no added sugar

Girlbert's Shamrock Shake

Note: 

Everybody's talking about that funky, neon green shake that McDonald's blesses us with every St. Patrick's Day.  Apparently, people like my Little Brother are even trying to make their version at home, to keep with the 43-year-old, Irish-American tradition of green-shake eating whilst sparing themselves a trip to the supersized burger-and-fries mega-chain.  While there are already plenty of recipes out there, most of them requiring a lot of emerald food coloring, so I've got a solution that will get you the green naturally (unlike the crazy leprechaun wig that I'm currently wearing!) and deliciously!  I even surprised myself!

Tools needed: 
blender
Time: 
15 minutes
Shamrock Shake a la Girlbert
Ingredients: 
1/2 cup coconut cream, really cold, but not frozen
1/4 cup mint leaves, washed
1 1/2 cups raw baby spinach leaves, washed
1/2 cup raw parsley leaves, washed
1/2 cup dandelion leaves, washed
1 frozen banana
1 large, ripe pear, washed and cored
1/2 cup ice
Directions: 
  1. Put all the ingredients in the blender, blend on high until delicious! 
  2. Add more ice if necessary and blend again.
  3. Drink with a straw wearing a green wig!
Serves: 
1

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

Note: 

The first time I had this lovely winter soup was many years ago, and I haven't had it since.  That is until we were looking for something to do with our autumn decor a few weeks ago -  after freezing 48 cups of pureed pumpkin, we needed to find some pumpkin recipes! 

The sweetness of the pumpkin and coconut milk balances nicely with the curry spices and red pepper flakes.

Those of you averse to coconut milk (which I find hard to imagine, but there are some!) can leave it out completely for a thicker soup, or use a milk or cream substitute instead.  The original calls for a dollop of sour cream, but it's not necessary if you're trying to stay away from dairy.

Don't forget the pumpkin seeds!

Tools needed: 
large saucepan or pot
Time: 
40 minutes
Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients: 
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 stick butter or 1/4 cup butter substitute
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups vegetable broth
1 15 oz can pumpkin (or 2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk or even better, (coconut cream!)
Sour cream
Chipped fresh chives or cilantro
Toasted pumkin seeds
Directions: 
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter in a large saucepan or pot until the onion is tender.
  2. Stir in the curry powder, salt, coriander and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth and mix well. Bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the pumpkin and coconut milk.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Process the soup in batches in a blender until creamy.  Ladle the warm soup into bowls.
  7. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream (if desired - skip if dairy free) and sprinkle with chives, cilantro and/or toasted pumpkin seeds.
Serves: 
3-4

Tabbouleh Salad

Note: 

I was hooked on this refreshing Mediterranean  delight at first taste, courtesy of Boyfriend's Aunt Tia.  I don't think there's anything as fresh and delicious as this tabbouleh salad recipe on a hot day.  It's a snap to make, especially if you're feeding a crowd, which Aunt Tia often is!

Tools needed: 
Big salad bowl
Time: 
45 minutes
Tabbouleh Plate with Hummus, Pita, and Pea Shoots
Ingredients: 
1 cup burghul (cracked wheat), cooked according to package instructions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature
2 large tomatoes, diced (or you can 1/4 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, too)
1 bunch green onions
1 big bunch of parsley (or two, the more green, the better!)
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1 large cucumber, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of three lemons
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic (more if you love garlic!)
Directions: 
  1.  Place burghul in a large bowl.  Add all chopped vegetables and mix well.
  2. Add oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix again.
  3. Allow burghul to soak and absorb the juice for about an hour.
  4. Serve chilled over lettuce, or with hummus and pita, as shown.  Top with feta cheese if desired.

 

Serves: 
4

Mushroom & Green Onion Frittata

Note: 

This simple recipe is tasty and hearty, an appropriate meal as we head into the cooler months of fall and winter.  Boyfriend and I made it for dinner this evening in under an hour and plan to have the leftover portion for breakfast in the morning with one of our fabulous fruit and green smoothies!  This recipe can easily be made dairy-free with milk and cheese alternatives - we used almond milk and soy cheese.

