Pretty Holiday Hummus: Beet It Up with Beet Hummus

Holiday food should be pretty. So this dish rocks.

Especially if you’ve discovered that you have to cut out a ton of foods to get or stay healthy.

We just discovered that our family has to avoid gluten + eggs + soy (me and the boy), whey from milk (me), and corn (the kid).

So, yeah. That’s a lot of ingredients we’ll be avoiding!

BUT, I always loved a good challenge, especially in the kitchen.

AND, one way to ensure optimism + resilience is to look at the cupboard as half full, and expect the best, rather than getting depressed + overwhelmed by saying goodbye to certain ingredients.

I’m putting on my big girl panties, looking on the bright side, and putting all my energy into making delicious, nourishing foods that everyone can enjoy at the table.

One of the first places to start is with super easy, super tasty, no-fail recipes:

…like hummus.

Ok, so most hummus is already gluten-dairy-soy-corn-free, but when I saw a picture of this gorgeous dip, I couldn’t resist making it in hopes of livening up the impending Christmas table.

Ruby Red Beet Hummus

  • medium beet (1 cooked a whole bunch at once to have for later)
  • 15-ounce BPA-FREE can (1 3/4 cup) of garbanzao beans, drained
  • clove garlic
  • 1 tiny pinch cayenne
  • dash paprika
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

How to make the best hummus ever:

First, roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400F. Clean, scrub, and cut off the stems and root end. Loosely wrap individually in foil, place on a roasting pan. Roast for 50-60 min. They’re ready when a knife can be easily inserted.

(might as well wrap a head of garlic and roast that, too – I mean, who can ever get enough roasted garlic?)

roasted beets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While you’re waiting, take a nap or watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

beets now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the beets are done, slip the outer peel off. Your hands will get red, but you’ll look pretty bad a$$.

Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Add water or additional olive oil until desired consistency. You want this to be creamy + smooth.

beet hummus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add salt and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
Serve with gluten-free crackers, yo! Or just eat it with a spoon, like I did.

This is a great cooling recipe for Firebrand cravings types if you add a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a traditional hummus ingredient (AKA Pitta in Ayurveda). The cooked beet is good for Featherweight cravings types, and this recipe is great for Earth Mamas, but go light on the added drizzle of olive oil.

Don’t know your Cravings Type? Take my quiz and get your free Cravings Type Report here:

Happy Holidays, all! Eat to be happy + healthy…xo, Alex

Positivity + Pumpkin Soup – a recipe for happiness

Feeling good…

not just about yourself, but about the world and people around you and how you feel in your body - isn’t that the big goal?

That’s why I love to cook, especially for other people, and that’s why I’ve been studying positive psychology.

It’s all about what helps us flourish – not just feel “fine.”

What I’ve learned so far may not seem totally earth shaking to you, but it has made me think hard about what I do with my time, and why.

And it’s all coming down to one thing:

Other People Matter.

Happiness and contentment aren’t about how much money you make. In fact, after our basic needs are covered (in the USofA, that’s about $50-60K a year), we don’t feel a lot happier when we make more money. We just think more money, more stuff, or having the right stuff will make us feel better about ourselves.

The one thing that makes us happy, if you’re rich or poor?

Having strong, connected relationships. Having people you can share your wins and your troubles with.

In short: we crave connection. We crave being with other people who love us. It’s a basic human need.

Well, one of my favorite things to do with other people is share good, delicious, healthy food. Making it together, talking while we cook, planning the meal, and savoring the delicious aromas and flavors – that is jus what life is all about.

So I want to share my new favorite recipe with you – a pumpkin soup, baked right in the pumpkin.

Pumpkins are wonderfully round, sweet, and immediately make me feel cozy.

They’re also super healthy! The health benefits of pumpkins or winter squash are long:

Considered an energetic tonic and a warming food, pumpkins and winter squash are medicinal for the spleen, stomach, large intestines and lungs. It improves energy and blood circulation, and is high in beta-carotene, which is good for eye health. Rich in vitamins A, C and potassium + magnesium, pumpkins are high in carotenoids and have anti-carcinogenic properties.

