Tag Archives: gluten-free

Holiday Inspiration: Autumn Harvest Soup

It’s time to get ready for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!  You just can’t top a day that is solely dedicated to eating delicious food and counting your blessings.  Butternut squash is one of the must-haves for this time of year, and I was looking for a comforting soup that incorporated it as well as many other fall staples.  I found this recipe in Natural Health Magazine, one of my go-to inspiration sources.  It’s simple, gluten-free, vegan and perfect for serving at holiday gatherings.  It’s also low in fat, and high in fiber and protein.

Nothing says fall like butternut squash, apples and nutmeg together in one recipe!

Ingredients
1 tbsp oil
2 diced onions
5 cups vegetable broth
1 diced medium butternut squash
2 diced green apples
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp dried sage
1∕4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp honey
Garnish: toasted walnuts

Preparation Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the broth, squash, apples, ginger, sage and nutmeg.

Now all the fabulous fall flavors can start mingling!

  • Add salt to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the honey (Great for soothing coughs and scratchy throats this time of year)

When it looks like this, you’re ready to purée.

  • Purée in a VitaMix or food processor, serve and garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

Mmmm, the perfect comfort food for a chilly night!

This soup made the perfect warming meal on our first chilly weekend of the year.  My 8-month old couldn’t get enough of it, so I froze the leftovers in small containers for him to enjoy over the coming weeks.

Whether it’s for a big holiday crowd or just for your family, I know you’ll love this soup.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Comfort with a Kick: Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Now that Fall is in full swing, I’m craving everything pumpkin.  I’ve already enjoyed more than my share of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, and last weekend I made my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  You don’t have to look far to find recipes for decadent pumpkin desserts, but they can cause one to “fluff up” pretty quickly if you know what I mean!  I’ve been on the prowl for a lighter, nutrient-dense pumpkin recipe, and something a little unique to pass along to you.  I stumbled across this Pumpkin Tortilla Soup recipe on Pinterest, and I only needed to make a couple of tweaks to make it a bit more nutritious.  I’ve had my eye on it for a couple of weeks, and I was so excited to finally give it a try this weekend.  It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and packed with delicious fall flavor.

Ingredients (Serves 6):

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of finely chopped cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Depending how much of a kick you want!)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut oil for frying
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed

Preparation Instructions:

  • Cut 6 of the tortillas into 1/2-inch squares.

This soup can be prepped in under five minutes!

  • Heat oil (preferably a more stable fat like avocado or coconut oil) in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and chopped tortillas, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
  • Add the cumin and cayenne and sauté for another minute.
  • Add pumpkin, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer until you’re ready to serve.

Let the soup simmer awhile so that all the delicious flavors have time to combine!

  • While the soup is simmering, cut the remaining 6 tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat 1/2 inch of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips onto paper towels to drain.  Season with a little coarse sea salt if you wish.

The recipe I used called for frying in veggie oil, but I used coconut oil as it’s a much more stable fat and won’t lose all of its nutritional value when heated.

  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.

Colorful, Hearty, Spicy and Delicious!

If you want even more kick like I did, season your bowl with some habanero or Tobasco sauce.

I absolutely loved this twist on a typical tortilla soup, and I’ll definitely be making it again this Fall.  In fact, it’s now in my top ten list of recipes I’ve blogged about the last couple years!  Give it a try and make it your own by switching up the seasonings or adding some dried peppers or chopped jalapeno.  It can stand on its own, or you can serve it with a side salad and chips and salsa.  The options are endless.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

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Yum on the Run: Honey Mustard Chicken and Rice

As I strive to balance a home, marriage and part-time job, as well as care for a 4-month old baby who is usually a little fussy around supper time, I’m always on the prowl for quick and easy nutritious dinner ideas.  Whenever I get in a dinner rut, I go prowling on Pinterest, natural health and cooking magazines and around the blogosphere to find something new, and this dish was my latest find.  I chose it because I always keep the ingredients on hand, and it’s gluten-free.  Plus, I’m always looking for a new spin on hum-drum grilled chicken (Check out these other chicken recipes: Chicken Marbella, Chicken Walnicot Delight, Cilantro Lime Chicken).

Honey Mustard Chicken and Rice

Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 cup brown rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1 large bunch (8 oz) of greens (I used spinach, but you could also use chopped kale or mustard greens)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preparation Instructions:

  • Prepare the brown rice according to the instructions on the packaging and set aside.
  • Saute chicken in a large nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Saute the onion, greens and red pepper until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the brown rice and cook until warmed, or another 2 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

Don’t hold back on the antioxidant-rich greens. They cook down quickly!

Adding veggies is a great way to dress up basic brown rice dishes.

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, mustard, vinegar, oil, garlic and 2 tablespoons of water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and whisk together.
  • Put the chicken back in the skillet and pour the honey mustard mixture over it.  Save a little of the mixture to go on your rice.  Saute for about 3 minutes, turning the chicken often to coat it with the sauce.

The combination of ingredients in the sauce adds a punch of flavor!

