Category Archives: main dish

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Turkey Mushroom Burgers with Cherry Tomato Pineapple Salsa (SCD/Paleo/GAPS) & 10 Side-Dish Suggestions

Mmmm, burgers.  Burgers are one of the easiest dinners to make.  And I’m all about easy (I mean really, who wants to get cooking burn-out on Monday).  If you’re like me, you make just about everything from scratch, so it’s nice to have an easy dinner to jump-start the week.  We don’t eat beef but LOVE to use ground turkey or chicken for our burgers.  The addition of sauteed mushrooms and onions to this recipe really kicks the yum factor up a notch.  These are super delish and I just adore the sweet savory touch from the salsa.  I like to tinker around with different ingredients to spice things up (see my veggie and sun dried tomato burgers for another great recipe).  I hope everyone enjoyed their Monday.  Happy Memorial Day.    

Mushroom Burgers
-1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (preferably organic free range)
-2 cups crimini mushrooms, chopped 
-1 cup red onion, small chop
-2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or gluten free Worcestershire sauce – but this is not SCD/Paleo/GAPS) – omit both coconut ominos and Worsh if strict SCD.  
-1/4 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon onion granules 
-2 teaspoons garlic granules 
-2 tablespoons oil

How To:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
1.  In a medium skillet, add in the oil, mushrooms, onions, and 1/4 teaspoons salt.  Saute on medium heat until soft and well sauteed.  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, add the meat, coconut aminos (or Worcestershire), 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion granules, garlic granules.  Mix.
3.  Add in the mushroom and onion mixture.  Mix.
4. Form into patties and bake for 25 – 30 minutes (or until internal temp reaches 180 degrees). 
*Makes 6 patties

Cherry Tomato Pineapple Salsa
-1 can organic pineapple chunks, drained (use 1 cup fresh if in season)
-1 1/2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
-2 1/2 tablespoons diced shallot
-1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 
-Juice from 1 lime 
-3/4 teaspoon garlic granules 
-1/2 to 1 teaspoons salt (to taste)

How To:
Salsa is best made a few hours ahead of time
1. Drain the pineapple juice from can (save this juice, it’s great,  kids love it).  Chop the pineapple to desired chunkiness.  
2.  To your pineapple add in the chopped cherry tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.  
For an easy side dish, try sliced roasted carrots.  Simply slice carrots and toss with salt, garlic granules, coconut oil and roast on 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  
Here are some other super easy side dish ideas for your burger night

Shared on: Whole Food Fridays 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: GAPS, main dish, Paleo, SCD, summer cuisine.


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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Medley (gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian)

Well hello fabulous you!  How is your weekend?  I am up in gorgeous Northern California – we are up visiting family this weekend (which is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive north of us from here in the Sacramento Valley).  My awesome-possum sister is visiting from New York!  I’m close with my brother toowe all enjoy spending time together and laugh uncontrollably quite often.  My brother lives close by here in California and my little 8-month old nephew is the cutest thing EVER (see for yourself below)I just want to eat him up with two scoops of ice cream.  He’s just precious and he loves playing with his cousins.  Okay, so back to the food.  I’ve had some time this weekend to finish up this post with an Indian inspired recipe I’ve been making for a few months and very excited to share with you.  It’s a sweet dish that’s full of wonderful spice and flavors.  Great on its own, as a side, with rice (I serve it with boiled millet) or with with a meat (such as lamb or chicken), also GREAT for potlucks or such gatherings.  Enjoy.  
-1 cup chopped yellow onion
-2 cups peeled chopped carrots 
-2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes 
-3 cups soaked and boiled garbanzo beans (or 2 cans garbanzos)
-2 cans salt-free chopped tomatoes*
-1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots (small chop)
-3/4 cup canned coconut milk 
-2 tablespoons honey (vegans use maple syrup or coconut sugar)
-3 tablespoons of oil
-1/2 teaspoons salt
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
-1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 
-1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon 
-A few turns of the pepper grinder 
-Optional 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

How To:
1.  In a large pot add 3 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the onions.  Saute for 3 minutes.  Next add in the carrots and sweet potatoes and saute for 5 minutes.
2.  Next add in the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, apricots, coconut milk, and all the listed spices.
3.  Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  Turn down to low, gentle simmer and cover for 30 minutes (stir once in a while).  After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue simmering on low for another 30 minutes allowing some of the liquid to thicken.  Before serving, you want to make sure all the veggies are soft and cooked through and the garbanzo beans are soft.  Keep on low heat until ready to serve, or reheat thoroughly before serving.  
Serves 4 to 6 (depending on the serving size – this can be served as meal or as a side dish).

