Category Archives: recipes


Instant Pot vs Air Fryer

Instant Pot Vs. Air Fryer

What do you do if you’re an Instant Pot fan, you really want to get an Air Fryer, but you have no kitchen counter space? Do you have to pick one or can you have both? This was me. Fortunately, I found a solution.

I love my Instant Pot

I’m a big Instant Pot fan. Ever since I got mine it has migrated to live permanently on the kitchen counter and I use it several days a week for a wide variety of things. When I got my Instant Pot I was able to get rid of my popcorn popper, my rice cooker, and my pressure cooker. My husband was pushing for me to get rid of the slow cooker as well but I defended it because (a) I’ve had it since I was 18 and I’m kind of attached to it, and (b) when you have a party sometimes you need an extra cooking device.

For me, having an Instant Pot has been a game-changer in my kitchen. I use it for a so many things, especially this delicious Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup.

But I want an Air Fryer Too

When I heard about Air Fryers I was tempted. I’m seeing them everywhere. They are very popular and everyone seems to be getting one. But after much careful consideration, I decided not to get one.

Sure an Air Fryer is a cool idea. It uses only a tiny bit of oil plus some heated air to ‘deep fry’ your food. Okay, it’s great that you can make “fried” foods that are healthier and cook them really quickly. I was seriously tempted.

But then I looked at my kitchen and realized that counter space was at an all-time premium. In fact, I joked that if Instant Pot came out with a new version that did air fryer plus the other 11 functions I would be all in, but until then I was sticking with my IP. 

How does an air fryer work?

For all you Air-Fryer-Curious people, let’s look at how an air fryer works. Unlike the multi-function Instant Pot, it’s pretty much a single-use device. With just a little bit of oil, a high temperature (an average of 392°F / 200°C according to my research), and air circulating rapidly, you get convection cooked food with a “fried” texture. Due to the convection cooking, foods do cook in much less time than actual frying.

Although the process is somewhat similar to a deep fryer, the Air Fryer uses a lot less oil so the idea is that you are getting a healthier “fried” food. This cuts down quite a bit on the fat and calories. However, you still get to enjoy the crispiness of fried foods. 

The Solution

While I wasn’t prepared to give up my Instant Pot I was very tempted by the idea of an Air Fryer (have I mentioned that?). Then a friend shared something I had never heard of before. A Mealthy Crisplid.

What is a Mealthy Crisplid? It’s a lid that converts any 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker into an Air Fryer. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds because you get to keep your Instant Pot but you don’t have to have another big counter-space-required appliance for air frying.

I was blown away by this concept. And I bought one.  Of course, now I’m having to learn how to make air-fried things. And while I don’t plan to make a lot of them, it’s a nice way to be able to add that to our meal planning.

Basic Tips

I’m still learning how to use my crisplid, but I’ve learned a couple of tips that are important whether you have an air fryer or a crisplid.

Do the Prep Work

Prep work is key for this method of cooking. You have to take your time to make sure that things are properly coated, that they’re seasoned or oiled as required, and that you’ve followed instructions on how to prep the food. The recipes are not like traditional deep-fried recipes where you can just throw it in the oil and it mostly sticks together. 

Loading Your Air Fryer

You’ll need a basket to hold the food in so that it can get good circulation (the Mealthy comes with a trivet and a basket). I’ve learned the hard way that you need to (a) not overcrowd the basket, and (b) flip the food partway through to make sure the browning and crispiness is even. I’m still working on perfecting French fries (this is where I’ve really learned the importance of not putting too much into the basket).

Be aware of temperatures

Your Mealthy, and I’m assuming an Air Fryer too, gets HOT. You need to use caution when handling it, have a good surface to set the lid down when flipping items over, be careful when handling the parts, and remember the foods come out fried-food-hot. You also need to wait until the device is completely cool before you clean it. So caution and patience are the words of the day here.

Quick Recipes

If you’re looking for a solution to the Instant Pot vs. Air Fryer dilemma, this may just be the answer you are looking for.

As I mentioned above, I’m still learning, but here are a few quick recipe ideas that I’ve found as I’ve been doing my research. I’m going to keep experimenting and learning as I continue to use my Mealthy Crisplid but I’m glad I got it.

Mozzarella Sticks

Instead of the melted cheese thing that tends to happen in a deep fryer, air frying is an easier way to make mozzarella sticks. Cut mozzarella sticks in half, dip them into beaten egg and roll in grated parmesan with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Then put them into the air fryer (spray the basket with olive oil) at 390°F for 4-6 minutes.

Fried Broccoli

This can be a delicious way to eat broccoli. It comes out with a crispy edge. Soak small florets in water, and drain. Then roll in almond flour with a seasoning of your choice. Put into your sprayed air fryer basket and cook at 400°F for 10 minutes.

