Saturday, September 29, 2012

Roasted Beet & Parsnip Quinoa Salad

I love beets!  Never thought I would hear those words come out of my mouth earlier in life.  I used to say that beets were one food that I couldn't stand.  I only had pickled beets that my Grandma made and they weren't that good.  So I immediately formed an bad opinion of beets.

But then I learned more about these incredible little jewels and I love them now.  I always feel better after I eat beets too.  Especially when I juice them!

I love to roast them and keep some in my fridge when I want to add it to a salad or mix up a vinaigrette and eat it as a side dish. 

Beets are highly nutritious and are “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetable.  (Which I need as many heart healthy veggies I can get my hands on!)

Certain unique pigment antioxidants in the root as well as in its top greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke; lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.

Also rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Parsnips are closely related to carrots family of vegetables; grown for their sweet, succulent underground taproots. They are also good in vitamin C; provide about 17 mg or 28% of RDA. Vitamin C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant, easily available to us from natural sources. It helps body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body. 

So...combining these two root vegetables with some fresh herbs, a splash of vinaigrette and some cooked quinoa that I have readily available in my fridge, makes a quick salad on go possible and packs a punch of nutrients in my body.

I can't stress how important it is to have items ready in the fridge to pull out and combine a salad or snack so you don't reach for something bad instead.  When I buy beets, I wash them, wrap in foil, put in the oven at 400 degrees and roast until tender.  Then I just peel off the outer skin, which it comes off easily after cooking, dice it up and throw it in my dishes.  I also just keep them in the foil packs in the fridge and peel and dice when I want to use them. 

For parsnips - Well they are excellent, roasted with the skin on and then tossed in a little olive oil and Himalayan pink sea salt and pepper.  They are sweet and caramelized - great to snack on just like that!

The beets give this dish a beautiful purple hue that makes it bright and colorful.

Roasted Beet & Parsnip Quinoa Salad

1 Beet, Roasted, Peeled & Diced
1 Cup Parsnips, Roasted
1 Cup Quinoa, Cooked
2 Tbsp Red Onion, Diced
1 Tbsp Cilantro, Rough Chopped
1 Tbsp Parsley, Rough Chopped
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Raw Coconut Vinegar
Dash Balsamic Vinegar (for sweetness)
Lemon Zest
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt (to taste)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)

Mix it up and eat it!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Raw Coconut Vinegar

More nutritious than apple cider vinegar - But what does that mean exactly?  Who thinks of apple cider vinegar as being nutritious?  Well that's what I used to think when I would pass the isle in the supermarket and see that Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar was highly nutritious.  Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar is excellent but I'm coo coo for coconut products...

Coconut vinegar is more nutritious because of the rich volcanic soil.  Since coconut trees are grown in this rich volcanic soil, it contributes to the sap's high mineral content, which is extremely high in potassium.   There are 17 health-promoting amino acids, vitamin C and B and a natural prebiotic that promotes digestive heath.

Coconut sap is similar to fresh coconut water and it contains lots of minerals and vitamins. Naturally fermented coconut vinegar contains vitamins and minerals like Beta-carotene, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium and Sodium.  These and other minerals form compounds in the body that convert acid body fluids into alkaline. These are known as alkalizing minerals.

Tree climbers go from tree to tree each day collecting the nectar caught in these cylinders. Then the nectar nectar ferments in about 40 to 60 days with the color changing from a cloudy white, to a clear yellow to a brownish color which is a natural occurrence of the fermentation process.
The vinegar ages and sediments will appear in the bottom.  This is a natural characteristic of organic coconut nectar vinegar and to savor its natural goodness, you will want to shake it well before using.

I use this coconut vinegar in salad dressings and to add a splash of acidity to a dish.   It works great to dress a chopped Kale salad which is a green that I try to consume regularly.

Toss in some chopped pecans and little olive oil and it makes a perfect side dish.  

It helps lower bad cholesterol.

Helps aid in weight loss.

Lowers blood pressure.

Helps lower blood sugar glucose levels. 

Helps remove body toxins.