*like this brand for canned tomatoes for off season cooking.   If making this dish in tomato season, use 3 cups fresh chopped heirlooms or small slicers – these have lots of juice.
And here is my sweet, adorable, practically edible nephew
Shared on: Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Motivate Me Mondays, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Wellness Weekend, Whole Food Fridays, Healthy Vegan Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Show  Off Friday, 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, gluten free, main dish, sides.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Enchilada Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce (gluten and dairy free)

Do you have a favorite food?  Mine is, hands down,  Mexican.  It’s been a favorite for years, and it was an easy transition food when I went dairy and gluten free.  And living here in California we are spoiled with amazing Mexican restaurants.  The Mexican culture is also a big part of our lives, as our children are in Spanish Immersion school (learning this great language that is so prominent here in California).  While I would not consider myself a creator of traditional Mexican dishes, the basic spices and staples of the cultural food inspired me greatly.  I reserve two nights a week for something Mexican inspired and with the help of so many amazing gluten and dairy subs these days, it’s easy to create something satisfying and delicious.  I hope you enjoy this fun spin on enchiladas.  
Enchilada Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce 

-1 pack of Rudi’s Gluten Free Fiesta Tortillas 
-16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa.  We like this one
-Daiya non-dairy shredded cheddar cheese*

For Chicken Mixture 
-2 large cooked chicken breast shredded or well chopped up (great use for leftovers)
-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (small chop)
-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow pepper (small chop)
-1 1/2 cups squash – I used a mix of leftover butternut and sweet potato.  (You can use any leftover veggie you have in the fridge.  Or just skip if you don’t have anything).
-1/2 cup soy-free vegenaise
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon garlic granules
-Oil for the saute 

For the Enchilada Sauce
-8 ounces Anaheim peppers, seeded and veins removed (this is where the heat it)
-1 cup chopped yellow onion
-1/4 teaspoons salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt 
-1 1/2 cups filtered water
-1/2 teaspoon cumin 
-1/4 teaspoon garlic granules 
-2 tablespoons oil 
-Salt and pepper to taste

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees 

1.  Anytime that day, preferably before you start making the enchiladas, roast the Anaheim peppers for the enchilada sauce. In a 8×8 glass Pyrex (or favorite roasting dish).  Combine the seeded and de-veined Anaheim peppers, onions, oil, and 1/4 teaspoons salt and toss the ingredients together.  Roast, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes (or until you start to see some browning and roasting action).  After the peppers are roasted, remove and set aside until you are ready to make the sauce.

2. Start now by sauteing the 1 1/2 cups of onions and 1 1/2 cups yellow peppers in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of oil and a dash of salt.  While this is sauteing, work on the chicken mixture.

3.  In a large bowl, add in the chopped (or shredded chicken), vegenaise, salt, and garlic granules.  Mix.  

4.  Return to the onion/pepper saute and add in your cooked squash to warm through.  Then add in this entire sauteed mixture to the chicken mixture and mix thoroughly. 

5.  Now build your enchiladas in a 13×9 glass Pyrex (see instructions and pictures below)

6.  Finally, make your enchilada sauce.  To a blender, add in all the roasted Anaeim peppers and onions.  Add in the 1 1/2 cups filtered water, 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.  Blend on high until mixture is smooth.  Now it’s important to check for spice and add in more salt, cumin, garlic granules, or pepper if needed.  Then pour a generous amount of the enchilada sauce on the enchiladas, making sure to get it all around the sides.  

7.  Baked covered for 45 minutes.  Since I don’t use foil in my kitchen, I simply cover with a stainless steel baking sheet.  Allow enchiladas to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting.  Serves 6.

