Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maple Glazed Carrots

Such a simple side dish! Versatile enough to serve a long side any main meal and is awesome as a snack later on. Using baby carrots makes this dish come together very quickly - no peeling, no cutting. I find baby carrots to be very convenient and always have some on hand. What's also great is that if you'd like, you could pureed the carrots and have a creamy carrot pureed (baby friendly!). Please, PLEASE do not use the fake syrup in this recipe. Make sure you use 100% maple syrup (any grade you prefer). I personally think the fake syrups are sickly sweet and using the real stuff is where the real flavor is.

If you follow a dairy-free diet, you could substitute the butter for coconut spread (found in the butter section at the grocery store), coconut oil or whatever oil you enjoy using.

Maple Glazed Carrots

Cook Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: <5 minutes
Serves: 4

1 lb of organic baby carrots
2 tbsp grade A maple syrup (dark)
1 tbsp organic butter
1 tbsp of organic vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, minced (optional)

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add all of the ingredients except the parsley to the pan. Cover the sauce pan and let the carrots cook for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked to desired consistency. Stir every so often. Don't over cook them though, you don't want mushy carrots. The carrots should have a slight bite to them.

Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Gluten Free Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

I am a peanut butter fiend! I seriously can't go a day without eating peanut butter on or in something. These cookies are an excellent way to make my peanut butter cravings portable. They are super dense, rich and peanut buttery. I really enjoy eating them with a cold glass of almond milk (you'll need something to drink, they are thick). 

I don't add sugar to this recipe because the honey flavor is just enough (for me). If you prefer a sweeter cookie, I recommend adding 1/2 cup of brown sugar. This recipe can also be halved or doubled easily. 

Gluten Free Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies 

Cook Time: 8 minutes
Prep Time: <5 minutes
Serves: Makes about 24 cookies

2 cup honey roasted peanut butter
2 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt 

**How to make honey roasted peanut butter: In a food processor, add 3 cups of honey roasted peanuts (de-shelled) and process for about 2-3 minutes or until peanut butter consistency is achieved. You can add a little canola oil if you find it to be too thick. The peanut butter will not resemble smooth peanut butter, but have flecks of peanut throughout. 

Preheat oven to 350F. Prep a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

In a food processor or by hand, mix all of the ingredient until well combined. Scoop a tbsp of the mixture and roll in between your palms, making a ball. Transfer the ball to the cookie sheet and continue with the rest of the mixture. Allow about 2 inches of room between cookies. With a fork, press down on each ball. Then repeat but in the opposite direction, making a checker design on top.

Bake for 8 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for an extra minute or so to firm up. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Serve cookies warm or at room temperature. I recommend having these with a tall glass of almond milk. 

They keep well in a sealed container for 3 days (add a slice of bread to the container to help maintain the moisture)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Salmon

I really enjoy eating salmon, especially if I am cooking it the way I like. Salmon is so easy to prepare and absolutely delicious any way you make it. It is an excellent source of Omega-3's, Vitamin D and DHA. It is such a hearty and filling fish! I highly recommend if you are going to eat salmon, that you eat wild salmon. Farmed salmon usually has dyes added to it to give it it's pink color and they are usually much higher in PCB's (which are very toxic). Farmed salmon is given a fish feed that is made up of a bunch of foods that are unnatural for salmon to be eating such as soy, wheat and even antibiotics. Wild salmon isn't only a better choice for you but also better for the environment, so keep that in mind. 

In this recipe, you will be baking and then broiling the salmon. I like to bake fish, it seems to cook it throughout without burning the bottom or drying it out. I find that broiling it at the end gives the glaze a chance to brown up well and caramelize slightly. It really makes a difference.

Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Salmon 

Cook Time: <20 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 mins
Serves: 4 (4oz portions)

  • Olive Oil spray
  • 1 lb of wild caught Alaskan Salmon (or wild pacific)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley, minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray an oven safe pan with oil to prevent sticking. Place the salmon skin side down.

