Tag Archives: SCD

Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Mushrooms and Tahini Dressing

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A few years ago, I was at my cousin Karen’s house for the holidays, and she served the most delicious appetizer of roasted eggplant stuffed with sautéed meat and covered in a  tahini sauce.  I was so taken by the dish, not only for the savory blend of flavors and textures, but also for the beautiful presentation that I knew could be achieved so easily. Over the years, I have served my cousin’s eggplant recipe many times and it is always a crowd pleaser.

Recently, I decided to try and make a lighter and  healthier version of the aforementioned recipe as a side dish at a large meal.  IMG_4131
I already had a lot of protein options in my menu, but I had an eggplant in my fridge and was determined to use it.   Instead of the usual meat stuffing, I decided to try it with sautéed mushrooms to achieve a similar mix of flavors and textures without all the heaviness.  The new recipe was a major success!  My guests loved the unique combination of vegetables and the creamy tahini dressing.  I know this recipe will be used again and again at my house, I can’t wait to try it with the mini eggplants for individual sized portions!

Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Mushrooms and Tahini Dressing

I am dividing the recipe into 3 parts just to keep it clear.  Don’t be scared off if it looks long, this recipe is so easy!

Roasted Eggplant

IMG_4147Ingredients:

1 large eggplant

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 (if your oven has an optional setting for roasting, that would be best).
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Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Gently score inside of eggplant with a knife, making a crisscross pattern. Blend olive oil, salt and pepper and “paint” over inside of eggplant. Lay eggplant flat on parchment paper lined baking sheet and pierce skin of eggplant 2 or 3 times on each half.IMG_4085 Roast about 40 minutes or until skin is very soft (this is a good time to prepare mushrooms and tahini). Remove from oven and let eggplant stand as is for 10 minutes.  Mash the inside of the eggplant gently before filling (only do this step immediately before serving).

Sautéed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 medium white onion diced

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optional: 3 cloves chopped garlic

8 ounces fresh white mushrooms sliced thin

8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced thin

1.5 tablespoon oil (can use coconut or preferred oil)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Sauté onions (and garlic if using) in oil on medium heat about 5 minutes, until soft. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes.

Tahini Dressing

It is always an option to use store bought tahini or chummus for this dressing, being that I can’t use those products because of SCD guidelines, I make my own.

Ingredients:

1 cup crushed sesame seeds
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3/4 cup water

1 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 lemon freshly squeezed (about 3-4 tablespoon)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy.
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When I am not serving dish immediately, I keep all ingredients separate to re-heat. After heating, use a fork to gently mash the eggplant. Add mushrooms. Spread a dollop of dressing on top. If the tahini gets too thick in the fridge, you can thin with either water or lemon juice. Enjoy!IMG_4125

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

IMG_3836It is such a thrill for me to find a recipe for a baked good that has vegetables listed in the ingredients. Adding vegetables into gluten free cakes, muffins and breads is the ideal way to indulge my sweet tooth without the guilt, and also a perfect opportunity to sneak more vitamins into my cake-loving 2 year olds diet. Naturally low calorie and a good source of fiber, zucchinis provide essential vitamins A and C, and also add moistness to baked goods.  I love starting my day with a fresh slice of this lightly sweetened hearty grain-free zucchini bread (filled with chia, flax and chocolate chips for non-SCD).  I also use this recipe for mini muffins as a delicious side dish for a big meal.

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

*Recipe adapted from A Taste of Wellness Zucchini Muffins by Rochel Weiss

Ingredients:

2 medium to large zucchini (approximately 3 cups grated zucchini)

3 eggs

IMG_38173 cups almond flour

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt.

optional add ins for non-SCD:

1.5 teaspoon mixture chia seeds and or ground flax

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

IMG_3821Preheat oven to 325.  Use a hand or box grater to coarsely grate zucchini.
In a separate bowl, mix almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add in oil, honey and eggs. Squeeze out excess liquid from grated zucchini and stir into mixture.  If not following SCD and using optional add ins: mix in chia/flax and chocolate chips. Line two loaf pans (9.25 by 5.95 by 2.75) with parchment paper or line approximately 36-40 mini muffins.  Fill pans with batter 2/3 high, leaving room for muffins to rise. Bake loaves 30 minutes (mini muffins 18-20 minutes) or until toothpick in the middle comes out dry.