*Top with dairy free sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, or cilantro.
*I understand that Daiya cheese is not for everyone, so just use real cheese if you can have it, or just omit.  It’s not necessary for this dish to turn out.  It simple adds a cheese-like flavor that my kids love.
Chicken mixture 
Saute mixture
Chicken and saute mixture becomes friends 

How to Assemble

1.  Spread 1/4 cup salsa with some oil on the bottom of the dish
2.  Add in tortillas 
3.  Spread around 1/3 of the chicken mixture
4.  Add some cheese 
5.  Add some Salsa 
6.  Place two more tortillas in the dish
7.  1/3 of the Chicken
8.  Cheese
9.  Salsa 
Then tortillas, chicken, cheese
I layered 3 times for a total of 8 tortillas used
Top everything with the two remaining tortillas and pour on enchilada sauce (I don’t use all of it, but I do drench the dish with it so the top and all sides are covered.  This sauce thickens and firms up when cooking, so you won’t have a sloppy mess – it’s okay to add in lot of sauce.  

Here is the top.  
At this point, pour on your enchilada sauce
Here we are fresh out of the oven
Here is what it looks like cut
Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMealtime Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up MondayFat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays,  Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Fresh Bites Friday, Show  Off Friday, 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dairy free, gluten free, main dish.


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Friday, February 1, 2013

Thick and Creamy Dairy-Free New England Clam Chowder (SCD & Paleo)

It’s been years since my last bowl of clam chowder – years!  And oh man, I love clam chowder.  I really crave the stuff.  Lately I’ve been obsessing about it and I’ve had a recipe idea jumping around in my head for sometime now.  This week I finally brought this idea to reality and made an amazing bowl of dairy-free clam chowder that knocked my socks off.  My husband (who is native to the San Francisco/Bay Area, serious seafood lover, and clam chowder connoisseur) gave this recipe a glowing review.  He sat down to dinner, took at bite, and was very surprised by how close it tasted to the dairy laden stuff he grew up on.  And of course, he instantly declared that this was a MUST recipe for the blog.  So I’m not putting this one off.  I’m very proud of this recipe.  It’s very satisfying, tastes like good-ole’ clam chowder, and extremely filling.  I do hope you enjoy this one.  I’m pretty stoked about it.  
-1 ΒΌ cups yellow onion (1 medium onion)
-2 cups carrots, peeled and small chop 
-1 cup celery, small chop 
-2 cups celery root, peeled and small chop (1 medium celery root)
–2 six ounce cans of clams, chopped up a bit* 
-1/3 cup cooked and chopped bacon (omit if you cannot find SCD/Paleo bacon) 
-1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped 
-2 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 5 hours in filtered water)
-5 cups filtered water (or broth)
-3 tablespoons clam juice
-1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-3 tablespoons olive oil (I recommend olive oil for its buttery flavor)
-Ground pepper to taste, and more salt if needed 

How To:
1.  Crisp up 4 to 5 pieces of GOOD bacon in a pan, then give it a small chop.  Set aside. 
2.  In a soup pot, add in the olive oil, onions, celery root, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 10 minutes on medium low.  
3.  To the onions and celery root, add in the carrots, celery, and fresh thyme and saute for 5 – 7 minutes over medium heat.  Stirring frequently.
4.  When the veggies are tender, add in the two drained cans of clams and 3 tablespoons clam juice (do not add in all the clam juice from both cansjust 3 tablespoons).  Stir clams around with the veggies.  Then add in the final 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons garlic granules, and 2 cups of water (or broth).  Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.  
5.  While the veggies and clams are gently simmering, drain the cashews and add them to a blender with 3 cups filtered water.  Blend on high for 30 seconds.  
6.  Immediately add the blended cashews to the pot with the veggies and clams. Stir and allow everything to come to a GENTLE simmer – please do not boil this mixtureit will not taste great if it burns on the bottom.  Simmer very gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, making sure the veggies and cashew cream does not stick.  I use a large wood spoon, a silicone spatula will also work great.  
7.  The mixture will greatly thicken as it heats up.  After the 5 (gentle) minute simmer, turn the mixture down to very low so the simmering stops, cover, and allow it to continue to warm for 30 minutes, stirring once in a while
8.  After 30 minutes you can serve, or turn the heat off and let the mixture sit.  
9.  When ready to serve, gently heat through, taking care to not burn the mixture.  
-Upon serving, add in some pepper to taste.  Other options include chopped crisp bacon, green onions, a lemon wedge, or chopped parsley. Serves 4

