Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein ( vegan)

Do you love chow mein? I do, and I really loved this low carb recipe even more because instead of high carb noodles, it uses spaghetti squash!  

I was really intrigued when I saw this recipe on Pinterest using spaghetti squash. I'm always looking for new recipes to use my spaghetti squash! I ordinarily make an Italian type recipe with tomato sauce ,but this is the first time I'm using my spaghetti squash in a Chinese style recipe.

I have to tell you , it was one fabulous recipe! It could be eaten as a delicious side dish or over brown rice ( if you don't mind the carbs) to make it more filling as a meal. ( Of course you could add a protein of your choice as well) 

Without the rice, it is a relatively low calorie/low carb recipe with about 2 Points Plus per generous serving ( basically from the olive oil). And it's a powerhouse of antioxidants from all the veggies, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. 

Don't overcook the vegetables as they taste good with a little crunch and the spaghetti squash is on the soft side. For an additional crunch try adding some 
slivered almonds!
Naturally gluten free and vegan- makes a great dish for company.

Author:  Judee Algazi/ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Adapted from the recipe on : Little Bits of Real Food
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes for the recipe; 35 minutes for the spaghetti squash

1 medium spaghetti squash, baked and scooped out ( set aside) 
2 teaspoons of olive oil or use olive oil spray generously
1 medium- large onion, sliced
3 stalks celery slice on a diagonal 
1/2 cup of chopped green scallion
3 cups of cabbage slaw mix in a bag or 
3 cups of chopped cabbage
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
optional: 1/4 cup of slivered almonds

Ingredients for Sauce: 
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1-2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger ( depending on if you like ginger alot)
1/8 cup of gluten free soy sauce ( or more to taste- it's very sodium high) 
1 Tablespoon of coconut sugar crystals ( or sweetener of your choice)
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper 

Make the sauce by combining all ingredients and set aside. Saute the onions and celery in a large skillet for about 2 minutes in the olive oil or oil spray. Add the scallions and coleslaw mix ( or cabbage and carrots) and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti squash, the sauce and the almonds at this point. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and serve.

 How to Cut and Bake a Spaghetti Squash: 

My notes: 
  • You can make the spaghetti squash the day before and store in the refrigerator and then the prep is much faster.
  • Trader Joe's sells frozen cubes of fresh minced garlic and fresh grated ginger in their freezer compartment. You can substitute 2 cubes of each if you don't have fresh in the house. ( I keep the frozen in the freezer at all times for a pinch- it comes in very hand) They also have basil and cilantro.
  • This recipe is delicious by itself or eat over quinoa or rice

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Heavenly Blueberry Mug Muffin

Blueberry muffin and fresh blueberries

Make a fresh blueberry mug muffin in the microwave in 3 minutes that is light, airy, and heavenly. It is so fast and easy anyone can make it! You just need a mug and a spoon for mixing to create this amazing muffin with lots of warm melted blueberries oozing throughout a simple vanilla or cocoa based muffin.

The ingredients are healthy too ( coconut flour, coconut sugar, almond milk, banana,  egg, vanilla and fresh blueberries) Vegans can use egg replacer.
** coconut flour is available in Trader Joe's or any health food store.

Since it's made with high fiber coconut flour, it is very filling,  satisfying and good for you. It's perfect for a healthy breakfast or a grab and go snack.

Yesterday, I had a snack attack! I needed/wanted something sweet. I wanted a snack BUT I had NOTHING in the house . As I started to rummage through the pantry, I noticed a bag of coconut flour.

It was then that I remembered that I once posted a recipe for a 3 minute cake in mug using coconut flour.I was ecstatic because I remembered how good the mug cake tasted and how fast it was to make ( 3 minutes)

I didn't even bother to look up the recipe. I just gathered whatever I had in the refrigerator and used it. It was a new concoction, but you know what? It came out better than good. It came out great.

I was so happy.. I had a delicious gluten free muffin healthy snack that I made in literally minutes. AAh.. relief!
By the way- it was grain free, gluten free, and 4 or 5 points plus on Weight Watchers and it was a a very good size- I actually could have eaten only half.

Who wants to make or needs an entire tray of blueberry muffins anyway?
Let's face it, the more you make the more you will eat. And if you don't eat them, they go stale quickly. So, for me one at a time, whenever I want it, is the way to go!

Try some other heavenly variations. 

