Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fall Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Maple Vinaigrette

As promised, here's the second of a few yummy fall recipes I have coming your way. I've definitely been on a squash kick... First came pumpkin, now here's acorn and next up....butternut!

This recipe is not only healthy and super delicious (and gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan) but it's also beautiful. It has all the colors and flavors of fall. Enjoy! 

Fall Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Maple Vinaigrette 

Serves 4 

2 acorn squashes, halved 
1.5 cups quinoa
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1.5 cups water 
2 organic red apples, chopped 
1 pomegranate seeded
1 package baby arugula 
1 cup sprouted almonds
Maple syrup for glaze 
Sprinkle of cinnamon 

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing: 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1/4 cup maple syrup 
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
A pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 350F and bake the squash halves face down on a baking pan with enough water to just barely cover the bottom of the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and flip over squashes, pouring 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into each squash half and sprinkling with cinnamon. 

While squash is baking, combine quinoa, broth, and water (following quinoa packaging instructions) in a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover to simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a spoon. 

Next, prepare pomegranate, apples, and almonds and set aside. In a small bowl, make dressing. Toss the quinoa, dressing, and fruit together in a large mixing bowl. 

To serve, place a squash half on a plate and cover with arugula. Scoop quinoa into each half until it spills over slightly. Enjoy! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Smoothie

Happy Fall! I've been busy in the kitchen cooking up a few fall recipes and here's the first! If you're not a peanut butter fan, this smoothie can easily just be pumpkin by eliminating one ingredient. This recipe is super creamy and delicious--- it basically tastes like liquid pumpkin pie! Enjoy! 

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Smoothie

1/4 cup organic puréed pumpkin
1/4 cup canned coconut milk fat 
1/2 cup organic soy or other dairy-free milk
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter
1 tablespoon Chia seeds
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

These are a few of my favorite (gluten-free) things!

As you all know, there are a growing number of gluten-free products hitting the store shelves. Some of them are great but many of them are just like the average package product: filled with refined sugars, gmo's, and crap. That's why I wanted to share my list of favorite new (or new to me) gluten-free dairy-free products.

All Hail the Rise of Nut Cheeses!

I have been making cashew and brazil nut cheese at home for a few years now. It's so easy I wandered why someone hadn't thought to package and sell it. Thank goodness... a few folks finally did!

Here are two of my favorite nut cheese companies:

Kite Hill
They make a delicious almond ricotta and an almond brie. The "brie" tastes like REAL brie and pairs great with grapes and crackers.

Treeline Cheese
They have a selection of delicious soft cashew "cheeses" that are tasty with gluten-free crackers or veggie sticks.

Care to Quinoa?

Cocomama Cereals
This company is a Boston-based company that has been around a few years now but they've recently come out with a few more delicious products. I have always loved their packaged quinoa cereals because they're super convenient on the go. They're also gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, BPA free, and non-gmo. My favorite is the blueberry cereal.... if you're interested in trying, check below for a special online deal from Cocomama!

Ancient Harvest Polenta
Organic, non-gmo heirloom polenta with red and black quinoa... yum. Stay tuned for a recipe featuring this yummy product paired with Kite Hill ricotta.

Nut-Free Granola Bars

88 Acres Granola Bars
88 Acres is another local company (yay for Boston!) that "creates healthy snacks, free of the top food allergens, that are crafted with simple ingredients and designed for everyone to enjoy." They're also non-gmo and oh-so-good. I love the Chocolate & Sea Salt bar.

Watermelon Water

I love watermelon... but you can only have it one season a year. I used to wonder why people didn't "juice" and bottle the most water-filled fruit...until now!

This cold-pressed juice is super tasty and on store shelves year-round.

Special Deal: 

Cocomama is offering $5 off on purchases of $30 or more when you enter the coupon code "menodesign" online. Stock up on some yummy cereals today!

Photo courtesy of Cocomama Foods. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Best Dairy-Free Ice Creams

Ice Cream has always been a summer staple for my family... we used to go sailing in the evenings in the harbor and then climb back on the mainland and head straight for the ice cream parlor, located too conveniently just steps from the dock.

Dairy, however, is not my friend and never has been. In fact, as a child I was afflicted with chronic ear infections—something my mother and I have only recently discovered is a very big indicator of dairy intolerance.

So what's a dairy-free ice cream lovin' girl to do?

Fortunately, there's a slew of dairy-free ice cream options out there, depending on your intolerances. There's soy, coconut, cashew, almond, hemp, rice bases, you name it, you can pretty much turn it into ice cream!

But...ever wonder which are the best? Below are my favorite dairy-free ice cream treats. I tend to prefer a coconut milk base because I think it most naturally best mimics the creaminess of real ice cream but I have a cashew and soy milk option included as well. My two favorite brands are by far Luna and Larry's and So Delicious and below are my favorite flavors:

Coconut Bliss "Vanilla Island"
Why I prefer it: It's hands-down the creamiest and has the most amped up vanilla flavor. It also has the most simple ingredients. It taste fabulous with fresh berries or alongside a warm pie. Yum....It's also fair trade, organic, non-GMO, vegan, and certified GF.

Coconut Bliss "Dark Chocolate"
Why I prefer it: Again, simple ingredients and really rich, chocolately flavor. It's also fair trade, organic, non-GMO, vegan, and certified GF.

So Delicious "Creamy Cashew
Why I prefer it: There aren't many cashew ice creams on the market but this one has simple ingredients, is non-GMO, vegan, and certified GF. Plus, it's delicious!

So Delicious "Turtle Trails" 
Why I prefer it: I've tried this flavor with both a soy and coconut base and the soy is definitely better. It's more subtle and doesn't overpower the awesomeness of the caramel swirls and chocolate salty clusters.

So Delicious Mini Coconut Chocolate Almond Bars
Why I prefer it: First of all, I love the size of these bars. They're just the right amount of dessert to satisfy a craving without leaving you feeling too guilty for having indulged. The ice cream is super creamy and the outside is an awesome chocolatey almondy shell of goodness that you'll wish there was more of.