Healthy Mushroom Soup

Healthy Mushroom Soup

 Healthy Mushroom Soup

Mike and I have been into mushrooms lately if you have not noticed. I took a class a while back on the healing benefits of mushrooms and I have not looked back.  I have always loved to cook with mushrooms but never really knew much about this amazing fungi. WOWZA they are packed with so much good stuff it is kind of mind-blowing. Last year I learned about the power of mushroom powder through a company called Four Sigmatics. I encourage you to check them out. Not only are their products used in our house every single day ( I make Mike a bulletproof mushroom cacao drink to take with him to work ) they also have a fabulous FREE mushroom academy online where you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about mushrooms. If you are interested in purchasing any of their products you can use the code allinthebalance at checkout and save 10% off your first order. You can hit me up if you want some suggestions on what we use.

Healthy Mushroom Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 lbs. of mushrooms, use your favorites. I used crimini and maitake. 
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/4 almond or coconut flour
  • cups vegetable broth – you can add more if it is too thick
  • 1 tsp dried thyme – I use my garden thyme sometimes but I think the dried stuff goes better in this soup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or almond milk
  • tsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to your liking

 

Directions

  1. Brush the mushrooms to remove any dirt or debris. Try not to wash them as they just soak up the water. Slice half of the mushrooms and roughly chop the other half and put them aside

  2. Add the avocado oil, mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper in your soup pot. I used my instant pot on sautee mode. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have released all of their moisture, all the liquid has evaporated from the bottom of the pot, and the mushrooms become very dark brown. This usually takes just a few minutes.

  3. Toss in the butter and flour to the pot. Mix this really well making sure to coat all the shrooms then cook for about two minutes more. The mixture will create a thick paste and some of it might get stuck to the bottom of the pot but that is all dandy and will pay off in flavor when it is all done. Finally, add the vegetable broth, water, and thyme. Stir to dissolve all of the flour from the bottom of the pot. As the soup continues to cook it will thicken up. I like to make my soups a little on the thinner side because Mikes likes them for lunch the next day and he enjoys drinking it out of a thermos. Play around with the amounts of broth and cream to your liking.

  4. Stir the cream and wine into the soup. The last thing to do is add the coconut aminos and then get ready for a fabulous dining experience. You can top this soup with more mushrooms, parsley or some swiss cheese. You can also let the soup be totally naked on top. Try something different each time.

     

    Maitake Mushroom

     

    Tips-I like to use maitake mushrooms because they are a very meaty mushroom. Most of your health food stores will have them. I get mine from Jimbo’s here in Carlsbad. They are grown in the most fascinating way. Check out this company for more about their mushrooms, they are my favorite.  The soup tastes great however you chop them but leaving some big pieces really gives the soup some great texture. If you use almond milk the soup will not taste as rich. I do not like to consume a lot of dairy but this is one time I think it is worth it if you can tolerate it. I use organic cream. You could also use 1/2 cream and 1/2 almond milk to compromise. I sometimes like to use an immersion blender to mix things up but I try to always leave a few good mushroom chunks for texture. Get wild and crazy and try different types of mushrooms for this soup. The flavors will pop and your mouth will thank you. Do not over season the soup, add a little at a time. You can not undo too much seasoning. Been there done that and it is not fun or tasty.

     

No Bake Grain Free Cookie Balls

No Bake Grain Free Cookie Balls

No Bake Grain Free Cookie Balls

There is a title that made you stop and read on right? G

Here is the deal, not everyone has time to crank the music and spend hours in the kitchen I get it. I actually love to bake but there are days I am not in the mood at all. No way Jose. I’ve got your back!

Have you ever tried these fast, minimal ingredient cookie balls you can make in mere minutes without the help of an oven? You can even choose your ingredients wisely and use them as healthy energy balls.

My favorite quick & simple no bake cookie ball recipe is:

• 1/2 cup of Medjool dates, pitted. The type of date you use does matter. Get them from your farmers market if you can. Natures Candy
• 1/2 cup raw almonds or cashews
• 1/2 cup almond butter, I have also used cashew butter as well
• 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder – NOT COCOA- OK if all you have is cocoa its ok 🙂 cacao is actually better for you though.
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix ingredients using a food processor, starting with the dates first. Add nuts after dates are processed, adding the rest of your ingredients to blend together. ( I recently purchased a new food processor and it rocks, best one I have owned to date )

Roll into balls and refrigerate until chilled.

