Month: October 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

Elevate Your Tailgate: Kickin’ Buffalo Dip!

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Buffalo sauce.

For whatever reason, it’s one of those flavors/foods that I’ve never liked. Just like I’ve historically avoided/been grossed out by cole slaw, creamy broccoli cheese soup, and  guacamole, I’ve always stayed away from anything coated with the vibrant orange sauce.

My earliest memories of buffalo sauce are around having cooking lessons with my elderly neighbor, Miss Muriel. When I was in grade school, she would invite me to her house and teach me to make things like pasta, paper thin sugar cookies, and cheesecake…100% from scratch.

While our creations were cooking or baking, she ordered lunch from Dominos, complete with pizza and buffalo wings. I never liked the taste of buffalo wings, but I didn’t want to be rude (I was a quiet kid), so I just ate a few anyway.

Fast forward about 20 years, and here I am trying to figure out ways to “UPgrade” common foods that most of us eat a lot.

I’ve asked some friends and co-workers, “What’s ONE food that you love that you’d like to have a healthier recipe for how to make?”

The most common answer?

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“Buffalo chicken dip.”

It’s been one of my husband’s favorite party dips as well. Loaded with cream cheese and either Ranch dressing or Bleu cheese, shredded chicken, and hot sauce, it’s not something that works with those of us who get sick from eating or drinking dairy.

So, off I went in search of some ideas and inspirations for how to UPgrade this dip recipe. I came across a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Angela Liddon over at oh she glows.

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Buffalo hummus.

I know, I know. It’s not the SAME, BUT this is my first attempt at making a buffalo dip, so we’re starting where I’m most familiar.

I brought this hummus to work, and my co-workers loved it! They are so great to serve as my taste testers for many of these recipes. I know I can trust them and that they will be honest with me if they don’t like something. Input from my co-worker and friend Michela was one of the reasons I made some tweaks to my original Protein-Packed Pumpkin Spice Dip recipe.

By the way, I’m still committed to finding a dairy-free version of buffalo chicken dip that is tailgate worthy, too. And when I do, I will share it with you 🙂

In the meantime, you should try this recipe. The “kick” comes from the optional addition of cayenne pepper. You can whip it up in less than 10 minutes, too!

buffalo hummus

Ingredients

Yield: 2 cups

  • 1 can (15-ounces) or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (You can use Frank’s Hot Sauce. I used Gator Ron’s Angel Wing Sauce from MOMs Organic Market. It’s made in nearby Bethesda!)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, liquid from beans can, OR water
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste, for serving

Click here for the full recipe from oh.she.glows!

Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Tangy Almond Butter Sauce

cabbage steak pic

When you hear the word “steak,” the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t cabbage. 

We usually associate “steak” with beef or tuna fish or even beefsteak tomatoes (YUM!), but the concept can be applied to other foods as well. This past week, I tried my hand at cauliflower steaks (oh.my.goodness recipe to come!) and cabbage steaks.

First of all, this method of making vegetables is SO EASY. No teeny tiny chopping/dicing/mincing required! You can have the steak slices cut and ready to go in the oven in 5 quick minutes.

I’ve featured cabbage in other recipes including my “I Can’t Believe There’s No Mayo” Cole Slaw, Beauty Detox Salad and Beautifying Purple Cabbage Slaw. All of the anti-cancer benefits of cabbage are preserved best by those raw or minimally cooked preparations, but I decided to change things up a bit today by roasting it. It’s always good to add some variety to your meals!

A beautiful head of green cabbage

A beautiful head of green cabbage!

When cabbage is roasted it takes on a sweet, buttery flavor and melt-in-your mouth texture. I can’t even think of anything I’d compare it, too, but the crispy leaves tasted a bit like the outer crunchy leaves of roasted Brussels sprouts – one of my absolutely favorite fall foods!

I drizzled a few spoonfuls of a homemade almond butter sauce on top.

The creamy, slightly tangy sauce seeped into the folds of the buttery cabbage leaves and made for an amazing bite!

