Beet & Carrot Coleslaw {No Mayo - Dairy Free Option}

Beet & Carrot Coleslaw {No Mayo - Dairy Free Option}

 

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Simple Pickled Mint Cucumber Beets

Simple Pickled Mint Cucumber Beets

Having things prepped and ready to just grab out of the fridge, freezer, or pantry is so essential when you eat a clean, preservative free diet. One of the best ways to naturally preserve food, especially all the fresh summer produce, is by pickling them. This simple recipe can be tossed together into a jar and set in the fridge to use whenever you need a kick of tart pink goodness!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets

The colors in this dish are so amazing! The more vibrant the natural colors of your fruits and veggies, the more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they hold. Dark oranges from the sweet potatoes means your getting lots of bete-carotene (vitamin A), along with vitamin C. flavanoids, lycopene, and potassium. The deep purple-red of the beets provides vitamins like A, B & C,  and minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Roast them together with sliced sweet onion, oil, and seasoning and...hello beautiful!   Another great thing about this simple dish is that it's great for camping! What?! Yep. Instead of the usual tin foil potatoes for your family camping trip, try wrapping some of these babies up and roasting in the coals. The fun part of doing the tin foil dinner is that each person can season their potatoes and beets how they like - sweet or spicy, simple herbs or a little bit of everything.

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Persimmon Salad with Lemon Fennel Dressing

Persimmon Salad with Lemon Fennel Dressing

  It's almost a new year, new resolutions, why not try something new too. Now that the holidays are past and everyone has sufficiently stuffed themselves, I felt the need for something a little lighter. I was gifted a half dozen persimmon fruits and some garlic dill cheese curds that were just screaming to be put together.   This was my first time eating this unusual tomato-look-alike fruit. Their soft peach-like texture and sweet, mild apple-ish flavor make them very versatile. I tossed mine together in a simple, light salad with a warm fennel, lemon, and olive oil dressing. The sweet from the fruit and the salty from the dressing and cheese blended together so nicely. Persimmons are usually in season between September and December so I must have gotten the last of the season.

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Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

 

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Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters

Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters

  Summer and excessive amounts of zucchini go hand-in-hand! This time of year my kiddos are bound to find things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini hidden somewhere in their meal. The sneakier I am at hiding them, the better they are at eating them. Like in gluten free zucchini bread. So I decided to make some Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters and guess what? They didn't seem to notice that they were eating zucchini cakes! I had made zucchini fritters years ago before going gluten free and as far and I can tell when making fritters there are two ways to go about it - sweet or savory. I chose savory, which involves flavors like fresh basil and parsley, parmesan cheese and garlic. Traditional fritters usually call for bread crumbs or flour to help hold everything together. So I used the next best, gluten free thing...oat flour. Oat flour (made from gluten free oatmeal that has been ground into a flour-like consistency) acts just like wheat flour in most recipes. Unlike other gluten free flours you don't have to make an elaborate blend or add gums like guar gum or xanthan gum to make it stay together either. Plus, oats are full of fiber, antioxidants, boosts immune system, and so much more. If you're a nerd like me, you can read all about oats, one of world's healthiest foods here.  Now for the fritters! (Makes 12+ zucchini fritters. About 3-4 inches across) 4 cups zucchini shredded, drained and squeezed dry 1 cup oat flour 2 eggs 2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper 2 clove garlic 1/3 cup parmesan cheese 4-5 fresh basil leaves 3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, stems removed 2-3 tbsp. coconut oil Grate the zucchini and place in a strainer in the sink or set in a bowl. Allow the water to drain off the zucchini for about 10 minutes. While it's draining you can pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until it becomes oat flour. Take a clean dish towel and squeeze out all the remaining liquid out of the zucchini. Add the zucchini, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan, basil, and parsley to the oat flour in the food processor. Blend everything together until it's nice and evenly chopped and mixed. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle (preheated to 325) and drizzle on some of the coconut oil. Once the oil's hot take a spoonful of the fritter paste, shape into a patty (it will be sticky, that's okay), and get it cooking. It should only take about 5-6 minutes per side. Once both sides are a nice golden brown set them on a plate to cool. Serve warm. Eat them as a side to some grilled chicken for dinner or place a slice of tomato and mozzarella in between two fritters and have a fritter bruschetta sandwich for lunch! Enjoy!         

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Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

