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.

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.

 

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!

My ‘POM Wonderful’ Dinner Party

Well, let’s just say it all started with a lil email stating, “You are one of 100 bloggies to host a POM Wonderful Dinner Party“… WOW! Was my first reaction, I sent in my proposal to POM Wonderful with some fun POMMY ideas for foodie fun and I was chosen…

Okay, Thought 1:

I live in Manhattan.

Blank Stare…

Yes, I live in a shoe box.

Well, maybe a pin-hole.

A belly button?

Okay, you get the point.

I am Carrie Bradshaw (heehe, All you Sex n’ the City fans) …

Instead, I write about food…

And I love it.

L-O-V-E, LOVE it.

So, I put on my thinking cap and pondered.

Thought 2: Who shall attend?

Thought 3: What will I cook?  And bake?

Thought 4: Settle down, Amie. You have 2 huge cases of fresh pomegranates at your front door and the FedEx guy thinks you’re nuts!

Thought 4: Stop with the thoughts and Get to Work!

Thought 5: Final Thought….Let’s make it a Gluten-Free POM Party…

‘T’was the night before my POM Party, and all I could think about was the decor, the dishes, the entrees, the desserts and o’ what fun I had developing gluten-free POM recipes using POM Wonderful and the two large crates of pomegranates inside my tiny abode.  There I was…in my ‘lil apt…with the Kitchen Aid mixer buzzin’, the stove heatin’ and my fridge about to burst open with fresh produce and pomegranates!

Then, after a deep breathe, lots of planning and lots of fun…I was ready…

Welcome to my POM Dinner Party.

The dinner was held on November the 12th…a fine Friday evening here in the Upper East side of Manhattan.  My Gluten-Free ‘POM’ dinner party was inspired by a Fall Harvest theme in an intimate setting…

Picture eight Manhattanites, nestled into my cozy Manhattan apartment perched onto eight large maroon colored pillows on hardwood floors with a beautiful display of my homemade POM inspired dinner menu. I cooked and baked everything from scratch using POM Wonderful products in every dish and beverage throughout the evening. My menu consisted of POM infused Pecan Crackers served with POM Conserve for appetizers.  Roasted Turkey, Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate Arils, POM n’ Macadamia Stuffed Squash, POM infused Crispy Parsnip n’ Apple Fries with POM infused Sweet Pea n’ Asparagus Guacamole for the main course. And, for dessert, POM Truffles and Gluten Free Red Velvet Pistachio Coconut Muffins, which are both infused with POM.   The beverages for the evening were POM spritzers, hot apple cider infused with POM and hot POM tea in cute little maroon mugs. Each guest was given a bottle of POM Wonderful and a fresh pomegranate in an adorable POM Wonderful gift bag.

The ‘table’ for this meal was Manhattan-style… well, it’s Manhattan-style for me… I laid a beautiful cream linen tablecloth on the floor surrounded by the eight large POM-colored pillows, which were used as seats for my guests, four maroon colored candles burned during the dinner and soft jazz music played in the background.

The POM Dinner Party event started off with each of my guests and I opening a bottle of POM and using it to create every dish and beverage. Each guest was in charge of their own bottle and was instructed to finish it by the end of the evening throughout the cooking and baking in each of their dishes and beverages.  Before we dug into our POM dinner, each guest and myself sat around the table with our own fresh pomegranates in our hands. We went around the ‘table’ and spoke about ways in which we use pomegranates in our everyday lives to add these powerful antioxidants into each meal, snack and beverage! With these unique and fun-filled POM foodie ideas, we elaborated on my ‘Menu’ and by the end of the evening all eight POM Wonderful bottles and all eight pomegranates (plus many more for snackin’ on and tossin’ extra into recipes) were incorporated into our Fall Harvest Feast.

I then broke out my famous ‘How to Open a Pomegranate’ presentation…with a POM Wonderful and a pomegranate in each of our hands…we got to work.  “Okay everyone…aprons on because this is gunna get messy,” I shouted…

Then turned up the jazz music and got to work.

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, gently slice off the crown of the pomegranate.
  2. Place on a flat surface, cut side up and score the skin at each of the sections on the fruit.
  3. Gently open each section and using your fingers, loosen the inside seeds, also known as ‘arils’ into a bowl.  Discard the body of the pomegranate and focus on the arils.
  4. Transfer arils to a mesh strainer and rinse with cool water.
  5. Place onto a paper towel to dry and they’re ready to use in any dish!
  6. Enjoy!

I am honored to share this incredible POM infused evening on The Healthy Apple, where I preach about fresh farm-to-table clean, natural gluten-free food and lifestyles, which is exactly what this dinner party emulated to my guests. This evening was about my effort with eating clean and adding an integral health component with POM infused dishes and beverages.   I am incredibly passionate for the POM Wonderful brand as it truly is a brand that I believe in and love so much. All of the POM products are healthy, clean and delicious, which is what The Healthy Apple encompasses and which is my message to my family, friends, colleagues, readers and the online community.

My energy and passion portrayed POM in a beautiful light and created a unique look on the classic POM beverage…with a Gluten-Free twist, I created a fun, intimate spin on a classic dinner party in Manhattan!

I’m sure you’re all yearnin’ for these delicious POM Gluten-Free recipes mentioned above…so, here is a sneak peak at the POM appetizers that were served.

POM Conserve served with Gluten-Free POM Pecan Crackers

POM Conserve

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. POM Wonderful
  • 4 lbs. fresh pomegranates, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring POM Wonderful to a boil over medium heat.  Add pomegranates and agave nectar; cook for 20 minutes.  Stir often.  Add ginger, cook for another 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; set aside to cool; mixture will thicken when cooled.
  3. Serve with POM crackers.

Gluten-Free POM Pecan Crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. POM Wonderful
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix until combined.
  3. Prepare a large nonstick baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place dough in the center of the sheet.  Roll dough with a rolling pin until it is 1/2 inch thick and is covering the baking sheet.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 3 inch rectangles.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with POM Conserve.
  8. Enjoy!

How do you ‘POM’?