Thursday, October 28, 2010

QUICK BLACK BEAN SOUP

this is one of my favorite recipes, because it is so easy, quick to make, is healthy, and tastes super good. also, i love soups a whole heckuva lot, especially now since the weather is finally cooling off down here in tejas. hope you enjoy!

black bean soup
  
ingredients:
two 15oz. cans organic black beans, undrained
one 15oz. can organic kidney beans, undrained
12 oz. vegetable stock
1 cup salsa
1 tbsp chili powder
  
directions:
1. mash ONE can of black beans with potato masher, food processor, or immersion blender.
2. pour all cans of beans (kidney and black) into saucepan, as well as mashed up can of black beans.
3. add vegetable stock, salsa, and chili powder.
4. bring soup to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes.
5. if desired, top with cilantro, cheese, sour cream, pico, guacamole, avacado slices, lime, or onion, and serve! (we used cilantro and raw milk cheese....yay raw!)
  
tips:
- depending on how thick or thin you like your soup, you can add more or less vegetable stock.
- also, chicken stock will work in place of veggie stock.
- really, for this recipe, you can use any beans you want. this is just my fave combo.
- doesn't really matter what kind of salsa you use, that's the greatness about this recipe! if you want more heat, go for a spicier salsa, but if you can't take the heat, go for mild.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NO-CHEESE BASIL PESTO

mmm. if you read my last post, you know that i have this in my fridge at all times. it is such a good go-to condiment if you're wanting something with lots of flavor. sorry i don't have a better picture.
  
basil pesto
(no cheese)
ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil, packed
4 smallish garlic cloves
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
 
directions:
1. pulse nuts in food processor to chop them up more.
2. add basil leaves and garlic, pulse until chopped.
3. add remaining ingredients (olive oil, salt, pepper) and blend in food processor until sauce-like. 
4. taste and, if needed, add more salt, pepper, or lime juice.
4. use with favorite recipe and eat!
 
tips:
- you can use sunflower seeds or pine nuts in place of walnuts.
- for a milder taste, use lemon juice instead of lime.
- some people don't like the citrus (i do because it adds flavor, i don't have to use as much salt b/c of it, and it helps to preserve the pesto). instead, you can add more olive oil if you desire.
- if you can eat cheese, you may add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

i love this recipe, and i can use it for so much! sandwiches, pasta, a veggie dip, a marinade for chicken, you name it! what will you do with YOUR pesto?

p.s. mark and i cannot eat cheese b/c of health problems. BUT i found raw cheese (meaning cheese made from non-homogenized, unpasteurized milk) at whole foods that we can eat, which is a hard cheese (sorta like parmesan) that i might try in the pesto recipe now!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

things i have in my fridge at all times.


we're back from backpacking in big bend!! it was glorious, and the energy bars i made for snacks were very helpful! i'll get pictures up soon, but there are literally hundreds to go through and edit! i'm taking my time.
by now, you all should know how health-conscious i am now. it's pretty ridiculous. and ever-changing and proves for an ever-gaining of knowledge! anyway, i had the idea of dedicating a post to the things that are always in my fridge. these aren't just fruits and veggies, but more of go-to items that help me so much in a bind, or just as helpful additions to recipes. plus, i like making lists. so here we go.

six things i have in my fridge at all times
and why they're in there.
p.s. the MAIN reasons these are in my fridge at all times is b/c they are all yummy, versatile, and good for me.

organic spinach - all leafy greens are good you, of course, and have tons of benefits. but my fave benefits? spinach is an anti-inflammatory agent. and high in antioxidants. so it helps with my pain and gut issues. uses? salads galore, of course. i'll also put it on sandwiches, in soups, in eggs, in any casserole, in mexican dishes, in smoothies, and tons more. the good thing about spinach is that it really doesn't effect the taste of your dish, it just adds nutritional value to your dish!

cage-free organic eggs - how are they good for me? i could go on and on about this (especially about how a whole egg is WAY better for you than just egg whites), but i don’t want to get on my soapbox right now. instead, just read this article. its uses? hmm. i’ll let you figure this one out. my hubs has eggs all the time, at least once a day. such an easy, quick, and nutritious meal.

