Fresh Grape n’ Pear Gauacamole

Who would have ever thought of tossing in a few fresh red grapes into a guacamole recipe?  Leave it to me, of course, as I’m always experimenting with new fruits, veggies and herbs for a fun spin on the classic ol’ guac.  Here is a tasty ‘summer’ inspired guacamole recipe that has a hint of natural sweetness from farm-fresh grapes n’ pears but rounds out well with a savory bite.  Enjoy this guacamole atop gluten-free crackers, spread onto a sandwich in lieu of mayonnaise, as a dip with gluten-free chips or topped onto a salad as a tasty dressing.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 15 red seedless grapes, halved
  • 2 ripe pears, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 5 blanched almonds
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 Heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Greek plain yogurt, for topping
  • Lime zest, for topping

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor; blend until desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to serving dishes.  Serve chilled with a dollop of Greek plain yogurt and a sprinkle of lime zest on top.
  3. Enjoy!
Advertisements

Mango Avocado Salsa

I recently created a delicious recipe for The Foodie Blog Roll and the National Mango Board for their fabulous ‘Leftover Recipe Challenge’, which incorporates some of my favorite ingredients avocado, cilantro, basil and agave nectar and leftover fresh mango’s and Roma tomatoes in my pantry.

Ingredients

  • 2 large fresh mango’s, diced
  • 1 ripened avocado, peeled, cored and diced
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber,diced
  • 1 medium Roma tomato, diced
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
  • Serve alongside whole grain chips, pitas or crudites.

In The News…

Top Restaurant Trends for 2010

Studies Show Eating Patterns for the Next 10 Years

A Salty Tale: Why We Need A Diet Less Rich in Sodium

Your Favorite Natural Brands May Not Be What They Seem

The Fine Print: What’s Really in a Lot of ‘Healthy’ Foods

Apple, Parsnip and Acorn Squash Soup and OpenSky Promotion

There’s nothing like a warm soup on a cool winter evening.  This unique soup pairs acorn squash, parsnips and apples together along with Stonyfield yogurt.  The combination of fruits and sweet winter vegetables makes this soup a perfect way to end your day.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups  granny smith apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 freshly ground white pepper
  • Oikos plain Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 fresh basil, chopped

Directions

  • Place squash cut side down on rack set over gently simmering water in saucepan. Cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool squash slightly. Scoop pulp and set aside.
  • Combine 1/4 cup vegetable broth, apples, parsnips and onion in heavy medium saucepan.
  • Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Add squash pulp, remaining broth, orange juice, ginger and sea salt.
  • Cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Puree soup in batches in a food processor
  • Strain through into a medium-sized saucepan; gently warm over low heat.
  • Add orange zest. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls. Garnish with Oikos plain Greek yogurt and basil.

OpenSky Promotion!

Check out the OpenSky Holiday Promotion Page here:

http://holidays.theopenskyproject.com/

From now until midnight on Wednesday, you can sign up to receive coupons ranging from $15 to $100 off and 10% to 50% off.

The quicker you enter your email at http://holidays.theopenskyproject.com/ the better your chances for great savings.  You’ll note this page asks users to input their favorite shopkeeper.  For favorite shopkeeper, please input: AMIE

Every user will receive a coupon!

  • OpenSky is the place for your holiday shopping.
  • Sign up for savings here: http://holidays.theopenskyproject.com/
  • I only have 50 Premium Coupons for $15 off a $20 item so sign   up quickly!
  • To save the most, type AMIE as your favorite Shopkeeper.

Orange-Infused Eggplant with Basil and Greek Yogurt

I’ve always been a huge fan of eggplant…it reminds me of my Pop Pop, my father’s father, who made the most amazing eggplant parm I have ever tasted.  Giving his recipe a bit of a twist minus the gluten and dairy, I decided to whip up this tasty eggplant dish last night after purchasing four beautiful purple eggplants and a fresh orange from my corner farm stand.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Eggplants
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. White balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated orange peel
  • Juice from 1 fresh medium orange
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slice eggplants lengthwise.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl combine chili powder, orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and olive oil.
  • Brush the olive oil mixture on the eggplants.
  • Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • When eggplants are soft, remove from oven and place on a serving dish with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.
  • Sprinkle with basil, additional sea salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Scrumptious Sage Stuffing

You simply cannot go wrong with a gluten-free bread stuffing, especially when its enlivened with fresh sage, white balsamic vinegar and dried cherries. Chunks of bread, golden and crisp on top, soak up turkey stock and buttery juices from the sautéed onions and celery.


