Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cherry Cashew Loaf

After a fabulous weekend at the beach with my family, I returned back to Manhattan last night with the yearning to bake…don’t ask me why because it was about 100 degrees outside and my tiny apartment was a hot box even with the air conditioner blastingBut that didn’t stop me from baking an incredibly moist and flavorful loaf…I picked up a dozen of eggs from the market and got to work in my kitchen…a little bit of this (cherries) and a little bit of that (cashew butter) and a little imagination (sunflower seeds and pine nuts) created a divine loaf, which I enjoyed for my Sunday evening dessert…toasted and topped with fresh marmalade.

This loaf is delicious as a breakfast nibble spread with nut butter, an afternoon snack crumbled atop of Greek yogurt or enjoyed simply sliced (and eaten while slicing, hehe)…

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Eggland’s Best eggs (my favorite)
  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare a loaf pan; coat with non-stick baking spray.
  • Combine cashew butter, oil and eggs in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed; blend until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot powder, sea salt, pepper and baking soda.
  • Combine arrowroot blend with cashew butter blend; mix well.
  • Slowly add in cherries, dates, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and orange zest; gently fold to combine.
  • Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until center is cooked when tootpick is inserted.
  • Set aside to cool before slicing.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy with a dollop of Greek yogurt and  a spread of jam.

In The News…

Consumers Enjoying Sit-Down Dinners at Home More Often

School Cafeterias Aim For Nutrition Balance

Contaminated Gluten-Free Foods

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Swordfish Kabobs

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This past weekend, I decided to heat up the grill and make fresh fish kabobs before the weather starts to  cool.  For some reason, kabobs remind me of the summertime and BBQ’s on my parents back deck after a long day at the beach.

Well, this past weekend sure came close to the same flavors and tastes that I get when I’m grilling at the beach, however, a grill in Manhattan just simply isn’t the same.  But, I knew what I was getting myself into and sure enough these kabobs turned out perfect! I visited the Union Square Market on Saturday morning bright and early to ensure I had a nice selection of fish to choose from.  Sure enough, as I passed the fruits and veggies, the freshly picked flowers, the pumpkin pies and current scones, I stumbled upon my favorite fish guy–and what was on the special, might you ask? Swordfish. Perfect, I thought and went ahead to purchase myself a fabulous swordfish steak-yum.

I decided to make the kabob recipe off the top of my head and choose whatever fruits and veggies I stumbled upon at the market.  I breezed past a bunch of red bell peppers-check, shallots- o yes, oranges- so deliciously fresh, sweet potatoes- without a doubt and fresh basil- an ‘Amie’ must.

Not having skewers in my little Manhattan apartment, I set out on a mission to Chelsea Market and found a  set of skewers — just perfect for my fresh swordfish.  After traveling across the city in search of my kabob ingredients, I fired up the grill and had a mini kabob party: me, myself and the lil kabobs.  Not bad for a Saturday night, huh?

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. swordfish steaks
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 Tbsp. grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes
  • 2 small oranges, sliced
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Skewers

Directions

  • Preheat grill.
  • Cut swordfish into 1 inch cubes.
  • Combine mustard, olive oil, shallot, agave nectar, sea salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and basil; mix well.
  • Coat swordfish cubes with mustard mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Cut sweet potato, red peppers, shallot and orange slices into ‘skewer-friendly’ pieces.
  • Thread fish, sweet potato, red bell peppers, orange wedges onto skewers.
  • Place skewers on the grill over low heat; cook for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Baste fish and vegetables with marinade when skewers are turned.
  • Enjoy!

Boost Your Immune System

Whether it’s an office cubicle buddy coughing over your shoulder or the changing of seasons, we all need to keep our immune systems healthy.  Here are a few ways for you to be sure to keep you out of the doctors office and feeling great!

immune

Eat Healthy Fats and Healthy Foods

  • Eat foods that boost your immune system such as mushrooms, cantaloupe, brown rice, olive oil, broccoli, leafy greens, oranges and apples.
  • To build your body’s ability to protect itself from becoming sick, be sure to eat whole grains, fish, poultry, vegetables, beans, fruits, leafy greens and roots.
  • Don’t be scared of Fat-you need a healthy dose each and everyday.  Include healthy fats such as nuts, avocado and olive oil.
  • Reach for foods that are high in Vitamin D such as salmon and tuna.

