Gluten Free Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad

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I’m always trying to think of easy, healthy lunch ideas that I can make a lot of. Things that I can throw into containers and that will feed us all week. We’ve been stuck on this one for several weeks now, just because it makes a lot, it keeps in containers rather well, it’s so versatile, it’s tasty, and healthy! I call it “Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad”, as you can throw in just about anything but the kitchen sink.

I’ll give you the base, then also some “throw in” ideas. You can really make it your own based on your tastes. There’s no right or wrong!

**To make it as healthy as possible, buy organic, non-gmo when you can!

Gluten Free Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad

Here’s what you need:

Base

  • 16oz package Brown Rice Pasta (cooked)
  • 8 – 10oz jar Olive Bruschetta (basically olive salad)
  • 1 T. Nutritional Yeast (this is the kind I use: Bragg Nutritional Yeast)
  • 1 T. Turmeric
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Throw In Ideas

  • Grated Carrots
  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Several Handfuls of Fresh Mixed Greens
  • Sliced Bell Peppers
  • Chopped Celery
  • Chopped Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • Toasted Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • If you’re wanting to add even more protein, Grilled Chicken works really well with it too.

 

Here’s what you do:

  • Cook Pasta.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Add to a large bowl.
  • Add Olive Bruschetta, Turmeric, Salt and Pepper, then mix well.
  • Add in all of your other “throw in” ingredients.
  • Stir well with wooden spoon.
  • Refrigerate several hours (even better overnight).
  • Enjoy!

“Bird Seed” Granola

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Many of you have heard me refer to my “Bird Seed” and have asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share it here.

Initially, this started out as primarily just pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which is where my little nickname came from. I was trying an elimination diet to see if I had any food allergies that were causing a skin rash. On this elimination diet (which was pretty brutal I might add) there wasn’t much that I could have. No nuts, corn, soy, gluten, dairy, citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables, coffee, chocolate, wine, etc… This “Bird Seed” was “legal”, so I pretty much became addicted to it, and still am. In fact, I’m having some right now! 😀

I didn’t really see any pattern related to what I was eating and the rash, so I started adding things back (Hallelujah!) and adapted the original recipe to include a little more goodness. This is still gluten and dairy free as those are two things I won’t be adding back to my diet. I haven’t had dairy in years and years because I discovered it triggered migraines, and gluten is just bad, bad, bad!

I typically enjoy mine for breakfast with mixed berries and coconut yogurt, but it’s also delicious with vanilla coconut milk as a cereal, or just to eat plain!

So, here’s how to make some delicious, gluten free, dairy free, low sugar Bird Seed! **It’s best to buy organic ingredients when you can!**

 

Bird Seed Granola

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Cups Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 Cup Walnuts (or other nuts of your choosing)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Oats
  • 3 T Chia Seeds
  • 1 heaping tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 Cup Raw Honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine all ingredients into a food processor fitted with an “S” blade. *
  • Turn on to medium/high speed and let it run until you have a coarse mixture.
  • Transfer to cookie sheet and spread it out evenly.
  • Bake for 30-60 minutes – stirring every 15 minutes. **
  • Once your Bird Seed is golden brown, turn off the oven and leave it inside until the oven is cool.
  • Remove from oven and enjoy! 🙂

*If you have a smaller food processor, chop the ingredients in batches, and place each batch into a large bowl. Once all ingredients have been chopped, then stir well before spreading it onto the cookie sheet.

**Oven temps vary, therefore; you may have to bake shorter or longer depending on yours. It’s important to check every 15 minutes and stir it around as it has a tendency to burn if you don’t. 😉

 

 

 

 

Super Fudge Protein Brownies

FudgeBrownies

When you’re trying to eat clean, super chocolately, gooey, delicious brownies are probably something you think are off limits. That’s where you’re wrong! Ditch the box and make your own. These are a delightful treat, filled with protein and no nonsense ingredients. It’s not permission to eat the whole pan in one go, though…remember…moderation!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 2 Squares of Dark Chocolate (at least 70%), chopped into pieces
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut Butter (make sure it only contains peanuts!)
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans (optional)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Grease 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. If the batter is too thick, add additional milk by tablespoonfuls until it reaches a better consistency (not runny, but moist enough to where all of the ingredients are mixed together nicely).
  • Pour until baking dish. Using a knife, spread it evenly into the dish.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until the top is somewhat crispy.
  • Let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy!

