Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coconut Almond Cinnamon Granola

My friend Summer gave me this granola recipe. It's amazing! I just made a few changes for my liking. Here is Summer's recipe followed by the recipe with my changes.

Coconut Granola
Summer Minert

5 cups of oats, Almonds crushed up in chunks, A third a cup maple syrup, Third cup brown sugar 4 teaspoons vanilla, Half a teaspoon salt, A third a cup to a half a cup of coconut oil . Bake 325 Line sheet with parchment paper press granola into pan and bake for 20 minutes turn sheet bake another 10 minutes

(Summers additional notes) I also like to add milled flax seed about 1/4c and unsweetened coconut...but you can add whatever dry ingredients you would like. Make sure to really press down in pan and once it's finished allow to cool in pan. That will give you bigger chunks if you like that

Coconut Almond Cinnamon Granola

Kerstin's version

5 cups of oats, 1 c sliced almonds, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/3 brown sugar 4 teaspoons vanilla, Half a teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup of coconut oil, 1 c unsweetened coconut flakes or 1 c sweetened coconut (whatever I have on hand. Trader Joes coconut is my favorite), 1 egg white (It helped the coconut crisp up and stay in chunks, 1 t cinnamon. Mix thoroughly then press into a parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes turn sheet bake another 10 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soup and Smoothie Class

I'm teaching a soups and smoothies class at church this Saturday. This is the information I will be sharing.


Tortilla soup

( I learned this soup from Chef Daniela at the Azul Beach Resort in Cancun. It's like a cross between a tortilla soup and a tomato soup.)

Put a couple of Tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot on medium high.
Add 1 sliced white onion and saute.
Add a couple of cloves of smashed garlic.
Add 4 Roma tomatoes cut into quarters.
Add 6 epazote leaves.
Add 2 dried guajillo peppers that have been deseeded.
Add a good handful of tortilla chips.
Add chicken broth to cover.
Simmer until completely soft.
Blend in a blender.
Put through a fine mesh strainer.
Add more broth for consistency of soup.
Add salt to taste.

Dried guajillo peppers sliced thin and fried
Tortilla strips
Avocado sliced
Diced Panela cheese

Butternut Squash Soup

(From my sister Kiana)

2 T. Butter
1 red onion (I use whatever I have on hand)
2 cloves of garlic chopped
4 cups. peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
5 cups. chicken stock
1 1/2 cups. cubed potatoes
1 t. paprika
1/2 cup half and half (I rarely use)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large stock pot and add the onion and garlic and
cook for about 5 min or until soft.
Add everything but the half and half. Simmer for about 30 min. or
everything is soft. Transfer in small batches to a blender and process
until smooth. Be careful of the hot liquids. Add the half and half.
Reheat slowly.

Garnish each serving with a few drops of cream.

Cauliflower Soup

4 c chicken broth

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 large onion chopped

Bring everything to a boil, then simmer until soft and blend.


Questions to ask yourself:

Why am I making smoothies? More fruits and veggies in my diet? Get my kids to eat fruits and veggies? Meal replacement? A frozen treat? Gain weight? Lose weight?


Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie

Green smoothie girl

1 ½ c coconut water

2 T raw beet, peeled

1 large carrot peeled

½ c sprouted sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or cashews (soak overnight)

2 T chopped dates or 2 large pitted dates

12 oz frozen strawberries

1 T flax seeds, flax oil or hempseed oil

Chocolate oat smoothie

for the smoothie:

1-2 frozen bananas

1 tbsp organic cacao powder

1/4 cup almond milk (or soy milk)

4-6 icecubes

2 tsp stevia sugar

1-2 tbsp oats

1 tsp nut butter of choice (optional)

1. blend 1-2 frozen bananas with 1 tbsp of cacao powder, 1/4 cup of almond milk, 4-6 icecubes, 2 tsp of stevia sugar and 1 big tbsp oats. and if you want add a spoon of peanut or almond butter but that's optional.

Turmeric milk (I love to drink this at night)

1 c unsweetened almond milk

1 t vanilla

¼ t cinnamon

½ t turmeric

1 t honey (or a couple of drops of stevia

Put everything in the blender and blend until warm or you can just blend and then warm on the stove or microwave.

General Smoothie information from my cousin Niki who is the smoothie Queen!

