Category: Dairy-Free Page 2 of 5

What We Eat: A Peek at Our Weekly Menu

I’ve had people ask time and time again what a typical week of eating looks like for me and Bill. Every week is different, but I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what last week and the upcoming week consisted of for our meals.

I tend to make a combination of my own recipes from this blog and often look to the Nourishing Meals Cookbook, The Undiet CookbookForks Over Knives: The Cookbook or one of Rebecca Katz’s many healing cookbooks, with a recent focus on The Longevity Kitchen Cookbook

We pretty much follow Michael Pollan’s advice to “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Sometimes I’m a little off on the “not too much” part, if I’m being completely honest, but we prioritize eating real food made from ingredients we recognize and can pronounce. The vast majority of what we eat, especially for me, consists of plant-based foods like veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts and seeds, and we load up on herbs and spices for flavor. I do eat some animal proteins a couple of times a week, usually wild caught fish or pasture-raised chicken or eggs.

My husband Bill’s German heritage demands a higher animal protein ratio than what I eat. He just feels better eating a bit more of it than me! That’s why I’m such a huge advocate of listening to your body and paying attention to what gives you energy and what takes it away. I encourage you to experiment with different foods to see which ones make you feel best. For more on my philosophy around food and eating, check out this recent post.

Okay, now let’s get back to the food. Want to know what a week of breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like for us? Check out the list below!

Breakfast

Because I’m on a healing foods protocol through my nutritionist, as I’m restoring my body from Epstein-Barr Virus, I’m not eating certain things that Bill eats on a regular basis, like eggs. He loves making breakfast and puts in a lot of work each morning. A typical breakfast for him consists of roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed onions and tomatoes or peppers, and an egg, usually served on or with a Swapple, which is one of my favorite freezer staples as well. We also like Bilinski’s casing-free, real food chicken sausage, especially the kale balsamic version!

I usually have a smoothie because it’s the easiest way to pack a lot of goodness into one glass (or smoothie bowl!). I’ve been opting for blueberries as my main fruit because of how antioxidant-packed they are. I alternate which fats I use, including coconut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and avocado. I usually throw in a handful of baby spinach or baby kale and round out everything with a scoop of protein powder or an extra sprinkle of hemp seeds.

I’ll have to share the smoothie I’ve been making lately, so you have the recipe, but this Blueberry Blast Smoothie is pretty similar!

I absolutely LOVE the Oat Berry Yogurt Muffin recipe from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook and have been serving that with Trader Joe’s mixed nut butter. I also tried the Detoxinista’s Vegan Almond Flour Banana Bread. It’s RICH and pretty hearty, since it’s made with almonds as the base, but I really liked the flavors!

Lunch & Dinner

To be honest, lunch and dinner don’t look that different for us. I almost always have a big salad for lunch as my base and often serve up leftovers from dinner for lunch because it makes things easier and saves us time. I’m a big advocate of making grain or salad bowls, which basically consists of throwing together some cooked and raw veggies (focus on leafy greens!), some source of protein (usually beans), something crunchy like nuts or seeds, and a grain like quinoa or brown rice if I’m making a grain bowl. I top it all off with a dressing and toss everything together.

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I need something nourishing when I haven’t planned ahead and packed. When I’m on the go, some of my favorite places to hit up are Stall11 at RHouse, sweetgreen, Harmony Bakery, the Naked Lunch Cafe, and Whole Foods Market hot bar and salad bar. I link to all of those places and others in my healthy foodie dining guide to Baltimore.

Here’s what we’ve been cooking up lately!

That’s a look at some of what we’ve been cooking up in our kitchen lately. We stick with some of our favorite familiar staples and try a few new ones here and there.

How about you? What’s on your menu? Try anything new lately? Feel free to share in the comments below! I love trying new recipes 🙂

3 Beautiful Smoothie Bowl Recipes to Try

If you’ve recently bought yourself a blender after reading reviews similar to https://allgreatappliances.com/oster-pro-1200-blender-review/, then I imagine you are trying to find ways to use it. INTRODUCING; the smoothie. Smoothies are great, and I’ve been a fan of smoothies for years because of how many nutrients you can pack into one meal. But I’ve also noticed something you may find to be true as well.

I tend to drink them fast. Like, under two minutes fast.

That’s a lot of food entering your stomach at an unnaturally fast rate, which can lead to things like bloating, gas, indigestion, and overeating. You can drink fruits and vegetables at a rate of about two cups per minute when you get them through a smoothie. This can undermine your body’s capacity to recognize that you’re full because the body needs about 20 minutes to register that you’re satiated once you start eating.

So, what’s one idea for slowing down your smoothie drinking pace?

Put it in a bowl!

Yup, make a smoothie bowl.