If you’ve never had cabbage prepared this way before (I didn’t even eat cabbage at all until about 2 years ago!), then you have to try this 🙂

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Cabbage steak with tangy almond butter sauce. YUM!

Cabbage steak with tangy almond butter sauce. YUM!

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Ingredients

Cabbage Steaks

  • 1 head green cabbage, sliced into 3/4″ steaks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed (makes it easier to rub them on the steaks)
  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste

Tangy Almond Butter Sauce

  • 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk (I use this kind by Native Forest)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I used raw almond butter from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or coconut aminos for a paleo version)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Slice cabbage from top to bottom into 3/4" discs.

Preheat oven to 400F. Slice cabbage from top to bottom into 3/4″-thick steaks.

Rub smashed garlic clove on both sides of cabbage "steak"

Rub smashed garlic clove on both sides of cabbage “steak”

Sprinkle both sides of steak with sea salt and black pepper

Sprinkle both sides of steak with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes per side (total of 50 minutes, flipping steaks halfway through)

Steaks are done when they've browned around the edges and can be pierced in the center with a fork

Steaks are done when they’ve browned around the edges and can be pierced in the center with a fork.

Look how beautifully browned this is! Make sure to eat the outer edges. They are amazing!

Look how beautifully browned this is! Make sure to eat the crispy outer edges. They are amazing!

Eat them “as is” OR top with the Tangy Almond Butter Sauce (so worth it!)

Directions: To make the sauce, whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl or mason jar and pour several spoonfuls on top of the cabbage steak. I found that the sauce “set” a little bit after I left it in the fridge overnight, but you can use it right away, too. It will just thicken up a bit overnight. Adjust seasonings to your tastes.

You may end up licking this stuff off your plate. It’s that good 🙂

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The almond butter sauce melting off the roasted cabbage steaks. SO good!

The almond butter sauce melting off the roasted cabbage steaks. SO good!

Happy {Healthy} Halloween: 19 Spooktacular, Kid-Friendly Snacks!

Growing up in a neighborhood filled with dozens of kids, I have great memories of dressing up and trick-or-treating when I was younger.

You knew Halloween was approaching when you stepped outside, and breathed in the crisp, cool, smoky-smelling autumn air.

I remember rushing away from the dinner table with my brother, so we had as much time as possible to trick-or-treat…and so we wouldn’t miss the people who gave out FULL SIZED candy bars (EVERY kid – and parent – remembered where those people lived).

Halloween

Once we got to middle school, we outgrew our plastic jack-o-lanterns and their black handles that were known to snap off without warning.

We used pillow cases. We meant business.

My favorite candy was anything with peanut butter (Reeses Pieces, PB M&Ms, PB cups) or caramel (Snickers, Twix, Rolos). I hated anything with coconut. I remember coming home after a long night of candy collecting, dumping out my bag and strategically sorting through, categorizing, and counting up every candy type.

Yes, even as a child I was very particular. 🙂

As an adult, I like to focus on “adding in” or UPgrading what we eat to include food that fuels and nourishes our body in a way that is fun and delicious.

Check out the “spooktacular” ideas below for healthy Halloween recipes and treats to bring to your event or party this year. All of them are kid-friendly, dairy-free and gluten-free, too!

Eat Clean Halloween: 19 Spooktacular Recipes

Spooky Fruit Spiders from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons

Spooky Spider Snack from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Pumpkin Patch Dippers & Hummus from Family Fun Magazine

Carrot Patch Hummus

Stuffed Roaches from Nouveau Raw

Stuffed Cockroaches

Orange & Black Fruit Kabobs from Sparkpeople

Black and Orange Fruit Skewers

Raw Witch’s Fingers from Fork & Beans

Witch's Fingers

Melon Brain from Instructables

melon brain

Goblin Grins from Just a Pinch

Goblin Grins

Protein-Packed Pumpkin Spice Dip from Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen

Protein Packed Pumpkin Spice Dip

Candy Corn Veggie Platter from Parents

Candy Corn Veggie Platter

Apple Sun Butter Teeth Bites from Fork & Beans

Use any nut butter you like, including almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter if it doesn’t bother you

