Healthy foods

Gnocchi with Homemade Pesto – Gruyere & Swiss Cheese and Soy Nuts

Recently I start buying living basil in the grocery store. It is much easier way of having fresh basil available and not to worry that will go bad quickly in the fridge or outside in the pot. It grows perfectly on the balcony, half shade in a bigger jar filled with water. Basil can last up to few months. Fresh Basil is one of my favorite herbs. It has amazing aroma and it is excellent source of vitamins and minerals: vitamin k, manganese, copper, vitamin a, vitamin c, calcium, folate, iron, omega-3 fats and magnesium. Basil has also anti inflammatory properties.

Since bunch was almost completely used I made fresh pesto sauce with soy nuts and grated Gruyere and Swiss Cheese. Taste was fantastic, creamy and simply wonderful! In my pantry I had package of regular potato gnocchi and leftover of sweet potato variety in freezer. Combination was a success, yummy!

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Ingredients

1 cup  fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup soy nuts
1/2 cup Gruyere and Swiss cheese
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4  extra-virgin olive oil

Gnocchi packed, potato or sweet potato, fresh/packed or frozen

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Equipment

Blender or food processor, cooking pot

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Blend half the basil with the nuts, cheese, and garlic. Place 1/2 of the basil in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender. Add the nuts, cheese, garlic, pepper and salt and process or blend until the ingredients are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining basil. Process or blend until a paste has formed.

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Stream in the olive oil. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Less olive oil will make a paste good for spreading on sandwiches and pizzas; more will make a sauce better for pastas.

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Taste and adjust. Taste the pesto if you need to add more salt or pepper to taste.

Using and storing pesto. Pesto will darken and brown very quickly, but will still be tasty and fresh for several days. For best appearance, use it right away.

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Using medium heavy bottom pot, boil the water with pinch of salt. Add gnocchi and cook until it floats to the top (about 1 minute). Do not over-crowd the pot with gnocchi and do not overcook.

Place 1/2 of cooked gnocchi in saute pan with prepared pesto. Stir together and cook until warm, about 1 minute.

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Serve and enjoy!

Tip: Great lunch idea for quick and healthy meal during busy week days.

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Gluten Free Egg Cups with Turnip Greens and Cottage Cheese

Today I’m exploring another healthy greens, turnips!
Turnips are super greens. They are packed with vitamin: A, C, K, Folate, Ca, Copper, Manganese, Lutein and Beta-Carotene.
Turnips are also leader in non acidic or alkaline foods, which is another reason to add this amazing greens to healthy nutritional diet.
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Turnip greens contain about 4 times more calcium than a much less bitter-tasting cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or mustard greens. For total glucosinolate content, turnip greens outscore cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli among the most commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. That fantastic glucosinolate content brings with it some equally fantastic health benefits. The glucosinolates in turnip greens are phytonutrients that can be converted into isothiocyanates (ITCs) with cancer-preventing properties.
You can buy turnip greens bunch on the farmers market or already packed-precut in supermarkets, whatever is more convenient for you.
This recipe doesn’t contain any flour, it is gluten free.
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Pre boiled and baked turnip greens have very nice peppery aroma. They are not bitter and they perfectly pair with eggs and cheese.
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Makes 6 medium egg cups
Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh turnip greens, chopped
4 organic eggs
1 medium cup low fat cottage cheese
A little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F .
In a heavy pot bring water to boil. Add the turnip greens in the pot.
Cook the turnip just until wilted, about 4-5 minutes.
Use colander or spatula to pack in the greens. Drain the excess water really well, ( is important step). Let it cool for a few minutes.
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In a mixer bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the turnip greens and cheese to the eggs. Stir to combine. Season to taste.
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Add a few drops of olive oil to each cup.
Divide mixture evenly among the 6 medium muffin cups.
Bake for about 27-29 minutes or until it’s well set and a tester/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This recipe is delicious breakfast idea or mid day craving snack, packed with protein and healthy dark leaf greens.
Enjoy!