*Serve with grain-free crackers to keep this SCD & Paleo or serve with Gluteno original crackers (these taste like those little oyster crackers typically served with New England Clam Chowder).  Grain free “cornbread” is also excellent with this soup.
*The type of clams you use will make or break this dish.  Once I used two 10-ounce cans of baby boiled clams, and I did not like how it turned out at all.  Here is what I used and really liked.  It provided a great clam flavor and overall I was very pleased with the texture and taste.  
Shared on: Fat Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Fridays, 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, main dish, Paleo, SCD, Soup.


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Monday, January 21, 2013

Delicious French Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash and Dino Kale (SCD Friendly, Vegan)

There’s a great little restaurant down the street from my house and next door to my beloved Davis Foods Coop, called Monticello. They serve seasonal cuisine and uphold a farm to plate menu (they even have their own farm!) – I just love that.  Their menu is awesome, serving up organic chicken, gluten free breads, a ton of vegan soups, organic salad, etc.  If you are ever in Davis (California), call me and I will take you there.  It’s fabulous, fresh and healthy.  A few months ago I took my son to this favorite spot for lunch.  Their soup of the day knocked my socks off.  It was so simple, yet so delicious.  I asked what was in the soup (without getting too nosy), then rushed next door to my Coop and gathered the ingredientsand I made it that night for dinner.  It’s a simple French lentil soup, but what makes it extra special is the addition of kale and butternut squash.  The butternut squash and carrots impart a delicate sweetness to the dish and the tender kale is the perfect texture against the creamy lentils.  I played around with the recipe a few times until I found the perfect ratios. I hope you also enjoy this soup.  It’s very satisfying.  Oh, and I love it the next morning with two fried eggs, avocado, and a splash of hot sauce.  
Superb my friends.  
-2 cups onions, small chop 
-2 cups carrots, peeled and small chop
-3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and small cubed 

-1/2 pound (8 ounces) of dino kale, wash and remove large stem  

-2 cups French lentils, soaked for 6 – 8 hours* (please see notes about the soaking).   
-7 cups filtered water 
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons oil
-3 turns of the pepper grinder

How To:
1.  In large soup stock pan (my dutch oven is too small for this recipe), add onions, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
2.  Add in the carrots and butternut squash and saute for 3 to 5 minutes.  
3.  Drain the lentils of their soaking water and add them to the pot, along with the garlic granules, the additional 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and water.  Bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes.
4.  Turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
5.  After 45 minutes, uncover.  Tear the kale with your hands as you add it to the pot.  Stir kale around and bring the soup to very gentle simmer.  Simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until kale is nice and tender.  
6.  Turn off heat and let sit until ready to serve (cover if you wish).  Warm through before serving.  Serves 6 adults.  I like to serve with a wedge of lemon.  

*The lentils must be soaked for this dish for two reasons: (1) when making SCD soups with lentils, soaking them is necessary, and (2) the water in this soup has been calibrated only to the soaked lentils. I have found soaked verses dried legumes require different water ratios.  So please follow directions as specified for best results.

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Motivate Me Mondays, Monday Mania, Mealtime Monday Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Keep It Real Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Wellness Weekend  Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Whole Foods Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Healthy Vegan Friday Sweet Saturday, 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: main dish, SCD, Soup, vegan, vegetarian, winter cuisine.