It’s not that complicated either. All you’re really doing is using slightly less liquid (1/4-1/2 cup less than usual), so you end up with a thicker consistency that can be poured into a bowl instead of into a glass. It’s also important to use thickening ingredients like chia seeds, avocado, frozen banana, soaked raw cashews, and even peeled zucchini to reach your desired consistency.

Now, I do have a few words of caution and something you’ll want to keep in mind when going this route. Smoothie bowls are often topped with heaps of granola, honey, maple syrup, nuts, a whole banana, etc., which makes for a pretty picture. But, on top of all of the ingredients that are already in a smoothie, this can be overkill, so use your toppings sparingly. Try not to overdo it. Notice how your body feels and adjust accordingly! Less is more 🙂 You will still need to use the same equipment like a blender. If you don’t have a blender you might want to go to Juice Buff For more information on Smoothie Blenders.

Check out the three smoothie bowl recipes below that I’ve previously posted on my instagram page. If you’re looking for even more smoothie bowl inspiration, here is a list of nine smoothie bowls from Greatist and 11 from Buzzfeed!

Berry Good Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

1 tsp flax seeds or flax meal
2 teaspoons hemp seeds
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon coconut butter (optional but tasty!)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
1/2 tsp raw honey
1 cup baby spinach
1-1.5 cups almond milk (start with one cup for a thicker bowl)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Directions: Blend all ingredients, except the berries, in a high-speed blender for about 15-20 seconds. Then, add berries and blend until smooth, adding additional almond milk, as needed, until it reaches your desired thickness. Pour into a bowl and top with additional berries and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

Shrek Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 tsp fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 small avocado
1 cup baby spinach
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (I like Vital Proteins and Bulletproof Collagen Protein because they are flavorless!)
1/2 tsp raw honey
1-1.5 cups water (start with 1 cup and add more as needed)

Directions: Blend everything together until you reach a smooth, thick consistency. Pour into bowl, sprinkle with shredded coconut, and serve with a spoon!

Berry Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries and raspberries)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1.5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Medjool date, pitted
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (I used Vital Proteins)

1 – 1.5 cups dairy-free milk (start with 1 cup and add more 1/4 cup at a time)

Directions: Put everything in a blender and blend for about a minute or until smooth. Pour into bowl and sprinkle with goji berries and cacao nibs.

So, what about you? Are you a fan of smoothie bowls? Do you have any favorite recipes? Feel free to share them below!

Coconut Chocolate Brownie Bites {Paleo, Vegan}

It’s been a while since I’ve poster a new no-bake bite recipe for you to try, so I’m excited to share today’s recipe for coconut chocolate brownie bites!

A few weeks ago, I was at a women in business event with a group of consultants, human resources professionals and business owners. Before the session, Susan, a friend and fan who attends my cooking classes in the community, walked in. She was holding a bag of Emmy’s Cookies that she had bought at Starbucks that morning. Knowing what I do, she came up to me and said, “These are so expensive! I bet you know how to make them at home!”

Since I’m always up for a challenge, I started experimenting! What I’m sharing with you today is the final outcome of playing in the kitchen to come up with my own version of those chocolate coconut no-bake cookies. Like most of my no-bake bites, they start with a base of nuts and dates. They’re a great option for a snack or a sweet treat and are perfect for someone who is on the go (kids love them, too!).

I had a few coworkers sample them today for me to give me feedback, and everyone loved the sweet and salty combo paired with the rich chocolatey taste. As someone who used to h-a-t-e coconut anything, I really love these, and so does my husband, who isn’t much of a coconut fan either.

One of the fun, new things I’ve started doing with no-bake recipes like this is experimenting with vanilla powder instead of vanilla extract. I find that the taste isn’t as bitter, but you can totally use vanilla extract in this recipe if you prefer.  If you use the powder, it’s a 1-1 substitution for the extract. I buy the Nielsen-Massey brand of vanilla powder at MOMs Organic Market. Most natural food stores and Whole Foods carry vanilla powder, in case you’re interested!

I have a feeling these are going to become one of your new favorites, so let me know if you give them a try 🙂 They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo, and raw, in case that helps you decide!

Coconut Chocolate Brownie Bites

Yield: ~24 bites

Ingredients

2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 1/3 cups Medjool dates, pits removed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions

  1. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, process walnuts and salt for about 15 seconds. Add cacao powder and pulse to combine.
  2. Add dates, vanilla, and maple syrup, and process until a dough begins to form.
  3. Add coconut and pulse several times until just combined. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll between your palms. Toss balls in shredded coconut (optional) and store in a glass container in your fridge.

The BEST Dairy-Free Yogurt: My #1 Pick

About six years ago, I went through a protocol called an elimination diet to get to the root of why I wasn’t feeling my best. I wanted to get off medications and not be bothered by recurring health issues.

