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?

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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!

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.

Healthy Holiday Tips

It’s that time of year, again.

Yeahhhh.

Sleigh bells ring, are ‘ya listenin’?

In the sleigh, snow is glistenin’…

And I could go on and on and on…

But I’ll stop and share a few of my healthy holiday tips since Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner.

With eggnog on your left and gingerbread on your right, it can be tough to keep yourself in line during the holidays.

But, that’s what the holidays are all about.

Enjoying your life, your year, your happiness, your family and friends.

So, go ahead a sip on that eggnog, take a nibble of your gingerbread cookie, but be sure to keep your mind ‘aware’ of what you are consuming and check in with your stomach and your brain to ensure you’re not overdoin’ it on the ho, ho ho’s, if ya know what I mean.

So, what are some healthy holiday tips for this massive week of food n’ celebration kicking off with eats n’ treats on Christmas Eve, then good ol’ Christmas Day and who can forget the food celebrations on New Year’s Eve along with the comfort food of New Years Day.

Lighten Up the Foods You Enjoy

This can be anything from an appetizer to a dessert.  Try Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, avocado instead of butter, cinnamon and nutmeg instead of cinnamon sugar and stevia in lieu of sugar.  You can create delicious homemade holiday meals from lasagna to praline pie without the added fat, sugar and additives.  Get creative and use fresh fruit zest, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetable purees and low-fat unsweetened dairy alternatives such as rice milk and almond milk.

Keep Drinkin’

No, not alcohol as we all know alcohol dehydrates us. And no, not soda or diet soda.  Sip seltzer with a squeeze of fresh lime, a few pinches of freshly chopped mint or basil and a dash of cranberry juice.  Top it off with a few ice cubes and you have a delicious mock-tail to sip throughout your evening.

Taste Each Bite, Enjoy Each Taste

Learn to enjoy your food. Yes, it is the holiday season, but there’s no need to ambush Grandma’s German Chocolate Cake or inhale Aunt Val’s stuffed mushrooms.  Take a bite here and a bite there, if you enjoy it, great… if you don’t then place the food aside, sit with your thoughts and understand that your mind is telling your body and stomach that it’s not enjoying this nibble.  So, move on. Take a sip of that good ol’ seltzer and pace yourself.  Take a deep breath and enjoy your food, one bite at a time.

Add in the Good, Without Avoiding the Bad

Fill your plate with healthy fare such as vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains.  Steer clear of the heavy casseroles and instead opt for some mashed sweet potatoes, rice pilaf, lean proteins such as fish, tofu or turkey, vegetables and salad.  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto your meal along with a dash of vinegar, and a few slices of avocado for some heart-healthy fats to round out your meal.

Eat Breakfast

Just because the day ahead is going to be filled with lots of food, don’t make the mistake of forgoing your morning meal to save room for the big event.  You’ll simply end up ravenous by the time dinner is served and you’ll devour half the bread basket, cookies n’ biscuits before you can even reach for the healthy fare.

Get Up and Move

Yes, you heard me.  Pop the pie in the oven and go for a walk before your company arrives.  Offer to help wash the dishes after the meal or help the host prepare the food and table settings.  This will keep you busy and engaged in the action without lulling around filling up your belly with appetizers.

Enjoy Your Company and Your Gathering

Remember, this is a holiday. A celebration. A time to gather with loved ones n’ family n’ friends to share fun memories and stories and good times over delicious food.  Be sure to make yourself feel ‘loved’ and give ‘love’ to those who are close to you.  Isn’t it amazing how great it feels to give? It brings about a euphoric feeling…I just love it.  Whether it’s giving my teddy-bear of a daddy a hug or watching him open his Christmas gift from me, I just love giving.  Focus on the Give this year and Give a part of you…. I assure you, you’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel about yourself… And with those ‘feel good’ vibes, you’ll be all smiles and satisfied with your life and your surroundings without focusing on food.

How do you lighten up your holiday eats?

I’m starting my cookie baking tomorrow… Still debating which recipe to start with…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…

Fa-la-la La-la-la la.

Ho-Ho-Ho!

And here’s a fun lil’ site for you to play with…I’ve just discovered Kitchen PC which let’s you find recipes, plan meals and add recipes to your very own calendar, pantry and cookbook.

Be sure to check out my latest recipe creations for Pizza Packets, which are delicious gluten-free pizza seasoning packets that can be used in any dish from omelets to salad dressings to lasagna.

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.

 

Almond Flour Pesto Fig Pancakes

Fig Pesto in a pancake?

Yes.

And to top it off, it’s not just any ol’ pesto. ..it’s a delicious combination of fig and Gorgonzola in a fabulous flavored pesto created by Pestos With Panache, which is an amazing brand of delicious pesto’s made with incredible ingredients such as dark chocolate, ancho chile, pumpkin, blueberry, strawberry and much more.

So, what did I do with this fine pesto?

Well, with this brutal Artic chill in the air, there’s nothing cozier than waking up from under my warm covers, slipin’ on my fuzzy slippers and waking up to a warm plate of pancakes…with a fig n’ pesto spin.

And, as always gluten-free.

Of course.

So, go ahead. Curl up in your fuzzy slippers and maybe even stay in bed an extra lil’ bit.  Get cozy, get comfy, get ready for a delicious breakfast and a fabulous morning.

Brew a cup of hot tea.

Turn on a bit o’ holiday music.

Jingle around your kitchen.

Smile.

Because Santa is coming…

And whip up some pesto pancakes.

I assure you…these babies will start your day on the right foot.

One bite at a time.

Mmmmmm.

Enjoy!

Keep warm and enjoy your weekend, foodies!

Almond Flour Pesto Pancakes

Ingredients

  • Fabulous Fig and Gorgonzola Pesto
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp Stevia for Baking
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/6 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • Topping: Agave Nectar
  • Topping: Fresh Fruit

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well until combined.
  2. Spray a large pan with nonstick cooking spray; set over medium heat.  Let pan warm for 2 minutes over flame.
  3. When the pan is hot and ready for the batter, spoon the pancake mixture onto the hot surface.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then gently flip using a spatula.  Pancakes will be cooked when golden brown and bubbles form in the middle.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of agave nectar and fresh fruit.
  7. Enjoy!