Fusion Rice Bowl with Mango, Beet and Avocado

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Growing up as a child, I thought my younger sister and I were never going to see eye to eye on anything. I didn’t quite understand then that as an adult, sisters could be best friends. I was yin, she was yang. I wanted savory foods, she liked all the sweet stuff. We pretty much had opposite views on everything. It wasn’t until we were no longer living under the same roof that our relationship began to change. I think early on in our adulthood, we started to gain more of a respect for each other. But over the years our relationship began to grow into a great friendship. She probably doesn’t know this, but I deeply cherish the bond that we have today. We have found ways in which my yin compliments her yang. One of the areas that we have kind of grown into together, is our love for food and a healthy lifestyle.

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This recipe was born in her kitchen. One day we wanted to make lunch using leftovers and I literally had a random array of ingredients out on the counter. I took charge and decided to make a rice bowl with the ingredients that I had. I wasn’t too keen on her idea to add beets and apple chicken sausage. Going against my childish instincts to say no and take the reigns of control, I decided to just go with it. To my surprise, this turned out amazing. In fact, I take it for lunch often. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as a team in the years to come ♥

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Fusion Rice Bowl with Mango, Beet and Avocado

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked Sushi Rice
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 -14oz package Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage Links
  • 1 beet, greens removed
  • 4 small Avocados
  • 4 small mangos

Instructions

  • 1) Bring 6 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add un-peeled beet (greens removed) to boiling water. Remove when skin on the outside of beet is soft. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.
  • 2) Chop sausage links into bite sized pieces. Heat saucepan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil to pan and add sausage pieces. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. When done, set aside to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • 3) When beet skin is soft, drain beet and set aside on a plate to cool until you can touch it without burning your hands. Using a fork, place beet in a ziplock bag and seal closed, leaving some air in the bag. Gently peel the beet from the outside of the bag using your fingers. When beet is peeled in bag, place back on plate and place under running water. Using your hands or a spoon, peel remaining bits of skin off beet. Do this under running water so that your hands do not turn pink. Carefully remove beet from running water (keep on plate) and using a fork and knife, cut beet into 1/2 inch cubes. If you do this correctly, your hands should not be stained at the end.
  • 4) Place chopped beet and sausage in sushi rice. Add vinegar, coconut aminos, and salt. Combine well. Place in the refrigerator to cool until you are ready to eat.
  • 5) To make a serving: divide rice mixture into 4 portions. Add 1 diced avocado and 1 diced mango to each rice serving. Mix well. May be eaten cold or hot. Enjoy!
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/07/05/fusion-rice-bowl-with-mango-beet-and-avocado/

 

CONTINUE HERE FOR PICTURE TUTORIAL:

1) Bring 6 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add un-peeled beet (greens  and stems removed) to boiling water. Remove when skin on the outside of beet is soft. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.

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2) Chop sausage links into bite sized pieces. Heat saucepan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil to pan and add sausage pieces. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. When done, set aside to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.

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3) When beet skin is soft, drain beet and set aside on a plate to cool until you can touch it without burning your hands. Using a fork, place beet in a ziplock bag and seal closed, leaving some air in the bag. Gently peel the beet from the outside of the bag using your fingers. When beet is peeled in bag, place back on plate and place under running water. Using your hands or a spoon, peel remaining bits of skin off beet. Do this under running water so that your hands do not turn pink. Carefully remove beet from running water (keep on plate) and using a fork and knife, cut beet into 1/2 inch cubes. If you do this correctly, your hands should not be stained at the end.

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Looks kind of like a heart lol!

 

 

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4) Place chopped beet and sausage in sushi rice. Add vinegar, coconut aminos, and salt. Combine well. Place in the refrigerator to cool until you are ready to eat.

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5) To make a serving: divide rice mixture into 4 portions. Add 1 diced avocado and 1 diced mango to each rice serving. Mix well. May be eaten cold or hot. Enjoy!

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My lunch setup at work :)

 

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Xoxo,

Tiffany

Melon Salad with Honey Mint Dressing

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I don’t know about you, but I tend to make things extremely complicated. I think it is part of my over organized/perfectionist curse (we will refer to it as a curse only because it consumes my mind at times).  This curse can cause complications when creating recipes at times because before I post, I want it to be as perfect as possible. In fact, I will occasionally overuse ingredients to achieve this mission, and then have to scale back because things have spiraled out of easy mode. Or even tolerable mode. What starts out as a simple task turns into a Wizard of Oz fiasco. I mean, wasn’t Dorothy’s request simple? She just wanted to go home! It took lions and tigers and bears before she got there…oh my!