Tip: For baking, I prefer buying almond flour from: www.digestivewellness.com

Perfect Pears with Crumble Topping

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After the tragic news of this past week, it is so hard to resume normal life. I find myself completely hooked to my Facebook newsfeed for the continuous stream of news reports and individual responses to the sorrow that is felt around the world. During the past few weeks, I have gained so much strength from watching the amazing families of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad and from the unity of the Jewish people at this time. My thoughts are with the families of Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad and my hope is that they should be able to find strength and comfort from the knowledge that so many of us will try and move forward by creating more meaningful and more worthwhile lives in the memory of their beloved sons.

Perfect Pears with Crumble Topping

IMG_3945Last I checked, pears were considered a “fall” fruit, yet, lately every time I’m at the grocery store, it seems as though beautifully displayed pears are front and center. Not wanting to pass up these gorgeous fruits, I decided to abandon my original plan for a more summery strawberry rhubarb crisp (I will try and get to that another one of these days) and instead made a pear crisp.

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I mixed the pears with lemon juice, a touch of lemon zest, apple sauce and a drop of honey to moisten and enhance the flavour of the fruit. For the crisp topping, I combined all the nuts I had on hand, almonds, pecans and walnuts, with a bit of honey and coconut oil to hold it together.

At first, as I pulled out my new creation from the oven, I was disappointed for the lack of sizzling, bubbling juices that typically accompany a mouth watering crisp. After I tried this new dessert though, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted at how fresh and crispy the pears tasted, despite baking for so long, and how well the lightly sweetened nuts balanced the delicate fruit. Hot out of the oven, served with ice cream, or chilled from the fridge, this light tasting healthy dessert is a great gluten free option any time of year!

Perfect Pears with Crumble Topping

Ingredients:

7 (green) D’anjou pears

1/2 lemon juiced (2 tablespoons)

1/4 cup applesauce

3 tablespoon honey, divided

1 cup almond flourIMG_3959

1cup pecan meal

3/4 cup walnut nibs

1/3 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

Tip: I order almond flour/pecan meal from www.digestivewellness.com, if these items are not available, this recipe would work by placing whole nuts into food processor. Coconut oil is available at most grocery stores in the health food section.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Cut pears into 1 inch chunks and mix well with lemon juice, zest (optional), applesauce and 1 tablespoon honey. In another bowl, combine almond flour, pecan meal and walnut nibs (any combination of nuts would be good) with remaining honey, baking soda, cinnamon and melted coconut oil.

IMG_3963Crumble with fingers to get a sand-like consistency. Dip a paper towel in canola oil to grease the bottom of 12-14 ramekins (I like baking in ramekins to make desserts individual size when possible, if you don’t have ramekins, any regular baking dish would work). Place approximately 2 tablespoons of fruit mixture in each ramekin and cover with crumble topping. Bake uncovered for one hour or until crisp looks brown and toasty.

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Tip: the topping recipe yields a lot of extra. This topping freezes well and can be used for later crisps.

Sweet and Sour Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad

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I was debating whether or not to name this salad the “Make Me a Vegan” salad, because, that is exactly how I felt after eating this amazing creation.  A few weeks ago, in preparation for the long awaited visit of my aunt and uncle, recent converts to “veganism”, I stumbled along an outstanding vegan blog called ohsheglows.com.  The feature recipe of that day, Roasted Potato, Asparagus and Lentil Salad with a lemon and mustard dressing, looked intriguing and easy, I knew I had to try it.  This recipe was my first attempt off that amazing site and I am feeling so ready to convert. Or at least to try and cook vegan dinners as often as possible…The honest truth is that the guidelines for the SCD diet that Jon is on would make a vegan lifestyle very difficult for us, but eating this way once a week, or a few times a week if possible, feels so great. Turning to lentils as a source for protein is a wonderful change from the same old chicken or fish dinners and leaves you feeling full and satisfied, but in a much lighter way.  I made my own version using butternut squash instead of potatoes (because potatoes are off limits on Jon’s SCD diet) and I thought the sweetness of the squash was a perfect complement to the tart lemon dressing.  I also decided to serve my adapted version over fresh spinach to add a nice crunch.  This dish is truly an easy, healthy, kosher winner, I’ve passed it along many times already and the only complaint is that there is never any leftover!