 I'll take a bunch of fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the orchard over store-bought any day. This is by far the most cost effective way to get cheap organic produce. I didn't get a garden planted this year so when my sister-in-law told me that one of her co-workers had a large overly abundant garden and chicken eggs, I said, "absolutely!" I ended up with fresh eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh basil leaves, and peaches.  I may have also helped myself to some fresh mint and tomatoes from grandma's garden as well. ;)I can't even begin to express how appreciative I am for cheap or free produce. When you choose to follow a healthy, clean eating, gluten free diet you are going to go through LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Now, times that by four kids and the health food foodie (me) and that can add up to be LOTS of green (no I'm not talking about spinach). Especially if you choose to buy organic. Which I do as much as possible. (If you don't have a farmer's market or friendly garden growers near you here's my list for the best organic and clean eating deals from Costco) Organic produce {produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering} ends up being full of flavor and nutrients, but not always an award winning size or shape. Like the peaches I got that were closer to the size of an apricot, but that still packed a delicious punch of peachy flavor. I could go into a whole monologue about the metaphor of life....(insert moving, wistful music)Life is like a garden. Each fruit and flower is a product of the care and  attention given to it. It doesn't matter how much miracle grow or bug repellent is used, it could never change the nature of the seed. A peach seed can never become anything other than a peach. It won't bloom into an apple or grow vines and sprout tomatoes. The peach's inborn, divinely inherent characteristic allows the seed to develop into just what it was meant to be.....unless of course it's genetically modified from it's original state and enhanced until it's the size of a grapefruit....Okay, that monologue didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. Needless to say I'll take my produce in the most natural form I can get. This Mint, Basil & Lavender Scented Quinoa Salad has a subtle sweet and savory flavor that is enhanced by the ever so slight hint of lavender. It was even better the next day. You could make this salad in the morning before work and have it ready to go for a light side to dinner or to take along to a picnic.Serves 4Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 cup red, white, or black quinoa (I mixed red and white). Rinsed.1 large or 2-3 small peaches. Rinsed, pitted, and sliced into wedges1 green onion, chopped3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or tornRosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing1 tbsp. raw honey1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1/8 tsp. sea saltpinch black pepper1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

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Italian Roasted Potato Salad

Italian Roasted Potato Salad

  

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Lemon Dill Asparagus

Lemon Dill Asparagus

  Today the sky is azure blue. Birds are chirping a sonata of melodies each their own while a lizard does some vertical sunbathing on the back wall. Life in nature always seems so constant, so predictable, and peaceful. I sometimes watch the goings on of the usual wildlife that surround my home and think...I wish I had it that easy. Of course, then I'm reminded of all those Discovery Channel shows that delve into the "real" life of animals and suddenly I'm reminded that their existence isn't easy, just less complicated.

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Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

 Eating with the seasons doesn't just save you money, it's good for you too. There are lots of yummy springtime fruits and veggies that I personally am going to start enjoying right now! Lemons, cherries, peas, green onions, and fresh herbs are all combined with warm toasted quinoa, cooked in broth for a flavorful, light, healthy, gluten free, yummy salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This is perfect for your first barbeque of the season, Easter dinner, a get together, or whenever and since it tastes just as good warm or cold it's great to eat for lunch the next day. 

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Almandine Green Beans

Almandine Green Beans

 Sunday dinner at family's house is such a great tradition. It's nice to visit and all, but seriously - I won't lie - it's really nice to not have to cook. Alright, I can't really just sit back and relax, I do have four kids after all. This simple dish was part of one Sunday dinner menu and it was so yummy and simple I just had to share. I also learned something new; almandine means "garnished with almonds". It's sound fancy and smart too. ;)*This recipe serves four, but it's pretty easy to double for more hungry dinner guests.

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Orange-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Orange-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

We're taking back thanksgiving and making it not only taste incredibly festive and delicious, but good for you too! Here's a healthy and amazingly yummy must-have for thanksgiving this year.  These sweet potatoes, or yams if you prefer, are baked with healthy coconut oil and glazed in a honey orange sauce.  No marshmallows needed to make these taters shout "happy thanksgiving!" Serves 4-6

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Sun-dried tomato and warm potato salad

Sun-dried tomato and warm potato salad
 

My garden is starting to produce!  Yay, go me!  Those cute little yellow balls in there are my homegrown pear tomatoes! 2 chicken breasts, butterflied (cut in half horizontally) 4-6 red potatoes, quartered, skins on 1 onion, sliced 2-4 whole garlic cloves, smashed 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed & cut in half 1 pint cherry, grape or pear tomatoes 1 jar, 4 oz. gluten free sun-dried tomatoes (I used this blend that had some herbs in it) garlic salt and pepper to taste 1 - 5 oz. container fresh baby spinach graded Parmesan cheese to taste  Preheat oven to 450. Fill one cookie sheet with potatoes, onions and 1-2 smashed garlic cloves.  Drizzle olive oil from sun-dried tomato jar onto veggies.  Pull out half of the sun-dried tomatoes, dice them up and throw them on there too.  Garlic salt and pepper to taste then toss to coat.  Bake for 15 minutes. On another tray put asparagus, fresh tomatoes and remainder of smashed garlic cloves.  Do the same thing as before with the sun-dried tomatoes, drizzling veggies with the oil from the jar and adding rest tomatoes, diced,  followed by garlic salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Put in the oven with potatoes and bake for another half hour. While that's cooking defrost chicken and butterfly cut (lay on cutting board and cut into chicken breast horizontally) Season with a salt and pepper then cook either in a skillet with a little olive oil or grill. Slice of chicken into strips. When veggies are done cooking throw them all into a big bowl.  Add fresh spinach and toss gently until spinach begins to wilt.  Place chicken strips on top then grate the Parmesan over it all. * "With the skin, one medium red potato (5.3 oz) contains 3g of dietary fiber per serving. That's the same amount of fiber found in many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. In addition to being beneficial to the digestive system, offering protection against colon cancer, and lowering cholesterol levels, fiber also gives potatoes their substance, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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