Fortunately for you, me and anyone else that may happen to stumble upon my humble blogging abode, this recipe is the epitome of un-complication. I know, that’s not a real word, but if you haven’t realized it yet, I speak in Tiffany-isms…let’s not complicate things ;) It literally takes 4 ingredients and 10 minutes before you are drooling over a delicious snack. I am really not sure in what category to classify this recipe. You could eat it as a dessert, midday snack, breakfast, a refreshing palate cleanser…

See, there I go again! Let’s all keep this simple and just eat it for the sake of wanting a tasty treat :)

Melon Salad with Honey Mint dressing

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large Honeydew melon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (or 3 sprigs mint) removed from stems

Instructions

  • 1) Chop honeydew into bite sized chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  • 2) Using a blender or magic bullet, blend honey, water, mint and 1/3 cup honeydew until smooth. This will have a thin liquid consistency.
  • 3) Pour dressing over honeydew and toss to coat well.
  • 4) Eat! This dish makes a very nice presentation when garnished with a mint leaf.
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/06/12/melon-salad-with-honey-mint-dressing/

 

 

CONTINUE HERE FOR PICTURE TUTORIAL:

1) Chop honeydew into bite sized chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.

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2) Using a blender or magic bullet, blend honey, water, mint and 1/3 cup honeydew until smooth. This will have a thin liquid consistency.

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3) Pour dressing over honeydew and toss to coat well.

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4) Eat!

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This dish makes a very nice presentation when garnished with a mint leaf :) You can also switch up honeydew for another melon or add a combo for a colorful version.

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Xoxo,

Tiffany

Easy Peasy Trail Mix to Go

IMG_3098We have a staple in our household: trail mix. It’s one of those things I know my husband will go for when he is past the point of starving to hold him over, and is a healthy alternative to what he could grab instead. Don’t get me wrong…he is a super healthy eater, but you know how ravenous someone can get when they past the point of no return with an angry tummy. I’m pretty sure I would start eating the plants on my patio if I had to. No regrets either. Except that we forget to water them, so it would be a pretty dry snack…

This is probably the easiest trail mix you could ever throw together. I make it about every 2 weeks and takes me no more than 10 minutes to mix and separate into individual portions. I use what I affectionately call my “trail mix bowl” for measuring, mixing and storing. When it is empty, the hubster puts it out on the counter and I make some more. This version is not only pretty dern tasty, but also allows you to customize based on what you like. It’s really that simple.

 

What you’ll need:

A mix of nut varieties, dates, raisins, healthy chocolate chips, banana chips, dried fruit…whatever you like in a trail mix. Buy enough to fill your “trail mix” bowl

3 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp powdered maple sugar

 

Kitchen Equipment:

“Trail Mix” bowl

wooden spoon or a long kitchen spoon

measuring spoons and cup

sandwich sized ziplock baggies

 

Directions:

Step one: Find a large bowl that you don’t use for cooking all that often. It will become your trail mix bowl :) This is what mine looks like.

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Fill your trail mix bowl until you only have about 2 inches left on the sides without any mix. Use a combo of your ingredients. For this mix, I used banana chips, dates, almonds, walnuts and cashews. If all of your stuff won’t fit, just set it aside for next time.

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Add cinnamon, maple sugar and mix well with a big spoon. This makes the trail mix so tasty! You can also add apple pie or pumpkin pie spice around the holidays to mix it up a bit.

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Using a 1 cup measuring cup, portion the trail mix out into sandwich baggies.

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Keep portioning the mix out until you have no more. See, all gone :) Rinse and dry your trail mix bowl.

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Put your portioned baggies back into your trail mix bowl. I usually get about 13-15 baggies. You could get more with a smaller portion size if you want.

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Place your trail mix bowl in a very obvious place in your pantry. Mine is in the front of the other stuff I have crammed in there lol. IMG_3110Enjoy!

 

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Banana Sashimi with Sushi Rice (Bonus…how to make a sushi roll without a bamboo mat!)