Fall is Coming Chicken Soup

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I got a little excited this past weekend because of the cool front that came through. Lows in the upper 50’s was something to celebrate, even if it did get up to 85 during the day. I mean, that’s cool weather for us Texans, right? We wanted something “fall-ish” for dinner, but nothing too complicated because we were busy outside (had to get those fall decorations out!). I figured a nice chicken soup would do! Now, when it comes to soups and stews, I don’t do measurements. I just start dumping things in until it tastes good. 😀

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs Chicken (I used chicken breasts, but whatever cut you prefer will do.)
  • 6-8 Celery Stalks, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Small Bag of Carrots, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Bell Peppers (any color is fine), chopped
  • 2 Onions, Chopped
  • 2 Shallots, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 Big Handful Fresh Baby Kale
  • 1 Big Handful Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 T. Coconut Oil
  • Herbs & Spices to taste: Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Rosemary, Garlic Powder, Sage, Basil, Bay Leaves

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Put chicken in a stock pot (I believe mine is a 10qt.) and cover with water. (Leave about 2 inches at the top.)
  • Add in your Herbs and Spices.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.
  • Add Celery, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Onions, Shallots, Garlic and Coconut Oil.
  • Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat back to low, cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
  • Remove Chicken and shred with a fork, then put it back in the pot.
  • Add in your handfuls of Kale and Spinach, and simmer for about 10 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Enjoy!

**This makes a lot, and tastes even better the next day!

Salsa Chicken Salad

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I’m going to give you the easiest way to make lots of tasty chicken, with almost zero effort. Ready? Here it goes:
Take 4-5 chicken breasts and 1 jar of green salsa (make sure there’s almost 0 sugar!), toss it all in the crockpot and let it go, let it go!!! 4-5 Hours on High or 6-8 Hours on Low. Once it’s done, you just take two forks and shred it all up. Easy, right? 🙂
You can eat this on its own, put it over brown rice, or in a whole wheat tortilla. The possibilities are endless. I put mine over a salad for a super healthy lunch or dinner.
Salad Mix:
• Spinach
• Romaine Lettuce
• Purple Cabbage
• Shredded Carrots
Toppings:
• Salsa Chicken
• Raw Sunflower Seeds
• Kalamata Olives
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:

Mix the following in whatever size glass jar or container you might have. I use an old olive oil bottle and it works perfectly:
• 1 Cup Olive Oil
• ½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
• 1 tsp. Salt
• 1 tsp. Pepper
• 1 T. Garlic Powder or Chopped Garlic
• 1 T. Italian Seasoning (i.e. Oregano, Basil) Even better, use chopped fresh oregano and basil.
Shake it all up!

Enjoy!

Healthier Apple Crumble

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So, my husband became a Citizen of the United States last week, YAY! It’s been a long process since his arrival from South Africa, so we are extremely happy to have this chapter behind us! Since America and Apple desserts seem to go hand in hand, I was in the kitchen on Sunday experimenting with healthier ways to create a delicious Apple Crumble, and I think I succeeded! It’s not too sweet, is full of fiber and fills the house with the most incredible aroma!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Filling

  • 5 Medium Sized Apples – Cut into chunks (I left the peel on.) (All I had on hand was Red Delicious, but any apple would do.)
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/8 Cup Honey, Pure Maple Syrup or Agave
  • 3 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 T. Cornstarch

Topping

  • ½ Cup Oats
  • ½ Cup Nuts (I used mixed which included pecans, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts & pistachios.)
  • ¾ Cup Ezekial 4:9 Almond Cereal
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/8 Cup Chopped Pecans

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Grease 9x9in. baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss all of the filling ingredients together and add to baking dish.
  • In a food processor, pulse the oats, nuts and coconut sugar, just until it’s a course mixture.
  • Add the Ezekial Cereal to a bowl, then mix in your oat/nut mixture and the coconut oil.
  • Add additional coconut oil by teaspoonful if needed, until the topping clumps together.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the apple filling.
  • Top with the chopped pecans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes while covered with foil.
  • Bake another 30-40 minutes after removing the foil, or until the apples are soft.
  • Enjoy!

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Cottage Pie

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If you’ve noticed, I like to make one dish meals. Mainly because I can get them together ahead of time, then pop them in the oven while I’m teaching a class. While this one is easy to make, it does take a little while, primarily because of the bake time. It’s yummy, nonetheless!

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1lb Ground Turkey (at least 93/7)
• 1 Onion, chopped
• 1 ¾ Cup Beef Stock
• ¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
• 2 heaping Tbs. Cornstarch
• 12oz. Frozen Mixed Vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn) (uncooked)
• Thyme, Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper to taste
• 4 Medium-sized Sweet Potatoes
• 1 tsp. Coconut Oil

Here’s what you’ll do:

Bake the potatoes:
• Heat oven to 450.
• Line baking sheet with foil.
• Wash & dry potatoes, make little pokes all over with a knife, then place on baking sheet.
• Bake for 35 minutes.
• Turn them over, then bake for another 35 minutes.
• Remove from oven and let them cool completely.
• Slice them open, and using a spoon, scoop out the insides and place into a bowl.
• Add salt, pepper and 1 tsp. of coconut oil, then mash altogether with a fork.
• Set aside.

Make the turkey:
• Brown ground turkey and onion in a medium skillet, then drain off the liquid.
• Mix the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, cornstarch and spices together, then add to the turkey.
• Add mixed vegetables
• Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
• Place into a medium casserole dish, then add the mashed potatoes to the top
• Fluff the potatoes with the ends of a fork

**If you will be serving right away, place it under a broiler for about 10 minutes, or until the potato peaks are golden brown.

**If you will be serving later, then you will bake it at 350 for about 35 minutes, or until it bubbles.

Enjoy!