Sugar-Free Peach Parfait

Sugar-Free Peach Parfait
Sometimes in life it comes down to tough decisions.

For example, when your iPhone gets really full and you have to delete some music. That’s when you have to have to ask yourself the hard questions. Questions like… do I really need this much Katy Perry music? Does anyone?

When hard questions like this come up, you also have to stop and analyze yourself. I mean… what does it say about you that the most played song in your iTunes is 3 am by Matchbox Twenty. You must be lonely?

There’s only one thing to do while you contemplate these hard decisions and life questions… you have to eat some sugar-free peach parfait.

If you’re one of the folks jumping on the no-refined-sugar bandwagon, you’re gonna love me for this one. And even if you’re not, I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference between this and a “typical” dessert that does involve refined sugar… well, except that this one might taste better. :)

This dessert revolves around seasonal, ripe peaches and my secret ingredients – cashews and dates – to create a creamy, dreamy parfait that’s gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and works wonderfully for folks with dietary restrictions, raw foodies, plant-based folks/vegans, and folks following a paleo lifestyle.

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Mexican Cucumber Salad

Mexican Cucumber Salad

Everyone keeps talking about it being the “end of the summer.”

Shhh… no, it’s NOT the end of the summer. It’s the height of the summer!

It’s the best time of the year when amazing things like peppers, zucchini, cucumber, greens, peaches, and herbs in season! Nope, it’s not the end, my friends… I think it’s just the beginning. (Okay, not really, but just go with me on this one…)

I’ve been really bored of my lunches lately. If you’ve been in a food rut too, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I typically opt for a simple salad during the weekdays (you can see my Healthy Trader Joe’s Meal Plan for tips and ideas), but lately I’ve been bored of my classic mix of greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, and balsamic vinegar.

So, I decided to take everything in season and put it together in a yummy salad tossed with a little salt and cumin. Yes! You can add beans to this salad to make it a hearty vegetarian/vegan entree or serve it alongside a protein source of your choice. Either way, it’s a quick and easy way to break up the food rut and excite your taste buds.

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Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

 

Are you getting enough veggies in your diet? Sorry to have to play Fiber Patrol, but somebody’s got to… right?

One of the things I love and appreciate most about summer is the variety of seasonal vegetables. The farmers market is always overflowing this time of year with a variety of produce and with the heat, I personally love to enjoy my veggies raw.

Today I’m excited to be partnering with French’s Yellow Mustard to bring you four #NaturallyAmazing delicious dressings and dips which are perfect for seasonal picnics and grill-outs!

French’s yellow mustard starts with farm-grown, whole mustard seeds and select herbs and spices (including turmeric). French’s is 100% natural, gluten-free and kosher and it has 0 calories. Unlike some mustards, there’s nothing artificial: no preservatives, fillers or thickeners. French’s is naturally amazing and is the preferred mustard for your favorite summer foods. From flavorful marinades to tangy salad dressings, French’s yellow mustard brings wholesome goodness and fresh taste to your table. Awesome.

Now let’s make some dressings and dips for summer!

This post was brought to you by the makers of French’s Yellow Mustard. I received compensation to write this post through the French’s Naturally Amazing Program, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

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Broccoli Spigarello with Garlic and Pine Nuts

Broccoli Spigarello with Garlic and Pine Nuts

I have a pretty good idea of what you must be thinking at this point… what the heck is spigarello?  Don’t worry, I found myself thinking the same thing at last week’s farmers market.

One of my favorite parts of living in Seattle is the amazing diversity of produce we have here. Over the years I’ve challenged myself to “cook outside my comfort zone” by trying a new vegetable when I find something that I’m unfamiliar with at the market and then experimenting with the best ways to prepare it. This week’s challenge was spigarello.

Broccoli spigarello is native to southern Italy and is completely different from broccoli, broccolini, or broccoli rabe (in fact, they’re not even in the same family). I love broccoli so I have no problem with its sometimes bitter taste, but spigarello is an entirely different story. The best way I can describe the taste is the sweetness of broccoli combined with the leaves of kale.

Let’s just say I instantly fell in love. And when you combine it with a little bit of garlic, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper? Well that’s just my version of heaven.

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How To Make Zucchini Pasta With a Mandoline Slicer

How To Make Zucchini Pasta with a Mandoline Slicer

How To Make Zucchini Pasta with a Mandolin

Some of my favorite tutorials on my blog involve making (grain-free and gluten-free!) zucchini pasta. Last year I created two different tutorials to show how to make  spaghetti from zucchini and how make zucchini fettuccine.

