Dandelion Green Smoothie Recipe (and wisdom from an ancestor)

dandelion smoothie recipe

So, the other day, while crying over the dead and rather gray looking produce that Chicago winters bring, I headed to the greens section at Whole Paycheck to get kale. It was horrid looking.  Next to it, was a few bunches of dandelion greens, which looked perky and happy.

And then it hit me. Yes. Dandelions!  We will make dandelion smoothies. Our livers will rejoice!  I hear by declare:

green smoothies, dandelion green smoothies

My great-grandfather from Sicily (who came to this country at age 12), would often be found roadside foraging for dandelion greens to add to his minestra, or to simply to sautee with a little olive oil and garlic. Then, I remember reading about dandelions and liver detox, and quickly tossed it into my cart.

Americans typically think of dandelion as a noxious weed, but in Europe, Italy especially, they are a prized green.

dandelion smoothie recipe

I can’t wait to trade the cart for a farmer’s market bag. Winter produce in Chicago is mealy, gray, and nasty. We’ve been surviving on frozen fruit and greens. I’m over it!  I’m sure you all are feeling the same way.

I need a lot of raw greens in my diet, because of my MTHFR issue- (a genetic condition that means I don’t metabolize folate and other b vitamins), so I’m glad to add this little smoothie to our weekly menu.  Raw greens are one of the only true sources of quality real food folate.

My boys only eat greens in smoothies or pestos.  Go figure.  Rather than battle with them at meals, I just make sure they drink these smoothies several times a week.  I’m never one to say no to any pesto sauce either.

Now, onto the recipe!

Dandelion Green Smoothie Recipe
 
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Dandelions are the new kale! Drink up!
Author:
Recipe type: smoothie
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cup of whole milk (grass-fed cows) OR full fat coconut milk (if you are CF/vegan)
  • 2 cups dandelion greens
  • 2 medium-sized frozen bananas (I let mine get spotted)
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients into a high powered blender.
  2. I use setting three on my Vitamix for about one minute.
  3. Yes, it’s worth the sticker shock price.
  4. We’ve used it every day for nearly 3 years.

 

To your health,
Nicolette

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Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

butternut squash mac and cheese recipe, gluten-free mac and cheese recipe

It’s winter. Comfort food takes precedence, right?  Now that we’ve added grass-fed dairy back into our diets (can I get an Amen?), I’ve reintroduced my kids to some family favorites.  I grew up on the boxed powdered stuff.  Homemade mac and cheese is heaven in comparison.  I dreamed up this recipe, because frankly, butternut squash is the right color and texture for sneaking it in to mac and cheese.

Despite my profound love of healthy eating, my kids, like many American kids, aren’t crazy about many vegetables in their normal form.   So, it’s my duty to be as sneaky as possible.  Butternut squash loads this dish with vitamin A, and the grass-fed dairy actually activates the vitamin A, because it’s a fat-soluble vitamin.   Meaning, without fat, your vitamins A, D, E, and K just don’t work.  True story.

butternut squash mac and cheese recipe, gluten-free mac and cheese recipe

 So, behold!  This gluten-free butternut squash mac and cheese reheats well too.  Why?  The squash and cheese mixture doesn’t congeal!

I’ve made this probably 50 times at this point.  It’s a fast meal if you prep a lot of frozen pureed butternut squash in ice cube trays.  My kids like the goat cheese version of these.  Why?  My kids are weird.  They love goat cheese, hummus, and green smoothies.

Hope you like this new plugin I found! Now you can print my creations and have my caustic wit forever in your cookbooks and recipes boxes. I’m working through my catalog of recipes (some with really BAD photos from 4 years ago, so stay tuned!!)

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
 
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If your kids are veggie-haters, this is a perfect way to sneak them in!
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Side Dish
Cuisine: Americana/ Sneaky Veggies
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • medium butternut squash, roasted
  • 1 cup of cheese* (goat, romano, or even Kerrygold- opt for grass-fed dairy here!)
  • 2 T of milk or alternative milk
  • *if you are vegan: use soaked 1cup cashews with 2 Tables of nutritional yeast. You need a high-power blended like a vitamix or Blentec though.
  • ½ bag of Trader Joe’s GF organic brown rice pasta spirals. One of the best and cheapest GF pastas out there.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of the squash.
  3. Place face down in the glass pan
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. About 20 minutes in, start boiling your water for the noodles.
  6. Cook noodles for 9 minutes. Perfect every time! Set aside.
  7. Let the squash cool slightly, then scoop and toss the seeds.
  8. Scoop out flesh.
  9. Add to a high power blender (I use a Vitamix. Worth every penny.)
  10. Add cheese.
  11. Add 2 tablespoons of milk.
  12. Blend on high for one minutes.
  13. Pour the happiness on your cooked GF pasta.
  14. Be amazed at how the color looks like the “mac and cheese” you used to eat as a kid in the blue box. Pat yourself on the back that your kids will eat roughly ½ pound of squash without knowing.