So this recipe is healthy, easy, fun to make, and really fun to eat with someone you love. Go be happy, love.

Pumpkin Soup Baked In A Pumpkin

For this pumpkin soup recipe, you’ll need:

1 pumpkin (edible and sweet)

2-3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil

1 yellow onion

2-3 cups stock or broth (vegan, chicken, etc)

salt and pepper
pumpkin

The pumpkin I was growing in my back yard was carried off by what I can only assume was a whole gang of New York City squirrels – so I had to buy one from the local farmers’ market.

I chose a 3 lb. “Sugar Pie,” which is sweeter than the standard carving pumpkin you see around Halloween. Preheat the oven to 350F.

cut pumpkin

Carve the top of the pumpkin just like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, and save the seeds to salt and bake later.

Do not leave the pumpkin seeds baking for too long while you talk on the phone to a friend like I did. Please set a timer.

buttered pumpkin

Use 1-2 Tablespoons real butter, ghee, or coconut oil to coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin. Scatter a couple pinches of salt around the inside, and don’t forget the bottom of the pumpkin lid!

onions

 

Chop a yellow onion into large dice.

You could do this step first, and carve the pumpkin while the onions are cooking to save time.

cook onions

Brown the onions over medium heat for 8-10 minutes with 1 Tablespoon butter, ghee or coconut oil.

fill pumpkin onions

Fill the pumpkin with cooked onions.

 

fill pumpkin stock

Pour home made vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) over the onions, filling up the pumpkin to about 1-inch from the top.

If the broth is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.

top pumpkin

Place the pumpkin lid back on, and place the entire pumpkin into the oven.

Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, checking to test for doneness. You’ll want the inside of the pumpkin to be spoon-ably soft.


baked pumpkin

 

Remove from the oven and gently remove the top.

Use a towel to grasp the stem, as the pumpkin will emit hot steam when you open it. Have your spoons at the ready…

spoonable pumpkin

 

Eat that soup straight from the pumpkin!

I like placing it on the table amongst the family and allowing everyone to take a spoonful from the pumpkin before scooping servings out to individual bowls.

There’s just something really fun about eating soup directly from a pumpkin.

Make sure that everyone gets a bowl-full of stock, onions and cooked chunks of sweet pumpkin.

Enjoy!

sweet potatoes for sweet cravings

Autumn Soup: Kale Shiitake Sweet Potato Soup

Crave sweet, but know sugar is keeping you stuck? Try this soup for Fall!

I love sweet – in fact, I always have.

I had 12 cavities before the age of 12, but haven’t had high fructose corn syrup in over 10 years. And my body thanks me for it!

Still, I love sweet, so I add sweet flavor through my day with nutrient dense foods that taste sweet.

Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips and more.

And there is some old school medicine in those humble sweet root veggies!

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of connecting different organs with different seasons, elements, foods, and even emotions.

According to the Five Element system, autumn is the season of the Metal element, governed by the lungs and large intestine. This sets up the conditions for flu or head cold, which comes from your body trying to expel excess mucus, toxins, and inferior fats.

Foods with a sour taste help with this detoxification process, and can be included daily as we enter into autumn. These foods include unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, lemons, limes, grapes, raw sauerkraut and pickles, and whole grain sourdough breads.

sweet pot

Pungent foods such as spices, ginger, and black pepper support the Metal element. These stimulate the digestion and help with the assimilation of food. Include pungent taste with seasonal fall foods such as apples, grapes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, grapes, kale, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, and yams.

This soup has  a lot of great autumn ingredients and will help keep your body strong and centered throughout the season:

Kale Shiitake Sweet Potato Soup

4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable stock

1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced

1 small sweet potato, peeled, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 bunch fresh kale, washed and stems removed

1 teaspoon Mellow white miso, per cup

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. In a saucepan combine the water/broth, shitake mushrooms and sweet potato and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, chop the kale into bite size pieces and add to the soup.

4. Cook until tender, another 8 minutes.

5. Dissolve a teaspoon of light miso in a bowl with a small amount of broth.

6. Ladle in the soup and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Yield: 6 servings

Cucamelon Salad – What’s a Cucamelon!?

