Category Archives: Super Simple

Brain Power Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

GET YOUR OMEGA-3s!

Ever since my dad had a stroke last summer I have been trying to incorporate more brain and heart healthy Omega-3s into the food I feed myself, Shane and others that may cross my path.  Omega-3s are one of the best nutrients to support heart health, brain function, immunity and younger looking skin (oh-ya baby!)

I miss my dad!

From what I have read the best way to get Omega 3s is to eat them.  In addition to incorporating Omega-3s into your diet, take a wild caught omega-3 supplement as “insurance”.

Try incorporating the some of the following foods into at least three meals per week:

  • Ground Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Wild Caught Salmon
  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Beans
  • Olive oil
  • Shrimp
  • Brussel sprouts

My Omega-3 obsession was the driver behind concocting these simple, lovely, comforting and powerful cookies! BTW-these cookies have been husband and co-worker approved!

The recipe will make approximately 20 cookies.

Ingredients & Method:

2 cups raw rolled oats (not instant but that might work too)

1/3 cup raw cashews (raw nuts are the healthiest and raw cashews are super creamy!)

1/3 cup walnuts (there’s those Omega-3s!)

Put all of the above into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (you can experiment with this, I like go a little finer on the chop).  Put this mix into a separate bowl.

1 large handful (~1/4-1/2 C) of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate chips- these are big chips so you can chop them into smaller bits.  I use about 1/4 cup, honestly I don’t think you need more than that but do what makes your heart sing.

Next, add the following into the food processor:

1 Cup packed pitted medjool dates (I like medjool dates because they are soft and carmel-like, if your dates are dry you can try soaking them in warm water for a 1/2 hour.

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp unrefined coconut oil

Process until a smooth paste is formed.

Next, add the dry ingredients back into the processor and pulse to combine.  If things get a bit dry, try adding a bit more coconut oil.

Now the fun part: take ~2 TBSP size dollops and roll into a ball.   Convert the ball into a cookie shape by smooshing it flat–this works best if you use one hand to smoosh while containing the ball between  your thumb and pointer finger shaped into a circle.  You could leave them as balls but I personally think that flattening them out into more of a cookie shape me feel like it is a “real” chocolate chip cookie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Chicken (of the Woods) Strips

Those who know me would not be surprised to learn that I have resorted to mushroom hunting while boating!  I found this beautiful Chicken of the Woods (COW) mushroom while I was on Lake… oh… HAHA!  you thought I was going to tell you where???  🙂  I was on “a lake” and took a quick stroll on “an island” (yes, in my swimsuit) when I found this beast!  I imagine the nearby boats were a little confused when they saw me carrying this thing over my head, through the water, and back to the boat.

Often when you find COW, you find it in abundance.  It is less often, however, that you find it in abundance AND fresh!  This mushroom was about 12 pounds and amazingly fresh and juicy!  When you find a mushroom like this, find a party to attend and tell them you will bring an appetizer!  Otherwise, I freeze it raw in vacuum sealed bags and it keeps very well.  Some people prefer sauteing the mushroom slightly (about 30-40% cooked) before freezing.  I don’t think it’s worth the extra effort because I think it’s just fine when frozen raw.

COW is a super versatile mushroom and I normally tell people you can use it as a substitute for almost any chicken of the farm recipe.  One of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook COW is by turning it into buffalo strips.

Shred the COW into strips

Important! Use only extremely fresh COW that is so juicy that it drips when you cut it from the tree or ground.  Dry or old COW is gross and can have unwanted creatures inhabiting it.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken of the Woods Mushroom
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Ranch and/or Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Celery Sticks

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Tear the chicken into preferred size strips.  COW has a similar texture of chicken and tears nicely into strips.
  3. Put the COW into a glass baking dish and pour your preferred buffalo sauce onto the COW and stir so it is fully coated.  I have used Franks Red Hot Sauce and it works great.  There is also a Buffalo Sauce version, which is delicious, but has more ingredients than the original Franks (which is only aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Salt And Garlic Powder).
  4. Cook the COW uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the mushroom is cooked fully (depends on thickness of strips).  Stir occasionally.  Feel free to add more sauce if you like it saucy!
    NOTE:  It is important to cook COW thoroughly as some people can get an upset stomach if undercooked (but don’t overcook it, either!). It’s not as easy as sticking a thermometer in it to tell if it is done.  Raw COW is firm, flakey, and solid in color.  I consider a COW cooked when the “meat” becomes softer and more flexible and has a slight translucent-ness to it.  If you can imagine cooking a regular white button mushroom, and how it changes in color and texture, I’d say it’s the same thing.  You just get a feel for it after a while.  It’s slightly more complicated with COW because it is picked at different stages, and there are different varieties, but that’s the best I can explain it.  As with any wild mushroom, if you have never had it before, restrain yourself and only eat a small amount the first time to see if you have any negative reactions.  Also, do not eat COW that grew on a coniferous tree… only deciduous trees.
  5. Serve the mushroom as you would normal buffalo strips, with a side of blue cheese or ranch dressing and sticks of celery.  This is where you have control of how healthy you want this dish to be.  I have found healthier versions online, like this one.