Through that process, I discovered that dairy products and gluten-containing foods were triggers for years of congestion, bloating, gas, skin problems, indigestion, and sore throats. Like most of you, I loved cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products. Finding out that they were one of the root causes of my health issues was upsetting. Before finding out about these issues, I was even considering yogurt making at home but unfortunately I won’t be able to benefit from doing this activity anymore which is sad as I think I would’ve enjoyed doing it.

Ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to find alternatives to foods I used to love but could no longer eat if I wanted to feel my best. My journey led me to find this dairy-free option I’m sharing with you today.

Like many people, I took yogurt to work nearly every day as part of my lunch or for an afternoon snack. I had bought into the media hype that yogurt was a health food. I wasn’t paying attention to all of the sugar and other processed ingredients that were making their way into my daily snack. A few years ago, an organization called the Cornucopia Institute came out with a ranking system of yogurts, placing my top two brands – Dannon and Yoplait – at the bottom of the list of 129 brands.

Once I realized yogurt was contributing to my health issues and saw how little nutritional value most brands contained, I cut it out. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a replacement for the smooth and creamy texture and dessert-like taste only yogurt seemed to have. For years, I didn’t eat it. None of the dairy-free options on the market were very appealing. They were full of processed ingredients; had weird, gelatinous consistencies; or just didn’t taste very good. I had all but given up on finding a replacement.

That’s when I found this.

Meet, Forager Project Yogurt

Fortunately, just over two years ago, I came upon the company Forager Project after seeing their line of nut milks (i.e., almond, cashew, etc.) at a grocery store in San Diego. I had the opportunity to try their products at the Natural Products Expo and became a fan.

Then, this past September when I was at the expo, I was stoked to find out they had added a new product to their line – dairy-free yogurt.


What I love about this yogurt is that it has the texture and creaminess of the yogurt I used to eat.

It’s an upgrade, too, because instead of using artificial flavors and colors, Forager uses ingredients like turmeric (to make the lemon yogurt yellow) and beet juice to make the strawberry yogurt pink. They’re also organic, not genetically modified, and the plain, unsweetened yogurt (perfect in smoothies and sauces!) contains only two grams of sugar per serving, which is the lowest I’ve seen on the market.

Instead of cow’s milk, cashews are the base of Forager’s yogurts. I’ve used cashews to make dairy-free cheese dips, cheesecake, and even caramel dipping sauce, so I had a feeling a cashew-based yogurt would be equally delicious and creamy. And it is! They have plain, lemon, blueberry, vanilla and strawberry flavors, which are some of the most popular and familiar. The vanilla version contains real vanilla bean that you can see instead of artificial vanilla flavor.

I love Forager’s brand promise on the side of the yogurt container:

I love what they stand for and appreciate and value how much TLC they put into their products with a focus on quality, sustainability and taste.

Want to learn how to make your own dairy-free yogurt, check out this video from Kitchfix!

Where to Find Forager Project Products

To find a store near you that carries Forager’s products, use this search feature on their website. Availability will be expanding, but you should already be able to find them at your local Whole Foods, Safeway (soon!) and other independent retailers.

While you’re at it, pick up a bag of their tasty vegetable chips pictured below! You can find these at Whole Foods and MOMs Organic Market, or use their search link above to find them near you.

One thing I appreciate about Forager is that they constantly assess customer feedback and have already incorporated that feedback in the new and improved version of their chips. Both Bill and I tried all three and are fans! 🙂

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for writing this review. All opinions are my own and maintaining the integrity of all content on this site is of utmost importance to me. I only promote brands and products I actually use and want to take some of the guesswork out of that for you, so I will never promote products I don’t love and use myself! ?

Is information like this helpful to you? Would you like to see more reviews of products to help guide your shopping decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

Simple Vegetable & Chickpea Soup

Nothing hits the spot on a cold winter day like a warm and cozy bowl of soup. This recipe has quickly become one of our favorites and is one we’ll be making again soon.

About five years ago, I was trying to get to the bottom of years of acid reflux, frequent colds and congestion and seasonal bronchitis, so I removed certain foods from my diet for about 10 days. It was during that time and in the months that followed, that I discovered dairy products to be the #1 trigger of my sinus and respiratory issues. Once I removed dairy, my health issues practically disappeared.

It was amazing.

I had been learning about the health benefits of food for years at that point. But I never realized how connected my diet was to why I got sick so often and wasn’t feeling my best.

Since that time, I’ve continued to “clean up” my diet with the goal of feeling as good as possible as often as possible. I take supplements and probiotics to repair and restore my health after taking years of antibiotics and acid reducers. In addition, I’ve found that foods containing gluten trigger me as well, so I steer clear of them.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking my body through an experiment. It’s kind of like an investigation to better understand why I’ve been feeling a little “off” for the past few months. Because I wanted to get to the root of what my body is trying to tell me, I’ve been following the protocol in the book The Elimination Diet. It’s written by renowned nutritionist, Tom Malterre, and his wife, Ali Segersten, who also authored the Nourishing Meals cookbook.

