Roasted Red Pepper Recipe

I used to only eat roasted red peppers at restaurants. They kind of seemed like a “gourmet” ingredient, and I never even thought about making them at home. Turns out, they are really easy to make! I love roasted vegetables because the roasting process enhances the flavors of the vegetables. Roasted red peppers are a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches, homemade hummus, homemade pesto or as a filling in tamales.

I made them in the oven under the broiler. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook and 30 minutes to cool.

Here is how it’s done!

  1. Turn oven on to the “broil” setting. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil
  2. Rinse red peppers and pat dry. Cut around the stem then pull it out. Cut the pepper in half (from top to bottom- length wise). Cut out all the white parts and remove the seeds. If some of the seeds are sticking, I like to run the pepper under cold water to get rid of them.
  3. With your hands or a knife, flatten each half-pepper and place them peel side up on the baking sheet.
  4. Place under broiler for 8-10 minutes or until the pepper is fully charred. (Don’t worry, we will remove the skin so it won’t look so ugly!) You may need to rotate the peppers half-way through to make sure that they get charred evenly.
Ugly... I know! But they won't look like this at the end.

Ugly… I know! But they won’t look like this when at the end.

5. Take the peppers out of the oven, wrap them in the tinfoil. Let sit for 30 minutes

6. Peel the skin off the peppers with your hands or a knife. Then chop and serve!

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Homemade Organic Grass-fed Burgers (only $8!)

The restaurant industry in San Diego is booming. In the past couple of years, several new “gourmet” burger restaurants have popped up; To name a few, Burger Lounge, the Counter, Eureka. Some of these restaurants have grass-fed burgers and others have “vegetarian-fed” burgers (whatever that means lol).

I love that restaurants are working with the “farm-table” concept and that they are using more sustainable animal meat. However, most restaurants still use cheap industrial seed oils.  Also, the price per burger is pretty expensive with tax, tip, plus add-ons like avocado and fries. On a personal note, when I eat at restaurants, I tend to eat bigger portions than I do at home. I’m totally okay with occasionally spending the money and eating at restaurants but on a weekly basis I prefer to make HOMEMADE BURGERS.

Last night, we had some friends over for dinner. I made these wowmazing homemade burgers and get this…. With all the toppings and sides they cost around $8 per person. As you can see in the picture below, this $8 meal contained: organic grass-fed patties, avocado, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, whole wheat bun (or you can go naked style with no bun- thats how I roll) and some delicious crispy potatoes.

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Oh and did I forget to tell you that the burgers only take 20 minutes?!

Homemade Burger Recipe

Ingredients

  • Optional toppings/ sides: sweet potato fries, potato crisps, spinach, cheese, avocado, sprouts, sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers
  • 1 lb organic ground grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, Ghee, or Organic Tea Seed Oil

Method

  1. Prep any burger toppings/ sides prior to cooking the burgers.
  2. Turn on oven to 350F degrees.
  3. Place ground beef, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly with your hands.
  4. Break the beef mixture into quarters and then form each quarter into a patty with your hands. You don’t want the burgers to be too thick
  5. Pre-heat your grill-pan or cast-iron skillet to a medium-high heat. Melt ghee or coconut oil.
  6. Place burgers on the pan for 3 minutes or until the bottom is browned. Then flip the burgers and cook for another 2 minutes. Take a knife and cut into the middle of one burger. Peak inside to see if the burger is cooked through. If not, then place the burgers in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until cooked to your desired temperature. (We like ours cooked “medium” so we only leave them in the oven for 1-2 minutes)

Serves 4

What Kind Of Milk Do You Put In Your Daily Coffee?

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Many coffee shops have started carrying alternatives to Cow’s milk. Until recently, Soy Milk was the the only alternative to milk that was offered. Now, you might find options like Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. (How exciting!) You might be curious as to why you would switch over to a milk-alternative if you are not lactose intolerant. Well, I am here to give you 2 nutritional reasons why you might consider making the switch.

