Flourless and Fudgy Avocado Brownies

Avocado stars as the fat substitute for butter is this delicious fudgy brownie! This is also a great way to use up overripe avocados that have begun to oxidize and turn brown. A hint of avocado flavor can be detected. If you want to hide it even more try adding in a 1/4 cup maple syrup or a few tablespoons of molasses.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe or overripe avocado (1/2 cup mashed)
  • 2 whole eggs, large
  • 1 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • A pinch of fine sea salt

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Grease a 9″ square baking dish and line with parchment paper
  • Peel and pit the avocado
  • In a food processor add in everything but the chocolate chips
  • Process until you have a smooth mixture, scraping the bowl as needed. (This entire process can be done by hand in a single bowl as well, just make sure you mash up the avocado well)
  • Fold in the chocolate chips, then pour the batter into the baking dish
  • Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top
  • Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until there is no “jiggle” left in the dish
  • Set baking dish on a cooling rack and let it cool entirely
  • Cut, serve, enjoy!

Lemon and Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Light, delicate, and healthy, this simple spinach dish can accompany so many things. It goes especially well with fish. It can also be tossed in with pasta.

Yields ~ 1 serving, or 2 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large handful of baby spinach
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, shaved on a mandolin or sliced thin by hand
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2-3 TBS canola oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 TBS EVOO for drizzle (optional)

Method:

  • Heat the canola oil in a saute pan
  • Add the garlic chips to the pan and simmer until golden
  • Remove the garlic and reserve for later
  • Pour out almost all of the canola oil
  • Add in the spinach and juice half the lemon while it’s in the pan. Sprinkle with salt. Flip the pan a few times. You just want to wilt the spinach, not cook it all the way. it only takes a few seconds.
  • Remove from the heat, toss the garlic back in, and flip it around again.
  • Top with lemon zest, squeeze more lemon juice on top if needed.
  • Drizzle with EVOO if desired
  • Enjoy!

Carrot Pesto

This carrot pesto is a great way to use carrot peels so they’re not wasted!

Recipe yields about 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups carrot peels, packed loosely (appx 1-2 carrots)
  • 1/3 cup toasted pistachio, walnuts, or other nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated romano, parmesan, or other similar cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/3 – 2/3 cups  EVOO
  • Salt & white pepper to taste

Method:

  • Put all ingredients except EVOO in a food processor and coarsely chop.
  • Slowly pour in EVOO in a thin stream to desired thickness. For example, if you’re using it as a spread for crackers make it a little thicker. If you’re using it for pasta, make it a little thinner.
  • Add salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

Homemade Chicken Stock or Broth

Making your own chicken stock or broth at home is easy and is a great way to use the bones instead of throwing them away.

When I buy chicken I usually get the dark meat quarters which is the leg and thigh still attached. Dark meat is cheaper than breasts, and more flavorful.

Then I cut the bone off of the end of the thigh opposite the leg, then separate the leg and thigh. I also take off any extra skin hanging off the side.

I take a few of the thighs and remove the skin completely and take out the bone. Then I freeze all the chicken in meal sized portions to pull out as needed.

After that, I put all the bones and leftover skin into a stock pot. I put the skin in with it because later when it cools, it’s easier to peel it off the top.

Next, I add some aromatic veggies like celery, onions, and smashed garlic cloves. For a darker, richer stock roast the bones first and also add carrots. It’s not necessary to peel the onions or garlic. They will be strained out, and the nutrients from the skins will be in the stock. If you wash your carrots well you don’t need to peel them either.

Also throw in some black peppercorns, bay leaves, and whole sprigs of thyme.

Then, fill the pot with cold water. You want to start with cold water because sstarting with hot water draws out more impurities and clouds the stock. I know some chefs that even start their stocks with straight ice.

Turn on the heat and let it ride for an hour or two. I like to get it almost to a boil then cut back the heat and let it simmer, never letting it come to a full boil.

Next, strain it into another pot.

From here you have a couple of options..

You can cool it now and then skim the fat off the top, and use it, or you can reduce it even more for a thicker, more gelatinous stock. Either option is good, it just depends on how thick you want it to be. Since I’m going to be using it for stew, I’m going to reduce it some more.

After it cools, the fat comes right off!

What your left with is a luxurious flavorful liquid that can be used as a soup base, in velouté, substituted for water when making rice, and much more!

I don’t add salt to my stocks. I save that for when I make the actual dish. Many of the store bought broths and stocks have salt in them. I prefer to make my own so I have complete control over what goes in.

With store bought stocks you also never know for sure the quality of the ingredients. The best stocks use high quality items and the only way to know for sure is to make it yourself!

It is time consuming, but luckily it freezes well so you can make a big batch and freeze it in smaller portions. This way you can just pull out a little at a time as needed.

Next time you feel like homemade chicken noodle soup, you’re ready to go!

Broth is even easier because you don’t use bones, just the meat and veggies. This is an even quicker and simpler way to make your soup base, although it won’t be as thick and full bodied. It will still be delicious!

