Mexican Taco Bake

It all started with this almost rotten tomato. After that, it was meant to be.

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There are days when I feel like I have nothing in the house to make a meal. Then comes along the rare days when the angels are singing from heaven and a “meant to be” meal appears. This was one of those days. I had been planning my freezer meals for the next few weeks (more on that at the end of the post), and for some reason I was stuck on Mexican food. Taco bake, enchiladas, etc. Right around that time I realized that food planning and the fact that I was hungry probably wasn’t going so well, so I needed to make something for lunch. I just returned from a 7 day cruise and had not shopped for food in over a week. The gourmet style cruise cuisine also had me completely spoiled, and a basic sandwich just wasn’t gonna cut it. Then I remembered the tomato. The one I showed my husband the night before. We were actually both kind of surprised how long it had held on since I bought it 2 weeks earlier. It had a purpose and somehow knew not to rot before it was fulfilled.

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In my quest for Mexican food I remembered the leftover taco meat I had frozen. I buy expensive healthier brands of meat, so I don’t want to waste anything. Plus, if an animal is going to sacrifice its life for me, I want to be respectful and eat it all. I recommend that if you have any bits of meat left over…just throw them in the freezer for another small meal later on. As I started looking around the kitchen, I had enough ingredients to make a taco bowl. YAY! It turned out so amazing I want to share it with all of you. A quick, easy, delicious meal. The only thing better that that would be if someone made it for you :)

Mexican Taco Bake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4

Ingredients

  • Cooked Taco meat, frozen or thawed (can be vegan too)
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • Non-cow dairy cheese
  • Corn relish
  • Black bean hummus
  • 1-2 cups blue corn chips
  • Coriander
  • 3-4 ramekins

Instructions

  • 1) Fill Ramekins up 1/3 with taco meat
  • 2) Top with diced tomato
  • 3) Add cheese
  • 4) Place 1 to 2 spoonfuls corn relish over cheese
  • 5) Add 2 tablespoons black bean hummus over relish and try to spread out in dish
  • 6) Crush blue corn chips and place over all ingredients
  • 7) Sprinkle each ramekin with coriander
  • 8) Bake 15-20 min on 375 or until heated through and cheese is melted
  • 9) Enjoy!
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/11/05/mexican-taco-bake/

Continue here for picture tutorial:

Fill Ramekins up 1/3 with taco meat (can use vegan meat as an alternative).

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Top with diced tomato. Add cheese.

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Place 1 to 2 spoonfuls corn relish over cheese. Add 2 tablespoons black bean hummus over the relish and try to spread out in a dish.

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Crush blue corn chips and place over all ingredients. Do you think it was a coincidence my husband left the hammer on the counter after doing housework? I think not!

 

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Sprinkle each ramekin with coriander

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Bake 15-20 min on 375 or until heated through and cheese is melted

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Enjoy!

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Stay tuned for a new section coming up on Tiffany’s Trim Treats! I am finding myself SUPER busy lately (obviously…I haven’t blogged since July :/ ) and have taken a liking to bulk cooking. I am not a freezer meal kinda gal because they usually end up disgusting and the store bought ones are full of sodium. My sister and I have been creating delicious meals that you can cook once or twice a month, freeze and truly enjoy. This section will give you ideas for meals that are balanced with the right amount of protein, carb and veggies. They are not loaded with preservatives and empty calories. Each tutorial will also include how to freeze your meals so that they stay fresh. I look forward to sharing this will you all soon!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Homemade Crock Pot Red Sauce

There have been many times in my life where I loved a recipe, but wasnt so keen on the length of time to be involved in making it. I don’t want to have to be stuck to the house because something has to sit on the stove for 3 hours. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!

I can’t remember how old I was when I first started applying recipe modifications to my cooking style, but it was probably one of the best milestones of my “kitchen” life. My mother likes to call me a savory cook…I can kind of feel my way through a recipe rather than follow it step for step. I also figured out how to use my crock pot, and to use it often. I can modify almost any recipe that requires quite a bit of cooking time in the stove or oven, and make it crock pot friendly. If someone asked me which kitchen appliance I couldn’t live without, it would definitely be that one!

This recipe is actually a Rachel Ray modification. I make it every 2 months or so in large batches and it is INCREDIBLY easy! We use it in lasagna, over chicken, on pizza, etc. Really, anywhere you use a red sauce, this one will work for you…and your time schedule :)

You’ll never go back to the jar!

 

Homemade Crock Pot Red Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6 cups (3 servings)

Serving Size: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 - 28oz cans organic crushed tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup organic red wine (merlot is best)
  • 1 can anchovies (optional)

Instructions

  • 1) Open cans of red sauce and pour them into crock pot. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • 2) Crush garlic cloves and remove skins (no need to chop). Add to crockpot
  • 3) If using anchovies, chop fine. Add to crockpot. Side note: the anchovies don't given the sauce a fishy flavor at all. It actually helps to give a more authentic italian flavor.
  • 4) Add wine to crock pot.
  • 5) Stir all ingredients well.
  • 6) Set crock pot to low for 4 hours. Walk away and enjoy your day!
  • 7) When sauce is done and cooled, stir well and separate into freezer bags in 2 cup portions. Freeze unused sauce.
  • *When ready to use frozen sauce, remove from freezer bag and thaw over low heat in a sauce pan. This is the most effective method. Stir well before using.
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/07/11/homemade-crock-pot-red-sauce/

Continue here for picture tutorial:

Open cans of red sauce and pour them into crock pot. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil.

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Crush garlic cloves and remove skins (no need to chop). Add to crockpot . If using anchovies, chop fine. Add to crockpot. Side note: the anchovies don’t given the sauce a fishy flavor at all. It actually helps to give a more authentic italian flavor.

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Add wine to crock pot. Stir all ingredients well. Set crock pot to low for 4 hours. Walk away and enjoy your day!

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When sauce is done and cooled, stir well and separate into freezer bags in 2 cup portions. Freeze unused sauce.

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When ready to use frozen sauce, remove from freezer bag and thaw over low heat in a sauce pan. This is the most effective method. Stir well before using.

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

Cashew Milk

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One of the best tasting items on the juice fast I recently did was the cashew milk! I would put it in a martini glass at the end of the night and savor it slowly. The cashews make for a perfect creamy milk alternative.  Cashew Milk + Sunbutter and Jelly sandwich = smiling happy face :)

Cashew Milk

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: 5-6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1tsp natural vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Blender or Ninja
  • Nut Milk Bag or Cheesecloth
  • Fine Mesh Strainer

Instructions

  • 1) Soak the cashews in water overnight or at least 4 hours
  • 2) Drain and rinse the cashews well before blending
  • 3) Place cashews in a blender or Ninja
  • 4) Fill the blender up to the top marking. It should be about 6-8 cups of water.
  • 5) Add maple syrup, vanilla and salt
  • 6) Blend well for about 2 minutes.
  • 7) Drain cashew mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the milk
  • 8) Rinse blender completely, and filter milk through the nut milk bag or double thickened cheesecloth back into the blender to catch and small pieces of cashews left over
  • 9) Pour milk into an airtight container and refrigerate. Lasts for about 5 days. Enjoy!

