Tom Kha Soup – Dairy Free!

Fall is upon us! What better way to honor the changing of the seasons than with a yummy soup?? I personally love making soups – it’s such a great way to pack in a bunch of veggies and, my personal favorite, BROTH. The other day, after snagging a couple stalks of lemongrass from the grocery store, I decided to make some tom kha.

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Now, this isn’t super traditional. I didn’t have galangal, I didn’t have keffir limes leaves, nor fish sauce…but what I did have was a desire for tom kha and the ability to improvise!

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Here’s what I put in my version of tom kha…

2 Stalks lemongrass, chopped in half and smashed to release flavor

2 32oz Containers of chicken broth (homemade is preferred, but I didn’t have that on hand)

2tbsp Coconut oil

1 13.5oz Can of full-fat coconut milk

1/4C Fresh squeezed lime juice + zest of one lime

1in. Fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1tbsp red pepper flakes

4 Cloves fresh garlic, minced

1/2 Yellow onion, roughly chopped

1lb Chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces

6-8oz Mushrooms sliced – I used baby bellas, but shiitake or maitake would be awesome too!

2tbsp Oyster sauce (fish sauce is preferred, but again – working with what I had)

1tsp Coconut sugar (or any sugar)

Cilantro, mae ploy (sweet chili) sauce, and a lime wedge for serving!

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In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes. Add broth and chicken thigh pieces and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer with lid on while chicken cooks, about 10 min. After 10 min, add in your mushrooms, half of the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, lime zest, and lemongrass and let cook for an additional 10 min. stirring occasionally. For the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, you’ll add the remainder of the garlic, the ginger, lime juice, coconut milk, sugar, and fish or oyster sauce.

Serve with fresh cilantro, mae ploy or some sort of chili oil, and a lime wedge! I served mine with some coconut rice and it was delicious! 🙂

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Gluten Free Peach Crisp

Yesterday, Omar and I went to the Mile High Flea Market to check out the selections of fresh produce and random odds and ends. We came across some really awesome prickly pear, plantains, and PEACHES! Some of them were a little bruised, so I decided I needed to make a crisp/cobbler/dessert. I didn’t find anything that I really wanted to make online, so I just came up with my own recipe. Here’s what you’ll need…

For the crust & crumble topping:

1 stick unsalted butter – melted

1.5C Flour (I used gluten free baking flour, but you can also use almond flour)

1C Walnuts – chopped (I pulsed mine in the food processor)

2/3C Brown sugar

1/2C Rolled oats

1/2C Coconut flakes

1tsp Cinnamon

1tsp Nutmeg

1/4tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 pan for the crisp.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, walnuts, sugar, oats, coconut flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well incorporated. Slowly add melted butter to crumble mixture and stir until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, leaving some of the crumble for the top of the crisp. Set aside.

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For the Peach Filling:

4 Medium sized peaches

4tbsp Unsalted butter or coconut oil

1tsp Cinnamon

1tsp Nutmeg

2tbsp Honey + a little more to drizzle over top

Slice peaches and remove pit.

Melt 4tbsp butter or oil in pan over medium heat and add sliced peaches, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss and coat the peaches, then let reduce for about 5 min.

Once peaches have softened and the liquids have started to caramelize, drizzle 2tbsp honey over peach mixture and stir. Add the cooked peaches to the pan on top of the layer of crust. Then add the crumble over top of the peaches. Drizzle with honey and put in preheated oven.

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Bake for 45min-1hr or until the crisp is golden brown. Serve warm with your favorite topping – vanilla ice cream, whipped coconut cream, the choice is yours!

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ENJOY!

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Gluten & Grain Free Sweet Potato Toast!

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I love avocado toast. A lot. I love breakfast sandwiches served open-faced on a delicious slice of bread. My body, however, doesn’t particularly love bread as much as my mouth does. I have tried different gluten free breads here and there, some of them are great compromises, some of them aren’t. BUT – sweet potato?? I think so.

