Category Archives: Dairy Free

Rustic Mediterranean Pork Chops

A healthy main course that you can make in 15 minutes.

A healthy main course that you can make in 15 minutes.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump in the kitchen so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe! That doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking at home (I actually cook almost every night), just that I’ve been feeling uninspired and resorting to a lot of the same old stuff. None worth sharing. Even though I spend much of my day talking about food with clients, I have times when I wish I could delegate the task of feeding myself to someone else. I’m sure you can relate! Anyhow, this was a really fast and easy main course that I came up with based on random ingredients that I had in the fridge and pantry and it was really good. I can’t say it enough – but keeping your pantry & freezer well stocked means you can make tasty stuff with short notice – even when you wish you had a healthy take out fairy godmother. Moving on . . .

These pan cooked boneless pork chops and rustic tapenade will only take about 15 minutes to make. The topping is like a rustic tapenade (only cooked) of capers, spinach, tomatoes, olives and lemon juice. You could easily sub out some of these ingredients for other staples (roasted red peppers or artichokes would work well). These would also be good on the grill though you’d probably want to marinate them a little beforehand (as lean pork can dry out when grilled).

Pork is one of the hardest foods to find organic or humanely raised. We don’t eat a ton of it but if we can’t find something I’m comfortable eating in the local grocery stores or if there isn’t any available at a local farm, as a backup I order online from US Wellness Meats or Tendergrass Farms.  Yes, avoiding factory farmed meat is very expensive. The way I see it is I can spend money now on high quality food that nourishes my body or I can continue buying meat that came from diseased and tortured animals on the cheap (with questionable country of origins) and pay extra at the doctors office. I prefer to avoid the doctors office if I can. When making a switch to higher quality animal products, it’s helpful to plan to eat less of it. You’ll find that a whole pasture raised chicken may only be 3.5 lbs, whereas you can find grocery store ones that are 6 or 7 lbs. Chickens that aren’t force fed or kept in tiny little cages rarely get huge – you’re not going to find a chicken breast that is 13 oz on one of these chickens, more likely that a chicken breast is going to be 5 or 6 oz. which is a heck of a lot closer to how much we should be eating anyhow. It takes some getting used to, but if you’re getting enough fat and eating lots of vegetable variety, you won’t miss it for long.

Hope you have a great 4th of July!

Rustic Mediterranean Pork Chops

For the pork
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
4 boneless Organic pork chops, fat trimmed and pounded to about 1/2 inch thick
sea salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic

For the topping
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
7-9 large green olives, roughly chopped (pit removed if there is one)
2 tsp organic capers
2 – 4 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. While it’s heating, sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder (if using minced garlic, rub it into the chops). When the pan is piping hot, add the chops and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. When you flip the pork, it should flip easily and have a good sear on it. You may need to cook for less or more time depending on how thick or thin you pounded the chops to. When the pork is cooked through (slightly pink is okay) remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the spinach, green olives, capers, tomatoes and onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice and scrape up any burnt pork bits while you cook.  When finished cooking, add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the mixture and then serve on top of the pork. (You won’t need salt for the topping – olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes are usually quite salty!)

Makes 4 servings.
Note:  This would also work great with chicken or fish.


Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Shutterstock Blueberries

Those of you who know me, know that I’m not a fan of making non-food items a part of our daily diets and for the most part, I think heavily processed protein powders usually fall into a non-food category. Sure there are some decent ones out there but many contain ingredients from questionable sources and fillers that can wreak havoc on your digestive system. While I don’t see anything wrong with using a protein powder occasionally or while one is training for a specific event for a short period of time, I just prefer that we get the majority of our nutrition from things that our ancestors would recognize as food! It’s not that hard if you are willing to spend a little time in your kitchen each week.

One of the things I frequently get asked by clients is how they can get a good amount of protein in their smoothies without resorting to a protein powder – well, there are lots of ways to do it and this recipe is one way that seems to be the most enjoyable for people to drink.  It’s sweet, creamy and super filling! Plus it’s a gorgeous purple color!