These are the perfect snacks when you want a bite to eat, and they even work well for your 3pm pick-up.

Feel free to add more ingredients that you’d enjoy, such as coconut flakes or dark chocolate chips. No bake cookie balls are so simple to make, it’s hard to mess them up. So experiment and find what YOUR favorite no bake cookie/energy ball recipe is.

So, what’s your favorite type of cookie? And how do you think you could create a no bake cookie version of it? Hit reply and let me know. I love me a good challenge. 🙂

KitchenAid Sheet Cutter Review

KitchenAid Sheet Cutter Review

KitchenAid Sheet Cutter Review

Yes, I am a kitchen gadget freak BUT I do use all of them so that’s ok right? 🙂  My latest purchase just might make it into my FAV list. It is the KitchenAid Sheet Cutter!!! Just the name alone is intriguing right?

This is a fairly new attachment for the KitchenAid mixer so you might not find a lot of recipes or reviews on it yet but if you ask me, its a winner.

The below is a very impromptu video I did but it gives you an idea of how it works.  The second video is a quick glance at when I used it correctly.

There are a few things that I learned from my initial experience.

  • You do not need to lock the lever when you move it forward, you just release and let it naturally move to the food item.
  • Measure out your food before you cut it. I have found 4.5 inches is the sweet spot for me
  • Do not throw away the food that is left over. Chop it up and throw it into a sauce or juice it
  • Make sure you have the food pressed in firmly to the end thingy. ( professional term )
  • I like the thin blade the best

I have only had this machine for two full days so I have not written up any recipes but I will share with you what I have created with it so far.

KitchenAid Sheet Cutter Review

For the above picture, I used one sweet potato and one russet potato. ( I had a lot of potato leftover by the way ) After creating the sheet of potato, I cut them into individual pieces and filled them with salmon, instant pot beans, and a little cheese. I placed them in a glass pan that was covered in salsa verde. I then topped it with some more cheese and a little taco seasoning. I baked them at 350 for 35 minutes. Super yummy friends and SUPER easy. In some ways, it was way easier than using the traditional corn tortillas that tear so easily. These guys were super easy to fold and they were very sturdy. You could get very creative with this dish. I am going to try it next week with cashew cheese instead of cow cheese. By the way, these were even better the next day. My neighbor loved them as well.

For dessert, I made apple sheets. For realz, this was so easy. The apple did really well on the cutter.  I tried using the apple for two different desserts. BOTH were freaking AMAZING. One of them I just cut the apple sheet into small squares and then layered them placing some date paste*, cinnamon and walnuts between each square. I baked them on 350 for 10 minutes. Mike loved it. The next dessert I cut the apple sheet into squares again and put them in a glass dish. I then added a small amount of ricotta cheese and VERY small amount of maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon and then topped it with some gluten-free graham cracker crumbs. I baked it on 350 for 15 minutes. Mike loved this one more. I did not take any pictures, sorry. But seriously you can’t go wrong with these ideas.

Last night for dinner I made a zucchini, lentil lasagna. If the picture below is not convincing you to get on Amazon right now and buy it then phooey on you. 🙂
KitchenAid Sheet Cutter Review

This was so simple and so tasty. All I did was spread some Trader Joes spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 13X9 glass pan then put some layers of zucchini sheets over the sauce. Next, I diced up some onions and mushrooms and made another layer in the pan. Next in was the ricotta cheese and another layer of the zucchini noodles. ( this cutter makes sheets of zucchini that are PERFECT to replace high carb noodles ) Continuing on I just repeated each layer one more time. I wanted to add some texture to this dish so I cooked some green lentils in my instant pot ( 10 minutes cook time ) and then layered them in. I undercooked the lentils so they would be kinda crunchy.  The final layer was the zuchinni noodles and some fresh spices. This was not hard as you can tell. If you have made lasagna before then you can make this. This was so good I had some of the leftovers for breakfast 🙂