“Guna” Salad

guna-in-bowl

Besides the chopping, this is a super easy recipe!

This is one of my favorite lunch salads! I typically munch this during the summer but it’s also great in the fall, winter and spring!  Like most of my week-day lunches I make a large batch of this on Sunday and then eat it all week long.  My husband can’t stand to eat the same lunch all week; me on the other hand- I certainly don’t mind!guna-ing

This recipe has been served and devoured during several Goldie outings.  I recently made this for a snack when Uncle Steve and my Momma stayed over at my new house (thanks guys, it was so much fun to have you here!).  We ate it several ways: wrapped in cabbage leaves, on top of cucumbers and zucchini, and on crackers.  It was great and raved about every which way. My mom asked me to post this recipe. Mom this one is for you! XOXO

Makes 4-5 3/4 cup serving

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Garbonzo Beans (I cook my own in a crock-pot because they get nice and creamy but you can  use canned too).

2 medium Organic Carrots-shredded or chopped fine (I like to go heavy on the veggies, you may want to start with one)

2 stalks Organic Celery-chopped fine

1/2 medium Onion-you guessed it-chopped fine

3 Tbsp whole grain mustard

2 Tbsp Veganise (found in the natural foods section) mayonnaise would probably be fine too

2-3 Tbsp Bragg’s Aminos (a must! Found in the natural foods section and is similar to soy sauce)

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Cabbage or lettuce leaves (for wraps) or zucchini and cucumber slices for crackers.

Method:

Mash Garbanzos with a fork, add all of the ingredients and mix. DONE! Fell free to add more or less of all of the veggies and condiments.  I make this different every time- in addition to the basics you can put any veggie that would go good in a tuna salad.  FYI- I tend to go heavy on the veggies because it bulks it up and helps my tummy feel full. Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE to feel full?guna-wrap

 

Nuts for Cabbage

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Nuts for Cabbage being transported on the Echo Trail and into the Boundary Waters!

This was a new hit with the Goldies on our trek up to the Boundary Waters this year.  A German pediatrician gave me the idea and I modified a little bit.

I’m all about simple, healthy recipes… and this really fits the bill!

Ingredients:

1/2 head of raw Cabbage (red or white)
1 cup raw nuts (any mixture of almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans)
1 cup Coconut flakes (optional)
Sea Salt to taste

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There’s a great store called “Mike’s Discount Foods” in Fridley, MN that carries a lot of organic and natural items (sometimes past expiration) for really cheap! (The one in Columbia Heights is much smaller and not near the variety of items.)

Method:
1)  Cut cabbage into bite-size chunks and put in bag or container.
2)  Add nuts.  I’ve tried this with both raw and roasted & salted nuts.  Try pecans, almonds, walnuts, and/or cashews.  Raw is preferred for optimal health benefits.
3)  Optional – Mix in coconut flakes.  Either Tiffany’s Power-full Coconut Chips or Dang Coconut Chips (experiment with different flavors)
4)  If you added raw nuts, you might want to sprinkle some sea salt on the mixture, but it’s surprisingly good even without.  If you added roasted and salted nuts, there is no need for salt.

The nuts can get soggy after about a day so it is best to wait to add the nuts till before you are ready to eat.

Cucumber and Melon Summer Salad

It’s summer, it’s hot, I’m busy and I don’t have time to spend a lot of time on meal preparation! However, I still want (need) to eat in a way that makes me feel healthy and strong.

A few weeks ago I concocted this refreshingly simple salad.  I made a large batch and ate it as a light lunch or a side to a larger meal for several days in a row.  Actually, the salad is better the second day since the flavors begin to meld (if making a large batch wait to add dressing until just before eating). It’s light, has minimal ingredients, it’s quick to prepare, tastes great and most importantly makes me feel super human!

If you are going to eat it as a meal, add some type of nuts.  I roasted some sunflower seeds with thyme and added them just before eating.