homemade (no cheese) pesto - my pesto contains extra-virgin olive oil and walnuts, which are both high in healthy unsaturated fats, and can lower cholesterol. how i use it? i'll slap it on some chicken and bake, use as a spread for a sandwich, use as a pizza or pasta sauce, put it in salad, dip veggies in it, and more! pesto can add flavor to so many things. (soon i'll post my awesome tasty pesto recipe.)

pure pressed 100% apple juice (specifically simply apple) - how is it good for me? if you know the benefits of fruit (antioxidants and all that jazz) then you know the benefits of this juice. why do - like it? it tastes REAL. i never liked apple juice before. but that was just because i wasn’t drinking real apple juice. this stuff though? its real, and real good. we use it as the liquid base in smoothies every morning, and also is good enough to drink alone. i've also used it in baking and as an ingredients in sauces and marinades.

limes/lime juice/lime zest - how is it good for me? filled with antioxidants, but more specifically vitamin c. so it helps boost my immune system, kills off free radicals, AND is an anti-inflammatory agent. how i use it? its a great natural and simple addition for seasoning poultry or fish. i use limes in so many recipes, though! mostly in marinades and sauces, but also in many other things, from baking to soups. i keep my lime juice in a small jar in my fridge. ALSO, limes can be stored for upward of one month when refrigerated! 

homemade pico/salsa – how is it good for me? tomatoes are high in lycopenes, which can play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. an active ingredient in peppers called capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory agent. also, salsa is low in calories! there’s many more health benefits, too, depending on what you put in your salsa. its uses? like pesto, it can go on anything! use as a dip, put on sandwiches, salads, in soups, cook in eggs, and so much more!

happy refrigerating!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

HOMEMADE ENERGY BARS

ze hubs and i are going on a backpacking trip to big bend national park starting today (driving...bleh)! since its kinda hard for us to have quick and easy go-to meals appropriate for the backcountry, i've had to do lotsa research. gluten-free is one thing; i've had that down for a while. but everything mark CAN'T eat is just crazy. so, for snacks, i've made my own energy bars. they're chock-full of good carbs and proteins that anyone needs for a hike, bike, climb, walk, etc. and they are soooooo tasty!!! here we go:

this one is mark's favorite, but he loves anything with bananas. 
banana-nut energy bars
   
ingredients:
1/2 cup mashed over-ripe banana
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tbs oil (extra-virgin olive, grapeseed, or safflower oil, or butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (or regular flour, for you non-GFers)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats (gf of course)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp salt
 
directions:
1. preheat oven to 350.
2. beat first six ingredients (banana thru egg) with mixer until blended.
3. slowly add in flour, oats, and salt and mix until blended.
4. fold in pecans.
5. spoon mixture into 8x8 greased baking pan.
6. bake 20-30 minutes (until top turns golden).
7. cool completely, then cut into bars or squares.
**this is not crunchy like a granola bar. it is chewy, like thick muffin.
 
tips:
-line baking pan with foil or parchment. SO much easier for clean-up.
-upon taking out of oven, the mixture will still look sticky, but don't worry, it will harden upon cooling.
-if you have one, cut bars with pizza cutter. easier.

 ___________
  
this next one is my favorite. its a little bit softer, but also more crumbly. 
apple-raisin oatmeal bars
 
ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/3 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup softened butter or oil
1 large apple, chopped into pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded carrots (optional, but you can't even taste 'em, so just do it!)
 
directions:
1. preheat oven to 375.
2. mix together oats, flour, honey, and butter/oil.
3. add apple, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and carrots, mixing well.
4. spoon mixture into greased 8x8 pan, and pat down with hands until evenly distributed.
5. bake for 40 minutes, or until golden.
6. cool completely, then cut into bars or squares.
 
tips:
-once again, line baking pan with foil or parchment. 
-if you have one, cut bars with pizza cutter.

 ___________
  

so we packed all of them up and we're sure we'll be well fed throughout the trip (we've got more than just this, don't worry). the only thing that we're worried about is the weight of our packs. since its the desert over there, we have to carry in all our water. that's a gallon a day per person! whew. i've never had to pack in my water before, i've always backpacked in a place that has water i can just filter. pray for us! we'll be back monday, hopefully with pictures!