Salad Made Easy

This technique makes creating a mid-day lunch or dinner snack easy.  It also helps with creating a variety in your meals.

What I like to do is put various toppings together into containers and add the salad dressing too. Ideally, choose any ingredients that you would like to marinate in the salad dressing. For me, this is everything other than nuts and soft lettuces, but I will add kale and cabbages because they are tougher lettuces.

Toppings in this photo:  beans – edamame and chickpeas, fresh sweet corn, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers and olives.

There are so many vegetable toppings for you to choose from. For more ideas visit the FREE DOWNLOADS page to get access to the “Delicious – ‘No Fail’ Salads” Guide. Also, check out these delicious oil-free salad dressings.

Chickpea Tortillas

Tex-Mex is my favorite without a doubt. I really enjoy corn tortillas, and my preference is organic corn tortillas. Yet, it’s so difficult to find organic corn tortillas or the right organic corn meal (masa) to make my own tortillas (still looking though). But this tortilla recipe is just as satisfying. It’s very mild tasting so it would make a good wrap for anything you wish to put inside.

The original recipe is from Elavegan, but when I didn’t have any chickpea flour I decided to try fresh, cooked chickpeas instead – and it worked!

Chickpea Tortillas

Chickpea Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpeas (they should be cooked until very tender)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup of water, to start
  • 1/4 - 1/3 tsp salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat stove-top griddle/pan
  2. Add chickpeas to a food processor, and process until very grainy.
  3. Add tapioca starch and pulse to mix in.
  4. Add water while processing to form a batter which should be pourable.
  5. Pour the batter onto a hot griddle/pan to the desired size. You may need to spread a bit with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  6. Cook until bubbly on top (just like pancakes) and flip over to cook the other side.

Notes

These always turn out well, even when I have difficulty with the mix. If you think it's too sticky add more chickpeas.

I have even used much less water to form a dough that I rolled out using a pin to form the tortilla before cooking on the griddle.

As per Elavegan's recipe (see link above) you can use chickpea flour in place of the chickpeas in this recipe.

http://realfoodanddrinks.com/chickpea-tortillas

Notice how flexible they are!

Be on the lookout for the video. (I will post it here when it’s done.)

Crispy Baked Tofu

Main Tip: Use firm tofu always. I’ve never had a problem eating firm tofu, but ‘Silken’ (soft) tofu can be difficult to digest especially if you are more sensitive to the GOS and Fructan FODMAPS (found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes and lentils).

Crispy baked tofu goes well with leafy greens and wheat-free noodles, rice or quinoa.

Ingredients:

  • Firm tofu 
  • Seasonings (suggestions): Tamari sauce, cumin, turmeric, dried chives, dried parsley, salt/pepper
  • Coconut oil or Garlic infused olive oil if you enjoy the taste of garlic

Directions:

  1. Cut tofu into desired sizes, preferably equal size squares
  2. Press tofu between napkins or a clean towel to remove excess liquid. The more drier the more crispier once baked.
  3. Brush tofu with Tamari sauce

 

 4. Place into bowl with desired seasonings

5. If using oil, drizzle a bit onto the baking pan prior to adding the seasoned tofu. You should just slightly oil the pan. Oil is not necessary for baking, but will produce a crispier texture.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. It’s best to flip half way through cooking. If desired crispiness/firmness has not been achieved after 20 minutes, you can bake longer.

 

Tex-Mex Bowl

As you may already know, I live in Texas. Houston has been my home for my entire life. (Actually now I live in Pearland, but if I just drive for 5 minutes I’m back in the Houston areas.) Therefore, it should be no surprise that my favorite dishes are “Tex-Mex” combinations which include lots of beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, corn, grilled onions, etc. Yeah, I know, you might be thinking…”What about the cheese?” Well I don’t eat cheese anymore, (gasp), and I don’t miss it one bit.

This is my chance to add a little nutrition/health info…so I’m going to do just that.

I grew up eating cheese and many dairy products (ever heard of Borden milk and Blue Bell ice cream?) I never imagined my life without cheese/dairy. But about a decade ago, when my allergies had become unbearable…I decided to test the theory that perhaps the milk and cheeses were causing most of my issues…and that was exactly the case.

But, since that’s the only change that I made during that time and the fact that I haven’t been bothered by seasonal allergies since then….well one thing is for sure – the milk and the cheeses didn’t agree with my body. I had these issues since a small child and they disappeared  when I took milk and cheeses out of my diet. The relief that I now experience makes up for any losses I initially felt when I gave up dairy.

For you – Do you battle seasonal allergies? If so,  I suggest that you try changing your diet by removing dairy from your diet. You will know in a matter of weeks whether it’s had a positive affect.

