Re: Dairy-Free Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

soup in bowl

Just in time for the fall season, this dairy-free roasted butternut squash soup is one of the most comforting and flavourful soups I’ve had recently. I’ve been testing and developing a few dairy-free and gluten-free recipes since my last food post. Some still need a little tweaking, but this soup was so simple and goof-proof that I just had to share it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • Neutral oil (I used grapeseed but you can use whatever you have in stock)
  • 1 can regular coconut milk (I use Arroy-D brand, but use whatever you prefer)
  • Fresh tarragon bunch
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 3 allspice whole
  • 1-2 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • ½ lime juice
  • Salt & pepper

Special equipment:

  • Twine
  • Cheesecloth
  • Ladle 
  • Heatproof blender 

Roasted butternut squash

Procedure:

  1. Cut butternut squash into 4 pieces and clean out the seeds
  2. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit 
  3. Put butternut squash pieces in a lined baking tray
  4. Slather neutral oil on each piece then season with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for 25 min or until the flesh of the squash is soft throughout but not totally mushy
  6. Set aside to cool 

Soup

Procedure:

  1. Use the cheesecloth and twine to create a bouquet made of tarragon, whole garlic cloves, ginger, dried bay leaf, and whole allspice
  2. In a cold saucepan, combine 1 full can of coconut milk, 1 cup chicken broth and 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
  3. Add the bouquet to the coconut milk mixture 
  4. Let the coconut milk simmer for 30-40 min. Taste the coconut milk mixture for tarragon, garlic and ginger notes. The longer the bouquet steeps in the mixture, the stronger the tarragon taste. 
  5. Once you’re satisfied with the flavour intensity of the coconut mixture, turn off the stove and remove the bouquet but leaving ginger and garlic bits that may have drifted out of the cheesecloth.
  6. In a heatproof blender, put half of the roasted butternut squash and lime juice then ladle in some of the coconut mixture.
  7. Pour out the first batch of the soup into a container then add the remaining butternut squash and coconut mixture to the blender.
  8. Combine both batches in the pitcher then blend to your desired consistency. (I blended mine until it was smooth, with no lumps).
  9. Taste the soup mixture for salt, i.e. does the mixture need more salt? Adjust the seasoning to your preference. 

This soup was super cozy to eat and it stores nicely in the fridge. If you have some chili oil, I recommend garnishing with it to add some heat and another layer of flavour. The best part about this soup is that you can easily switch up the bouquet to whatever spice and herb combo and create a brand new soup! I actually originally planned on using fresh lemon grass but couldn’t find it in the store. Nonetheless, this is what makes cooking fun, at least for me!

Always,

K

Re: Gluten & dairy-free meal ideas for active lifestyles

fried egg, smoked salmon, clementine, mixed nuts, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks
Gluten-free bread, microgreens, fried egg, smoked salmon, clementine, mixed nuts, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes

Over the past couple of years, I’ve changed my diet to mostly gluten and dairy-free. Admittedly, I have enjoyed some bread, cheese and dairy-forward desserts from time to time. Regulating my hormonal imbalance and newly gained food sensitivities/intolerance while satisfying my foodie heart has been challenging. I love food and all of its many facets. This blog is mostly comprised of recipes and my food experiences of the past decade. And so shifting my diet, in the beginning, felt like pieces of this relationship I had with food were getting compromised. But it doesn’t have to feel that way. Gluten and dairy-free meals are flavourful, creative and vibrant. It doesn’t have to be a deprivation of some sort, unlike what it may seem like right off the bat. In fact, many cuisines outside of the West are filled with gluten and dairy-free delicacies. For me, the challenge is eating enough food to sustain a physically active lifestyle. In not so many words – I eat often. 

Seeing that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually posted a recipe on here, I’m going to make a more conscious effort to share some of my tasty gluten and dairy-free creations/discoveries with you all. In the meantime, below are some meal/snacking ideas for meal planning gluten and dairy-free meals.

Breakfast:

  1. Peanut butter-banana almond flour pancakes, celery sticks, fresh fruits
  2. Chia seed pudding (you choice milk alternative, I like using coconut milk), unsweetened shredded coconuts or coconut chips, fresh fruits, unsalted raw seeds and cinnamon
  3. Savoury buckwheat crepes, eggs (over easy), smoked salmon, clementines, celery sticks
  4. Toasted or fried gluten-free bread, sunnyside up eggs with chives, avocado slices, sprouts, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, nuts

Lunch:

  1. Vietnamese fresh rolls using rice paper, choice of protein and greens with hoisin sauce with fresh fruits on the side and kombucha 
  2. Rice and canned tuna (in oil, not water) mixed with soy sauce, sambal, grated garlic, green onions, lemon juice and seaweed (or furikake), and steamed bok choy with balsamic glaze and crispy garlic or onions on the side
  3. Corn cob salad, your choice of protein, avocado slices
  4. Lettuce wraps (your choice protein, green onion, butter lettuce, pickled radish, thinly sliced red onions and peanut teriyaki sauce) and apple slices

Dinner: 

  1. Ramen with soba noodles, your choice of broth, blanched bok choy, lotus root, enoki mushrooms, chili oil
  2. Corn tortilla tacos, your choice protein, pickled onions, cilantro, pico de gallo
  3. Roasted sunchokes and red bell peppers, your choice protein, sauteed greens or salad
  4. Savoy cabbage slaw with carrots and fermented beets, your choice BBQ protein, celery sticks

Snacks:

  1. Guacamole (avocadoes, cilantro, garlic, S&P), corn tortilla chips or green plantain chips or cassava chips 
  2. Chia seed pudding with fruits 
  3. Apples with nut butter and cinnamon
  4. Roasted chickpeas with spices (smoked paprika, garlic powder, S&P, dash or sugar for balance)

Desserts:

  1. Coconut rice pudding with cacao nibs and coconut chips
  2. Frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate, your choice of toppings
  3. Japanese mochi
  4. Flourless souffle (this does have butter and some recipes have milk but substitutions are available!)

