• stuffing mixture for mushrooms!

    Millet Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

    Millet, an ancient grain from the Far East, is both gluten-free and a great source of fiber (9 grams/serving) and protein (7 grams/serving).  I just started playing around with millet in a few breakfast dishes and yesterday came up with this very tasty millet and veggie stuffed portobello recipe.  The amount of millet I used […]

    Read More

    Millet Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

  • GF muffins right out of the oven!

    Amazing Gluten-Free Muffins – not from scratch!

    I have never been one to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon; unless of course a person has a true gluten-intolerance or celiac disease diagnosis.  This isn’t to say most Americans aren’t eating too many refined grains and total grains containing gluten, however!  But that’s a whole other post…. In a nutshell, I’m always interested in […]

    Read More

    Amazing Gluten-Free Muffins – not from scratch!

  • photo-51

    Creamy Cauliflower Soup (and it’s Vegan)

    I love roasted cauliflower and serve it at least once a week as a side-dish for dinner.  Since it’s been so cold lately here in usually-warm Charleston, I decided to use the roasted cauliflower in a soup.  I love how roasting veggies bring out the natural sweetness in many veggies, and I have a thing […]

    Read More

    Creamy Cauliflower Soup (and it’s Vegan)

  • DSC_1976

    Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

    I first made these decadent chocolate avocado cupcakes 4 years ago for my friend Natalie’s son.  It was his first birthday and he had a dairy allergy so I was in search of a vegan chocolate cupcake.  I came across this recipe from Vegetarian Times.  I’ve tweaked it a bit but in all fairness have given […]

    Read More

    Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

  • photo 1-3

    Easy Chicken Tostada

    I am a big fan of Food for Life foods, especially their sprouted grain product line (e.g., english muffins, tortillas, bread). I recently saw they offer a sprouted grain corn tortilla and my cousin recently told me they worked great in her family’s favorite enchilada recipe. What I love about Food for Life products are […]

    Read More

    Easy Chicken Tostada

stuffing mixture for mushrooms!

Millet Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Millet, an ancient grain from the Far East, is both gluten-free and a great source of fiber (9 grams/serving) and protein (7 grams/serving).  I just started playing around with millet in a few breakfast dishes and yesterday came up with this very tasty millet and veggie stuffed portobello recipe.  The amount of millet I used […]

Read More
GF muffins right out of the oven!

Amazing Gluten-Free Muffins – not from scratch!

I have never been one to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon; unless of course a person has a true gluten-intolerance or celiac disease diagnosis.  This isn’t to say most Americans aren’t eating too many refined grains and total grains containing gluten, however!  But that’s a whole other post…. In a nutshell, I’m always interested in […]

Read More
photo-51

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (and it’s Vegan)

I love roasted cauliflower and serve it at least once a week as a side-dish for dinner.  Since it’s been so cold lately here in usually-warm Charleston, I decided to use the roasted cauliflower in a soup.  I love how roasting veggies bring out the natural sweetness in many veggies, and I have a thing […]

Read More

Millet Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Millet, an ancient grain from the Far East, is both gluten-free and a great source of fiber (9 grams/serving) and protein (7 grams/serving).  I just started playing around with millet in a few breakfast dishes and yesterday came up with this very tasty millet and veggie stuffed portobello recipe.  The amount of millet I used was only about 1/3 of what was cooked, so I added a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and pecorino romano cheese to what was leftover, and my kids devoured it.

Although I didn’t time this recipe, it took only around 30 minutes to prepare, and was easy to cook while I was sautéing other veggies and grilling chicken breasts.

Millet Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Serves 2 hearty mushrooms or 4 halves

1 cup rinsed whole grain millet

2 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned with a paper towel and stem/gills removed to form a “bowl” on the underside”

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 small white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

3 cups fresh organic spinach, roughly chopped

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped after soaking 10 minutes in warm water to reconstitute

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup finely shredded pecorino romano cheese

dash of crushed red pepper flakes, optional

1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.  Place 2 cups water in a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Add the rinsed millet; cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until all water is absorbed.  This takes approximately 20 minutes.  Set aside.

3.  Place portobello mushrooms bowl side up on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, just to slightly cook the mushroom before stuffing it.  It should be fork tender so may take more/less time in the oven.  Keep an eye on it.

4.  In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat add 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat.  Add garlic and onions and sauté about 3 minutes, until onions translucent.  Add spinach and sauté until half of the spinach is wilted.  Add about 1/3- 1/2 of the cooked millet (about 3/4 to 1 cup) to the spinach and add sun-dried tomatoes and olives.  Saute all together for about a minute. Remove from heat.  Add seasonings and about 2/3 of the cheese.