I won’t try to explain the science behind it all. Just some basic principles. I talk about this more in the online courses and in some of the nutrition blog posts too. Here is the recipe:

Tex-Mex Bowl

Tex-Mex Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Fresh slices of colored bell peppers, chopped
  • Onions (of choice)
  • Prepared beans of your choice*
  • Leafy greens, chopped (collards, kale or chard)
  • Diced tomatoes (fresh)
  • Sweet Corn** (fresh or frozen organic is a quick and handy option)
  • Pico de gallo (topping)
  • Guacamole (topping)
  • Cooked Brown rice or quinoa

Instructions

  1. Grill the onions and bell peppers together on the stove-top, adding garlic last so it doesn't burn
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, corn until heated thoroughly
  3. Toss in chopped leafy greens
  4. Serve in a bowl on top of a bed of rice/quinoa. Add toppings such as guacamole and/or pico.

Notes

* Home-cooked beans are preferred, but organic canned is a quick and handy option

** Fresh corn is preferred, but organic frozen corn works well too

Most of the ingredients in this recipe are some that you can keep on hand in your fridge/freezer ready to grab. This makes preparing meals so easy.

http://realfoodanddrinks.com/tex-mex-bowl

Carrot Juice

My favorite juice is carrot juice. (Just in case you didn’t already know.)

Juicing provides a rush of energy because it’s a hydrating drink full of vitamins, minerals that can do not require much digestion and therefore, it’s in your body’s cells in a matter of about 15 minutes. Even if you are new to juicing, you are likely to enjoy this recipe that’s balanced with a perfect touch of sweetness and tartness.

Carrot Juice

Servings: 1

Carrot Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of carrots
  • 2 granny smith apples

Instructions

  1. Rinse all vegetables in cool water in a large clean sink/bowl.
  2. Cut the tops and ½ inch off the bottom of the carrots. Then cut vegetables to a size that will fit through the feeding tube of your juicer.
  3. Feed vegetables through the juicer.

Notes

Optional Add-ins • Kale • Ginger • Lemon juice

http://realfoodanddrinks.com/carrot-juice

Tips

  • Removing apple seeds/core is not necessary (especially when using organic)
  • Use a strainer over the juice collection cup/bin or simply strain the juice before pouring into your glass for drinking.
  • It’s best to drink immediately or drink within 24 hours to get as much of the nutrients as possible.
  • Once you become familiar with this juice, try changing up the tastes and nutrients by adding in some of the optional ingredients.

If you do not YET have a juicer at home (highly recommended), you could ask your local juice bar to make this exact recipe for you. Hint: To find a local juice bar, simply GOOGLE ‘juicebar near me’ for maps and reviews using an internet web browser. (You can also try this direct link.)

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Note: This grilled recipe was inspired by the grilled eggplant as described by https://minimalistbaker.com/smoky-grilled-eggplant/.

Serves 4.

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Ingredients

  • 1 Eggplant
  • Power Greens: spinach, chard, kale, arugula (a mixture or just one)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 TBS coconut aminos (optional)
  • 1/3 small onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 6 ounces of mushrooms (4 - 6 small sized)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • salt to taste
  • Hummus

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick slices and season with spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, salt) and allow to sit if you need to make hummus.
  2. See below for hummus recipe.
  3. After about 15 minutes or allowing the eggplant to marinate, cook the eggplant on a hot griddle. (I used my George Foreman Grill.)
  4. Simultaneously, you can grill vegetables (onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms) in a shallow pan.
  5. Lastly, pan saute the power greens using the coconut aminos and/or balsamic vinegar and water.
http://realfoodanddrinks.com/grilled-eggplant-and-hummus-stacks

Hummus Recipe:

Mix all of the following ingredients using a food processor.

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or 2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic (2 if you like it spicy!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 TBS roasted red bell peppers (optional, but adds a nice flavor)
  • salt to taste

Here is the way I served it:

1. First lay a base of sauteed power greens

2. Then layer: (stacked at least twice)

    • Grilled Eggplant
    • Hummus 
    • Grilled Veggies: Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Mushrooms 

3. Serve with a side of quinoa ( or other grain).

Homemade Cough Syrup

Instant Pot Cough Syrup

Hello to all. I’m still dealing with this nasty ‘bug’ as I create this post. This must really be a BAD ONE y’all. I never get sick! My 4-year old dogs are looking at me as if to say, “What’s wrong mommy? We’ve never seen you like this.” Those little sweet things.

So here I am, trying my best to cope. It started with my husband and he agrees that it’s pretty BAD! (So I’m not just being a weenie-whiner because I haven’t seen sick in a long while.)

When my youngest was small, until we figured out her triggers, she would often come down with respiratory issues. This was my “go-to” recipe for her and even as a small kid she never had any complaints about taking this medicine.

Back then I didn’t have an InstantPot, so I would just put the onions in the honey and allow to soak overnight. Not sure if I ever thought about heating them on low on the stove-top to speed up the process until I found the recipe online today.

My idea is that by using an InstantPot, I could set it on low for an hour and not be concerned that they would burn and it WORKED!

Why onions? Onions are rich in antioxidants which make them anti-inflammmatory agents.