 

linking up at: food renegade,Sunday Showcase

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Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad Recipe: Anti-Estrogen and Vital to Women’s Health


Once I hit 33 last year, some funky female stuff starting happening. Breakouts in the facial regions that show estrogen dominance (side of cheeks, hairline), sore boobs to the point that I visited my OB… you get the idea. It’s funny how the human body works. If you take artificial hormones of any kind (I sure as hell DON’T given my history of migraines)…you need to read on, because chances are, you are estrogen dominant.

All the women in my family were DONE with menopause at age 40. I’m 34. I’m determined to break that trend. My OB, after I questioned her, is certain that I am not perimenopausal, but given the signs of estrogen dominance I had going on, I turned to the alternative circuits to correct all the annoying health issues I had surface in the past year.  Homeopathy has helped, but I also think my diet needed to be adjusted.

A pill for every ill is not my style.

The first place, I turn is the kitchen.

Dr. Ray Peat, PhD in biology, brilliant yet on the fringes of health research, has this to say about estrogen dominance…

According to Dr. Ray Peat:

Endotoxin formed in the bowel can block respiration and cause hormone imbalances contributing to instability of the nerves, so it is helpful to optimize bowel flora, for example with a carrot salad; a dressing of vinegar, coconut oil and olive oil, carried into the intestine by the carrot fiber, suppresses bacterial growth while stimulating healing of the wall of the intestine. The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol, and so is as appropriate for epilepsy as for premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, or arthritis.

In plain English, carrots keep the system moving, and acts as a natural antibiotic which promotes good bacteria.  The lowly carrot.

ray peat raw carrot salad recipe

So, indeed, I am trying this out to see if I see improvement in any of my symptoms.  I will report back. I’ve always craved raw carrot, so I found this to be one of those “ah-ha” moments for me.  And in all things health, of course, I have to pass along the good word.

A few things I’ve learned from the interwebs:

1.) It must the the WHOLE carrot, and not the juice.  It’s the fiber in the carrot that gives this benefit.

2.) It’s critical to have the coconut oil with the vinegar to maximize the benefit of the raw carrot.

Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad Recipe: Anti-Estrogen and Vital to Women’s Health
 
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-1 organic medium carrot peeled and grated -2 tsp of melted coconut oil -2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar -sprinkle of good quality sea salt
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • -1 organic medium carrot peeled and grated
  • -2 tsp of melted coconut oil
  • -2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • -sprinkle of good quality sea salt
Instructions
  1. Grate carrot. According to Peat, the grating is essential.
  2. Make dressing by melting coconut oil over low heat. If it’s above 75 degrees, your coconut oil may already be liquid.
  3. Combine.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
  5. Repeat this daily until your symptoms decrease.
  6. Reporting back as of 3/14: It has worked for me!

Let me know if this helps you!
Nicolette

p.s. Post is intended for educational purposes only. Read my disclaimer here.

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Gluten-free Crepes Recipe

gluten free crepes recipe

Gluten-free and breakfast in my experiences, are often antonyms.  Chicago boasts some of the most incredible breakfast and brunch spots in the country, but the vast majority of them don’t have gluten-free options for me and the kids. There’s a crepe place downtown on Clark Street that has some of the most mouth-watering looking crepes I’ve seen.  Or, in Manhattan, The Crooked Tree Creperie.  I haven’t been to New York in a decade, and I still have impure thoughts about their arugula and goat cheese crepes.  And for dessert, banana and nutella crepes.  I may have eaten at that place a dozen times, when I used to hop on a plane back in college and crash at my friend Anna’s for a few weeks each year.  Ah, the joys of being young and without responsibility.

My daydreams of a gluten-filled past leads me to a great deal of experimentation. I’ll be damned if I can’t eat my memories of some of the best meals recreated.  Often times costly and energy-consuming experimentation, but hell, if these gluten-free recipes are a nod to the former breakfast treats I used to enjoy, I can pass along those memories to my sons without them feeling left out.  For those of you looking to cut down on the gluten, and still have a palatable breakfast option…this one’s for you.