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Isn’t it funny when you find a strange flavor combination that just works?! That’s how this sushi came about. It’s kind of a long story that I don’t want to bore you with…

Who am I kidding, I’m going to tell you.

And secretly you know you want to hear it :)

I was at work a few weeks ago and my coworker brought in an enormous amount of delicious grapefruits in from her backyard. Let me preface that my coworkers and I cannot do anything on a normal level, so we went a little overboard: grapefruit slices, grapefruit and sugar, grapefruit tea, grapefruit in our water, etc. If we could figure out a way to use it, we did. While in the midst of our grapefruit obsession, another coworker walked into our area and asked if we had even eaten grapefruit with soy sauce on it. I hadn’t, but I loved it! An amazing burst of salty and sour and sweet in your mouth at the same time. The flavors complemented each other perfectly!

That day I also happened to be a little low in potassium (don’t you hate muscle spasms in your eye! Uggh!) So I walked down to our little cafeteria to see if I could buy a banana. Unfortunately all they had was one of the greenest bananas I had ever seen. At that point, I didn’t care about flavor, I just wanted my face back to normal. So I paid for my banana and walked back to the grapefruit station. Acting silly, I put some soy sauce on the fluorescent green wrapped flesh to see if it would taste any better. To my surprise, it was pretty good. In fact, sushi good. I am an avid sushi lover, so I frequently compare foods to on a scale with sushi being the best and artificial satan sugar being the worst. It not only was right up there on the sushi scale, but it actually tasted like a piece of sashimi. I’m pretty sure it was due to the fact that it was a green banana and lacked the sweet flavor that develops with the ripening process. Whatever the case, it sent me into the kitchen to create this strange but delicious masterpiece…Banana Sashimi with Sushi rice!! I have also added a section on how to make them into rolls if you prefer the traditional roll up nori sushi. If you have ever been a little bit afraid of raw fish, but love sushi, this recipe is for you. However if you love traditional sushi, I promise, you won’t be disappointed :)

 

What you’ll need:

2-3 green bananas (the greener the better)

2-3 tbsp coconut aminos (or non-GMO soy sauce)

1 cup sushi rice

1 + 1/4 cup water

1 +1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

Nori strips (description at the end of the post)

Wasabi (optional)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Medium saucepan with lid

Cutting board

Non-serrated knife (sharpened)

Spoon or basting brush

Large bowl

 

Directions:

Measure out 1 cup of sushi rice and rinse well.

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Place sushi rice in a saucepan and cover with 1 + 1/4 cup water. Leave uncovered and bring to a boil.

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As soon as water begins to have a slight boil, reduce heat to low and cover saucepan. Make sure you turn the heat down as soon as you see little boiling bubbles or you will probably have a boiling-over mess on your stove…just sayin :/

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As soon as you cover the rice, simmer on low for 20 minutes. Do not remove the lid anytime during the cooking process. When the timer goes off, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Do not remove the lid until the 5 min are done!!

 

 

 

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Time to prep the bananas. The greener bananas the better. The ones I am using are even a little more yellow than I wouldve liked but that’s all they had at the store that day. Try to get solid green if possible. Sometimes the produce people will hide them under the bananas on display in boxes below. Ask them for help if you can’t find any.

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Green bananas do not peel like yellow bananas. Make a small slit in the top with a knife and then it should peel back easily.

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Cut each banana in half.

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Then cut the halves in half.

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If the piece that is curled up has an angled end, cut it off so the ends are straight and it will lay flat a little easier. You are aiming to get it as close the the curled down piece shown in the far right side of the picture (next to the knife).

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Place banana pieces on a plate. With a basting brush or spoon, coat the banana slices with coconut aminos.

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Cover and place in the refrigerator until assembly.

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When rice is done, it should be light and fluffy…not soggy or waterlogged.

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Place rice in a non-metallic bowl to cool. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before handling. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.

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While the rice is cooling, take nori strips and slice small strips that are about 1/2 inch thick.

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Take rice out of the fridge and mix in the rice vinegar and salt. With wet hands, take a small handful of rice and squeeze tightly into a ball. Gently form into an oval shape and lay on the plate. Make sure the rice is firmly packed together or you won’t be able to use chopsticks to pick it up. If you are using wasabi, spread a very small amount on the top of the rice. The banana seems to intensify the wasabi. You were warned :)

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Place banana slices on top of rice. Wet the nori strips (very gently…they break easy) and place them on top of the banana. Using a knife, tuck the bottoms of the nori strips up under the rice.