Incorporate Cancer-Fighting Foods, Spices and Herbs

  • Garlic is a powerful health enhancer; it’s strong properties protect our immune system.
  • Drink black tea and green tea for their antioxidants, tannis, indoles and bioflavonoids, which have all been proven to fight cancer.
  • Take time to consider the use of medicinal plants, which have been a natural resource for curing and easing body ailments for centuries.

Be Active

  • Get walking.  Be sure to exercise for 30 minutes on most days.  Even a walk after dinner can help you digest your food and make you feel energized.

Drink Water

  • Try to drink 6-8 glasses a water each day to flush out the toxins in your  body.

Wash Your Hands

  • Be sure to wash up as often as possible to keep germs from spreading and getting into your mouth and eyes.

Clean Your Cubicle as You Would Your Home

  • Many of us spend more time at our desks than we do in our own homes, therefore be sure to keep your cubicle and desk clean with disinfectants.
  • Many of us eat meals at our desks, which leads to a whole slew of festering bacteria-Yuck.  Be sure to wipe your desk before and after each meal or opt for a chance of scenery and enjoy your lunch in the cafe or outside.

How do you stay healthy? Do you have any tips for boosting your immune system?

A New Spin on Sweet Potatoes

MASHED

Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy the delicious flavor and velvety texture of this root veggie.  Branch out from the traditional mashed potato side dish and enjoy this recipe atop a salad in lieu of dressing, as a dip for chips and pitas or as an accompaniment for sliced cold meats.

I am always searching for unique toppings and condiments… lately I have been using this tasty mash as a spread for burgers, wraps and sandwiches.  Not only is this recipe perfect for lunch and dinners, but it pairs perfectly with breakfast.  Use a dollop atop your oatmeal or spread a few tablespoons on a few slices of toast and drizzle with honey.

Ingredients

  • Juice from 2 large oranges
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 2 fresh plums, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Dash of star anise
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • Dash of Nu-Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine avocado, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar, Greek yogurt, juice from the orange, Nu-Salt and pepper.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until it forms a smooth consistency.  Slowly add in nutmeg, cinnamon, basil, and orange zest.  Continue to beat for 30 seconds until mixture is ‘whipped.’
  • Spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine plum and sweet potato chunks.  Slowly add in avocado mixture and mix well.  Transfer mixture to baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until completely cooked.
  • Sprinkle with ground flax seeds.
  • Enjoy!

How do you enjoy making sweet potatoes?

Eating a Rainbow of Colors

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By now, we’ve all heard, “Eat your Veggies”, well there’s a whole rainbow out there of amazing produce known as Superfoods.  Incorporating these babies into your daily diet can fight cancer, improve your memory, and keep those nasty colds away.  So, what are these superfoods that everyone is talking about?

Superfoods are fruits and veggies that are full of antioxidants.  It’s easy to incorporate their rainbow variety into your diet; simply mix n’ match various colors for a plate that is not only pleasing to the eye, but your stomach, as well. 

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Yellow and Orange

  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Our yellow and orange fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants that boost our immune systems and provide a nice, big dose of Vitamin C.  Moreover, eating fruits and veggies of these colors help ward off age-related eye disease.  I personally love cooking Butternut Squash and making my Butternut Squash Fries, which can be prepared in minutes and popped into the oven.  Another easy way to incorporate these colors into your diet is combining the above fruits into a smoothie.

    Green

    • Avocados
    • Asparagus
    • Cucumbers
    • Leafy Greens
    • Green Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Broccoli

    These greens help relieve the effects of serious eye ailments such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  Moreover, they help clear the arteries that keep blood flowing to your brain.  My favorite way to incorporate greens into my meals is sauteing spinach and collard greens with garlic and pine nuts.

    Tan and White

    • Parsnips
    • Turnips
    • Cauliflower
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Bananas
    • Garlic

    These guys  may not have a lotta color to them, however, they pack a serious antioxidant punch with phytonutrients that help protect the heart and fight cancer.  My favorite way to eat the “whites and tans” is to roast parsnips in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chili powder.

    Blue and Purple

    • Blueberries
    • Raisins
    • Purple Grapes
    • Purple Potatoes
    • Eggplant

    These blue food friends supply us with a healthy dose of antioxidants, which are beneficial for memory and motor function.  I personally love to cook Eggplant Parm–(the gluten free/dairy free way), of course.

    Red

    • Tomatoes
    • Cherries
    • Strawberries
    • Watermelon
    • Radicchio

    Red fruits and veggies contain lycopene and flavonoids are important antioxidants to help fight diseases and various cancers.  Try a rice dish with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and tomatoes.

    What’s your favorite way to incorporate a rainbow into your daily diet?