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Avocado

How To Spiralize Vegetables + Zucchsghetti with Avocado Alfredo Recipe

July 19, 2016

Zucchsghetti with Avocado Alfredo – Paleo, Vegan, High in Omega-3

Zucchini Noodles dressed with avocado sauce and cherry tomatoes, gluten-free and grain-free for paleo and vegan diets

This recipe is for all of you who out there who don't think you can be decadent on a Paleo diet. Creamy, rich and lick-the-blender satisfying, with this sauce, you won't believe that you're eating an entire bowl of vegetables – including high in omega-3 gems like avocados and hemp seeds. Best part is, it's not even that hard to make! I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10, it's about a Tuesday. Not a Monday where you're still trying to recover from over-eating and over-drinking and you barely have enough energy to order take-out. But a Tuesday. You're getting back in the swing of things, but still aren't looking for anything with a lot of effort.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash (or vice versa)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil – I love Dr. Bronner's

ALFREDO INGREDIENTS:

Avocado Pasta Sauce Ingredients for a Paleo Pasta

  • 2 Avocados
  • ½ cup of fresh basil
  • ½ cup of spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds – I use Navitas Natural
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Toss all alfredo ingredients into your high powered blender or food processor EXCEPT the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  2. Power on and slowly pour in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Blend until creamy, and taste as you go (add in more S&P, lemon juice, red chili pepper, whatever floats your boat). Set aside till needed.
    Note: I added a tiny bit of water to get the ingredients moving around and blending better.
  3. Cut your zucchini and squashes in half.
  4. Stick each one into your spiralizer and turn until you have a full plate of noodles.
  5. Dump noodles onto a paper towel and put another paper towel on top and blot dry. Set aside till needed.
  6. Slice onion into thin strips and saute in coconut oil for 5 minutes-ish, until the onions are soft and caramelized.
  7. Add in plate of noodles and cook for 2 minutes on low to medium heat.
  8. Turn off heat and spoon HALF of sauce over noodles in pan.
    You can add in more if you’d like, but I purposely doubled the Avocado Alfredo recipe so that you can use some for later. It’s always easier to make sauces with more ingredients rather than less so that your blender can “grab” onto all of it.
  9. Plate the noodles, and sprinkle tomatoes on for garnish, along with Salt and Pepper. Serve.

Belissimo!


Paderno Spiralizer with yellow squash

I got my spiralizer in March of 2014. The day it arrived, I was like a kid at Christmas. Williams Sonoma basically just told me that I can eat pasta again for the first time since I went gluten-free. Or really what they were sending me was the key to a whole other food group that I never knew existed until it arrived in my hands. The food group? Paleo Pasta. Zucchini, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, Kohlrabi – any vegetable large enough to fit into my Paderno was fair game. The pasta-bilities were endless (see what I did there?).

Now with more than two years of experience under my belt, I’d like to think I can teach you a thing or two about using the spiralizer to make vegetable noodles. Per the request of my dear friend Maggie (Hi Mags!), I've created a guide. And per the request of my wonderfully intelligent mum, I put the recipe at the top just in case you had no desire to hear me babble on about my life experiences with my sprializer. But for all of you traditionalists out there, I also nestled it safely at the bottom in a printable and pinnable format.

Five Lessons for an Awesome Spiralized Veggie

Lesson 1: Only use vegetables as large, or larger than, the circumference of your spiralizer’s spiky thing. (Note the technical language)
The vegetable needs to be able to completely carve into the shredder, otherwise it will get caught, or spit out piddly little half moons. This is especially true with carrots since they are skinny. But when you get a good one, carrot-sghetti is one of my favorites. So keep an eye out for carrots with a lot of girth (yeah, I said it).

Zucchini and Squash

Lesson 2: Center your vegetable.
I cut my vegetables in half before I put them to the spirazlier. It allows for more control during the process. Most importantly, I make sure the vegetable is completely centered on the circle blade thingy. This allows for long and beautiful noodles and avoids half moons.

How to spiralize a squash

Lesson 3: Cook your noodles LIGHTLY, if at all.
Reminder: these are not real noodles. They are vegetables largely consisting of water. And, sometimes, when you slice a vegetable really thin, cooking it is just going to make it soggy and watery. Cucumber, in my opinion, should never be cooked because of its high water content. Zucchini and squash could still be just as good raw, just a little crunchier. A carrot, cucumber “pasta salad” dressed with tahini dressing would be awesome – no cooking required.

