Dairy-Free Almond n’ Cashew Cheese

Last night I was in the mood to create a comfort meal of macaroni and cheese.  I cooked up a delicious pot of gluten-free pasta and opted to create my very own dairy-free Almond and Cashew Cheese.  It tasted fabulous atop my macaroni and I will surely be creating this ‘cheese’ again soon to accompany many of my other dishes…perhaps lasagna and baked ziti…yummm…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp.  sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. chives

Directions

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor; pulse for 1 minute. Be sure to scrape sides to ensure even blending; pulse for another 30 seconds or until mixture resembles a smooth and creamy consistency.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and serve with gluten free pretzels, crackers, crudites and dried fruit.

In The News This Week

Imports and Less Processed Foods Pose Food Safety Challenges

Demand Booms for Stevia and Agave Nectar

Restaurants Educate  Diners on Sustainable Seafood

Eating Local in the Winter is Challenging

Lactose Intolerance Misunderstood, ‘Gaps’ Found

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Get Smart n’ Get Snackin’…

Are You a Smart Snacker?  Here are a few of my tips to help you navigate through the snack drawer.  Be aware of those processed, store-bought ‘treats’ and opt for your own homemade, nutritious snack packed with vitamins and nutrients to keep you happy and healthy all day long.

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Traveling for the New Year? Pack some of my portable snacks to keep your tummy satisfied whether you’re in the car, on the plane or train…these healthy nibbles are sure to keep your taste buds happy and your belly trim…just in time for the New Year.

Happy New Years Eve!

Be Mindful of Why You are Eating.

Are you stressed? Thirsty? Not eating enough? Ask yourself these questions before you dig in.  Be sure to keep healthy snack options in your office for a quick go-to when you’re in need of a quick fix.  When eating your meals, plate it,  sit down and savor your food…chew each bite and relax.  Plating your food and sitting down will give you visual of how much you have consumed. Many of my clients eat breakfast standing up, lunch at their desks and dinner in front of the television, this will not only disrupt your digestion, but leaves you unsatisfied and yearning for more!

Portion Control.

Know your weaknesses and your triggers.  If you’re known to eat a box of cereal or cookies in one sitting-reach for your Ziploc bags as soon as you purchase these foods and make yourself portion controlled snacks.  This way, when you are in the mood for cereal or cookies, you can easily reach for one bag, sit down, put it on a plate or in a bowl and enjoy your snack without mindlessly over-doing it.

Don’t Skip Meals.

We all know the most important meal of the day is a hearty breakfast.  Be sure to follow up with a mid-morning snack, a filling lunch, an afternoon nibble and a nutritious dinner.  Do not skip meals; this will only set you up for failure.  Keep your blood sugar steady and your body and brain fueled by eating a 3 balanced meals with 2 snacks each day.  This may not work for everyone, many of my clients prefer to have 3 meals and a dessert or they have learned that eating mini-meals throughout the day works for them.  Whatever works for you is what you should stick to-we’re all different people with different needs, therefore the is no cookie cutter way of how many meals and snacks you should be eating each day.  Just be sure that you feel energized and satisfied; if you are hungry, reach for a smart, healthy option.


Decipher Between Snacks and Treats.

Those ‘100 calorie’ packs that you see in the food store are not snacks–they’re treats! Take a looksy at the nutrition facts and ingredients- you’ll be surprised by the amount of sugar and additives in each little pouch.  Instead of reaching for processed treats, opt for a more nutritious whole food option such as a whole grain cracker with cheese, a small Greek yogurt with apple slices or a banana with nut butter.


Don’t Wait Until Your Tummy is Rumblin’.

I encourage my clients to eat every 3 to 5 hours.  If you let yourself go any longer, you can damage your day and set yourself up for an overeating fest.


Reach for Lean Protein, Good Fats, Fruits and Veggies.

When you eat a snack of protein, healthy fat and produce you can achieve a satisfied feeling rather than reaching for a sugar-laden treat.  Try pairing a nut butter atop celery, a few slices of cheese with an apple or a handful of pistachios and grapes.


Cook in Bulk for Easy Prep.

Purchase store bought rotisserie chicken and you can easily toss it into your morning omelet, afternoon chicken salad sandwich and evening pasta  dish.  On a Sunday evening, try to cook up a batch of inexpensive pantry staples such as potatoes, rice, pasta and beans.  Store leftovers in the fridge for the week in Tupperware containers, therefore when you are ready to eat, you can simply reach for these precooked foods and whip up a nutritious snack meal in no time.