One of the recipes I tried was for a simple vegetable soup. I used the concept behind the soup as my guide and created my own version of it, which I’m sharing with you today.

It’s full of nourishing, calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients that promote healing and a sense of warmth and comfort. It makes enough to feed 8-10 people, so we like to make it at the beginning of the week to take care of 4-5 meals for both of us. You can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and serving it with a few hunks of avocado on top is especially delicious!

Veggie Lover Chickpea Soup

Ingredients

Veggie Lover Chickpea Soup

If you're looking for a comforting, nourishing hug in a bowl, try this soup!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Rachel Druckenmiller

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups celery chopped
  • 2 cups carrots chopped
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups kale destemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or 2 tsp Herbamare
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a 4 to 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the remaining chopped vegetables, beans, thyme (if you have it) and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  3. Add kale, parsley, salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 more minutes.

This soup serves about 8-10 people.

We store it in glass mason jars. If you are going to freeze it, leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.

5-Minute Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream {Paleo}

It finally feels like winter, and I’m pretty sure I saw my first snowflake yesterday…but that didn’t stop me from making ice cream!

This recipe is a variation of the 2-minute banana ice cream recipe I shared a few years ago. This is a GREAT way to use up bananas that have seen better days instead of throwing them away 🙂 Just peel and then freeze them, so you’re always prepared to make banana ice cream.

This recipe is quick and easy to make, and the texture is just like soft serve ice cream. I have no idea how frozen bananas turn into such a smooth and creamy consistency, but they do. It’s pretty amazing, and if you haven’t tried it before, all you need is a food processor to make it happen!

I put a seasonal spin on the original recipe by adding pumpkin puree and some festive, warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg. I topped mine with some chopped pecans, but you could also use pumpkin seeds or even some dark chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

pumpkin-ice-cream-title pumpkin-ice-cream-closeup

Ingredients

2 cups peeled, frozen bananas cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch cloves
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch fine grain sea salt
Chopped pecans (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the frozen bananas in the food processor. Grind the bananas until they resemble this gravel-like consistency. Keep processing until the bananas resemble a smooth consistency. See this post for pictures of the process.
  2. Add in pumpkin puree, spices and maple syrup. Pulse until evenly combined. Add toppings and serve immediately (my preference) or follow step #3 below.
  3. Pour ice cream into parchment-lined glass baking dish with lid and freeze to firm up consistency. Once hardened, lift ice cream block out of dish using corners of parchment paper and cut the block of ice cream into cubes. Return cubes to food processor and follow step 1 above until it becomes creamy again.

Pure Genius Brownies & Blondies: Upgrade Your Sweet Treats

When I was in college, one of the nicknames given to me by my husband’s fraternity brothers was “Betty Crocker.”

I grew up baking with my mom and neighbor, Miss Muriel, and it was always something I enjoyed. I was known for making Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cookies, GIANT chocolate chip cookies, and cookies and cream brownies in college. I wasn’t exactly into healthier baking back then, but the cookies and brownies were always a hit!

Since I’m all about upgrading what we eat, so we can eat tasty things AND feel good about it, I share dozens of sweet treat recipes on this blog. And as much as many of you like making things from scratch, sometimes it’s nice to have store bought options when you’re short on time or just want to try something new.

What if there was a company that could take one of our favorite sweets – brownies – and upgrade them by adding in some fill-you-up fiber and protein? And what if they put all of that goodness into one little package that actually tasted good?

For all of you with kiddos, what if you could find a dessert that you felt good about putting in your little ones’ lunchbox, knowing it was school-safe and nut-free and had some nourishment in it?

Meet, Pure Genius brownies and blondies.

pure-genius-chickpeapure-genius-brownies pure-genius-chickpea-brownie

I first tried these at the Natural Products Expo East last fall and became a fan. They were recently named the NEXTY award winner for best new sweet or dessert at Expo East 2016.

I couldn’t believe that the FIRST ingredient in both the Deep Chocolate Brownie and the Chocolate Chunk Blondie was…chickpeas!

You’d never guess that every Pure Genius brownie and blondie contains more than 40% garbanzo beans (chickpeas). And we’re talking whole beans, not flour.

