Poached Green Tea Tarragon Chicken

End result.

Well, I just couldn’t help myself… Doesn’t this look incredible? I was inspired to create this dish last week when I was making my  morning cup of green tea and sprinkling of turmeric and tarragon on my breakfast eggs.  I thought, hmmm, ‘This tastes pretty good’…

And the rest is history.

A quick peak in the fridge fora some lonely chicken breasts and a light bulb went off in my head.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

I combined the chicken breasts with fresh green tea leaves with turmeric, tarragon and water in a pot over medium heat.

And let it simmer, covered for awhile, then reduce heat and keep it cookin’ for a soft, tender chicken.

Still cookin’…

Then, drained the excess water and was left with a beautiful array of tender chicken and blossomed green tea leaves.

I served this chicken dish with Gluten-Free Girl’s amazing Wild Rice Salad, which is one of my favorites.  A perfect side dish to compliment some tasty chicken.

Don’t ya think?

Poached Green Tea Tarragon Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup green tea leaves, dried
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. tarragon
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sized pot, combine all ingredients over medium-heat.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce to a simmer; cook for another 25 minutes or until chicken is tender and fully cooked.
  3. Drain liquid.  Discard excess green tea leaves.
  4. Transfer to a serving plate.  Serve warm.
  5. Enjoy!

Cooking with tea is one of my favorite ways to create a unique taste to any dish from rice to tofu and chicken to stews…not only does this green tea create an incredible aroma and delicious taste, it’s full of antioxidants.

So, put down that cup of tea and pour those leaves into your favorite dish.

It may just surprise you.

Have you ever cooked with tea?

Baked Eggplant Medley

I’m a sucker for eggplant.  Yes, it’s a nightshade veggie but I just love the sweet, soft taste of a freshly baked eggplant.  There’s something about that rich purple skin and those succulent seeds…it almost resembles a creamy texture when baked.

What’s not to love, right? A perfect dish for a chilly, winter night when your body’s yearning for a bit of warmth and ‘healthy’ comfort food.  Why not toss the idea of the heavy, rich comfort foods and create a dish that you feel good about eating and is fun n’ quick to whip up.

My Grandfather and father got me hooked on the ol’ eggplant when I was a kid and I haven’t turned my back since.

But, these days, my body enjoys a freshly baked eggplant and veggie dish instead of the heavy eggplant Parmesan that we made growing up.  My baked eggplant is gluten-free n’ dairy-free, delicious and farm-to-table fresh.

No need for processed bread crumbs.

No need for processed cheese.

Just a lil’ trip to the ol’ farmers market and you’re all set.

Trust me on this one; you won’t miss the ol’ version of eggplant parm.

The combination of chia seeds and flax seeds, both finely ground, make this meal hearty and satisfying.

If you’re going to add in a healthy fat, why not toss in these seeds or a bit of avocado instead of layering on heavy cheese and sauces?

I surely don’t miss the old eggplant parm.

Because this is new; it fits me and my lifestyle and is easy for my stomach to digest.

And that’s what life’s all about right?

Feeling good and feeling good about what we put into our bodies.

So, why not whip up this fresh veggie medley dish tnitey?

I create this dish every once n’ awhile with a few of my other favorite veggies and herbs.

This time around…it was all about the tomatoes, sweet onion, fresh parsley, turmeric, freshly ground white pepper, sea salt, dulse flakes, fresh tomato sauce n’ a sprinkle of both ground chia seeds and ground flax seeds.

And every time, I simply just can’t resist.

Can you?

Baked Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant,
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • Pinch sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dulse flakes (sea vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh curly parsley, roughly chopped
  • Topping: Additional fresh tomato sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Slice eggplant into disk-like shapes approximately 1/4″ thick.
  3. Layer eggplant into the bottom of the baking dish; top with tomatoes, onion, scallions, tomato sauce and garlic.  Sprinkle with turmeric, sea salt, pepper, chili powder, dulse flakes, chia seeds and flax seeds. Place into the oven.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender.
  5. Remove from oven; garnish with parsley.
  6. Serve warm with additional tomato sauce.
  7. Enjoy!

Gluten Free n’ Vegan Applebutter Cornbread

There’s nothing quite like a homemade corn bread when there’s a chill in the air. Especially when you’re snowed in with 30 inches of a winter wonderland outside your window…

So, I thought, why not strike up the oven and create a delicious homemade corn bread with a gluten free n’ vegan spin and a touch of sweet n’ savory in each bite.

Sweetness from the amazing Musselman’s Apple Butter…pure bliss to my taste buds.  If you haven’t tasted their apple butter, I surely suggest you run on out and dip that spoon into the jar for an out-of-this-world experience. I usually spread it atop toast, muffins and grilled veggies, but today I thought, why not toss it into my cornbread for an extra sweet kick.

