Eggplant Caponata

This recipe is an adaptation of my grandmother’s Sicilian dish of chopped eggplant and vegetables in a tomato sauce.  It’s a great hearty meatless meal for a hot summer day.  It can also double as a fancy appetizer when it is piled atop toast points smeared with goat cheese.  You can also use it as a sauce served over pasta.  This recipe is not only versatile but it’s extremely easy.  If you can chop and stir you have this one in the bag!

Prep Time:  15 minutes                Cook Time:  35 minutes                 Serves 4

2 tbsp avocado oil

 

1 large carrot finely diced

2 celery stalks finely diced

1 shallot finely diced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 large eggplant medium diced

1 cubanelle pepper medium diced

1 large zucchini medium diced

1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes or chopped tomatoes

1 8 oz container of sliced mushrooms cut into small diced squares.

5-6 fresh chopped basil leaves

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Toasted bread:

1 loaf of hearty bread sliced

2 tbsp avocado oil

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

Start by heating 2 tbsp avocado oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the finely diced shallot, carrot and celery.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant, pepper and mushrooms along with the canned tomato and stir.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally.  Add the basil and zucchini and continue to simmer covered for an additional 20 minutes.  Add apple cider vinegar, stir and serve.

Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy and browned.  Top the bread with the caponata and serve.

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Golden Raisin Oatmeal Spice Cookies

These dairy-free oatmeal cookies aren’t your grandmother’s recipe.  The hint of orange combined with the clove and allspice are a delightful kick to your taste buds.  The chewy texture of the oats combined with the sweet raisins are satisfyingly wholesome.  They are great with a cup of tea on a cold day but also a sweet addition to a summer picnic.

Prep Time:  15 minutes                        Cook Time 12-15 minutes                   Makes:  2 Dozen

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups rolled oats

2 tbsp of water

2 tbsp grated orange peel (approximately 1 medium orange zested)

2/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the coconut oil and sugar.  Beat in the egg whites, water, orange zest and vanilla.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, spices, salt and baking soda.  Sir until combined.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir in the raisins.  Stir until the mixture is combined.  Drop a rounded tablespoon of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet two inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are browned.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

 

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Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This cold couscous salad is a great make-ahead side for a cook out or week night dinner because it keeps well for up to a week in the fridge.  The textures of the chewy couscous and crunchy carrot mixed with the creamy chickpeas and sweet raisins are a beautifully tasty combination.  I add the salty feta cheese because it is a sheep’s milk cheese and much easier to digest but you can certainly omit it.  This side dish is also packed with healthy ingredients from the raw carrots to the protein packed chick peas and verdant parsley.  Parsley is a high source of flavonoid antioxidants and is also a diuretic, which relieves bloating.  The Mediterranean Couscous Salad comes together in a snap and is dressed to impress.

Prep Time:  20 minutes      Cook Time:  10-15 minutes to cook the couscous       Serves: 6-8

1 cup of dry Israeli or Pearl Couscous cooked according to package instructions

1/3 cup white raisins

1 carrot finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1 16 oz can of canned chickpeas drained

1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled (optional)

1/3 cup chopped red roasted peppers

1/4 -to 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette  (click on this link for the dressing recipe)

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and stir.  Add in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the dressing depending on taste.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

 

 

Holiday Re-Mix

This quick and easy trail mix is dairy-free, requires no oven and is fairly healthy when compared to most desserts that will be calling your name this holiday season.  This trail mix combines my favorite flavor combination – oreos and peanut butter.  It will keep well in an air tight container for about a week.  If you omit the mini oreos in this recipe it can also be gluten free.  The red sprinkles add some festive color but you can change out the colors to match the occasion. This snack is prefect for a party or pack it for the long car ride to the festivities.