Apple Sun Butter Teeth Bites

Candy Corn Fruit Pops from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons

candy corn

Caramel Apple Dip from Nourishing Meals

caramel

Homemade Rolos from oh she glows

homemade rolos

Boo-nana Ghosts & Clementine Pumpkins from One Little Project

Clementine Pumpkins and Boo Nanas

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins from Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Sweet Potato Jack-O-Lanterns from Tablespoon

Sweet Potato Jack O Lanterns

(Use coconut palm sugar or maple syrup instead of white sugar. I would also use coconut oil instead of olive oil)

Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Bowls (source unknown)

Fruit Jack O Lantern

Halloween Graveyard Salad from Fork & Beans

Halloween Graveyard Salad

Veggie Skeleton from Feeding Frenzy

Halloween Veggie Skeleton

Serve this veggie skeleton with a delicious, spicy tahini dip that is dairy-free!

What are YOUR favorite spooky treats? Feel free to share them below!

Beautifying Raw Purple Cabbage Slaw {Breast Cancer Prevention Month Recipe}

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October is breast cancer awareness month.

I know several women who have survived and others who have lost their battle with this terrible disease. Chances are, you or someone you love has been affected. Cancer is a complex disease, so I don’t pretend to have all of the answers or solutions for how to fix or heal it.

Because this blog and my overall food philosophy focus on empowering you to nourish your body and transform your health, today’s post features a recipe that is full of beautifying, anticancer nutrients.

As many of you know, I strive to “upgrade” my diet and “add in” more of what is healing, nourishing and energizing…so we’re going to flip our focus today to breast cancer prevention.

All of us are aware that breast cancer exists and know that we don’t want to have it, but what have we learned about how to prevent it?

What can we do proactively to give our body the best chance to be well and protect ourselves against diseases like cancer in the first place? 

I’ve learned a lot from some incredible doctors, researchers and nutritionists over the years about what we can do help our body’s chances of staying well by eating a nutrient-rich diet.

Dr. Fuhrman, whose focus on anti-cancer nutrition has influenced how I eat, outlined his top tips for breast cancer prevention here.

One of his tips is to eat more foods like the ones outlined in this recipe, especially cabbage.
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Up until about a year ago, I had never bought purple cabbage and certainly hadn’t cooked with it.

I had tasted it sprinkled in to salad mixes before but never thought much about it until reading The Beauty Detox book by Kimberly Snyder and being introduced to this recipe, which Kimberly spins as a way to reduce crow’s feet.

Red cabbage is one of Dr. Fuhrman’s anti-cancer, anti-fat storage foods called GBOMBS. It contains powerful nutrients that help our body reduce inflammation and detoxify (get rid of harmful toxins that build up).

Those two processes are the SECRETS to losing weight, having clear and beautiful skin, and not getting sick. The more inflammation-fighting, detoxifying foods we eat, the better off we will be.

This recipe is also a much healthier option than most mayo-loaded slaws that we’re used to eating 🙂

And it’s really easy to prepare. Just like this paleo cole slaw I featured a few weeks ago that was a hit!

beautifyslaw

**If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you should have all of the main ingredients below (ACV, tamari, tahini and nutritional yeast or “nooch”). If not, check out this point where I covered what they are, why they’re good for us, and where we can buy them. Stocking a healthy pantry is KEY to eating well.**

Ingredients (Organic, when possible)

Optional Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • A few avocado slices
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives

Click here for the full recipe from Kimberly Snyder’s website and here to read all about nutritional yeast!

Candied Maple-Cinnamon Delicata Squash {Easy, Vegan, Paleo}

mapledelicatat

This dish is ridiculously good.

Almost addictive.

And it’s easy to make.

It turned out to have a slightly crunchy, caramelized coating that’s almost candy-like. Let’s put it this way, you won’t have leftovers when you make this, so you might want to make a double batch!

I shared a post on another blog I write for last week about how to cut up and prepare delicata squash (WAY easier than pumpkin or butternut squash).

