Friday, September 30, 2011

Kale-topped sweet potato

Backpacking to Box Lake near McCall, Idaho

Misha recovering from backpacking trip
My recovery food: kale-topped sweet potato

Beets and sweets; another favorite
September has provided such unbelievable weather where I live. We had to take advantage of the warm days and cooler nights to plan and take another backpacking trip. We made an overnight trek to Box Lake near McCall, Idaho, about a three-hour drive from where we live.

 It was absolutely perfect (well, except for the 1,800-feet elevation gain in 2.7 miles). There were no bugs; the lake and sky were crystal clear; and the temperature was in the 70s.

We're all nursing some sore legs after climbing and then descending the steep trail on the return. Misha, our Malamute-Husky, accompanied us and had another great adventure. He dug in the wet sand along the lake beach; chewed on all the pine cones he could find; and dove in the water again and again.

Now, he is tired as you can see in the picture above. He managed to find enough energy to hop up on the bed, where he is not supposed to be. I didn't have the heart to chase him off.

As for me, I am craving my favorite sweet potato dishes. One is kale-topped sweet potato which is oh, so easy to prepare. Simple-to-prepare dishes are my cup of tea.

Kale-topped Sweet Potato

  1. 1 baked sweet potato
  2. 2 cups chopped kale
  3. 1 diced zucchini
  4. salt and pepper to taste
  5. 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  6. optional: 2 garlic cloves minced
  7. lime-sunbutter dressing (2 T. sunbutter, 1/4 cup water, juice of one lime, 1 tsp. sesame seed oil, 1 T. sunflower seeds, dash of stevia)
  1. Saute the kale and zucchini in olive oil with the optional minced garlic cloves added if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Whirl up lime-sunbutter dressing in your food processor.
  3. To assemble, top sweet potato with kale mixture and finish with a dollop of lime-sunbutter dressing.
Check out some more healthy recipes at:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Carrot cake bites

Okra in bloom

Carrot cake bites

I wish I had planted more okra this summer. Not only is it delicious but okra has the most gorgeous yellow blooms, as pictured above. My new favorite way to eat okra is to toss it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast it in the oven until tender. I just wish I had more!

My other most recent food passion is carrot cake. Well, my version of carrot cake isn't exactly a sheet cake with cream cheese frosting. Last week, I posted vegan carrot cake chia pudding.
This week, I wanted small bites of carrot cake-flavored morsels so I came up with Carrot Cake Bites.

Ingredients for approximately 12:
  1. 2-3 T. of raw tahini butter
  2. 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  3. 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  4. stevia to taste
  5. 2 T. raw pumpkin seeds
  6. 1 T. raw sunflower seeds
  7. 1 T. chia seeds
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  9. 2 T. Artisana coconut butter
  1. Chop or grate one carrot in the food processor.
  2. Add the seeds and pulse to chop.
  3. Add the tahini, coconut flakes, stevia, cinnamon, and continue pulsing until mixture sticks together.
  4. Roll small balls of the mixture and drizzle with melted coconut butter.
  5. Chill in the fridge to harden coconut butter. These also store well in the freezer and do not become hard.
There are many other great recipes at

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vegan carrot cake chia pudding

Misha mugs hubby while Bailey watches from background and Kona doesn't want to look.
Vegan carrot cake chia pudding
Don't let Misha's cute, smiling face fool you. He is a handful as you can see in the picture above. My hubby was trying to check Kona's feet for cheat grass only to be mugged from the rear by Misha. Bailey, the smallest pet in the family, was smart. He stayed back and watched from a distance.

My husband, true to form, wanted a photo of Misha being naughty. I think the two have a common bond as they both are ADHD.

Anyhow, all of this interrupted me as I was about to dig into a batch of Vegan Carrot Cake Chia Pudding.
This stuff is so good I would actually rather eat it than chocolate. That's pretty hard to believe for a chocolate addict as I am. It's also easy to make which pleases me.

