Carrots with Fennel, Ginger and Lemon

These carrots are incredibly aromatic and exhibit a bit of a floral taste. The combination of lemon juice, crushed fennel seeds, and ginger create a beautiful flavor with the sweetness of the carrots. The flavor is definitely not for everyone, but if you like all of these ingredients, you’ll probably be a fan. If preferred, you can always add the ginger sooner to the pan to mellow it out more or opt for a lesser amount. I personally like the the fresh, vibrant ginger taste, but know it can be overpowering for some.

Also, make sure you don’t skip the step of crushing the fennel seeds. This allows the fragrant oils to be released and ultimately, creates more flavor. For those unfamiliar, fennel has a slight licorice-like flavor and is subtly sweet. It’s also a flowering plant in the carrot family, and native to the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, combine this side dish with green veggies and protein of choice, and you’ve got yourself a complete meal. I even enjoyed adding a couple scoops of these to my big salad bowl I eat at lunchtime. It was delicious and a nice way to mix things up.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. – Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m feeling great about turning 33! It’s my auspicious year and a very exciting one to boot!

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ~1/4″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp pasture-raised ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Optional: 2-3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee or coconut oil in large pan over medium heat. Place the fennel seeds on a cutting board and slightly crush using heel of hand on the back of a chopping knife. Add to pan and toast 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Next, add the chopped carrots to the pan, along with the sea salt and lemon juice. Toss well and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 7-8 minutes or until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Lastly, add the fresh ginger and stir well. Cook for another couple minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh cilantro, if using. Serve.

*Note: if you’re not big on ginger, you can add it sooner to mellow out the flavor or opt for a little less.

 

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Chocolate Banana Walnut Bites

We had a snow day yesterday and it gave me the opportunity to experiment with the green banana flour I bought a few weeks ago. I’ve known about green banana flour for a while, but kept forgetting to order some. Then, I conveniently stumbled upon it at the grocery store. Score!

So far, I am pretty impressed with the flour. It worked well in this recipe and did not yield a strong or sweet banana flavor. It’s actually rather subtle. All in all, the bites turned out intensely chocolatey, subtly sweet, and slightly crunchy. In addition to the wonderful flavor, you get a dose of antioxidants, healthy fats, and resistant starch in these decadent bites. Perfect little treat.

Also, if you’re wondering, resistant starch actually, “resists digestion” and feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut. This can lead to improved blood fats, better insulin sensitivity, increased satiety, improved digestion, and more. Cold cooked white potatoes, fresh green bananas, and green plantains are other great sources. If you want to learn more about resistant starch, visit HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup green banana flour (find HERE)
  • 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 3-4 Tbsp cacao nibs
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, preferably sprouted
  • 4 large medjool dates, pitted

*Note: if you want these sweeter, you can add a little maple syrup, raw honey, or another 1-2 pitted medjool dates

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the cacao nibs in the food processor. Process until mixture is well blended and clumps together.
  2. Add the cacao nibs and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  3. With hands, roll mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place in the refrigerator to set for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Yields: ~15 bites

 

Strawberry Coconut Butter Cups

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without something chocolatey, right? To be honest, I don’t even really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but still like to have a little chocolate or sweet treat. So, I guess I celebrate a tiny bit. But, if you ask me, any reason is a good reason to eat chocolate. Valentine’s Day is the chocolate holiday though.

