Cucumber Mango Gluten Free Ramen Bowls

Cucumber Mango Gluten Free Ramen Bowls

These Cucumber Mango Gluten Free Ramen Bowls served in a Thai Peanut broth

As the fresh prince of bel air would say, my life got flip turned upside down.

Sometimes self love is the hardest thing. Especially if you’re like me and continually put others first. Even when doing so does them a disservice. Life’s a real B sometimes, forcing you to make those tough decisions and question your self worth.

My gusto for culinary delights has decreased over the stress of these past weeks, along with my waistline. Again with the self love thing, food often tops the list of things I have tortured myself with in the past. Emotional eating, or its opposite is a reality for so many of us under duress (and who isn’t). Inspiration is creeping back in to my life, mostly thanks to Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks and food gawker. I’m not worried about macros or calories or paleo right now, my focus is on enjoyment and quality, something that will cheer me up without creating digestive havoc. Enter: gluten free rice ramen noodles. As many of you can surely relate I was obsessed with ramen noodles as a child and ate them raw or cooked day and night. It’s slightly terrifying just how many MSG packages I must have consumed along with my favourite comfort food.

After reading Dr. Mercola’s article on what happens inside your stomach when you eat instant noodles  the next time I eat them would have to be under torture. But I’ve happily discover lotus foods gluten free organic rice ramen alternative made from rice and millet and they are surprisingly SO freakin’ good.

I don’t often eat peanuts or peanut butter because they are actually a legume and can be difficult to digest. Conventional peanuts and peanut butter also have very low standards when it comes to moulds like aflatoxin and by the time we get them are often rancid. But there are a few good companies out there and really what other flavour compares to peanut? It’s directly correlated with fond memories of childhood lunches and has long been a staple food in this part of the world. Once in awhile I need to get my peanut fix so I opt for this brand of peanut butter which is made with coconut oil. Coconut oil has natural anti-fungal compounds in it so I like to think that it helps preserve the integrity of the peanuts. No real studies on this but I don’t get that rancid taste from this peanut butter like I would others.

 

One of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants makes this luscious peanut noodle soup with loads of fresh cucumber noodles. There’s something about peanut and cucumber, I think it rivals PB&J any day. Paired with the sweetness of mango and thick luscious ramen noodles these Cucumber Mango Gluten Free Ramen Bowls brought my appetite back pretty quickly. I’m back in action folks…and ps. I missed you.

 

Cucumber Mango Gluten Free Ramen Bowls

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs tamari or coconut aminos
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 4 C chicken broth
  • 2 gluten free lotus foods ramen cakes
  • 1 cucumber, cut lengthwise into thin strips and then cut again to make long vertical noodles
  • 1/2 ripe mango, cut into thin strips and cut again lengthwise for thin strands
  • 2 green onions or scallions, thinly sliced
  • crushed peanut or cashews for topping

Instructions

  1. In a blender combine peanut butter, tamari, garlic, chili, lime juice, coconut sugar and chicken broth until smooth. Transfer to a sauce pan and heat until simmering.
  2. Add ramen noodle cakes to brother and cover for 3-5 minutes until soft and tender.
  3. Separate noodles and broth into two large bowls and add a generous amount of the cucumber and mango strips on top with a sprinkle of green onion and crushed nuts.
  4. Serve hot or cold and enjoy!
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These Cucumber Mango Gluten Free Ramen Bowls served in a Thai Peanut broth

Mast-O-Khiar Persian Beet Salad

Mast-O-Khiar Persian Beet Salad

Mast-O-Khiar Persian Beet Salad

I’m a lover of freshly ground unique spices, the type that transport you to faraway lands. The ancient combinations of herbs, roots and seeds that grow together and have been used together for thousands of years. Raw Spice Bar specializes in these special blends that pair ancestral combinations with the modern twist of being delivered to your door step every month.

Delivery subscriptions are all the rage, from a new pair of panties every month to craft charcuterie, the options are endless. For foodies and anyone looking to try new recipes, raw spice bar provides 3 different spice blends freshly ground, high quality and 3 different recipes. This month the theme was Persian New Year, though I made this recipe up with their Mast-0-Khiar spice blend, I tried the one for braised lamb shanks with advieh, a spice blend of green cardamom, angelica and a few others. They were to die for and so easy to throw together.

Mast-O-Khiar is a spice blend made from dried mint, dill, rose petals and black peppercorns. Paired with tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt, it makes a unique Iranian inspired salad dressing that goes really well with earthy beets.

