help from a GI specialist friend and within a few days my IBS symptoms calmed completely. I gave the diet a try for two weeks pretty strict and then started back to my usual food flow slowly the following two weeks. To be honest- it really wasn't that hard because of already eating GF but there were some foods that had certain enzymes in them that were aggravating my stressed out nervous system. Onions, garlic, honey, and apples are just some of the few foods I tend to eat a lot of or put into my cooking to add flavor. I don't consider myself "sensitive" to these foods- just see it as foods that aggravate because of their enzymes and for some reason when I am in a spiral of digestive issues I see the most success of getting out of that downward spiral by slowing down and eating just the few things that my system agrees with.... which for me includes rice (preferably basmati or jasmine), chicken, and root veggies minus beets because they are higher on the FODMAP and drink lots of ginger or peppermint tea to calm my system as well.
Well last month I had a similar digestive stressed episode and it went on for a few weeks and then I had a light bulb go off and remember how eating the FODMAP way helped calm my system down and get me back on track. So I tried it again and low and behold, within a few days I was feeling much more myself and not so stressed. So these little muffins came into creation during that time because they are simple and VERY low FODMAP foods so they are a comfort while you are going through a stressful time.
I have made this recipe more than a few times now and sometimes it ends up being made into muffins or my latest way was just right into the bread pan. I love both ways. The bread is so moist and reminiscent of a good ol' classic banana bread recipe. I love the cruch of the quinoa and the moist bite of the banana. This is my favorite go to banana bread recipe now and especially when needing a little treat in times of stress and eating more simply. This recipe is so simple and it won't dissapooint whether you are looking for a vegan GF banana bread or you are on the hint for a low FODMAP baked goody. 
Banana Quinoa Muffins (or Bread) [LOW FODMAP] Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, honey, nut, seed and soy-free
1/2 cup of quinoa flour
2/3 cup of GF oat flour
1/3 cup of dry whole quinoa 
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup of white rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand for corn-free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup of bananas)
1 lemon freshly juiced (1/4 cup)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil 

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the wet ingredients and whip up together well then use a coconut oil covered scoop to scoop into muffin tins ot pour into (2) coconut-oil-greased bread baking pans. Bake the muffins in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes depending on your oven, the bread will bake longer for 30-35 minutes depending on your size of pan and oven. 

I hope that you are not in need of a FODMAP baked good that is comforting to the digestive track, but if you are, this is your recipe. I hope you are well and happy baking, xoxo

Much love as always, 
Stephanie