We were creating a homemade chili and my little brain got to thinking…how about a bit of corn bread to serve hot with our bowls of hearty chili.

And I did just that. Hot chili n’ hot cornbread.

There’s a first time for everything and this surely was a baking experiment…

Success at its best.

I kid you not.

You truly must try a bite.

Gluten Free n’ Vegan Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
  • 1 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Musselman’s Apple Butter
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup stevia for baking
  • Egg substitute for 1 large egg
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame seeds, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 tsp. anise seeds, plus more for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the butter into a cast iron skillet.  Transfer to the hot oven until melted.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well to combine.
  • Remove hot skillet from the oven; transfer batter into the skillet.  Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and anise seeds.
  • Place into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

Have you ever made cornbread from scratch? If so, I’d love to hear your recipe.

I also wanted to share with all of you a Winter Retreat filled with yoga, private chefs and skiing at Good Commons up in Vermont. 

Click here for information on the Winter Retreat at Good Commons and be sure to give my name, Amie Valpone as your referral when booking!

Vegan Sweet Pea Kombucha Puree

Trying to decide what to serve tnite for your New Year’s Eve dinner party?

How about something that can be used as an appetizer dip with veggies, a topping on baked fish and even added to dessert recipes for a hint of natural sweetness and a kick of kombucha.

Have you ever heard of a kombucha puree?

Me neither.

That’s why I decided to get a lil’ creative this morning in my kitchen and whip up an incredibly delicious and versatile puree that I’m going to be using in my breakfast oats, my morning salad and my evening Greek yogurt parfait with fresh fruit.

Why not, right?

Go, ahead. Whip this baby up.

I assure you, your New Year’s guests will be beggin’ for the recipe.

You can serve with tortilla chips, hummus, guacamole and vegan cheese with crackers.

Happy New Year!

Sweet Pea Kombucha Puree

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup kombucha
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. curry powder
  • 10 cashews
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine lemon zest, juice, onion, scallions, peas, kombucha, garlic, coriander and curry powder; cook for 5 minutes.  Add cashews, sea salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer; cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a blender.  Process in batches until smooth.
  3. Serve atop salads or sandwiches.
  4. Enjoy!

And, be sure to check out my new article, “Amie lives Gluten and Dairy Free” written for the wonderful, Jayne at Allergies-R-Us.

Flourless Chili Cherry Chocolate Brownies

Christmas may be over. But my fiasco with baking sure is not.

As you can see.

My mother, myself and my sister. All in our lil’ adorable Anthropologie aprons, we haven’t taken these aprons off in 4 days, hence we are snowed in with 30 inches of snow and can barely see our cars.

So, I’m just baking.  And eating.  Hehe..

This delicious gluten-free brownie recipe is perfect enjoyed bite after bite or crumbled atop your Greek yogurt parfait.

Whichever way you choose. I’m sure you’ll be nibblin’ on these brownies throughout the holiday season.

I may even whip them up again for a little New Year’s Eve treat.

And speaking of New Year’s…

Are you setting a resolution?

I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2011.

Here are a few of my New Year’s Tips n’ Thoughts on starting off a healthy New Year.

Be Sure to Make Time for Yourself

This time of the year everyone wants to see you, visit you, make plans with you, invite you to parties, but be sure to take a step back and carve out a bit of time for you. Read a good book, take a warm bath, jump in your car and take a road trip, explore a new town…the options are endless. Just remember to enjoy yourself, don’t put yourself on a schedule and savor each moment of quality alone time.

Ring in the New Year Healthfully

The holidays can be quite overwhelming for those of us with many family obligations, therefore take some time to plan your healthy New Year and the steps you are going to take to get to your goal.  Are you trying to eat ‘cleaner’? Feel better? Be more active and happy? Whatever your goal or goals may be, be sure to jot them down and take some notes about how you feel each morning when you wake up and each evening before bed.  Keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings will keep you focused on your New Year goals.  Jot down your emotions, regrets, hopes and joys and don’t forget to think about your future. What are you hoping to accomplish this year?  Show yourself what amazing things lie ahead of you in 2011 by journaling your plans and goals for 2011. 

Make New Year’s Eve a Relaxing Event

In need of a little R n’ R?  Take it easy on New Year’s Eve. Invite a few friends over for a laid back dinner party or pot-luck.  You can even invite friends over to bring all the ingredients and you can create your own feast together.  Make your own gourmet pizzas, chili or stew for a fun get-together that’s laid back and delicious.  As for me, I could surely do a gluten-free New Year’s dinner party…

Who’s in?