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripened avocado, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups gluten-free bread, chopped into cubes
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. sage, chopped
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • Sea salt and crushed white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Over medium heat, cook onion and celery in a large skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper; stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread cubes, dried cherries, white balsamic vinegar, mashed avocado, celery leaves, and sage.  Set aside to cool for five minutes.
  • Whisk together vegetable broth and egg in a large bowl.  Gently toss with bread mixture until absorbed.
  • Transfer to baking dish and bake, covered with foil for about 45 minutes.

In The News This Week…

Sodium Reduction- A Top Trend

Relaxation Snacks- A Trend for 2010

Whole Foods Endorses Healthy Lunches

Cranberry Butternut Squash Soup

butter

O, the excitement of my new kitchen continues…I’ve been busy whipping up hearty harvest recipes this week and last night I created a savory butternut squash soup with an extra kick of fresh cranberries from the local market.

This tasty winter squash is quite similar to a pumpkin, yet it has more of a nutty, sweet bite.  Not only is butternut squash deliciously hearty, it’s a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, calcium, niacin and three hefty grams of fiber per cup.

My butternut squash soup is quick and easy to whip up; simply seed and cube the squash, add it to the spices, cranberries, flax seeds and harvest root veggies,; simmer, then transfer into your handy-dandy blender and puree until smooth.  As in this recipe, I often choose incorporate ground flax seeds, which add an additional nutty flavor and are a great thickener for my soups and stews.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 large parsnips, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. rosemary, finely crushed
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • Sea salt and crushed white pepper, to taste
  • Toppings: Greek plain yogurt and fresh basil leaves

Directions

  • Seed and cube the butternut squash.
  • In a large pot, combine chicken broth along with cranberries and root veggies: onion, carrots, parsnips and garlic.   Add cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, ground flax seeds and sea salt and crushed white pepper; cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender.
  • Lower heat to a simmer; cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer soup mixture to a blender; puree until smooth.
  • Serve warm with a dollop of Greek yogurt and freshly chopped basil leaves.
  • Enjoy.

Here are a few news clips in the Nutrition/Health field that I’ve come across within the last week and thought I’d share with all of you:

Food Cos. Dropping Smart Choices Labeling

Loose Weight By Eating More

Are Artificial Sweeteners Really That Bad For You?

Tighter Belts Mean Thicker Waists

Agave Roasted Chickpeas

Last night I whipped up a batch of agave sweetened chickpeas.  Over the years, I’ve roasted my fair share of chickpeas, however this time I opted for adding a sweet bite to these crunchy nibbles.

chickpeassss

These tasty chickpeas pack a nice dose of protein and are perfect atop your morning oatmeal, afternoon salad or tossed into your evening brown rice and vegetables.  Today I decided to bring these sweet roasted chickpeas as my afternoon snack-they’re easy to toss into a Ziploc bag and are perfect for a quick n’ easy on-the-go snack.

I purchased 2 cans of Eden Organic Chickpeas and tossed them into my oven to roast with agave nectar, olive oil, cinnamon, basil, sea salt and a tiny pinch of ground white pepper.  A half an hour later–I was in chickpea heaven! These babies will cure any sugar craving and are a great way to satisfy your yearning for a bit of crunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 4 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Pinch of  ground white pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Drain and rinse chickpeas; blot with a paper towel to ensure they are completely dry.
  • In a large bowl, toss chickpeas with agave nectar, olive oil, basil, cinnamon, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper; gently toss until chickpeas are completely coated with mixture.
  • Transfer to a roasting pan and bake for 40 minutes or until desired crunchiness.  Extra crunch chickpeas can bake for about 45 minutes, while softer chickpeas only need about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Another great way to incorporate these healthy bites into your day is by tossing them into your yogurt parfait in lieu of granola…simply top Greek yogurt with the roasted chickpeas and fresh fruit for a tasty, protein-packed snack.