Banana Chips

I love banana chips and this could be a great way to make them at home and skip the preservatives that they typically come with. It’s important to use bananas that are greener and not too soft or mushy. Slice thinly, mist with a little olive oil, add salt, cinnamon, or any other seasoning you’d like. Place into an oiled basket and cook at 395°F for 15 minutes.

 

sprout nuts and seeds

The Easy Way To Sprout Nuts And Seeds

Why Sprout Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are one of the healthiest and nutrient-dense foods. They are known to contain high levels of key minerals such as calcium, iron, omega 3 fats, and vitamin E. Studies have shown that consuming nuts may also help fight various conditions such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and depression.

Although rich in many nutrients, they have a mechanism that makes it rather hard for the human body to absorb these items. Enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances such as goitrogens and phytic acid make it hard both to digest and take up the nutrients contained in the nuts and seeds.

Fortunately, there’s a simple and natural way to get rid of these substances. Sprouting, sometimes referred to as soaking softens and readies the nuts or seeds for germination. When they are sprouted it forces them to get shed the phytic acids and other protective substances that ensure their survival but inhibit nutrient absorption. It also gives a little bit of a nutrient bump due to the sprouting activity.

It is, therefore, really important to soak and sprout nuts and seeds before consuming them in order to get the most nutrition possible out of them.

Once soaked, the nuts make the perfect snack or addition to your smoothies. They are also great for making nut-butters which are a great snack when added to sliced apples or pears, on celery, or used in a wide variety of recipes.

How to Sprout

Sprouting the nuts and seeds is quite simple.  All you need is a glass jar, some sea salt, water, and the nuts or seeds you want to sprout. If you’re using a quart jar you can make 4 cups, a pint jar will yield 2 cups.  For ease of use, it’s best to get wide-mouth canning jars.

The nuts and seeds need to be raw, unroasted, and unsalted in order for this process to work.  I do not recommend mixing the nuts and seeds together, even if they require the same amount of time for soaking. Personally, I find it better to soak each one individually. If you want to turn them into a trail mix or use them combined you can do that after they have been sprouted and dried.

Simply put the nuts in the jar, add two teaspoons of sea salt, fill it up with water and leave to soak for the required period of time.

How long to soak for sprouting

Every nut or seed has a different soaking period. Here’s a chart to help you understand the timing needed to soak each different kind.

Type of Nut/ Seed Soaking (Hours)
Almonds 8 – 12
Brazil nuts 8
Cashew nuts 2 – 3
Hazelnuts (filberts) 8 – 12
Macadamia nuts 2
Pecans 4 – 6
Pistachio nuts 6 – 8
Pepitas 8
Sesame 8
Sunflower seeds (no hull) 2
Walnuts 4 – 8

Once you have removed the seeds and nuts from the water, you can dry them; the best way is to use a dehydrator or oven. If you opt to use the oven, set it at 150F and let the seeds and nuts dry for 12 to 24 hours. Make sure that they are completely dry before removing them. For the dehydrator, it depends on how well yours works, if you have a manual you can check it for recommended drying times.

It is important to note that not all seeds can or should be sprouted. In particular, avoid sprouting chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and pine nuts.

In conclusion, sprouting nuts and/or seeds is easy to do and it comes with numerous benefits. Adding these amazing, nutrient-dense items to your diet is both good for you and delicious.

Sources
  • https://www.fastachi.com/nuts_health_benefits
  • https://www.foodmatters.com/article/the-benefits-of-soaking-nuts-and-seeds
  • Shahidi, Fereidoon, et al. 8 Almond and Almond Products: Nutraceutical Components. Tree Nuts: Composition, Phytochemicals, and Health Effects (2008): 127.
  • Vinson, Joe A., and Yuxing Cai. Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits. Food & function 3.2 (2012): 134-140.
  • Yadav, Mukesh, et al. “Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review.” Nutrition research reviews 23.2 (2010): 184-190.

 

lacto-fermented condiments

Be Prepared To Make Condiments

Preparedness is a big topic these days and many people are looking at purchasing packages of food that are good for long term storage. The biggest challenge with pre-made prepared foods is all of the chemicals and additives that are in them. Of course, making a list of foods to have on hand for those times when you need it is important. But when you’re putting that list together consider skipping the condiments.

Making condiments

I’m not saying don’t have condiments on hand. However, I do believe it’s better to know how to make your own condiments. This way you’ll have them on hand fresh and tasty, plus you’ll avoid all the negative ingredients found in many condiments. And truthfully even those without too many harmful additives don’t last that long. By knowing how to make your own condiments and having a few simple, easy to store ingredients on hand you’ll always have delicious, nourishing condiments available.

You’ll need to remember that when fermented the condiments may have a slight bubble to them or may seem to separate slightly. They may also have a slightly tangy smell. Do not eat them if they are fuzzy, discolored, or smell really bad/moldy.  If you’ve done it right, this should not happen.