  • Chopped apples, walnuts, and cinnamon 
  • Raspberries and blueberries mixed
  • 1 Tablespoon of cocoa and blueberries or any fruit
  • Chopped strawberries 
  • Chopped peaches 
  • Chocolate chips ( my favorite)
  • Blueberries and fresh lemon zest
  • pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice mix ( with chocolate chips) 

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes in microwave oven
Serves: 1 hungry snacker or two moderate snackers

This is what I used: ( and made it right in the mug)

1 egg, beaten ( or egg replacer)
1/2 banana, mashed ( mash it very lightly before adding to the beaten egg in the mug)
1/4 cup of unflavored unsweetened almond milk ( or any milk)
2 Tablespoons of coconut sugar crystals
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of coconut flour ( if you use a different flour, leave out the milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cocoa ( optional)
10  blueberries, washed and dried well
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder ( aluminum free)

This is what I did:

I beat the egg in the mug, added the mashed banana, almond milk, coconut sugar,  vanilla, and stirred well. I then mixed together the baking powder and coconut flour and stirred it into the wet ingredients in the mug. I then added the blueberries and stirred lightly. That's it
I  placed the mug into the microwave for 3 minutes. ( OK- I don't usually like to microwave- but this was only 3 minutes and OMG it came out so so good!)

The batter puffed up in the mug, became very light and fluffy, and made a divine delicious quick gluten free cake for one person who had to have something and didn't want to go to the store.

Please note: Microwave ovens may vary- if yours is very strong, it may only take 2 and 1/2 minutes!

blueberry muffin batter
Batter in the mug before microwaving

Microwaved blueberry muffin in a  mug
3 minutes in the microwave -done

dirty empty mug from baking

large grain free blueberry muffin
Perfect Fresh Heavenly Blueberry Muffin 
Made in the Microwave in 3 minutes 

My notes: I've actually made this kind of recipe before without eggs. I substituted coconut oil instead. Of course the egg version is lighter, but you could try an egg replacer. Some people say a Tablespoon of chia seeds with a Tablespoon on water is equivalent to one egg ( check it online) or my friend Vicki buys egg replacer in the health for store in a box.

  • Also: remember that when you use high fiber coconut flour it requires much more liquid for baking than regular or even gluten free flours. So, if you use a regular gluten free flour mix- you won't need as much liquid- perhaps omit the almond milk.
  • Also: You may have noticed that my batter is darker in the photo . It is because I added some cocoa to that batch-( I made a few of these with all different combinations) Why stop at one

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mexican Lentil Soup ( Vegan)

Mexican vegan lentil soup

This delicious aromatic creamy lentil soup is rich in fresh garlic, ground cumin, and chopped cilantro-all the tasty Mexican spices. Cooked with diced tomatoes, sliced red peppers and hot pepper ( if you choose), and some fresh lemon juice, the lentils create a soup that is extremely satisfying and flavorful.

Talk about clean eating- garlic, cumin, and cilantro are full of powerful antioxidants and the soup is full of health giving colorful vegetables and protein/fiber rich lentils.  Just real food that is good for you.

It's easy to make too. Lentils cook up somewhat quickly, so you can prep and cook this delicious soup in just under an hour. The hearty soup makes a lovely presentation whether you plan to serve it to your family or to company as a meal starter, and it freezes well too. So, if you are just two people, make a pot and freeze the rest for another night. ( It's always fun to have something you can just pull out of the freezer)

I decided to use my immersion blender to blend the soup lightly just before serving it. The light blending made all the difference, so don't skip that step! And make sure to add lot's of freshly chopped cilantro to each bowl. Personally , I do not like hot chili peppers BUT you might, so add it if you like! What a soup!! Enjoy

This soup would go great with my Homemade Mango Salsa or my Vegan Avocado Caprese Appetizer

Do you eat soup in the summer?
I do . In fact, I eat soup all year round any time of the day.
But if you don't , just pin the recipe for the fall when you might be ready for a nice bowl of delicious hot soup!

This naturally gluten free soup is also vegan and can be made into a full meal by adding  a 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice or 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa to each bowl ( Although it doesn't need it) .

bowl of vegan Mexican lentil soup
A piece of garlic dropped into the bowl and it's in all the photos!!!

bowl of soup vegan, Mexican, lentil

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time 45  minutes
Serves : 8 bowl size portions

2 teaspoons olive oil or olive oil spray
1 medium red onion, diced
8 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 medium red pepper , diced
1 and 1/4  cups of brown or green lentils, uncooked
1 can of diced tomatoes ( I used organic and no BPA cans) low salt if possible
3 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth
4 teaspoons of cumin ( or to your taste)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus 1/2 cup to use to garnish each bowl
Optional: hot pepper to taste

In a large wide soup pot, saute the onions and red peppers in the oil for two minutes ( stirring). Add the garlic and lentils and saute an additional minute. Next add the can of diced tomatoes, water, broth, and 2 teaspoons of the cumin. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook until lentils begin to soften about 1/2 hour. Then add the lemon juice and cilantro, stir and taste. If you love cumin, add the additional 2 teaspoons of ground cumin if desired. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Turn off soup. Using an immersion blender, place in soup and blend lightly. Serve and top with freshly chopped cilantro in each bowl.

My Notes: Top each bowl of soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, some shredded cheddar cheese, or extra lemon juice ..or add some GF corn tortilla strips for a Mexican tortilla lentil soup. We  enjoyed our soup vegan and just added lots of fresh chopped cilantro and a touch of extra lemon juice.. This soup freezes well too. I blended it before freezing.