For a Picture tutorial, visit http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/21/cashew-milk/

http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/24/cashew-milk/

Continue Here for Picture Tutorial:

1) Soak 2 cups cashews overnight or at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse well. Add Cashews to blender or Ninja. Fill with water up to top measurement on blender cup. Add 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend for 2 minutes.

 

 

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Strain cashew mixture over a fine mesh strainer. Make sure to drain it into another bowl to catch the milk.

 

 

 

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Rinse out blender well. Strain milk back into blender through a nut milk bag or a double thick layer of cheesecloth to get any fine cashew pieces out of the milk.

 

 

 

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Place milk into an airtight container and refrigerate. Will last up to 5 days if it has not been devoured before then :)

 

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Enjoy!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

 

 

My Experience with a 3 Day Juice Fast

My life revolves around food.  It seems like everything I do, whether it’s working around my Bikram yoga schedule or going to work, I plan for what and when to eat meals and snacks constantly. In fact I have a gigantic lunch-box from Thirty-One that I pack all my food into when I go to work. It’s a little overkill, but that’s what I do. I never want to be so hungry that I am reaching for something that I shouldn’t be. After the planning, then there’s finding time to re-heat, sit down and eat it all. Microwave, toaster oven, forks, knives, spoons, plates, bowls, table, chair, etc. So one day after leaving for work with my lunch-box and another bag full of snacks I thought, “What if my world didn’t revolve around eating?” At least for a few days anyway. I’m too in love with food to go cold turkey for long lol.

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A few years ago I decided to try juicing. During a juice fast, you literally drink nothing but freshly juiced fruits and veggies, as well as plenty of water and detox tea. With all the juice made in the morning, I would be free to go about my day not having to think about making, heating up or buying my next meal. No microwaves, toaster ovens, forks, knives, spoons, plates, bowls, etc. In a sense, it would be a mental break from thinking about what to eat for the next few days.  The health benefits are really amazing if you can deal with the fact that you are not consuming solid food and/or chewing for the duration of the fast. Unfortunately, like many do, I went about it the wrong way: no mental or physical preparation and definitely not enough juice to sustain me throughout the day. I also chose to try and start the fast while working an overnight shift (which is not my normal shift). Around 1am, I had a headache with nausea that was so intense, I wanted to share the emesis basin with my patients as I pushed them down the hallway. It was awful. Sadly, I broke my fast with saltine crackers. The headache went away within 15 minutes.

So this time around, I did a little research. I learned all about what to do leading up to the fast, during the fast and how to break it safely. I prepared myself mentally and physically. I made sure I knew the ins and outs so that I wouldn’t be surprised about anything that happened. I had everything figured out. The funny thing is that as soon as you think you know everything about something, you learn afterwards that you never really knew much of anything to begin with. The preparation was a great step, however this 3 day fast taught me so much more about my mind, spirit and body than I ever thought possible. I perservered day by day, gaining an amazing experience that I will not soon forget.

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Why Do a Juice Fast?

Not only does juicing simplify your life during a fast, it has amazing health benefits. Even though most of the time we may eat pretty healthy, there are still the occasions (sometimes weekly) where we put bad stuff in our bodies. I am just as guilty of this. Juicing helps to heal the body by flushing toxins out and let the digestive system rest for a few days. While the liver and kidneys detox our bodies daily, this gives an added boost to cleansing. It is a great way to easily absorb vitamins into your system quickly and after the first day gives you an amazing amount of energy and clarity. If you have food allergies, this is a great reset button. Juicing allows you to introduce foods back into the diet slowly so you can see how they affect your body.

Warnings

Although a 3 day juice fast isn’t likely going to harm anyone, if you have any health issues, you should always consult a doctor first. Diabetics should take caution because these juices contain natural fruit that can alter your blood sugar. Juicing for too long may lead to loss of lean muscle mass as you start to lose weight. For this reason, I do not recommend doing more than a 3 day fast, especially if you are already thin. If you decide to keep going, make sure you are under the care of a physician so that they can monitor your health throughout the process. Diarrhea, lightheadedness, vomiting and syncope are signs that your body is not handling the fast well and you should consider breaking it at this point. Headaches are perfectly normal.

What I learned:

  1. God made my body to be much stronger than I gave it credit. I had the strength to push through, even when I was challenged to quit. During the tough times, I prayed. This process definitely strengthened my relationship and trust in Christ.
  2. I had some digestive issues that I never even knew about! I don’t think I would’ve known had I not done the fast either. Waking up the second day with red urine really freaked me out, but I had what is called beeturia. It is defined as pink or red urine after the ingestion of beets and affects about 10-14% of the population. This can signal that the digestive system is not functioning and/or absorbing properly. This makes complete sense as I had recently been experiencing bloating after meals and I wasn’t very regular. I started taking a probiotic to aid in digestion. Within a few days I was feeling much better, and after testing with beet juice, no more beeturia. It can also be a symptom that you may have an iron deficiency. Click HERE to check out what beeturia can mean for you.
  3. While I was detoxing physically, I also started to detox emotionally. Not in a “cry your eyes out” sort of way, but in a confident “tell it like it is” way. I was able to speak the honest truth, politely, to many people about stuff that makes me bruise easily on the inside. I tend to hold things in when they bother me and create barriers to protect from further harm. This just traps the bad feelings in and means that one day I am going to have to deal with them again and again and again until I deal with the issue. I think the only way you can detox completely is to get rid those barriers that help hold on to toxic stuff, whether physical or mental. It was a truly freeing experience. Again, prayer was a big key in this step.
  4. I have a snack time “bewitching hour”. It is usually around 4pm-5pm. I was never hungry, but felt like eating just because I wanted to. This was good to know because I can now decipher the difference between true hunger and eating out of boredom. I never knew that it was the same cycle daily. You’d think this would be easy to tell on an everyday basis, but there is a strange understanding and clarity that comes with juicing. On the flip side, I get hungry around 1pm. Really hungry. It’s funny how you can learn so much about what your body really needs when you take food out of the equation.
  5. I was amazed at how easy it was to “have a meal.” I didn’t have to sit down, heat anything up, spend a lot of time cutting and spooning things into my mouth, etc. I could grab a freshly made juice, shake it up and go. It was great!
  6. Your body really will accept what you give it to eat. Those cravings are all in my head. It is possible to eat something healthy while craving something else and your body will live on to see another day lol!
  7. The only time I truly wanted to eat (other than the bewitching hour) was if someone had something I wanted. And I wanted it only because I knew I couldn’t have it. Childish yes, but it was the truth. I had several of these instances come up and I was able to recognize the feelings and let them go. Juicing brings out all sorts of strange feelings locked inside. You have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to let go of. Ultimately, it can help shape you into the person you want to be and get rid of the things that are holding you back.

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Here is a juice diary that I recorded during my 3 day fast. It gives an idea of what you might experience as you go through each day.

 

Juice diary
I love Juice. This is going to be easy! Right?!?

Day 1
9:30 AM- I planned to get up at 6 AM this morning, but I overslept so around 8 o’clock I rolled out of bed to make my juice. Plan on giving yourself about an hour and a half the first day, because you need to prep all of your fruits and veggies for the next few days. Everything so far so good. I made my tea and I’m drinking that while I’m working on the rest of my stuff. Grilling chicken and cooking black beans for the next few days for hubby before food cravings kick in.

