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Zucchini comfort “noodles”

5 Sep

Can I get a collective “booooo” to a rainy Labor Day weekend? Fall is definitely on its way and there’s a new recipe that’s going to be in my regular rotation this winter! It’s from The Clothes Make the Girl and is warm, comforting, delicious, and “cheesy” despite being dairy- free.

Comfort Noodles
Serves 1

Ingredients: (very slightly modified from the original recipe)

  • 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour or almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 t. dried parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

See the original recipe.  I promise, it’s not complicated.  Took me 10 minutes, tops, to prepare.

The best gazpacho you’ve ever had

25 Aug

Anyone else overrun with garden veggies right now?  You’re in luck, this recipe is ah-may-zing, simple, and uses the “big 3” we’re all swimming in right now- tomatoes, red peppers, and cucumbers.  (Now if only I could get rid of this yellow squash!)

 

The trick to making a proper gazpacho instead of a bowl of salsa is to roast the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. This really mellows the garlic and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, and the addition of sherry vinegar makes it “pop.”  It’s good right away but even better if it sits in the fridge overnight, allowing the flavors to mingle.

 

Roasted Pepper Gazpacho
Raspberry & Coconut
Adapted from a very old issue of Bon Appetit

  • 4-6 tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 cucumbers, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • ~1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ~1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Cut the red peppers on the vertical and remove seeds. Place cut-side down on a cookie sheet along with tomatoes and peeled whole garlic cloves. Roast at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until tomatoes and peppers are slightly charred. You can do this on a grill as well. Let the roasted veggies cool to room temperature.

Set aside your chopped cucumber and three roasted tomatoes. Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until almost puree’d. Add cucumbers and tomatoes, and pulse until the gazpacho reaches your desired consistency.

Quick n fluffy 48 calorie chocolate shake

18 Aug

Craving a chocolate shake but don’t have any gelatin prepared in advance?  I’ve perfected the art of “quick setting” gelatin in a shake using ice and a blender!   I daresay it’s better than the original recipe, but it’s also lighter and fluffier- if you’re craving something more substantial check out the original gelatin shake recipe.

The shake I made in the demonstration video was absolutely perfect!  It takes a bit of tweaking to get it just right- too much gelatin, you’ll get fluffy mousse that’s delicious but has to be eaten with a spoon, too little, your shake will be runny, too much ice and you’ll have more of a slushie than a shake.  Also- my experience adding fats (avocado/ almond milk) has not been good, as these seem to “un-fluffy” the “fluffyness.”

Fluffy Chocolate Shake
Raspberry & Coconut
48 calories / 0.7 g fat/ 3.5 carbs/ 1.8 fiber/ 7.1 protein

  • water*
  • 1 T. gelatin
  • ice
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • stevia
  • 1 t. vanilla

*let the gelatin “flower” in 2/3 c. water before microwaving 30-45 seconds.  Add the rest after pouring the mixture over ice, as demonstrated below.

Chocolate milk shake with GELATIN!!!

31 Jul

Here’s another recipe using my basic gelatin prep method.  Watch and learn, my friends!

 

A perfect dairy- free cuppa coffee

29 Jul

Starbucks VIA + hot water + 1/4 c. Trader Joe’s unsweetened almond milk = PERFECT coffee.

If there’s anything I think about more than food.. it’s coffee.  The smell of it sets me into a tizzy.  The coffee itself, well, it changes me, man.  I don’t get hyper but it definitely flips a switch, transforming me from 8-AM “omg I hate riding the bus and work and hard boiled eggs” Lauren to Mother ‘freakin Theresa.  But I just hate black coffee, and dairy doesn’t sit well.  So, up until a few weeks ago, it was either deny my cravings or spend $2.50 at Crazy Mocha, add some half and half and sweet ‘n low, savor it for five minutes and spend the rest of the day with a mild tummy ache and the rest of the week with a pimple.  The former won out in all but my most desperate moments.

That was until I discovered Starbucks VIA through my boyfriend’s coworker, a member of a restaurant supply store that sells 50 for $10.  Lately, though, boyfriend’s stash is low and he’s being stingy with disbursements of said substance, despite my desperate text messages of “COFFEE PLZ PLZ PLZ” around 4:00 every day.  You can get them 50 for $28 at Amazon.com- free shipping, too!  Still only $.57 for 16oz!  Just add hot water, and dare I say it, it’s BETTER than chain coffee!