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Add chopsticks and enjoy!

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If you like your sushi in roll form, here is what I did a little differently. Make sure your sushi rice is prepped, cooled and ready to go (see above instructions). Slice green banana in half across the middle, take the half and slice it in half long ways, and cut that half long ways into thirds.

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Place banana on a plate and marinate in coconut aminos for a few minutes.

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Lay out a piece of saran wrap to protect the sushi and place a sheet of nori on top. You want the short side of the sheet closest to you.

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Place about 3/4 to 1 cup sushi rice on nori. Cover the whole sheet, leaving about 2 inches uncovered at the end farthest away from you.

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Place 3 or 4 banana strips 1/3 of the way into the sushi roll.

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Using your hands, tightly roll up the nori up and over the banana strips, gently squeezing as you roll.

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Continue squeezing gently and rolling until you get to the section with no rice.

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Wet the remaining area with a little water and roll the rest of the way up. The water will seal the roll together.

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Place the roll on a plate while you make the other rolls.

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It should look like this from the outside before you cut it.

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Slice of the ends of the roll and discard or, sample your roll like I do :) These pieces do not hold up well for serving.

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Extra tip: use a non-serrated knife to slice your rolls. It makes a much smoother cut. I used a serrated knife on the right side and a non-serrated on the left. The serrated side is crimped down. Booooo!

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Slice the rolls into 3/4 – 1 inch slices.

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Like so…

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Mmmmmmm! This is what I had for lunch today :)

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It was soooooo good too!

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I can’t wait to make more soon! Enjoy!!

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Nori is a seaweed, or sea veggie, that is sooooo good for you and delicious! It is slightly sweet and helps improve your skin. It is also loaded with Omega-3′s. Don’t believe me? Check out what Dr. Oz has to say on it here

Xoxo,

TIffany

Hazelnut Apple Pie Bites


I think I have just made the best raw vegan dessert ever.

I mean EVER.

I seriously am having a hard time not going into the kitchen and eating more before finishing this blog.

Yup…it’s that good.

I have been toying around with this recipe for a while, working on different variations. Baked vs not, more apple, more dates, more cinnamon, etc.

Finally, the perfect balance was born.

Normally I wouldn’t be so rigid when it comes to recipe altercations, but I SWEAR I wouldn’t change a thing. For me, it is a perfect blend of flavors and consistency.

It’s like a hug for your tastebuds :)

Waning: You may want to double or triple the recipe, because these will most likely be gone in the first day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

 

What you’ll need:

2 organic apples

10oz container dates (pitted)

1/3 + 1/2 cup hazelnut flour (you could substitute for almond flour in a pinch…I get mine at Publix)

1/3 cup golden raisins

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp bourbon vanilla (pure vanilla in the grocery store)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Cutting board

Knife

Food processor with shredding blade and mixing blade

Baking sheet covered in foil

Tupperware container for storage

 

Directions:

Quarter 2 apples. Remove the core and seeds. It is not necessary to peel the apples.

Place the shredding blade in the food processor. Make sure the side that says “Shredding”  and the shredding blades are facing up. If not, you will have lots of little sliced apple pieces :/

Turn on the processor and place apple pieces in the shoot. Shred until all the apples looks like little shoestring potatoes.

Take off the shredding blade and put apples in a bowl. Place chopping blade into food processor.

Add dates, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins, 1/3 cup hazelnut flour and shredded apples.

Hang on to your food processor (seriously…hang onto it…those dates are tough to chop through in the beginning!) Blend continuously for about 20 seconds, stop to scrape down the bowl, and blend again for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the mixture begins come together. Do not over process…you still want to see some small pieces of the fruit so they have a little chewy bite to them.

Place remaining hazelnut flour on a plate. With wet hands, roll mixture into 20 tablespoon sized balls.

Carefully roll pie mixture into hazelnut flour, completely coating the outside.

You should have a nicely coated Hazelnut Apple Pie bite when you are through :)

Place the pie bites on a foil lined cookie sheet and chill for at least 2 hours before placing into a tupperware container. If you are in a hurry, pop them in the freezer for about 20 min first.

