Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can organic Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), drained, liquid reserved

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin purée

  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Garlic Clove (crushed)

  • 1/2 tsp Cumin

  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

  • 1/4 tsp Sesame Oil

  • 1/2 tsp Paprika, Smoked (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Purée garbanzo beans, lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and sesame oil in a food processor.

  2. Add reserved liquid from chickpeas into the mixture while blending until desired consistency is achieved.

  3. Drizzle the top with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika to garnish.

  4. Serve or refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to develop.

For dipping, pair with carrots, celery, sliced bell peppers, radishes, cucumber slices, or any of your favorite fresh vegetables.

Eggplant Caponata

A favorite in vegan and omnivore cuisine, eggplant can be baked, roasted, grilled, used as a pizza topping or in stir-fry recipes. It has a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture that may vary depending on the color/variety of eggplant selected. Dress your cooked eggplant with herbs, sauces, and condiments and you'll be sure to please even the pickiest guest at your dinner table.

Eggplant contains a phytonutrient (plant chemical with nutritional benefits) called nasunin. Nasunin acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. In addition, eggplant contains a wealth of other antioxidants that support brain and heart health. In research studies, one variety of eggplant - called Black Magic - was found to have three times the antioxidant properties compared to several other types of eggplant. It's also a terrific source of dietary fiber, copper, potassium and B vitamins.

It's best to buy eggplant in-season during the months August through October. It comes in all sorts of shapes (baseball size to a thick crescent) and a cornucopia of colors such as lavender, jade green, and yellow-white. Choose eggplants that are firm, vivid in color, and heavy for their size. The skin should be smooth, shiny and without damage.

To test for ripeness, press your thumb into the eggplant. If the skin doesn't "spring back," it's not ripe. Eggplant is highly perishable so don't cut it before storing. Keep it stored in a food crisper or on the shelf in the fridge for a few days.

Satisfying and versatile, eggplant can handle a variety of flavorful accompaniments, several of which give a kick to this Sicilian favorite. The tomato base is spiked with anchovies, garlic, and capers, creating a mouth-watering aroma and a burst of flavor in every bite. Serve as an appetizer, a main dish or as a side with your favorite fish.

Makes 4-6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Italian eggplants, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 organic celery stalks, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 anchovies, in oil
  • 1/4 cup organic tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup organic red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar or raw honey
  • 1/2 cup capers, in brine

Directions:

  1. Peel and dice the eggplants, peel and slice the onion, peel and slice the garlic, slice the celery.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with the salt. Transfer the eggplant to a colander to drain for 2 hours. In order to facilitate the draining, top the eggplant with a heavy weight, such as a dinner plate with full cans placed on top.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes more, or until the garlic softens but does not brown. Add the anchovies and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the paste turns a deep red, almost brown, and starts to stick to the pan. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. In another large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the eggplant and carefully toss it in the oil, letting it sear before stirring. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is translucent and soft.
  6. Transfer the eggplant to the caponata mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, until the flavors combine. Add the capers and their brine and stir to incorporate.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied by vegetable chips or gluten-free crackers.

Low FODMAP option: Use garlic-infused olive oil and eliminate garlic and onion.

Spicy Mango Guac on Sweet Potato Chips

Here's a paleo version of chips and guac, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp Organic Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 Organic Avocados (peeled and mashed)
  • 1/2 Organic Mango (peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Red Onion (finely diced)
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Organic Limes (juiced)
  • Sea/Himalayan Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Starting at one end of the sweet potato, use a mandolin slicer or very sharp knife to cut into rounds as thinly as possible. Try to be consistent with how thin you slice them so they bake evenly. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the sweet potato rounds with olive oil and season with some sea salt.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sweet potato rounds across the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Flip the rounds and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness or until golden brown.
  4. While sweet potato chips cook, assemble the guac by combining avocado, mango, red onion, cayenne, lime juice, sea salt and black pepper. Mix and mash with a fork until creamy. Store in fridge until ready to eat.
  5. Place a dollop of guac on each baked sweet potato chip. Enjoy!

Options:

  • Less Carbs: Skip the sweet potato and serve with sliced organic radishes.
  • Spice it Up: Add more cayenne pepper
  • Keep it Crispy: If chips lose their crispiness overtime, throw them back into the oven at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes.

Heart Healthy Red Pepper Hummus

The garbanzo beans and olive oil in this recipe both help with blood fat regulation, including lowering levels of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), total cholesterol, and triglycerides. The red pepper is rich in lycopene and vitamins A and C, all of which are fabulous for heart health.

Ingredients:

1 can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1/2 organic red bell pepper

1/3 cup organic tahini (usually found in the nut butter aisle)

2 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil

2-3 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced

Juice of 1 medium OR 2 small organic lemons 

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

Himalayan or sea salt to taste

Directions: 

Puree all ingredients in food until smooth and creamy.

Enjoy with a rainbow of fresh organic veggies: 
carrots, celery, radishes, squash, zucchini, string beans, bell peppers, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc.

Brazil Nut Butter

Growing on trees that reach up to 160 feet tall, these delicious and highly nutritious nuts are high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and selenium. In fact, Brazil nuts are the highest natural source of selenium (543 mcg in 1 oz.). 

A potent micronutrient, scientific evidence to date suggests that selenium might play a role in the prevention or treatment of heart disease, cognitive decline, liver disease, some types of cancer, and thyroid disease. Selenium concentrations are highest in the thyroid gland, and it has a vital role in the functioning of the gland. Just two Brazil nuts a day make it easy for most people to meet their daily selenium requirement.