 

Banana Cream Pie, Low Fat Recipe

This recipe is all about making good for you, velvety pie dessert in a blink of an eye. Found in the pantry pack of wafers, bananas in the fruit basket and whip cream in the fridge. How about Banana cream pie? Not a huge fan of pie thick floury crust, they give me heartburn so I tried to avoid them. Few posts in a back I made lovely cake with chestnuts and used grahams for the crust. Why not to use wafers for the crust? Pie is done, it is easy and fabulous recipe and has only few grams of fat and what heartburn?
Anyway, fresh fruit, wonderful vanilla cooked cream and fresh whip on the top. Chilled and ready to serve. Can last up to few days in the fridge.

Ingredients:

For the crust

1 pack of vanilla or plain wafers
1 teaspoon of butter
1/4 cup non fat milk

For the cream filling

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup non fat milk
1 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 tea spoon organic vanilla bean sugar
2 large bananas
1 cup fresh whipping cream


To prepare the crust use your food processor, grind the wafer cookies and transfer to the mixing bowl. Add melted butter and milk. Work with spatula till you get dough like mixture.
With help of silicone spatula and hands too nicely and evenly spread the dough into the baking pie or tart dish.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake the crust for 5 minutes top.

When done set aside.
To prepare the filling, in a medium saucepan whisk together flour and sugar.

Add milk and water and heat over medium heat. When mixture begins to simmer and cream starts to thickens, remove the pan from the heat
Separate eggs yolks from whites and keep the whites for next morning, egg white omelette maybe?

Stir the yolks, add table spoon of hot mixture and quickly add to the cream. Simmer for several minutes till creamy and bubbly.

Add vanilla sugar.

Slice bananas to thin cuts, spread them over crust.
Sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

Pour the warm filling over fruit and level the cream.
Leave in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.

In the meantime whip the whipping cream and spread over the pie. If you can’t wait to try it, like I couldn’t, you can serve it momentarily, otherwise pie can rest in fridge till tomorrow after lunch. Super yummy. I love the crust it has added crunch to it. Light,creamy and for all banana lovers great dessert to enjoy!
Bananas are healthy fruit. They are packed with: potassium, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and 5g of protein.
Now, I have to make something salty…. for the next post. Thanks for looking!

Spaetzle with Baby Bella Mushrooms and Beef Stew

Well, Winter is coming for sure even here in California and LA, mornings and evenings are cold. This morning it was 35 F. I finally decided to buy a warm jacket, sorry friends but can’t act like it’s Summer time anymore, flip flops and tank tops have to wait until Spring time:)
It is amazing how people appetite change with weather patterns. When cold, we crave meals with more texture, spices and added sides with starch, pasta or potatoes.
This recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid and I wanted to give it a try. It takes a little more time and effort but it is wonderful meal to enjoy. Kids and adults love the Spaetzle.
This kind of pasta is very versatile. You can eat it plain with little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, you can add roasted vegetables or meat dish on the side. They go well with roast or stew. I had some fresh baby bella mushrooms in the fridge so I quickly made good stew with: lean beef, red onion, chicken stock, mushrooms, little paprika and spices. I know that everybody has their favorite type of stew and best working formula that they make for years now.

Super yummy:)

Spaetzle

You will need:

1, 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 medium fresh eggs
sea salt, for taste
cold water, sprinkle
1/2 tea spoon all spice
fresh sage leaves
1/2 stick butter, slowly melted and caramelized

Using mixer start combining flour and salt. Gradually beat in the eggs one by one and water until you got the batter that is nice consistency.

Let mix rest in fridge for couple of hours.
Melt the butter in the small pot just till butter starts to turn golden in color.

Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare another bowl with ice water and ice cubes.
Ladle dough using upside down colander.

Scrape through the wholes. When just cooked Spaetzle will rise to the surface.

Transfer pasta to the ice bowl. Repeat the process till you have mix available. Drain Spaetzle and set aside.
Using large non stick pan heat prepared butter and add half of the Spaetzle. Fry till lightly brown.

Season with salt, all spice and fresh sage. Serve hot with your favorite toppings or stew.
Guten Appetit!

