Nectarine Ice Cream (non dairy, refined sugar free)

nectarine ice cream The first month with our new ice cream maker (affiliate link) was so much fun. I made fantastic vanilla, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip ice cream and wooed my friends and family. It was so splendidly summer, but once you have a little homemade ice cream, you then want it all the time. And there it was in the freezer calling my name each overly warm evening.

So I came up with this EASY recipe to clean up my ice cream act and celebrate the nectarines all around me without all the sugar and cream! It’s especially good with a few chocolate chips on top!

NECTARINE ICE CREAM (non dairy, refined sugar free)

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 super ripe nectarines (the one’s you can get at the farm stand for super cheap because of their ripeness), roughly chopped
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 13.5oz can coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Place the chopped nectarines in a bowl or Ziploc bag and squeeze the lemon juice over them. Allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Puree nectarines with maple syrup and coconut milk in blender.
  3. Refrigerate puree.
  4. When chilled, pour into ice cream maker. Soft serve consistency was achieved after about 25 minutes in the ice cream maker.
  5. Enjoy at soft serve consistency or place into the freezer for harder ice cream texture.

I would guess this would work with peaches and apricots as well. And you could play with add-ins too, like chocolate chips, nuts, shredded coconut, etc. Report back if you make something great!

nectarine ice cream

Salad Spree Round-Up

Woo Hoo! Spring is here and everybody is eating salad again. As I was pulling up an old salad recipe from my blog, I realized that with so many of you new to the Lean.Green.Kitchen site, you may not have seen all the salad recipes posted a year ago. So I’ve gone ahead and linked them all up into this Salad Spree Round-Up. May they give us ideas now that the days are getting warmer!

Mexican Caesar Salad Mexican Caesar Salad recipe

Spring Pearl Couscous Spring Pearl Couscous Salad recipe

Beet Orange Stack-Ups Beet Orange Salad recipe

The Simplest Salad The Simplest Salad recipe

Confetti Pasta Salad Confetti Pasta Salad recipe

Cherry Chicken Curry Salad Chicken Curry Salad recipe

Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad Red White and Blue Quinoa Salad recipe

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint recipe Do you have a favorite??

Looking forward to posting some more salad recipes soon!

Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar Salad

It is April and about time to roll back the soups and dial in the salads! Here is our first salad recipe of 2014 and it is a beautiful colorful one that will serve you well all spring and summer. This Mexican Caesar Salad is a twist on the original Caesar Salad, with bright colors and flavors – such as diced red, yellow and orange bell peppers, crumbled blue corn chips, and a green cilantro dressing. To pile on the nutrients, the dressing uses pro-biotic-packed kefir and pumpkin seeds for the creamy base. Plus romaine lettuce is a powerhouse all on its own!

Enjoy!

Mexican Caesar Salad

Recipe: Mexican Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 head of romaine, chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers (a variety of red, orange or yellow), small dice
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup blue corn chips, crumbled
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • fresh ground pepper (for topping)
  • minced cilantro (for topping)
  • a few blue corn chips crumbled (for topping)

For Cilantro-Kefir dressing (makes a little more than you will need):

  • 1/2 small can of diced mild chiles
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (raw or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cloves garlic (roasted for a smoother flavor)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 3 T Cotija cheese
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro (I used leaves and stems)
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (can sub with mayo if you must)
  • water to thin if needed

Instructions

  1. Toss all salad ingredients together.
  2. For the dressing, blend all ingredients except the cilantro and kefir until smooth. Then add cilantro and kefir and blend again until smooth. Taste and add salt for more sparkle and water for thinning if necessary.
  3. Toss salad with dressing. Crank a little fresh ground black pepper over the salad and sprinkle a little minced cilantro and blue corn chip crumbles over the top for presentation points.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

 

Okay, I can’t help it. I’ve got to share this beautiful colorful fruit salad too. It’s so easy and makes a great addition to any fiesta!