Now, that we’ve incorporate grass-fed dairy back into our diets, gluten-free cooking and baking is more decadent.  For those of you who are CF, simply sub out the milk/butter for coconut milk/oil.  If you are casein-free, coconut oil and milk is the way to go.

So, I present to you, dear readers: a recipe for the books.  It’s just as good as those little gluten-free donuts that “went viral” on Pinterest a few months back…

gluten free crepes recipe

 

Gluten-free Crepes Recipe
 
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Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 T of melted butter
  • 3 T of coconut flour
  • 1 T of arrowroot starch (tapioca starch works well also)
  • dash of sea salt
  • {The batter will be runny…that is okay}
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. I have the high-end Vitamix. If you cook as much as I do…this car payment blender is worth it. I use it daily. It does everything but clean my house. Most blenders will be fine for this as you are not liquifying nuts.
  2. The killer part: thy batter must take a ten-minute naps in a glass bowl. This rest is crucial as coconut flour is a finnicky little princess who needs time to thicken.
  3. Now, the fun part. If you have a crepe pan, great. If not, a griddle will do. Preheat that sucker on medium for a few minutes, and cover it in grass-fed butter. {If you are CF or dairy-free…coconut oil would be a great sub}.
  4. Pour the batter into an outline rectangle shape, and wait a few moments and fill in the center.
  5. If your batter gets sloppy, so what. Consider it a teachable moment for your kids…what shape is this, little Johnny?
  6. Cook on each side for roughly two minutes, and set off to the side.
  7. Fill with your favorites.A dinner option leftover: chicken, arugula, and pesto. Or berries from your garden…

 

 

 

 

Notes from the tiny urban kitchen:

-These fold, unlike many GF crepe recipes I’ve tried.  {It took 3 attempts to get this recipe right…}

-These also refrigerate and reheat well.  Stay in on a Friday night, and make a dozen for breakfast during the week.

 

Given the high protein and fat content, unlike traditional crepes that used to give me the “I’m hungries” one hour later…these suckers keep me full for hours, don’t give me migraines like their wheat-filled cousins, and best of all…they are kid-approved.

 

Happy eating,

Nicolette

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gluten-free baked cinnamon sugar donut recipe

gluten-free baked donut recipe

I have a confession to make.  Long before I went gluten-free, I had a donut addiction.  Namely, chocolate cake glazed donuts from the Dunkin’ and anything from Krispy Kreme.  You’d often find me on the near west side of my great city, in a drive-thru polishing off a donut {or two} with a large black coffee on the way to teaching.

gluten-free cinnamon sugar donut recipe-004

Funny, how times change.  Now, I write a blog that focuses a lot on health.   But my love of donuts…still remains.  Here in Chicago you can’t hit a busy street without passing at least two Dunkins.  I told the King this weekend, I need donuts in my life again.

I’ve ruined enough recipes in three years of being gluten-free, so I knew the almost grain-free version of this would work.

So, I ordered a few silicon donut baking molds.  Dreamed up this recipe, and nailed it on the first try.

I actually consider this a healthy treat- it’s really not “junk food” like it’s conventional fast food counter parts.  We have  pastured eggs.  Grass-fed butter.  Almonds and cashews.  Honey. In my real foodie opinion, these are all good for you.  The donut itself isn’t that sweet, but the crispy cinnamon sugar coating is what makes it.

The sugar content in this gluten-free donut recipe is less than most cereals.

We’ve made three batches of these perfect gluten-free cinnamon sugar donuts.  Moose and Monkey highly approve and have requested them over and over.  And over.  And over.

Indeed, sons.  We will.

I can live in a world without birthday cake, but  without donuts, well, that would be pure hell.

gluten-free cinnamon sugar donut recipe-003

I’m salivating…are you?

gluten-free baked donut recipe

This recipe makes 6-7 donuts, depending on the size of your molds.  My molds are not quite a mini, but not quite a regular size.  If the sugar were omitted and replaced with coconut sugar, these would be grain-free and paleo friendly.