Needed ingredients

When making lacto-fermented condiments you start with a basic condiment recipe. Then you add some sort of liquid that helps with the fermentation process.  The two best options are whey, the liquid that’s left over from making yogurt, or the liquid you have when you make homemade sauerkraut.  You often have quite a bit of either of these left over after making the item. You can store it in a jar in the fridge until you need to use it to make recipes like these condiments below.

Lacto-fermented Ketchup
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6-ounces organic tomato paste (one small can)
  2. ½ c. whey (strained from yogurt or made from starter)
  3. 1-2 tablespoons whey
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (raw & unfiltered)
  5. 1 tablespoon honey
  6. 2 teaspoons molasses
  7. ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  8. ½  teaspoon onion powder
  9. ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  10. generous pinch each allspice, cloves, and nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients (except 1-2 T. whey) together in a food processor until well combined
  2. Place in a jar and top with 1-2 tablespoons of whey to cover completely
  3. Cover jar and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days
  4. After fermenting store in the refrigerator
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/

 

Quick and Easy BBQ Sauce
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup ketchup (see above)
  2. 2 tablespoons mustard (see below)
  3. ½ cup honey
  4. 1 ½ tablespoons molasses
  5. ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat gently until just under a boil
  2. Remove from heat, cool and jar
  3. Store in the refrigerator
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Lacto-fermented Mustard
Print
Ingredients
  1. ½ cup mustard seeds
  2. ½ cup sauerkraut brine (leftover/filtered from live kraut)
  3. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (raw & unfiltered)
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon honey
  6. ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor
  2. Place in a jar, cover, and let sit at room temperature 1-2 days
  3. Store in the refrigerator
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/

 

Lacto-fermented Mayonnaise
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1 cup olive oil, divided
  3. 11⁄2 teaspoons mustard powder
  4. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar and a few fresh tarragon leaves)
  6. 1 tablespoon whey
Instructions
  1. Place the egg, 1⁄4 cup oil, mustard, and salt into a container
  2. Blend well. (A stick blender is the best tool for this.)
  3. When well blended, drizzle in another 1⁄4 cup olive oil and blend well again.
  4. Add the tarragon vinegar; blend well
  5. Slowly add the remaining olive oil and blend well
  6. Gentle blend in whey until completely incorporated
  7. Place in a jar, cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours
  8. Store in refrigerator
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Olive Oil Dressing/Marinade
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups organic extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/4 Cup  apple cider vinegar  (raw & unfiltered)
  3. 3 tablespoons dry oregano
  4. 2 tablespoon dry basil
  5. 2 tablespoons dry parsley
  6. 2 teaspoons sea salt
  7. 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Instructions
  1. Blend well in a blender
  2. Store in the refrigerator
Variations
  1. Add ½ cup mayonnaise to make a creamy dressing
  2. Add ¼ cup mustard and substitute 1 clove fresh garlic for the dried
  3. Add ½ cup ketchup, 1 teaspoon paprika and substitute red wine vinegar for the apple cider vinegar to make a Catalina dressing
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Summer Vegetable Soup - The Ingredient Guru Recipe

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup

I love my Instant Pot

Ever since I got an Instant Pot® (IP) it has become my favorite appliance. I use it so much that I got tired of dragging it up from the cupboard under the counter and now it lives on my kitchen counter full-time.  It gets used regularly for a wide variety of dishes.  That includes for summer meals. 

Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean that we should not eat soup. And while there are lots of delicious cold summer soups, like this amazing gazpacho, even hot soups can be a wonderful summertime dish because they take advantage of the season and what’s fresh.  Of course just because we want to enjoy summer soups, doesn’t mean we want the heat and humidity in our kitchen that comes along with cooking soup. That’s where the instant pot is such an amazing kitchen tool. it takes so much less time and therefore adds less heat to the kitchen.

This recipe is so quick and easy to put together that it’s sure to become one of your summertime (or anytime) favorites. And one of the best things about it is that it’s actually a pretty flexible recipe. Don’t have green beans? Use lima beans.  Or asparagus. Don’t have zucchini, add mushrooms. You really can add a wide variety of vegetables to this.  (pssst…I’ve sometimes been known to clean out my crisper drawer by simply throwing a bunch of veggies into the instant pot, following the general proportions of this recipe, adding bone broth, herbs, and letting the IP do it’s magic.)