Rub the mustard and brown sugar on top of the salmon, coating the entire exposed surface. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven temperature to broil (high) and broil the salmon for about 2-4 minutes, or until the top starts to brown slightly. 

Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arepas con Queso

Arepas are corn patties. Arepas con Queso are corn patties with cheese. Being Colombian, arepas were a part of everyday food. They could be eaten with any meal and are a staple in most Colombian kitchens. I usually ate my arepa with breakfast - with a side of eggs and coffee (instead of toast). They can also be a meal, stuffed with different meats, cheeses and veggies. This version is the basic arepa recipe with fresh cheese in the dough. 

You can switch up the cheeses to give it a different flair if you'd like. Pepper Jack is awesome and so is Smoked Gouda. I wouldn't use hard cheeses, as they don't produce the same gooey-ness. You could also make these vegan by subbing the cheese for a rice or soy cheese - just make sure it is a flavor you enjoy and it melts well.

You can make a large batch of these and freeze them individually for a quick breakfast, snack or side. You can pop a frozen arepa in a toaster oven or on a greased skillet and your done. I am definitely going to be making a large batch soon to freeze up, since the baby is due soon. The less I have to prep, the easier. 

Arepas con Queso

Cook Time: <10 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: Makes approx. 8 arepas

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 cup extra fine arepa flour (yellow corn meal)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup queso blanco, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra cheese to top (optional)

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Spray with olive oil. 

In a large bowl, mix the flour with the warm water gradually until well incorporated. Let it sit for a few minutes to stiffen up. 

While you wait for the dough to stiffen, you can grate the cheese. Then add the grated cheese to the dough mixture and salt & pepper to taste. Knead the dough until well incorporated. 

Form the dough into patties. Take about a 1/4 cup of the dough and roll into a ball with your hands. If you want to wet your hands with a little water, to prevent the dough from sticking, you may. Once the mixture is in a ball form, flatten it in the palms of your hands. Make the patties about 1/4 inch thick or less. 

Add the patties to the hot skillet and let cook for about 4 minutes or until golden brown on the one side. Then flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated queso. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Skillet Cajun Hash

I love spice in my food, as you can tell by my recipes. This meal is no different. Giving a simple potato hash a Cajun flare, makes for an easy 1 pan meal. It's full of flavor and easy to put together. Basically you cut up a bunch of veggies and stir often. Simple enough. You want to make sure the onions and peppers are super soft and the potatoes have a small bite to them. There is no need to boil the potatoes before hand, just make sure to dice the potatoes into bite sized pieces and the steam from covering the pan will cook them through. Serve for brunch, dinner or as the perfect late night meal (especially if you've had a couple drinks). 

If you prefer to reduce or omit the spice, the hash will still be just as tasty. Also you can add more or less veggies if you'd like. This serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a meal. This recipe can easily be doubled or halved. 

Skillet Cajun Hash

Cook Time: <30 mins
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4 (1/2 cup) servings or 2 very hungry adults 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4lb red potatoes, diced (don't peel)
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 1/2 a large bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the diced potatoes and let cook for about 3 minutes. Begin dicing your onions and peppers, then add to skillet. Stir well and add the remaining ingredients. 

Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Once the hash has gotten some color, turn down the heat to low and cover for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency. Make sure to stir often, to prevent burning. 

Once the hash is cooked, check to see if it needs any more salt or seasonings. Transfer to a plate and serve warm. I love to top mine with a fried egg and a little fresh parsley. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Eating plant seed pudding? Trust me on this. Chia seeds are not just for growing a plant that looks like a dog or Bart Simpson. They are actually very healthy and easy to incorporate into your diet. They are an excellent vegetarian source of Omega-3's, Protein and calcium. You can eat them raw or add them to cooked dishes (oatmeal) if you'd like. I usually add chia seeds to my green juice or smoothies to give it a thicker consistency and bump up the nutrition.