Meanwhile, melted dark chocolate, coconut butter, and freeze-dried strawberries come together in this combo to create a decadent, satisfying, and pretty sweet treat. Can’t beat the touch of pink for Valentine’s Day either! Use your favorite dark chocolate bar and adjust accordingly if you want the cups more or less sweet. Personally, I like really dark chocolate, but know that the darker stuff can be too bitter for some people.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4-4.5 oz good-quality dark chocolate (I used a mix of 100% and 85%)
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter, melted (I used this brand)
  • 2 Tbsp ground freeze-dried strawberries (grind in a small blender, coffee grinder, or food processor)
  • Extra ground freeze-dried strawberries for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat, being careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate.
  2. Remove from heat and spoon about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate into each liner. Place muffin tin in the refrigerator for chocolate to set. Meanwhile, place chocolate bowl back over pot of hot water to stay warm over low heat.
  3. While chocolate is setting, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the melted coconut butter and 2 Tbsp of ground freeze-dried strawberries. It will look crumbly, but keep mixing and smushing mixture down with a fork to work in the strawberry powder. Eventually, it smooths out some and is no longer crumbly. Know that it will not be drizzly and melty though.
  4. Remove muffin tin from fridge and scoop about 1 tsp worth of coconut mixture into each liner. Flatten mixture slightly with hands or back of spoon. Lastly, remove melted chocolate from heat and top with about 1 tsp more of melted chocolate. Place in fridge to set. After a few minutes or so, while chocolate is still tacky, garnish with extra freeze-dried strawberries, if desired. Place back in fridge to finish setting.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yields: 12 strawberry coconut butter cups

Superfood Chicken and Vegetable Soup

3 spiced chicken veggie soupThis chicken soup packs a powerful punch and makes me happy. It is incredibly nourishing and healing thanks to the bone broth, veggies, and spices. It even has a dose of medicinal reishi mushroom powder. I was fortunate to receive a bag of reishi mushrooms from friends that grew and dried them, so made my own reishi powder (note: the dry container for the Vitamix works awesome for this). If you’re unfamiliar, know that reishi mushrooms are great for overall wellness, stress relief, immune support, and more. It is a great addition to chicken soup, but don’t fret if you don’t have it. You can easily omit it from the recipe or find it HERE. Also, if you’re wondering, it doesn’t really have any noticeable flavor either.

If you’re pressed for time, know that you can use pre-cooked or leftover chicken breasts (or rotisserie chicken) and skip cooking it in the broth. It’ll do the trick, but I do recommend cooking the chicken fresh in the broth, if you can. It’s more flavorful and tender, which makes it easy to shred into the soup. I find that it stretches further too because of how much it breaks up.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • ~2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8-10 cups chicken bone broth, preferably homemade, plus more if needed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tsp grass-fed ghee or other fat of choice
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp reishi mushroom powder, optional (find HERE)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 bunch Italian kale, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Filtered water, to taste, if needed

Directions:

  1. Add the chicken breasts, broth, and bay leaves to a large stock pot. Make sure there’s enough broth to cover the chicken completely. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium-low heat for 30-60 minutes or until chicken breasts are very tender.
  2. Once done, remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Drain the broth into a separate pot or large bowl, and set aside for later. Be sure to remove the bay leaves as well.
  3. Next, add the ghee to the stock pot and melt over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté a few minutes. Then, add the sweet potato and garlic, and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Sauté a couple minutes more.
  4. Shred the cooled chicken and add back to the pot with the broth. If needed, add a bit more broth and/or filtered water. Then, add the ground ginger, turmeric, lemon juice, and reishi powder, if using. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  5. Lastly, add the chopped kale and stir. Let cook 2-3 minutes more or until kale is slightly softened. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.

Note: the shredded chicken absorbs more broth after sitting overnight in the refrigerator. In this case, you may want to add more broth when reheating leftovers, but it’s just as tasty eaten as a thicker soup. It all depends on how brothy you want it.

Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Nacho “Cheese” Dip

It’s amazing what you can do with vegetables. Seriously. So many possibilities and fun ways to experiment. In this recipe, I used roasted butternut squash as a base for a nacho “cheese” dip. Nutritional yeast and coconut milk help give it a creamy texture and cheesy flavor, and there’s a little punch from smoked paprika, cayenne, and fresh jalapeño. It’s wonderful served right away, while it’s fresh and warm. I recommend serving this with grain-free tortilla chips, as seen in the photo, but veggies, plantain chips, and sweet potato chips are all great options too. You can even spread it on a grain-free tortilla (this variety is my favorite) and add some shredded chicken to make a quesadilla or taco. Regardless of how you eat it, it’s another tasty and healthy option to have at a Super Bowl party (that is this weekend, after all).