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 4 large stalks celery, chopped
  4. 4 large carrots, sliced
  5. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  6. 1 cup green beans, cut into pieces
  7. 1 cup zucchini or summer squash, diced
  8. 8 cups bone broth
  9. 1 pound red potatoes, quartered
  10. 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  11. 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  12. 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
  13. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
  14. 2 cups fresh baby greens such as kale, spinach or arugula
  15. Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  16. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  17. Parmesan cheese, freshly shaved or grated
Instructions
  1. Add olive oil to liner pot and set function to Sauté
  2. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and onion,
  3. Sauté until onion is wilting and golden in color, approximately 4-5 minutes
  4. Add green beans, zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper
  5. Add bone broth and stir to combine
  6. Put on lid and lock into place, setting the vent to “Sealing”
  7. Set pot to “Manual” for 3 minutes
  8. When cooking time is finished, allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure
  9. Remove lid and add baby greens and lemon juice, stirring to combine well
  10. Serve immediately topped with freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
  11. Enjoy!
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/

More delicious summer recipes

Here are a few more fabulous summertime recipes

superfoods for Fall

Seasonal Superfood Recipes For Fall

Fall has arrived. And with the change in seasons comes a completely different way of eating. Instead of light and refreshing salads, it’s time for nourishing, warming, nutrient-dense foods. If you’re not familiar with the term, nutrient density is the concept of eating foods which provide a lot of nutrients for not a lot of calories. This is contrasted with energy dense foods which provide a lot of calories but not a lot of nutrition.  An apple, for example, is a more nutrient-dense food than fried apple fritters which are calorically (energy) dense.

Benefits of seasonal eating

When we change what we eat with the seasons there are many benefits for our health.  The health benefits come in part from the fact that seasonal foods are usually picked at their peak of ripeness. This is when their nutrient value is highest. It’s a distinct difference from when they are picked early, stored, and force-ripened. While it may be nice to have apples, strawberries, or lettuces year round, the truth is they each have a season.

Taste is another health benefit of seasonal eating. Being fully ripe when picked often means the produce will taste better. That’s because it’s fully ripe so the flavors have had a chance to really develop. Anyone who questions this should think about the difference between cardboard tasting winter tomatoes and a mouthwateringly delicious vine-ripened summer tomato.  There’s a huge difference, one that we shouldn’t ignore because the more flavorful tomato delivers more lycopene, vitamins C and K, biotin, molybdenum, and more.

Variety in the diet

Another important health benefit to seasonal eating is that it introduces more variety to your diet. When we eat the same foods all the time we can miss out on different nutrients from different foods. Micronutrient profiles are broad and varied among different foods, we can take advantage of that by eating with the season. For the Fall season, that means consuming a lot of foods that are rich in Vitamin A, a beta-carotene found in the red, orange and deep yellow foods of this season. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye health, hair, skin, nails, and can be supportive for respiratory health as well.

Just because a food is in season does not, unfortunately, mean that what you are buying at the grocery store is truly fresh. It is possible that foods traveling a far distance can be picked early and stored while they are shipped across the country or around the world.  In order to ensure that you are getting in-season foods, it’s best to shop locally from farmer’s markets and CSA’s or to look for locally grown signs at your grocery store.

Five Recipes

To help you add some of the delicious superfoods of Fall into your diet we’re sharing a few of our favorite recipes below:

Cauliflower

The mild taste and slightly rough texture of cauliflower make it perfect to add to many dishes at this time of year. Rich in vitamin C, K, pantothenate, and folic acid, cauliflower is also excellent for helping with cholesterol health. You can use it as a mash in addition to or instead of potatoes, make lots of types of rice with it, or even make cauliflower steaks.

This recipe is a testament to my friend Padma who taught me so much about Indian cooking.  Every time I wanted to learn how to make something she kindly and patiently invited me into her kitchen to guide me in learning to understand her cuisine.  This recipe is one that I came up with for a quick and tasty curry.  It’s become a family favorite, I’m sure your family will love it too.

2 C. red lentils, cleaned, washed, and cooked
2 T. olive oil
½ t. yellow mustard seeds
½ t. cumin seeds
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. ginger, grated
1 T. curry powder
1 t. ground turmeric
2 C. tomato sauce
½ cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 t. sea salt
1 T. minced fresh cilantro

The curry sauce is made while the lentils are cooking.  If the lentils finish before the sauce is ready, take them off the heat and set them aside until it is time to add them to the sauce.

In a large saucepan heat the oil

When the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds, stirring constantly cook for 1 minute

Add onion and sauté until onion is golden and slightly wilted

Add garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric, cook 1 to 2 minutes

Add tomato sauce and cauliflower

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until cauliflower is al dente, approximately 7-9 minutes

Add cooked lentils, sea salt and cilantro, cook 2-3 more minutes

Leeks

Mild yet flavorful, leeks are a wonderful addition to any fall or winter dish. A great source of sulfur compounds leeks are also high in vitamin K and manganese. This particular recipe is from my Aunt Haya and is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods for this time of year. This recipe makes a large quiche and is great as leftovers.