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chicken, Black Bean, and Delicata Squash Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce (gluten & dairy free)

Hello friends.  When I wrote this post back in December, we were in the middle of painting our new house.  The Holiday and move came on fast, so this post never made it to the publishing stage.  So, here it is.
Home improvement takes so much time and energy, but it’s so fun to be part of the transformation.  I included some pictures below of our home improvement journey thus far.  But before I talk about this delicious recipe, I want to share with you this awesome paint I found on-lineand lucky for me it’s distributed at one of my favorite eco-home improvement stores in the nearby town of Berkeley.  I love this paint for many reasons, obviously because it’s zero VOC, is free of ozone depleting compounds, formaldehyde  reproductive toxins, and very, very low odor, but also because this company is founded and run by two amazing women, Virginia and Janie – I love nothing more than supporting female driven companies – and companies that are in-line with my eco-friendly, green lifestyle.  You can read about there story here.  Because of these smart, innovative women, folks like me can purchase non-toxic paint for their home and not only spare the air, but spare the health of loved ones.  I personally have enough against me with an auto-immune disease and severe chemical sensitivity.  I can’t tell you how happy and thankful I am for Virginia and Janieand Yolo Colorhouse!!  
Okay, on to the food.  I have been meaning to share this recipe with you since last fall.  So I’m glad to finally get it out there.  It’s a ridiculously easy recipe that you can make your own by adding a variety of ingredients.  And the star of the show is the delicious homemade enchilada sauce, that is so very easy, you will never purchased that canned stuff again!  In my ever evolving efforts to uphold a green, low-waste kitchen, I try to make what I can from scratch.  I hope you will give this recipe a try.  Enjoy! 


For the filling
-2 medium cooked chicken breasts, cubed (or shredded)
-3 medium delicata squash, peeled, cubed, and roasted 
-2 cups prepared black beans (soaked and boiled, preferably)
-One bag room temperature Rudi’s Gluten Free plain Tortillas  

Enchilada sauce
-1 pound green anaheim peppers or gypsy peppers*
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
-1 cup water
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-2 tablespoons oil
-Optional 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

How To:
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Wash and seed your peppers of choice, or what is seaonsal.  Chop peppers in half or quarters.  Add peppers and chopped onions to a small 9×9 glass Pyrex (or whatever you have on hand), and to that dish add 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules.  Toss ingredients and roast for 30 minutes.  You want the peppers to start browning a little.  When the peppers are done roasting, remove from oven and set aside. The peppers can be made earlier in the day and set aside for several hours.  When you are ready to make the sauce, simply add the onions and peppers to a blender (I use a Vitamix), along with the 1 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and optional chili powder.  Blend until well incorporated. 

-I recommend roasting the chicken and squash at the same time with the peppers, in different dishes of course.  For the squash, I drizzle on some oil and add a few shakes of garlic granules.  For the chicken I drizzle on some oil, and add a few shakes of salt and garlic granules. Everything should be done at the same time.  Check the chicken’s internal temp at 30 minutes (needs to be at least 180 degrees), and check the squash for doneness.

3. After your finished with your roasting, turn oven down to 375
4.  Get your room temperature tortillas and start stuffin’.  I lay mine flat then add chicken, squash, and the black beans.  Don’t stuff too full…you want to be able to fold them at least.  Just roll closed, you don’t have to fold down the corners or anything fancy.  
5.  Place tortillas in a Pyrex.  You should fit 8 in there.  Don’t be shy, push them around a bit if you have to.

6.   Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas.  Bam, now you have some gnarly enchiladas going on.  Bake COVERED for 30 minutes (I cover with a stainless steel backing sheet – remember, I don’t use foil in my kitchen, so I get crafty and find other ways to cover dishes).  

7.  After 30 minutes, remove from oven, uncover, and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

-Serve on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce along side fresh avocado, salsa of choice, cashew sour cream, chopped red onion, and a dash of hot sauce.

*I have used three different peppers for the enchilada sauce.  Here’s the breakdown: (1) your basic green peppers yield a very bitter sauce and I do not recommend, (2) Anaheim can be a little spicy if you accidently get a seed in there, but using this variety will yield a more authentic tasting enchilada sauce – I definitely recommend anaheim, and (3) gypsy peppers yield a slightly sweet sauce, I also really love using these. 
*You can also use brown rice tortillas, but you will have to warm with with some oil so they become more pliable.  I have a few pictures of the brown rice tortillas batch below.

