Monday, October 20, 2014

Garden Fresh Vegan Ratatouille! GF, V, SCD, & Paleo!

Hey Happy Tummies!!

How the heck are ya?! Gosh, it has been FOREVER and I am so sorry about that.

Things here in NYC have just been going at hyper speed!

So I've been getting a bunch of emails from you guys wondering where I am and if I've fallen off the face of the earth! So I thought I'd take a minute to fill you guys in on what I've been up to:)

First of all: I've missed you guys. A lot. And thank you to everyone that sent me an email as to my whereabouts. Your kindness is truly what makes the world go 'round:)

OK so what in the name of Pete have I been up to?!

Wellllll...things have gotten super busy on the acting front.

I'm excited to announce that I will be playing the lead role of Autry in the upcoming TV pilot, "Heroes of the Street." It's about paramedics and it starts filming this December in Philly. So that's exciting. It's Facebook page is found here! Check it out!! :D

Also, I may have mentioned this already, but I was also cast in a horror film trilogy, called the Coffee Cafe. That will be shooting in 2016 in North Carolina. So exciting stuff folks! It's Facebook page can be found here!

So lots of stuff going on. Annnd I finally "broke down" and created a Facebook "actor page" that I update regularly, so if you want to "keep tabs" on this gluten free gal, you can find me there as well:)  Here's that Link!

So that's the news on this front. I did a few other projects here recently too: several commercials, a role on Oxygen's "My Crazy Love," and a spot for a new alcohol delivery app called Thirstie. It's a pretty interesting idea - like Seamless but for alcohol. You can check out its Facebook page here!

Alright, now for a new recipe! Garden Fresh Vegan Ratatouille!

This one is actually courtesy of my sister-in-law! For Christmas dinner last year, she came up with this brilliant SCD recipe that was SO GOOD! I thought it was perfect to share with you all as Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching!

It was a hit! Layers of fresh veggies - tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini, all smothered in a delectable tomato and red pepper sauce. YUM.

And it's Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Specific Carb Diet friendly, and Paleo!

Here's what you need: (Serves 6 as a side dish)

2 zucchini, sliced thin on a mandolin
2 yellow squash, sliced thin on a mandolin
2 medium eggplant, sliced thin on a mandolin
3 tomatoes, sliced thin

2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup raw cashews

Prep your veggies by carefully slicing them on a mandolin. (Use a hand guard!) Set aside.

Next, make your sauce. In a large skillet, sauté your onion and red pepper with your EVOO, herbs, salt and pepper for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until softened. Then add your garlic, and let it cook for about 2 more minutes. Finally, add your tomatoes, and let them cook for about 2 minutes, until warmed through. Set aside.

In your food processor, place your cashews. Process them for about 30 seconds, until you get a fine powder. Then, carefully add your vegetable mixture. Process until you get a smooth, creamy sauce. (You can make this a day ahead of time, and store in a Tupperware in the fridge if you're making this for the holidays.)

When you're ready to bake it, place 1/4 cup of the sauce in a large, oven safe, round casserole dish. Spread it around in a thin layer. Then, alternate your sliced veggies in a circular pattern, overlapping like so: Tomato - eggplant - zucchini - yellow squash - tomato etc.

Then, pour the remainder of the sauce over the assembled veggies. Bake for about 30 minutes, until warmed through and bubbly.

* If you are not dairy free, this would be great with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. *

Serve warm.

My goodness, this dish was not only beautiful, but seriously delicious, too! It was the hit of the dinner! And not to mention wonderfully healthy! 

The sauce was cozy and warm with the oregano and basil, and rich and creamy from the cashews.

The oven worked its magic on the veggies - they became soft and tender. A perfect pairing with the tomato sauce!

Alright that's all for now! I'm going home this weekend, so I'll be doing some cooking while in Cincinnati! 

Have an amazing week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Almond Berry Avocado Disappearing Salad! GF, V, SCD, BED & Paleo!

Hey guys!

My apologies, it has been waaay too long! I've been going on hyper speed for the past couple weeks.

Wishing I could slow down for a bit and take in another Wisconsin sunset! *sigh*

Looks like this will have to do ;)

Next up: life update!! (but first -- sneak peak of this fab recipe)

Some excitement to share with y'all! Last week, I had my birthday, as well as my graduation, & I shot an NFL commercial! It was a really busy yet awesome week!

Here's yours truly at the shoot :D Go Bengals!

And tonight, I wanted to share with you one of my absolute favorite recipes from this Almond Berry Avocado Disappearing Salad! And why do you ask, is it called the disappearing salad?! Welllll....let's just say it's so delicious that it's gone in no time! ohh I'm such a cheese ball :D haha

But seriously...this salad was my favorite dish that I made this summer. I make it at least twice a week. It has become a staple.

And it's Gluten Free, Vegan, Specific Carb Diet friendly, and Paleo!