Also new to my life is Trader Joe’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  I’ve tried SO MANY substitutes for creamer- Almond Breeze, hemp milk, coconut milk, coconut creamer, stevia, cashew milk… nothing ever measured up.  This stuff is awesome- it’s 40 calories per cup and the PERFECT mate for VIA.  I’m a fiend for sweetness, but this combo doesn’t need anything, it’s delightful and nutty and so much “lighter” than coffee with cream- perfect for summer!

I’ve found the Holy Grail of coffee for you, my dairy- free friends. So, tell me below- do you have a favorite brand of coffee? What’s your perfect ‘cuppa?

Chocolate Pudding- made with gelatin

25 Jul

A few years ago, after diet number “who knows” battling the last 15 pounds of my 60+ weight loss, my hair was thinning and my nails were brittle.  Enter flavorless gelatin, derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin and bones.  (Macabre.  And I used to be a vegan.)  It has about 30 calories per tablespoon and is all protein, mainly glycine and proline.  Want to learn more about the health benefits of gelatin? Click HERE and HERE.

For starters, you can get the basic Knox brand from the store, but a much cheaper option is to order in bulk.  I’ve used NOW brand beef gelatin powder, which is about $25 for FIVE POUNDS (which lasts FOREVER) as well as Great Lakes brand, which is considerably more expensive but is a finer powder (which lends to slightly better gelling) and is from free-range cows (you can order porcine gelatin as well, but I haven’t yet tried this.)

I’ve experimented with using it to thicken soup, ice cream, smoothies, and to make my own “jigglers.”   Of all these methods, my favorite by far is “moo-sse.”  Seriously, I LOVE this stuff and eat it almost every day.  The gelatin keeps my nails and hair strong and shiny, and this fairly low-calorie dessert keeps me satisfied after dinner.  You get a HUGE serving for around 100 low-carb calories. Plus- there are INFINITE possibilities for mix-ins!  I’m sharing my recipe for basic chocolate pudding in this post, but STAY TUNED for many more, and please, feel free to share any combinations you dream up!

First, I’ll show you how to set the gelatin:

Basic gelatin prep:
Makes enough for about two servings of pudding

2 T Gelatin
4 c. Water

Measure 1 c. water into a microwave-safe container.  Sprinkle gelatin into the water and immediately whisk with a fork until combined.  Let the mixture sit undisturbed for about 8 minutes.  Pop the whole thing in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until water is warm, almost hot, to the touch.**   Add the remaining 3 c. water and whisk until blended, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.  This stuff will keep for awhile- I’ve never had any spoil on me.

**Note: If you have a fancy-schmancy microwave, it will take less time.  I have the cheapest one I could find- but I would imagine the longest you’d want to heat the water with any model would be about 1:15.  It’s important to get this “just right,” so I wouldn’t recommend doubling or halving the recipe.

On to the MOO-SSE (get it?!):

Chocolate Moo-sse

  • ~2 T Cocoa (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • Liquid Stevia, to taste

Optional add-ins:

  • Almond or Coconut milk
  • Cayenne pepper (personal favorite!  You’ve gotta try it!)
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Maca powder
  • Avocado
  • A tiny bit of xanathan or guar gum to thicken and smooth
  • Cottage cheese (If you can tolerate dairy, I HIGHLY recommend this- it makes the pudding extra creamy)
  • A TBSP or two of heavy cream

Minimalist Egg Salad

20 Jul

I’ve had this for breakfast every morning while on my diet- more about that in my next post!  I feel my best with a protein rich breakfast- and I’m still sort-of convinced that eating six whole eggs every day just might give me a heart attack.   Since I’m keeping my carbs super low- around 20g/day, I was planning to have a few hard boiled eggs and egg whites without the yolks (ick!) but tried this instead.  It is egg-cellent!  No mayo, either, and I don’t miss it at all!

Minimalist Egg Salad
Raspberry & Coconut
1 huge serving, about 1.5 cups.

  • 3 whole hard boiled eggs
  • 3 hard boiled egg whites
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 1 T. dill relish (not sweet relish)
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 t. dijon mustard
  • a squirt of hot sauce
  • Salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (if you have it)

Using a fork, smash together your three yolks and everything else aside from the whites.  You’ll get a thick, yellow dressing.  Chop the whites and mix to coat.  Refrigerate overnight and sprinkle with salt and pepper again before serving.

291 calories / 16 g. fat / 3 g. carbs / 30 g. protein

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