5.  Stuff the mixture into the portobello mushroom “bowls” and top with remaining 1/3 of cheese.  You will likely still have some of the millet mixture remaining in the skillet.  Enjoy it later!

6.  Turn oven to broil and place stuffed mushrooms back in.  CAREFULLY watch to make sure they don’t burn, but you want a nice little crunch on the surface of the mushrooms and cheese melted.  Remove from oven and eat immediately.  Enjoy!

stuffing mixture for mushrooms!

stuffing mixture for mushrooms!

millet stuffed portobello 2

Amazing Gluten-Free Muffins – not from scratch!

I have never been one to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon; unless of course a person has a true gluten-intolerance or celiac disease diagnosis.  This isn’t to say most Americans aren’t eating too many refined grains and total grains containing gluten, however!  But that’s a whole other post….

In a nutshell, I’m always interested in trying a new product.  Enter: Simple Mills, a company dedicated to gluten-free/grain-free baking mixes.  They offer three muffin mixes to date: banana, chocolate or pumpkin.  I was at Whole Foods the other day and a friend of mine suggested trying them, as her children have gluten-intolerance.   Although the price of the mix is not for the faint of heart (each mix retails at $8.99), I have to say I was impressed with their simple and clean ingredients list: almonds, coconut nectar, arrowroot powder, bananas, vanilla beans, baking soda and celtic sea salt.  All you add is some coconut oil (1 Tbsp) or other oil; some water (2/3 c) and an egg (or egg replacer).

I was extremely impressed with how nicely the batter mixed together.  Previous gluten-free mixes I have used end up being difficult to mix, clumping together in a big mass of goo.  This mix felt like regular batter should feel… moist enough to pour into the individual muffin tins – a plus in my book!  And after baking 15 minutes at 375, these muffins were golden brown, moist and very tasty.  My kids loved them!

I have two comments to make about this product that I think should be noted:

1.  The bag of mix only makes 9 muffins….why 9?  Why not add more ingredients to make a dozen?

2.  They claim 0 grams saturated fat per muffin (130 cal/serving).  This cannot be true.  If you use coconut oil at 1 Tbsp per mix that’s 12 grams of saturated fat … a little over 1 gram per muffin.  Just need to note this!

There’s 3 grams of fiber per muffin, 270 mg sodium, 7 g total fat, 17 g carbs and a hefty dose of vitamin E and magnesium to boot!  Give these tasty muffins a try, especially if gluten sensitivity is an issue.

gf muffin batter

GF muffin mix ready to bake!

gf muffin mix

GF muffins right out of the oven!

GF muffins right out of the oven!

 

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (and it’s Vegan)

I love roasted cauliflower and serve it at least once a week as a side-dish for dinner.  Since it’s been so cold lately here in usually-warm Charleston, I decided to use the roasted cauliflower in a soup.  I love how roasting veggies bring out the natural sweetness in many veggies, and I have a thing for slightly crisp and caramelized veggies.

I searched online for some recipe ideas, and was a bit annoyed by how high-fat, and dairy-rich most cauliflower soups are.  So I made my own, using flavor combinations that are warming to me.  I hope you enjoy – we sure did!

 

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Recipe by Melissa Ohlson, MS, RD, LD

Serves 4

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into large florets

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 medium sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

4 cups water

4 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base

1 1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or lightly spray a cookie sheet. Spread cauliflower evenly over the cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and place in oven to roast for 25 minutes, turning cauliflower over half-way through roasting.  Roast until fork-tender and slightly golden.  Set aside.

2.  In a large stockpot, heat some additional olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion.  Saute until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes.  Add roasted garlic, cumin and coriander and sauté another minute.  Add water and mix in vegetable base and bring to a simmer.

3.   Using a hand-held blender (or carefully transferring in small batches to a blender), puree until soup is smooth.  Season with salt and pepper and any additional cumin or coriander as desired.  Serve immediately, topping with fresh cilantro.  YUM!

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

I first made these decadent chocolate avocado cupcakes 4 years ago for my friend Natalie’s son.  It was his first birthday and he had a dairy allergy so I was in search of a vegan chocolate cupcake.  I came across this recipe from Vegetarian Times.  I’ve tweaked it a bit but in all fairness have given you the recipe link if you want to make theirs. I enjoy a good frosting, and this homemade one I came up with below is a WINNER in our house!  It is decadent and creamy and is not made from hydrogenated oils.    Alternately you can try the glaze recipe found on the Veg Times link below.