Here's what you need:

Serves 2 hungry folks

1 red bell pepper, sliced very thin
1 cucumber, sliced thin on a mandolin
2 large carrots, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1/4 - 1/2 cup blueberries
7 strawberries, sliced
3-4 Tbsp cilantro, minced
3 Tbsp chopped almonds
3 Tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
sprinkle of sunflower seeds
baby spinach

1 ripe avocado
juice of one lime
1Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 drops pure liquid stevia alcohol free
2 Tbsp water
Pinch salt

Chop all your veggies either on a mandolin (carefully!) or with a sharp knife. Mix your dressing together in a small bowl or food processor. (I just used a bowl). Mix until it is a creamy dressing-like consistency. Toss the fruit, nuts, and veggies with the dressing in a large bowl until well coated. Top a bed of baby spinach with a large helping of the salad. Garnish with almonds, pepitas, and sunflower seeds (and more dressing if desired). Eat chilled.

My goodness, this salad is SO easy, SO delicious, and SO addicting!! There's something about the creamy buttery avocado dressing with the sweet and juicy blueberries/strawberries, the crunchy almonds and the fresh cilantro make this salad irresistible!

My family got to try this when I debuted it in Wisconsin, and my mom declared that this was her favorite meal I made all week.

It's cool and crunchy, sweet, tangy, and completely and utterly satisfying. And its unbelievably healthy too! Lots of protein from the nuts and seeds, healthy fats from the avocado, antioxidants from the berries, and wholesome nutrition from the veggies!

Finally, it is just gorgeous with all the bright colors. Red, orange, lime green, dark green, blue and purple! In one word---fabulous!! :D

What are you looking forward to this week?

Also -- what did you guys think of the finale of the Bachelorette? Can you believe that she chose Josh??!! I kinda saw it coming...I mean come on, he's from her hometown!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tempura Cauliflower Steak w/ Blistered Italian Spring Veggies! GF, V, SCD, BED & Paleo!

Hey Happy Tummies!

Alright. It's time for a show stopper recipe. Holy cow you guys this is one for the books, I'm serious.

So while I was in Wisconsin, my family wanted to celebrate my graduation. So we decided to have a BBQ -- a classic Northwoods celebration!

Since clearly I can't eat BBQ fare, I was encouraged to make a nice dinner. Challenge accepted.

So what did I make?? "Tempura" Cauliflower Steak with Blistered Italian Spring Veggies.

Wow wow wow. That's about all I can say. My dad, who has an aversion to all veggies other than corn and Lima beans:) proclaimed that this was the best thing I've ever made.

I'll take that as a win for team GFHT! :)

This treat was Gluten and Grain Free, Vegan, Specific Carb Diet & Body Ecology Diet friendly, & Paleo!

Here's what you need: (Serves one)

1/3 head of cauliflower 

1 egg, beaten (vegan option: plain almond milk)
1/3 cup almond flour

handful green beans
1/2 zucchini, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced (BED use shittake mushrooms)

15 grape tomatoes or one large tomato (BED sub one red pepper)
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano

Fresh basil, chopped (garnish)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 1/3 of your cauliflower head. I used the "center cut" that included the root, and saved the outer thirds for snacking and other meals. Set aside and set up your breading station.

Breading process: You'll need a bowl, medium sized plate, and your tin foil-lined, olive oil-sprayed baking sheet. In the bowl, beat your egg and add a pinch of salt (or use almond milk). On the plate, spread out the almond flour with a pinch of salt. Take your cauliflower, coat it in egg, and then place it on the plate with the almond flour and coat it evenly with the almond flour. Then place it on one half of the baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

On the other half of the baking sheet, place your green beans in a single layer. Spritz them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the entire baking sheet into the oven. You'll bake the cauliflower for a total of 40 minutes. But at 20 minutes, when you flip the cauliflower, remove the green beans and set aside.

Meanwhile, create your sauce. Saute your onions and garlic in 1-2 tsp EVOO, salt, pepper, and dried herbs over medium heat. After about 4 minutes, add your red peppers. Let those soften, about 4 minutes. Then add your tomatoes and let them cook for about 4 more minutes. Then, carefully transfer the veggies to the food processor, and process until it is smooth. You'll need to scrape the sides a few times.

Also meanwhile, sauté your mushrooms and zucchini in 1-2 tsp EVOO. Let them brown on one side (about 3 minutes), and then flip and let the other side brown. Set aside.

To assemble, place your cauliflower on the plate. Top with the veggie mixture and sauce, and garnish with chopped fresh basil. I put the majority of the sauce around the cauliflower on the plate to minimize the contact between the sauce and the breading on the cauliflower so it would stay nice and crispy:)

You guys. I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this was. I know I can be a bit of a "gusher" about food...but this is next. level.

The first thing you notice when you bring it to the table is how freaking gorgeous it is. There's something "rustically fabulous" about the "breaded" and substantial steak of golden brown cauliflower, topped with a stately pile of blistered veggies, and bright red tomato sauce. It is regal. It is elegant. It is something to be proud of:)

Then, the taste is just outrageous. The bright and subtly sweet tomato sauce is the perfect backdrop to the nutty and homey cauliflower. The bright basil accents the caramelized green beans and zucchini. So. Good.