Why honey? Well, it’s sweet and makes it easy to tolerate the onions. Additionally, it has anti-bacterial properties – so it’s simply a good carrier for the other items in the syrup. Some say it allows the medicine to stick to the throat too.

Why rosemary? Science says it has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties.

Here is the recipe I used today:

Homemade Cough Syrup

Instant Pot Cough Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced (yellow will work too)
  • 8 - 12 ounces of honey
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Heat all the ingredients in the InstantPot on the "LOW" setting for 1 hour.
  2. Alternatively, you can heat on the stove-top, lowest setting - until the onions become translucent.
  3. Strain into a jar that has a lid.
http://realfoodanddrinks.com/homemade-cough-syrup

BUT, I got to thinking….my original recipe (back-in-the-day) used all fresh ingredients. So I added more fresh rosemary and more fresh onions to the jar. I will let it sit overnight just as I used to do. I need the most potent recipe I can find!

NOW, about those leftover onions…

They remained chewy, as one might guess. I just take a few to munch on when I pass by them.

Another idea: I have also been using some unsulphured ginger candies as throat lozenges for night-time. I think I will try making my own by soaking in honey and then dehydrating.

Note: The links to the InstantPot store are links through which I receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. I use my InstantPot just about every day. In fact, I have two of them.

Red Curry Noodles and Tofu

Red Curry Noodles and Tofu

Servings: 4-6

Red Curry Noodles and Tofu

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces stir fry rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ginger powder (or a knob of fresh ginger)
  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed (My preference is Trader Joe's Organic SPROUTED)
  • 1 - 2 tsp turmetic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 4 cups stir fry vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, etc)
  • 1/2 (14-oz) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 (14-oz) can coconut cream
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or coconut aminos), divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tablespoons sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • handful of cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Prepare noodles according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Squeeze tofu between paper towels prior to cutting into cubes. Toss with 2 TBS soy sauce (or liquid aminos), turmeric and onion powder. Allow to sit, or you can bake in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes to give a firmer texture.
  3. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Alternatively, add 1/4 cup water to pan.
  4. Add the garlic and white parts of green onions.
  5. Saute until soft and onions are a bit transparent.
  6. Add the curry paste, tofu (if not baking), and the vegetables to the pan. Stir gently, and saute until the the vegetables are done – about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, and sriracha (hot sauce) and allow to simmer just a bit longer.
  8. Add the cooked noodles and combine. Test the noodles for desired tenderness...you can cook them longer in the sauce if needed.
  9. Adjust seasonings, serve, add cilantro on the top
http://realfoodanddrinks.com/red-curry-noodles-and-tofu

This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe at  https://pinchofyum.com/red-curry-noodles.

Not-So Cheese Sauce

I have been sharing this cheese sauce for about 6 years now. I always make it when we are having Tex-Mex food or having a pot-luck type dinner with friends. Everyone is always amazed at how great it tastes. Pairs wonderfully with crunchy tortilla chips. I don’t miss cheese at all. (Side note: I quit cheese about 8 years ago and haven’t had a cold, the flu or even seasonal allergies ever since then. Loving it!)

The original recipe (and also, the name I believe) comes from Vitamix, but I’ve made a few adjustments. I have tried recipes that use steamed potatoes (in place of potato starch) and carrots and even onions, but this one is my favorite. Here is my go-to recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ TBS lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pimentos , canned or jar OR use 1 roasted red pepper, peeled
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or almonds)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 TBS potato starch (or tapioca starch) mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

Notes prior to getting started:

1 – I suggest soaking the cashews and definitely the almonds if you do not think that your blender can thoroughly blend the nuts without leaving crunchy bits in the mixture. I always remove the brown hull/skin when using almonds, or I buy them already removed (blanched almonds).

2 – As an alternative to raw cashews and raw almonds, you could try raw nut nutters. ( I haven’t personally tried this option, just a suggestion.

3 – I have been successful with substituting almond flour in place of using almonds and I was satisfied with the outcome.

4 – I sometimes substitute green chiles for pimentos. This allows the cheese sauce to appear more creamy white instead of being tinted red by the pimentos.

Vitamix Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the boiling water and potato starch mixture into the Vitamix.
  2. Set machine to 1, turn on quickly increasing speed to 10, and then to High.
  3. Blend for 3 – 7 minutes until steam forms and you can see it coming from the lid’s vent.
  4. Meanwhile, boil water on the stove-top
  5. Reduce speed to 7, remove plastic plug from the lid and add boiling water and potato starch mixture.
  6. Continue to blend until thickened, usually no longer than 1 minute.

Blender Plus Stove-top Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the boiling water and potato starch mixture into the blender.
  2. Meanwhile, boil water on the stove-top in a saucepan
  3. Once you have a well-blended “cheese” mixture, add it to the saucepan along with the boiling water, bring back to almost boiling temperature.
  4. Reduce the heat under the saucepan and slowly pour in the potato starch mixture while continuing to stir until thickened.