I’ll bring the hot-coco…

Flourless Vegan Chili n’ Cherry Chocolate Brownies

Makes 16

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, cooked
  • Egg substitute for 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. all spice
  • Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 cup stevia for baking
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a baking dish with nonstick baking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine beans, eggs, butter, raw cacao, sea salt, pepper, chili powder, all spice, sand stevia in a food processor; process until smooth.
  4. Slowly add in raw cacao nibs and dried cherries; stir to combine.
  5. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven; set aside to cool before serving.
  8. Cut into squares.
  9. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free n’ Vegan Cacao Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Just in time for your last minute holiday baking…here is one of my favorite recipes.

Well, all cookie recipes are my favorite.  I mean, come on now.  Who doesn’t love a cookie?

Especially when it’s Gluten-Free, Vegan and Delicious.

Is your mouth watering?

Mine is.

And I’ve already eaten’ 3.

Watch out Christmas…here come my cookies.

Are you ready?

Dig in.

Bite in.

Enjoy every nibble.

And bite.

And crumb.

And, smile. Because it’s the holidays and you’ve just made the most amazing cookies of your life.

Sorry if I have you addicted to these babies.

Lots of veggies tomorrow, hehe.

Well, that’s what you’ll be sayin’ after a few (or a lotta) bites of these cookies.

Vegan Dark Chocolate n’ Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup stevia
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • Substitute for 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl; mix well. Using electric mixer, combine almond butter, butter, 1/3 cup stevia, cinnamon and brown sugar in large bowl until smooth. Slowly add egg substitute, vanilla extract,oats and flour mixture until dough has a crumbly texture. Stir in cacao nibs and dried cherries.
  3. Place remaining 1/4 cup stevia in small bowl. Form dough into balls.  Roll balls in stevia and place on prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown, approximately 12-14 minutes, reversing sheets halfway through cooking time for even baking.
  5. Transfer cookies to a rack and cool.
  6. Enjoy!

And please take a looksy at my Falafel recipe as I’m in the Top 10 and would greatly appreciate your VOTE!

Do you LOVE nutrition, health and wellness? Learn more: www.IntegrativeNutrition.com.
Use my name, Amie Valpone, for current $500 “Ring in the New You” tuition scholarship that expires December 31. Hurry! Winter Session starts in January.

Happy Holidays and Merry Baking.

Holiday Jingle n’ Vegan Gingerbread Ladies

Baking Cookies A Few Days Before Your Holiday Event?

No Fret…

Did you know?

If you’re yearnin’ for crispy cookies, store baked cookies in a sealed container wrapped in parchment paper.  Layer parchment paper in between layers of cookies for a crispy bite when ready to enjoy!

If you’re yearnin’ for soft cookies, place a piece of bread (gluten-free bread for all of us gluten-free folks) in the cookie tin to keep your cookies soft and chewy!


Gingerbread cookies…

Well, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them.

So, with an entire weekend to spare.

I created my very own ‘Gingerbread Ladies’.

They’re Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Vegan.

And they’re sure to keep your taste buds dancing during this holiday season.

Mine are still dancing.

I’ve eaten’ a few.

Well, a lot. But who’s counting, right?

Hehe…

Whether you enjoy these babies as a dessert, crumbled atop your morning oatmeal, crumbled atop your butternut squash soup or just simply enjoyed dipped into a bit o’ melted dark chocolate.

They’re delish.

Go ahead, take a bite out of my ‘ladies’…

Gluten-Free n’ Vegan Gingerbread Ladies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 cup stevia for baking
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance Baking Sticks
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • Egg substitute for 1 egg
  • For Decorating: Agave Nectar, ground nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients; stir to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine Earth Balance, molasses and egg; beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Slowly add wet mixture to the dry mixture; stir by had until completely mixed and there are no longer any clumps.
  • Cover dough and place into the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough to a 1/6 inch thickness on a flat surface.  Using ‘lady-like’ cookie cutters, cut and place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 12-13 minutes or until browned.
  • Remove from oven; set aside to cool.
  • Decorate your ladies with a drizzle of agave nectar and a sprinkle of dried fruits, coconut flakes, ground nuts.
  • Enjoy!

And here’s a new tidbit for my NYC Foodies to explore:

A new restaurant, SPRIG opened recently in midtown Manhattan.  Has anyone had the opportunity to visit SPRIG yet? Dishes are served with fresh produce from northern California…that’s all I need to hear! I’m hoping to pop into this new spot this week to check out the menu.

AND

For all of you coffee n’ tea fans, Oren’s Daily Roast opened in Times Square.  I’m in love with their teas and I know many who can’t live without their coffee n’ espresso.  The decor is adorable and each Manhattan location has a splendid variety of tasty treats and hot beverages to keep you warm during these chilly days.