The addition of maple syrup in the cupcake means fewer processed sugars, and using an avocado replaces the egg and most of the oil which keeps the cupcakes moist and decadent while slashing some saturated fat.  

I’d bet money your honey won’t even notice the avocado!  Hope you make them for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day ~ Enjoy!

DSC_1981

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from VegetarianTimes.com by Melissa Ohlson, MS, RD, LD

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1 cup pure maple syrup

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

To make cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare muffin tin by lining with paper liners.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients: flour through salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine avocado, maple syrup, almond milk, oil and extract until smooth.
  4. Pour blended ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk, taking care to try and break up any lumps and ensure there are no dry “pockets” in the batter.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes clean.
  6. Set aside to cool.

Icing – yes this has powdered sugar, which is a highly processed sugar.  Alternatively you can make a glaze for these cupcakes using tofu and chocolate, but my family dives into this icing when I make it (and it’s only once a year).

½ cup Earth Balance natural buttery spread made with olive oil (trans fat free)

1-2 cups packed confectioner’s sugar

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

To make icing:

  1. In a mixer fitted with a whisk, beat Earth Balance spread until creamy.  In small batches and while mixer still beating, add powdered sugar, almond milk, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.  Beat until thick and fluffy – you may not use all of the confectioner’s sugar.  You may need to add a bit more almond milk but be careful not to add too much or it will become too thin.
  2. Spread icing over cupcakes (you won’t use it all unless you are piling the icing thick) and have a super Valentine’s Day!

These cupcakes are around 300 calories each, compared to store-bought cupcakes which can range from 400-550 calories!

 

 

Easy Chicken Tostada

I am a big fan of Food for Life foods, especially their sprouted grain product line (e.g., english muffins, tortillas, bread). I recently saw they offer a sprouted grain corn tortilla and my cousin recently told me they worked great in her family’s favorite enchilada recipe.

What I love about Food for Life products are their simple, unadulterated and straightforward ingredients.  In the case of these corn tortillas there are four ingredients: organic sprouted corn, filtered water, sea salt and lime.  Notice there are no parabens in there.  The reason I say this is because I was floored when I went to Publix the other day and the corn tortillas they carry contain PARABENS!  I have been trying to avoid parabens in my family’s hair care and body products for years, and cannot believe they are present in some foods too!  No thank you.

At 120 calories, 2 g fat (o saturated or trans), 10 mg sodium, 3 g fiber and 3 g protein this is a perfect corn tortilla to pick up for your favorite enchilada or tostada recipe.  Tonight we are going to enjoy some chicken tostadas.  This recipe is simple and quick – especially if you cook the chicken, corn and bean mixture ahead of time.  All you have to do is assemble and broil!  Top with your favorite guacamole (preferably homemade) and salsa (my FAV is Garden Fresh Gourmet and you have a show-stopping meal everyone will enjoy!

Easy Chicken Tostadas

Recipe by Melissa Ohlson

Makes 10 tostadas

Ingredients:

1 pound cooked boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts (I poached in a covered pan with a little water for about 20 minutes), shredded

10-12 organic sprouted grain corn tortillas (Food for Life)

Spectrum canola cooking spray (for tortillas)

sea salt (optional)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can or 2 cups frozen and thawed organic sweet corn, rinsed and drained

1/2 tsp cumin

1 8 oz bag Frontera red chile enchilada sauce

4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded monterey jack cheese

Shredded romaine lettuce

Guacamole

Salsa

Thinly sliced green onions

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place six corn tortillas onto a baking sheet and spray top with a little cooking spray and season with a little sea salt if desired.  Place in oven and let bake until sides begin to lift and entire corn tortilla is crispy and golden brown, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove from sheet and set aside.  Repeat with remaining 4 corn tortillas.

2.  Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  When oil shimmering, add black beans and corn and sauté for about 4 minutes.  Season with cumin and add enchilada sauce.  Stir to combine and allow cook until liquid is at a simmer.  Take off heat and set aside.

3.  Set oven to broil now.

4.  Place the first six corn tortillas back on baking sheet and top each with a large spoonful of the chicken, bean and corn mixture.  Top each with 2 Tbsp of cheese. Broil for about 3-4 minutes until cheese melted, watching carefully to avoid burning.

5.  Take out of oven and top each tostada with shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomato, guacamole, salsa and sliced green onions.  I generally serve 2 tostadas per person.  Enjoy!