1. Most coffee shops do not carry Organic Milk. You may know my recommendations already, however, if you haven’t heard me say this before… “If there is one thing that you should choose to buy Organic, it should be animal products.” Unfortunately, in this country, most of the cows are treated with antibiotics and hormones. That means that consuming non-organic dairy on a daily basis exposes you to high levels of hormones which in turn disrupts your natural hormone levels. By the way, you do not have to be a female to experience changes in your hormones! Shifts in our food system are playing a big role in the increased infertility levels, estrogen dominance in both males and females, and fluctuations in testosterone levels.

2. Dairy is one of the top 7 food sensitivities. That means that dairy can still be negatively affecting your health even if you are no “allergic” to it. If you are “sensitive” to dairy, you may experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, mucus (flem, snot, congestion), itchy throat, eczema or other skin conditions.

Now you might ask, what dairy-alternatives do I recommend?

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I suggest choosing unsweetened Almond Milk and unsweetened Coconut Milk. (Hemp Milk and Rice Milk and Cashew Milk are also good options but they are not offered at coffee shops..yet) If you are getting them at a coffee shop, they may only have the sweetened version. In that case, you may want to consider adding less sweetener or no sweetener at all.

I also recommend steering clear of Soy Milk. Soy is one of the most commonly genetically-modified crops, so it is best to choose organic soy or soy that is marked “non-GMO” when you can. Most coffee shops do not offer organic or non-GMO soy milk. Similar to Cow’s milk, Soy can enhance estrogen levels in the body. Soy is also on the top 7 Most Common Food Sensitivities list.

When you first switch over to a dairy-alternative, it is clearly not going to taste exactly the same as the milk that you have been drinking for years. However, if you give it a chance for at least 1 week, you will begin to adjust to the new flavor. I can speak from personal experience, it does not taste “bad,” it just tastes “different” at first.

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies- The Perfect Holiday Treat

I really don’t make cookies often. That’s because if I make them, I end up eating all of them way too quickly. However, this holiday season I decided to treat myself.

One of the things that I have learned along my health journey is that the act of indulging in treats can be either really rewarding or very guilt-provoking. It really depends on what the remainder of your diet looks like. I have figured out my own balance of eating healthy 80-90% of the time and allowing myself a treat  10-20% of the time. Now, when I eat a treat, I am able to enjoy every bite, without feeling guilty about it.

Another aspect that helps reduce the “guilt factor” is the selection of ingredients I choose to bake with. By using natural ingredients, we I am choosing to avoid the conventional ingredients that cause inflammation in the body. Conventional ingredients are stripped of 90% of the nutrients during the refining process, whereas natural ingredients still contain valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber content.

Here are the ingredients that I substituted in this recipe:

  • a blend of almond flour & coconut flour instead of white or whole wheat flour
  • coconut oil instead of vegetable oil
  • organic raw honey instead of white sugar

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup raw organic honey, melted
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1/3 cup organic white chocolate chip cookies

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325F degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients together: honey, coconut oil, vanilla, egg. Mix well.
  4. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips until spread throughout the batter evenly.
  6. On a large parchment lined baking sheet, scoop out 1 Tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Leave room for cookies to spread. (You will need to use 2 baking sheets if you are using small baking sheets)
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bottom of cookies are cooked.
  8. Set out on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Servings 24

If you are looking for more baking recipes that use natural ingredients, take a look at some of my favorite blogs:

www.elanaspantry.com

www.againstallgrains.com

www.civilizedcavemancooking.com

Power Breakfast for Men- Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs and Avocado

This post is in honor of Movember– a month dedicated to Men’s Health!

Most men eat a breakfast comprised of carbohydrates and coffee. This is something that has to change! If you are  a man reading this article and you want energy throughout the day, you need to get a jump-start with a power-breakfast. The ideal breakfast would consist of protein, healthy fats and some healthy (un-refined) carbohydrates. A balanced breakfast will provide you with the nutrients your brain and muscles need for a productive day.