Haya’s Spinach Leek Quiche

4 slices gluten-free bread
3 T olive oil
1 pound spinach leaves
2-3 leeks (depending on size), white parts only
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 eggs
1 cup organic milk
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp nutmeg, fresh ground
1 T. dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 C organic grated cheese (any flavor will do but I particularly like swiss)
1 C sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350F

Lightly grease springform pan (place base or foil under the pan to prevent liquid seeping out)

Pulse bread in food processor until it turns into crumbs

Line bottom of springform pan with breadcrumbs

Slice leeks in half and then cut into 1/2” thick semi-circles, wash thoroughly to remove dirt

Heat wok or large pan

Add 2 T olive oil

Add spinach and saute until it starts to wilt

Add leeks and salute, adding more olive oil if needed

Add minced garlic

When spinach and leeks are fully wilted remove from heat and pour into springform pan

In a separate bowl mix together milk, eggs, and herbs beating well

Pour egg mixture over the greens

Top with grated cheese

Top with mushrooms

Bake 1 hour or until set

Let cool 10 minutes before slicing

Pumpkin

One of the easiest healthy food swaps you can do with your fall superfoods is to use pumpkin puree in baked goods. You can often use it in place of other moist ingredients like oil and eggs. When using pumpkin you are also adding fiber, vitamins A and C, plus potassium.

Pumpkin Date Cake

1  cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
Juice and zest of one orange
1/2 C evaporated cane juice crystals
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped dates
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 x 12 baking pan

Mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and whisk to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl beat the eggs; add the orange juice and zest, cane juice crystals, pumpkin puree, dates, and vanilla. Beat well. Add the dry ingredients into the wet, and beat for two minutes.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and done in the center.

Note:
– this cake freezes well
– can also be used to make snack loaves or muffins

Quinoa

The last substitution you can make for a healthier superfood-rich meal is to replace your rice with quinoa. Most types of rice, including white rice and brown rice, are okay in moderation, but they lack the nutrition you need for a well-balanced meal. Quinoa is considered a superfood, so it is the perfect alternative when you want to have a side dish. It’s also a great way to add a little extra protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium to desserts such as in this recipe.

Quinoa stuffed baked apples

4 apples, washed, dried, and cored

Filling:
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
3 T organic butter
3 T evaporated cane juice crystals
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup currants

Use a square cake pan to hold the apples

Preheat the oven to 400 F

Mix all filling ingredients together until well combined

Stuff equally into apples

Bake for 18-20 minutes until apples are tender and filling bubbles slightly

Serve immediately

optional: if desired drizzle with organic heavy cream

Sweet Potatoes

Many people enjoy potatoes, especially in the fall when you want more savory dishes, but they tend to be high in carbs and fat, and not very nutritious. Instead of having traditional white potatoes in your dishes, try sweet potatoes. These are a superfood, so they are filled with nutrients, and are amazing to enjoy during the fall season. You can have stuffed sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, or even sweet potato soup.

This recipe owes it’s start to a much-loved favorite from my husband’s family.  Made for nearly every big family gathering everyone pitches in to roll the croquettes and then eagerly awaits the finished product.

Updated to use sweet potatoes and cinnamon, plus a few other healthy changes, these are a wonderful way to get beta-carotene as well as vitamin C and manganese.  The recipe makes a lot but this is because we tend to make them for large family gatherings.  You do not need to bake them all at once and can, if you like, freeze some to bake at a later time.  While they take a while to assemble they are certainly worth the effort.

For croquettes:

5 pounds of sweet potatoes, baked and peeled (be sure to not overbake so they are not mushy)
1 stick organic butter
2-3 eggs
1 C organic milk
¼ t. fresh ground nutmeg
½ t. ground cinnamon

For coating:

beaten egg
gluten-free breadcrumbs
Puree baked potatoes while still hot

Add other ingredients and mix well

Roll into croquette shape (an oval tube approximately 1 ½ inches long)

Prepare a pie dish with beaten egg (beat eggs one or two at a time to ensure you don’t make too many)

Prepare a separate pie dish with breadcrumbs

Dip croquettes into beaten egg

Dip egg-coated croquettes in bread crumbs

Place croquettes on an un-greased baking tray, cool 2-4 hours (we usually cool them overnight)

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until golden in color

 

For more seasonal and superfood info check out these posts:

fruit smoothie

Four Delicious Superfood Smoothies For Fall

Superfood Smoothies

While smoothies are certainly more popular during the warmer months of the year, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying them during the Fall season. A superfood smoothie can be a great way to add a nutrient-dense bump to your diet. To increase your nutrition you can simply change the ingredients in your smoothies. This allows you to take advantage of the season by eating those superfoods that are available at this time of year.