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Believe it or not, YOU DON’T TASTE THEM AT ALL! All they do is add protein, fiber, and a nice soft texture to these tasty treats. Here are a few more reasons why you should give these brownies a try:

  • They’re gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free (perfect for nut-free schools and kids with food allergies!)
  • GMO-free (verified by the Non-GMO Project as not being genetically modified or made with genetically modified ingredients)
  • They taste great and have a nice chewy texture, unlike most gluten-free brownies, which are often crumbly. My husband, who also has a sweet tooth, loves them as well, especially the blondie.
  • Each hefty bar has under 200 calories, 3 to 4 grams of protein, 3 to 4 grams of fiber, and only 11 grams of sugar.
  • They have an expiration date! Real food is supposed to go bad and rot, and these will, too. If a food lasts on a shelf for six months or more, is it really something we want to be putting in our body if we want to feel our best?

So, where can you buy these bean-based brownies?

  • Visit Pure Genuis’ website here. I’ve got some good news for you! Use code RACHELSKITCHEN for 20% off all online orders. The code is valid through November 30, 2016.
  • Buy on Amazon: Chocolate Chunk Blondies or Deep Chocolate Brownies.
  • Find them at your local Whole Foods.

Have you tried Pure Genius brownies and blondies before? Let us know what you think below!pure-genius-brownieblondie-brownie

Triple Orange, Fennel & Beet Salad with Arugula

Wouldn’t you love to know how to make the most of your food, so you waste as little as possible AND stay nourished with delicious food?

I’m here to help 🙂

beet-salad-plated

In the first part of a two-part series I’m teaching about the restorative, healing power of food, I shared several anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, nutrient-dense recipes. All of the recipes are free from wheat, milk, eggs, soy, shellfish, and peanuts, which are some of the most commonly allergenic foods.

In their book, The Elimination Diet, Tom Malterre and his wife Ali Segersten point out that 80% of their patients felt significantly better after removing dairy and gluten from their diet. I found that all of my symptoms – allergies, congestion, frequent colds, dry skin, acid reflux – were reversed when I changed my diet and removed dairy and gluten.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share recipes and inspiration for you to make changes based on what your body is telling you it needs.

We made homemade almond milk, chocolate-covered cherry smoothie, white bean and fennel soup, sauteed greens with pumpkin seeds, and the recipe in today’s post. I was inspired to make a salad with beets and oranges as I was reading Dr. Michael Miller’s book Heal Your Heart. But I wanted to upgrade it by adding in some stomach-soothing fennel, anti-inflammatory avocado, and anti-cancer arugula.

Not only that but this recipe features all three components of the orange – zest, juice and whole segments. It’s a great way to reduce food waste and make the most of the dollars you are spending!

triple-orange-salad-cover
beet-salad-side

Ingredients

4 beets, diced (Love Beets is my favorite brand)
1 fennel bulb
2 oranges
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Prep fennel following these steps from The Kitchn and put in a large bowl. I used a mandolin to thinly slice it.
  2. Peel one orange, cut into slices, then pull segments apart. Set aside.
  3. Zest half of second orange using a microplane grater into a medium bowl. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl, being careful to remove the seeds. Whisk salt, ginger, and honey into bowl with juice and zest. Whisk in olive oil until it starts to thicken.
  4. Pour half of dressing over fennel and let sit for 10 minutes, so orange juice can soften fennel. Add beets and orange slices and toss to combine. Add arugula, avocado and pecans and toss gently to combine. Add additional dressing if needed. Serve immediately.

Basil Pesto Hummus {Vegan}

Summer is full of vibrant colors and bold flavors. I just love this time of year! Today’s recipe highlights one of my favorite summer herbs that is in season right now and seems to be in everything.

Basil.

basil

I had some basil leftover from making this Basil Walnut Pesto and wanted to try something new and simple, so I decided to add it in to a basic hummus recipe.

We served it to our friends Lisa and Brody, and their son Beckett, at a recent dinner at our house…and everyone loved it! Bill brought it to school this week for a back-to-school potluck, and it went over well there, too.

The recipe starts with the basic hummus ingredients – chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil – and upgrades it by adding in an underrated but super potent herb packed with health-promoting benefits.

Just a few of the body-boosting properties of basil are listed below:

  • Its flavonoids protect our cells from damage and help protect our DNA
  • The oils in basil leaves have strong antibacterial properties, naturally reducing the likelihood of contracting a food-borne illness
  • Contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can provide relief for anyone with inflammatory conditions like arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions
  • Rich in Vitamins K and A, which act as powerful antioxidants that protect our heart

basil-hummus-aerial basil-hummus-closeup

Basil Pesto Hummus

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Put garlic, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water, and sea salt in the food processor and process until evenly combined. You may need to scrape down the sides. Add basil leaves and process again.
  2. Stream in olive oil through hole at the top of the food processor and run for about 60 seconds until smooth. It may seem a little loose, but if you put it in the fridge to set, it will thicken. If needed, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin it out.
  3. Store in the fridge in a glass container and serve with raw veggies or chips.