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Sweet and Sour Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes (cubes can be bigger, just make sure to modify cooking time)

1 bunch asparagus cut into 3 pieces lengthwise

1 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup uncooked green lentils (for easier digestion and for those following SCD, soak lentils overnight and rinse thru before using. The lentils will increase in size)

1/2 purple onion, chopped small

2 cups fresh spinach

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss squash with 1/2 tablespoon oil and spread evenly on one  baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, mixing halfway thru for even cooking. While squash is cooking, prepare asparagus and lentils.  Toss asparagus with remaining olive oil and spread evenly on prepared baking sheet. Place asparagus in the oven with squash and cook for an additional 15-18 minutes or until both squash and asparagus have brown edges. Place one cup of lentils in medium pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or until lentils cooked thru. Mix lentils asparagus, squash and onions with tangy dressing (see below) and then toss in spinach. Dress salad at least 15 minutes before serving to let flavors absorb.

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Dressing:

1 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

mix well before using.

Yield: 2 entree portions or 4-6 side dish

Birthday Cake

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Although I have baked many grain-free goodies over the years, I have actually never attempted a grain-free birthday cake.  Yes, we keep a gluten-free home, but to buy a birthday cake for my kids from a bakery a couple times a year has been something I was always willing (ok and happy) to do.

This morning I woke up feeling ambitious and energetic. For my daughter Daria’s first birthday, I was determined to make her a home-made, healthy, birthday cake that would satisfy every sweet craving that we all long for in a birthday cake.

I turned to the “Nut Torte With Creamy Frosting” from the cookbook “A Taste of Wellness” by Rochel Weiss (available on amazon.com), the cover picture on the book. Considering all of the steps involved, not just for baking the cake but for the frosting too, I would not consider this cake “easy” and therefore did not plan on including the recipe here, which is why I don’t have pictures of the steps involved… After serving the cake tonight to family, my most honest reviewers, I was told that it was too good not to share.  I will say though, that like most recipes I read, I did adapt the original grain-free “torte” and changed some steps to make my birthday cake easier and even healthier .  My version is a one layer cake, compared to two layers with frosting in between. This reduced the work, time and calories involved in the original.  I also reduced the amount of honey in the cake, by 1/3 and I replaced some of the almond flour that the original recipe calls for with pecan flour to add moistness and a rich but subtle almost chocolaty taste.

I will admit this cake does require more time and patience than most recipes I feature, but if you have an occasion to celebrate, or are just trying to impress your guests with a delicious dessert that is homemade and healthy, this recipe is worth the work.

 

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Tip: this recipe calls for almond flour and pecan meal.  I have tried different types of nut flours and I think the quality of the flour will really affect the consistency and taste of grain-free baked goods.  The absolute BEST BEST BEST nut flours are available on-line at www.digestivewellness.com.  If baking grain-free or gluten-free is something you are really committed to, it is definitely worth it to buy in bulk from this site, you cannot compare the taste (and cost) to any local grocery store variety.

Grain-Free Birthday Cake

recipes adapted from A Taste of Wellness: “Nut Torte With Creamy Frosting” (page 42 and 45)

Ingredients:

12 large eggs, whites and yolks separated

pinch of salt

1 cup of honey

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoon baking soda

5 cups almond flour

2.5 cups pecan flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300.  Using the largest bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites on low for about a minute and add pinch of salt.  turn mixer to high and beat until soft peaks form.  Watch that the peaks do not become too stiff.  Reduce mixer speed to low and add yolks one at a time, allowing them to become mixed in before adding the next.  Slowly add in oil, applesauce, honey and vanilla.  Make sure all ingredients are completely blended.  Use a wooden or rubber spatula to gently and evenly fold in the nut flours and baking soda.  Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch cake pan and line (bottom only) with parchment paper.  Pour batter into pan, filled to about half the height of the pan, leaving room for the cake to rise.  Smooth batter gently with spatula. I used extra batter for cupcakes.  Bake cake approximately 40 minutes or until light brown on top and toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry (cupcakes take about 18-20 minutes).  After cake cools completely, use a knife along the sides to remove cake.  It should slide upside down onto a baking sheet easily, because of the parchment paper on the bottom.  Place in freezer to harden before frosting about an hour/ hour and a half.

