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Chicken and Butternut Squash Tortilla Soup Under Pressure

1 Dec

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I love soup! The warmth and comfort you can get from a bowl of soup is unsurpassed. Making soup for a crowd is a great way of showing the love too! This is a super easy brothy flavor packed meal. If you have a pressure cooker then you know the ease and speed at which you can pump out meals. If you are making this on the stove top is will be just as easy but takes a bit longer. Either way, enjoy.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Tortilla Soup Under Pressure

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 very large ripe tomato, diced
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
6 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)
2 tsp. chili powder more to taste
2 tsp. ground cumin more to taste
2 tbs oregano
1 bay leaf
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cups diced peeled butternut squash
Limes

To serve:
Crushed tortilla chips
fresh cilantro
Green onion
Fresh avocado
fresh lime juice
Lactose free sour cream

Instructions:
Add broth and all ingredients to pressure cooker except the beans. Cover Pressure cooker and set to sealing position. Select Soup Mode and manually adjust the time to 15 minutes.
Do natural release when soup is finished.

Remove the chicken breasts to a plate cut in half and and use two forks to shred the meat apart. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Add the drained beans. Check for seasoning, add more chili powder or salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and the crisp tortilla and avocado.
(To cook on the stove top, follow directions, cover and simmer on medium low for 45 minutes.)

Chocolate and Coconut Heaven (and almost healthy)

22 Mar

20140322-143037.jpgNews Flash, I love brownies. I really can’t get enough of the gooey chocolate deliciousness. We grew up on Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix.  Seriously, back then those were the bomb, all fudge with that extra fudge pack you’d add just in to really make sure thy were fudge-y enough. Times have changed and we try to stick to a healthier diet of wholesome ingredients so when I crave chocolate I scour the internet in search of the perfect treat. I stumbled upon Paleo Grub and a particular recipe by  jumped right out at me. Yes it is a brownie recipe and yes I made them twice in two days, and yes I ate most of them!

the cool thing about these is that they have no grain, the star of these is almond butter, who knew? They don’t taste like almonds and the texture is very brownie like. As good as these are I needed a bit of sweet on top so I went a step further, yes I did. The brownies were so delicious but I needed more, I was having a bad sweet tooth. I created this dairy free recipe for icing using the Kelapo Oil. It does have sugar so it is not entirely Paleo but you can create your own from this base recipe, go for it!

Recently I received a bunch of Kelapo Coconut oil and I’d been thinking of using it but hadn’t quite put my finger on anything. (lightbulb moment coming) Frosting for these healthy brownies, what a great way to test out the new coconut oil. We use a lot of coconut oil on our house from skin and hair moisturizer to sweet and savory recipes. The Kelapo oil is so coconut-y, it is very delicious and I can’t wait to use it again in another recipe.

All I can tell you is beware because this icing is way too easy to just eat by the spoonful!


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Dairy Free Coconut Icing

Makes approximately  1 1/2 cups

2 Tbs Kelapo Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

2 Tbs room temperature Earth Balance or Butter (if you are not dairy free)

3 Tbs coconut butter

pinch salt

2 Tbs almond milk or milk (if you are not dairy free)

1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar

 

Mix the butters and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until very smooth. Add sugar a half cup at a time mixing until smooth.

Use immediately. To store chill for up to a week. To use from refrigerator let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften and stir vigorously for easy spreading.

 

 

 

Homemade Almond Milk

25 Sep


pulpHow did I ever buy almond milk? Had I known how delicious, creamy and refreshing the homemade stuff was I would have never bought the other stuff. The real reason is probably because before I owned my Blendtec Blender I wouldn’t have thought the regular blender could hack it. A high powered blender really makes a difference when making the nut milks, plus I use it for tons of other things.

I have been making smoothies for my morning routine for about a year now and I love them. I use almond milk because cow milk is not my friend. I was buying a 4 cup box of the Silk Almond Milk since I am the only one using it, it tends to go bad before I finish it. I started buying the one serving packs but the amount of wasted packaging just made me feel like a bad person every morning. I’m starting my day with a healthy drink, I shouldn’t have to feel crappy about what I’m throwing away.

Solution, homemade almond milk, easy, fast, healthy and delicious!! Now my only waste is the occasional old wrinkled paper bag for transporting the almonds from the store to home. I have been collecting the pulp in the freezer for baking with but even if toss some in the compost I can feel good about that too. For really great Almond milk I recommend you soak the almonds overnight, soaked almonds are much easier to digest. We love to eat the soaked plump almonds, I add them to my daughter’s lunch often.

This pitcher comes apart so I can secure the bag into the threads of the black part.

This pitcher comes apart so I can secure the bag into the threads of the black part.

I do like to add two dates to my almond milk even though they have sugar they also have tons of calcium and potassium, and are not refined. Make sure you get a nut milk bag for straining the milk, it will make the process so much easier than using cheese cloth. Cheese cloth works but the milk will be so much smoother with a nut milk bag. Good luck!

the almond on the left has been soaked for 24 hours. The almond on the right is unsoaked.

the almond on the left has been soaked for 24 hours. The almond on the right is unsoaked.

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Here is the kicker, my kid LOVES the almond milk with lots of cinnamon, it is so good for her and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t think she would drink it but she helps herself to it, adds cinnamon and guzzles it down.

Silky Almond Milk

Makes about 2 cups


1 cup organic raw almonds*, soaked

3 1/2 cups of water, plus more for soaking

2 dates, pitted

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tbs vanilla extract

*I do not like Trader Joe’s Organic Raw Almonds, when they soak they give off a very brown dye I am not sure exactly why. I use Whole Foods Almonds in general.

  1. *Soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days. Place 1 cup almonds in a jar or glass container with a lid, chill overnight or up to two days. Sometimes the almonds will give off a fuzzy looking stuff, it’s fine don’t worry about it.
  2. Set up your nut bag, I use a tall pitcher with a rubber band around the nut bag to hold it in place. If using cheese cloth line a colander in a bowl.
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds with cool water. THe almonds should be plump. Taste one, they are delicious.
  4. Combine the almonds and water in a blender. Add 3 1/2 cups of water to the blender with the almonds, pitted dates and vanilla.
  5. Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Blend until the milk is white and foamy.
  6. Pour the milk in to the prepared strainer.
  7. Let the almond milk sit to drain. Gather the nut bag or cheese cloth and squeeze the nut milk out with very clean hands until no more milk comes out. Either discard the pulp, dehydrate or freeze for future use.
  8. Refrigerate almond milk. Store the almond milk in sealed container in the fridge for up to four days.photo 1
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