You can even eat the peel 🙂

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This dish combines the sweetness of maple syrup, subtle spiciness of ginger, hint of salt, and the butteryness (is that word??) of pecans.

The squash has a slight, candied crunch on the outside edges and is soft and comforting on the inside.

Hungry yet?

mapledelicatat

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium delicata squash, trimmed to 1/2-inch pieces (Here’s how to cut it up – it’s easy!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons 100% pure maple syrup, separated (1 tsp before cooking, 2 teaspoons after)
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the squash into half moons and then cut in half again as shown in the picture above.
  3. Combine coconut oil, cinnamon, 1 tsp maple syrup, ginger, and sea salt in a bowl and toss the squash in the bowl to evenly distribute the coating.
  4. Arrange squash in a flat even layer on a baking tray, making sure the sides don’t touch (we don’t want them to steam, we want them to roast!).
  5. Bake for 18 minutes, then remove tray and flip pieces over on the other side. Continue roasting for 10-12 minutes or until squash can be pierced easily with a fork and is browned and caramelized.
  6. Remove squash from oven and toss with 2 more teaspoons of maple syrup and chopped pecans.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola {Gluten-Free}

pumpkin spice granola

Breakfast cereals are an easy go-to for breakfast and were always my first choice as a kid.

Cheerios. Kix. Rice Krispies. And for a treat – Apple Jacks or Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Granola is a popular choice for cereals for a lot of people because we’ve been led to believe granola = healthy. Most of the time, however, processed cereals are loaded with sugar, processed oils, and harmful preservatives.

Not only that, but they tend to be pretty pricey.

I was inspired by the culinary nutrition program I’m in right now and am always looking for ways to help you make UPGRADES to your diet, so I decided to make my own granola!

It was actually really easy…and cheaper than buying the boxes in the grocery store. If you have kids, I bet they would have fun helping you with this one!

Here are some of the super charged healthy benefits of this granola:

  • Buckwheat (also known as kasha) doesn’t actually contain wheat! (Confusing, right??). It’s technically a seed that is filled with fiber and other nutrients that keep our hearts healthy and our stomachs feeling full.

    This is what buckwheat looks like! Buy it in the bulk section at a health food store near you.

    This is what buckwheat looks like! Buy it in the bulk section at a health food store near you or Nuts.com.

  • Pumpkin seeds and pecans are two of Dr. Fuhrman’s GBOMBS foods (the top anti-cancer, anti-fat storage foods we can eat). Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants that help us slow the aging process and minerals that nourish protect our body. Pecans contain nutrients that help our heart, immune system, and even wound healing.
  • Cinnamon is a super spice, as it naturally helps slow the release of our body sugar, so it’s especially helpful to pair with carbohydrates (like oats in this recipe). Regulating the release of our blood sugar is key to feeling energized and being at a healthy weight.

I like this recipe for pumpkin spice granola because it’s versatile. Swap out any nuts/seeds or spices that you like! You can even use other sweeteners like honey instead of maple syrup if you prefer.

pumpkin spice granola

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Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups rolled oats, gluten-free
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat (AKA kasha) (You can find this in the bulk section of a health food store or here)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s sells it, or you can make your own by using this recipe!) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, buckwheat, 
pumpkin seeds, pecans, shredded coconut, 
pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and sea salt.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour 
liquid mixture over dry mixture and mix thoroughly (I used my hands!).
  4. Spread mixture out on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove, mix granola around on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 20-25 more minutes, until slightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in mason jars in your pantry or refrigerator.

Enjoy it as a snack by itself or serve it as a cereal with your favorite non-dairy milk. I love using a blend of coconut milk and almond milk and letting the granola soak it up. It still stays crunchy! You can also toss in a few dried cranberries, raisins or fresh fruit if you’d like 🙂

Tuscan Spaghetti Squash Boats {Plus 3 Bonus Recipes!}

With all of the cooking and baking I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been getting lots of creative inspirations.

This dish was inspired by a meal I had at a restaurant called Food for Thought in Williamsburg when Bill and I went there to celebrate our 4-year dating anniversary.