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint

 Recipe: Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint

Ingredients

  • 2 mangoes, cubed
  • 1 basket strawberries, sliced
  • 2 oranges, cubed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 5 mint leaves, chopped fine

Instructions

  1. Toss the cut fruit with the lime juice and mint and serve. Tastes even better if you let it hang out together in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Looking for more salad ideas? Here are a few:

Confetti Pasta Salad with text  Confetti Pasta Salad

Pearl Couscous  Spring Pearl Couscous

Beet Orange Salad  Beet Orange Stack-Ups

Simplest Salad  The Simplest Salad

Recipe: Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Take an awesome zucchini bread recipe from SmittenKitchen, tweak it up to make it fit my preferred ingredients, and – boo-ya – a super delicious bread emerges that disappears from the house in a day. We all celebrate around here when we find something that every member of the family likes (feels like a short list sometimes). This bread is on the list!

Recipe: Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs (you can substitute 2 “flax eggs” to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 cup Zucchini (grated)
  • 1t Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour (I use sprouted whole wheat)
  • 2t Cinnamon
  • 1/2t Nutmeg
  • 1/2t Baking Soda
  • 1/4t Baking Powder
  • 1/2t Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Pecans (chopped)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in applesauce, coconut oil, coconut sugar, zucchini and vanilla.
  4. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and pecans.
  5. Stir this into the egg mixture.
  6. Pour into the loaf pan.
  7. Bake loaf for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let sit cooling for 15 minutes before removing from loaf pan and slicing.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

Embrace What the Garden Gives You

Garden Produce

Or someone else’s garden or your farm box – you get the picture! This time of year the tomatoes, zucchini and peaches start showing up in office lunchrooms with a note that says “take me.” Or a neighbor leaves town and begs you to pick and take home whatever you can while they are gone. Or your CSA is filled to the brim with the season’s bounty.

And sometimes it goes to waste. Because we are busy. Or tired of it. Feeling uncreative. And it.is.just.sitting.there.on.the.counter. Staring at us (ok, me). So what should I do?

This week’s tip is to make it happen. Embrace the magnitude of produce overtaking kitchen counters, gardens, office lunchrooms… And do something – many somethings in fact!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Take inventory. What do you have, how much and how ripe?
  • Prioritize. Figure out things to do in order of ripeness.
  • Place fruits that need to be eaten quickly in a special bowl on the table or include it on your Kitchen Counter Challenge Plate.
  • Think outside the box or the time window. Think preservation.
  • Utilize your freezer. Chop up super ripe fruit and freeze for smoothies or ice cream. Puree overly ripe fruit and freeze for smoothies or baking. Chop up herbs and freeze them in an ice-cube tray.
  • Make jams, chutneys, salsas, pestos, sauces.
  • Grate squash and use it in dishes and baked goods.
  • Slice tomatoes and stone fruits and dehydrate them.
  • Make big salads.
  • Make big pots of veggie soup and freeze what you don’t eat in family serving sizes.
  • Put together amazing berry-licious desserts.
  • Search the internet by ingredient for recipes (for example: green bean recipes).
  • Ask a friend for ideas. Ask all your Facebook friends for ideas. Buy a seasonal foods cookbook. Have your kids pick a recipe.
  • Celebrate the bounty with a fancy evening meal – “Zucchini Four Ways.” Print out a Prix Fixe Menu for each place setting and use fancy linens.
  • Add eggs and make an omelet, frittata, quiche or scramble.
  • Make lots of something and share with friends, a person in need, a potluck group, the office.
  • Learn to can. Learn to ferment. Learn to juice.
  • Plan your meals around what you have.

Whatever you do, don’t despair! This is a wonderful challenge to have and one we will all be dreaming about this winter. Say “YES” to any and all offers for fresh, local, nutrient-rich produce this summer. Then remember that summer is a time for play, so use this as a chance to play with your food!

Let me know, what are you working with and what are you doing to do with it?

Join us on the Facebook page – I’ll be posting links to recipes and preservation methods to help us all out!