I dare you not to eat the whole plate!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Strawberry Chipolte Jam with Vegan Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

So I was planning on saving this recipe to post at another time, but it’s honestly too good not to share. I have been eating this as my afternoon snack almost non-stop for the last few weeks. It’s so good that your brain will totally be thrown off. It knows what you’re eating is healthy, but it sure doesn’t taste that way!

My story starts awhile back when I wanted to make something fun to participate in a friendly ‘Iron Chef’ competition in my bible study group. The main ingredient was strawberries. I didn’t want to bring just any old strawberry dish, so I Googled something like “Unique Strawberry recipes.” Several sites popped up with an idea for Strawberry Chipolte Jam with Cheesy biscuits. That sounded fun, so long story short, I made it and everyone loved my strawberry creation. It was great for the contest, but not so much for an every day healthy snack. The original recipe was LOADED with sugar (I think it may have called for a 1:1 ratio of sugar to strawberries). Plus the biscuits were not gluten free, and contained lots of salt, lard and gooey cheddar cheese. While that may sound ever so appealing, it’s a recipe for disaster if you want to walk proudly on the road to better eating and healthy snacks. I wanted something that I could eat knowing I wasn’t making an absolute disaster out of my body.

So after much tweaking (and creating an entirely different biscuit), here is the new and improved (and surprisingly more delicious!) Strawberry Chipolte Jam with Vegan Cheddar Garlic Biscuits.

Go ahead…

Start making your new favorite snack.

Your tastebuds will thank you.

 

What you’ll need:

1 small can chipolte peppers in adobo sauce

2 – 16oz containers whole fresh strawberries

3/4 cup honey

2 packets stevia

1 cup Sorghum Flour

1 cup tapioca flour (plus more for dusting)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp garlic powder, split into 2 parts

1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tbsp organic tomato paste

2/3 cup almond milk

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp refined coconut oil (I usually recommend unrefined, but for this, you don’t want the coconut flavor)

 

Kitchen Equipment

Blender, Food Processor or Ninja

Cutting Board (2)

Strainer

Medium Saucepan

waxed or parchment paper

Bowl

Baking sheet coated with parchment paper

Pastry Blender or 2 forks

Glass drinking cup

Rolling pin

 

Directions:

Drain chipolte peppers in strainer and rinse well.

Pick 3-4 chipolte peppers and place in food processor. You can add more or less depending on your ability to handle spicy food. This amount will make a medium spice level in your sauce. Put the remaining peppers in a freezer bag and place in freezer to use next time.

Rinse and chop the green parts off strawberries. Place them in the food processor with the peppers.

Pulse on and off for about 15-20 seconds. You want them to be broken down, but still chunky. They should not be completely pureed.

Place the mixture in a saucepan. Add honey and stevia. Bring to a boil.

Once mixture is boiling, lower heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

When sauce is done, it will be darker, thicker and have reduced slightly in the amount. Place cooked Jam into the refrigerator and cool completely before placing into jars.

While Jam is cooking, prepare biscuits. Heat oven to 350°. Mix sorghum flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, salt, 1 tsp garlic powder and nutritional yeast in a bowl. Both flours should be available at your local grocery or health food store. I bought the Sorghum at Walmart in the gluten free section.

Place a piece of waxed paper over a cutting board. Sprinkle about a half cup tapioca flour on the paper.

Place 1/4 cup coconut oil and 2 tbsp tomato paste in flour mixture.

Using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the tomato paste and coconut oil into the flour mixture until it is distributed and looks like cornmeal.

Add 2/3 – 3/4 cup almond milk, just enough until the mixture is combined. You don’t want it to be runny. You may need more or less milk to achieve this, so put it in a little at a time.

Place dough on cutting board and top with some of the tapioca flour. Gently knead flour so that it is not sticky anymore. Don’t over do it. With a gluten free flour mixture, it can get too dry and fall apart. When the mixture is no longer sticky, roll out with a rolling pin until it is about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

Using a glass, cut 8 circles out and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You may have to re-roll dough to get all 8 circles.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Make sure the tops have cracked or the dough may be gummy inside. Mix remaining 2 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tsp garlic powder in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the warm biscuits generously with the garlic powder mixture and let dry.