If you’ve never had greens in your smoothies, try adding just a leaf or two of the lettuce on your first try and increase the amount of greens you add as you get used to the flavor.  Romaine is pretty mild and blends in pretty well flavor-wise.

This makes about 24 oz of smoothie – 1.5 servings. I like to drink 2/3 of it as a meal and save the other portion (well covered) in the fridge for a pre or post workout snack.  This smoothie is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. A 16 oz serving has about 19 g of fiber, 14 g of protein and 21 g of good fat.

This can be changed up to suit your tastes easily too! I sometimes swap out the blueberries for strawberries and sometimes add some avocado in place of one of the seeds (lowers the protein a bit but it’s just as filling).  Other nuts and seeds like pumpkin, brazil nuts or cashews work well also.  And you get bonus points if you add additional vegetables – I like adding a stalk of celery or some cucumber!

Try this and let me know what you think!

1.5 cups frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 romaine heart, tough end removed, leaves washed
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp almond or sunflower seed butter
1 cup water

A sweet smoothie packed with protein and even has hidden vegetables!

A sweet smoothie packed with protein and even has hidden vegetables!

Put all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend on high until smooth – about 1 minute. If you do not have a high powered blender you may find it easier to blend the hemp and chia seeds first with water, then add the other ingredients in slowly a little at a time.

This makes about 24 oz of smoothie – about 1.5 servings.

Spinach, Sunflower Seed and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Pesto is a great shortcut to many healthy and delicious meals.

Pesto is a great shortcut to many healthy and delicious meals.

I’m a big fan of pesto.

I like to top salmon, steak or chicken with it. It’s great on all kinds of noodles. A big dollop in a bowl of soup completely changes the flavor. You can pretty much use it on anything. It freezes well. And it’s usually made up of good for you ingredients. What’s not to like!? One of the reasons I’m so drawn to making pesto is that when you try to eat a mostly whole foods diet, sauces and condiments that are made with good ingredients in the store are hard to come by. Many store bought pestos use soybean oil or other vegetable oils and I prefer not to eat those when I can help it so having a few things in your cooking repertoire that you can make in just a couple of minutes can make all the difference between eating food that makes you feel good and gives you energy or grabbing some take out that will make you feel crappy an hour after you eat it.

Try it on salmon, chicken or steak, as a sauce for pasta, raw zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Try it on salmon, chicken or steak, as a sauce for pasta, raw zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Good basil is hard to come by in the middle of winter here in NH so I like to make pestos with whatever else I have on hand – tonight it was spinach, sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes. Yum!  You can literally make this in 2 minutes.

Don’t feel like you have to stick to this recipe exactly. Pesto is a very forgiving sauce! For greens, try spinach, basil, arugula, mizuna parsley or cilantro (or a mix of a couple). Blend them with walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or cashews.  Add lemon or lime juice, olive oil and salt and you have a pesto! You can jazz it up for flavor with garlic, shallots, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, pecorino or parmesan.  Avocado can be used in place of some of the greens and oil and you can also add a tbsp of tomato paste for a different flavor. Go crazy!

2.5 oz baby spinach (I used half of a package of Olivia’s 5oz)
a big handful of fresh parsley
1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
6 or 7 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil (dried ones would work too but you’ll need to soak them in hot water first)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Pour the sunflower seeds in a food processor and blend them until they are pretty well broken down (about the size of bread crumbs).

Pulse the sunflower seeds until they look like breadcrumbs.

Pulse the sunflower seeds until they look like breadcrumbs.

Add in the tomatoes and blend again (sometimes they can be tough) until the mixture is pretty evenly reddish colored. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add the spinach, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Blend again until well blended.  You may need to scrape down the sides again, especially if you used any parsley stems – they love to wrap around the blade! Pour in the olive oil while pulsing until it’s all blended.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

If you eat dairy, feel free to add some fresh parmesan into this like you would with a regular basil pesto. For storing, cover with a fresh layer of olive oil (it will prevent browning) and it will stay fresh in the fridge for a week. You may also freeze it. I recommend freezing in ice cube trays and then wrapping individually so that you can use a small amount at a time.