Prep Time:     20 minutes                          Makes one large bowl

Ingredients:

1 12 oz box rice chex cereal

3/4 cup fluff

3/4 cup natural peanut butter

3 tbsp of coconut butter or coconut oil

2 cups mini oreos

1/2 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips

1/2 cup salted cashews

1/4 cup red and green sprinkles

Place the fluff, peanut butter and coconut oil/butter into a heat proof bowl and melt the ingredients on a stovetop or in a microwave.  Stir the ingredients together until they are completely combined and smooth.

In a large bowl combine the cereal, oreos, chocolate chips, cashews and sprinkles.  Pour the melted mixture onto the cereal mixture and stir until all ingredients are coated.  Allow the mixture to cool and place in an air tight container for snacking all week.

 

Insane Apple Cake

When you are mixing up this batter you will think you’ve made a mistake because there are more chopped apples than cake mix.  You will have to trust me on this one because it will bake up to be delicious, moist and healthy.  It’s also an easy recipe that will allow you to use up the abundance of apples we all tend to have in the fall.

Prep Time:  10 minutes          Bake Time:  35minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup almond flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

3/4 cup liquid egg whites (the equivalent of 4 large eggs)

8 apples (peeled, cored and chopped into cubes)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  In a separate bowl whisk sugar, melted coconut oil and egg whites.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined.  Fold in the chopped apples and optional chopped nuts to the batter.  Pour the batter into a greased 13X9″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cut into squares once the cake has cooled and serve warm or at room temperature.  This cake will keep best in the fridge for up to a week.

Super Food Harvest Bowl

This bowl is a great make-ahead lunch that tastes even better if it sits in the fridge over night.  It is full of superfoods but the combination of the flavors and textures is satisfying and delicious when surrounded by this sumptuous balsamic vinaigrette.  Kale is healthiest when eaten raw.  It has fiber, protein and omega-3’s.  Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein and one of the only plant based foods that contains all 9 essential amino acids.  Almonds help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, prevent alzheimer’s, boost energy and immune system and nourish skin.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, which helps to fight colds and flu.  It also has vitamin D, Iron and Magnesium, which seem to be a common deficiency in many American diets.

Prep Time:  15 minutes               Cook Time:  20 minutes              Serves:  4

10 oz bag of washed and chopped Kale

1 small sweet potato chopped into small cubes

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raw almonds chopped

1 cup of dry quinoa cooked according to package instructions

3 oz mild goat cheese (optional)

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground pepper

 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp ground pepper

3/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Place the chopped sweet potato on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a mason jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until completely combined.

Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions and allow to cool.  Place the chopped kale in a bowl, add the dried cranberries, almonds, sweet potato, quinoa and cheese.  Pour most of the dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.  The hearty leaves of the kale will wilt from the vinaigrette and become even more yummy.  Enjoy!

 

Island Carrot Cake Muffins

These muffins are a delicious and healthy morning treat that will distract you from the fact that cake isn’t an acceptable breakfast food.  With only a 1/4 cup of oil and a cup of flour in the entire recipe not only are these dairy-free but they are heart healthy.  The protein from the almond flour will keep you feeling full longer and using egg whites reduces the fat content.  I like to use avocado oil, but feel free to use any light tasting oil you may have on hand.  If you like nuts add a cup of chopped pecans for some added crunch.  If you prefer to make a cake pour the mixture into a 9X13″ pan instead of muffin tins.

Prep Time:  15 minutes         Bake Time:   20 minutes        Makes 17 – 20 muffins

Ingredients:

3 cups of grated carrots

1 cup of flour

1 cup almond flour

1 cup white sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice

2/3 cup egg whites

1/4 cup avocado oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners for easy clean-up.  You may hand grate the carrot on a box grater but I find it faster to place the carrots in a food processor.  (It will require approximately 5-6 small carrots to equal 3 cups of grated carrots.)

In a large bowl combine the grated carrot, flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger.  In a separate bowl whisk together the pineapple, egg whites, vanilla extract, oil, pecans and coconut (optional).  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Take a 1/4 cup measuring cup and scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins for uniformed muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool before removing them from the pan.

If you use a 13X9″ pan cook for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.