12:30pm- I’m really cold and just want to snuggle in bed. No food cravings though

5pm- Feeling like I need food even though I’m not hungry. Having a little trouble completely concentrating on conversations. Want to snack on something crunchy like pretzels.

9pm-headache setting in…going to bed to sleep this part off

Day 2
7:30am- Woke up feeling much better, but my back is very sore. Toxins are working their way out!!

8am- had breakfast and tea. So far so good. Feeling pretty good except for the little but of soreness and my upper back is itchy. I’m still really cold.

1pm - My face goes numb. Probably because I let myself get too hungry. Felt much better after juice. On an emotional note, I find myself being extremely honest. I am expressing things that I wouldn’t normally say outloud but instead repress deep feelings about. Maybe these emotional toxins need to come up with the physical ones. This really is a complete detox for me.

3:30pm- Decided to torture myself and go get groceries for next week. Drank a green juice before I went. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. However, I gazed longer than usual at the sushi as I passed by the seafood dept…
5pm- Much more energy and less brain fog. My dad pointed out that I looked like I was on speed today compared to yesterday at the same time. A little hungry but I’m drinking a green juice and the hunger seems to be dissipating. My waist must be shrinking a little because I was asked if I had my chest enhanced lol.

8pm- Feeling a  little nauseated. Think I drank my cashew milk too fast. Had some lemon water with fresh mint and feeling better. No headache tonight! Woohoo!! Still cold. Reeeeeaaaallly cold.

9:45pm- Have lots of energy and feel wide awake!!

Day 3
7am- Woke up feeling awake!! Praise The Lord!!! That doesn’t happen very often. I have more energy today than I have so far ever in mornings. Went to the bathroom and urine was red {insert me shrieking and running to my computer for an explanation}. While I knew beets could turn your stool red (and they did) I didn’t know they could turn urine red too. It’s a phenomenon called beeturia. This may also be a sign of bad digestion and I may need to take a probiotic when I’m done to help my body with digestion for better absorption. Check out this site for details about beeturia and what is could mean. Learning lots about myself in this fast. I have a strange whitish coating on my tongue and a funny taste in my mouth, so more toxins are working their way out. Not quite as much back pain though. My abdominal muscles and ribs are sore today. My face has a strange glow to it this morning as well. And…added bonus…my stomach is completely flat!!

8:30am- On the way to work and drinking breakfast juice. What a beautiful morning it is!! I feel happy and energized.

9:30am- Might be TMI, but I had my first normal BM in weeks. Things are looking very good today.

11am- starting to smell the food cooking from the cafeteria. I don’t even like their food most of the time. Starting to crave a hamburger. Uh oh. I think I’ll drink a green juice now…

11:30- Green juice helped a little. I’m still smelling the food but the cravings aren’t as intense.

5pm- So this time of the day seems to be my bewitching hour. I started having strange cravings for fried foods, fried okra, fried chicken, etc. And cuban pork. Weird. On a good note, I walked by what smelled like McDonald’s French fries and was repulsed. I usually am, but glad to know my body still knows better even when it hasn’t had solid food in almost 3 days. I sometimes feel like I’ve gone far enough, but i know the mental and physical benefits of sticking it out will outweigh whatever food i stuff in my mouth at this point. I think I’ll do another juice and see what happens… and pray!!

5:15-Had a green juice. Cravings are gone. That was fast! I love how my body is adapting to what I am giving it vs what it demands.

7pm - The closer I come to an end, the harder the struggle is right around the time to drink another juice comes up. Work has been a great distraction, but the slow moments make my mind wander to the fact that tomorrow I’ll be back to solid foods and eating meals with people again. I think this is something I struggle with in general though….focusing so much on the future that I don’t see the beauty of what is happening at the moment. Another emotional breakthrough. Learning so so so much about myself both physically and emotionally. Side note: this cashew milk is tasty!!

10pm- I feel like it is the day before Christmas! I’m so excited I get to eat solid food tomorrow!! I’m not hungry, and I’m glad I have gone this far, but ready to get back to chewing lol. I find that most of the reason I want to eat solid foods isn’t because I am hungry…it is because I can’t have it. It’s like a childish inner self rises up in you and wants to be like all the other kids. It is something to acknowledge and then let go. I am not a child, I am an adult. I can do this.

Day 4

8am- woke up thinking I would be ready to run in the kitchen to eat something but I am actually in no hurry to eat this morning. Kinda sad now that the fast is over. I guess I could continue it, but I only planned portions for a 3 day fast. This will be interesting to see how I do with a solid breakfast.

9am- Ate my first breakfast which consisted of soft foods with some of my breakfast juice. Have a little congestion after eating food. Either more stuff is working its way out or I have a sensitivity to something I ate. It’s amazing how clear I was on the juice fast…no congestion. I will have to do this again sometime..maybe in the fall. What a great experience this was to learn more about my mind and body!!

 

Where do I even begin?

Juice fasting can reap amazing rewards, but is something that requires a little preparation so that you won’t have to focus on the tiny details so much when the time comes to fast. Here is  a cheat sheet to make your juicing experience easy and stress free:

3 Day Juice Fast Cheat Sheet

Ingredients

  • 8 juice containers (enough to hold 14-16 oz juice) and 1 - (1) liter container
  • 3 oranges
  • 3-6 Bananas
  • 2 pineapples
  • 3 bags organic carrots (roughly 18 carrots)
  • 7 red apples
  • 2 beets (with beet greens attached)
  • 9 green apples
  • 3 bags spinach
  • 6 cucumbers
  • 3 bunches celery
  • 9 lemons
  • large piece of ginger root
  • Yogi Detox Tea
  • 3 gallons Distilled water
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • Maple syrup
  • Natural Vanilla
  • Nut Milk bag or Cheesecloth
  • Juicer
  • Blender
  • Raw Honey (optional)
  • Empty grocery bags