  • Serve the rice pilaf on a plate, then top with chicken.  Drizzle with remaining honey mustard, and sprinkle with parsley.  Enjoy!

This meal is great for a busy weeknight, and could even pass at a dinner party!

My husband and I both really enjoyed this dish.  It’s definitely one I will be adding to my quick and healthy dinner repertoire!

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The Ultimate Sinus Cleansing Recipe: Roasted Green Chile Chicken Soup

Hi Everyone!  Even though it’s hard to believe it now that we’re finally getting some winter temperatures, spring is right around the corner, and that means allergy and sinus season will be at its peak in just a few weeks.  During the spring months, the Longevity pharmacy gets countless calls from people struggling with headaches, runny noses, congestion and other sinus/allergy symptoms.  (Here are a few ideas for Spring cleaning your diet this year, and here are some nutritional/supplemental ideas for combating your allergies before they start!)

Speaking of allergy season, I came across this soup, full of sinus-cleansing ingredients, and just had to give it a try.  It was the perfect comforting dish for a chilly winter weekend.  (This recipe is gluten and dairy free, for all of you with these common food sensitivities.)

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
2 tsp organic coconut oil
1 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 full chicken breasts (6 individual), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 roasted poblano peppers, skinned, seeded and diced
1 roasted anaheim pepper, skinned, seeded and diced
4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, or 1/2 tsp cumin
8 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions:

  • To roast peppers, place in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to a sealed ziplock bag to steam for 15 minutes.  The skins should peel right off after this process so you can easily remove the seeds and dice the chilies.

    Get ready to add some sinus-clearing heat to your hum-drum soup recipe!

  • In a large pot heated to medium high, add the oils and sauté the onions until soft.  Add the garlic.  Remove this mixture and set aside.

This little concoction alone makes the whole house smell wonderful!

  • Sauté the chicken in the same pot until the pieces are firm and cooked through.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on high for at least 20 minutes.

The chilies and fresh cilantro pack so much flavor and health benefit.

  • Simmer until ready to serve.  Adjust and add seasonings to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

Your healthy, hearty dinner is ready!

This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.  Stay warm and enjoy!

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A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m long overdue for a Favorite Things post!  From time to time, I do a post dedicated solely to foods and products that I’m digging right now.  (Click here and here for other Favorite Things posts.)

THE NUTRITIONISTA’S FAVORITE THINGS: 

  • Bountiful Pantry Soups and Sides:  I’m always looking for fast and healthy meal ideas, and we just started carrying these convenient all-natural soup and side dish mixes at Longevity.  They’re hearty, delicious, and bursting with fall flavor.  All the mixes are gluten-free, and don’t contain added salt, MSG or other preservatives.  They’re ready in minutes and make 8 generous servings.  Our whole staff feeds off one package many days for lunch.  I’m a big fan of the corn chowder, split pea and lentil soups.   Call our office (770-642-4646) and ask for Tracey if you’d like to order them.  You won’t be sorry!  Visit http://www.bountifulpantry.com for more info.

Each mix is $8.50 at the Longevity store.

  •  The Gluten-Free Goddess: Even though I don’t have a gluten sensitivity myself, I love finding recipes that use gluten alternatives.  I enjoy experimenting with the recipes, and it also helps me when giving tips to our gluten intolerant patients.  The Gluten-Free Goddess blog contains and extensive library of fabulous gluten-free recipes and tips.  Check it out!
  • ViraClear: We’re coming into the thick of cold and flu season, and this homeopathic remedy is already flying off of our shelves.  ViraClear shortens the duration of  coughs and upper respiratory infections.  I recommend keeping it in the house, especially if you have children, and starting it at the first sign of congestion, sniffles or sore throat.  Often times we can knock out an infection before it really takes hold in our bodies if we act fast!  ViraClear comes in a cherry syrup for kids and regular homeopathic drops for adults.

ViraClear is a cold and flu staple in my house!

  • Crystal Light Pure: For years I’ve been urging my friends and Longevity patients to stay away from Crystal Light packets, because they were full of artificial sweeteners.  At last, this company got with the program and came out with an all-natural variety, Crystal Light Pure.  They are sweetened with stevia and real sugar (less than a teaspoon per serving) and contain 15 calories per serving.  Trader Joe’s makes a similar product called Fast Flavor Sticks (also 15 calories per serving).  They come in Pomegranate Cherry and Iced Tea with Lemon flavors.  These flavor packets are great if you or your children have a hard time drinking enough water every day.   Please stay away from any beverages or flavor packets sweetened with high artificial sweeteners like fructose corn syrup, Splenda or aspartame!

The TJ's variety are super sweet, so you'll only need about half a packet for a large container of water.

What healthy foods, products or web sites are you loving right now?  Pass them along, as we need all the help we can get to live our most nutritious life.  Have a great week!

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It’s Fall, Ya’ll! Give Your Salads a Burst of Autumn Flavor.