They’re tiny, they’re adorable, and they’re downright delicious.

Cucamelon recipe

These itty bitty cucumbers are a little bit lemony tasting, and pair perfectly with ripe cherry tomatoes and grapes.

Also known as Sanditas or Mexican Sour Gerkins, these little babies are being grown around the US now, and I’ve seen them in well-stocked grocery stores and farmer’s markets on both coasts. Check your local store now, or order seeds for next year here and grow your own!

Cucamelon Salad

 

Cucamelon Salad Recipe Alexandra Jamieson

Serves 6-8 as a side

2 cups cucamelons (aka sanditas), washed, dried & halved (or chopped Persian cucumbers)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed, dried & halved
2 cups red grapes, washed, dried & halved
8 leaves fresh basil, washed, dried & torn
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch sea salt

Combine the cucamelons, tomatoes and grapes in a bowl.
Tear the basil and add to the bowl.
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Whisk well.
Pour olive oil mixture over the cucamelons and toss gently. Serve immediately and enjoy the happy sounds of delighted guests.

 

Inspired by Elise Kornack’s Tomato & Sandita Salad in New York Magazine October, 2013

My 1-Minute Lunch!

I’m busy, so I eat simple food most of the time.

This week, between phone calls, I cut open an avocado, filled it with leftover gigante beans (aren’t they gigantic!?), and  a light olive oil vinaigrette.

Boom. Done.

Delicious.

(And YES, I ate both halves of the avocado filled with beans – I was HUNGRY!)

This is the kind of simple, delicious food I share with my Cravings Cure members – want to check it out?

Click here to learn about the Cravings Cure Group Detox Program!

 

Oats, redux: 2 new ways to enjoy hearty grains at breakfast

I’m usually a protein girl in the morning. Long gone are the donut days where I could swill a cup of OJ and chomp a croissant and still make it to lunch. If I tried that now, I’d be in a sugar coma by 10am!

Now I like to mix up my morning meal with protein rich almond butter on sprouted grain toast, or a green smoothie with added nuts.

But the weather is cooling, the mornings are darker, and I want something warm and rib-stickin’.

Here’s how we do “oatmeal” in the morning:

Quinoa Porridge

Recipe:

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk with 1 cup washed and drained quinoa.

Bring to a  boil over high heat.

2. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon,

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup raisins, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.

3. Top with chopped pears.

HEMP OATMEAL

Recipe:

1. Bring 2 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk to a simmer, whisk in 1 cup oat bran. 

2. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and any fruit you like.

3. After 2 minutes, turn off the heat and add in 1/4 cup hemp seeds.

4. Stir well and serve with maple syrup and extra milk.

5 Tips To Get Kids To Eat Salads At Schools

A friend of mine, who works in the Department of Education here in NYC, sent me a copy of this memo that hit his inbox this morning:
“Mayor Bloomberg AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET OPEN NEW STORE AND ANNOUNCE donation of 57 salad bars to City Public Schools AS PART OF CITY’S NEW PLAN TO INSTALL SALAD BARS IN ALL SCHOOLS” (emphasis theirs)“Task Force Will Bring Salad Bars To All Schools by 2015; More Than 1,000 Already in Place City’s Bold Initiatives Have Driven Progress on Childhood Obesity

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley, Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler and Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi today joined Whole Foods Market and their Whole Kids Foundation as they celebrated the opening of their new East 57th Street store located at 226 East 57th Street by donating 57 salad bars, valued at more than $300,000, to New York City public elementary schools… Increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables help children develop food preferences and the new salad bars will give thousands of children exposure to fresh produce, helping them learn to make healthy choices for life. The Mayor”

But how do you get the kids to choose and EAT the salads?
Here are 5 tips on making salads more appealing to the kids once the salad bars are in place:
1. Put Salad Bar FIRST: 
Studies show that putting the salad bar at the front of the line, BEFORE the a la carte fast food-like options, gets kids to choose more salads. Easy.
2. BYOS: Build Your Own Salad
Let kids pick the lettuce, protein and fruit/vegetable combination for an exciting custom salad.3. Half-Size Combos
Offer meal deals by featuring half-size portions of salads, soups, entrees and sandwiches. 