Place remaining tomato paste in a small storage container and place in freezer for your next batch. Or make another batch right now. You’ll eat them all within the week anyway :)

I like re-using a glass jelly jar with the label removed for my homemade jam. You can always put the jam in any container that seals well. If your Jam will not completely fit in container, place the remaining jam in a freezer bag. You can freeze it and pull out when your jar is empty.

Fill jar with Jam!

Using a small piece of paper and some double sticky tape, place the date on the top of the jar so you know when you made it. When you are done with the Jam, pull the date off, throw the paper away and wash the jar for next time. The Jam should last for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. I wouldn’t trust it for much longer without freezing because we are not preserving anything.

Top the biscuits with Jam. Mmmmmmmm….I may need to go make some of these now.

Like, right now.

 

To have a handy snack throughout the week, I wrap 2 biscuits in saran wrap at a time, place all the wrapped biscuits in a freezer bag, and into the freezer to keep fresh until I am ready to eat them. I take one pack out in the morning, throw it in my lunchbox and pop them in the toaster when I am ready for a snack. These biscuits do not rise very much, so they fit into a toaster perfectly. This snack has made it very hard to experiment making anything else right now. I might just have to keep posting this one over and over for awhile.

Let me know what you think!! I’d love to hear if this is your new favorite snack too :)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Herbed Goat Cheese and Tomato Caprese Stacks with Balsamic Agave Drizzle

There is something about food presentation that changes everything about a meal. For some reason, when it looks prettier, it seems to taste better overall. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, this seems to be the rule. I have the same rule with a bottle of  wine. If the bottle looks pretty, I’m probably going to try it (as long as it is a vintage I am into). I guess you could label me as a food and drink snob lol.

This recipe busts right through the rule.

You could literally pile it all on a plate and it wouldn’t matter how it was presented. Yup…it’s that good.

But for the sake of fun, and pictures, I have decided to make it look pretty for you, so you too can make it look pretty at home.

At least for the 30 seconds before it is devoured.

 

What you’ll need:

6 medium sized tomatoes (sometimes you can get them in a pack and are labeled as tasting sweet…these are the best!)

4 oz herbed goat cheese, log formed

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

 

Kitchen Equipment:

small saucepan

Cutting board

Knife

Storage container for sauce and stacks

 

Directions:

To make sauce, combine vinegar and agave nectar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for about 5 min. Place in a container and let cool completely.

Slice tomatoes into 4 even pieces, leaving top intact with stem. Top with small sliver of goat cheese on each tomato.

Stack tomato slices on top of one another, arranging so that the goat cheese packed in between slices. Top with stemmed piece.

Drizzled with balsamic glaze.

Drool.

If you were able to keep yourself from inhaling this freshly made tempting tomato stack, you can store it in plastic containers. I recommend not putting the glaze on until right before it is served. These will stay fresh for about up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Occasionally the juice from the tomato will settle in the bottom of the container if you decide to store them instead of making them fresh, but this does not affect the flavor at all (just the presentation). I am a huge fan of traditional tomato caprese, but the mozzarella gets me every time. Oddly enough, when I created this recipe, I actually thought it tasted BETTER than the mozzarella version and you don’t have to use fresh basil to get the herb flavor because it is incorporated into the cheese. Plus, who can resist anything drizzled with balsamic agave vinaigrette? Yum!! Time to eat…:)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

White Cheddar Popcorn – Hold the Cheddar!

Once upon a time I couldn’t eat popcorn. I know, for all you popcorn lovers out there…very sad. I really liked popcorn and decided to get a huge bucket to go along with my movie at the theater one night. About an hour or so after the movie, I wasn’t feeling so good. Long story short…it ended up being a looooong night and the following day recovering from food poisoning. You see, movie theaters will reheat their butter, over and over and over and over and over again. This constant reheating changes the composition of the butter, and increases the risk of it going rancid which is ultimately what led to my popcorn demise. For several years, I couldn’t even stand the scent of buttered popcorn cooking. If any smell could bring me back to a particular moment in time, it was that one. I personally didn’t want to relive the nightmare!