Simple ingredient...great power!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Indian Spiced Quinoa Vegetable Breakfast

Sorry for the delay in my postings... For some reason Blogger was messed up and I couldn't access my dashboard without locking up! 

But now it seems good so today I would like to talk about Quinoa and how incredible it is - it can be used in so many ways in one way I'm getting more is for breakfast.  I'm always looking for new and different ways to make breakfast since it's the most important meal of the day and one that I used to skip often.  

Now I'm making up a batch of quinoa and keeping it in the fridge to pull out and mix up with vegetables, scrambled eggs or diced meat to make a variety of meals quick.  

Today I decided to add my favorite Indian spices to jazz it up a bit and it really turned out good.  One I would recommend making often.

Indian Spiced Quinoa Vegetable Breakfast

1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 Zucchini, Diced
1/4 Cup Red Onion, Sliced
1/4 Cup Carrots, Shredded
2 Whole Organic Eggs, Beaten
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 tsp Gram Masala
1/4 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Cilantro, Chopped for Garnish

In a saute pan melt coconut oil and saute red onions until tender. 
Add black mustard seeds and gram masala to bloom in the hot oil.  This will bring out the flavors of the spices.
Add diced zucchini and saute 1 minute.  Then add shredded carrots and cook an additional 30 seconds.
Remove from pan and place on a plate while cooking the eggs.
Add beaten eggs to saute pan and cook until scrambled.
Add in the cooked quinoa and cooked vegetables and mix to incorporate and heat through.
Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and season to taste with Himalayan pink sea salt.

Unusual and full of flavor!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eggs in Purgatory...

Quick - Easy and a good way to use up some left over marinara sauce!  Sometimes it's the same ole boring breakfast and you want to jazz it up a bit.  These eggs in purgatory are super simple and great flavor.

Since I'm not eating bread, I served mine with some homemade turkey sausage patties


Eggs In Purgatory

1 Cup Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp Red Onion, Diced
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Whole Organic Eggs
Summer Salt Himalayan Pink Sea Salt Blend(to taste)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)
Fresh Parsley or Cilantro (garnish)
Sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese (optional)

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat; add coconut oil and saute onion until translucent.  Add marinara sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Crack eggs in marinara sauce and lower heat and cover simmer until eggs are cooked to your liking. 

Season with Summer Salt Blend and freshly cracked Black Pepper and garnish with grated fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh Parsley or Cilantro.

Serve with Turkey Sausage or Gluten Free Bread if you must!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Island Spiced Shrimp & Pineapple Rum Sauce

There are times that I need to make something that reminds me of the islands.  My favorite place, the feeling you get when you pass by a woman on the street grilling and serving her fair to passers by, the wind blowing in your hair when you are on the beach, the wonderful combinations of island flavors in their cooking.  Awe...I just want to get-a-way when I think of it.

So I guess instead I'll grill my favorite Island Spiced Shrimp and make this fabulous Pineapple Rum Sauce to go with it tonight.  

Having friends over for dinner always makes for something fun at the end of summer.  And these are always a big hit, every time I make them. Something about sitting around the table, having a cocktail and peeling the shrimp to dip in this sauce that makes for a good time.

Island Spice Mix

1Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
½ teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ teaspoon Onion Powder
½ teaspoon Ground Allspice
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Combine the all spices together in a small bowl and stir to mix.   (Keep stored in glass jar in cool dark place).

Cook Shrimp 

Toss shrimp (21/25ct) with shells on with the desired amount of spice mixture and drizzle with olive oil.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Scrub and oil the grill grate.

Grill shrimp on both sides until done.   

Serve with Pineapple Rum Sauce.

Pineapple Rum Sauce

(This sauce is excellent served with grilled fruit skewers too.  Just skewer up some pineapple, mango and papaya.  Grill and brush with sauce and serve with sauce drizzled on the plate.)
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Dark Rum
¼ Cup Pineapple Juice
Pinch Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, rum, and pineapple juice in a heavy saucepan.

Bring to a slow boil and cook until thickened, approximately 7 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt.  Don't worry if the mixture starts to separate. Whisk it to combine.

Need I say more...