Well hello, strangers!  I’m back after a little two-and-a-half month hiatus.  Sorry to leave you hanging, but this girl’s world was turned upside down with some exciting news in late June; a little mini health nut is on the way!  That’s right, I’m expecting my first baby in March.  Nine weeks of serious morning sickness kept me away from the computer and close to the porcelain throne, hence the lack of blog updates.  But now I’m feeling better and ready to get back to it.  Since eating healthy is now a bigger priority than ever before for me, I’m hoping to share a lot of nutritious recipes and other great information with you in the coming months (especially now that I can think about food without losing my lunch!).

After a long, scorching summer in Georgia, my favorite time of the year is finally upon us.  Don’t you just love the fall?  I adore everything about the season, from chilly mornings to football games to pumpkin spice lattes.  In case you’re not yet in the spirit, I’ll be sharing some healthy autumn recipes to inspire you in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, be sure to revisit these yummy fall recipes I posted last year!

Pumpkin Raisin Bars

Wanicot Chicken Delight

Naughty and Nice Sweet Potato Chili

White Bean Chicken Chili

Roasted Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato Gratin

Autumn Burst Salad

So I found this salad recipe when I was searching for a fun fall dish to bring to my book club last night.  It was a hit with the girls, so I knew it was worthy of sharing with you.  I took it from one of my favorite blogs, Gluten-Free Goddess, and made a few tweaks to make it my own.  When the weather starts cooling off, I’m not always in the mood for a cold salad.  Adding some grains to this dish makes it more of a comfort food, and you can feel free to serve it room temperature or chilled.  (It kind of reminds me of the marinated cous-cous salad I shared with you last year.)

Fall is the time for colorful and savory foods!

Ingredients (Makes 6 side dish servings):

Salad
1 cup organic quinoa, cous-cous or bulgur (Use quinoa if you’re on a gluten-free diet or just looking to boost your protein intake.)
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear or apple, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Sliced apples/pears and nuts add a little autumn pizazz to a hum-drum salad.

You can make this salad different every time by switching up the variety of grain, fruit and nut you use.

Preparation Instructions:

  • Prepare quinoa, cous-cous or bulgur according to the instructions on the package and transfer to a large salad bowl.
  • While your grain is cooking, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.  Begin prepping your other salad ingredients.
  • Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the salad bowl and toss.  Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.

Tip: If you are making this dish ahead of time, I suggest you go ahead and add the dressing to your grain while it’s still warm.  When it cools to room temperature, add in the spinach, chick peas and parsley; toss, cover and chill. Before serving add the pears, and toasted pecans. Taste test and add more seasoning if needed.

You’ll know your quinoa is fully cooked when the germ ring along the outside edge of the grain is visible.

This salad makes for a great light lunch or side dish, and it can be easily shared at fall pot lucks or tailgates.

Fall is definitely in the air and it’s time to start cooking!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and please send your comments my way!

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UN-Guilty Pleasure: Mini Portobello Pizzas

For so many people, pizza is a major weakness.  It’s so easy to throw away all the healthy progress we make the whole week with one quick call to Papa John’s on a Friday night.  A great way to get your pizza fix without completely derailing your diet is to make your own.  My husband and I do this often, especially on those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking anything too complicated.

When I first got married and was aspiring to become a domestic goddess, I tried to make a gluten-free pizza, and it was a complete disaster.   I used almond flour and made the mistake of doubling the amount specified in the recipe.  The pizza came out tasting like a giant pancake with spaghetti sauce on top!  After that I went back to good old-fashioned wheat crusts from Trader Joe’s.

But last night I took another stab at a gluten-free pizza recipe, this time using a portobello mushroom for the crust.  I’m always looking for light and EASY dishes I can whip up for supper and for parties, and these mini pizzas came out beautifully!  I’m definitely going to add them into my regular dinner rotation.

Ingredients (Makes 8 Personal Pizzas):

  • 8 small portobello mushrooms, rinsed and stems removed
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 large package mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound ground turkey sausage, browned
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

The great thing about this recipe is you can play with the toppings and use different ingredients every time you make it.  The options for veggies, meats, herbs and spices are endless!  (Skip the meat, and these pizzas makes a great vegetarian dinner option.)

Preparation Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  While the oven is warming, brown your ground turkey meat.
  • Lay out the mushrooms on a cookie sheet, drizzle olive oil evenly over them and place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.

High in fiber, portobello mushrooms pack some serious nutritional punch. They’re an excellent source of selenium (an important antioxidant), B vitamins, and potassium.

  • Remove the mushrooms and add pizza toppings to your liking.  I added a couple of tablespoons of sauce first, then the ground turkey, 1 basil leaf and a nice coating of cheese.

If you want to make your pizzas a little lighter, sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella.

  • Bake the pizzas for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.

Portobellos provide impressive cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits!

  • Remove from oven, serve and enjoy! (You’ll probably want to eat them with a fork and knife!)

These would also make a great appetizer for an Italian-themed dinner party.

I hope you give this lean and nutritious recipe a try!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend and 4th of July!

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