Instructions

    2 Weeks before:
  • 1) Pick the dates that you want to fast at least 2 weeks before you decide to go through with it. Try to pick days where you won't have too many things to do. If you have to work, make sure the first day or two are days that you are off. This will give you time to mentally prepare and plan. Remember, this isn't a something that you should plan one day and do the next. It requires a little time to put it together correctly.
  • 2) Plan out meals for your family while you are fasting. This will eliminate possible whining and nagging.
  • 3) Make a grocery list. If you choose not to use the juices in this fast, choose which juices you want to drink and make a list with all the ingredients.
  • 4) Get juice containers that will hold at least 12 ounces. I saved old juice "Naked Juice" containers from the grocery story and cleaned them well after I drank the juice that was packaged. They clean well, are BPA free and made from recycled material.
  • 3 days before:
  • 1) Start incorporating more fruits and veggies into your daily meals.
  • 2) Replace one or two meals daily with a smoothie
  • 3) Decrease your meal portions, but increase your frequency of eating (which is a good rule of thumb for everyday eating). For example, if you eat 3 times a day, increase it to 5. Breakfast, Morning snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack and Dinner is a good plan.
  • 4) Let your family know that you will be doing the fast this week. Don't announce it to the world though. Juice fasting is an individual experience that should be experienced as cush: individually. It is about finding strength in yourself from God to complete a challenging life event. However, it is a good idea to let people living in your house know so that they can help hold you accountable. A family support system makes a fast much easier to do. If you live alone, find a friend that can hold you accountable. If one person knows, you are less likely to break the fast if you hit a weak moment.
  • 1 day before:
  • 1) Buy produce (organic if possible), clean it all well to remove any dirt and separate it into 3 different bags. Make sure to clean the outsides of the citrus fruit with a scrub brush and Veggie wash. Bag number ONE should contain 3 red apples, 1 orange, 5 carrots, 1 beet, 3 green apples, 1 bag spinach, 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch celery, and 2 lemons. Bag number TWO should contain 1 red apple, 2 carrots, 3 green apples, 1 bag spinach, 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch celery, and 2 lemons. Bag number THREE should contain 3 apples, 1 orange, 5 carrots, 1 beet, 3 green apples, 1 bag spinach, 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch celery, and 2 lemons. Label them 1, 2 and 3. Do not cut any produce or open spinach bags to keep things as fresh as possible. For things that cannot be separated yet (i.e. Ginger, pineapple) set aside until the morning of juicing.
  • 2) It is recommended to clean out your digestive system before beginning a fast because the juicing process removes a lot of the fiber that helps you go number 2. You don't want to detox and be full of old poo. Gross. I am not one that fancies an enema, so I chose to make a natural laxative instead. Mix 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice with 1/2 cup olive oil. Stir well and slurp down. It's actually not as bad as it sounds. Like a really rich flavored orange juice.
  • 3) Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! Make sure you drink plenty of water to flush out your digestive system after the orange-oil laxative.
  • 4) Soak Cashews in distilled water to make cashew milk the next day.
  • 5) Make sure Juice Containers are clean, dry and ready to use.
  • Day ONE:
  • 1) Grab Day ONE produce out of the refrigerator. Assemble Juicer and place an empty plastic grocery bag in the pulp container for easy cleanup. Cut ginger into 3 pieces. Take one piece and peel. Divide peeled piece into 3 pieces. Put each remaining piece into a ziplock bag and put one in Day TWO and one in Day THREE. Slice top and bottom off the pineapple and remove rough outer shell. Divide into thirds. Take one third and place it in a ziplock bag and place in Day THREE. Take one of the thirds and divide it in half. Place one half in a ziplock bag and put in Day TWO. Set the other half aside. Cut beet in half ( including the beet greens). Peel one half of the beet bulb with a vegetable peeler removing the earthy skin. Place the other half in a ziplock bag and place in bag TWO. Peel Orange and Lemons. Quarter apples. Cut carrots in half. Cut the base off celery bunch and discard. Slice celery into thirds. Cut cucumbers in half. Rinse Spinach well and drain water. Drain and rinse cashews. Place in blender and fill with distilled water to the top measuring line (about 6 cups). Add 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tsp vanilla. Blend for 2 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve strainer over a bowl to catch the milk. Discard cashew pulp. Strain milk one more time through a nut milk bag or a double thick layer of cheesecloth. Divide the milk into 3 juice containers. Place in the refrigerator. Fill a 1 liter container up with distilled water. Add a sliced lemon to this container of water. Make any food that your family will need for the next few days THIS MORNING. If you try cooking too late in the day, it will really test your patience. Time to make the juice!
  • To Make Breakfast Juice:
  • Juice 3 red apples, 1 orange, 3 carrots, 1/3 pineapple. Separate into 2 juice containers. When ready to drink, put in a magic bullet or drink blender and add peeled banana. Blend until Smooth. Put in a wine glass for a dramatic elegant touch. You will have an extra breakfast juice ready for tomorrow morning.
  • 2)Rinse and clean juicer before moving on to the next juice. No need to clean out pulp bag.
  • To Make Lunch Juice:
  • 1) Juice half beet and beet greens, 1 apple, 2 carrots, remaining 1/2 of the 1/3 piece pineapple, 1 of the 3 pieces of ginger. Place in juice container and into the fridge.
  • 2)Rinse and clean juicer before moving on to the next juice. No need to clean out pulp bag.
  • To Make Green Juice:
  • 1) Juice 3 green apples, 2 cucumbers, 2 lemons, bag of spinach, 1 bunch celery, and remaining 2 of the 3 pieces of ginger. Juice the celery and the spinach together to get the most juice out of the spinach. You may need to pour juice into a larger container or bowl as your juice collection container could overflow. This recipe makes 3 batches of green juice. Mix all the green juice together in a larger container and divide into 3 juice containers. Place in the fridge until time to drink.
  • 2) Rinse and clean juicer. Throw out pulp bag and rinse pulp reservoir. Place on a drying rack to air-dry.
  • How to Drink:
  • Drink all juices about 2-3 hours apart as you can handle it. Some may have to be done closer together and some farther apart. Drink the juices in this order: (1) Breakfast Juice, (2) Green Juice, (3) Lunch Juice, (4) Green Juice, (5) Green Juice, (6) Cashew Milk. Make sure to drink lemon water and detox tea in between juicing.
  • Day TWO:
  • 1) Grab Day TWO produce out of the refrigerator. Assemble Juicer and place an empty plastic grocery bag in the pulp container for easy cleanup. Peel ginger. Divide peeled piece into 3 pieces. Peel one half of the remaining beet bulb with a vegetable peeler removing the earthy skin. Peel Lemons. Quarter apples. Cut carrots in half. Cut the base off celery bunch and discard. Slice celery into thirds. Cut cucumbers in half. Rinse Spinach well and drain water. Fill a 1 liter container up with distilled water. Add a sliced lemon to this container of water. Time to make the juice!
  • No Need to make Breakfast Juice. Drink Container left over from yesterday's juicing. When ready to drink, put in a magic bullet or drink blender and add peeled banana. Blend until Smooth. Enjoy!
  • To Make Lunch Juice:
  • 1) Juice half beet and beet greens, 1 apple, 2 carrots, remaining 1/2 of the 1/3 piece pineapple, 1 of the 3 pieces of ginger. Place in juice container and into the fridge.
  • 2) Rinse and clean juicer before moving on to the next juice. No need to clean out pulp bag.
  • To Make Green Juice:
  • 1) Juice 3 green apples, 2 cucumbers, 2 lemons, bag of spinach, 1 bunch celery, and remaining 2 of the 3 pieces of ginger. Juice the celery and the spinach together to get the most juice out of the spinach. You may need to pour juice into a larger container or bowl as your juice collection container could overflow. This recipe makes 3 batches of green juice. Mix all the green juice together in a larger container and divide into 3 juice containers. Place in the fridge until time to drink.
  • 2) Rinse and clean juicer. Throw out pulp bag and rinse pulp reservoir. Place on a drying rack to air-dry.
  • How to Drink:
  • Drink all juices about 2-3 hours apart as you can handle it. Some may have to be done closer together and some farther apart. Drink the juices in this order: (1) Breakfast Juice, (2) Green Juice, (3) Lunch Juice, (4) Green Juice, (5) Green Juice, (6) Cashew Milk. Make sure to drink lemon water and detox tea in between juicing.
  • Day THREE:
  • 1) Grab Day THREE produce out of the refrigerator. Assemble Juicer and place an empty plastic grocery bag in the pulp container for easy cleanup. Peel ginger. Divide peeled piece into 3 pieces. Slice top and bottom off the remaining pineapple and remove rough outer shell. Divide into thirds. Take one of the thirds and divide it in half. Set one of the halves of the third aside as well as one of the thirds. Place all remaining pineapple in a container to eat tomorrow. Cut beet in half ( including the beet greens). Peel one half of the beet bulb with a vegetable peeler removing the earthy skin. Place the other half in a ziplock bag to juice tomorrow if desired. Peel Orange and Lemons. Quarter apples. Cut carrots in half. Cut the base off celery bunch and discard. Slice celery into thirds. Cut cucumbers in half. Rinse Spinach well and drain water. Fill a 1 liter container up with distilled water. Add a sliced lemon to this container of water. Time to make the juice!
  • To Make Breakfast Juice:
  • 1) Juice 3 red apples, 1 orange, 3 carrots, 1/3 pineapple. Separate into 2 juice containers. When ready to drink, put in a magic bullet or drink blender and add peeled banana. Blend until Smooth. Put in a wine glass for a dramatic elegant touch. You will have an extra breakfast juice ready for tomorrow morning to go with a solid food.
  • 2) Rinse and clean juicer before moving on to the next juice. No need to clean out pulp bag.
  • To Make Lunch Juice:
  • 1) Juice half beet and beet greens, 1 apple, 2 carrots, remaining 1/2 of the 1/3 piece pineapple, 1 of the 3 pieces of ginger. Place in juice container and into the fridge.
  • 2) Rinse and clean juicer before moving on to the next juice. No need to clean out pulp bag.
  • To Make Green Juice:
  • 1) Juice 3 green apples, 2 cucumbers, 2 lemons, bag of spinach, 1 bunch celery, and remaining 2 of the 3 pieces of ginger. Juice the celery and the spinach together to get the most juice out of the spinach. You may need to pour juice into a larger container or bowl as your juice collection container could overflow. This recipe makes 3 batches of green juice. Mix all the green juice together in a larger container and divide into 3 juice containers. Place in the fridge until time to drink.
  • 2) Rinse and clean juicer. Throw out pulp bag and rinse pulp reservoir. Place on top rack of the dishwasher to sterilize if ok with manufacturer's instructions.
  • How to Drink:
  • 1) Drink all juices about 2-3 hours apart as you can handle it. Some may have to be done closer together and some farther apart. Drink the juices in this order: (1) Breakfast Juice, (2) Green Juice, (3) Lunch Juice, (4) Green Juice,(5) Green Juice, (6) Cashew Milk. Make sure to drink lemon water and detox tea in between juicing.
  • Breaking the Fast:
  • 1) Start out in the morning with breakfast juice and something soft, but solid, like a piece of fruit. Slowly start integrating more solid foods back into your diet. If you have allergies, introduce one food at a time so you can determine how each food makes you feel. It is not recommended to introduce meat or beans on the first day. Stick to fruits and veggies if possible.
  • Juice Fast Tips
  • 1) If you are going out for the day, make a note to take your juice with you in a cooler with ice packs. You don't want to let yourself get hungry.
  • 2) After drinking juice, rinse out juice containers well. Clean them with soap and water and place open side down on a drying rack to air-dry when you get home.
  • 3) Make sure to peel all citrus, beet bulbs and ginger before use.
  • 4) You will have 6 drinks throughout the day. If this is not enough, make sure to double one or two of the juices so that you are full throughout the day. Only drink enough juice to fill you up. Don't feel like you have to drink it because it is there.
  • 5) In between juicing, drink plenty of water and detox tea. You can add raw honey if necessary.
  • 6) Drink all juices within 2 days. They are not pasteurized and can grow bacteria if left for too long. The vitamins start to diminish by this point as well. Try to drink all the juice within 24 hours if possible for maximum benefit.
  • 7) If you absolutely cannot continue drinking juice, try adding in one meal of veggies, or some veggie broth. Many times this is mental, and you can trick your mind by feeding it something warm or chewing, even if it is still vegetables.
  • 8) If you still feel hungry after juices, try blending a banana in with some of them. This will help fill you up a little longer.
  • 9) Make sure you drink at least 1 liter of water each day. Drink the distilled water (or filtered water at home). Do not drink tap water as it may contain toxins.
  • 10) Light exercise is fine while you are fasting, but don't overdo it. Light exercise actually helps increase your energy level. Strenuous activity may make you feel extremely tired.
  • 11) Maybe a 3 day fast is too long? Start out with a one or two day fast. Any detox is better than none.
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/21/my-experience-with-a-3-day-juice-fast/