Sweet potatos are one of my favorite foods. Although I’ve significantly decreased my sweet potato consumption from once/day to a few times a month, I’m still a sucker for roasted sweet potatoes. This time, I decided to make 1/4 inch thick slices for a few different varieties of sweet potato toast!

You can literally top these suckers with anything you like, these are just what I happened to make today. 🙂

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You’ll need:

1-2 Large Sweet Potatoes – 1/4in thick, sliced lengthways

3tbsp Avocado Oil

1tsp Sea salt

1 Avocado mashed or sliced

Cream cheese spread – I like to use Kite Hill’s Plain almond “cream cheese”

Hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, or sesame seeds – the choice is yours!

Bacon, eggs, greens – again, choose your own adventure!

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375. Brush avocado oil on either side of the sliced potatos and place them on a baking sheet evenly spaced apart, sprinkling the top with a little salt. Bake for 6-8 min before flipping the potato slices over, while they continue to bake for another 6-8 min. You can flip them a few times if you need to, pulling them out when they’re just starting to get some nice brown colored spots on the top.

Once the potatos are done cooking, you can begin to assemble your toast! Today I mad three different slices. One had mashed avocado, hemp seeds, baby kale, and bacon. Another had almond cream cheese, cinnamon, black sesame seeds, and a little drizzle of local honey. The third one was a classic bacon, fried egg, and kale. Other good toppings could be sliced tomato, strawberry, goat cheese, radishes, or bell peppers. Have fun with it!

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Avocado Key Lime Pie – Vegan Options!

Woah you guys. Woah. I found this gem of a recipe while flipping through a magazine and cutting out words/images for my vision board…and I’m SO happy I tried it! This is the perfect summer dessert. Light, creamy, and refreshing. The original recipe calls for spirulina to give it that bright green color, but I used hemp protein and matcha and it still turned out pretty 🙂 I also forgot to put the sesame seeds in my crust, so I used them as decoration instead. SO choose your own adventure! Let me know how it goes!

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You’ll need….

1 C Raw cashews

½ C Raw almonds

½ C Shredded unsweetened coconut plus more for decorating (optional)

¼ tsp sea salt plus more for seasoning

6 dates pitted and roughly chopped

1tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)

1tbsp chia seeds

¾ C canned coconut milk

3tbsp honey (or agave if you’re vegan, but I wouldn’t recommend it from a nutrition standpoint)

1tsp pure vanilla extract

½ large firm avocado

⅓ C fresh lime juice (preferably from key limes) and ½ tsp zest, plus sliced lime for garnish (optional)

¼ tsp spirulina (optional) <–I subbed ¼ tsp matcha and ¼ tsp hemp protein powder

⅔ C plus 4tbsp coconut oil, melted

¼ C very ripe strawberries or raspberries

Key-Limes

  1. Soak cashews in a bowl of water in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Rinse.
  2. Add almonds, shredded coconut, ¼ tsp salt and half the dates to a food processor and process until almonds are mostly broken down, about 45 sec. Add remaining dates, chia seeds, 2tbsp coconut oil and the sesame seeds if using, and process another 30-45 sec until mixture is uniform.
  3. Press mixture into the bottom and along the sides of a 6-inch springform or round baking pan, so that the edge of the tart is about 1in higher than the bottom and sides are about ¼ in thick. Place crust in freezer.
  4. In a blender, combine cashews, coconut milk, 2tbsp honey, a pinch of salt, and vanilla. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  5. Set aside ⅓ C of the mixture. Add avocado, lime juice and zest, spirulina (or hemp/matcha) if using, and remaining tbsp honey to the blender and process until fully incorporated. Add ⅔ C coconut oil and blend. Pour mixture into crust and return to freezer.
  6. Rinse blender and add reserved creamy mixture, remaining 2 tbsp coconut oil, and berries & blend. Place in freezer
  7. After an hour, pop tart out of pan. Transfer pink frosting to a pastry bag or a ziplock plastic bag with corner cut off. Decorate tart with frosting, adding additional coconut and sliced lime if desired. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve and enjoy the same day!

