Serving Suggestion: Broccoli Slaw with Cilantro

Broccoli stems, peeled and shredded, are the base of this easy, raw whole meal.

Broccoli stems, peeled and shredded, are the base of this easy, raw whole meal.

Here’s an excellent way to use up those broccoli stems!

Save the stems from several bunches of broccoli.  Trim the ends and then peel the tough outer skin off with a veggie peeler.

Then either use the shredder attachment on your Cuisinart (quickest and easiest method) or shred them by hand with a box grater.

Then make up a peanut sauce like this one:

Whisk together approximately:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • a shy Tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari plus salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or 1 teaspoon each: mirin and brown rice vinegar
  • 4 drops of liquid stevia
  • pinch of five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered or juiced ginger
  • srirracha and/or ground hot pepper to taste
  • juice of one lime
  • Add water to desired consistency at the end, taste and adjust flavors.
  • You can save any left over sauce in the fridge.  Just thin it out with a little water when you want to use it again.

Mix the sauce with the shredded stems, top with salted, toasted peanuts, chopped cilantro and hot pepper sauce, just skip the honey in the hot sauce recipe or use stevia instead.  Yum!

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Sesame Cucumber Salad

Here’s a super easy and quick summer salad, quite cooling and refreshing when it’s almost too hot out to eat anything! Make sure your sesame oil is fresh, if it smells good it is good.  If it’s been hanging out in the back of your pantry for a while it could have gone bad, so check before you pour!

Sesame Cucumber Salad, Simply Delicious from SimplyRecipes.com!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized cucumbers (about 1 lb total)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling on top, optional but highly recommended!

1 Peel the cucumbers. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise. (If the seeds are bitter, scrape out the seeds and feed to your worms or compost pile or backyard chickens with the rest of the veggies scraps.) Cut the cucumbers again, crosswise, into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2 Place cucumbers into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and chili flakes.  Top with toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

Serves 2-3.

Original recipe from SimplyRecipes.com can be found here.

Nuts and Seeds Cookies

Candida diet friendly cookies full of nuts and seeds and dark chocolate chunks!

Yup, they look like cookies and they taste like cookies but they are also a great source of energy, unlike traditional cookies.  No sugar means no sugar crash or empty calories.  I’ve been playing with the coconut flour I found a few weeks ago and after several successful batches (you are welcome!) and several happy non candida diet taste testers, thanks guys, I think we have a successful, healthful cookie, if that’s the right noun.  The original recipe is from the Coconut Secret website (is coconut really a secret?) and their recipe didn’t take into account the very helpful information on how to cook with coconut flour that can be found on the package.  Maybe this is the ‘secret’: 1/4 cup of coconut flour is equivalent to 1 cup of wheat flour and for each cup of coconut flour you should use 4 eggs.  Easy enough for doing recipe conversions on your own.  Here’s my altered, sugar-free recipe for cookies full of all the good stuff and free of all refined white stuff.  These are a really tasty, good for you alternative to what we normally consider cookies.

Preheat oven to 350° F

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 cup Almond Meal
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds or unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, heated to liquid
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flax whipped into 1/4 cup water until it becomes a sticky, thick mixture.

Mix together wet ingredients and blend into dry ingredients. Batter should be stiff, yet moist. Using a spoon, about the size of a Tablespoon, form cookies and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten cookies slightly. Bake 15 minutes or until golden around the edges. This will make about 42 cookies and here’s the nutrition information I figured out per cookie:

Calories: 92  Carbohydrates: 2  Fiber: 2  Fat: 8  Protein: 2.3

The black sesame seeds really stand out and they taste good too.

Flat Bread and Crackers, or, Why I Love Flax

Flax crackers with golden sesame seeds.

My friends Mike and Becca sent me this recipe for flax crackers and I’ve made several batches, experimenting with thickness, cooking time and how to get the sticky flaxy ‘dough’ rolled out with out it sticking to everything.  My first batch came out all uneven and not crispy.  But they weren’t bad and gave me the inspiration for intentionally making a big, thick ‘flat bread’ which is pretty awesome for someone who hasn’t eaten anything remotely like a sandwich in years!