A juice fast is definitely not for everyone, but at this stage of my life, it was perfect for me. I am so thrilled with the results of this process. I learned it is not something you can do with someone else and receive the full benefits. This has to be done alone with you and God to find your true potential. I hope my experience inspires you to try this one day.

Happy Juice Fasting!

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

Cinnamon Kale Applesauce

Slacker: One who shirks work or responsibility; a person who does no work; “a lazy bum.”

Ok, when I first sat down to write this incredibly overdue post, that is the first word that popped into my head. I guess I can’t exactly call myself a slacker, because that isn’t the reason I haven’t posted any yum-a-licious treats since November. In fact, it has been quite the opposite!

So, in honor of those hard workers out there, and the slackers, I am going to share a treat that will make everyone happy…

Because it is super easy to make. :)

In a recent attempt to make a green smoothie, I forgot to add enough liquid and stumbled upon what I like to affectionately refer to as a “delicious mistake.”

And I would like to share my mistake with you!

This is such a great recipe because it only has 5 ingredients, tastes like applesauce and conveniently hides the fact that it contains veggies (except for the strange green color lol). A win win win if you ask me! This is even one the kids will enjoy. Maybe along with a reading of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham!

 

What you’ll need:

1 small-medium organic red delicious apple

1/2 cup purple grapes

1 organic carrot

1 cup kale

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste)

 

Kitchen equipment:

Cutting board

Knife

Magic bullet or food processor

 

Directions:

Get all of your ingredients out and ready. I found that this one is much easier if everything is ready to pop right into the magic bullet or blender.

Dice the carrots into small bite sized pieces. Place them into the blender cup first.

Top with kale.

Next the apples go in the cup. Make sure they are cut into small pieces to save as much room as possible.

Before adding the grapes, take a small condiment cup or spoon and push all the fruits and veggies down as much as possible. This cup will be crammed full when you are done!

Top with grapes.

 

Place the blade top on the magic bullet cup and blend for about 30 second to 1 minute or until smooth. If the ingredients are not dropping down, stop and shake the cup a few times to loosen the ingredients and let them come down. If you are using a blender, make sure the ingredients go in backwards according to the location of the blade (i.e. the grapes should touch the blade, then apples, kale and carrots). This is SUPER important or your stuff isn’t going to mash up as well and it gets really frustrating…

When you have a nice smooth mixture that looks like pea soup, add the cinnamon and blend for another 30 seconds.

Place in a bowl and serve cold! It is delicious right away and is pretty tasty later too. I would definitely make sure you eat it within 2 days or the flavor isn’t quite the same.

I hope you love my delicious mistake!! I will try and make mistakes more often very soon ;)

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

Using the Whole Pumpkin – How to Carve, Puree, Cube, Snack and Display your annual Halloween Jack-O-Lantern!!!