Recipe: Lots of Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad

Red White and Blue Note to self: Quinoa does not photograph well. But it sure tastes delicious!

This is my ode to independence. Bringing together many flavors for some sweetness and nourishment. Together the ingredients meld while still maintaining their independent awesomeness. Blueberry, beet, cherry and feta cheese flavors bursting in celebration of their authentic natures. What do you think? Is this metaphor working at all?

This salad would be a lovely base for a pork chop or a topper for a green salad. It’d be great for a picnic. It is a unique and strong flavor profile so I’d recommend serving it in smaller amounts as a side. And if you don’t like beets, just leave them out!

Recipe: Lots of Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red quinoa made according to package directions with stock or water, cooled
  • 2 boiled beets, peeled, cubed and cooled
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 3/4 cup cubed or crumbled feta

Dressing:

  • 1T olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherries
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2t Dijon mustard
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2t pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool.
  2. Boil beets until a fork goes into them smoothly. Cool.
  3. Heat oil/butter in small sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add cherries and sauté until softened.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and saute for a few more minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper. Sauce will be very salty. Cool.
  7. Toss everything together in a large bowl and chill in refrigerator.
  8. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone! Here in Northern California it’s scorching hot, so remember to hydrate.

Clean and Easy Summer Gumbo Recipe

IMG_5159

This powerhouse soup is hearty and able to fill up hungry family members who have been playing and working all day in the summer sun. This easy gumbo recipe is a lighter, fresher, cleaner version of traditional gumbos, and it is shellfish free, as I made it for my dad who is highly allergic. We served it with a beautiful loaf of pugliese bread and talked about how it would hold up nicely in a bread bowl. Whether as a soup starter or a main dish, your body will thank you for the nutrients!

Recipe: Clean and Easy Summer Gumbo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Onion (chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup Carrot (chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup Celery (chopped small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1T Butter or EVOO (or a combo of both)
  • 2 Italian Chicken Sausages (sliced into 1/4 inch rounds) – I use Applegate Organics Sweet Italian (you could delete altogether for vegetarians or use Shrimp or Cubed Chicken)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock (can easily sub with Vegetable Stock)
  • 28oz crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 1/2t dried Oregano
  • 1 1/2t dried Thyme
  • 1/2t Sea Salt
  • 1/2t Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 cups chopped Kale (frozen is great!)
  • 2 cups Corn (frozen is great!)
  • 2 cups sliced Okra (frozen is great!)

Instructions

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, in a large pot heat butter/oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and cook until everything softens.
  4. Add sausage rounds and cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, sea salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add kale, corn and okra.
  7. Continue simmering until rice is finished and add rice.
  8. Add two cups of water if gumbo is too thick.
  9. Simmer for 15 minutes and check spices. Adjust as necessary.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

This recipe is heavily adapted from Clean Eating magazine (Chicken Gumbo, June 2012).

Perhaps enjoy this on a back porch with some iced tea!?

Recipe: Cherries Jubilee

IMG_5041

THIS is my FAVORITE dessert of.all.time.

I was going to post this recipe for the Fourth of July holiday, but I started thinking you might need time to practice it a few times and get the ingredients and practice a few more times and maybe even surprise a father or two on Sunday. So find some local cherries, make some ice cream (or buy the good stuff) and enjoy!

Recipe: Cherries Jubilee

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat up the butter/coconut oil in a skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add cherries and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add liquor and flambé (light on fire in the pan) while swirling the cherries in the pan. The flames are really exciting and then die out as the alcohol burns off. You just stand there and swirl the pan and everything will take care of itself!
  4. Add spices and simmer for 5 minutes or until the cherry juice reduces to a syrup consistency.
  5. Pour over vanilla ice cream and top with a few mini chocolate chips.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

 

IMG_5031

 

If you need a taste taster, just let me know.

Happy Summer Celebrations!!

 

 

Happy Two Month Birthday to the Lean.Green.Kitchen Blog!