Spinach, chard, kale & collard greens. My fav greens to use in smoothies bc they are more mild in flavor. I also use spring mix (usually organic), or other pre-packaged salad greens, ( If I can't find other good greens). Spinach is the easiest to find. Costco has 3 types of pre-washed bagged greens (large in size)-that I love. The organic baby kale, spinach (I usually just go for the non-organic spinach, bc I prefer the amount to the price of the organic in the plastic containers), and a new one that is a mix of baby chard, kale & spinach. I do try & rotate my greens to provide optimal benefits & cover different nutrients, while not getting over saturated with one type.

This is my basic template recipe, but it varies depending on what type of fruit & greens are together, or that I have.

I have a Blend tech & Vitamix- both are great blenders!

I fill the Vitamix completely full of greens, then add about 2 Cups of water (more if it's too thick). Blend on high for 10-20 sec, until greens and water are smooth (I try to blend greens up first bc I like it when my smoothies are SMOOTH, and I'm not getting a chunk of greens later on). Then I add the fruit! I use basically anything I have- bananas sweeten them really nicely. Pears help cut out some of the bitter green taste, apples & grapes are great too to sweeten. But I love to eat apples by themselves, so I will usually put frozen fruit in. Frozen bags from Costco are the best & cheapest. I love their pineapple (Kirkland brand), mangos, mixed berries & blueberries, My goto & fav is the frozen pineapple. If I find fruit on a good deal, or have fruit that is going bad, and I know I won't be able to eat it in time- I will freeze it & use it in smoothies later.

Extra things I love to add to smoothies:

*1-4 TBSP of chia seeds (cheapest at costco) for a full blender (64oz)- they have great omega 3 AND omega 9, as well as many other nutrients. They can absorb 10x their weight in water & so it helps u feel more full. They also thicken up smoothies.

*or 1-4TBSP flaxseed, great omega 3, give smoothies kind of a diff flavor (not my fav, but not bad & worth the health benefits).

*1/4-1/2 of a lemon with the peel- (I wash & scrub my lemons with a veggie wash & scrubber first). Makes smoothies taste fresh & cut out some of the greens stronger taste. Also great nutrients

*can use coconut water rather than water, for post & pre-workouts to replace lost electrolytes, or just for other health benefits (I also like to use fermented coconut water for the probiotics, you can get it at Whole Foods - Kerstin)

*little bit of Mint leaves add a very nice taste to smoothies, just not too much

*ginger is also a great cleansing & detoxing addition. Peel and add +- 1inch.

*1 dropper full of liquid stevia for a full 64oz, (I usually only add if I've made a particularly nasty smoothie, or if I want my kids to drink it). Can also add just a couple drops to one serving.

*dates& figs also sweeten nicely. I love to get the medjol dates from Costco (just make sure to take the pits out first! They don't blend smooth) these are great in the hot pink breakfast smoothie as well.

Nikishalani smoothie

-Greens, Water& Lemon
Pack Vitamix full of greens (spinach, chard, Kale, collard greens, etc.) add about 2.5 C water, & 1/2 lemon (scrubbed & washed), blend until smooth. Add another handful or two of greens, blend again. Add more water if needed.

1-2 C frozen pineapple
1-2 bananas (fresh or frozen)
Blend until smooth & ENJOY!!!
I love this smoothie it is my favorite:-)

It also tastes great with pineapple & mango, or just mango in place of pineapple. When nectarines and peaches are in season I buy them by the box here put those instead of pineapple. You can use any fruits & greens you want. Sometimes, when I remember, I will add chia seeds to this as well. This combo above is my Go to smoothie:-)

So basically it boils down to me getting about 1/3 greens, 1/3 water, 1/3 fruit.

Apple Ginger mango smoothie:

Greens & water
3 apples
1-2 C Frozen mango
1+ inch Ginger (peeled)
1/2 lemon, with peel (scrubbed)

Additional things you can add to smoothies

Spirulina: From WebMD:
Blue-green algae are used as a source of dietary protein, B-vitamins, and iron. They are also used for weight loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hayfever, diabetes, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other women’s health issues.

Hemp seeds : From seedguides.info:

Hemp seeds are high in nutritional value and contain 20 different varieties of amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax). Some essential amino acids can't be naturally produced by the body and these seeds have the capacity to supplement them in the body. They contain high amounts of protein, which helps in strengthening the immune system, thereby, reducing the instances of diseases, besides helping in excreting toxins from the body. Studies in the recent past have shown that consuming hemp seeds whether raw or in oil form, has the capacity to aid in the healing process of diseases related to immune deficiency. There is no other food substance which contains such high quantities of essential fatty acids found in hemp seeds, higher than even flaxseed and other nut or seed oil as well as containing high amounts of vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. This won't help correct your omega balance if it's off, but it gives you the right balance to start with.