It took awhile, but I finally began to enjoy non-buttered popcorn again (which is better for the body anyway so it was a win-win for me lol). I found I really enjoyed different varieties as well, such as salt and pepper, cheese, kettle, etc. I wanted to be able to make this at home, but they don’t sell any convenient “ready to make” popcorn for the microwave without adding some sort of butter flavor in the packaging. So I set out to do some research and found that it is just as fast and easy to make your own stovetop popcorn. There is also apparently a simple way to make it in a brown paper bag as well, but more on that later…

During my “popcorn research” I stumbled upon a little place that makes non-GMO popcorn called Amish Country Popcorn. They make all sorts of cute popcorn varieties, including blue popcorn (which for come reason I am infatuated this variety all because it is blue… go figure lol). I ordered several varieties and when they arrived it felt like Christmas! I’m still not sure why I got so excited over popcorn. Maybe it really is the simple things in life that make me happy :)

 

What you’ll need:

1/4  cup non-GMO popcorn

2-3 tbsp coconut or safflower oil

2-3 tbsp olive oil (for drizzling)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (not brewers yeast)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp  himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Medium size stockpot

Large bowl lined with a paper towel

 

Directions:

Heat oil over medium high heat in saucepan.

Once oil is heated, add one kernel of popcorn into stock pot.

When the kernel pops, you know the oil is ready. Remove this kernel before the next step.

Add the rest of your popcorn to the stockpot.

Place a lid over the popcorn and gently move back and forth over burner. You should hear the kernels start to pop. Cook for about 30 to 45 seconds or until the popping slows down or stops. Place popcorn immediately into a bowl lined with a paper towel so that the popcorn does not burn in the pan.

Let popcorn sit in bowl for about 1 minute. Carefully remove the paper towel, leaving the popcorn in the bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil. Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder,  salt. Toss popcorn to coat well.

Separate into portion sized bowls and enjoy!

This literally take me less than 5 minutes to make plus this is so much better for your body than microwave popcorn! In fact, there are new studies emerging about something called “popcorn lung,” a disease causing scarring in the lungs of people who have inhaled a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is what is used to add or increase the butter flavor in microwave popcorn. Click here to read more about diacetyl and its effects on the body.

Funny, I did a blind taste test on my popcorn with a friend and she really thought it was a white cheddar popcorn! The nutritional yeast gives you all the cheesy flavor without the fat and dairy. You also get the added benefits of B-vitamins, no sugar or gluten, and lots of protein. In fact, nutritional yeast contains 9 grams or protein in 2 tablespoons. This is right around the same amount of protein found in whey powder without all the added dairy and sugar found in many commercial powders. Who ever thought you could enjoy your popcorn and get your protein in at the same time?! I have one warning…this stuff is addictive! Make extra ;)

Still not convinced? Check out this article Scary Facts about Microwave Popcorn

Renal diet exchange: use Safflower oil instead of coconut and omit salt

Xoxo,

Tiffany

P.S. Click here for a link to cooking popcorn in the microwave using a brown paper bag. It sounds really interesting if you hate cooking popcorn on the stove. I am going to check it out soon!

 

Banana Peach Smoothie Sensation

I have never been much of a smoothie drinker. Can’t really say I am partial to ice cream or yogurt either. It must be something about the consistency that gets to me. I can eat a little bit of it and then I’m pretty much over it in about 2 or 3 minutes. One of the things I really do like about smoothies are their convienience. I can whip up a sweet fruit concoction in less than 5 minutes and be out the door and on my way to work, smoothie in hand. There is no sitting down or utensils (well, maybe a straw) required. Just sip and go! I also love the ability to blend different flavors. Fruit and tree nuts are soooo good for you, and this is a perfect way to get your vitamins, protein and energy all in one glass.

So it order to make smoothies appealing, I tend to be very critical of how I put them together, what they are made of, and what I drink them in. Martini glasses are always fun if you aren’t heading anywhere, and a straw is a must!

Here is one of my favorite quick smoothies that only has 4 ingredients, and it very filling:

What you need:

1 banana

1 peach, pit removed

12 cashews

1 cup coconut water

Kitchen equipment

Blender, Ninja or Magic bullet

Trendy glass

straw

Blend all ingredients for 2 min. Pour into glass and Enjoy!   It’s really that sinple and delicious. I will make this in the morning and put it in the fridge for a midmorning snack sometimes too. It is great room temp or cold. If you want it cold immediately, add a few pieces of ice in the blending process. You won’t be disappointed!

XOXO,

Tiffany

 

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