Honey Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks

2 cups coconut oil (solid form)

1 cup honey

2 Tablespoon vanilla extract.

Directions:

Blend egg yolks and coconut oil in food processor about 5 minutes. Add honey and vanilla and mix until smooth.  The original recipe tells you to refrigerate for 2 hours for frosting to thicken.  After one hour, I noticed that the top layer of mine was completely hard, but the inside was extremely runny.  I threw the frosting pack in the food processor for a few minutes and it reached the perfect creamy thick consistency.

Keep cake in fridge after icing because the frosting will melt if out for too long.

Tip: cake tastes really delicious with fresh fruit garnishings.

Warning: frosting does contain raw eggs and honey so do not serve to anyone that may have issues with these foods

Cauliflower Baked Ziti

     Cauliflower Baked Ziti

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I was making one of our new favorite dinners, grain-free pizza with a cauliflower crust, when, out of nowhere, my beloved dairy hand-immersion blender gave up on me.  In a panic, with only about an hour until I knew everyone would be at the table, hungry mouths expectantly waiting for dinner, I had to think quickly.  With all of the ingredients in front of me for the pizza– cauliflower, eggs, sauce, cheese, I saw the dish right in front of my eyes, “cauliflower ziti!”

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freshly grated cheddar

My cauliflower, which had already been roasted, in preparation for the pizza recipe, was thrown into a bowl with all of the other ingredients (plus some frozen peas for added fiber and flavor). As I put everything in the baking dish and covered it with a final round of sauce and cheese, I prayed that this last minute creation  would be a success.  An hour later I was thrilled to see we had a delicious new EASY HEALTHY KOSHER dinner, ready just in time!

Cauliflower Ziti

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower chopped into small florets

  • I used fresh cauliflower but I think frozen would work well too

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup frozen peas

2.5 cups tomato sauce (I use “Vilma Lusardi’s see below), divided

1 egg

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for topping

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, freshly grated, plus more for topping

Directions:

preheat oven to 375.  Mix cauliflower pieces evenly with oil and roast for 15-20 minutes.

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Remove from oven when soft and only starting to brown.  Mix cauliflower with frozen peas, cheese, egg and 1.5 cups tomato sauce. Place 1/2 cup sauce at the bottom of baking dish (I used an oval 10 inch, but a square, 8 inch casserole dish would be good too). Pour in cauliflower mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup sauce and cheese to your liking. Cover and bake for 40 minutes, uncover for 20-25 more minutes (until desired amount of browning).

Tip: Feel free to play around with ingredients; add another egg to make more casserole-like, add any variety of frozen veggies to the mix

Tip: Any marinara sauce would work, but I like Vilma Lusardi’s  because of the limited and natural ingredients.  Most other kosher tomato sauce products have unnecessary added sugars and preservatives. Like many other products that I like to buy in bulk, I order this sauce from digestivewellness.com, an amazing source for SCD items.

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Kale Power Salad

 Kale Power Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing

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Craving a hot salad with my dinner, different from my usual go-to mixture of romaine lettuce and fresh vegetables, I decided to use kale, my favorite “superfood” as the base.  After raiding my fridge for other disease fighting ingredients, I was so excited with what I found: variety of mushrooms, red onion and purple cabbage; I could tell this was gonna be good!

IMG_3603Kale: A fully loaded nutrition power-house; a leading source of antioxidants, fiber and cancer-fighting vitamins (source).

Mushrooms: Besides for their meaty texture and low calorie benefits, mushrooms are a leading source of antioxidants, and help strengthen the immune system (source).

Red Onion: Loaded with nutrients that are anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and good for the heart (source).

Purple cabbage: High in fiber, this vegetable adds tremendous health benefits raw or cooked.  The deeper the colour of the leaves, the greater the levels of anthocyanins–these help to lower risk of many diseases including cancer and heart disease (source).

After sautéing all of the vegetables with a little salt, pepper, and turmeric, I thought the salad could use a little sweetness to counter-balance the slight bitterness of the kale, and so the “Creamy Cashew Dressing” was born.