And then the textures. This may be the best part. Let me tell you- you've got to cut into that cauliflower with a steak knife! It is still crunchy, but the outsides have caramelized and become a little chewy and have some give. And coating the outside is this sweet and nutty coating of almond flour that give it a richness and butteriness that you've never experienced with cauliflower before. It was cauliflower, transcended :)

And the creamy sauce with the crunch veggies was just delightful.

So all in all, this was a terrific meal to celebrate my graduation. It was special, and seemed a bit extravagant--but in reality, it was just the humble kitchen superstar--cauliflower!

As summer is beginning to wane, we're going to have lots of "special occasion" meals. Give this one a try! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Roasted Beet & Fennel Pesto Pizza! GF, SCD, BED & Paleo w/ Vegan opt'n!

What up Happy Tummiesss?!!

How was everyone's weekend? Did you watch the World Cup finals? I watched it with my friends in Harlem. What a fun day.

A double rainbow on the way to the airport in Wisconsin.

So yep, I'm back from Wisconsin, and boy do I miss my fam. It was so great to be with them, especially my little niece, Baby A. She turns one on Thursday. Such. A. Cutie. :D My mom loves being a gma:)

It is definitely a different kind of summer here in NYC. It is seriously muggy and humid here on the East Coast, but that was NOT the case in Wisconsin! It was so cold in the Northwoods that on a couple days, that I had to wear a ski suit when we went boating!! And at the lake home, we have all our old clothes up there -- as the "cottage wardrobe." So let's just say I looked pretty sweet in my mom's 80's ski outfit! haha

Yep, it was a high of 63 degrees some days, so lets just say it was f-f-f-freezing on the water! Quite the change from NYC :D

One night in Wisconsin, I decided to make one of my favorite meals: a Cauliflower Flatbread Pizza!

Flatbreads are a standby for me. They're so delicious, filling, easy to make, and seriously good eats!

And you did read that right: it's made out of Cauliflower! Cauliflower and almond flour to be exact:D

This particular flatbread was a Roasted Beet and Fennel Pesto Flatbread! And it's Gluten and Grain Free, Specific Carb Diet and Body Ecology Diet Friendly, Paleo, and has a Vegan option!

Here's what you need: (Serves one)

1/3 cup almond flour
2 egg whites (Vegan option: 1 flax/chia egg)
1 cup cauliflower florets (riced in a food processor)
3 pinches salt

1 beet, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (BED sub red pepper)
1 bulb of fennel, half cut into wedges, and half shaved on the mandolin

Pesto Sauce:
1 cup, packed fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
juice 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
3/4 cup green peas, microwaved for 2 minutes
1-2 Tbsp EVOO

fresh basil, chopped
sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Rice your cauliflower in the food processor. Then, place your riced cauliflower in either paper towels, cheesecloth, or a clean kitchen towel, and wring out all the excess liquid. (This is a really important step!)

Combine the riced cauliflower with the egg, almond flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (NOT wax paper!) Place your "dough" in the center of the parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment on top, and "smoosh" out the dough to about an 8 inch circle. Leave the top paper on, and bake as a "parchment sandwich" for about 30-35 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.

Next, scrub and dry your beet, and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds. Place them in a single layer on a tin-foil-lined, olive-oil-sprayed baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil. Set aside.

Take your fennel bulb and remove the two outer layers. With half, cut into wedges, keeping the button intact, so the wedges stay together. Place these wedges in a single layer on the baking sheet with the beets. Spritz with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take the fennel off the baking sheet and set aside. Flip the beets, and return the baking sheet to the oven for another 10 minutes.

With the remaining 1/2 fennel bulb, carefully shave it on the mandolin into paper-thin slices. These will be scattered raw on the pizza.

Meanwhile, make your pesto by combining all the pesto ingredients in the food processor and blitz until smooth. You'll need to scrape the sides several times.

To assemble, place a thin layer of the pesto sauce on the crust. Top with slices of the beets, the roasted fennel, and raw fennel, and garnish with basil and sunflower seeds.

Oh my goodness this pizza was SO GOOD! Holy cow, what a treat. For those of you who are skeptical of a crust made out of cauliflower, I assure you, you do NOT taste the cauliflower at all. No kidding. I passed it around the table for my family to try, and they all couldn't believe that there was cauliflower in it. Even my dad --- and that's saying something!

The textures were so great. The crust was chewy and bready, and a little crispy/crunchy on the edges. The creamy pesto, chewy beets and roasted fennel went perfectly with the crunchy sunflower seeds and raw fennel.

And the flavors were fabulous! The pesto was so bright and fresh, and the beets had a wonderful earthy sweetness to them that paired perfectly with the sweet and licorice-y fennel. There's something magical about fennel when you roast it in the oven -- its inherent sweetness comes out and caramelizes. SO good! And the sunflower seeds gave a nice nutty and salty *pop* to it.

Finally, it was a stunning dish with the bright green and deep purple. Just beautiful.

Alright, I'm off to watch the Bachelorette! More great recipes coming later this week! Be sure to check back!