Important notes for smoothie making

  • By using bone broth instead of plain ice cubes you’ll be adding a small amount of a wonderful nutrient dense liquid that adds to the health benefits of the smoothies.
  • For added protein in each of the smoothies listed below add 1-2 scoops of collagen powder.  This odorless, flavorless powder is also highly beneficial for gut health but won’t change the delicious flavor of the smoothie.
  • When using almond or coconut milk be sure to read the label and avoid carrageenan. This ingredient, made from a red seaweed, can be highly irritating to the gut.
  • Each recipe below makes 2 servings, if desired you can cut the recipe in half to make just a single serving.
  • If you want to make two servings and save one for later it’s recommended that you freeze the second serving in order to prevent the ingredients from oxidizing. When you are ready to drink it, thaw a little more than halfway (overnight in the fridge should work) and re-blend. The frozen one may have a thicker consistency when blended depending on how much you let it thaw.
Wonderful Walnut Smoothie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups almond or coconut milk
  2. 2 cups frozen organic wild blueberries
  3. 2 tbsp fresh-ground flax seeds
  4. 2 tbsp organic molasses
  5. 1-2 tsps cinnamon
  6. 4 bone broth cubes
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Cran-Orange Breakfast Boost
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 oranges, washed, peeled and sectioned
  2. 2 cups frozen cranberries,
  3. 1 16-ounce bottle cranberry kombucha
  4. 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  5. 6 bone broth cubes
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Almost Pie Smoothie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/3 C gluten-free oats
  2. ½ C pumpkin puree
  3. 1 ½ C organic Greek yogurt
  4. 2 medium organic Fuji apples (about 2 cups)
  5. 1 banana, frozen and broken into pieces
  6. 1 C almond or coconut milk
  7. ¼ t pumpkin pie spice
  8. 6 bone broth cubes
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Carrot Cake Smoothie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 frozen banana, broken into chunks
  2. ¼ cup shredded carrots
  3. 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  4. 1- 1½ tsp cinnamon (to taste)
  5. generous pinch nutmeg
  6. 1 C organic yogurt
  7. ½ C almond or coconut milk
  8. ¼ t ginger
  9. 4 bone broth cubes
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
superfood pumpkin

Three Delicious Pumpkin Recipes For Fall

Pumpkin season is here!

It’s that time of year when the days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and all those scrumptious, warming, Fall foods are appearing at your grocery store. This includes pumpkin, one of my favorite, most versatile vegetables. Fabulous in soups, baked goods, as a side vegetable, and even as a snack using the seeds. Pumpkins are so tasty that I find it surprising how in the United States we spend nearly $600 million on pumpkins just to carve them up for Halloween and then discard them. They’re so nutritious and delicious that I think we should all be eating more of them.

Superfood benefits of pumpkin

Qualifying as a superfood, pumpkins are a wonderful source of potassium, vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and also provide quite a bit of fiber. Health-wise, due in part to their high antioxidant status, studies show pumpkin may be supportive in decreasing the risk of cancer. They’re also believed to help with improving insulin regulation, lowering blood pressure, providing lignans (which can have an antimicrobial benefit), and consuming pumpkin may even be helpful for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

It’s not just the flesh of the pumpkin that’s good for you. The seeds also have health benefits. Helpful for cholesterol metabolism and in addition to being a good source of protein, the seeds also deliver tryptophan, manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and zinc. All of this goes a long way towards making pumpkins and their seeds something you definitely want to add to your nutritional plan.

Pumpkin Recipes

While almost everyone is familiar with pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, and possibly even pumpkin soup, there’s so much more you can do with them.  Here are a few delicious ways to add more pumpkin to your Fall menu and bump up your nutrition.

Pumpkin Hummus

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
15 ounces pumpkin puree
juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini paste
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt 
2-4 Tbsp chickpea liquid, as needed for consistency

Blend all ingredients except salt and liquid together
If needed, add chickpea liquid 1 Tablespoon at a  time for smoothness and consistency
Once fully blended add salt to taste
Best served at room temperature

Pumpkin Alfredo

1 pound gluten-free tagliatelle (my preferred brand is Jovial)|
2 Tbsp organic butter
2 Tbsp gluten-free flour
3 garlic cloves, minced finely
4 cups organic milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp finely minced rosemary
1 pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
shaved parmesan for topping
minced rosemary for topping

Cook, drain, and lightly rinse pasta
Heat butter in a saucepan, add flour and whisk until combined
Add garlic, pepper, rosemary, and milk, reduce heat
Whisk all ingredient together until fully combined
Add pasta to the sauce and combine, coating noodles well
Garnish with extra minced rosemary and shaved parmesan

Superfood Pumpkin Shake
makes 2 servings

1 cup pumpkin puree, cold, not freshly cooked
2 bananas
½ cup plain organic Greek yogurt (full fat if possible)
½ cup unsweetened almond milk (avoid carrageenan)
2 tbsp protein powder
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp bee pollen granules
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups ice

Blend well until fully combined
If needed add extra liquid to fully blend ingredients together

For a few more Fall posts be sure to check these out:

 

Replacing The Mighty Avocado

A Journey in Taste and Texture

Whether you have a general aversion to avocados or just an aversion to their cost — the price of avocados increased 125 percent in 2017 — you have plenty of healthy ingredient substitutions that not only save you money but diversify the taste and texture of a variety of dishes, guacamole included.