IF you’d still like your noodles warm, but not cooked, do this:

  1. Cook your meatballs/chicken/ground beef/mushrooms/onions/whatever
  2. Add your sauce and let it simmer
  3. Turn off the heat and add your noodles and toss together in the pan with the meat and the sauce

Essentially you are very lightly cooking the noodles in the warmth of the sauce, but not enough to make it soggy.

When you do cook your noodles, do so gently. There is no need to blast them with heat, cover the pan with a lid, or cook them for long periods of time.

Typical Cooking Times for Vegetable Noodles:

  • Zucchini – 2 minutes on low to medium
  • Squash – 2 minutes on low to medium
  • Carrots – 2 – 3 minutes (higher heat will make them crispier, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion)
  • Sweet Potato – 5-7 minutes on medium heat

Avocado Sauce Ingredients

Lesson 4: Pat your vegetable noodles dry after spiralizing.
I resisted this one for a while because I tend to be a fast, hungry cooker who doesn’t want to slow the process down for anything that I don’t HAVE to do. But drying off my noodles has made a big difference in my final pasta dish. The less moisture they have, the better they cook and the better they absorb any yummy sauce that you make for them. All you need to do is:

  1. Put a paper towel on a plate and your noodles on top
  2. Put another paper towel on top and blot dry
  3. If they’re REALLY watery (i.e. cucumbers), do a second blotting with new paper towels

Spiralized vegetables dry with paper towel

Lesson 5: The spiralizer isn’t ALWAYS the answer.
If your vegetable is too skinny or your spiralizer isn’t strong enough OR YOU DON'T OWN ONE, never underestimate the power of the vegetable shredder (the old school paleo pasta maker). Take your shredder to a carrot or a sweet potato and you’ll get stick straight veggie noodles. They may not be as noodly looking, but they still taste great. ESPECIALLY when you saute them in coconut oil and spices.

Zucchini Noodles dressed with avocado sauce and cherry tomatoes, gluten-free and grain-free for paleo and vegan diets
Zucchsghetti with Avocado Alfredo
Print Recipe
This recipe is for all of you who out there who don't think you can be decadent on a Paleo diet. Creamy, rich and lick-the-blender satisfying, you won't believe that you're eating an entire bowl of vegetables - including high in omega-3 ingrdients like avocados and hemp seeds. Best part is, it's not even that hard to make! I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10, it's about a Tuesday. Not a Monday where you're still trying to recover from over-eating and over-drinking and you barely have enough energy to order take-out. But a Tuesday. You're getting back in the swing of things, but still aren't looking for anything with a lot of effort.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Zucchini Noodles dressed with avocado sauce and cherry tomatoes, gluten-free and grain-free for paleo and vegan diets
Zucchsghetti with Avocado Alfredo
Print Recipe
This recipe is for all of you who out there who don't think you can be decadent on a Paleo diet. Creamy, rich and lick-the-blender satisfying, you won't believe that you're eating an entire bowl of vegetables - including high in omega-3 ingrdients like avocados and hemp seeds. Best part is, it's not even that hard to make! I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10, it's about a Tuesday. Not a Monday where you're still trying to recover from over-eating and over-drinking and you barely have enough energy to order take-out. But a Tuesday. You're getting back in the swing of things, but still aren't looking for anything with a lot of effort.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Ingredients
Zucchsghetti Noodles
Avocado Alfredo
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Toss all Avocado Alfredo ingredients into your high powered blender or food processor EXCEPT the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  2. Power on and slowly pour in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Blend until creamy, and taste as you go (add in more S&P, lemon juice, red chili pepper, whatever floats your boat). Note: I added a tiny bit of water to get the ingredients moving around and blending better.
  3. Cut your zucchini and squashes in half.
  4. Stick each one into your spiralizer and turn until you have a full plate of noodles.
  5. Dump noodles onto a paper towel and put another paper towel on top and blot dry.
  6. Slice onion into thin strips and saute on pan for 5 minutes-ish, until the onions are caramelized and a little browned.
  7. Add in noodles and cook for 2 minutes on low to medium heat.
  8. Turn off heat and spoon HALF of sauce over the noodles in the pan. NOTE: You can add in more if you’d like, but I purposely doubled the Avocado Alfredo recipe so that you can use some for later. It’s always easier to make sauces with more ingredients rather than less so that your blender can “grab” onto all of it.
  9. Plate the noodles, and sprinkle tomatoes on for garnish, along with Salt and Pepper. Serve.
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Super Healthy Omega-3 Sardine Salad Recipe