There are a couple of different tools you can use to make zucchini pasta but I typically use my spiralizer (pictured above on the right). The one that I own is a plastic spiralizer by Paderno World Cuisine that I ordered from Amazon in 2009. I’ve found that it’s easy to use, easy to clean, and has lasted a really long time.

A lot of folks who stop by my website are excited about this and want to make zucchini pasta, however, they don’t want to have to buy a spiralizer. As a minimalist myself, I completely understand the hesitation you might have before buying another piece of kitchen equipment. And this is exactly why I created this tutorial.

If you want to make zucchini pasta, but just don’t think you’d have enough uses for a spiralizer, then a mandoline slicer is going to be your new best friend. I became acquainted with mandolin slicers many, many years ago when I worked in a raw foods kitchen. A mandoline (pictured above on the left) is used for slicing and cutting vegetables and fruits. You slide the vegetable or fruit along the surface blade and it allows you to slice the food quickly, uniformly, and much thinner than if you were using a knife.

I’ve had my mandoline for a couple of years now and when I’m doing large amounts of prep, it definitely saves me time in the kitchen. The mandoline I own is OXO Good Grips V-Blade slicer that I purchased off Amazon. I’ve used several different mandolines and this one is my favorite because it comes with a few different blades and it has a food holder with a handle that you can use to slice the fruits and veggies so you don’t have to worry about slicing your fingers on the blades (the old-school mandoline models don’t have this feature so beware).

Once you have a mandoline, making zucchini pasta couldn’t be easier! So let me show you how to make zucchini pasta with a mandoline slicer!

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Sautéed Greens with Mushrooms

Greens3

When you start a new job, there are few thoughts that might go through your head…

  • Did I already meet this person? I think I did. No, wait, I totally didn’t. I’m still unsure. Should I just introduce myself anyway? Shoot, now they’re walking away…
  • How do you work a copier again?
  • Why. am. I. so. hungry. ?
  • (receive an email from John)… John? Wait, who’s John again?
  • Why isn’t it lunchtime already?
  • Seriously? No one uses a reusable mug? I wonder how many paper cups this office goes through daily… 
  • Would it be totally weird if I pulled out my green smoothie mason jar right now? Maybe I should just do it anyway?

Ah, the joys of starting a new job.

My favorite part of being in a new job is trying to figure out the office culture, especially when it comes to food. I’m not gonna lie here, I’ve always been the office weirdo when it comes to food. It usually doesn’t take long for me to bring a green smoothie to a meeting or pull out a giant container of zucchini spaghetti at lunch and forever be branded “the healthy one.” Sometimes this is a term of endearment. And sometimes it’s just plain not.

My strategy for surviving the week I started my new job included having lots of healthy foods prepped and ready for dinner so I wouldn’t be temped by any unhealthy (but probably way more convenient) options. My meal options for the week included Coconut Crusted Salmon alongside these amazing braised mushroom greens.

And for dessert? Why, this spring detox green smoothie of course. Just because I’m weird like that. :)

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Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Have you been on a spring cleaning kick lately? I have.

Me and my trusty DIY All Purpose Cleaner and DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner have been scrubbing every surface in my apartment and I’ve been decluttering like mad. At this point it’s getting crazy. If something isn’t somehow attached to the apartment itself I’ve found myself trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

I knew I was going overboard the other day when I found myself debating about donating my food processor. I mean, I love that thing, but somehow I haven’t used it since I was recipe testing for my cookbook last summer. That’s when I knew it was time to put it to use again.

So, what to make in my lovely food processor? Enter vegan walnut and mushroom pate. If you’ve been needing a reason to keep your food processor around, I think this just might be it.

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Yams Stuffed with Mushroom Gravy

Gravy Stuffed Yams

There’s nothing worse than trying to blog about food when you’re sick… Trust me on this one.

That’s the only excuse I can offer for why this post is long overdue. Like, a week behind. I mean, the idea of talking about cooking, eating, and food in general when you’re really under the weather? No thank you. 

On that note, my sincere apologies for things being rather silent on the blog last week. And, I think it’s time we change that. So let’s talk about yams stuffed with mushroom gravy.

Are you noticing the change in seasons? I’m excited to see the long, dark days of winter almost behind us, but I know we still have many rainy days of spring ahead of us. That can only mean one thing: healthy comfort food. Are you with me?

These yams stuffed with mushroom gravy are just that: the perfect way to bridge the gap between winter and spring AND, they can be used with a variety of protein sources. Vegetarian? Paleo? Vegan? No problem! The best part is that this recipe works for a variety of diets!

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