Also, know that I made this as a thicker dip, but you can water it down more for a thinner/saucier consistency, if desired. This does thicken after being in the fridge as well, so keep that in mind.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, separated
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely chopped (leave desired amount of seeds in, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup filtered water or more if you want a thinner “cheese”

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash on a large sheet pan (use parchment, if desired) and toss with avocado oil, 1 tsp of the smoked paprika, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  2. Roast squash in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once squash is done, add to food processor with remaining ingredients (don’t forget the extra 1/4 tsp smoked paprika). Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. If you want a thinner “cheese,” add more water until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Serve warm with grain-free tortilla chips, veggie slices, plantain chips, etc.

Dairy-Free Buffalo Chicken Dip

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am not a sports person. I only bring this up because the Super Bowl is right around the corner. Naturally, I don’t plan to watch the game or attend any parties, but obviously, many of you will. That’s great…it’s just not my thing! I’ll admit that I sometimes watch the halftime show, but it’s usually always after the fact. Oh, and per usual, I have no idea which teams are playing this year. Like I said, not my thing!

However, I am happy to offer a recipe for all you Super Bowl partakers and of course, it’s a healthier version of a party classic. I know buffalo chicken dip or wings are common football food and even outside of a football context, I’ve never had buffalo chicken dip and am straight up not a chicken wings fan. With that said, I opted to make a healthier, dairy-free version of buffalo chicken dip, so it was my first time ever having something of the sorts. And, I liked it…a lot! If you’re looking for other healthier versions of party food to share at your Super Bowl gathering, be sure to check out my spinach artichoke dip too.

Also, I’ll be making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live next Friday, February 2, so stay tuned! Oh, and if you didn’t get my update on Facebook and Instagram, my January segment that I recorded earlier this month will be shared at a later time. It was recorded, but the main host and producer were sick, so they had to do things a little differently that day. I’ll be sure to share it once it’s released! UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup homemade avocado oil mayonnaise or a high-quality brand like this one
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Original — it’s straight forward and clean)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chives, chopped, for garnish

Options for serving:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add shredded chicken to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayo, hot sauce, and all the spices except for the chives. Pour over shredded chicken and stir to coat.
  3. Pour chicken mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until edges are bubbly and light brown. Garnish with chives and serve warm.

 

Golden Milk Cauliflower “Porridge”

golden milk porridge 2Lately, I’ve been craving cauliflower “porridge” or as it’s sometimes referred to, “no’oatmeal.” Regardless of what you call it, I’ve had a hankering for it. I made a big pot last week with what I had on hand and it totally hit the spot. I swear, it was even better than I remembered. I haven’t it made it in a long time…probably since I shared my first cauliflower porridge recipe. Anyway, it’ll probably be on repeat for a while now and fortunately, there are so many ways to mix up the flavors…just like traditional oatmeal. In this case, I went with golden milk as my flavor inspiration.

Also, you’ll notice that I made this recipe more nutrient-dense by mixing in grass-fed collagen powder and pasture-raised eggs. The added protein gives it a bit more staying power, in addition to extra nutrients. And, know that the ratios for things like the spices and raw honey are mere suggestions. Always tweak things to your liking!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large head cauliflower, riced or 16 oz bag prepared cauliflower rice
  • 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like this brand, which has no gums)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 scoops grass-fed collagen powder (I recommend this brand OR this brand)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or more to taste
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised, whisked

Optional toppings/mix-ins:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cacao nibs
  • Unsweetened coconut
  • Blueberries, banana slices, etc.
  • Hemp hearts
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Grain-free granola
  • Ground flax
  • Extra drizzle of tahini or other nut/seed butter
  • Extra drizzle of raw honey

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients, except the raw honey and eggs to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir well to mix everything together.
  2. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once porridge is done simmering, remove from heat and add a small amount of the mixture to the whisked eggs to temper. Add a little more porridge and whisk again. Then, add the egg mixture to the porridge and stir well.
  4. Add raw honey and stir well. Taste and adjust flavor (spices, honey, tahini, etc.), as desired.
  5. Serve warm or cold with toppings of choice.

*Note: porridge will thicken some as it cools.