August 12, 2015
Omega3_Sardine_Salad_HealthyStacey

Writing this blog often makes me realize that I am not following my own advice. I've written a lot about inflammation, including my most recent cauliflower post. But one of the most important things you can do to keep your inflammation low is increase your Omega-3 intake. And although I make a great effort to cook fresh fish once a week, I think I could be doing a lot better.

So I decided to reassess and see how I can shove it back in. 

I started by adding a spoonful of Omega-3 oil to my smoothie every morning. This made a noticeable difference. For one, I feel more satisfied after my breakfast. And because I am also giving up coffee for a bit (more on that later), I found that it increased my energy and morning concentration.

Feeling these differences only made me want to get even more in my diet. But not through supplementation. Through food.

Enter: the sardine.

Sardines at Jewel

Ahhh, the sardine. The bottom of the aquatic food chain. The kind of canned fish that you’ve passed a million times in the grocery store, but most likely never even considered picking it up. The kind of topping that Michelangelo would put on his ‘za. (The turtle, not the artist).

I know, I know. Your face just scrunched up at the thought of eating one. But in all seriousness, sardines are one of the best and most underrated health foods out there. Better yet, they’re also one of the cheapest. I'm talking less than $2 here. And because they are at the bottom of the food chain – feeding solely on plankton, their mercury levels are much less of a concern than other fish higher up on the food chain.

Need more reasons before you dive in? Well, let me see…

Vitamin D $$Rich$$

This is the stuff that you're supposed to get from the sun (but if you live in Chicago like me, the rays can be PRETTY hard to catch). Sardines have an unusually high amount (one can gets you 63% of your daily intake). Plus, they are a great source of phosphorus, a mineral that is important to strengthen the bones.

Loaded with Protein

Protein = Amino acids.

Amino acids –> Create new proteins.

Proteins = Basis of muscles and connective tissues, antibodies that keep our immune system strong, and deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies. Good stuff.

Hearty Heart Health

Sardines actually rank as one of the THE MOST concentrated food sources of B12 in the world (one can will get you to 100% of your daily intake). Vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular wellbeing.

Very Mineral-y

This is one of the few cases where getting the can is even better than getting fresh because with canned sardines, you’re getting the whole animal – bones and all. Don’t get grossed out; sardines are so small and cooked so thoroughly that even the bones are soft enough to eat, providing a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats in one easy peasy package. I’m talking 35% of the recommended daily intake in one can.

Oh yeah, and the whole point – They are Omega-3 ROCKSTARS

They are one of the most concentrated sources of the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels; one can of sardines actually contains over 50% of the daily value for these important nutrients. One can is actually equivalent to taking a fish oil supplement, but with even more added benefits. That’s insane.

Anyways, enough chit chat for today. I’ve got a great recipe to help you get a little sardine love in your life. I’m 99% sure that, even if you don’t think you like sardines, you’ll like them like this. And everything else in the recipe is also really, really good for you. Can’t go wrong. Right?

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

Like what you read today? Think somebody else would like to learn about sardines and Omega-3? See those cute little social shapes underneath this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

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SOURCES

  1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=147
  2. http://paleoleap.com/eat-this-sardines/
Super Healthy Omega 3 Sardine Salad Recipe
Print Recipe
This may be the easiest, quickest meal recipe I've ever put on this blog. It is stupid, simple, but ridiculously satisfying and really really good for you. Every single ingredient is beneficial to your health. I know what you're thinking - SARDINES? Yes, sardines. If you're ever going to love them, it will be in this form. So go ahead. Un-scrunch your face and give them a try. You just might LOVE them.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Super Healthy Omega 3 Sardine Salad Recipe
Print Recipe
This may be the easiest, quickest meal recipe I've ever put on this blog. It is stupid, simple, but ridiculously satisfying and really really good for you. Every single ingredient is beneficial to your health. I know what you're thinking - SARDINES? Yes, sardines. If you're ever going to love them, it will be in this form. So go ahead. Un-scrunch your face and give them a try. You just might LOVE them.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Slice your 1/2 avocado in a grid, then scoop out the meat with a spoon OR literally squish both sides of the shell together and squeeze out the avo.
  2. Toss the rest of the ingredients in there - including your sardines! And mash them up with abandon.
  3. Eat up and reap the benefits.
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Have You Ever Craved a Kale Chip? + Choco-Cado Mousse Recipe

February 10, 2015

I know that first thing in the morning, I NEED something warm and comforting.