IMG_1683Cool presentation of my spaghetti squash boat with tomatoes and pine nuts! yummy -)

After roasting some spaghetti squash the other day, I wanted to find a way to use it in a recipe along with a bunch of the veggies I had in my fridge and on my counter.

Inspired by my first spaghetti squash experience, I threw this dish together.

This meal is even better on the second and third days as the flavors kind of marinate together in the fridge. If you don’t have one of the veggies listed below, just try it with another one that you do have! Make it your own and have some fun with it 🙂

After all, cooking is meant to be fun!

**Also, it’s worth mentioning (as reassurance!) that almost half of the ingredients below are common herbs and spices, so the list may look “longer” but make note of how simple the ingredients are (you might already have all of them on hand!).**

tuscan squash

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Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded (here’s how)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or grass-fed butter or ghee if not vegan)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (look for a BPA-free can or tetra pack)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Optional: 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (use chopped walnuts or almonds if you don’t have pine nuts)

Directions

  1. Roast one spaghetti squash in the oven following these simple steps. Save the spaghetti squash shell for serving (optional but it looks cool!).
  2. In a large skillet, saute onions on medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter or ghee if not vegan) until they begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute another minute or two.
  3. Add broccoli and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add water and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add oregano, basil, sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper and cook uncovered 4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender but still bright green.
  6. Add cannellini beans and spaghetti squash strands to pan and toss until heated through. Remove pan from heat.
  7. Meanwhile, lightly toast the pine nuts in the toaster oven being careful not to burn them.
  8. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over squash mixture and top with pine nuts.

Looking for other spaghetti squash recipes? Try one of these below!

  1. Spaghetti Squash with Kale & Chickpeas
  2. Spaghetti Squash with Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds
  3. Cheezy Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Vegan)

Creamy Broccoli Cheeze Soup {Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo}

broccoli soup

I know it’s a lot of people’s “favorite things” at Panera (especially this time of year as the weather cools)…

But I’ve never been a fan of broccoli cheddar soup. 

I’m not sure if it’s the concept or the texture or the fact that I’ve always thought broccoli should stay whole and recognizable and not pulverized in a soup with cheese and cream.

Since I cut out milk and cheese over two years ago, I’ve been on the hunt for recipes that deliver on the rich and creamy factor we think can only come from dairy products, and I wanted to challenge myself to try something new.

(I’ll be writing a whole post about why I cut out dairy products, but the short version is they were triggering a lifetime of congestion, ear/sinus/respiratory infections, postnasal drip, allergies, adult acne, and indigestion. If you have any of those symptoms regularly, try cutting out dairy products for 2-3 weeks and notice how much better you feel! I never would’ve believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself. It’s amazing how our bodies can heal when we remove foods that harm us and upgrade to foods that heal us. More on that later!)

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Back to the broccoli soup. 

Because I’m always encouraging people to “try new foods” and give foods they’ve previously sworn off a second chance, I thought I should practice what I preach.

So, I tried a recipe for a “healthified” broccoli cheeze soup.

The skeptic in Bill (and me) was not too confident about how this soup would turn out, so I totally get any reservations you might have about making this recipe…but that’s why we tried it!

And we’re glad we did.

Bill and were BOTH thrilled with how it turned out – rich, creamy and flavorful.

I had to stop myself from drinking it straight out of the mason jars, and we enjoyed it as part of our lunch for several days.

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Here are the UPGRADES in this recipe compared to standard broccoli cheddar soup:

  • Unsweetened almond milk (homemade, too!) instead of half and half (dairy-free)
  • Nooch instead of cheddar cheese
  • No flour (gluten-free!)
  • Way less salt

Not only that, but any excuse to eat more broccoli is a good one – broccoli is known as the DNA whisperer!

broccoli soup

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted* (I used coconut oil, which is a better oil to use for high heat. If you’re paleo but not vegan, you could use grass-fed butter or ghee instead.)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk (If store bought, avoid the ingredient “carrageenan”)
  • 2½ cups vegetable broth
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast (Wegmans, Whole Foods, MOMs, Amazon, and any natural food stores sell it!)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Don’t be deterred by the ingredient list or let that be an excuse to not try recipes. I used to do that all the time but found that having key pantry staples on hand made it SUPER easy to make recipes like this.