Delicata is by far my favorite squash
Gypsy peppers – so pretty
This batch is using Rudi’s Gluten Free plain Tortillas with gypsey pepper enchilada sauce:
This batch is using brown rice tortillas and anaheim peppers for the sauce:  
You can add a little dairy free cheese before you bake 
Anaheim peppers ready for roasting
 Here are some pictures of our December home improvement:
Removed large fireplace to create more space in the kitchen and for the kitchen remodel in a few years…
Prepping floors for new solid wood non-toxic bamboo flooring
Ahhhh, it’s so freakin’ pretty
We had a temporary wall installed where the fireplace used to be.  This will come down when we do the kitchen remodel, but for now it allows us some much needed extra space in the kitchen.
 Shared on: Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Motivate Me Mondays, Monday Mania, Mealtime Monday Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free WednesdaysKeep It Real Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays,
Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Whole Foods Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Sweet Saturday, 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, fall cuisine, gluten free, main dish, winter cuisine.


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Monday, October 22, 2012

Ode to Cafe Gratitute: Part 1 ~ The Community Bowl (Kale, Black Beans, and Rice with a Cashew Cream Sauce)

I learned about Cafe Gratitude a few years ago and it has been my favorite restaurant ever since.  The closest location is about 50 minutes away, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because if CG was located in my town, I would need to find an evening and weekend job just to pay for my addiction to their food.  Nearly every time we travel to the Bay Area/San Francisco we stop at CG.  And every time it’s a delightful treat.  Not only do they serve amazing organic vegan (and raw) cuisine, but they are also a green/sustainable establishment.  They grow their own food at an organic farm just about 25 minutes from our house.  I have such a love affair with this restaurant.  I want to live there (I know, weird).  I’m just a total sucker for earth loving, progressive, friendly, crunchy folks.  Because I can’t eat there for every meal (like I dream about) I make many of their recipes here at home.  Today I’m sharing a dish called the Community Bowl that I always get for the kids when we stop by the restaurant.  They love it and it makes a great dinner.  

(An article in the Huffington Post published October 21, states that Cafe Gratitude will be closing all their Northern California locations due to “aggressive lawsuits” brought about by current and former employees).  
Noooooooooo!!! Well, this just sucks.  First I feel badly for the owners.  I don’t know all the details to this story and don’t know if they did something illegal, but it’s unfortunate these great restaurants are closing.  Really unfortunate.  At any rate, I look forward to sharing some of my favorite dishes and recipes with you over the next few months.
  The Community Bowl
(Kale, Black Beans, Rice and Cashew Cream Sauce) 
-1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (we like Dino Kale)
-2 cups brown rice 
-3 cups prepared black beans (soaked and boiled) 
-3/4 cups cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
-1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 to 1/2 cup filtered water (or more if needed) 
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  Cook the two cups brown rice as directed
2.  Use plain prepared black beans OR saute the black beans with some oil, a splash of water, dash of salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (I prefer this method)
3. Use plain kale OR saute with a little water and salt to soften greens (my kids prefer kale on the soft side, as it can be a little tough)
4.  In a blender, add the soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Blend.  Add more water to create creamy consistency.  And then taste.  This is were you add in more salt and lemon juice to taste.  What you are looking for is a creamy, slightly tart sauce.  In the restaurant they serve this dish with a garlic tahini cashew based sauce that is amazing, but too spicy for the kids, so when I order it I just ask for the cashew cream sauce.  

Start by mixing the kale and black beans

 Then add the rice 

 And finish with the cashew cream sauce

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Meatless Monday, Gluten Free Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Wellness Weekend, Whole Foods Friday, 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, gluten free, main dish, vegan, vegetarian.


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Monday, October 1, 2012

Sweet and Simple Mango Dressing with Three Delicious Salad Ideas

This harvest moon is just gorgeous and I can’t WAIT to start decorating for fall.  However, I’m finding it hard to get in the mood here when it’s 100 flippin’ degrees outside.  Yellow leaves, hot apple cider, scarecrows and soup are the farthest things from my mind.  All I want to do is jump in a pool, sip smoothies, and eat salads.  So keeping with the theme here of hot fall nights, I am sharing three fun and easy salad ideas, all topped with one simple mango dressing.  Theoretically, you could just blend up a super ripe mango and use that as a dressing, but I’ve added just a few other ingredients to give it some depth of flavor.  I know we will get our cool down soon.  Until then, you’ll be seeing more warm weather dishes here on The Tasty Alternative.  Salud. 