Simple and refreshing!

Simple and refreshing!

Ingredients

1 Cantaloupe

6-10 Green Onions (depending on how much you like onions)

4 organic cucumbers (conventional have wax on the skin. if you are using them make sure to peel them first)

1 lime- juiced

1/4 cup oil (I used sunflower oil but EVOO would work too)

salt to taste

Roasted chopped nuts (optional. 1/4 cup per serving)

Method:

Dice cantaloupe and cucumbers into bite size pieces.  Chop onions (including the green parts). Toss all ingredients into a bowl and add oil, lime and salt to taste.  That’s it kids, your done and ready to munch!

This is best enjoyed outdoors. I like to eat most of my meals on the deck during the summer- Hey you have to take advantage of every glorious minute of a Minnesota summer!!

 

Almond Salad

Looking for a easy to make low-carb, high protein, healthy, satisfying and  high fiber lunch or appetizer recipe? This is it!

I made this recipe for lunch during Goldies ski weekend last January AND as an appetizer for two Christmas parties last year:  It was a hit at both!

(feeds 4 Goldies for lunch or 10+ as appetizer)

Ingredients:

Salad:

1/2 cup chopped raw almonds (either buy them slivered or pulse in a food processor, i think it would be fine with roasted almonds too)

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup grated carrots (use the food processor!)

5 green onions- chopped

1 Tbsp Vegan Mayonnaise (in the natural foods section)

2 Tbsp whole grain mustard

Sea salt and pepper.

Mix all ingredients- the salad is done!  If you aren’t going to eat this right away I would hold off on adding the almonds until just before serving, otherwise they might loose some of their crunch.

How to eat it:

Lunch: wrap in an organic romaine lettuce leaf (pictured) or any other green leafy thing.

Appetizer: Slice cucumbers approximately 1 1/2 inches thick -scoop out some of the seeds in the middle to make a little bowl for the salad.  Fill with salad and place them on a plate.  Obviously you can eat it for lunch this way too, it just takes a bit more work:)

I want to share some pictures from the Goldies 2016 Ski weekend with you! As usual, the temperatures were BRUTAL!!! When we woke up in the morning to go skiing the thermometer read -15.  The wind-chill was -29!!! What did we do? We went skiing to Sugar Hills of course!!! I love my hard-core goldies!!!! Thanks for being my friend and an inspiration ladies!

-30 degrees? That doesn't stop us from getting out into the north woods!

-30 degrees? That doesn’t stop us from getting out into the north woods!

The gang <3

The gang <3

PB n’ SP

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Peanut Butter and Sweet Potato – PB n’ SP

Scrumptious, Satiating, and Super Simple!

  • Bake Sweet Potatoes (refrigerate until breakfast if you are pre-baking.  I pre-bake two sweet potatoes per week and divvy them up for weekday breakfasts)
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Stab sweet potatoes with forks
    • Place on rack with tin foil below the potatoes
    • Cook until the sweet potatoes are very soft when you squeeze them (~30 min)
  • Cut into 1/2″ Slices when you are ready to eat- however many you want.  I usually do about 3 slices and keep the rest of the potato for the next day.
  • Heat if desired (I have eaten these cold, microwaved, and sauteed.  It’s best when sauteed in butter and browned on each side, but I love it any old way.)
  • Top with a dollop of Peanut Butter, dash of Cinnamon, and douse with salt (kidding about dousing, but I do love salt)

No need for silverware.  Just eat like you would a really gooey cookie.

Experiment on the tater toppings.  Of course, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt are another great combination!

Golden Roasted Veggie Niblets

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One of the staples of Goldie get-togethers are roasted veggies.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner… they are always such a tasty treat!  This recipe makes a great snacky-snack that you can nibble on at a party, and they are not going to get ignored like the party platter of veggies with ranch dip.  These little buggars are so addicting! The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavor and when browned, a delectable little crunch.  Load up on the nutritional yeast!  If you want to pre-make these for a party, they are good served luke-warm too, so don’t worry about serving them hot.

Of course, they also are great served as a side dish.

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Coat veggies generously with seasonings!

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup Olive oil
Salt or garlic salt
Nutritional Yeast
Tandoori
Turmeric

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut Cauliflower and broccoli into small trees
  3. Put veggies in bowl that has a tight lid
  4. Coat veggies with olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and tandoori in bowl and cover (enough seasonings to coat veggies generously)

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    Make sure the veggies are coated evenly after shaking.