Most of the time half of the ingredients are things you have in your pantry anyway (i.e., herbs, spices, lemons, onions, and garlic).

Click here for the full recipe details from Running On Real Food!

Protein-Packed Pumpkin Spice Dip {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

I’ve been experimenting with lots of dips/spreads recipes lately. I enjoy guacamole, hummus and salsa as much as the next person, but sometimes I want something different!

Besides, I like any excuse to use pumpkin when it’s in season 🙂

There are some secret ingredients in this recipe that might surprise you…like chickpeas!

I know it might sound strange, but you can’t taste the chickpeas, even though they pack in protein and fill-you-up fiber.

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The health benefits of this dip don’t stop there:

  • Pumpkin is an excellent source of filling, energy-boosting fiber and vitamins C and A, both of which support a healthy immune system.
  • Almond butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats (good for our brain, skin, heart, and joints!), as well as several other vitamins and minerals like magnesium, vitamin E, and manganese.
  • Ginger and cinnamon are anti-inflammatory and are warming spices, perfect for the cooler, drier weather of fall and winter.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed (look for BPA-free cans – we like the Eden Organics brand)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh (look for BPA-free cans…here’s why)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter or sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions

  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add more spices, if you prefer. Serve as a dip for fruit or your other favorite snacks.

I enjoyed this dip with pear and apple slices. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top and mix some raisins in for an extra treat 🙂

Everything ready to go in the food processor. A blender will work, too!

Everything ready to go in the food processor!

Elevate Your Tailgate: Queso Dip…That’s Good For You! {Dairy-Free}

queso dip

“How do you live without cheese??”

That’s one of the most common question I get when I tell people I don’t eat dairy products.

Trust me, if you had told me 5 years ago that I would enjoy food (more than I ever have before!) WITHOUT Parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, or any other kind of cheese, I would have kindly nodded my head and continued dousing any unsuspecting vegetables and pasta with mounds of Parmesan cheese.

Thank you very much.

One of the things that excites me MOST about cooking and preparing new recipes is finding ways to make healthy, dairy-free alternatives to foods I loved when I ate and drank things like milk, cream and cheese.

Today’s recipe is one of those special alternatives that I will be adding to my “go to” party snack list!

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I think it’s safe to say that anyone who blogs regularly and spends a lot of time in the kitchen frequently looks to other people and other blogs for inspiration.

For me, one of those people is Megan, a fellow IIN graduate and health coach who writes the blog The Detoxinista.

I’ve made quite a few of her recipes in the past and always been pleased with the outcomes, so as a general rule, I trust her recipes.

That’s what I hope happens with my readers, too – that you will try the recipes I post, like (maybe love?!) them, and trust that future recipes I share will be delicious.

It saves you some time and guesswork 🙂

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I had been eyeing up her recipe for dairy-free queso dip but hadn’t taken the time to make it.

Queso dip is one of those foods that most of us wouldn’t imagine could be healthy.

Not only is this version healthy, but it’s also delicious…and just in time for football season!

We served it with our favorite chips – Way Better Chips.

I have a feeling we will be making this a lot over the next few months as football season swings into gear!

queso dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews*, soaked for up to 4 hours and drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice of half a lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles (We used the Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes, Fire Roasted with medium green chilies)

*Raw cashews have a very mild and neutral flavor that works well in this recipe. Try to avoid using roasted cashews, which have a stronger cashew flavor.

Please please PLEASE don’t let the “soak cashews” detail discourage you. I used to use it as a reason not to make certain recipes, but it’s SO easy. Seriously. Just put the cashews in a bowl, cover them with water, and go about your business. Come back in a few hours, and you’re good to go. You can even soak them overnight if that’s easier for you 🙂

Click here for the full recipe from The Detoxinista!

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