gluten-free baked cinnamon sugar donut recipe
 
Prep time
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FOR THE BATTER: ½ cup raw whole cashews ½ cup blanched almonds ¼ cup grass-fed butter {those who are casein-free, sub coconut oil here} 2 Tbsp of raw honey 3 pastured or organic eggs 1 tsp of vanilla extract ½ tsp of baking soda ¼ tsp of sea salt 1 tsp of cinnamon ½ tsp nutmeg FOR THE TOPPING 1 T Cinnamon 3 T Sugar {you can use coconut sugar here too if you need lower glycemic or are avoiding grains} ¼ cup melted grass-fed butter or coconut oil 1.) Here’s the best part. Throw all batter ingredients into a high powered blender. Blend until smooth. That’s it. I have a Vitamix, which is the price of a car payment, but given that I have used it daily for over a year, it’s worth it. If you cook at all, it’s work it. 2.) Pour the batter into ungreased silicon molds. That’s the beauty of silicon- no greasing! I filled mine about ⅘ths full, which covered the center. 3.) Baked at 350 for 13-16 minutes. Use the toothpick trick to make sure your donuts are done. 3.) Allow them to cool a bit, for about five minutes in the silicone molds. I’d suggest making the sugar coating at this time, because you will be salivating. Or peruse Pinterest. 3.5) You have to pop the donut hole out. The backside puffs up a bit, but you could just cover it in the topping {simply double the amount}. 4.) Melt the butter for the topping, and mix the cinnamon and sugar. Dip in butter first, then the topping. 5.) Devour, enjoy, repeat. 6.) Come back here and leave a comment about them.
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BATTER:
  • ½ cup raw whole cashews
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • ¼ cup grass-fed butter {those who are casein-free, sub coconut oil here}
  • 2 Tbsp of raw honey
  • 3 pastured or organic eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • ¼ tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 1 T Cinnamon
  • 3 T Coconut Sugar
  • ¼ cup melted grass-fed butter or coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Here’s the best part. Throw all batter ingredients into a high powered blender. Blend until smooth. That’s it. I have a Vitamix, which is the price of a car payment, but given that I have used it daily for over a year, it’s worth it. If you cook at all, it’s work it. Seriously.
  2. Pour the batter into ungreased silicon molds. That’s the beauty of silicon- no greasing! I filled mine about ⅘ths full, which covered the center.
  3. Baked at 350 for 13-16 minutes. Use the toothpick trick to make sure your donuts are done.
  4. Allow them to cool a bit, for about five minutes in the silicone molds. I’d suggest making the sugar coating at this time, because you will be salivating. Or peruse Pinterest.
  5. You have to pop the donut hole out. The backside puffs up a bit, but you could just cover it in the topping {simply double the amount}.
  6. Melt the butter for the topping, and mix the cinnamon and sugar. Dip in butter first, then the topping.
  7. Devour, enjoy, repeat.
  8. Come back here and leave a comment about them.

silicone is for baking not implants

 

 

Here’s to many more gluten-free treats,

Nicolette

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sweet potato oven fries recipe

sweet potato oven free recipe

Most store-bought fries are coated in flour or wheat starch, so the convenience factor for my family is out of the question.   Luckily, with enough experimentation, this recipe replicates what I miss so much about those bagged and easy fries.

With a little more elbow grease and cleanup, at least I know what is going into our food.

As an added bonus, my boys are gobbling up these lil vitamin a powerhouses.  For those on SCD or GAPS diets, I hear butternut squash works well, but then you can’t use any starches to coat them.  Maybe they could be coated with a nut flour?  Hmmm.  I smell another recipe coming on…

I n g r e d i e n t s
– 2 large sweet potatoes
– 2 T potato starch
-Misto sprayer with extra virgin olive oil {or melted coconut oil or ghee}
-kosher salt or large grain salt

D i r e c t i o n s
0.) Preheat oven to 425 degree.
1.) Scrub potatoes and cut in half . Or save the time and use a fry cutter.
2.) Place the raw fries in a large baggie and toss with the potato starch {corn starch can also be used, but I prefer potato starch}
3.) Arrange on a glass baking dish lined with parchment or a nonstick silicon pad {this is key as it gives the fries more crisp}.  I use the non bleached variety.
4.) Spray the fries with olive oil sprayer.  Sprinkle with salt.
5.) Bake for 15-20 minutes.   {I’ve found that if you have a convection setting you don’t need to flip them during baking, if not, you should}

 

Have your fries…and eat them too,

Nicolette

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Back to School Breakfast Idea: My Kids Eat Salmon!

salmon+spread+recipe-+back+to+school+breakfast+ideas+.jpg
Many people are shocked that I don’t feed my kids cereal for breakfast.  Ever.  Once upon a time, we did.   I recall throwing o-shaped cereal on my kids’ high chairs. Like every day. After the gluten-free diet took hold here over two years ago, things changed rapidly.