Sweet and Simple Mango Dressing:

-1 VERY ripe mango, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
-3 tablespoons filtered water
-1 tablespoon oil (I use grapeseed)
-1/8 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  Blend all ingredients in food processor (or blender of choice) until smooth.  
2.  Will keep in fridge up to 4 days.   

*If the mango is not super ripe, I recommend adding a sweetener. 
*vinegar variations: you could add just 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Alternatively, you could add in just two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, but the color will turn very dark.  Any vinegar would work really, perhaps even lemon juice.  
Here with Salad #1 we have a spinach and spring mix topped with crispy red apple, pumpkin seeds, dried figs and dried apricots.  Pistachios or walnuts would also taste fabulous, as would chopped Asian pear or crunchy kohlrabi
Salad #2 is fiesta inspired.  Spinach, romaine, and spring mix topped with garlic sauteed black beans, red onion, roasted pumpkin seeds, avocado and tomatoes.  The mango dressing is the perfect sweet flavor against the savory toppings.  Grilled chicken, green peppers, cilantro or cashew sour cream would also be fabulous on this salad.  
Lastly, salad #3.  A bed of spinach and spring mix topped with roasted sweet potatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, diced shallot and dried cranberries.  The warm sweet potatoes wilt the greens just enough and the splash of cool sweet mango adds quite the flavor dimension.  Roasted delicata or butternut squash would taste divine, other ideas for this salad include fresh or dried figs, nectarine, or roasted sunflower seeds. 
Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Raw Foods Thursday, 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: main dish, salad, vegan, vegetarian.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guest Post from Lauren at Empowered Sustenance: Zucchini Pasta with Sausage and Roasted Garlic Sauce (grain free, SCD)

Hi Tasty Alternative Readers!

I’m Lauren, and I write Empowered Sustenance, a blog filled with nourishing recipes for the SCD, GAPS diet, Paleo diet, and nut free diets. I am excited for this opportunity to share a healing recipe with you! Amber has been so encouraging and supportive ever since I started my blog, and it is an honor to guest post here.

Part of the challenge of a restricted diet is recreating nostalgic dishes with allowed ingredients. I enjoy this obstacle posed by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. When reproducing an off-limits recipe, I follow a general outline (what I remember the dish to taste like) and express my creativity within that outline (using new ingredients or adding new flavors, for example). Oddly, I’m passionate about ballet for the same reason: I have room for artistic interpretation within the confines of proper technique. 

This faux-pasta recipe started with a memory of a favorite family dinner. My mom used to toss Tinkyada brown rice pasta with mashed roasted garlic, salt, and olive oil. Our family heaped this side dish next to pork chops and sauteed apples. In my grain free translation, I’ve doused zucchini pasta with a creamy, dairy free roasted garlic sauce. The mellow sweetness from the smoked apple sausage gives a nod to the apple and pork chop combo. 
Those on grain free diets usually sing the praises of versatile zucchini. I love how easily this bland veggie transforms into al dente pasta.  I use a julienne peeler to cut my zucchini into strips.

 Trader Joe’s offers a SCD and GAPS diet friendly sausage. Substitute any other sugar and grain free natural sausage.

I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage here. This is a great convenience food option for the SCD and GAPS diet. The ingredients are: chicken, apples, salt, celery, white pepper, nutmeg, thyme, ginger, chardonnay, rosemary, natural pork casing. I always remove the casing from this sausage, because it is tough and chewy.

Zucchini Pasta with Sausage and Roasted Garlic Sauce

For 2 servings, double as needed

-2 all natural, sugar free, fully cooked sausage (I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage)

-2 Tbs. butter or olive oil

-2 small zucchini, cut into pasta 

-2 Tbs. roasted garlic

-1/4 cup homemade 24-hour yogurt or additive-free coconut milk

-Salt, to taste

How To:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Heat the butter (or olive oil) in a small sautΓ© pan over medium heat. Remove the casing from the sausage if desired (it usually peels off easily when the sausage is cold). Slice the sausage and brown in the butter/olive oil.