Did you know that you can eat a carving pumpkin? Yes you can! A carving pumpkin, aka Jack-o-lantern, is just as edible as it’s small sized siblings that are more commonly used in the kitchen. There are also no toxicity issues as some have feared. If that were the case, I would not be sitting here sharing this with you today…I have eaten a TON of it over the last few days lol. Plus, my presently living and breathing boxer decided to sneak half a pan for himself while I wasn’t looking.  Bad dog!!

The main concerns about eating a Jack-O-Lantern are that many have been sprayed with pesticides. As with many other thick skinned vegetables, they are  safe to eat as the pesticides do not typically penetrate to the insides. Just don’t eat the outer shell and you’ll be fine. If you still feel uneasy about it, you can sometimes get a pesticide free pumpkin from your local farmers market or health food store, however, organic pumpkins are extremely rare and may not be very easy to find.

Some people also claim that the carving pumpkin is not as flavorful as the small ones specifically bred for pumpkin dishes. I thought mine tasted wonderful! I used it in my Pumpkin Flan with Maple Glaze (coming soon), Wilted Spinach, Pumpkin and Apple salad (coming soon), as well as some pretty tasty roasted pumpkin seeds! If you are still skeptical of eating a carving pumpkin, you can choose a smaller variety, just try to buy the largest one possible. You will still be able to use the entire pumpkin as shown in this article.

After I did all the research to make sure a carving pumpkin was safe to eat, I decided to go for it! How many times do we just use a carving pumpkin for fun Halloween decorations without taking full advantage of what it can offer?!? So at the risk of ending up on Extreme Cheapskates, here it is:  How to use the entire pumpkin, without throwing anything away :)

What you’ll need:

1 Carving Pumpkin (or a large pumpkin pie variety)

Coconut Oil

1 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Large cutting board

Assorted knives

4 medium to large sized bowls

Baking sheets lined with parchment paper

sandwich baggies

Gallon freezer bags

 

Directions:

Wash the Jack-o-lantern in the sink with soap and water to remove any mold or dirt from the outside. This will help to preserve the life of the pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice the top off of the pumpkin by carving a circle out around the stem.  Keep this piece as it will go back on as your topper. Make sure your knife is at an angle pointing in toward the middle of the pumpkin so the topper will fit back on without falling into your pumpkin. Super annoying when that happens…

Complete the circle and pull the top off.  Set aside.

Using a medium sized knife, make a slit one each side of the pumpkin as if you are going to cut the whole pumpkin in half…because you are :) Surprise!!!

Finish cutting down the sides of the pumpkin one side at a time. I found this was easiest using a bread knife.  Make sure your knives are SHARP! This makes all the difference in your pumpkin project.  If your line start to swerve off course, just readjust and keep cutting. Cut your lines all the way through until they meet on the bottom and split the pumpkin open into two parts.

Time to clean out the seeds. The easiest way is to grab the orange pulp (gently) with your hands and the seeds will slide out easily. Place them in a bowl and set aside for later.

Once all the seeds have been removed, use a spoon to carve out the bright orange pulp all the way down to the light colored pumpkin meat. Place all the pulp in the second bowl (not the one with the seeds in it).

Without cutting through the outer shell, slice some of the pumpkin meat off the sides of the pumpkin. Cut off as much as you can and place into the third bowl.

To get the rest of the meat out, use a spoon and scrape against the inside of the pumpkin. It will create pumpkin shavings.   Place all the shavings in the last bowl.

It may be easier to stand the pumpkin half up and scrape the meat down onto a piece of waxed paper.

Scrape down as far as comfortably possible without going through the outer shell. Notice the difference in sizes between the shaved pumpkin on the right and the non-shaved pumpkin on the left.

Don’t forget to save the meat from the topper! Make sure you save the top stem with about an inch or two of the meat.

Place all the shavings on parchment lined baking sheets. You may need to do this step in multiple batches depending on your pumpkin size.

Coat each pan with 2 TBSP of coconut oil. This helps to give the pumpkin a richer flavor for the recipes. Bake for 40 min.

While pumpkin shavings are baking, roughly dice the rest of the pumpkin meat and place on another baking sheet.

Coat diced pieces with 2 TBSP oil and set aside until oven is free. Once open, bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the pumpkin insides are cooking, start carving the face.  Lay the half you plan on carving rounded side up on cutting board.

If your pumpkin is not level, use a folded washcloth to make sure the pumpkin is not wobbling back and forth (don’t want to cut yourself!).  Draw a face on the pumpkin with a magic marker. Mine was very basic. I am good with food…not so much with drawing lol…

Carve the face out with a knife and place the scraps in the bowl with the orange pulp.  If the pieces are super large, break them down to a more manageable size. Do not throw anything away! Remember…we are using the ENTIRE pumpkin in this project :)

I decided he needed eyebrows.

Once the pumpkin is carved,  squeeze one lemon into an empty bowl and add 2 TBSP water. Brush lemon mixture all over the inside and outside of the pumpkin to help preserve it.  Set aside until the lemon juice has dried on the outside.

Once the pumpkin shavings are done, let cool for 10 min. Pick up the parchment paper and let the shavings fall into a food processor. Do not put the parchment paper in the processor. But you knew that. Just making sure… :)

Alternately, you can use a spatula to scrape it from the pan into the processor. Puree each batch for at least 2 minutes or until creamy.

Take a glass and place a bag in it with the top of the bag flipped over the outside of the glass.

Place 1 cup of pumpkin puree in the bag and seal. Do this for each cup of pumpkin puree until the mixture is evenly divided among the bags. Repeat this process with the cooked diced pumpkin as well. Store all sandwich bags in one large freezer bag and freeze for later use.

Ok! It is time to put humpty dumpty back together again! I used super glue, but feel free to use a hot glue gun if you are more comfortable with that. Squeezable super glue gel worked the best for me. You will need to work fast before the glue sets. Place the back part of the pumpkin, rounded side down, on the cutting board. Once the glue is on, immediately place the front of the pumpkin onto the back.  Make sure the edges line up and hold in place for a minute or so until the glue is set. If you are like me you will get super glue on your fingers. Nail polish remover will take it right off.  You’re welcome.

Stand the pumpkin up and reinforce the sides with glue if needed.

Place on a piece of plywood or large cutting board covered in foil. Arrange the leftover “guts” falling out of the mouth of the pumpkin.  Naughty cannibal pumpkin…don’t you know what happens when pumpkins eat pumpkins?!?

You can either set the pumpkin up for display with candles as a great accent or…

Wrap it completely in saran wrap and place into the fridge until the big day! I live in Florida…we typically don’t put pumpkins out until the day of or a few nights before Halloween so it doesn’t mold too quickly.

Once the pumpkin is put away or out for the world to see and the pumpkin meat is all cooked, heat the oven to 450°. Take the bowl with the pumpkin seeds and clean off any remaining orange pulp. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp chili powder.

Roast until golden brown and crispy for about 8 to 10 min. I like mine a little over done, so I tend to leave them in for the full 10 minutes.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a strange happiness knowing that I got as much out of this pumpkin as possible. I hope you all get that same feeling. You are not an extreme cheapskate…you are a person that knows to appreciate something for it’s full potential. Have a safe and fun Halloween everyone!