 

Mast-O-Khiar Persian Beet Salad

I recently got a spiralizer and have officially fallen in love. Almost every vegetable is spiralizable (new word) and beets are no exception. This time I roasted them (after spiralling) to bring out their natural sweetness. You could also eat them raw for a fresher, juicier variation. If you don’t have a spiralizer, fear not, you can cut the beets into chunks, roast them until tender and slice them thinly before dressing. Served alongside fresh greens, with a bit of plain yogurt or goat cheese this is a truly uniquely delightful flavour combo. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Mast-O-Khiar Persian Beet Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 Beets, peeled and spiralized Or cut into chunks and roasted
  • 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs raw tahini
  • 1 Tbs mast-o-khiar spice blend (dry mint, dill, rose petals and black peppercorn)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • fresh greens (optional)
  • plain yogurt or goat cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. To roast the spiralled beets, set oven to 400 and spread on baking sheet, roast for 15-20 minutes until soft. For chunks of beets roasting time will be a bit longer, just until tender and then thinly slice.
  2. Let the beets cool.
  3. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, spices and salt until smooth and pour over the cooled beets, toss and serve alongside fresh greens with a drizzle of plain yogurt or a few chunks of goat cheese.
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Mast-O-Khiar Persian Beet Salad

Nettle Pesto

Nettle Pesto

nettle pesto

Nettles, the stinging sisters as Susun Weed calls them, these magical stinging weeds turn into luscious nourishment once the heat touches them.

Nettles make me so giddy, they are such a treat and they don’t last long. When they arrive in early spring I stalk them and try to get them at their most prime, before they go to seed and get too rough and woody to enjoy. They are one of the first fresh local greens to come on the scene.

nettle pesto

They like to grow in marshy wet places, alongside fields and swamps, near creeks and moist woodlands. When harvesting nettles, wear gloves and long pants, bring scissors to snip off the tender top shoots and if you’re lucky you can go around for a second harvest.

nettle pesto

Many people see stinging nettles as an invasive weed, but they are actually a delicious food. All wild foods are far more nutrient dense than the domesticated plants we eat most often. Stinging nettles when lightly steamed to remove their sting, are reminiscent of spinach. They make a delicious earthy tasting tea and when infused for 4 hours or more offer an amazing source of key minerals that many of us are lacking.

 

 

 

We eat a lot of nettles this time of year, basically you can enjoy them in any dish you would use spinach for. So far we’ve really been digging stinging nettle omelettes, hummus, palak paneer, teas and other delightful nettle experiments.

nettle pesto

This pesto is ah-ma-zing, it’s really a classic pesto just nettles instead of basil, which gives it a more demure taste but equally satisfying. We ate it with zoodles (zucchini noodles) and roast chicken which was divine, the next days leftovers were spread on crusty sourdough bread from the french bakery in town.

Henry David Thoreau once said ” All good things are wild and free.” I would have to agree, and nettles definitely fall into that category. Food is meant to be free and the Earth provides plentifully, we just have to know where to look.

 

Nettle Pesto
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 C
 
Ingredients
  • 3 C fresh nettle leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¾ C pine nuts
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • ¾ C parmesan or asiago cheese, shredded (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put a pot of water on and when its boiling dump the fresh nettles in for just one minute.
  2. Strain well and get as much water out as possible. Add nettles to blender or food processor.
  3. Add garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and cheese if you're using it.
  4. Pulse until smooth and creamy and salt to taste. Enjoy!

 

nettle pesto

Coconut Flour Banana Pancakes with Berries + Cream

Coconut Flour Banana Pancakes with Berries + Cream

rsz_coconutpancakes

I lurve pancakes. Especially banana pancakes a la Jack Johnson that fill you right up to the brim with good energy. Yeah, that kind.

Maple syrups great and all but I like my pancakes with berries, and to kick it up a notch, berries and coconut cream with a hint of vanilla. So good.

Today is the day we cut the top off the rug, sew it to the bottom and pretend we made it longer. Yes, daylight savings. It’s still light out at “7” and it definitely brings on the feeling of spring. We went for a sweet hike through the woods along the winding river trail cutting in and out of the suns rays. It was gorgeous and peaceful and fuelled by pancakes, the best fuel.

coconut flour banana pancakes with berries and cream

This is actually the first time Baby Mav ever had pancakes. He loved them! And he singularly plucked each berry and popped it in his mouth with anticipation of the burst of deliciousness. J said that I should make Mav pancakes every day, though I think secretly he just wants pancakes every day. Who doesn’t?