Check out this simple recipe that was designed just for you!

[Click to View VIDEO]

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Sweet Potato Hash with Scrambled Eggs and Avocado

Prep time: 5 minutes                                                                                            Cooking time: 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • ½ diced onion
  • ½ cup shredded sweet potato
  • 4 eggs (or 1 egg with 3 egg whites)
  • 1 handful spinach
  • ½ avocado

Directions

  1. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and melt 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan
  2. Add your diced onion to the pan and stir for about 3 minutes until translucent
  3. Add your sweet potato and saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes until your sweet potatoes soften
  4. In a separate pan, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or organic butter). Pour in eggs and cook over medium heat until cooked through.
  5. Add your spinach to your eggs and stir often until fully wilted.
  6. Plate sweet potato hash on a plate and top with eggs. Slice up some avocado for the side OR top with goat cheese.

Chef tip= Double the sweet potato hash recipe, cook it and leave some in the fridge for another quick breakfast. Next time you can heat up the hash and then you only have to cook the eggs.

Lemon and Dill Baked Salmon

I have always been a fan of baked salmon, however I only recently become a fan of fresh dill. I have never been very comfortable cooking with dill because I never knew what to pair it with. Since it is summer and I am feeling adventurous, I decided to try something new. I absolutely love this fresh Lemon and Dill Salmon recipe. It is more than perfect for summertime.

Salmon is well-known in the nutrition world as a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our health because they are anti-inflammatory. Other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include: fish oil, olive oil, avocados, and almonds.

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Ingredients
1lb wild-caught salmon
1 Tbsp tea seed oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 small lemons, 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup organic vegetable stock

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place 3-4 lemon slices and 1 Tbsp chopped dill on the baking tray.
4. Rinse salmon then dry. Rub both sides of salon with tea seed oil, sea salt and pepper.
5. Place 3-4 lemon slices and 1 Tbsp chopped dill on top of salmon.
6. Add organic vegetable stock to the baking dish to surround the salmon
7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. (cooking time varied depending on thickness of salmon)

Note: Serve hot or take salmon out of the oven to cool for an hour before serving

So Many Protein Bars To Choose From!

Okay, fine, I’ll help you out a little bit. It is a huge challenge to choose a good protein bar because there are way too many choices. The truth is that most protein bars have tons of processed ingredients that aren’t good for our health. The biggest problem that I have with protein bars is quality and quantity of sugar used to sweeten them. There are also usually way too many ingredients smooshed together in 1 bar.

While my preference is to eat real “whole foods,” I do understand that there are times where we have to make some exceptions. Protein bars and protein powder are to be used as a supplemental snack/meal in addition to an already existing whole foods diet.  They are not meant to be a replacement for a whole foods diet.

I just found my new favorite pre-workout bar and I am more than happy to share the secret. RISE protein bars! There are several flavors, however don’t be fooled– only 2 of the flavors are protein bars, the rest are “energy bars,” which contain much higher sugar levels and barely any protein. The two flavors that are on the ‘Nourished-Balance’ approved-list are:

  • Crunchy Carob Chip
  • Honey Almond

Rise

These tasty little bars have 17grams of protein. Both of these bars are gluten free as well. There are 13 grams of sugar in each of the bars, which is considered pretty high for a snack. In nutrition there is always a better & best option. These bars would be considered a “better” option because they use higher quality sugars than most of the other bars on the market.

The ingredient list for Crunchy Carob Chip includes: almonds, organic agave, whey protein isolate, carob powder and crisp rice.

The ingredient list for the Honey Almond Bar is: honey, almonds, whey protein isolate

The bars are available on Amazon or at Whole Foods (and if you buy the whole box you get 10% off). My local health food store, Jimbo’s…. Naturally, also carries these yummy snacks.

If you still don’t like either of these options, you can try my homemade protein bar recipe. (coming soon!)