Broccoli Salad

So, here is the thing about broccoli. I like them but I like them even better if they are dressed up nicely. There are many broccoli salad recipes all mixed up with mayo or dressing some sweet, some spicy….To be honest with you I was kind of hungry today, it was raining too and I wanted to eat broccoli, so I made this salad and it was very, very good:)
Here is the proof:

You will need around 20 minutes to make this salad and several good quality ingredients.
To start I blanch the broccoli for few minutes just to make them a little bit softer.
For the bacon I like to use oven roasting method….around 17 minutes in the preheated oven on 400F, delicious crunchy slices of bacon are done…..and stove top stays clean.
For the dressing, I used 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt (which I love), vigorously mixed till becomes smooth and liquidy. I grated in a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper, lemon juice and fresh chopped chives from the garden. They added additional garlicky taste to the dressing which will give broccoli perfect taste.
Also had a hard boiled egg from this morning in the fridge so I added egg too.
Hmmm….something was still missing, o yes, generously shaved Parmesan cheese.
And there it is, lunch all ready and served.
On the plate there are wonderful vegetables high in vitamin C and folate, good source of dietary fiber and potassium, protein powerhouse and some calcium too. I feel like I did something good today for myself, treat my body well with delicious freshly prepared broccoli salad.
Enjoy.

Frittata with Corn & Feta Cheese

I love making frittata on the weekend mornings but even during the week for the healthy and hearty breakfast it is a great idea. Adults and kids love the recipe and this tasty combination. It will warm your heart and tummy and give you head start for the busy morning schedule.
While sun is slowly rising, fresh coffee is brewing, orange juice is in the glasses, whole wheat toast is done and frittata all ready, everything in only 20 minutes.
Fabulous:)

You will need:

8 medium brown eggs, beaten
1 cup light feta cheese, crumbed
8.5 oz golden whole kernel corn, canned-drained
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
1 tea spoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to broil setting.

In the medium size bowl, using whisk, blend together eggs, salt and pepper. Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add oil to pan. Then add corn to a pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy.

If you like you can top slices of frittata with a touch of creme fraiche.
Serve immediately.
Have a great breakfast!

THE Amazing Sandwich – My Way

Everybody loves good sandwich.
Cold, hot, pressed or open face, pretty much, they all taste very good.
Still to get the amazing tasting sandwich, fresh and quality ingredients and nice combination are the key.
You know me, always watching for quantity of fats, sugar and spreads, everything in moderation:)
I made trips to several stores to get all the ingredients for my sandwich, you can’t find them all in one store.
Proudly, I present you my The Amazing Sandwich

Shopping list:

Bread:
Pain Rustique rolls

Meat and protein:
Prosciutto
Bacon, grilled
Turkey breast, deli sliced
Hard boiled egg
Smoked Mozzarella cheese

Spread:
Homemade Aioli with capers

Condiments:
Kalamata Olives, pitted
Red fire roasted peppers

Greens:
Baby Aragula greens

On the side:
Banana waxed peppers
Castelvetrano Whole Green Olives

Homemade Aioli recipe:

2 egg yolks, fresh
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup olive oil

Mince garlic and a pinch of salt until smooth.
Put egg yolk in a bowl, add about half the garlic paste and 1/2 teaspoon water. Mix well with a whisk.
Using cup with a pour spout, slowly dribble in oil, whisking constantly. As egg yolk absorbs oil, sauce will thicken, lighten in color. Then you can add oil a little faster, whisking all the while. If the sauce is thicker than you like, thin it with a few drops of lemon juice and white vinegar. Add capers and combine. Store in the fridge.
If you don’t like to use fresh egg yolks you can use store bought mayo and add garlic, lemon and capers.

There it is, Mediterranean inspired sandwich, for hungry adults, boys and girls:)
Taste- Fantastic:)

Hors d’oeuvre, Figs & Goat cheese with Homemade Chia Crackers

Figs are magic:)
Busy afternoon and my constant desire to make something for munching….Love the sound of my mixer working…..
Have beautiful fresh figs in the fridge and goat cheese….all I need to make are homemade crackers and there is a great afternoon appetizer or snack.
Recently I bought Chia seeds. These are amazing little seeds packed with goodness of protein.

Homemade crackers

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup yogurt
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup Chia seeds

Stir flour, sea salt, butter and yogurt in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook.
Continue to process until the dough forms a smooth ball.
Place the dough in a mixing bowl and cover it with a tea cloth. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Flour your working surface and your rolling pin, place dough into the center of your work surface and roll it to 1/8-inch. Cut the dough into rounds or use baking cutter.
Brush each unbaked cracker with melted butter, sprinkle with Chia seeds and extra sea salt if you like. Poke the crackers with the fork to prevent puffing and bake in an oven for about 8 minutes.