Don’t go overboard on Brazil nuts—too much selenium in the diet can cause brittle nails, alopecia, rash, upset stomach, and fatigue. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences advises a maximum limit of 45 mcg of selenium for kids and 400 mcg for adults daily. The best way to enjoy Brazil nuts is to combine a few with other types of nuts, seeds, and raisins. Sprinkle on salad, yogurt, or blend into a smoothie.

Making freshly ground nut butters at home gives you the opportunity to enjoy these nutritious spreads without the added sugar or preservatives often found in store-bought varieties.

Note: There is a 2 to 1 ratio of nuts to nut butter. To make 1 cup of nut butter, start with 2 cups of shelled nuts. 

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic raw Brazil nuts

Optional flavor add-ins (opt for organic or locally sourced):

  • Sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, finely ground to taste
  • Organic stevia, raw honey or maple syrup to taste
  • 1 tsp Organic vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp Organic cacao powder (for a smooth nut butter) or cacao nibs (for a chunkier nut butter)

Optional Prep:

(a) To make the nuts more digestible, soak and dehydrate the nuts to extract phytic acids (compounds that bind minerals). Before grinding, soak nuts in water and cover for 8-12 hours. Dehydrate about 10 hours.

(b) To add a distinctive, warm flavor, toast the nuts before grinding. Toast nuts on a dry baking sheet at 400°F until nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch closely; nuts burn easily. Make sure the nuts are cool to the touch before grinding.

Directions:

Place nuts into a food processor and start blending, leaving out the optional flavor add-ins. Blend for 11-12 minutes. You may need to grind at various speeds or intervals until you reach the consistency that meets your taste preferences. The nuts will go through several stages and you’ll need to keep pressing the contents into the center of the blender as you go through the process. The nuts will crumble, clump, ball, redistribute, and then finally … the oils will release, and you’ll have a nice spread.

Mix in your choice of flavor add-ins by hand. Nut butter keeps in the refrigerator for about a month.

Resources

Anton Health and Nutrition. “Homemade Nut Butter.”

Radiant Life Company. “That’s Nuts! A Complete Guide to Soaking Nuts and Seeds.”

National Institutes of Health. “Selenium: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.” Accessed May 2015. 

National Institutes of Health. “Selenium: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” Accessed May 2015.  

Nutrition and You. “Brazil Nuts Nutrition Facts.” Accessed May 2015. 

Holy Guacamole!

In the early 70's there was a song titled "Walk a Mile In My Shoes" by Joe South and my dad thought it was hilarious to sing "Guacamole in my shoes" instead. Yep, pretty corny but it stuck with me, and now every time I see, eat or even hear the word guacamole, I can hear dad's singing that chorus :-).

Growing up in California guacamole was also a staple food and any party or gathering without guac was downright sacrilegious. Even during the low-fat fad of the early 90's the delicious avocado managed to remain a constant in California cuisine. Today we have a much better understanding of the role of fats in our diet, and people are starting to get past the belief that fat is the enemy.

We now know that getting enough healthy fats is crucial and that they play a starring role in nutrient absorption, metabolism, hormones, brain function, cardiovascular health, etc., etc., etc... So while avocados may be a little pricey, they pack a serious nutritional punch and are incredibly delicious and versatile (as in extra creamy smoothies and vegan chocolate pudding!). A medium-sized avocado has a whopping 11 grams of fiber, nearly half of the daily recommended minimum intake! They are also an excellent source of potassium (more than bananas), and are rich in vitamins K, B, C, and E. Studies have also shown that avocados may lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease, and event prevent cancer. Yes please!

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • ·        2 avocados, very ripe, chopped loosely 
  • ·        Juice of 1 lime 
  • ·        3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped 
  • ·        ½ cup organic red bell pepper, diced 
  • ·        ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ·        ¼ cup organic tomato, chopped fine 
  • ·        1-2 serrano chilies, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • ·        1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ·        ¼ tsp sea salt (or to taste)

 Directions:

1.     In medium bowl, combine lime juice and avocado and blend, keeping mixture slightly chunky.

2.     Add red pepper, red onion and tomato.

3.     Stir and toss so ingredients are well blended and mash avocado to desired texture. I like mine a little chunky.

4.     Sprinkle small amount of sea salt; stir and taste.

5.     Place guacamole in a bowl and serve at room temperature.

Directions:

  1. In medium bowl, combine lime juice and avocado and blend, keeping mixture slightly chunky.
  2. Add red pepper, red onion and tomato.
  3. Stir and toss so ingredients are well blended and mash avocado to desired texture. I like mine a little chunky.
  4. Sprinkle small amount of sea salt; stir and taste.
  5. Place guacamole in a bowl and serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Mango Salsa

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh mango, diced (about 2 medium mangoes)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, finely diced
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
  • 1 Serrano or habanero (if you like it hot!) pepper, seeded and minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.  

Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes or until fully chilled in refrigerator.

Serve over fish, chicken , in tacos, or just enjoy with plantain chips.

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

This recipe is my version of the recipe from the Ultimate Reset© cleanse menu and is my all-time favorite salad dressing. It's delicious and everyone asks for the recipe, so I had to share it with you. Enjoy!

1/2 cup extra virgin garlic olive oil (available at Trader Joe's or you can use plan ev olive oil)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3-5 cloves garlic, crushed (I use 2-3 cloves of the Dorot brand frozen garlic, also from Trader Joe's)

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or  1tsp herbal seasoning (I use Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute)

1 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 Tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar

Place all ingredients in blender (I use a hand blender and a small bowl = less waste) and blend on medium high for 30 seconds or until well mixed. Store in airtight container in fridge. If dressing solidifies when cold, let it sit at

room temp until liquid, then shake/stir well. Makes 8-10 servings.