Kale Power Salad

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon canola oil

1 bunch kale (5-6 cups)

1/2 medium red onion chopped small (1/2 cup)

8 ounce button mushrooms, sliced thin

8 ounce cremini mushrooms, sliced thin

5 leaves purple cabbage chopped small (3 cups)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)

Directions:

I like to use a wok, but any large sauté pan will work.  Heat pan for a few minutes on medium heat. Heat oil then add onions and cabbage. After the onions and cabbage start to get soft and tender (about 5 minutes) add mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes longer, until mushrooms are cooked but not soggy.  Mix in salt, pepper and turmeric if using.  Add kale, sauté another 2-3 minutes.  I like the kale to keep some of its crisp flavour and not be fully cooked.

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yield: 4-6 portions

 

Creamy Cashew Butter Dressing:

Ingredients:

1/3 cup tightly packed fresh basil

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon cashew butter

3-4 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup water

Directions:

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Dressing will thicken overnight, so I would recommend adding lemon juice or water to thin it.

yield: 1 cup, but 1/2 cup is enough for this salad portion

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

IMG_3530Even though June, (i.e. summer!) is quickly approaching, we woke up this morning to a chilly and rainy day. I am not complaining, being that the weather has been mainly beautiful lately, but I know that tonight definitely calls for a warm and comforting soup.  Last week, I tried a new recipe, adapted from Ina Garten’s “Roasted Potato Leek Soup.” I was intrigued by the unique mix of roasted vegetables and fresh arugula. Because potatoes are off-limits on Jon’s SCD Diet, I decided to try this recipe with one of my favorite potato replacements–butternut squash.

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I also cut out the white wine, heavy cream and creme fraiche (I honestly have no idea what creme fraiche is) that the original recipe calls for, and instead substituted yogurt and a squirt of lime juice to add some edge.  The result was the perfect soup for a cold spring day. An amazing combination of earthy, smoky flavors from the roasted vegetables, blended with the fresh tastes of the arugula and lime. In the words of Ina Garten, “It is so good.”

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Ingredients:

8 (heaping) cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (approximately 1/2 large squash)

4 cups chopped leeks, white and green part only (make sure to clean leeks well or they will be very sandy)

2 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

fresh pepper to taste

3 cups baby arugula

1 cup whole yogurt (I use homemade according to guidelines of SCD)

7 cups water

1/2 lime

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix squash and leeks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay evenly on rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring at least once. Add arugula and continue roasting 4 minutes. Discard any leeks that may have burnt (a little brown on the edges is fine and adds to the flavor). Transfer to soup pot, add water, yogurt and juice from the lime. Bring to a boil, simmer covered for 1 hour and puree. Add salt and pepper if needed. You can continue to simmer after its pureed if you want a thicker consistency.

Yield: 6-8 servings

*This soup tastes great hot or at room temperature.

 

 

 

Indulge Me Cookies

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I never believed it was possible to have a grain free baked good that was as good as the real-deal flour cookie, and then I made these. Better than the real-deal. These cookies remind me of the old-school entenmann’s, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies, but they are so much more delicious. Every decadent bite tastes of indulgence thanks to the rich, nutrient packed ingredients. Hearty almond flour, dark chocolate chips, ground chia and flax, loaded with Omega 3s. 

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 These are my breakfast cookies, my 3 pm pick-me-up cookies and my favorite snack to give my kids.  Hot out of the oven, or as I prefer, frozen, you can’t go wrong with this wonderful treat.

*For SCD replace chocolate/chia/flax with raisins and sunflower seeds

Go ahead, indulge yourself!

Recipe adapted from comfybelly.com

Indulge Me Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

1/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground flax and/or chia seed (I use a mixture that totals 1 teaspoon)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Camino brand bittersweet chocolate at 71%)

Directions:

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine flour, salt and baking soda, make sure mixed well.

Add oil, honey, vanilla and egg to the dry mixture, mix well.

Blend in choice of chia/flax and chocolate chips (or raisins and sunflower seeds if SCD)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, cookies should be rolled into balls the size of 1 tablespoon. Press down gently with thumb to ensure even baking. Space cookies about 1 inch apart

Bake for 9-12 minutes.

Cookies are ready when slightly brown around edges. Watch carefully, almond flour is very delicate and even 30 seconds too many can result in burnt cookies. Check the bottom of the cookies if unsure, when the whole bottom looks light brown, they are ready.

Yield: 25-30 cookies