While sausage is browning, add the zucchini pasta to the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute to soften, then drain. Remove the sausage from the sautΓ© pan and set aside. Stir the roasted garlic and yogurt/coconut milk into the remaining butter in the pan. Warm through, and season the sauce lightly with salt. Top the sausage pieces and pasta with the warm sauce.


Thanks again for this opportunity, and for all your support as I’ve started my blog

Have a great rest of the week!

Posted by Amber at

Labels: grain free, guest post, main dish, SCD.


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Monday, August 6, 2012

Simple and Delicious Carrot Curry Lentil Soup with Lemon (SCD Friendly) – with a video of the foggy West Coast.

I have a confession, I’m one of those crazy girls that can eat anything for breakfast.  I’ve always been like that.  I never turn down food in the morning just because it’s not “breakfast” material.  See, this is where my sweet husband and I differ.  He likes his meals compartmentalized where I’m all over the place.  I’ll eat cold pizza, roasted veggies, chicken, pasta, any variety of leftovers, pasta, and yes, even soup for breakfast.  I’ve come to realize that this free love with food for breakfast is a good thing on SCD.  Breakfast is perhaps the most difficult part of SCD for me.  It’s a very grain-egg-meat dominated set-up.  But luckily, I’ve found some great substitutes (but I’ve also come to realize that I don’t do well with a lot of nuts on SCD, so I can’t rely on nut-based substitutes every morning).  So what does all this breakfast talk have to do with soup?  Well, I wanted to share a soup with you I’ve been making to eat during the week (for breakfast or whenever).  Mornings are a perfect time to eat soup in the summer.  And let me tell you friends, it gets HOT HOT here in Northern Cali, but the mornings are great, so I don’t shy away from soups.  This soup is so flavorful and filling.  It really hits the spot in the morning and gives me incredible energy – it’s like my new oatmeal (hey, why not).  So I hope you enjoy this simple, versatile soup.  We sure do. 

I need to remember that it’s not HOT everywhere in the summer.  We live about 80 miles from San Francisco, and it can be 110 degrees here in valley and 55 degrees on the coast (no joke).  My husband grew up 1/2 mile from the beach near San Francisco and last week we had a visit with his family.  After a long day playing on the chilly, foggy, beautiful beach I made this soup for dinner and it warmed us right up.  My husband’s heart will always be with the sea.  I love watching him play with our children at the same beach he romped around on as a child.  I’ve included a video of our day below.  

Carrot Curry Lentil Soup with Lemon
-2 cups brown lentils soaked for 15 – 20 hours (water changed 1x)
-1 medium yellow onion, small chop
-2 cups chopped carrots
-2 cups chopped tomato
-1 can SCD/BPA free coconut milk (or 1 1/2 cups homemade coconut milk)
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoon garlic granules
-2 teaspoons green curry paste* 
-4 cups filtered water 
-Oil of choice (I use grapeseed)

How To:
1.  Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with oil and sautΓ© onions with salt for about 5 minutes.  
2.  Add the chopped carrots and tomatoes, sautΓ© for about 3 minutes.
3.  Add garlic granules and curry paste.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the coconut milk, drained lentils and stir.
4.  Add water, stir. 
5.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and turn down to a simmer on just above low for one hour.  
6.  Turn off heat and keep covered until ready to serve.  Reheat as needed.
7.  Serve with 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon.  I also prefer freshly grated ginger with freshly ground black pepper.  Avocado or vegan cashew sour cream is also delicious for garnish.  
-Serves 6


*I can’t guarantee results if a different curry is used.  The green curry paste is fantastic and I highly recommend it.  If you have success in making this soup with a homemade curry or a powder curry, please share in the comments.  

The beautiful, foggy West Coast:

 Shared on: Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Keep It Simple Mondays, Monday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Made from Scratch Monday,Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Recipe Box Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Fight Back Friday Freaky Friday, Lifeologia Summerizing Party, Friday Food, 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, main dish, SCD, Soup, vegan, vegetarian.


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