Spiralized Carrot Salad

carrot1Eat Well, Be Well!

We shared this recipe on Crowded Earth Kitchen several years ago, and since that time quite a few health conscious readers have joined the Crowded Earth Kitchen circle of friends. Everything about this light and crunchy salad is aimed at wellness, from the cancer fighting phytochemicals in carrots to the anti-angiogenic compounds in the simple dressing ingredients. If your local market sells carrots in a variety of colors, great! Different colors (orange, yellow, purple, red) indicate different phytochemicals, and we want to invite lots of those disease fighters to this dinner party! Don’t worry if you can’t find other colors, though – commonly available orange carrots are super healthy on their own. Read more about the awesome properties of carrots here!

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veggetti

I’m using my Veggetti vegetable spiralizer for this carrot salad. For just a few dollars, it offers a great way to enjoy a variety of crunchy vegetables.

Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer, Makes Veggie Pasta

If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer, that’s fine – you can make this same recipe with grated or shredded carrots. Either way, your salad will be delicious!

Ingredients (Serves 1 as a meal or 2 as a side)

2 large or 3 small carrots

For the dressing:

1 teaspoon diced fresh ginger

1 diced clove of garlic

1/4 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (or use soy sauce)

1 sprig of fresh mint (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried, crushed mint)

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Directions

Step 1) Spiralize or shred your carrots. Arrange on a serving plate.

Step 2) Combine all dressing ingredients in a small blender. Blend until onion is pulverized and a creamy emulsion forms.

Step 3) Drizzle dressing over carrots. Garnish with fresh mint and serve immediately.

100 Calorie Keto Coconut Pops

Coconut milk sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in fat and calories; it is indeed fat- and calorie-dense. But here’s the thing. Coconut milk is only “bad for you” if you consume it by the gallon, or if you are using coconut milk to make a massive quantity of carbohydrates taste good. In moderation, coconut milk is a healthy addition to a low-carb diet, and adds much needed variety to keto meals.

Today at Crowded Earth Kitchen we are sharing an idea rather than a recipe, because really friends, these popsicles only contain two ingredients. Simply pop open a can of coconut milk, pour about 1/4 of the can in a small bowl, and whisk 1 generous teaspoon of pure cocoa powder into that small bowl. Then, fill your popsicle molds 1/3 full with coconut milk right from the can. Drizzle a bit of cocoa-enhanced coconut milk into each mold, and repeat until the molds are full. One can of coconut milk will fill 6 to 8 popsicle molds, depending upon the size of your molds (mine hold 1/4 cup each). Place filled popsicle molds in freezer, and enjoy when firm.

Note: If you like your popsicles a little sweeter, feel free to blend a tablespoon or two of Stevia or your preferred sweetener into the can of coconut milk first. I think the cocoa powder adds enough flavor that I don’t use any sweetener at all.

Life is short. Play with your food!

Naked Strawberry Jam

If you are following a low sugar or no sugar diet (diabetics, keto and paleo folks, talkin’ to you here!), satisfying a sweet tooth can be a bit of a challenge. Artificial sweeteners are OK sometimes, but I think they give homemade jam a strange aftertaste. Luckily, strawberries are already sweet. After years of adding sugar to make traditional strawberry jam, I tried making a “naked” batch – no sugar, no artificial sweeteners at all.

Why should you believe me that Naked Strawberry Jam is delicious? Because my little Half-Pint has a sweet tooth that could fill the mouth of a saber-toothed tiger. The child would put honey on top of the maple syrup on his pancakes if I allowed it. I gave him a spoonful of Naked Strawberry Jam and Half-Pint declared it “Delicious!” So there you have it.

Ingredients and Directions: Cut the green tops off of two quarts of strawberries. Cut strawberries in quarters, and add to a large pot. Stir 3 tablespoons of powdered low-sugar pectin into the strawberries and cook over low-medium heat for five minutes, stirring frequently. If you want a smooth jam, use a potato masher to crush the quartered strawberries. Add a dash of cinnamon (optional) if you’re feeling fancy. After five minutes, turn the heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and remains boiling for one minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Done!

Refrigerate when cool, or store in freezer.

Keto Chocolate Pudding

Whether you are keto, paleo, vegan, gluten free, or just plain looking for a more nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth, this chocolate pudding recipe is worth a try. It’s also delicious frozen into popsicles – in fact, popsicles are my favorite way to enjoy this treat. Have fun!

No, the finished chocolate pudding doesn’t taste like avocados. Trust me!

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

2 ripe avocados

2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (real coconut milk – not coconut water, and not “light” coconut milk)

1/4 cup stevia powder (or use real sugar if desired)

1/3 cup cocoa powder (100% cocoa)

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

A few dark chocolate chips to garnish (optional)

Directions

In a blender, combine all ingredients in the order listed. Blend until completely smooth. Refrigerate before serving, or freeze in popsicle molds. This really couldn’t be any simpler!