  5. Shake bowl to coat veggies evenly
  6. Add more seasoning if necessary and re-shake
  7. Line pan with parchment paper
  8. Pour contents of bowl on parchment paper and spread veggies evenly
  9. Bake until veggies become browned and soft (about 30 minutes)
  10. Add more salt if desired

Experiment with adding more veggies… brussel spouts, asparagus, and onions would be a great addition!

Crock-pot Fall Squash Soup

Aside from chopping, this soup comes together with minimal effort.  Last time I made this I did all of the chopping on Sunday morning, tossed all of the ingredients in the crock pot and took off to the Rum River Park on a great fall horse ride.  When I got home some five hours later my soup was done! Score!

This is my FAVORITE fall soup.  The first time I made it I questioned whether or not I should add fresh chopped ginger.  I made the right choice in doing so because it adds a great new dimension of flavor! Do not, I say do not leave this out!!

This recipe will make approximately 6-8 serving (2 cups each).  Don’t worry too much about exact amounts (i.e. size of squash, onion, cauliflower…). I have made it with differing size veggies and it’s always superb.

Ingredients (use organic ingredients if possible):

1 butternut squash (I bet you could use just about any fall squash)

1 head cauliflower

1 yellow onion

2 cloves fresh garlic

2 inches fresh ginger

1 cup red lentils

2 Tbsp Cumin

vegetarian or chicken base (3-4 Tbsp or to taste)- my favorite is: Organic Better Than Bouillon

8 cups water

Method:

Peel squash. Chop all veggies including garlic and ginger.  Toss everything into a large crock pot and add water and lentils.  Close the cover and cook on low for 5-8 hours until everything is tender.  Let cool slightly.  I use a submersion blender to create a nice somewhat smooth consistency. I be

t you could also cool the soup and blend in a food processor or blender or even mix by hand.  Add bullion, salt and pepper to taste.  That’s all folks.

Steamy soup, ready for slurping.

Steamy soup, ready for slurping.

Here’s a tip: make this soup on a Sunday. Let it cool and scoop 2 cups of soup into zip-loc freezer baggies. Lay flat and freeze. Take a baggie with you to work and it will thaw by lunch time.

Beautiful fall ride at Rum River park in Anoka! Thanks for bringing me and Siz Cherrie!

Beautiful fall ride at Rum River park in Anoka! Thanks for bringing me and Siz Cherrie!

 

Fall Foraging

Walking my son up the driveway to meet the bus last week I was so appalled at what I saw….GARLIC MUSTARD. I won’t bore you with what this means for my little woodland – but in a nutshell garlic mustard is a very invasive, introduced plant that displaces good, native vegetation (think woodland wildflowers…threatened by a garlicky mustard monster!)

I couldn’t wait to tell my co-worker and fellow plant fanatic what I had found.  She chirpily replied “Well… at least you can eat it.”  Leave it Franny to look on the bright side, know more about plants than me and put humor into the morning.  I love her(:  “You can!?”  I replied.  Then after a few moments of thought – it made perfect sense: I love both garlic and mustard – how perfect!  Knowing this, I was much more motivated to deal with the small infestation in a more environmentally friendly way: pulling as opposed to using the highly “efficient” herbicides.

When I got home I spent 5 minutes pulling enough to add to a few salads.  I found the roots to be substantial, yet easy to pull.  The roots are also woody so once pulled need to be trimmed off.  After a total of 20 minutes pull time – I had removed every single plant and added nutrition to a week-worth of salads!  I love when I get eat “free greens” instead of buying the expensive organic packages in the grocery store.

Garlic Mustard: A terrestrial invasive=very bad for woodlands. BUT - very tasty in salads!

Garlic Mustard: A terrestrial invasive=very bad for woodlands. BUT – very tasty in salads!

The next day I tossed a combination of garlic mustard, kale and swiss chard for my salad.  I wouldn’t recommend a salad with straight garlic mustard because it does have a garlic-chive tone, that all alone could be overwhelming.

I added my favorite topping and was doubly satisfied knowing that I had helped my little woodland and was nourishing my body with wholesome – nutrient rich greens.

My very favorite salad contains:

3 Baby Kale, spinach, swiss chard, garlic mustard or any combination of them

Drizzle of Immune-Boosting Garlic Vinegrette

1-2 slices Grilled Eggplant

2 Fresh Button or Crimini Mushrooms, sliced

6-8 Grape Tomatoes Sliced

Fresh cracked pepper and coarse ground sea salt

Garlic mustard add a great hints of garlic, chivy flavor to most any salad

Garlic mustard add a great hints of garlic, chivy flavor to most any salad