Spring Chicken Vegetable Soup (immune strengthening)

It’s one of the worst things to feel “under the weather” on a nice sunny, spring day. However, it’s important to listen to your body when the sniffles start to rise, which usually indicates that an adjustment is needed. Instead of dousing your system with over-the-counter medications that just mask symptoms and push them deeper inside, it’s important to take a look at what’s been happening in your life externally and internally (i.e. stress, non-healthy diet, over-worked, surrounded by others who are contagious, hygiene practices, etc.) that may indicate that restoration is needed. Here’s a simple cleansing recipe that will soothe, strengthen and warm your soul.

chxsoup

Ingredients:
boneless chicken thighs (chopped)
organic vegetable broth (low sodium)
carrots (diced)
celery (chopped)
red potatoes (diced)
shallots (minced)
garlic (minced)
olive oil
oregano
thyme
rosemary
cilantro
salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat.
  2. Saute minced garlic and shallots for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not burn).
  3. Add chopped chicken breasts. Stir and coat in oil.
  4. Add oregano, thyme, rosemary and black pepper. Stir occasionally. Cover and let simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 7-10 minutes or until the chicken is browned (but not all the way cooked).
  5. Add diced potatoes and carrots. Increase heat to medium and stir for approximately 5 minutes.
  6. Finally, add chopped celery. Simmer for approximately 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add 1 quart of vegetable broth (I used the low sodium Pacific Organic brand).  I know this is not the authentic way to make chicken soup, but sometimes time is of the essence!
  8. Increase heat to medium-high/high to allow the soup to boil. Once the soup reaches boiling, reduce heat back down to simmer (medium/medium-low).
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. Garnish with cilantro.
  11. Serve hot and let your system be cleansed and nourished!

Click here for another immune strengthening soup recipe.

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Portobello Mushroom & Heirloom Tomato Lettuce Wrap

Gluten & Dairy Free

This week I went on a sporadic portobello mushroom kick. What a fantastic fungus.. so meaty and full of texture. Mushrooms are known for their cooling nature, reduces heat toxins and helps to bolster immunity. To celebrate the end of summer, I also wanted to get the most I could out of heirloom tomatoes, which are my favorite tomato. Heirlooms not only come in beautiful colors, shapes and sizes, they are packed with bursting juiciness. Tomatoes are also very cooling and helps to relieve dryness and thirst.

Here’s a really simple mid-day snack, side dish or light lunch for when you need to cool off on a hot late summer day.  I opted out on using a bunch of different seasonings because I wanted to let the pure flavor of the mushrooms and tomatoes shine through.

lettucewrap

Ingredients
portobello mushrooms
heirloom cherry tomatoes
white onion
romaine lettuce hearts
olive oil
salt & pepper
optional topping:  shredded goat cheese or aioli

Directions
Heat olive oil in pan.
Saute chopped white onions and chopped portobello mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes, tossing frequently.
Place mushroom, onions and olive oil on romaine lettuce hearts.
Top with chopped heirloom cherry tomatoes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Dig in for a cool, refreshing bite!  🙂

How to make Kong-namul (Soybean sprout)

Gluten & Dairy Free

Kongnamul (pronounced “koong-nah-mool”) is a traditional Korean side dish (banchan) that is typically served alongside your main entree.  It is simple to make and adds a nice, refreshing crisp to your palette.

beansprouts

Ingredients:
One package of soybean sprouts (available at your local Asian market or local grocer’s produce section).
green onion (chopped)
garlic (minced)
tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
sesame oil
sesame seeds
salt
gochugaru (Korean chili powder)

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Add soybean sprouts and one tbsp of salt to the water. Reduce heat, continue boiling and stir for approximately 3-5 minutes (you want the sprouts to soften a bit, yet still remain firm, not mushy).
  • Remove sprouts from heat, place in colander and rinse thoroughly or plunge in cold water (this technique is also known as blanching).
  • In a separate bowl, add approximately 2 tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp of tamari, 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 2 stalks of chopped green onion, and a pinch of gochugaru (this is not a spicy dish, you just want a tiny hint of speckled red).
  • Add the bean sprouts and stir together by hand.  Add salt to taste.
  • Finally add a sprinkle of sesame seeds for extra flavor and texture.
  • Serve immediately or store in fridge to be eaten at a later time with your main course.  🙂

Wild Salmon w/ Lemon Cilantro, Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Quinoa

Gluten & Dairy Free

Most times when I do salmon, I bake it with dill.  It’s such a simple, powerful pair that tastes fantastic, however, this time I wanted to try something different with another one of my favorite herbs:  cilantro.  Here’s a really simple recipe below that’s packed with protein and green cilantro goodness.

wildsalmon

Ingredients
wild salmon
cilantro
brussel sprouts
white onion (chopped)
garlic (minced)
olive oil
lemon juice
quinoa
butter or earth balance
salt & pepper

Directions

The brussel sprouts..

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Rinse the brussel sprouts and chop off the stems of each piece.  Cut large sprouts in half.
  • Add brussel sprouts, chopped white onions and minced garlic in a square baking pan or glass casserole pan.  Stir in generous amounts of olive oil, a tablespoon or so of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Roast in oven for approximately 30-35 minutes.  Every 10 minutes, check and stir.  You want a fork to be able to go through a sprout, but you want it to still be firm (not mushy).

The quinoa..

  • In a pot, add dry quinoa (about 2 cups).
  • Add water until the water line is about 2 cm above the quinoa line.
  • Heat over stove top on high.  Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally with a fork (to keep the consistency fluffy).
  • Once water has evaporated, turn off heat.
  • Stir in a tablespoon of butter, salt & pepper to taste.

The cilantro-lemon topping..