I've seen this recipe a few different times and had to try it out for myself. I am definitely going to experiment more with this, it was SOOO easy! I really want to try a chocolate version of this next. This version is a very basic approach. Making it easy to put whatever kind of toppings you'd like on top. Chia seeds when mixed with a liquid make a gel like substance, thickening this pudding. It resembles a tapioca pudding consistency. Since this requires no cooking - anyone can make it. 

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding


  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of organic green stevia (or a little more if your prefer)

Mix all of the ingredients into a medium sized glass bowl or into a mason jar and shake, if you prefer. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. After it has had time to thicken, stir well. Serve chilled and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Going Organic, Pt.1

Going Organic. A few people have asked me why organic items are so important to me. Well for starters they are usually higher in quality, safer and more humanely treated. I also don’t have to worry about whether it is genetically modified, or has pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics, etc. I try to incorporate as many organic items as I can into my life. Not just food, but personal hygiene products, clothing and cleaning products as well. I’m going to touch on what is organic produce and how you can incorporate it into your budget.

Organic produce is produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, ionizing radiation, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. In basic terms, it isn’t being adulterated. It is usually grown in a rich healthy soil that allows the seed to blossom into the tasty, beautiful produce it was meant to become (no interventions). I personally think that organic produce is more flavorful and has a living energy that revitalizes the body.

I’m sure some of you have heard about the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen”. I find these lists to be very helpful when I’m deciding whether to purchase organic or not. The dirty dozen is a list of produce highest pesticide residue, where the clean fifteen is a list of the least amount of pesticide residue. Because I have a monthly grocery budget that I follow, I find it helpful to see where I could save a bit in buying conventional vs. organic.

List provided by:
So now that you know which are the highest and lowest in pesticide residue, how can you incorporate more organic produce into your meals? I’ve heard from clients that organic produce isn't unavailable where they shop or buying organic is too expensive, and that’s okay. You incorporate what works for you. If the only organic item available is apples, then apples it is. At least that is one less item that is exposing you to those pesticides. This isn't an all-or-nothing kind of thing. It is about decreasing your exposure to chemicals and increasing your awareness to what you are eating. I always recommend rinsing and cleaning off your produce, whether it is organic or not. You don’t know where it has been and how many people have come in contact with it. Also it helps remove some of the dirt and grit.

A great way to save on organic produce is to buy what is in season. Right now strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, corn and squash are in season. Not only will it taste best in season but it will most likely be on sale. You can find out what is in season by going to .

Shopping at farmer's markets are also a great way to save money. By cutting the middle man out, you will be saving money and supporting your local farmers. For me, this can be very personal. Getting to know those around you, who's lively hood is based on farming or gardening, can mean a world of different. You can find out about how the produce is grown, where it is grown, and even establish a relationship with these farmers.    

You could sign up with your local CSA (community supported agriculture) and save big. Not only are you supporting your local farmers but you’ll be getting the freshest produce available. Now CSA’s aren’t always organic, but the next best thing to organic is local. Some farmer’s actually raise organic produce but do not have the organic seal due to costs that are involved. How a CSA works is, you pay up front for the produce and every 2 or 4 weeks you will receive a box full of fresh, in season goodies. Some deliver to your home and other you just have to stop by and pick it up. This is a great way to introduce yourself to various fruits and veggies that maybe you haven't tried before. To find a local CSA - check

Another great way to save on organic produce is to buy frozen organic fruits and veggies. These are my favorite because they are easy to keep on-hand, picked at their peak flavor, and are usually very affordable. I keep my freezer stocked with frozen berries, peas, spinach and whatever else I use regularly. Frozen produce is super convenient and can make putting together a meal very easy. If you have excess fresh fruits and veggies, you can freeze them. There is no point in throwing it away or letting it rot, that's just throwing money down the drain. 

So to sum everything up - incorporate organic produce into your diet. It doesn't have to be expensive and if it is unavailable, then buy local produce from your community. By reducing your exposure to chemicals, you could be not only helping your body but the world around you. 

- Laurie

Photos provided by john's organic world, insight magazine, kaboose and share it fitness