Further the protein content of the hemp seed is supposed to be very digestible. Many people noted their personal experience of finding that hemp seed protein did not cause bloating or gas, like some of their whey, or other protein shakes did. And, unlike soy which has super high amounts of phytic acid (that anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals), hemp seed doesn't contain phytic acid.

Raw cacao powder: From nuts.com:
Cacao Health Benefits

1) Cacao contains more antioxidants per cup than wine or tea! The protective flavonoids in organic cacao powder can protect cells against damage by free radicals. Researchers at Cornell University found that a cup of cocoa contains nearly twice the antioxidants present in a glass of red wine, up to three times the antioxidants found in a cup of green tea, and five times the concentration in a cup of black tea. These findings are published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

2) Organic cacao powder is rich in flavonoids which can support heart health by reducing blood pressure and relaxing blood vessels. The Zutphen Elderly Study published in 2005 found that flavonoid intake was inversely associated with coronary heart disease, and high systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

3) Cacao is a natural mood booster because it stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain. Feeling a little blue? Cacao also contains anandamide which leaves us feeling blissful and elevates our happiness levels.

4) Cacao powder is a brain food. The journal Neurology published preliminary research suggesting that cacao may improve cognitive function and the flow of blood to the brain.

5) Cacao is one of the richest food sources of magnesium, which aids over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium supports everything from cardiovascular function to bone health. A one-ounce serving of cacao powder contains over 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for magnesium.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seed
3 cardamom pods
6 curry leaves
6 cups chicken stock

2 T ghee or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
salt and pepper
1 lemon


Saute the garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seed, cardamom and turmeric in the ghee or vegetable oil until fragrant. Add the lentils and broth. Bring it to a boil, then simmer until soft, about 30 minutes. Carefully pour into a blender and puree. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gluten Free No Rise Quick Pizza and Zucchini Pizza (no grain)

No-rise quick gluten free pizza

2 c Cup4cup flour or your favorite gluten free flour blend
2 T sugar
1 T yeast
1 t salt
1 c warm water

While you're making the pizza dough preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 500 degrees and get 2 pieces of parchment paper ready for the pizza dough.

Then mix together all the dough ingredients with your hands. Spray your parchment and your hands with a little cooking spray. Split the dough in half and press it carefully onto your two pieces of parchment paper. Put the dough carefully onto your preheated pizza stone and cook for 8 minutes. Take it out of the oven and top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Then put it back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. If you have a pizza peel to move the pizza back and forth it's much easier.

Zucchini pizza crust (no grain)

3 c zucchini grated and ring it out in a towel to get rid of all moisture.
2 eggs
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t salt

While you're making the pizza dough preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 500 degrees and get a piece of parchment paper ready for the pizza dough.

Then mix together all the crust ingredients with your hands. Spray your parchment with a little cooking spray. Press the crust carefully onto your parchment paper. It should be very thin but with no holes. Put the crust carefully onto your preheated pizza stone and cook for 8 minutes. Take it out of the oven and top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Then put it back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. If you have a pizza peel to move the pizza back and forth it's much easier.


Rosti with "daddy eggs" (as my children call them because daddy makes them for them this way and they love them).
I went with my husband on a business trip to Switzerland last year and it was love at first bite with Rosti. I was determined to learn to make them. This is the closest I've gotten.

4-5 medium potatoes
4 T butter

Parboil 4-5 medium russet potatoes. Put them in a pot of cold water and boil them for exactly 6 minutes. Then let them completely cool in the fridge. Once cool peel them and grate them. Melt 2 T butter in a large skillet, once melted put the grated potatoes in the skillet and gently press down. Cook at medium for about 10 mins until the edges are golden. Carefully put a plate inside your skillet top side down and flip the potatoes over onto the plate. I like to use pot holders on my hands while doing that. Melt another 2T butter in the skillet and carefully slide the potatoes back into the pan to cook the other side. Once the second side is golden brown put the plate back in the skillet and flip the pan to get the potatoes onto the plate. Salt and enjoy!