When crackers are done, arrange halved fresh figs and piece of goat cheese on each cracker and drizzle with honey.
This is a great appetizer. Everything you craving for, salty good for you crackers, delicious figs, creamy cheese and sweet honey, beautiful:)

Nutrition info:
The chia seed has twice the protein of any other seed or grain and five times the calcium of milk. Chia seeds also contain boron which is a trace mineral that helps with the absorption of calcium. The essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6 are also present in the seeds.

Fresh Baby Carrot Cream Soup and Happy Start of the New School Year:)

Here we are again, another school year began today in our town.
This morning, while dropping off kids to schools I realized that relaxing Summer break is over while watching totally crazy traffic around the school sites.
Wow, that was intense, what a change.
Last night my kids and I had a talk about lunch boxes and what kind of menu ideas they have to pack them for school lunches. Besides usual, like pasta or healthy sandwiches they asked for soup too.
Since they love baby carrots, I decided to make Fresh Baby Carrot Cream Soup.
It was ultimate carrot soup, so good. This recipe is perfect for adults too, soup is packed with antioxidants plus it is low in fat.

I completely recommend this recipe for to pack & go option or when kids are back from school and they need something homemade to warm their tummies.
Extra fast and easy to make soup, plus most people always have that bag of baby carrots in the fridge, how convenient is that?

Fresh Baby Carrot Cream Soup

1 lb fresh baby carrots
1 medium red onion, peeled and grilled
1 apple, peeled and cored
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 bunch Fresh Italian Parsley
sea salt, to taste
5 cups of water
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup non-fat half and half

Making this recipe is super convenient because while we making the soup, we are making the vegetable stock too. To start making your own vegetable stock, first grill the peeled onion on the stove burner, each side for few minutes. This process will add amazing aroma to the soup. Using large cooking pot add carrots, grilled onion, apple, parsley, water, salt and peppercorns to taste. Cook the stock for 45 minutes over medium heat.
Using colander drain the liquid in the extra pot, save for later.
Using blender add carrots, apple, onion, sour cream and half and half.
Start blending and slowly adding vegetable stock till you reach desired soup consistency.
Season with sea salt and extra pepper if you wish.
Serve warm.
Soup is light, creamy, airy and delicious.
Perfect with side of fresh bread and little butter on the side.
Happy School Year!

Nutrition info:
Carrots are packed with Vitamin C and phytonutrient antioxidants. Carotenoids, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein. Also there is good source of Vitamin K and Dietary fiber.

Seafood Lunch, The Beach, S’mores & Real Taste of Summer

This post is about Summer. We are fortunate to live very close to the beach
called “El Porto” which is located in Manhattan Beach, CA. El Porto is one of the most popular beaches in the South Bay area with surfers from near and far because of an underwater canyon that creates waves usually larger than those at neighboring beaches. It is perfect for boogie boarding and fun in the waves.

I love how this beach and sand always stays clean. So nice that people are aware and want to keep it that way:)

After a long day at the beach, when all energy is used, good prepared lunch is more then needed.

Grilling season is still going strong and this time I prepared perfect seafood lunch with grilled scallops, salmon steak and veggies on the side. Italian zucchini and squash were on the menu too.
I used only extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and lemon for the fish. For the veggies salt and drizzle of olive oil.
For the dip I used light mayo, pickles and fresh parsley, yum!
Now, what about dessert?
Grill was still on so we decided to make S’mores, truly sweet, comforting dessert. My hubby and kids waited for their turn to roast marshmallows. So cool.

I like to dip skewers in the water for few minutes before use so skewers don’t burn when close to the grill.
S’mores tasted amazing.

Warm and gooey marshmallow with low fat graham crackers and chocolate chips.
Wonderland taste and real fun summer fun:)

Facts:
Salmon is a highly nutritious food. Of course, it is high in protein, and the “good fats.” But did you know that a 4 oz serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D? It is one of the few foods that can make that claim. That same piece of fish contains over half of the necessary B12, niacin, and selenium, and is an excellent source of B6 and magnesium.
Omega-3 fats, selenium, phosphorous, vitamin B-12 and iron are among essential minerals and vitamins that sea scallops contain.