Please send pics of your carved pumpkins to healthysnacks@tiffanystrimtreats.com and I will upload them to a future post!!

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

Trick and Treat with Homemade Spinach Powder

I am always trying to come up with ways to make food healthier. Even healthy food. I increasingly want to push the envelope to see what I can conjure up. The problem with some recipes is that the healthier you try and make them, the more “healthy” they taste. We all understand what the meaning of “tastes healthy” is right? Here’s an example: When I first started experimenting with vegan food several years ago, I wanted to make cookies. They came out ok, but definitely didn’t taste like a fresh baked normal cookie. I was proud of them (and slightly defensive…) because they were good for me, and while I wanted so badly for someone else to like them, something about them was just, well, off. I think my coworker actually used the term ‘horse treats’ to describe the flavor. She was right, they did taste like horse treats. They tasted too “healthy.”

Over the years I have definitely refined my recipes to be healthy, without tasting “healthy.” So in my quest to amp up the good-for-you-ness of what goes into my mouth, I have decided to trick myself…and others. Yep, that’s right, good ol’fashioned trickery. There are many different ways you can add things to your food, not taste it, and get amazing benefits for your body. One such ingredient is spinach powder. Spinach is full of Omega-3 not to mention a slew of other great nutritional benefits. For more info on the benefits of this green wonder-food, click here. When added to the right recipe, it goes virtually un-noticed. If you think about it, there are so many places we could add a dash of spinach powder…to our breadings, muffins, eggs, smoothies, noodles, even dark chocolate fudgy brownies. That’s right. I said brownies. Are you drooling yet? I am :)

The only problem I have found with spinach powder is the price and availability.While you can buy most anything exotic at the health food store, I have yet to find spinach powder at any of my local retailers. The price can get also get very expensive and you don’t always know if there are any preservatives added to it. Fortunately because it is so concentrated, you don’t have to use very much to get the health benefits. One tablespoon of spinach powder is equivalent to about 98 grams of spinach, which is about one third to half a bag of fresh spinach. Something I love about spinach powder is how cheap and easy it is to make! I usually will wait until fresh spinach goes on sale by one get one free and then make it in batches. With halloween right around the corner, I think I will trick and treat myself to some wholesome sneaky spinach foods.

 

What you’ll need:

1 bag pre-washed spinach (preferably organic if it’s available)

Preservative free olive oil spray

 

Kitchen equipment

Food Dehydrator

Food processor

Magic Bullet or coffee grinder (optional)

 

Directions

Spray dehydrator trays with a light coating of olive oil spray. You can skip this step, but your spinach may be harder to remove at the end of dehydration and cleanup isn’t as fun either.

Open bag of regular sized spinach leaves (pre-washed).

Place leaves overlapping on dehydrator trays. I can usually fit one bag of spinach throughout the entire dehydrator by spacing the leaves out on the trays evenly. It is ok if they are touching and on top of one another.

 

Place the top on and dehydrate on vegetable setting for about 4-5 hours.

When spinach is done, the leaves should feel dry and fall apart when handled, much like dry leaves on the ground during the fall and winter.

Remove spinach from dehydrator and place in a bowl. Let cool completely.

When completely cool, in batches, chop spinach in a food processor for about 1 minute. It will turn into tiny spinach flakes.

These are the spinach flakes, you can stop at this step and use in recipes, they will just be slightly more noticeable to the eye in some recipes.

Or you can go one step further and grind them down in a coffee grinder or magic bullet for 2 minutes until soft and powdery.

I usually make a few batches of this back to back while I have my dehydrator out. It lasts for quite a while too. Stay tuned for upcoming recipes where we will be putting this powder to the test. I look forward to helping you fulfill your propensity for sneaky spinach shenanigans :)

 

Grown-up Chicken Fingers with Honey Dijon sauce

 

Mint Walnut Brownies with a Secret…

 

 

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Strawberry Barbeque Sauce

You might notice a funny category on this site called “Renal Diet.” One of my dear family members was recently placed on a very restricted due to declining kidney function. Anyone who has less than par kidney function is urged to eat foods that are sodium and potassium free (or at least as low as possible). Have you ever googled potassium foods? It is literally almost in every good and decent food we eat. But I don’t give up that easy. Challenge accepted!

In search of finding some sort of food normalcy and familiarity, this recipe was born. As you may have read in my bio, our family relishes in old southern classics. So I decided to start with something traditional: BBQ sauce. You can smother it on pretty much anything, pair it with a glass of sweet tea and you’re good to go. The only problem is that tomatoes (the main base of barbecue sauce) are LOADED with potassium! For this idea to work, I would have to replace them with something that had a similar feel and texture. Oddly enough, strawberries are very low in potassium and have a very parallel fleshy texture when compared to a tomato. This is now my absolute favorite BBQ sauce. I think I actually prefer it over the tomato version! Put it on everything! You won’t be sorry :)

What you’ll need:

1 pint strawberries, washed and green parts cut off

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 packet stevia

1 tbsp coconut aminos (low sodium alternative to soy sauce…you can only find this online or at a health food store. It is worth it, trust me!)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp espresso powder

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp liquid smoke

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

Kitchen Equipment:

food processor or Ninja

cutting board

medium saucepan

funnel

storage containers

 

Directions:

Chop the green tops off of strawberries. Place in food processor.

Blend about 2 minutes or until strawberries have no remaining chunks and have turned into a smooth saucy consistency. Place in saucepan.

Heat saucepan over medium heat. While the sauce is heating, add all remaining ingredients and stir.

Bring sauce to a boil and then turn heat to low. Simmer for about 25 to 30 min or until sauce changes to a deeper red color and has thickened.

Once sauce has changed color and is thick, remove from heat.

Using a funnel, place barbecue sauce in a storage container and cool completely before using.

Once cooled, use on top of anything you can possibly put barbecue sauce on, like this sweet pork potato stack-snack  ;)

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!

 

Almond Herb Cheese

One of the downfalls of having a dairy allergy is not enjoying a simple pleasure of life…cheese. Me and Cheese, we were best friends. We did everything together…pizza, sandwiches, soups, etc. You should’ve seen what we could do with a cracker! Ahhh…good times. But ultimately, cheese betrayed me and I was left alone, overweight, and sporting a puffy face with a daily headache. Enter my friend the almond. It really is one of the most versatile foods and makes a mean cheese spread (without the cheese of course). This is one of my favorite snacks EVER! It pairs well with crackers, veggies, as a replacement for ricotta, or just eating it straight out of the container. Guilty :)

What you will need:

1 cup almonds (blanched if you want a white cheese)

1 lemon, juiced, seeds removed

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp dried italian herbs

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

5 or 6 garlic cloves

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Tupperware container or bowl with plastic wrap (for soaking)

strainer or colander

Food Processor

Spatula

 

Directions:

Place almonds in a plastic container or bowl and cover with water (make sure container has enough room for almonds to expand). Cover. Let soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

After soaking is finished, drain and rinse well under cold water.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process for 6 to 7 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Every 2 to 3 minutes stop food processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

When mixture is done processing, place in container and chill. If it is still too thick, you may add more olive oil to get it to the right consistency.