I know that early-afternoon, I absolutely HAVE TO HAVE something crunchy.

And I know that when I've had a really tough day, I CANNOT DO WITHOUT something cool, creamy and soothing.

You get where I'm going here people??

CRAVINGS.

I love them. It's like your bodies way of telling you it needs to scratch an itch. And when you do, it feels sooo good.

Although we often associate cravings with something unhealthy, I decided that doesn't have to be the case at all. If we get inventive, there are certain tastes and textures that can be accomplished with healthy, unprocessed (and gluten-free) food, and still knock it out of the park in the cravings department. 

Here are a few of my favorite Healthy craving-CRUSHERS:

CRUNCHY:

NUTS – I have a slight addiction to nuts. Crunchy, creamy, toasty, satisfying nuts. A complete nutritional source, they contain everything that their parent tree needed to grow – fats, carbohydrates, protein and natural antioxidants like Vitamin E. AND THEY'RE CRUNCHY. (And who doesn't love things that crunch?)

Please note: With all that said, there is such a thing as TOO MANY NUTS (1). Because of their high Omega 6 content, they can be pro-inflammatory just like those shitty processed oils. Good news. There are a few with pretty low omega 6 content. They are: cashews (2.6 g), macadamia nuts (.5 g) and hazelnuts (2.7 g) which is A-Okay with me (Macadamia nuts are like crunchy creamy heaven, in my opinion). 

FLAX CRACKERS – Crackers are the only things I really missed when I switched over to a gluten-free diet. When I come home from work, and I'm hungry and need something crunchy, nothing is as satisfying as a cracker. Mary's Gone Crackers are my go-to brand. They are organic and gluten-free, and made with whole grain brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds. All good protein-filled nutrients that will fill you up much faster than any cracker could.

TIP: You can get a big box at Costco for much cheaper than the grocery store.

KALE CHIPS – Although I've had my doubts about Trader Joe's snacks, they still have a few gems that don't use processed vegetable oils. One of those gems are their Kale Chips. Their ingredients are good and simple: Kale, Cashews, Tahini, Carrot Powder, Onion Powder, Cane Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Mustard Powder, Salt, Garlic Powder. Of course, never rule out making your own. Homemade will always be better and kale chips don't take long to whip up. If you're interested, Oh She Glows wrote a post on how to make the perfect kale chip.

HOMEMADE PLANTAIN CHIPS – I've said it all in this blog post. Plantain chips are the bomb. They are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin B-6 and minerals, and their soluble fiber content may help ward off intestinal problems. And they're so additively tasty. Yes, Trader Joe's makes some pretty great ones. But the sunflower oil that they use to make them – not so great. I beg you, at least once, to try making them yourself (recipe is in the blog post above). WORTH IT.

CREAMY:

FROBANA – Who needs ice cream when you have frobana in your life? Seriously. I've crossed over. I no longer crave ice cream. I crave FROZEN BANANA MIXED WITH ANYTHING MY HEART DESIRES. Check out my Cherry Garcia Frobana, my Pumpkin Frobana, or my Instagram Page for recipes. I've started to get real creative with my frobanas by adding healthy boosters (like Ginger for digestion or Goji Berries for antioxidants). 

CHOCO-CADO MOUSSE – A few months back, I had the pleasure of eating at a new-ish restaurant in Chicago that actually is based off of a Paleo Diet called mEAT. I think the waiter thought I was crazy because I was SO EXCITED about everything on the menu. Anyways, long story short, the pièce de résistance was the chocolate avocado mouse that came at the end. It might have been the most decadent dessert I've ever had in my life – but it was GOOD FOR ME. I had to figure out how to make it myself. And although it's still not quite as good as mEAT's. It's pretty darn close. Check it out below!