Guacamole

Don’t let an avocado shortage slow down your guac game. For each avocado used in your guacamole recipe, substitute one cup of steamed, blended spring peas, organic edamame or chopped asparagus. Check out our recipe for Sweet Pea Guacamole below.

Sauces, Dips and Spreads

Avocados give sauces and soups a unique, creamy texture few ingredients can replicate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same consistency without avocados–you just need to apply a little creativity.

  • Create the satisfying freshness of your favorite avocado dressing using Greek yogurt, cilantro, and an optional tablespoon or two of sour cream. For every avocado called for in the dressing recipe, substitute ½ cup Greek yogurt and 1 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves (minced or processed in).
  • Hummus makes a great substitute for avocado dip on its own, but you can add an avocado-esque touch with a few extra ingredients. To every ½ cup of chickpea hummus, add ½ cup steamed organic edamame, ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, ¼ cup basil or cilantro, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
  • Avocado toast went from fad to foodie staple almost overnight. Take the concept a step further with a clever, spreadable substitution, such as a chunky cashew spread. Soak cashews for a few hours and blend until coarse with a little water or stock and your secondary ingredients of choice, such as pesto, steamed squash, nutritional yeast, fresh herbs or chipotle peppers.

Salads

With their lush consistency and laid-back taste, avocados complement just about any salad. No avocados, no fear! Try sliced peaches (briefly steamed), seared artichoke hearts or farmers cheese (for creaminess) in your next salad for an exciting new texture.

Southwestern Food

Southwestern-style cuisine and avocados go hand-in-hand–they contrast the spiciness and hearty textures of tacos, salsa, corn salads and other rustic dishes beautifully. Next time you need avos in tacos or other Southwestern dishes but come up short, try roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chayote squash, queso fresco, roasted cauliflower or oven-fried plantains instead.

 

 

Sweet Pea Guacamole
Print
Ingredients
  1. • 2 cups (1 pound) shelled spring peas, steamed for 2 minutes and cooled to room temperature
  2. • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  3. • ½ cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  4. • ¼ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  5. • 2 ½ tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
  6. • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  7. • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more, if needed
  8. • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded
  9. • ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt, plus more to taste
  10. • Pinch of cumin
  11. • Pinch of crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until nearly smooth.
  2. Adjust the consistency and seasoning as needed with olive oil and kosher salt.
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/

 

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Seasonal eating

If we choose to eat seasonally (and we should) we need to respect the foods that are available during certain seasons.  That means also paying attention to the needs of our body.  In the cooler months of the year, we are looking for comfort food.  Warming, nourishing foods that are deeply satisfying. Not the lighter, crisper salads and cooling foods of summer. That’s because winter is the settling in and deep, rooted nourishing time of year.  It’s perfect for hearty dishes like Shepherd’s Pie.

The versatility of shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie is a great dish because it is so versatile; a “crust”, a vegetable filling and a mashed root vegetable topping.  It makes a delicious meal served with say, a hearty salad, and a simple millet muffin. The crust can be made with ground meat or you can use a legume base, such as lentils. For the topping potatoes tend to be the most common. But sweet potatoes, a carrot and parsnip combination, or even turnips can be a delicious way to top off the pie.

One of my favorite dishes for this time of year is my vegetarian shepherd’s pie using lentils for the crust.  Because only half of my family are vegetarians, I usually make two pies, one with a ground turkey crust and one with a lentil crust.  This means there are plenty of tasty leftovers to keep everyone happy for a couple of days.

About lentils

Lentils, (Lens Esculenta), also known in Indian cuisine as dal, are a legume (as are all dried beans and peas).  While most legumes need to be soaked before cooking, lentils are very quick and easy to prepare. 

They come in different varieties, green, brown, black, yellow, orange, and red, although most of us are familiar with the green kind which is easily available.  Lentils are nutrient-dense powerhouses and their nutrition content includes being very high in fiber, folate, tryptophan, and manganese. Their nutrient-rich profile makes them good for healthy bones, fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, and help stabilize blood sugar among other things.  They are also good sources of protein, iron, and phosphorus, all of which the body needs for bone health.

Cooking with lentils

When cooking lentils it’s important to know that they are often packaged straight from harvest. So they need to be sorted and rinsed before you can cook them. The general ratio for cooking lentils is 1 cup of lentils to three cups of water or nourishing broth.

After cooking it’s best to let them sit for 10 minutes or so to firm up before using in a recipe. Otherwise if you try to use them while they are still warm they tend to get mushy.

If you are using them in a salad, let them cool completely before adding the other ingredients and your dressing.