Healthy Dining in Portland: An East Coast Foodie’s Guide

Whether you live near Portland, Oregon, have plans to go there sometime soon or are looking for ideas for future vacations, you’ll want to read this post! (Or just scroll to be tempted by the amazing food in the pics!).

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When we booked our trip to Portland, Oregon several months ago, and I told people we were going there, their responses were unanimous:

“You’re going to LOVE it there!”

“You’ll be with ‘your’ people.”

By “my people”, they were mostly referring to foodies that have some food preferences not so easily accommodated here on the East Coast (i.e,. gluten-free, dairy-free, organic). Portland is known for being a very allergen-friendly food city, so you can go just about anywhere and find gluten-free, dairy-free options.

Whenever Bill and I travel, we look for three things:

  1. Delicious, nourishing food
  2. Farmer’s markets
  3. Walkability & hiking

IMG_7081Portland happened to have the trifecta, so we couldn’t wait for the trip to begin. During the six days we were in Portland, we made the rounds and tried over a dozen different eateries, all of which offered and often specialized in gluten-free, dairy-free options that tasted as good as, if not better than, the originals.

If you’re traveling to Portland (or if you live there and want to check out some new spots) AND are looking for nourishing and delicious options, use this list as your guide.

Portland Farmer’s Market

Portland State University, SW Park & SW Montgomery; www.portlandfarmersmarket.org

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We had heard that this market was all the rage and were stoked to check it out on Saturday morning. We liked it so much that we spent three hours there. I love the energy of farmer’s markets. The people. The sounds. The colors. This market was no different.

We also made friends with one of the volunteers, Steve, who gave us some pretty stellar recommendations about places to check out while we were staying in Portland. It always pays to talk to the locals, the people who will send you somewhere other than the places all the tourists go. They tend to be way better (and less crowded).

What We Ate / Drank

  • Chai Donut (Petunia’s Pies & Pastries)
  • Everything Bagel (New Cascadia)
  • Honey Mama’s chocolate bars (Sample every chocolate! We bought a 4-pack)
  • Lentil Dal (Portland Curry Co.)
  • Strawberry Ginger Kombucha (Symple Foods)

Harlow Restaurant 

3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland; 971-255-0138; www.harlowpdx.com

IMG_71580C19EC8E-E8BF-43D9-8524-042A4B24666FIMG_6965Considering we ate here three different times and sat in on a cooking demo they did at the Farmer’s Market, this became our go-to spot. Everything they sell is gluten-free and dairy-free (win!), and they source their ingredients from local, sustainable sources.

We went there for breakfast twice and lunch one time but could have easily spent every meal there because they have such a variety of delicious options including smoothies, juices, bowls, salads, and sides. Their sister shop, Prasad Cafe, has a few locations downtown and their menus are pretty similar, so we were happy sticking with Harlow but would definitely check out Prasad on our next go around.

What We Ate

  • Betty Bowl (with a perfectly poached egg)
  • Chipotle Chili Bowl
  • Turmeric Toddy (iced or hot – I had both – SO GOOD!)
  • Strawberry Short Stack
  • Outlaw Scramble
  • Mercy Blues
  • Pesto Garden Scramble
  • Trail Mix Cookie

Portobello Vegan Trattoria

1125 SE Division Street, Portland; 503-754-5993; http://portobellopdx.com/

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Delicious. Italian food…Vegan.

Say what??

How could a restaurant with cuisine based entirely around cheese, pasta and bread possibly have options that a gluten-free, dairy-free eater (and her husband) could enjoy?

They did! We’re so glad we gave this place a shot. I’m glad we didn’t let its not-so-fancy storefront deter us from checking out what ended up being one of our favorite meals of the entire trip. For starters, our server, Corinn, was sweet and spunky as can be and guided us through the menu. With a variety of gluten-free options (including pizza!), we had plenty of options to choose from and enjoyed every single one – so much so that two dessert-lovers like us didn’t have room for dessert.

What We Ate

  • Beet Tartare with New Cascadia Gluten-Free bread (even Bill said that bread tasted BETTER than the regular bread)
  • Kale Caesar Salad
  • Tom’s Pizza on gluten-free crust
  • Bliss Tea

Blossoming Lotus

1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland; 503.228.0048; www.blpdx.com

FDC8891B-EBB2-4A9C-A3ED-85A23370021AWe picked a beautiful day to check out this restaurant in the Irvington neighborhood. Another dairy-free, gluten-free find, we were drawn in by the pictures of their live nachos on Instagram and Yelp! and knew we had to include them on our self-guided food tour of the city.

What We Ate

  • Live Nachos (man oh man were these good!)
  • Curry Bowl
  • Lotus Benedict

Departure

525 SW Morrison St, Portland; 503-802-5370; http://departureportland.com/

IMG_7155We’re Top Chef fans and have watched just about every season of the show. One of our favorite seasons featured Gregory Gourdet, who is now Executive Chef of Departure Restaurant. His inspiring story of becoming sober and prioritizing nourishing, quality food in that process was certainly one draw to bring us to this trendy rooftop restaurant in the heart of downtown. That, and Farmer’s Market Steve highly recommended it, too!