The last thing I made was a snack for Mike to take to work. I used an English Cucumber.  One of them was filled with some cooked non gmo frozen corn that I just blended into a paste and then rolled in some cilantro and the other is filled with Kite Hill chive almond cream cheese, fresh dill and some leftover cauliflower bites I had made the other day. I told you it was time to get creative 🙂

KitchenAid Sheet Cutter Review

Here are the Pro’s as I see it on this machine:

  • Easy to use out of the box
  • Storage box is awesome
  • Allows you to create beautiful different dishes
  • Perfect for the person trying to avoid or limit grains
  • Easy to make snacks with leftover stuff in your refrigerator
  • The ideas are endless………………..

Here are the Con’s as I see it on this machine:

  • It is annoying that you have to cut the pieces into 4-5 inch pieces
  • You could end up wasting a lot of food if you do not use the leftover pieces
  • I would love to see this for $59.99 not $79.99( hopefully Costco will pick it up )
  • Learning curve with what fruits and veggies will work ( minor )

*to make the date paste I used 6 pitted dates and 1/4 cup of coconut cream and put them in my  Blendtec twister jar

No Dairy Ranch Dressing

No Dairy Ranch Dressing

No Dairy Ranch Dressing

 
Ingredients
1 cup of olive oil or avocado oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 can full-fat coconut milk- No added guar gum. Natural Value is my go-to brand right now
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper to your taste
1 bunch fresh parsley
Optional: 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast– Non-fortified
 
Instructions
Blend the following in a blender or food processor until smooth
 
1 cup avocado or olive oil, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1 can full-fat coconut milk, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, Salt and pepper to your liking and optional nutritional yeast
 
Add 1 large handful of parsley leaves and pulse quickly 2-4 times or just chop it by hand.
Store dressing in the fridge.
 
When you try this avoid thinking or ranch. Instead, think of the creamy tasty texture. Too often we want to make diety changes but expect the food to taste exactly as it was when it was filled with chemicals and sugar. Trust me you will soon crave eating healthy. There is a transition period for most but man it’s great when you arrive.
I have used this dressing on pasta, sweet potatoes and even use it as a taco topping for my famous veggie tacos. Get creative. Good food tastes great!
No Dairy Ranch Dressing
Six Super Simple Ways to Eat Better

Six Super Simple Ways to Eat Better

Here are my “Six Super Simple Ways to Eat Better”

The holidays are over and the new year is among us — a special and exciting time where we make ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities.  The most popular resolution is improving health, and we usually are quite ready after the holidays.  As tasty as the holiday tidings are, they leave us feeling a little less on track with our goals than we’d like.

Those new healthy resolutions don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to end before February even arrives.  In my opinion, the key to looking and feeling your best is to keep it uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating. For those of you that have followed me for awhile know that I do not like to complicate things. The more complicated the less I am interested.  In case you’ve heard the term “clean eating” but haven’t quite understood what it means — clean eating ( in my humble opinion )  is all about consuming healthy, whole foods and cutting out the processed junk. This word is really all the buzz and I have seen some wild explanations on what it means and some of them make me quiver in my boots. Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, I have got super-simple steps for a no-fail progression into clean eating that I hope you enjoy. They have worked for me as well as many of my clients.

 

  1. Focus on your inner motivation

Whether you’re determined to race in the Boston Marathon next year, or you have seen first-hand the damages done by not eating well through relatives or friends that have suffered as a result of their eating habits.  Whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, bring it into your direct focus so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan.

 

  1. Reevaluate what you’re currently eating

Before you begin your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating before beginning. This way, you can truly see what it is you’re eating and look for patterns. After the stressful end of your work week, you might notice you’re more prone to ordering pizza and by writing your food intake down you can take steps to head that off at the pass rather than fall into the same pitfall time and time again. In addition, anytime I have a new client start with me I always ask them to clean out their pantry. Ditch the temptations. “Most” of us are not that desperate that we would head to the grocery store to get that chocolate cake. If it is not in site chances are it won’t make it to your mouth 🙂

 

  1. Set realistic, measurable and specific goals

When people make changes to things in their lives such as a change to their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. That means that if you want to be successful in the long-term, you should tackle one or two new things every 1-2 weeks, so you have a better chance of sticking to it. Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert per week, and go from there to decrease it further. It’s realistic, measurable and very specific.