Tools needed: 
10" oven-safe skillet or baking dish
Time: 
45 minutes
First Fab Frittata!
Ingredients: 
4 cups cubed baby red potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
6 eggs
1 cup milk (we used almond milk for non-dairy, soy would work, too)
1/2 cup cheese (we used soy cheese for non-dairy)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried, crushed oregano leaves
1 tsp dried, crushed sage leaves
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes, until tender but firm.  Drain.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms, cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to brown.
  4. Add a bit more oil and garlic, cook until garlic becomes fragrant, stirring into the mushrooms.  Remove from heat - set aside in a bowl.
  5. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish or oven-safe skillet.  Evenly layer the other ingredients: mushroom and garlic mixture, then cheese, then green onions.  Add a little salt and pepper in each layer (or as desired).
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and eggs until fluffy.  Mix oregano and sage into mixture at the end.
  7. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet over the other ingredients.
  8. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until eggs are no longer runny and top is lightly browned.
Serves: 
4

Green Monster Smoothie

Note: 

Wait!  Come back!  Greens are good! They're packed with enough antioxidants guaranteed to put a pep in your step in addition to tasting great in this delicious smothie.  Not to mention Green is in thing, you know,  and will you look at that color

My own concoction contains lots of parsley, which is zesty, but has coveted tumor-fighting properties for a cancer warrior like myself.  I add enough fruit to tone down the spice of certain greens, and you're welcome to adjust to your liking, but be warned that too much fruit just makes it another sugar-laden fruit drink.  Kris Carr, Wellness Guru and Crazy Sexy Cancer Chick, recommends sticking to a 1/3 fruit to 2/3 veggies rule to keep your sugar intake balanced with everything else.  This recipe reflects that, but you may have to adjust to your personal taste.

Go on and get your GREEN on!

Tools needed: 
blender
Time: 
5 minutes
Super-Green Monster Smoothie
Ingredients: 
1 orange, peeled and quartered, seeds removed
1 frozen banana, peeled and chopped in to 1 in. pieces
1 cup cubed fruit, such as apple, pear, mango, pineapple, fresh or frozen (no-no-not canned!)
1-2 cups of rinsed greens, such as arugula, parsley, mixed herbs, cilantro, baby romaine, kale, or spinach (I try to do different combos)
1 small, washed and cubed zuchinni or cucumber
1 tbs chia or ground flax seed, if desired (will thicken the smoothie and provide extra protein)
Directions: 
  1. Put banana and orange in blender, blend until juicy and mixed.
  2. Add greens and blend until GREEN!
  3. Add the rest of your fruit, veggies, and flax or chia (if desired), blend until smooth.
  4. Add a bit of water or ice if too thick.
  5. Enjoy the deliciousness and health benefits daily!

Please tweak to your taste, and remember that some combinations of greens are better than others.  I know some people are averse to cilantro, even though I find it quite scrumptious!  And raw kale is not for everyone, so if you're not sure about something, go light on it at first, so you don't ruin a whole blender full of fruit!You can keep the smoothie refrigerated for up to a day, but it's best enjoyed right away.

Serves: 
1-2

Beet Greens with Mustard

Note: 

This is such a light, simple and delicious dish; just perfect for spring and summer.  But don't wait long - the mustard is in bloom here in California (all the little yellow flowers covering the hills in Santa Barbara are mustard!), so go for a hike and pick a little straight away!

Tools needed: 
large saucepan, salad spinner (or at least, a colander)
Time: 
15 minutes
Beet Greens with Mustard Flowers
Ingredients: 
1-2 tablespoons of mustard blooms, rinsed and patted dry
8 cups fresh beet greens (the tops of 6 or 8 beets) rinsed and chopped (not too small, they'll cook down a lot)
1/2 to 1 tbs olive oil
sea salt to taste
Directions: 
  1. Fill the saucepan 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Put beet greens in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, carefully remove with a slotted spoon into salad spinner basket to drain a bit before spinning. 
  3. Spin greens until most of water comes off.  (If you don't have a salad spinner, put in a colander and gently toss, then pat dry.)
  4. Toss into a bowl with olive oil, salt to taste, and top with mustard flowers.
  5. Enjoy the simple beauty before devouring!
Serves: 
2

Winter Vegetable and Greens Sage Soup

Note: 

I was tempted to name this hearty winter vegetable soup "Bottom of the Fridge Soup", based on its conception:  Boyfriend was fighting a cold a couple of weeks back, and he was craving something warm and soupy for his aching throat.  I just started throwing stuff from the "bottom of the fridge" into a pot, and voila - it was really tasty!  So we've tweaked it a couple of times, but it's vegetabley, soupy, sagey and gosh darn it - downright delicious!  Perfectly suitable for enjoying by a warm, toasty fire this winter!  Enjoy!