 

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup lentils
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1/2 C. chopped onion
  4. 1 T. nutritional yeast
  5. 1 T. dried, Kirkland No Salt seasoning
  6. 1 tsp. sea salt
  7. 2 C. lightly steamed or heated veggies
  8. 1 Tbsp GMO coconut aminos
  9. 2 C. mashed potatoes
  10. paprika
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease pie pan
  2. Preheat Oven to 350F
  3. Bring the water to a boil
  4. Add the lentils and the onion, cook on medium for approximately 30 minutes
  5. Remove the lentils from the heat and let sit 10 minutes
  6. Mash together with nutritional yeast, seasoning, and salt
  7. In a lightly greased pie pan, put in the mixture and shape it into a bottom crust
  8. Fill the crust with veggies
  9. Drizzle with coconut aminos
  10. Top with mashed potatoes
  11. Sprinkle with paprika
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/

 

Spicy Millet Muffins
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 C gluten free flour baking blend
  2. 1/3 C millet
  3. 1 t baking powder
  4. 1 t baking soda
  5. 1 Tsp fine sea salt
  6. 1 jalapeno seeded and minced fine
  7. 1 T toasted cumin seeds
  8. 2 T toasted pine nuts
  9. 1 C buttermilk
  10. 1/2 C olive oil
  11. 1/2 honey
  12. 1 egg whisked
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Oil a 12 cup muffin tray and line the bottom of each with cut parchment paper
  3. Mix all dry ingredients with the jalapeno, toasted pine nuts and the cumin seed.
  4. Mix all wet ingredients together then fold into the dry ingredients until incorporated well.
  5. Fill each cup 3/4 full and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Let cool and remove from tin.
Notes
  1. You may want to do 2 pans as this recipe makes a little more than a dozen muffins. You can fill the empty muffin tins with water or pie-weights to help make the cooking time a little more even.
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
 
Don’t forget to check out these other delicious lentil recipes:

Three One-Pot French Dishes Every Cook Should Know

Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignon and Cassoulet the Ingredient Guru Way

Most classic French dishes are simple, rustic fare prepared well. Dishes such as cassoulet, beef Bourguignon and coq au vin have a gourmet air to them in the States, but in the French countryside, they’re about as common as fried chicken and mashed potatoes are in the American South. And best of all? They require just one pot to make.

Delicious anytime, these dishes are especially warming and nourishing in the Fall and Winter months when we enjoy seasonal foods and hearty dishes. It goes without saying that for optimal nutrition ingredients should be fresh and organic. The better quality the ingredients that you start with the more delicious and nutritious your dish will turn out.

COQ AU VIN

Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, duck fat or schmaltz, plus more as needed
  • 2 Spanish onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 cups button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed (reserve stems for vegetable stock)
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken thighs to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a tall, heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Add the other 2 tablespoons tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add a little more butter to the pan if needed.
  4. Add the tomato paste, stir everything together and continue cooking until the tomato paste turns a rusty color, about 3 minutes.
  5. Next, add the garlic and mushrooms. Season the mushrooms to taste and cook until most of their water cooks off, about 7 minutes.
  6. Add the wine to the pan while scraping the bottom with a spatula. Add the broth, thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs and bay leaf to the pan. Return the chicken to pan and bring everything to a simmer.
  7. Simmer the coq au vin uncovered until the chicken pulls away freely from the bone, 45 minutes to 1 hour. During cooking, spoon the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid and discard.
  8. Taste the coq au vin and season it as needed with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley before serving. Pair the coq au vin with a bold, dry red wine and serve over mashed potatoes.

 

BEEF BOURGUIGNON

Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 slices thick-cut, naturally cured bacon, roughly chopped

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-½ inch cubes

Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 Spanish onions, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 medium stick celery, roughly chopped

2 or 3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

1 teaspoon flour (gluten free does work here)

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine

1 ½ cups beef broth or chicken broth

2 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme sprigs

2 sprigs rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 to 2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped

Directions:

Cook the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat renders out, about 12 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

Season the beef to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and brown the beef in the rendered bacon fat. Set the beef aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan.

Cook the garlic and mushrooms until most of their water evaporates, about 7 minutes. Add the flour and tomato paste to the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook until the tomato paste turns a rusty color, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine to the pan while scraping the bottom with a spatula. Add the broth, thyme, parsley, rosemary and bay leaf to the pan and bring everything to a simmer.

Return the beef to the pan and cover. Turn the heat on the stove to low and cook until the beef is tender, at least one 1 hour. Spoon the fat from the top of the cooking liquid as needed.

Garnish the beef bourguignon with freshly chopped parsley. Pair the dish with your favorite Burgundy and gluten free noodles (my favorite is Jovial tagliatelli).

 

Cassoulet

Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons bacon fat, schmaltz or duck fat
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 pound naturally cured kielbasa, thinly sliced
  • 2 ¼ cups plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 ½ cups Great Northern beans, cooked to al dente, or 2 cans Great Northern beans
  • 1 ½ cups skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the fat in a large pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic.
  2. Continue cooking until aromatic with garlic, about 3 minutes. Add the kielbasa and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, broth, wine, beans, chicken and thyme. Bring the cassoulet to a simmer.
  4. Simmer the cassoulet until thickened, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.