You can use the basic recipe to make wafer thin (‘but it is only wafer thin!’) crisps, crackers or flat bread.  There’s a lot of possibility here as far as adding in herbs, cheese and spices so get creative!  I’ll post some recipes that compliment this one in the following weeks so you’ll have something to eat all this flaxy goodness with.  Remember to drink plenty of water/liquids with flax, it’s super bonus fiber and will soak up liquid like a sponge so make sure there’s plenty for you and the flax.

The recipe is very straight forward and simple:

1 and 1/2 cups flax meal (I ground my own in a coffee grinder but you can purchase it already ground)

1/3 cup sesame seeds or flax if you don’t have sesame seeds

1 cup of water

salt to taste

Optional additions include but are certainly not limited to: 1/2- 1 teaspoon garlic powder, dried herbs, pepper, curry powder, 1/2 cup finely grated cheese like romano.  I made a very thin batch with 1/2 cup grated romano, black pepper and ground rosemary, wickedly good.

Set your oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together until it’s sticky and starting to thicken, see, I told you the flax would soak up all that water.  It’ll do that in your stomach too so have some tea with your crackers.

What's brown and sticky? A stick! And this dough.

If you want to make middle of the road not too thin, individual round crackers and you don’t have parchment paper here’s what you do:

Grease a baking sheet, the single ply kind, not the fancy lined ones.

Roll bits of dough, about 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon and place on the sheet.

Flatten with the bottom of a well greased glass, twisting as you go makes it easier to unstick the glass from the dough.

Poke the crackers all over with a fork, this helps them get crispy and cook all the way through.  You can sprinkle them with salt, pepper, maybe cinnamon and stevia, ect before putting them in the oven to bake.

Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes.  When they are darker on the edges and feel sturdy in the middle they’re done.

Let them cool on a rack.  Store in an air tight container or paper bag at room temp. Putting them in the fridge is fine too but they will lose their crispness.

Flax crackers of varying thickness, ready to bake.

The thinnest ones, pierced with a fork, came out the best as far as crackerness goes.

For the flat bread, grease an 11×17 rectangle pan or something about that size.  Scoop out all of the dough and pace it in the prepared pan.

Here’s the meditative part, don’t rush, it’s fun!  Use your fingers, well-greased (olive oil, or better, butter) to gently smooth the dough to fill out the pan from edge to edge.  If the flax sticks to your hands, remove the dough from your fingers and re-grease them.  You may be able to do this with a rubber spatula but I find it’s much easier to use my fingers. I can get the batter pretty smooth and even and if I start off with enough butter the batter never sticks to me!

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt and pepper, ect.  And then bake for 20 minutes at 400.  It will pull away from the edges when it’s done and will remain soft in the middle.

From top left to right: the flattened dough ready to bake (for this I used a 9in round pan and half the recipe) butter and the glass I made small round crackers with!

A little thick, a little flexible, topped with sesame seeds, this is as close to bread as it gets!

For thin crispy crackers you’ll definitely need parchment paper and a rolling pin.

Get out a big baking sheet (the ones that are insulated or double thickness will make for not so crispy crackers, go with the low tech, single ply baking sheets for this recipe) and cut two pieces of parchment about the same size as your baking sheet.

Rub oil all over the one sheet and then place the other sheet on top and smush together, making an even coating of oil on both pieces.

Peel the top parchment off most of the way, place a shy cup of flax dough in the center and cover with the top parchment paper.

Using your rolling-pin, roll out the dough as evenly as you can, making sure not to get too close to the edge of the parchment.  You can make the dough as thick or as thin as you like.

Flax dough rolled out between two sheets of oiled parchment.

Pull the top layer of parchment off, if it sticks, you need to use more oil next time! Airate the dough by poking it all over with a fork.

Rolled out super thin, removing the top layer of parchment, don't forget to sprinkle with salt!