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Gluten Free Hemp Protein Banana Pancakes

I really try to keep my sugar cravings in check, but sometimes you just need a pancake! Usually when I have a couple over ripe bananas, it’s time to bake banana muffins or some banana pancakes! Today, I chose to add hemp protein powder for a little extra oomf. Because let’s be honest, most of us aren’t getting adequate protein (generally speaking).

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So let’s get right to it! This is what you’ll need:

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

1C gluten free flour

3tbsp coconut oil melted (can use butter if you’d prefer)

1tbsp hemp protein powder (this can easily be removed or substituted for other protein powder)

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2tsp baking powder

1/4c sugar

1/4c water or milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and coconut oil. Cream on low as you add in eggs, vanilla, ACV, and water. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture to the bowl. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix until everything is combined.

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To Cook:

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add cooking oil to the hot pan and begin to measure out pancake batter in 1/4C servings. I usually cook two at a time in my medium sized cast iron. Cook on one side until small bubbles start to form around the perimeter of the pancake, then flip! You can alter cook time or temp depending on your stove, but you want a nice golden brown color on either side. Top with whatever you’d like! I usually go for butter and maple syrup. Piece of (pan)cake! Happy cooking ❤

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For the Love of FOOD

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
-Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain was constantly on the hunt for new food, culture, and “parts unknown”. He was truly an inspiration in the culinary community and beyond. He always kept it real, raw, and unfiltered no matter who he was talking to. His respect for the art of cooking and feeding people was truly something to be admired…and so, in honor of the passing of a great man and chef, I want to talk about food.

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My passion for food and cooking has really taken off in the past 6 years. As someone who was raised being taught the basics in the kitchen, I always loved helping create a meal. Whether it was thanksgiving lunch, breakfast for my dad’s work friends, or any gathering that we hosted at my family’s house – I was always involved, helping prepare southern-style comfort food. It wasn’t until I discovered my love for making new (to me) foods that I started being comfortable stepping into the unknown and figuring out what my cooking style actually looked and tasted like. I took bits and pieces from family meals growing up, and turned them into something unique to me that still felt like home. Most of what I was raised on were convenience and comfort foods. While they were delicious to me at the time, they weren’t always the most nutrient dense meals. Lots of cheese, bread, and sugar. Like I said, southern. 🙂 Once I began working for a nutrition company and saw how what we put in our bodies can affect literally EVERYTHING, my cooking began to evolve again. The focus became not only flavor and presentation, but also how it could benefit my body and those I was cooking for. It pushed me to continue to find alternative sources for similar flavors that better served me long-term. With the use of the internet, specifically social media, I began to gain support and encouragement from my community around the food I was making. I loved hosting brunch gatherings or dinner parties and feeding my friends. I loved being presented with the challenges of cooking for people with different food sensitivities or dietary restrictions as it really broadened the spectrum of ingredients I was using as well as my skill set. These days I am still cooking for close friends on the regular. I’ve been asked to cater small work events and most recently have been invited to come cook for Steph Gongora and Erin Kelly’s upcoming retreat.

It feels good knowing that I’ve found something for myself that is challenging and effortless at the same time. I feel the most creative and artistic when I’m whipping up something new in the kitchen. I’ve learned to cook with confidence, and to just go for it when trying out a recipe or even winging it. Without any real “formal” training, I’ve been able to use my accumulated knowledge and experience to make meals that everyone can feel good about eating. There’s something so special about nourishing people through food. The sensory experience of it all with the presentation, the taste, the texture, and aromatics is so delightful and profound. The attention to detail, the combination of flavor profiles and variety of colors found in the different elements that make a meal are what keeps me coming back. I love getting people to try new things or experience a particular type of food in a different way. I love the sense of community that can be found surrounding a table of food or even just in the kitchen while I’m cooking. I just love cooking and every joy that comes from doing it and sharing it.

Table with food, top view. (Olga Klochanko/Shutterstock)

They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and I believe that without a doubt. When I put my love into what I’m creating, I hope that it translates and the people eating it can truly feel that as a gift from me.