For chicken broth, just throw some skinless boneless chicken, onions, celery, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, and a sprig of thyme into a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer about an hour or so. Strain out the broth, and use the chicken for chicken salad, or whatever you’d like!

Enjoy!

~Thanks for reading
LC

Baked Apples w/ Cinnamon, Honey, and Walnuts

Here’s an easy, healthy, and delicious way to enjoy apples! (As if they weren’t delicious and enjoyable on their own..)

 

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Walnuts

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Core and slice an apple (or several apples)
  • Drizzle with honey
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Toss in some walnuts
  • Mix all together in a bowl
  • Transfer to a baking sheet
  • Bake for 35 min, turn oven off and let sit for awhile
  • Enjoy!

 

Tuna and Lentil Bowl

This bowl of goodness is packed with Omega 3’s, low fat protein, fiber, B vitamins, Iron, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Phytonutrients, Vitamin E, Selenium, Calcium, CoQ 10, Lutein, Zeaxanthan, Beta-corotene, Vitamin C, and much more!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Seared Tuna, rare, sliced
  • 1/4 cup lentils, cooked in veggie broth
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp shallots, minced
  • pinch of aleppo pepper (or chili flakes)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup asparagus, blanched or grilled, cut on a bias in 1/4″ pieces
  • 1/2 tsp each: rosemary, thyme, parsley
  • 1 small handful spinach
  • Sliced scallion for garnish, squeeze of lemon, lemon zest

Method:

  • Cook the lentils, (preferably in homemade veggie broth!)
  • Save some of the broth and set aside
  • Get a saute pan hot with your favorite (healthy) cooking oil
  • Throw in the garlic, shallots, and aleppo, saute about 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes and asparagus
  • Saute a minute or 2, then
  • Add about 1/2 cup veggie broth and the miso
  • Fully incorporate the miso while bringing it to a boil
  • Add the lentils
  • Check the seasoning for salt and pepper, if needed
  • Add the herbs, toss it around
  • Throw in the spinach. As soon as it starts to wilt, pull it off the heat
  • Put it all in a bowl and top it with the seared sliced tuna
  • Garnish with scallions and lemon zest, and squeeze some lemon juice on it
  • Enjoy!

**This can be a soup too, just add more veggie broth, and maybe substitute scallops for the tuna! You could even whisk up an egg and drizzle it in while the soup is simmering.

 

Homemade Veggie Broth

There’s no real set recipe here as far as quantities go, or ingredients, but making your own veggie broth at home is easy and it lets you control the quality of ingredients as well as salt content.

Why buy it, when you can make it?

Use your veggie broth in homemade soups and sauces. I even use it instead of water to cook beans, rice, and quinoa for another layer of flavor!

Usual Ingredients:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Yellow onions
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Fresh thyme

Method:

  • Rough chop all the veggies and throw them in a pot
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Cover with plenty of cold water
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for awhile
  • Strain liquid
  • Enjoy!

**Tip: Don’t include salt. You will more than likely be adding to salt to whatever dish you are using your homemade veggie broth in. No need to add it twice!

**Side note: There are many opinions on making stocks and broths. Some people peel the carrots and onions, and trim the leaves off the celery because they think it turns it bitter. Some people don’t. It is entirely up to you. There are no rules!

**I save my veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer when I cook and throw them in as well when I make broth. Also, you are not limited to the ingredients listed above. Try adding mushrooms, peppers, etc. into your broth. If you’re going for a particular color though, keep than in mind when adding your ingredients.

**This recipe freezes well. Make a big batch and portion in in smaller amounts to freeze. Then just pull some out as you need it.

Spinach and Grapefruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 6 grape tomatoes
  • A few slivers of red onion
  • 1/2 grapefruit, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Small handful of walnuts
  • Drizzle of EVOO
  • Sprinkle of lemon juice
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • Sprinkle of toasted wheat germ

Method:

  • Throw everything but wheat germ in a bowl and mix well
  • Sprinkle the toasted wheat germ over top
  • Enjoy!

**If you zest the lemon before squeezing it you could sprinkle that over top too!

 

Garlic Green Beans

Recipe: Garlic Green Beans

Here’s a great, clean side dish that can accompany a variety of foods.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb fresh green beans, trimmed

  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (about 1 clove)

  • 1/4 tsp aleppo (or chili flakes)

  • 1 tsp EVOO

  • 3 tsp Ghee (or clarified full fat butter)

  • ~1 lemon, zest

  • Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper to taste

Method:

  • Blanch the green beans in boiling water with salt for 2 min

  • Drain and submerge in an ice bath to shock it and stop the cooking process

  • Heat the EVOO and Ghee in a saute pan on medium heat

  • Add the garlic and aleppo, saute until fragrant, 15-30 sec. Do not burn the garlic.

  • Add in the blanched green beans, and toss to coat evenly with the garlic and oil/butter

  • Add kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

  • Put the beans on a plate and grate some fresh lemon zest over top

  • Enjoy!