There are many more food ideas, these are only some I’ve recently enjoyed. I’m working on a few recipes from this list and will definitely start sharing them soon! It’s been amazing to rediscover food and get introduced to new ones in this part of my food and health journey. Thanks for sticking around and being part of this blog community over the years! It’s definitely become my personal time capsule in some ways. 

Always,

K

Re: Is there room for broccoli in your Super Bowl feast?

If you haven’t been bombarded by enough ads, tweets and other Facebook statuses about the Super Bowl, you might not know that it’s happening this weekend. A much anticipated game by the ultimate football fans and the occasional half-time viewers, looking forward to performances from Queen B and Cold Play, and of course, the game. Super Bowl has also become another excuse to indulge in some not-so-healthy snacks all in the name of the game. Some chicken wings here, some chips & dips there, and some sandwiches and sliders right across. What if I told you that I came up with a fabulous AND healthier alternative to the average Super Bowl snacks using broccoli and spinach?

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For a lack of a better term, I’m calling this dish ‘Frinachos’. Why? Because if fries and nachos had a baby, it would taste like this! Hands down.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 broccoli florets
  • handful of spinach
  • lime
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
  • dried basil
  • honey
  • mayo
  • 1 red chili pepper (or any kind of chili you want to use, e.g. jalapeño, Thai green chili, etc.)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fries (you can by frozen)
  • dried basil
  • 2 roughly diced tomatoes
  • cheese (optional)

 

Procedure:

  1. Preheat you oven to the appropriate temperature to BAKE your fries
  2. Get some parchment paper and line your pan
  3. Add as much fries you want to use for the recipe. Spread the fries out in on the pan to make sure that you get those golden brown crispy bits
  4. Bake the fries, again, according to the time recommended on the instructions on the bag
  5. While your fries are baking away, you can start making your guacamole
  6. Start by blending the spinach, broccoli florets, red chili, minced garlic, lime juice, olive oil (~2-3 tbsp.), salt and pepper together. The consistency doesn’t have to be like a pesto, but close to it
  7. In your mortar and pestle (if it’s big enough or your can use a medium size bowl), pour in the blended broccoli-spinach mixture
  8. Open then dice the avocadoes before putting it in the mortar and pestle with the broccoli-spinach mixture
  9. Using the pestle (the thing you use to mash), mash and mix the avocado and broccoli-spinach mixture together. It’s totally cool if there are some small avocado chunks, you just want to make sure that the avocado is mixed well with the broccoli-spinach mixture
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste then you can now set aside your guacamole
  11. Check you fries in the oven and shake them a bit to get an even colour and crisp
  12. Next you need to make the honey garlic aioli by simply combining the honey, chopped fresh garlic, dried basil, mayo, salt and pepper in a small bowl (Tip: I like using the pestle when mixing because it grinds the fresh garlic at the same time, releasing more flavour into the aioli)
  13. Then take out the fries (of course lightly salt them) and place them on a plate
  14. Put all of the components together by first adding spoonful of guacamoles, sprinkling some diced tomatoes around, then finish off by drizzling some of the honey garlic aioli
  15. (Optional) You can also crumble some queso fresco or cheddar cheese on top

 

Now, I know you might be wondering if you/they would be able to taste the spinach and broccoli in there but I promise, you and whoever else is trying this dish will NOT. You can also just serve the guacamole with broccoli and spinach with some whole grain chips! Give this recipe a try and share with us your experiences J Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

Always,

K

 

 

Beet Salad Recipe

My kale obsession is gradually being replaced by beets haha. Red, golden/yellow or candy cane beets I’m loving all of them! I made a simple beet salad recipe full of flavour even your vegetable haters won’t be able to resist.

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Ingredients:

-2  red beets

-6 small-medium carrots

-2 apples

-thumb size fresh ginger

-1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I just used about 2 handfuls, no need to be completely exact)

-1 small-medium red onion

– approx. 3 kale leaves (you can add more if you want)

– 1 can chick peas

– 1 lime/lemon

– extra virgin olive oil

– salt & pepper

Procedure:

1.Wash the veggies and kale

2.(Optional) I quick pickled because I don’t like eating raw onions. Totally just a preference, you can add it raw if you like. So for the quick pickle, I sliced the red onions then put them in a small bowl. I then added white vinegar and balsamic vinegar (could use apple cider vinegar instead of using 2 different kinds), salt, pepper and a teaspoon of honey. I mixed the sliced onions around then left them until I was ready to add them to the salad

  1. With a grater or a food processor, grate the red beets, carrots and apples. You will need a large bowl for this
  2. After grating the veggies, chop the kale leaves then add them in the large bowl
  3. Then add the onions
  4. Open a can of chick peas then drain the liquid before adding it in the large bowl
  5. Then add the sunflower seeds
  6. With a mircrograter, grate the fresh ginger on the large bowl (or you can finely chop it)
  7. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper
  8. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil
  9. Squeeze 1 lime/lemon
  10. Using your hands you’re now ready to mix! You will notice that some juices have come out from the apples and beets, that’s totally normal but try not to over mix it because you don’t want mushy salad
  11. Enjoy!

 

This recipe yields 6-8 healthy servings. Definitely a great lunch to bring to work or school!

 

Give my recipe a try and let me know what you think  by leaving a comment below. I’m always open to questions and suggestions.

 

Always,

K