Have Fun, Get Creative
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Eating should not be a chore; take a look at my On-the-go-Snacks and More Snacks for healthy ideas between meals.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, instead of a peanut butter and jelly white bread sandwich, opt for a whole grain bread with all natural nut butter and jelly without added sugars.

Take a look at Cooking Light Magazine’s ’10 Healthy Habits in 2010′ for some great ways to kick off your New Year on the right foot.

In The News…

A&P Features Printable Coupons

Safety of Food Spotty at Airports

Gluten-Free Menus Make Their Way to Small Towns

USDA Program Aims To Simplify Foods’ Nutritional Values

Have a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve!

Get Those Kids Cookin’…

Ever wonder how to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Here are a few tips that I offer to my clients…whether you have young children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, family or friends…these tips are sure to get your little ones active and entertained in the kitchen.


  • Cucumber Caterpillar: Slices of cucumber held together with natural peanut butter. Place the Caterpillar on ‘greens’ to look like grass.
  • Taco or Burrito Bar: Serve brown rice, black beans, onions, hot peppers, sprouted grain or gluten free tortillas, broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, guacamole and  salsa.  Add nuts, seeds and spices in tiny serving dishes to jazz up the flavors!
  • Salad Bar: Spin your greens in a salad spinner, then dress dry greens with a lime dressings made by combining sesame oil, fresh lime juice, low-sodium tamari, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar and water.
  • Mashed Potato Parfaits- Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips and carrots mixed together…topped with raisins, cinnamon, shredded coconut and agave nectar
  • Individual Pizzas: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Choose gluten free or sprouted whole grain tortillas, caramelized onions, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichokes, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add each ingredient atop each tortilla and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Panini Party: Gluten Free or sprouted whole grain bread, SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free cheese, tomato slices, eggplant slices, fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, avocado, zucchini and squash slices.  Add all ingredients to 2 slices of bread.  Place onto a panini maker (sprayed with cooking spray); cook until cheese is melted and veggies are warm and cooked.  Dip into marinara (red) sauce.
  • Stir-Fry: Switch up your usual recipe with unique grains such as millet, quinoa or buckwheat.
  • Fruit Salad: Add exotic fruits to spice up the flavors.  Use a melon baller and serve in a wine glass to add to the allure of this meal.  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt atop each fruit salad serving and sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia.
  • Slaw Wraps: Cabbage, celery, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers, snap peas, bean sprouts, snow peas, green beans and Napa Slaw can easily be combined and wrapped in rice paper.  Liven up this dish by pairing it with a special sauce of grapefruit juice, ginger, balsamic vinegar, lemonade and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower.  Toss with fresh apples or cumin roasted chick peas.  Adding berries such as blackberries, raspberries and cherries add a nice antioxidant punch to these wraps.
  • Peanut Butter Chicken Fajitas: The best way to make a good peanut sauce is by combining organic peanut butter, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, agave nectar and low-sodium tamari/soy sauce.
  • Frozen Basil and Banana Pops: Blend together 2 cups ice, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup agave nectar in a blender.  Blend well and pour into glasses! This is a wonderful treat for a healthy dessert!

Have fun and experiment with some of my ideas above…Getting the kids active in the kitchen is fun…and who knows, your kids may just start to ‘enjoy’ their veggies!!!

More Snacks…

Just in time for the holiday weekend, my On-The-Go Snack List continues…

I’m sure many of you are planning on hitting the road for the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend, so I thought I’d share some more of my snack ideas with you…many of them are quick and easy to prepare and can be stored in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware.

This time around I’ve categorized your munchies into what you’re taste buds are craving…You can indulge in these tasty, easy-to-prep finger foods guilt-free!

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Crunchy

  • Rye crackers with mashed avocado and lemon juice
  • Whole wheat cracker spread with nut butter, drizzled with honey and topped with sliced strawberries
  • Air-Popped Popcorn (make your own healthy variety)
  • Apple slices drizzled with Agave Nectar
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Crudites of veggies and your choice of dip (Hummus, Tabouli, Vinaigrette, Balsamic Dressing and Olive Oil)
  • Celery and Nut Butter
  • Whole Grain toast with hummus
  • Toasted nuts sprinkled with stevia and cinnamon