What’s your favorite type of pesto or homemade sauce?
12 Day Detox Sign Up for Bottom of Blog Posts

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, Celery and Sweet Potato

Simple dinners are sometimes the best ones!

Simple dinners are sometimes the best ones!

This was a really simple soup I put together for John recently when he wasn’t feeling so hot and it was perfect!  It really hit the spot and was a snap to make!  The key was using homemade chicken bone broth that I had made the day before. It’s exactly what you want to eat when you’ve had a busy day of Christmas shopping, errands or have been over indulging a little too much! Good old comfort food!

You can certainly use store bought broth for this, but the final flavor really depends on the quality of your broth.  If you wouldn’t want to drink your store bought broth by itself, it probably won’t be tasty enough to use in a simple soup like this.  Consider making your own if you can, it’s so very good for you and tastes so much better than anything you can buy.  I have a recipe here which is good base.  On this particular day, instead of the carrots and onion in my regular broth, I added the dark green parts from a couple of leeks and the fronds from a fennel bulb (both of which I had saved and put in my freezer for the purpose of making stock). It  came out really good!

Good quality stock and a few simple ingredients and dinner is done.  You can throw almost anything into some good homemade broth and it will taste good. I love adding a huge chunk of fresh turmeric (grated) to it – it adds a ton of rich color and an earthy flavor.

4-6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 split bone in chicken breasts
3 heads baby bok choy or 1 regular sized one, sliced into bite sized chunks
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled
1 2-inch long piece of fresh turmeric, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap peeled sweet potatoes in foil and place on one side of a large cookie sheet. Put the split chicken breasts on the other side of the cookie sheet.  Bake both for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes.  In a large stock pan or dutch oven, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and then add the bok choy, rosemary, celery and turmeric.  Continue simmering for 10 minutes or until the celery is tender.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, cut into bite sized pieces and add to the soup.  Open the foil packets and chop the sweet potato into bite sized pieces and add to the soup.  If the sweet potato is still somewhat firm, let the soup continue simmering until it is soft, otherwise just cook until everything is warmed through.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Makes 4 light servings

Garlic Ginger Stir Fry with Chicken, Pak Choi, Red Cabbage & Japonica Rice

Bright green, purple and orange means you're getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

Bright green, purple and orange means you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

I know right now you are busy getting ready for Thanksgiving so the last thing you are thinking about is healthy dinners you can make – but I’m guessing, the week after Thanksgiving you may feel differently! Bookmark this page so when you can’t eat another tablespoon of gravy or cranberry sauce you have something lighter you can rely on. Also, today is the last day to register for the 1st round of the 12 Day Natural Detox starting December 1st, so click here if you want in!  Another round starts December 13th and you can register for that one until December 6th. Anyway, back to stir fry!

Do you find you avoid making stir fry ever because you feel like you need store a bought sauce to pull off anything tasty?  I used to feel that way too but I finally started playing around with making my own because – well #1 it’s better for you and #2 stir fry is such an easy meal, I want to be able to make it anytime I want! If you keep a few simple ingredients on hand (like tamari, fish sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, broth, ginger, garlic, sherry and rice vinegar) you can make some really delicious food very simply!  You may find you need to add a little brown sugar to make a sauce stand out if you’re used to sweet store bought sauce – and that’s ok – but I urge you to see what you can accomplish without sugar first.  Cook and taste it.  If it still needs sugar add a tiny sprinkle.  I left sugar out of this recipe because I don’t really feel like it needs it, but I think I’m accustomed to a lower sugar diet more than others are.  Adding sriracha or cooking sherry is another way you can brighten the flavors here.  Experiment!

This gets most of it’s flavor from the generous amount of garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric in it.  They add a spicy, earthy flavor and are so good for us!