Slide the dough/parchment onto your baking sheet and once again, bake at 400 for 10 minutes to start, check it and see, when it’s firm in the middle and darker around the edges, it’s done!

Super thin, crispy and made with romano cheese, black pepper, rosemary and salt, yum!

So there you have it, flax three ways, all of them delicious!  Here’s how I had my Sunday breakfast last weekend, with toasted flax bread, finally something I can eat eggs over easy with!

Looks like toast and eggs to me!

I ate that and it was awesome.

My next post will be for an open-faced toasted cheese and onion sandwich.  Oh yeah!

Sesame Spinach Salad

I know spring is finally here when I start craving things like dandelion greens and spinach salad, even if the weather has different ideas.  This salad is really easy to make, it takes about 5 minutes and will feed two people as a side and one hungry lady as a meal.  The toasted sesame seeds are the only time-consuming thing so make more than you need and keep them on hand!

Sesame salad with baby spinach, mesclun greens and black and white sesame seeds

Ingredients for Sesame Dressing:

1 Tablespoon each: apple cider vinegar, tahini and sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic mashed/pressed

Few drops of water.

This dressing can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make some to have on hand.

Here’s what you do, whisk all the ingredients together in your salad bowl and then slowly add a few drops of water, whisking in between to your preferred consistency, usually all it takes is a teaspoon or two.

Add in greens: baby spinach is awesome, dandelion greens are a delicious detoxifier, mesclun mix, or all three!  Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, swirl them around in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until they start to pop and smell super sesame, about 5 minutes.

Done!  The dressing only has about 200 calories and will cover several big handfuls of salad greens, a quick and easy way to add some green to your diet.  I made this yesterday for lunch and added a chopped hard boiled egg and some hot sauce for a complete meal.  I bet it would be good with grilled spicy shrimps, chick peas or left over roasted chicken, ect, you get the idea.  Enjoy eating this healthy and delicious salad and if you have variations, I’d love to hear about them!

Go Go Gomasio!

Gomasio is a salty and savory condiment. Steam some greens, toss with oil and top with gomasio, done! And delicious.

Gomasio is a traditional Japanese condiment that aids digestion and adds flavor and nutrients to your food.  Use it like you use salt and you’ll get more flavor and nutrition.  A quick breakdown of the ingredients: Black sesame seeds are known to support kidney and adrenal function.  They also provide fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.  Seaweed, which ever kind you choose, is a cooling food rich in iodine and trace elements.  Nori, Dulse or Kelp all work well in this recipe. I used half kelp and half nori for the super bonus thyroid support.  For a more mellow sea flavor go with dulse or a combination of the three.  Nettles support lung health, especially helpful for asthma sufferers and they also support proper thyroid function (hello metabolism!).  Any dried herbs you add will have their own health benefits adding extra flavor, vitamins and minerals.  When making food choices it’s important to think about how you can get the maximum nutrition out of each meal you eat.  Using healthy condiments like gomasio is a great way to do just that!

Ingredients:

1 cup brown or black sesame seeds

1 cup white sesame seeds

1/2 to 3/4 cup ground seaweed like Dulse, Nori and/or Kelp (Kelp has the strongest flavor, just fyi)

1/4 Nettles powder

1 tablespoon Sea Salt

You can also add any dried herbs that you love: basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, tarragon, celery seeds, ect.

Mixing the seeds in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Lightly dry roast the sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Shake or stir so they toast evenly.  The light seeds will turn light brown and will start to make crackling sounds when done.  About 10-15 minutes.

Flippin' seeds! Toasting was a serious arm and ab workout, that skillet is heavy. I had Dana help me!

Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or Cuisinart along with the salt so that you have about half ground seeds and half whole.

Lightly dry roast the seaweed (if is isn’t already) in the oven until crispy.  Grind in a coffee grinder or Cuisinart.

Broken pieces of kelp in the coffee grinder.....

....and after, cool smoky effects!

Mix everything together and store in an air tight container.  Add to soups, salads and other foods the same way you would use salt.

All mixed up, cooled down and ready to eat.