We hired a nutritionist.  She said something to me that stuck, “All cereal, even the stuff marketed as healthy is garbage.  Eat a farmer’s breakfast, loaded with fat, protein, and good carbs.”

So we did.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the newest creations that we eat at breakfast.  Sure, it’s not always easy or convenient, but I know my boys are faring well, given that both of them are in the 90th percentiles for weight.

Look closely at Ron English’s artwork for a quick laugh…

true cereal boxes wacky packages 300x291 Cereal Boxes That Tell It Like It Is! Artist Packaging Parodies

Ron English’s art via Babble

Paired with a green smoothie, this breakfast is super easy.

Smoked Salmon Spread Recipe

*one 4 oz pack of wild-caught smoked salmon
*juice of one lemon
*chives
*1/4 cup soaked cashews or full-fat cream cheese
that’s it.

1.) Toss everything in a food processor.
2.) Pulse.
3.) Spread on toast, bagels, crackers, or cut up carrots and other kid-friendly veggies.Salmon is loaded with protein and omega 3s.  Plus, when getting out the door, this is as quick as pouring a bowl of cereal!

Need more ideas?
Check out my breakfast gallery from last year.  Especially, the chilaquiles.
Thanks for reading,
Nicolette
Don’t miss a post!  {I’ve deleted GFC,  so here’s the new ways to stay in touch}
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Mango Salsa Recipe

easy+mango+salsa+recipe
{reposted from Summer 2011}

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, then I will keep this short and spicy.

-four mangoes
-two limes, juiced
-1/2 small red onion
-3 T {or slightly more} of cilantro leaves, chopped
-1/2 organic red pepper *use organic because this is one of the dirty dozen loaded with pesticides according to EWG {Environmental Working Group}
-1 jalepeno {diced and deseeded, or leave the seeds if you want the hot factor}

1.) Score mango in its skin.  Pop out the cubes with your fingers.
2.) Chop the rest of the ingredients, combine.

Since I don’t tolerate corn all the time, I often pair it with black beans or smother grilled chicken with the mango salsa.

Enjoy…
Nicolette

Sharing @ 504 Main


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gluten-free & dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

gluten+free+and+dairy+free+chocolate+chip+cookie+recipe-001

Look no further, dear reader, you have found a perfectly decadent gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that also happens to be dairy-free.  It even fooled by gluten-eating husband, who inhaled a dozen on Father’s Day.

Many of the store-bought gluten-free cookies taste a little funky. Metallic.  Slightly off.  Some are great in a pinch, but nothing, can replace freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  The smell alone sends the boys running to the oven, peeking and hoping…

Over the better part of the past two years, I have been been tinkering with my recipe.  Playing with the multitudes of GF flours.  A bonus of this recipe? Coconut sugar {lower on the GI index}.

And finally, on Father’s Day, these babies were born.

Perfect.

In lieu of butter or ghee, I used a mixture of coconut and palm oil {which is non-hydrogenated shortening}.   Both of these fats are healthy saturated fats, loaded with medium-chain fatty acids.  Coconut oil is in a bit of a revival now, after years of being treated like the red-headed step-child.  I’ve noticed palm oil returning in some store-bought goods.

Behold…

 

{DRY}
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2  cup sorghum flour
3 tablespoons of tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
{WET}
1 egg + 1 egg yolk  {room temperature}
3 tablespoon of almond milk {or milk of your choice}
1.5 cups of coconut sugar
1/2 cup palm oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon of gf vanilla
1 10oz bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips {the only soy-free chips I can find}

 

Preheat your oven to 350F.
1.) Sift all dry ingredients together.  Set aside.
2.) Cream coconut sugar and both oils in a stand-up mixer.
3.) Beat eggs, alternative milk, and vanilla together.  Add to creamed sugar/oil.
4.) Slowly, add the flour, about 1/4 cup of at a time, to the mixer.
5.) Last, but not least, add the minichips.
6.) Use a tablespoon to measure out the cookies, and flatten them.  Do not leave them in a mound, they will not bake as evenly.
7.) Bake at 350F degrees for 10-12 minutes.  {I use unbleached reusable parchment paper from Whole Foods}
8.) Move to a cooling rack, if you don’t attack them fresh from the oven like I did.
Enjoy.
They really are THE BEST.
With love,
Nicolette
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