I used black japonica rice here because I love it! It has a sweet nutty flavor to it and it takes the same amount of time to cook as brown or wild rice.  It’s nice to have some variety.  One of the great benefits of trying different things is the range of nutrients you can get in your diet that way.  Black japonica rice gets it rich color from a type of flavonoids called anthocyanins (red cabbage, cranberries and cherries do too!) which are known for providing many health benefits – they show promise for protection from atherosclerosis, inhibition of tumor cells and preventing inflammation.  How do make sure you’re getting enough anthocyanins and other antioxidants in your diet? By making sure you eat a rainbow of color every day. This stir fry is a vibrant green (pak choi), purple (rice and cabbage) and orange (turmeric) – making it an awesome option for someone trying to increase the amount of color in their diet.

1 lb organic chicken breasts or tenders, cut into bite size pieces
2 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled, finely diced or grated
2 inch chunk of fresh turmeric, washed, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp low sodium tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp five spice powder
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 medium sized baby pak choi roughly chopped (bok choy works too)
1/2 large red cabbage, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup black japonica rice, cooked

Makes 4 servings

chicken marinating and stir fried veggies.

chicken marinating and stir fried veggies.

Marinate the chicken in the tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, five spice powder, turmeric, ginger and garlic while you prepare your vegetables.  Heat a large wok or saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp coconut oil.  When the oil is melted and the pan is hot, saute the celery, onion, pak choi and red cabbage and saute for 3 – 4 minutes.  You may need to do this in batches so that the vegetables don’t steam – you want them to cook quickly and for a short period of time.   When the vegetables are slightly tender, remove them from the pan, place in a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.  Put the pan back on the burner and add the marinating chicken mixture.  Cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce thickens a little.  Serve the black japonica rice topped with the vegetable mixture and then topped with the chicken mixture.

This doesn’t make a lot of sauce but I think you’ll find when you use fresh vegetables and fresh aromatic ingredients to cook with that you won’t need as much! Having extra tamari on hand is good for those who need a little extra flavor on their plate.  I also like to keep homemade sriracha on hand or buy a brand that doesn’t have a bunch of preservatives in it (whole foods has a few options) because I love the spicy stuff for meals like this!
12 Day Detox Sign Up for Bottom of Blog Posts

Toasted Millet with Mizuna, Kale and Sausage

Not a pretty dish but really good! Looks aren't everything people!

Not a pretty dish but really good! Looks aren’t everything people!

You guys are going to think I eat sausage every day.  It seems like that sometimes because my favorite meals are the ones that include it! Haha! In all seriousness, we get quite a few pounds of organic sausage from well cared for pigs from our local CSA every season and since it cooks up fast and defrosts quickly, I sometimes use it up faster than I do the other meats we get out of sheer convenience.  Rest assured, I am not eating sausage 5 days a week, though John would tell you I would totally do it if it was possible and / or good for me.

While there is nothing mind blowing about this recipe (it contains only 6 ingredients-not counting salt and pepper), we really enjoyed it so I thought I’d share – especially because it’s so simple.  I’m constantly looking to remind clients (and everyone else in the world) that eating well doesn’t have to mean long laborious processes or a long list of expensive ingredients.  A few simple high quality ingredients are all you really need and truly doesn’t take much time or energy to prepare.

Oh, and if you can find mizuna at your local store or farm (I get it – we just received a lot of it this summer and fall so that’s why I’m using it in recipes), try arugula.  Mizuna is a tiny bit spicy (but not as spicy as arugula or mustard greens) and can be eaten raw or cooked.   Really, any green that cooks quickly can be used here.

This makes 4 servings.

1 lb spicy italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup uncooked millet*
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 big bunch mizuna, washed and roughly chopped*
2 cups kale or swiss chard, washed, ribs removed and chopped
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Start by toasting your millet.  Millet doesn’t have to be toasted to be eaten but it certainly tastes better when you do!  Spread 1 cup of uncooked millet in a large skillet and heat to low medium heat.  Gently “cook” the millet for 5 minutes or so (I feel like this depends on your stove top – if you have gas, this will take less time.  If you have a ridiculously slow glass electric top like me, you could be here for a bit!), shaking the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure all grains are gently toasted.  The color will turn slightly more golden and it might start to smell like popcorn.  This is when you want to take it off the heat.