I loved that they provided both vegan and gluten-free menus in addition to the standard menu, so there was no shortage of options for appetizers, entrees or desserts.

What We Ate

  • Tandoori Spiced Scallops
  • Kani Avocado Roll
  • Shaved Collards Salad

Verde Cocina

Multiple locations; Portland Farmer’s Market; www.verdecocinamarket.com

0BB50060-A2CA-4E70-9E86-44324C75E942Farmer’s Market Steve came through again when he recommended we check out this place for a meal. Fresh, bright Mexican food with handmade, corn tortillas. Bill had a dish for breakfast at the farmer’s market and we liked it so much that we went back for a happy hour at their main restaurant a few days later.

What We Ate

  • Buenos Dias Breakfast
  • Sweet Potato-Black Bean Salad
  • Carne Asada Taco
  • Guacamole & Tortillas
  • Gringas con Mole

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Multiple locations; http://khaomangai.com/

IMG_7147People flock to this food cart for what might seem like too simple of a dish. But simple done well and with the highest quality of ingredients can be simply delicious…and it was. They had a gluten-free option, too, so I was in!

How’s this description for your taste buds?

Poached, organic chicken with rice simmered in chicken stock and Thai herbs, served with sauce of fermented soybeans, ginger, garlic, thai chilies, vinegar, house made syrup and soy sauce. Garnished with cucumbers and cilantro, and accompanied by a light soup

What We Ate: Chicken & Rice with sauce (Khao Man Gai)

a.n.d. Cafe

5420 E Burnside St, Portland; 503-233-4550; http://andcafepdx.com

IMG_7150This was our last official stop and was a welcome meal after running a 5k through Portland that morning. Once again, we were given a whole menu of delicious dairy-free, gluten-free options. This place was a bit off the beaten path but well worth the run there!

What We Ate

  • Full Nest with 2 poached eggs
  • Hashtastic with a poached egg

Slow Squeeze Juice Bar

2880 SE Division St, Portland; www.slowsqueezejuice.com

IMG_6795Another gem at the Tidbit Food Farm pod, I swung by Slow Squeeze while I was waiting for my waffle to be finished. The turmeric tonic made with fresh turmeric root, carrot, spinach, apple, cucumber and ginger caught my eye and gave my immunity and digestive system a nice boost before enjoying my Smaaken waffle.

What I Drank: Turmeric Tonic

KURE Juice Bar

Multiple locations; http://kurejuicebar.com/

IMG_7146 IMG_6875This was another gem and a place we hit up twice on our trip – once for lunch, and then the next day for breakfast. They use organic ingredients and are, like so many other places in Portland, gluten-free and dairy-free, so I had lots of options to choose from. No matter time of day it is, you can find something at Kure to give you a nourishing energy boost.

What We Ate / Drank

  • Vietnum Bowl (recommended by Britt from Harlow)
  • Full Moon Salad
  • Eisenhart Smoothie
  • Bowl of the Gods Acai Smoothie Bowl
  • Green eLemonator Juice

Greenleaf Juicing Company

Multiple locations; http://greenleafjuice.com/

IMG_7153Another juice, smoothie, and acai bowl in the heart of Portland, I decided to check it out after seeing their menu of steamed soups. They use a broth of fresh-pressed vegetable juice – celery, carrots, etc. and steam it with an array of vegetables before blending it all in a high-powered blender. It was a little windy the day we stopped by, so a cup a soup was a perfect between-meal snack to hold me over.

What We Ate

  • Zen Shot
  • Spinach & Cauliflower Steamed Soup

Petunia’s Pies & Pastries

610 SW 12th Ave, Portland; Saturday Farmer’s Market; 503-841-5961; http://petuniaspiesandpastries.com/

A gluten-free, vegan bakery. It seemed too good to be true. It was our first purchase at the market, and while we were debating which goodies to purchase, a local came up to the stand and said, “They have the best donuts at the market,” as he noshed on a bagel from New Cascadia, a 100% gluten-free bakery. We were sold. Now, I wouldn’t say this was the most nourishing stop on the trip (after all, we were eating donuts!), but it was one that gave me the opportunity to try a food I hadn’t eaten in years, so why not? Live a little 🙂

What We Ate

  • Chai Donut (yes, please!)
  • Chocolate Mousse Donut

Back to Eden Bakery

2217 NE Alberta St, Portland; Tidbit Food Farm Food Truck Pod; 503-477-5022; www.backtoedenbakery.com

IMG_7152A gluten-free, vegan bakery. Again, I was in heaven! At the recommendation of our AirBNB hosts, whose son is gluten-free, we checked out this place…twice. They have a food cart at what was arguably the best food cart pod for healthy options (Tidbit Food Farm) as well as a storefront in the Alberta neighborhood. We went to both because…why not?