Serve with veggies, gluten free crackers or a spoon :)

The consistency will not be completely smooth if you use non-blanched almonds, but I like it with a little crunch to it. If you prefer a smooth cheese (that looks like cheese), definitely go for the blanched almonds. After soaking, they will have a strong vinegar smell to them (from the blanching process), so rinse well. I hope you enjoyed meeting my new best friend, almond cheese!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

No Bake Cookies

There are days when I am just not into baking. Not many, but I have my moments. Thank God for who ever discovered the first no-bake cookie! These delicious cookies are easy to make and are usually only a 2 or 3 step process to getting a yummy dessert without the multiple batches of cookie sheets in and out of the oven. The only problem I found with most no-bake cookie recipes is that they are loaded with refined sugar and peanut butter. So I did a little experimenting and came up with a new and improved chocolate gem! These will melt in your mouth and satisfy even the most insatiable sweet tooth:

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp raw cacao powder (cocoa is fine if you don’t have cacao on hand…but cacao tastes better :) )

1 cup gluten free quick cooking oats (or rolled oats that have been pulsed in food processor for 15 seconds)

1 cup sugar free shredded coconut

2 heaping spoonfuls of almond butter (or any nut butter variety you like)

1 tsp vanilla

 

Kitchen equipment:

Medium saucepan

Baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper

Sturdy wooden spoon

 

Directions:

Combine honey, coconut oil, and cacao powder in saucepan on medium heat.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add almond butter and vanilla. Stir until melted and creamy.

Add oats and coconut and stir to combine. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet. The mixture may run slightly around the cookies.

Refridgerate until completely cool. Enjoy with a nice glass of coconut milk and try not to devour the whole pan :)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Coconut Milk

Hello, my name is Tiffany and I am a coconut addict. There I said it! Is there really anything better in this world than being addicted to coconuts? I don’t think so :) Fortunately they are packed full of all kinds of vitamins, minerals and although they have saturated fat, your body metabolizes it differently than other saturated fats. Eating and drinking coconut really is like being in a win-win situation! If you enjoy it like I do, then you know it can tend to get a little pricey if you drink coconut milk. The store varieties also contain some scary preservatives (do you know what xantham gum is? Look it up….) I have found that the homemade version of coconut milk is much less expensive, lower in sugar and sodium, and tastes AMAZING!!! Think the best Pina Coladas you’ll ever have. Ever. Need I say more?

 

What you’ll need:

4 dates, 2 tbsp raw agave nectar, or 10 drops stevia (if you are watching your sugar)

2 cups unsweetened dried shredded coconut

4 cups water

4 tsp tapioca starch

 

Kitchen equipment

Ninja, Regular Blender or High Powered blender (preferred)

Small sieve strainer or Nut milk bag (preferred) – at the time I made this I did not have a nut milk bag, but it makes the process smoother

Large (at least 4 cup) heat proof liquid measuring cup

Small funnel

Storage container for milk

 

Directions:

Heat water in microwave for 3 min.

Once water is heated, mix tapioca starch with about a half cup water. Mix until starch is dissolved.

In blender or Ninja, add the rest of the warm water, coconut, and dates or sweetener of choice

Blend for 1 min and 30 seconds. Add tapioca starch mixture and blend for another 30 seconds.

Place container in refrigerator and let cool completely (usually 2 to 3 hours or overnight)

Once completely cooled, take out of refridgerator and strain

You can keep coconut puree for another recipe, or discard. Pour filtered milk into storage container using a funnel

Pour in a glass and enjoy. Or go make a Pina Colada :)

I usually make this in 2 batches at one time, let them cool and filter it all together. Delicious! You won’t go back to store bought after this!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

 

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

 

Zac and Cheese

When you hear the words “Comfort Food” what comes to mind? For me, mac and cheese has to be somewhere at the top of the list. The biggest problem with that is that cheese doesn’t like me all too well. I am very fortunate not to have all the lactose intolerant stomach cramps (and all the other gross stomach issues we won’t go into…), but my sinuses and kleenex will most definitely become best friends after a night of milk binging. What’s a girl to do?! Come up with something better :)

Putting together a list of ingredients for mac and cheese usually looks something like this: milk, wheat noodles, cheese (usually not hormone free), butter, lots of salt, and more cheese. Occasionally people might add something healthy like an onion to it. And that’s only the healthy homemade version! Boxed mac and cheese (depending on the brand) adds sodium tripolyphosphate, disodium phosphate, and or calcium phosphate as a food preservative. You can find many of these preservatives in household cleaners and corrosion inhibitors. Let’s not forget  our friends Yellow number 5 and Yellow number 6, the food colorings that turn mac and cheese a strange fluorescent orange sci-fi color. I don’t even think it even comes close to the color of sharp cheddar which usually is the brightest orange cheese. I once watched a family member consume an entire box of mac and cheese while thinking to myself, “That can’t be good…”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want chemical cleaners or something with a number in my food. Preferably, I’d also like to feel good after eating it as well! This led to my creation of the new and improved “Zac and Cheese”!

What you will need:

For the sauce

2 cups raw cashews

2 cups water

2 cups organic nitrate free chardonnay

2 tbsp nutritional yeast, not brewers yeast

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 lemon

 

For the “Macaroni”

5 medium zucchini

 

For the topping

1 cup almond flour

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp onion powder (optional, but recommended)

 

Kitchen equipment

food processor or Ninja

fine sieve strainer

non-stick frying pan or Magic green pan ( My favorite pan!)

cutting board

3 bowls

8 lightly greased ramekins placed on a baking sheet

 

Directions:

To begin, blend the 2 cups cashews with 2 cups water until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). I love using my ninja for this because it seems to take less time and purees really nice. Once the mixture is smooth, strain through the strainer into a bowl and throw away the chunky pieces left in the strainer. Set cashew puree aside.

Bring wine to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 12 minutes.

While the Chardonnay is cooking, prep your zucchini. Peel using a vegetable peeler (recommended) or a knife.  If you want the macaroni small, cut zucchini into 3 pieces lengthwise. If you want it a little bigger, cut in half. Next slice along the length if the zucchini in half moons, about a half inch apart. Place zucchini macaroni aside in a large bowl.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Once the wine has reduced by about half, add cashew puree, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook another 2 minutes. Squeeze lemon into sauce and stir.

Pour “cheese” mixture into zucchini noodles and stir well

Divide noodle mix evenly among 8 ramekins.

Place all topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork until small pea sized pieces appear throughout mix. Top zucchini mixture in ramekins.

Bake for 30 minutes or until tops are slightly browned. If you are in a hurry, you can turn the oven on broil after 30 min and cook for another 2 min to get the tops browned a little faster.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes because they are extremely hot coming out of the oven (my husband actually burned his mouth!) We enjoyed these as our afternoon snack for the next few days and they were really filling due to the use of almonds and cashew protein added to the recipe. The zucchini worked perfectly as a noodle replacement. The sauce almost resembled a creamy white alfredo cheese. Yum! I also didn’t have a sluggish feeling after eating them so…success! I hope you love them as much as we do!

Renal Diet Exchanges: exchange cashews for 16 oz cream cheese, no salt, exchange almond flour for rice flour, and add 1 tsp garlic powder to both the sauce and topping.

xoxo

Tiffany

 

 

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