Toasted and cooked millet

Toasted and cooked millet

To cook the millet, heat 2 cups of water in a medium sized pot, add the millet (careful not to burn yourself as I did this particular night – oops), a tiny pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the millet sit in the covered pot until you are ready to serve.

While the millet is cooking, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a large skillet (fine to use the one you toasted the millet in) and when it’s melted and the pan is hot, add the casing free sausage.  Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go.  Once the sausage is cooked through, add in the diced red onion, mizuna and kale and cook until the onion is softened and fragrant (about 5-7 minutes).  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and serve over the toasted millet.

That’s all there is to it!  I served it with a dollop of pesto on the side but it wasn’t necessary by any means (but pesto would be a great accompaniment if you felt you needed one because it goes great with everything).

*If you have hypothyroidism, skip the millet and use quinoa or another grain.  Millet has goitrogenic properties and while contains many valuable nutrients is not a good fit for those with thyroid issues.
12 Day Detox Sign Up for Bottom of Blog Posts

Coconut Curry Soup with Cod, Carrots & Zucchini

Tastes way better than it looks. Someday I'll remember to take a pic before I've let it cook for too long!

Tastes way better than it looks. Someday I’ll remember to take a pic before I’ve let it cook for too long!

This meal was the result of a total “there’s nothing to eat in the house, what can we eat for dinner?” but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise (which let’s be honest, could have been a disaster).  It was filling and satisfying without being too heavy and the ginger & turmeric broth was great for a chilly night.  I was running pretty low on veggies (rare in this house), had a plantain that was going to be too ripe if I didn’t hurry up and use it and had some cod in the freezer.  I had coconut milk but no curry paste, no scallions, no cilantro etc.  I was half ready to pick up the phone to ask John to grab some takeout on his way home but I tasted it and it was actually pretty good.  I am not a fan of fish in soups . . .so this would not be my first choice of ingredients together. . . but I’m very grateful that random pantry & refrigerator cooking didn’t turn out disgusting!

The plantain does a great job of thickening the broth and adds a little sweetness that rounds out the flavors (especially since I didn’t have some of my usual curry staples on hand).  And it blends in pretty well – if someone didn’t tell you there was plantain in it, you’d probably have no idea.  If you don’t have access to plantains, you can try adding a grated potato or sweet potato instead.

And I hope it goes without saying, use the full fat coconut milk (not the lite stuff).  There is not much other fat in this meal (cod, veggies, spices) and the saturated fat in coconut milk and coconut oil are good ones to have in your diet.  Remember, keeping your blood sugar stable and cravings under control is really about having a balance of fat, protein and fiber in every meal and if you try to go very low fat you throw that balance off and you may find yourself digging in the cabinet for sweet treats not too long after dinner.  Fat = satisfaction.

Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
5 medium carrots, peeled, sliced
1 large shallot, diced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 can coconut milk (Look for BPA free brands like Arroy-D and Native Forest)
2 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken broth
1 inch chunk ginger, peeled, finely diced
1 inch chunk fresh turmeric root, peeled, finely diced
3 medium zucchini thickly, sliced
1 to 1 1/4 lbs wild cod fillets (or other white fish)
1 yellow plantain, peeled and grated or diced
big handful of fresh parsley or cilantro
sea salt and black pepper to taste
optional: a big squeeze of fresh lime juice
optional: cayenne or red curry paste for heat

Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  When hot, saute the onion, shallots and carrots for 3 – 4 minutes, then add the curry powder, cardamom and smoked paprika and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the coconut milk, broth, ginger, turmeric and plantain to the pan and bring to a boil.  Add the cod and zucchini, submerge, cover and bring back to a boil and reduce to a low simmer.
Cook for another 7-9 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Stir in the parsley or cilantro, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and serve.

12 Day Detox Sign Up for Bottom of Blog Posts