SMOOTHIES The health benefits are undeniable in smoothies. Greens, fruits, proteins, antioxidants and more – pulverized into a tall cold delicious drink. Again, check out my Instagram Page for more smoothie ideas. I'll keep em coming because I can't get enough of them.

SWEET POTATO PORRIDGE – Looking for something warm and creamy? THIS IS THE STUFF. I wrote to my friend Leslie about alternative gluten-free breakfast ideas and created this baby on accident. It has been my best friend on cold Chicago Winter nights. And of course, everything in it is meant for a nourishing meal. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamins (particularly vitamin A and beta carotene), and minerals, and low amounts of sodium. Add a boost of protein with almond butter, healthy fat with coconut oil, and anti-inflammatory spices like cinnamon, and you're golden. I'll follow up with a more detailed recipe, but the basics are this – throw roasted sweet potatoes, half a banana, a teaspoon or 2 of almond butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice in a bowl and mash it up.

SWEET:
[See cool & creamy]

TEA & HONEY – Sometimes, when I have the slightest craving for something sweet, instead of reaching for chocolate or candy, I simply make a cup of tea and add some really great honey to it. Honey is so good for you. Among other things, it has energy boosting benefits and can reduce allergy and cold symptoms (2). Please keep in mind, though, the type of honey that you use MATTERS. I hate to break it to you but that honey bear honey in the grocery store contains some seriously processed version of the real thing – completely defeating the health benefits of the good stuff. I picked up some INCREDIBLE honey from the farmer's market in San Francisco from this brand. But you can't go wrong with Trader Joe's raw honey. Combine it with a good quality Chai tea, splash in some whole milk or coconut milk and a dash of cinnamon, and you've got this healthy powerhouse in a cup that warms your bones. 

GINGER CANDY – If ever I had to fess up to an addiction, it would have to be ginger candy. I literally don't think I've gone one weekday in the last 5 years without a piece of ginger candy. It's my go-to treat after lunch at my desk. If I run out of them, I freak out. Ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation (like digestion), stimulate circulation, reduce gas and bloating and prevent stomach ulcers (3). I feel like they freshen my breath too. And just like everything else in this post, IT'S TASTY – especially if you like spicy things. I love the Chewy Ginger Candy from the Ginger People. They're widely available and not overly sweet.

DARK CHOCOLATE – I couldn't write a craving's post without a shout out to my favorite craving of all – DARK CHOCOLATE. The dessert that keeps on giving. It's rich, it's decadent, and it's oh-so-good for you. It KILLS it in the polyphenol and antioxidant department – MUCH higher than super fruits like acai, pomegranate, cranberry and blueberry (YA, that's awesome).  And it has been shown to improve blood pressure and blood flow. But just like the honey, the quality of dark chocolate is key. The higher the cacao content, the bigger the benefits (I try to stick to 70% or higher). I keep a bag of Dark Chocolate Chips in my freezer at all times (I like this brand), and sometimes toss it with a handful of dried cranberries for a great after-dinner treat. But if I'm in the mood for something a little more serious, I take my butt to Whole Foods and drool at all of the decadent options (I'm a BIG fan of Chocolove XOXO and for a less expensive option, Trader Joe's Organic 72% Dark Chocolate bars).

CHOCO-CADO MOUSSE RECIPE

Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 3-4 TPSP. Cacao Powder
  • Handful of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1-2 TBSP. of coconut milk (if you have it on hand, the canned kind is thicker and creamier than the carton)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A dash of honey (per your tastes)
  • A dash of sea salt (I used Hawaiian black lava sea salt)
  • Garnish ideas: Strawberry, raspberry, mint, basil, coconut shreds, pistachios, cashews

DIRECTIONS:

  • Toss all of your ingredients in a food processor/blender
  • Taste test even before it's blended all the way through
  • Too avocado-y? Add more chocolate chips or honey per your tastes
  • Put in a pretty bowl and add a pretty topping (or just eat it straight out of the blender)

Alrighty. Here's the part where I embarrass myself and ask a question to you all and nobody answers! What are you all craving? Have you invented any foods in the heat of the moment that totally hit the spot? I'd love to hear about them! COMMENT BELOW!

 

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nuts-omega-6-fats/#axzz3RAe33ixG 
  2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/20/health-benefits-honey.aspx 
  3. http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/white-seeber-grogan-the-remedy-chicks/health-benefits-ginger/