  • Chop long stems off of cilantro.
  • In a medium pan, heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add cilantro and stir in oil for about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in squirts of lemon.  You want the cilantro to soak in the juices, but you don’t want to overcook it so much that it wilts.  Remove cilantro-lemon juice and set aside.

The salmon..

Usually I like to bake salmon.  However, this time since I was using the oven to roast the brussel sprouts, I decided to pan fry instead.

  • In the same pan, heat olive oil to medium heat.
  • Add wild salmon filet.  Saute for about 3 minutes, add tablespoon or so of water to lock in the moisture.
  • Flip and saute the other side for another few minutes.  Do not overcook.  You want the outer skin to be cooked to a light pink, but the inside to stay seared and moist (deeper pink color).
  • Serve on a plate, add the cilantro-lemon topping on top and enjoy!

 

Banana Bread (Gluten & Dairy Free)

bananabread

There’s nothing like a homemade loaf of warm, moist banana bread.  Here’s a really simple, easy recipe made from scratch.  It’s allergen-friendly and I’ve provided some ingredients to substitute or opt out of depending on your preference.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 mashed bananas (ripe, yellow ones)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (if going sugar-free, can substitute stevia, maple syrup, or opt out altogether)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened organic apple sauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp earth balance (or butter)
  • walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, whisk 2 eggs.  Add mashed bananas, apple sauce, and vanilla extract.
  • Combine wet ingredients together with dry ingredients.  Don’t over-stir (mixture is supposed to be a little lumpy).
  • Coat an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan with earth balance.  I usually take a paper towel and spread the earth balance around in the pan to evenly coat it.
  • Pour mixture into pan. Sprinkle walnuts on top to cover.
  • Bake in oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until the loaf has a risen and you can run a clean toothpick or fork through it.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes, then dive in!  Best served fresh out of the oven (though easily store-able and you can re-heat in the oven the next day).

You can eat this with coffee or tea in the morning, as a midday snack, or for dessert after dinner.  It’s very flavorful and satisfying on it’s own.. but here’s some other ways to enjoy depending on your mood.

Feeling nutty?  Slather almond or peanut butter on top. 
Feeling fruity?  Add additional fresh sliced bananas on top or serve with fresh sliced apples.
Feeling sweet?  Pretend like you’re eating pancakes or french toast, and add powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Gluten Free Banana Pancakes w/ Flaxseeds & Apple Cinnamon

I’m a breakfast girl and one of my favorites growing up was when my mom made pancakes in the morning!  Here is a really easy comfort recipe that will sweeten and perk you up on a cold morning.

gfpancakes

Ingredients:
Gluten free pancake mix (Bob’s Red Mill)
Bananas (sliced)
Apples (chopped)
Cinnamon
Brown sugar
Flax seeds (whole)**
Almond milk
Maple syrup (high grade)
Earth balance (or butter)
Almond butter (optional)

Directions:

    1. Add dry pancake mix in a large bowl.   Pour in almond milk and stir until you reach a nice, balanced consistency (not too runny, not too chalky).
    2. Stir in sliced bananas and whole flax seeds.  You may need to add a few more splashes of milk if the batter gets too thick.
    3. Heat a tablespoon of Earth balance in a stove top pan on medium heat.  Heat for 2 minutes, coating the entire pan.
    4. Pour pancake batter into pan, forming a circle shape for your pancake.
    5. Heat for a few minutes and then flip with a spatula (this is the funnest part).  Repeat this process until you use up all the batter and each pancake is cooked thoroughly (you may need to flip back and forth several times).
    6. In a separate pan, heat Earth balance on medium heat.  Add fresh chopped apples, toss and stir.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon.  Continuously toss around the apples.   You want the cinnamon and sugar to coat the apples.
    7. Continue heating the apples until they reach a tender consistency (not mushy, do not overcook them).  The goal is not to make apple syrup, but to still have a chunky topping for your pancakes.
    8. Pour your apple cinnamon topping on top of your pancakes. Add premium maple syrup and enjoy!

*For added deliciousness, you could spread a layer of almond butter on your pancakes before adding the apple cinnamon topping.  This is very decadent, but very delightful.

**Flax seeds are a great source of fiber.  They are also great to add to yogurt or oatmeal in the mornings. 

Fall Vegetable Soup (immune strengthening soup)

As the days start to get colder and temperatures start to drop, it’s time to start thinking of warming dishes in order to acclimate to the weather. This warming vegetable soup recipe is good for your “meatless Mondays” (or non-meat eating days), will ward off any cold that’s trying to enter your body, and will strengthen your immune system, keeping you warm and nourished.

fallsoup

Ingredients:
Potatoes (gold)
Carrots
Celery
Kale
Cherry Tomatoes
Can of diced tomatoes (low sodium)
Red Onion
Garlic
Ginger
Turmeric
Cumin
Coriander
Cayenne pepper
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
*If you want more protein, you can add a can of kidney beans.

Directions:

  1. In a big pot, heat a generous amount of olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic, minced ginger and sliced red onions. Saute for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add spices of turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper to create your flavor base. Stir frequently until olive oil is coated in spices (you may need to add more olive oil as needed). Let simmer for about another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add diced gold potatoes.  Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.  Cover with lid, stirring frequently.
  5. Add diced carrots and cherry tomatoes.  Cover with lid, stirring frequently.  If the oil starts to dry, add more.  You can also add splashes of water to keep the potatoes and carrots moist.  Do not char the potatoes and carrots.
  6. Add one can of low sodium diced tomatoes, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and half a cup of water (or low sodium vegetable broth if you want more flavor).   Increase to medium-high heat.  Cover and let simmer for 5-10 more minutes, or until you are able to poke a fork through the potatoes (you want them to soften, but not get mushy).
  7. Reduce heat.  Add chopped celery and kale.  Cover and simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add salt & pepper to taste.