Coconut flour is a delicate creature, it soaks up moisture like nobodies business. That’s why when you go to fry the pancakes make sure you use enough oil or butter, it may seem like too much but its not. At least a tablespoon per 3 pancakes. Which is part of what makes these pancakes so energizing. Also if you’re avoiding sugar, it’s not crucial to add the honey, I think they’re great without it. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and thanks for reading!

coconut flour banana pancakes with berries and cream

Coconut Flour Banana Pancakes with Berries + Cream
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • ⅓ C coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 C fresh or frozen mixed berries
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil or ghee for frying
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan combine berries,vanilla and coconut milk, reserve ½ C coconut milk for pancakes. Heat on medium-low until berries have softened and the milk turns purple.
  2. Combine eggs, banana,coconut oil, honey and remaining coconut milk in a large bowl.
  3. Add coconut flour,salt and baking soda and mix well.
  4. Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle, melt oil or ghee and drop about 1½ Tbs worth of batter per pancake onto skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes per side until nice and golden.
  5. Serve with warm berries and cream sauce and enjoy!

coconut flour banana pancakes with berries and cream

Ginger + Cumin Roasted Squash

Ginger + Cumin Roasted Squash

rsz_gingersquash

Hello all, today is the full moon, It’s shining in through my window as we speak.

Hard to believe another month has already passed, is it just me or is time speeding up?

We’re busy preparing for spring over here in western canada land. Getting the garden ready, building some new growing spaces and greenhouses. The more food we can grow the better, not only is homegrown the tastiest but its also brimming with love.

If you’re wanting to start growing some of your own food, even if its just a few pots on a balcony- I’ve put together a little resources page on how to start a garden and compost.

ginger and cumin roasted squash

My friend brought me a squash, it was really a sweet offering. I haven’t got any winter squashes left and baby Mav lurves them so much. Since he’s my spicy little guy I upped the ante with ginger,cumin and some garlic and we just went to town. Squash is so nourishing and really the perfect winter food. This is a really simply recipe thats perfect for a side dish or accompaniment to a salad. It also goes really well with my lemony tahini sauce.

Ginger + Cumin Roasted Squash
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole squash, preferably either carnival, kabocha or small pumpkin
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 inch piece of peeled ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • sesame seeds
  • lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Prepare squash by cutting into wedges, you can remove the peels but I tend to leave them on as most are edible.
  3. Combine oils with lime,cumin,ginger,garlic and salt.
  4. In a large bowl toss squash with the oil mixture and spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes until nice and tender and sprinkle with sesame seeds, serve with fresh lime wedges and enjoy!

ginger and cumin roasted squash

Masala Daal

Masala Daal

masala daal

Daaaaaaaaaaal. Flashes of India flood my brain, I miss that place. It was so easy to just roam the streets in wonder, soaking up culinary delights around every corner. Daal is a staple, with a million variations, and of course I have my own, it’s a simple rendition that takes little time, great for a meal in a pinch.

Honestly, this months been really tight and our budget is stretched to say the least. As nice as it is to eat paleo and have bacon and free range beef and a fridge brimming with vegetables all the time, it’s not always realistic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think its right to sacrifice our need to feed ourselves good food. That’s why I have such a hard time buying commercially raised meats, once you witness just how unethically these animals are treated its hard to turn back. Ignorance is bliss, and my bliss is running out. Once in awhile compromises have to be made, and lentils are one thing that I always keep on hand for rainy days.

Other cheap eats that still nourish and sustain are free-range eggs, which really offer a lot for the price. Kale is another nutrient dense veg that doesn’t hurt the wallet. And of course having plenty of spices always makes life more exciting. Sometimes I surprise myself by what I can create from what seems like sparsity. Often some genius creations come out of being strapped for cash.

masala daal

As far as legumes go, lentils are pretty easy to digest and if you soak them first it greatly increases the bioavailability of their nutrients. Lentils are actually quite high in a lot of minerals, and they have a surprising amount of iron, 1 cup is 40% of the RDI.

But enough of that nerd speak. They’re delicious, cheap, and you can store them for a long time. This masala daal warms my heart every time I eat it and should be enjoyed with a nice dollop of plain yogurt, India style.

Masala Daal
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 C red lentils
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 6 C chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot chile, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ C plain yogurt for serving
  • cilantro and green onion, chopped for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan or pot add lentils and chicken stock. Cook lentils until soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet add oil until melted, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook until the start to literally pop.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until aromatic and slightly browned.
  4. Add garam masala, tomato paste and a bit of stock from the lentils just to get everything moving. Cook for a few minutes and add lentils and the rest of the chicken stock, let this simmer for another 10 minutes, add salt to taste and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and green onions

masala daal