Berry Popsicle

It was just two months ago that the Lean.Green.Kitchen blog was launched! The site is slowly filling up with content and recipes and insights into my foodie journey… every day it is getting closer to fulfilling my dreams of a thriving blog making a difference to those conscious about their eating.

This summer I will take the next step with the blog and begin to actively work to bring new people to the Lean.Green.Kitchen community both through the blog and the Facebook page. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, so if you have gotten something out of the time you’ve spent on the Lean.Green.Kitchen blog, I’d love for you to share it with others you think may enjoy the experience!

In honor of the past two months, I’ve created a celebratory popsicle recipe for us to enjoy this summer!

 

Recipe: Blueberry Bananza Popsicle

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (the riper the better)
  • 2 cups frozen organic Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic unsweetened Kefir
  • 1 cup organic coconut water

Instructions

  1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Fill popsicle molds and freeze for 4-6 hours.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Looking for popsicle molds? There are so many great ones on Amazon! Here’s a link for the two I own and like:
Norpro Ice Pop Maker         Tovolo Blue Rocket Pops, Set of 6

 

TOP 10 MOST VIEWED POSTS

Let’s reminisce a little. Here are the Top 10 Most Viewed Posts to date on the Lean.Green.Kitchen. Have you seen them all?

Number 10: Food Rules

Number 9: A Tragic Love Story with Sugar

Number 8: Crock-Pot Chicken & Eggplant Parmigiana

Number 7: Clean Up Treats

Number 6: Enjoy a Food Tour

Number 5: The Simplest Salad

Number 4: Spring Veggie Polenta Pizza

Number 3: Know the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

Number 2: Stay Hydrated

Number 1: I Bought a Cow

Thank you so much for all the support over the past two months. Now go share your favorite post, enjoy a super healthy popsicle and have a wonderful summer!

Recipe: Summer Minestrone

IMG_4971 All posts this week are inspired by Michael Pollan’s new book: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. He includes four rather involved recipes in the book, which I’ll report back on some day after I try them. One of the overall messages of the book is that there is power and value in cooking for yourself and your family. On this, Pollan and I see eye to eye.

One of my favorite things to cook for my family are nutrient rich soups. This is a little tricky during the 90+ degree days of summer, but I’ve found that a little soup starter at the beginning of the meal is very nourishing, hydrating and eaten quickly because everyone is hungry. I plan to make a pot of soup each week throughout summer for dinner starters and my lunch. It’s also a great way to clear out the veggie bins of things that may be just past their prime.

Recipe: Summer Minestrone

Ingredients

  • 2T Olive Oil, Butter or Tallow
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 chopped Carrots
  • 2 chopped Celery Stalks
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 finely chopped Kale or Chard
  • 1 small chopped Potato
  • 1 chopped Summer Squash
  • 1 chopped Bell Pepper
  • 15-20oz diced Tomatoes
  • 1 fresh sprig Rosemary
  • 1 fresh sprig Oregano
  • 1 can drained, rinsed Kidney or Cannellini Beans
  • 1 cup dry Pasta, I used Orecchiette (optional)
  • 1qt organic Beef, Chicken or Veggie Broth
  • 2T chopped Italian Parsley
  • Splash of Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Shredded Parm for topper

Instructions

  1. In large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute the onion, carrot, celery, garlic with a little salt until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add potato, bell pepper, and summer squash for two minutes.
  4. Add kale, tomatoes, rosemary sprig and oregano sprig.
  5. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add pasta and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove rosemary and oregano sprigs.
  8. Add beans and Italian parsley.
  9. Add salt, pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar to taste.
  10. Top with shredded Parm and serve (not too hot if it is 90+ degrees out!)

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Michael Pollan quotes I Yin, a Chinese chef from 239 B.C. – “The transformation which occurs in the cauldron is quintessential and wondrous, subtle and delicate. The mouth cannot express it in words.”

Love that. Enjoy your cauldrons everyone!