Vegan Carrot Cake Chia Pudding
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 3 T. chia seed
  • 1 scoop vegan rice protein powder
  • powdered stevia
  • 1 -2 T. pumpkin seeds
  • 1 T. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 T. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk or other non-dairy "milk"
  • Optional: 1 tsp. agave or coconut nectar
  • Artisana coconut butter for drizzling on top
  • Grate carrot in your food processor. Add everything else except the Artisana coconut butter. Pulse until everything is mixed. Pour into container for refrigerating overnight. Drizzle on coconut butter just before eating.
I submitted this recipe to Weekend Wellness at

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate-Zucchini Brownie in a Mug or Pan

Chocolate-Zucchini Pan of Pudding Brownies
Chocolate-Zucchini Brownie in a Mug
Bailey and Kona lounging

 Desserts are my downfall, especially chocolate ones. That's why I've decided to make single-serving desserts as much as possible. My theory is there will no longer be the call of the leftover desserts from the freezer or fridge.

I probably sabotaged my whole plan by making my first single-serving dessert creation a microwavable one that can be ready in five or less minutes. Oh well, I guess I will need some willpower after all.

I took a full-size recipe for vegan and gluten-free brownie pudding cake (pictured above) and modified it to add zucchini and make one serving. Below are both single-serve and pan recipes.

Chocolate-Zucchini Brownie in a Mug (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Make one huge serving or two small ones.

  1. one medium-sized microwavable mug (I used a small one and had an overflow problem.)
  2. pan spray
  3. 4 T. amaranth flour or other gluten-free flour
  4. 1/4 cup grated zucchini
  5. 2 T. raw cacao
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 1/2 tsp. chia seed mixed with 1 T. water
  8. 3 T. cultured coconut kefir milk or regular coconut milk
  9. 1 T. melted coconut oil
  10. 1 T. coconut sugar or other sweetener
  11. 1 T. cacao nibs
  12. 1/2 tsp. gluten free baking powder
  13. 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 tsp. cacao and 1 T. coconut sugar
  1. Spray mug with pan spray.
  2. Measure flour, zucchini, salt, cacao, baking powder in mug.
  3. Place chia in water in a separate container and let stand for a few minutes before adding to mug ingredients.
  4. Add coconut kefir or milk, chia, coconut oil and cacao nibs and mix.
  5. Pour on top the water, cacao, coconut sugar mixture.
  6. Microwave 3 minutes and enjoy immediately or later depending on your willpower.
Full Size Chocolate-Zucchini Brownie Pudding Cake
(makes 6 servings)

  1. 1 cup amaranth flour
  2. 1 cup grated zucchini
  3. 1/2 cup coconut milk or coconut kefir
  4. 4 T. cacao powder
  5. 1 T. chia seeds mixed with 4 T. water, allow to set 15 minutes
  6. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp. salt
  9. 2 T. melted coconut oil
  10. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  11. 1 1/2 cups boiling water mixed with 1/3 cup cacao powder, dash of salt and 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all  ingredients (#1-10 in ingredients list) in a large bowl with the exception of the 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 1/3 cup cacao, dash of salt and coconut sugar.
  3. Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking pan.
  4. Pour ingredients #1-10 into baking pan.
  5. Pour boiling water mixture over the top.
  6. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degees.
  7. Serve warm with vegan ice cream.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Okra saute and my journey into raw and veganism

Okra saute plated with veggie burger and savoy cabbage slaw

Savoy and red cabbage slaw

Sometimes I call myself a vegan just to make it easier for others to understand that I cannot eat dairy, eggs and many kinds of meat. It's less complicated than explaining, "You see I have these delayed food allergies to all these things, blah, blah, blah," which usually results in them giving me blank stares.

So, since I've been using the vegan label, I decided I would actually go completely vegan (and dabble into raw cooking sometimes) for two weeks. I also secretly hoped going vegan might help me lose some weight. That was a pipe dream. You see, you actually have to reduce your caloric intake to lose weight.

It's also a perfect time to become vegan as my garden is overflowing with produce. This year, I grew okra, a vegetable I remember fondly from childhood. My father was a good ole Alabama boy who loved his okra. But somehow, eating okra as an adult escaped me. It probably didn't help that everytime I mentioned it to my husband, he would  respond, "Oh, you mean that slimy stuff."

Strangely, I didn't remember it as a slimy vegetable.When I saw okra in this year's seed catalog, I knew I had to give it a try. Okra, fresh from the garden, is amazing! Just make sure you pick it when the pods are four or less inches long. I didn't realize this on my first harvest and let them get really big before picking. It was like eating wood. Pick them small and they are wonderfully tender.

I must admit after many years of not eating okra, I wasn't sure how to prepare it. I searched the internet and found a vegan recipe for okra saute which I adapted to fit my needs.