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Sweet

  • Wheat grass
  • Dried fruit
  • Greek yogurt and ripe fruit
  • Dried fruit and nuts (Try pairing together different options such as pistachios with dried mango, macadamia nuts with dried cherries, peanuts with dried apricots, hazelnuts with dried pears or cashews with dried cranberries)
  • Sprouted date bread with all natural jam
  • Frozen Greek yogurt (Make Your Own)
  • 1 Banana rolled in cocoa powder and drizzled with honey
  • Porridge (Maple syrup, cinnamon, soy milk, bananas mixed with your choice of left-over grains)
  • Smoothies (Carob powder, Greek yogurt, ice, fruit, soy milk, etc.)
  • Fruit ‘Ice Cream’ (Peel a banana, freeze and blend in a food processor along with nuts and berries.
  • Roasted Sweet Veggies drizzled with cinnamon and agave nectar (Experiment with root veggies such as yams, sweet potatoes, squashes such as acorn, butternut or kabocha and cut into chunks or ‘fries’, then sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with agave nectar; bake until crispy).
  • Organic Dark Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips

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Salty

  • Olives
  • Pickles, Pickled Beets, Pickled Tomatoes
  • Hummus, Tabouli
  • Organic Turkey slices wrapped around sliced avocado and tomato
  • Sardines and Oysters
  • Steamed veggies with your choice of Shoyu, Tamari, Miso or Umemboshi Vinegar
  • Miso Soup with whole wheat crackers
  • Sea Vegetables added to any dish
  • Whole Grain Tortilla chips dipped into homemade salsa/guacamole
  • Sprouted Cheese Melt (Toast sprouted bread and top with a slice of cheese; broil until cheese is melted and top with a slice of tomato).
  • Sauerkraut
  • Whole Wheat Pitas with Parmesan (Sprinkle Galaxy Vegan Parmesan Cheese over a whole wheat pita; broil until cheese turns brown and cut into squares.
  • Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice added to your beverages
  • Vinegar and Lemon/Lime Juice mixed into marinades and dressings
  • Salted Edamame
  • Organic Cheese

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Creamy

  • Smoothies
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Avocados
  • Homemade Rice Pudding
  • Baba Ghanoush/ Hummus Spreads
  • Pureed Soups
  • Cottage Cheese with whole grain crackers and fruit
  • Homemade Pudding (Made with Silken Tofu, Avocado or Mashed Banana)
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Coconut Milk

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Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win my Big S Farms Give-A-Way.  Send me a comment for your change at 1 of 4 great prizes.  The deadline is Monday, July the 6th.

Good Luck!

Have a Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Last night I decided to cook up a few sweet potatoes that I purchased at the market this past weekend.  They were absolutely delicious and I will be making these again soon!  Although the weather is starting to get warmer, these sweet potatoes are just as tasty when eaten at room temperature or chilled in the fridge. 

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Ingredients

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Dollop of Tofutti Dairy Free Sour Cream, topping
  • Dollop of Amy’s Organic Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • 1/4 cup Bran Cracker Crumbs (Mashed high fiber cracker crumbs or Whole wheat bread crumbs)
  • Chives, diced
  • Nu-Salt and Pepper
  • 1 can Amy’s Organic Traditional Re-fried Beans
  • 2 Scallions, diced
  • SoyaKaas Gluten free/Dairy free Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Fresh Avocado, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. Lime Juice
  • Handfull of Pumpkin Seeds

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Cook sweet potatoes in the oven or microwave until soft enough to hollow out the insides. Remove the inside “Orange” part of the potato and keep the skin and a portion of the inside to preserve the shape
  • In a bowl, combine 1 can re-fried beans, salsa, avocado, bran crumbs, lime juice, scallions, Nu-Salt and pepper; mix well.  Scoop this mixture into each potato skin. Top with SoyaKaas cheddar cheese shavings.
  • Place each stuffed potato on aluminum foil on a cooking sheet. Place into the oven for 20 minutes or until center is warm.
  • Top with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream and chives
  • For the final touch–sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and enjoy!

Sardine Melt

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Now, don’t get grossed out by this recipe because I assure you, if you give these little canned babies a try—you’ll be thanking me, not only because of their amazing taste but because of the nutritional punch that they pack, as well. 

I have recently been purchasing sardines for their rich Omega 3’s, which helps our bodies maintain muscle.  Moreover, they are a good source of vitamin D, Calcium, vitamin B12, and protein!  Not to mention low in mercury, making they a smart choice for pregnant women.  If you are not fond of the flavor, try soaking the sardines in vinegar for 30 minutes; I find this helps eliminate the fishy taste. 

I came up with this cute little spin off of a tuna melt and decided to incorporate my sardines.  The flavor is amazing and this will surely become a lunch staple for me.

Ingredients

  • 1 can Sardines (no salt added)
  • Bread/Wrap/Crackers of Choice
  • Kale (or any leafy green veggie)
  • Mustard
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Celery (chopped)
  • Bell Pepper (chopped)
  • NuSalt and Pepper to season
  • Chopped Onion
  • Fresh Basil (Chopped)
  • SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free Cheese