Tools needed: 
big pot with lid
Time: 
1 - 1.5 hours
Winter Vegetable and Greens Sage Soup
Ingredients: 
2.5 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1-in. pieces, boiled until you can easily insert a fork in them
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
6-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 - 2 cups rice or barley, cooked
6 cups vegetable broth
4 packed cups winter greens, such as kale, collard greens, radish/beet greens, spinach rinsed roughly chopped
2 tbs dried sage (or more, depending on your taste)
olive oil
hot water
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and salt, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are soft, about 3 - 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and another tablespoon of olive oil and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add carrots, sage, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes, until carrots begin to soften.
  4. Add barley or rice and potatoes, replace lid, and bring to a boil.  Add water or more broth if necessary to cover all the ingredients.
  5. Add greens, mixing in to cover with broth, adding more water or broth if necessary.
  6. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 - 15 more minutes to cook down the greens.  Add more sage or other spices, depending on your tastes.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves: 
4-8

Chewy's Salsa

Note: 

Boyfriend has a new hobby: salsa making!  He has been fine-tuning this recipe for a couple of months now, so we've been eating a lot of salsa! 

He's ready for me to share the following version with you, along with the disclaimer that there's no way that you can make it exactly the same way twice, considering the variation of heat and flavor in pasilla and habanero peppers.  So consider this a starting point from which to do your own tweaking!

Tools needed: 
food processor, non-stick frying pan (preferably cast iron)
Time: 
30-45 minutes
Chewy's Salsa
Ingredients: 
2-4 tomatoes, depending on size (we used two rather large tomatoes), roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped (yellow or red, depending on your taste)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)
1 tbs lime juice
2 jalapenos, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
1/2 pasilla pepper, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil, for sauteeing
Directions: 
  1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan to until medium-hot.  Add 1/2 onion, 1/2 garlic, and chopped peppers.  Lightly saute until soft, but not browned.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  2. Put all other ingredients in food processor, pulse until consistency you like.
  3. Add cooked ingredients and pulse thoroughly mixed, and consistency you like.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.  Tweak cayenne pepper if needed.  Make sure to taste test - if too spicy, you may need to add more tomatoes.
Serves: 
4-6
Contributed by: 
Boyfriend

Best Hummus Ever

Note: 

I've made (and eaten!) a lot of hummus, but this is the best recipe I've tried so far.  I recently came across this version on another favorite blogger's website.  Rebecca Woolf, of Girls Gone Child just started adding her mother's (WWW, or Wendy) vegetarian recipes, in a new section on her website, aptly titled "Eat Well".

I tweaked it a little for my taste by adding the parsley, but it's true to Wendy's version otherwise.

Rebecca's mother also wrote this very interesting and informative article on the hows and whys of cooking/eating vegetarian.  Thought I'd share with my fellow hummus-eaters!

Tools needed: 
food processor
Raw Hummus
Ingredients: 
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 2 or 3 lemons
2 cloves garlic (more if you LOVE raw garlic!)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
Good quality olive oil
2 tsp freshly chopped (or dried) parsley
warm water
Other variations: Add basil, roasted peppers, red onion (my fave!), or cilantro! Experiement until you make your favorite!
Directions: 
  1. Put all ingredients in the food processor except the olive oil and the water.  Turn on processor and add about 1/4 cup water and a few tablespoons of oil or until you get the consistency you like.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Taste and correct seasoning if needed.
  4. I like to serve garnished with a little paprika (a little color never hurt anybody!) and parsley.
  5. Serve with veggies or pita bread or chips.  Or use in your favorite wrap or sandwich instead of cheese and condiments!
Serves: 
4-6

Tropical Bean Salad

Note: 

It's salsa season, and this is the yummiest, not to mention most beautiful, fruit salsas I've ever tried.  Not too sweet, with just the right amount of juice to substance and fruit to zing ratio - it can be served on it's own as a salad, as part of a taco bar or with chips as a salsa.  This colorful salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next summer potluck or BBQ!

Thanks to Boyfriend's cousins Gary and Margo in Albuquerque for this fantastic recipe!

Tools needed: 
A good knife!
Time: 
20 minutes
Tropical Bean Salad
Ingredients: 
1-2 mangoes, skin removed, chopped
1/2 sweet or red onion (depending on your taste) or 4 green onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can yellow corn or 1 1/2 cups raw fresh corn, cut off cob
1 can black beans
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbs cilantro, minced
Directions: 
  1. Combine, onion, mango, red bell pepper, corn, beans and lime juice in a bowl until mixed well.
  2. Add salt, pepper and cilantro and mix again.
Serves: 
4
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