One serving contains approximately 4 net carbs.

Eat-Your-Veggies Lentil Soup

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‘Tis the season of sugary snacks, tipsy drinks, and uber delicious, fat-laden appetizers. I love it, the kids love it, and frankly I’m skeptical of anyone who claims NOT to enjoy the nutritional free for all that tends to be December.

BUT… sometimes we need a break from the festive dining, a healthy and hearty “reset.” Enter Eat-Your-Veggies Lentil Soup.

This soup is perfect “10” nutritionally. Simply put, there is nothing in this recipe that ISN’T good for you! The lentils themselves are chock full of fiber, protein, and iron. Carrots, greens, and salsa veggies offer a rainbow of vitamins and minerals. In earlier posts, we’ve discussed the powerful anti-angiogenic properties of onions, garlic, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and cumin. There’s a whole lot to love in this soup… and it tastes terrific!

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Dried Red Lentils

Ingredients (Makes 1 big pot)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 carrots (2 orange and 2 yellow, if possible), chopped

1 tablespoon grated frozen turmeric root (or 1 teaspoon dried ground turmeric)

1 tablespoon grated frozen ginger root (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger)

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Grated Frozen Turmeric Root

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 3/4 cups dried red lentils

6 cups water

2 cups salsa

2 cups packed greens (spinach, kale, etc.), chopped

Plain Greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, and parsley to garnish

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Directions

Step 1) Saute the first eight ingredients in a large stockpot over low-medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 2) Add lentils and water. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 40 minutes or until lentils and carrots are almost tender. If soup becomes too thick, add additional water, 1/2 cup at a time.

Step 3) During last five minutes of cooking, add salsa and chopped greens. Stir well.

Step 4) Ladle soup into serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of parsley. Serve immediately.

White Pumpkin Seeds

White pumpkins are fun to carve for Halloween, and if you’re carving pumpkins of course you have to roast the seeds! Simply separate the seeds from the inner pulp (the “goo” if you’re a kid), rinse well, and spread in on a well greased pan. I prefer to use real butter for this, coating a baking pan with approximately 1 tablespoon of melted butter for each cup of seeds. Then, sprinkle generously with your favorite seasoning. Half-Pint is on a ranch kick, so we used the ranch seasoning mix shown above. Roast in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping seeds with a spatula halfway through. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Happy Halloween!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Stew

IMG_2306Rich, earthy stews with layers of warm and savory flavors are ubiquitous with autumn. This pumpkin stew makes good use of one of the most wonderful offerings of late season gardens… pie pumpkins. It’s so flavorful that omnivores won’t even notice how the dish is entirely vegan.

Deconstructing the stew, i.e. layering the stew over slices of roasted pumpkin instead of mixing the pumpkin into the pot of stew itself, is an awesome way to preserve the satisfying texture of freshly roasted pumpkin. Try this for your next Meatless Monday. Three cheers for autumn!

IMG_2303Ingredients (Serves 4 with leftovers)

1 pie pumpkin, 7 or 8 inches in diameter Continue reading

Chickpea Stew

S1Today’s recipe is an autumn favorite here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. Simple and hearty, Chickpea Stew combines everyday ingredients to capture flavors reminiscent of West African dishes. Chickpea Stew may be served over rice, couscous, or simply enjoyed on its own!  Continue reading

Ratatouille

R2If you search online for “Ratatouille,” you’ll find some pretty fancypants recipes. They look lovely. The thing is, traditional Ratatouille really isn’t fancy. For hundreds of years, Ratatouille was understood to be a vegetable-based French country stew, made from whatever the cook’s garden happened to offer up for harvest that day. In that spirit, today’s Ratatouille recipe is both flexible and delicious! Save the silver and china for another dinner.  😉 Continue reading

Penne with Glazed Vegetables

P1Between the garden harvest and the back-to-school commotion around here, dinners in September need to be fuss-free. Penne with Glazed Vegetables is easily prepared around busy schedules, yet still captures the best of the season’s fresh vegetable flavor. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Peanut Pumpkin Soup

Soup1Rich and earthy, warm and savory, this is a perfect soup for a crisp autumn evening. You can use canned pumpkin to make a pot of Peanut Pumpkin Soup quickly, or roast a pie pumpkin and puree the flesh for added depth of flavor. It’s entirely up to you. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Signature Dish: Savory Stuffed Pumpkin

p3Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we don’t toss around the Signature Dish moniker lightly. If we label a recipe as a Signature Dish, you can rest assured that the recipe is a guaranteed, crowd pleasing success. Savory Stuffed Pumpkin fits the bill! Continue reading