 

  1. Clean out your pantry

In addition to just ditching the icky food in your pantry take some time to look at the labels. Sadly, most American pantries are filled with processed foods.  A good rule of thumb is to cut out anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label.  If you have a lot of unopened items, donate them to a shelter. Check those expiration dates while you are there. I am not sure how it happens but every year I find expired food in my dang pantry.

 

  1. Refocus your grocery shopping strategy

We’re creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Shake things up and head straight for the produce section. You really should be avoiding almost all of the middle aisles of your supermarket anyway because that’s where those processed food pitfalls lurk! Those marketers are very clever, those outer aisles are filled with processed crud. Try and challenge yourself to really limit anything in a can or a box. It is kinda fun I promise. Somethings are necessary to be in a cartoon or box, just watch those ingredients. Nothing more than 5 ok?

 

  1. Master meal prep

One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to prep your meals. You’ll find tons of healthy meal prep plans online that even give you shopping lists to use. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that require you to dump in the whole foods in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night!  If you are interested in jump starting your new year off with some good clean grain free food then consider joining my Grain Free Detox Program.  Also, make sure you sign up for one of my freebie eBooks on my site so you can be put on my mailing list. I am doing a FREE crockpot challenge at the end of January 🙂

 

As you can tell, it only takes small changes over time to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.  I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way, Contact me and let me know how you are feeling, and what you’d like to accomplish as your first step.  I’d love to hear your plans.  AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Six Super Simple Ways to Eat Better

 

Vegetable and Fruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegetable and Fruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This weekend we received some beautiful produce from our CSA. I love them and I just LOVE their dates, fresh farm eggs and their produce. If you live in Southern CA then please check out their site. They are good people and grow FABULOUS stuff.  I love to challenge myself in the kitchen. This weekend I wanted to  create a new recipe with all of this lovely produce. It was a success, well at least in my books. One of my neighbors loved it, one of them wished it was a tad sweeter and my husband ate 3/4 of it AND the last piece! (grrrrrrr)

gluten free vegetable cake

Ingredients
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup plantain flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp pomegranate powder
6 pitted dates- I make a date paste with them. (CSA)
1/4 cup organic raisins- Dried fruit is really heavily sprayed so organic is nice if you can
1/4 cup dried organic berries-Dried fruit is really heavily sprayed so organic is nice if you can
1/2 cup walnuts or any other nut you like. Finely chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup shredded carrot (CSA)
1/4 cup shredded zucchini (CSA)
1/4 cup cauliflower rice ( I used the frozen organic rice from Trader Joe’s.  I cooked it for 2  minutes before adding it to the batter.
1/4 honey
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs (CSA)

Frosting
1 package of cream cheese
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 lime and 1 lemon for zest

Handful of shredded carrots for optional topping

Directions- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

First things first, make your date paste.  I make my date paste in my Blendtec Twister Jar. I love this jar and this blender.  Place your eggs, vanilla, date paste, and honey in your food mixer and blend for a minute or two. Next add in your pomegranate powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, shredded carrot and zucchini, raisins, and other dried fruit and mix well. Lastly slowly add in your almond flour, plantain flour, ( I like to always keep my body guessing by using different gluten free flours but if you don’t want to do this you can just use all almond flour ) coconut flour, and walnuts. The batter will be thick and yummy.

Pour the batter into a prepared 13×9 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Every oven varies in regards to cooking time so watch it carefully. If you want the cake to be thicker then just reduce the oven temperature to 325 degree and cook an additional 5-10 minutes and use a smaller dish.

After the cake was done I let it cool completely and then topped it off with some yummy cream cheese frosting. I just took one container of cream cheese and put it in my Blendtec Twister Jar and added 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and whipped it up good. I then topped each bar off with shredded carrots and lime and lemon zest.

Gluten free vegetable and fruit cake

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