What We Ate

  • The Alberta Park Sundae
  • Peanut Butter Toffee Bar

Smaaken Waffles

2880 SE Division St, Portland; www.smaaken.com

IMG_7157In retrospect, our trip to Portland gave me an opportunity to indulge in some foods I never eat at home because of the lack of places that make them in Baltimore. If I want waffles, I have to make them myself or use Simple Mills boxed mix (so good!), so it was nice to have someone make me one for a change. ALL of their items can be ordered with gluten-free and/or vegan batter.

This was one of the food trucks at the Tidbit Food Farm & Garden (arguably the best food cart pod in Portland!).

What We Ate: I had the special, which was a gluten-free waffle with roasted beets, arugula, and an egg (subbed that in instead of the chèvre). It was fun and messy to eat…and delicious.

Vtopia Restaurant & Cheese Shop

1628 SW Jefferson St., Portland; 971-271-7656; http://vtopiancheeses.com/

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Shortly after posting a picture of our cheese plate from this place, my friend Yvette texted me, “The cheese plate is vegan?!?!?!? No lo creo. No entiendo!!” (Translation: I don’t believe it. I don’t understand!).

When you don’t eat dairy, cheese is one of the foods you miss because, well, nothing else really tastes or feels like cheese…except cheese. Having said that, vegan chefs have gotten incredibly creative with their recipes to reinvent the texture, consistency and tang of dairy-based cheeses by using ingredients like raw cashews.

What We Ate: Cheese Plate with 5 cheeses: Chive & Dill, Peppercorn Brie, Cheddar, Caramelized Onion Camembert, Chocolate Strawberry Brie with gluten-free bread, fruit compote, and pickled vegetables

Salt & Straw

Multiple locations in Portland and Los Angeles; http://saltandstraw.com

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Sometimes you wonder if the long lines outside of popular eateries are just another tourist trap. We decided to take the risk and wait in the 20-minute line (there was ALWAYS a line)…and it was so worth it.

Since I was a kid, my favorite ice cream has been mint chocolate chip. I had it in every birthday cake for as long as I can remember (you know, the Carvel cakes with the chocolate crunchies?).

Since removing dairy from my diet, finding a respectable mint chocolate chip ice cream that doesn’t have a funky aftertaste has been a challenge. So I was skeptical but open when I found out that one of Salt & Straw’s vegan ice cream flavors was none of there than Petunia’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream.

HOLY COW! It was worth the wait in every way. It lived up to every expectation – smooth, creamy, minty, crunchy, chocolatey and downright delicious. I didn’t want the magic to end.

Maple Parlor

3538 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland; 503-206-4757; www.themapleparlor.com

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Conveniently, it was a block away from Harlow, which made it the perfect stop for our first dessert in Portland. Not only do they have paleo ice cream options (the peanut butter hard serve is to die for!), but they have a toppings bar that is entirely gluten-free. Score!

What We Ate: Twist of Cashew Maple & Peanut Butter Cashew soft serve with Oregon Berry Compote and Granola

Eb & Bean

1425 NE Broadway Portland; 503-281-6081; www.ebandbean.com

IMG_7154Ice cream is such a treat for me because I rarely eat it but absolutely love it. Finding this gem right around the corner from our lunch visit to Blossoming Lotus was one of the highlights of our sweet treat experience in Portland.

What We Ate: Twist of Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding and Coconut Caramel Cream soft serve flavors topped with Honey Mama’s CocoNoNut bar and gluten-free, vegan cookie dough crumbles

Townshend Tea House

Multiple locations; www.townshendstea.com

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We stopped by this tea house on our last night there and were wowed by their tea selection. I’ve never seen so many tea options in my life! They sell tea, kombucha and coffee, and the vibe is super cool. I wish Baltimore had a place like this!

What We Drank

  • Tummy Tamer Tea (post Portobello dinner)
  • Chamomile Mint Tea

Places to Check Out Next Time

  • Ava Gene’s
  • The Bye & Bye
  • Gigi’s Cafe
  • Prasad
  • Xico

Non-Food Fun

IMG_7080Clearly, we like to eat…but we also like to do other things! Check out the list below for some fun ideas for things to do around Portland:

  • Cannon Beach (the rock from The Goonies movie!)
  • Cascade River Gorge
  • Living Room Theater
  • Powell’s Book Store
  • Saturday Waterfront Market
  • Bike Rentals (Nike has orange bike rentals throughout the city)
  • Jet Boat Tour (recommended but we didn’t get to do it)
  • 4T Tour (recommended but we didn’t get to it)

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