4. Menu-Board It
Post salad specials on a menu board at the front of the line, giving salads equal status with hot entrees.5. Seasonal Greetings
Alternate salad ingredients to include seasonal produce.

Do you have a tip that gets kids to eat healthy?
Leave a comment below, or Click Here To Tweet this post to share the ideas with others! 

Shredded Sweet Sprouts! Brussels Sprouts for the whole family

A simple side dish of Brussels Sprouts makes any meal healthier – but what if your kid won’t eat them?

Add a hint of sweetness with sautéed apples and a touch of maple syrup – they’ll be begging for more!

*A touch of maple syrup won’t degrade the overall healthy benefits of these powerful cancer-fighting sprouts, and 1 serving has 8-12 grams of fiber, which is more than many Americans get in a day! (You should aim for at least 30 grams a day, BTW)

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded & Sweet Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, dried and sliced into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large tart apple, cubed and unpeeled

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons real maple syrup

1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt and sauté for 8 minutes.

2. When the sprouts begin to brighten and turn a nice light green, add the apple, garlic, red pepper flakes, and maple syrup. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Once everything is heated through, but not too soft or mushy, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans, and pepper.

Serves 2-4 people

Inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe in Color Me Vegan

5 Minute “Flat-Belly Lunch” Recipe

If you’re like me, lunch can be an after-thought…

Oh! It’s 1 o’clock, I’m hungry, and I need to keep my energy up to tackle my to-do list!

Most of my clients and Reboot & Refresh members are super busy, mostly moms with a ton on their plates, and they want healthy recipes that give them energy while being easy and delicious. That’s my speciality!

I’ve created the perfect lunch that’s filled with foods for energy, takes 5 minutes to make, and helps keep my tummy in a happy state (read: no gluten bloating, protein rich, and filled with gut-supportive greens):

Collard Wrap “Sandwich”

Ingredients:

2 big collard leaves

1/2 cup hummus

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoons olive paste (or chopped kalamata olives)

2 tablespoons raw sauerkraut

2 teaspoons hemp seed oil

Directions:

Wash and dry the collard leaves. Remove the thick stem sticking out below the leaf.

With the shiny, “front side” of the leaf facing up, spread half the hummus on the center of each leaf.

Top with the remaining ingredients and wrap, burrito style.

Serve and eat raw ~

 

Making Pumpkin Pancakes Gluten-Free: A Friend Asks

My friend Claire, a gluten-free girl, filmmaker and amazing nurse, wrote:

“I found your pumpkin pancakes recipe in your Vegan Cooking For Dummies book and thought YUM!
Now I’m in major pumpkin craving mode, but I have a  couple of questions for the celiacs out there:
1. I have a few GF flour mixes at home but judging from the recipes I’ve looked at I’ll probably have to go buy some xanthan gum and add a little bit of that. Not sure exactly what it does but it’s in all the GF recipes I’ve looked at –  I used to have a collection of flours but they all expired – I don’t bake often enough to make those purchases worthwhile, and there are some good GF flour mixes available (expensive, but available).
2. I have recently switched to almond milk from rice milk (tried hemp milk, not for me; I steer clear of soy milk).
Not sure if I’d still have to curdle it with apple cider vinegar, but I have that in the refrig too…
What should I do?”
Alex Answers: Really – pancakes are really forgiving, so I don’t think you’ll need the xanthan gum. I would try it with a  straight 1-to-1 switch for Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free mix.
If the recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, try 1 cup of Gluten-free mix.
If the batter looks normal after you’ve mixed everything together in this way, go for it. If it looks too thin, add a bit more flour. If it looks too thick or too dry, add a little more rice milk.
I would go ahead and curdle the rice milk with the vinegar ahead of time anyway. I’m not sure it will have the exact same effect as curdling soy milk because there is so much more protein in soy milk, but it can’t hurt. The vinegar is also in the recipe to give the pancakes “lift.”
Let me know how they turn out!