Okra Veggie Saute on Veggie Burgers with Savoy Cabbage Slaw
(serves one or two)

  1. 5-6 small okra sliced into rounds
  2. pan spray and olive oil
  3. salt and pepper
  4. optional: cumin
  5. half a medium onion sliced into half moons
  6. small or medium zucchini, diced
  7. veggie burger(s)
  8. cole slaw (recipe for my version below)
Directions for Saute:
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet.
  2. Add onion and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Add okra and zucchini and continue cooking until all  veggies are tender. Salt and pepper and add any other spices, herbs.
  4. While the veggies are cooking, slide them over and add your veggie burgers to cook.
  5. Serve on a bed of slaw with a drizzle of your favorite vegan dressing or more of the slaw dressing described below.
Savoy Cabbage Slaw

  1. 1/4 head savoy cabbage chopped
  2. 1/4 head red cabbage chopped
  3. 1 carrot peeled and chopped or shredded
  4. For dressing: 1/4 cup tahini, juice of one lime, 3-4 T. water, 1 tsp. sesame oil, salt and pepper, stevia to taste, 2 diced green onions, 2 T. raw sunflower seeds (Makes more than you will need for slaw.)

  1. Mix dressing ingredients in a food processor. Add more water to make it pourable.
  2. Put veggies in a large bowl and drizzle on desired amount of dressing.
  3. Toss and mix.
I've shared this recipe on

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Post-backpacking reward

Misha and I in the a.m. at Loon Lake
My post-backpacking reward
Lace cookie cones
lace cookie cones before shaping. Notice their airy appearance.
No- cook backpacking cereal with blueberries
Food and environmental allergies, as well as candida, needn’t stop you from getting out and trying new adventures as I found out when I went backpacking. The keys to making it work and having fun are planning and preparation.

I recently completed two overnight adventures with all my gear on my back. That gear included my allergy meds (singulair, nasal wash syringe and solution packets, nasal spray) and all my allergen-free meals and snacks that also were low glycemic.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started preparing my own backpacking foods for a two trips, one for two days and the other for three days. But it was well worth the effort. Our last backpacking trip was into Loon Lake, a 12-mile round trip journey along the Secesh River. The scene I enjoyed in the morning after our hike in the previous day is pictured above. Misha, my husky-malamute, went along.

I enjoyed some great food including No-cook breakfast cereal which was a tweaked version of Breakfast Porridge, a recipe I found on

2 T. unsweetened coconut flakes
2 T. raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 T. chia or flax seeds
2-4 T. quinoa flakes
1 T. vegan rice protein
½-3/4 boiling water
Sweetener of choice
½ cup freeze-dried blueberries
2 T. powdered soy milk

Pre-trip preparation: grind seeds and coconut in a coffee grinder. Transfer to a container and mix in other dry ingredients. Pour into a zippered plastic bag. Place blueberries in a separate pouch. Rehydrate everything with 1/2-3/4 cup boiling water when ready to eat and enjoy. I rehydrated and ate my breakfast in the same heavy-duty freezer bag I used to pack it in. It saves a lot of clean up!

The weather on our outing was a bit hot for the mountains, high 80s, so I was kind of drooling for something cold and refreshing after hiking out. The next day after getting home, I got busy in the kitchen whipping up some blackberry-banana sorbet. That wasn't enough. I also wanted some kind of cone to put it in, just like an ice cream cone. The result was Lace Cookie Cones with Blackberry Sorbet. The cones were super easy to make.

2 T. coconut sugar
1 T. agave nectar or yacon syrup
1/4 cup quinoa flour
3 T. canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pan spray a cookie sheet. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. You should get a fairly runny batter. If not runny, add more oil or agave. Drop by tablespoons-full onto the cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes. The batter should spread out as pictured above. If it doesn't, you will end up with cookies rather than lace cookies.

Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before attempting to move with a spatula. Shape the cookies into cones by wrapping around a wooden spoon handle. Or shape into a small edible dish by placing into a small dessert bowl. Place in the freezer to harden before filling with your favorite frozen dessert.

I made blackberry sorbet with one-cup of fresh blackberries I picked from the garden. Other ingredients included: frozen banana chunks from 1/2 a medium banana, 1 tsp. agave nectar, 2 T.+ coconut milk and dash of stevia.

It came together pretty fast, which was a good thing, as I had been drooling for a frozen dessert since hiking out the day before.

I've entered this recipe in Wellness Weekend at