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{Guest Post} Three Luscious (Asian) Grain-free Recipes

Recently, I was invited to review a cookbook for a health-focused writer.  I loved her easy-to-read tips and recipes, and I know a lot of my readers are interested in healthy, whole foods, and gluten-free or grain-free recipes… So I invited her to share with you all here at Dancing With My Father!  She’s sent over some yummy (Asian) Grain-free recipes.  Introducing Vanessa, guest-posting today!

 

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I want to thank Angela for allowing me to share some grain-free recipes with you all!

My name is Vanessa Olson, and I make my living helping people – specifically athletes – stay healthy. Because each client is different, I have to educate myself constantly to stay tuned into their unique nutritional requirements, training schedules, and so on. I love to develop my own recipes that anyone – athlete or not – can benefit from. The recipes I’m sharing with you today are all grain-free, and instead use ingredients like coconut flour, arrowroot powder, nuts, and lots of veggies!

 

Going grain-free has a lot of benefits, even if you aren’t grain-intolerant or sensitive. Grains are full of starch, lectins, and other ingredients that have been shown to cause inflammation, digestive problems, and serotonin imbalances, which can negatively affect your mood. The other problem with grain is that eating it causes blood-sugar levels to spike. In the long term, this can increase your risk for dementia. Giving up bread and pasta is a great way to focus on other foods that don’t pack so much punch when it comes to blood sugar.

 

People also like to give up grain in an attempt to lose weight, but they’re often disappointed. Simply giving up grain isn’t enough for most, but it can help you choose better foods and eat less sugar, which grain-based products like bread and pasta are full of. When combined with other good habits, giving up grain can definitely make weight loss easier.

 

But what about the nutrition? A lot of people are wary of going grain-free because they don’t want to have gaps in their nutritional intake, but the reality is there’s nothing in grain that can’t be found in other sources. The main question is carbs, which the body needs to produce energy. However, great carb sources can be found in legumes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and nuts. The same goes with fiber – try beans, berries, nuts, and dark leafy vegetables.

 

The next three recipes are all about three things: being grain-free, fast, and delicious.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a “great” chef, you can master these meals very quickly, and there aren’t any unusual ingredients. If something is not considered a “pantry staple,” I will let you know where you can find it. Let’s get started!

                                          

 

Paleo Crepes

Serves: 6

Time: Less than 10 minutes

 

Crepes are one of my favorite vehicles for a variety of sweet and savory dishes, but they use flour. Luckily, you can use coconut flour for tender, flavorful crepes that will satisfy a sweet tooth come dessert-time, or make a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

 

First, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over very low heat. While that’s melting, you can put the eggs and coconut flour in your food processor, and blend. When the oil is melted, pour into the food processor along with ½ cup of water. This is your crepe batter.

 

Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in an 8-inch skillet, on medium-low. Coconut oil is delicate, so you never want to turn the burner up too high. When the oil is hot, use a ¼ cup measuring utensil to scoop out your batter. Pour into your skillet and let the batter spread the edges. Watch the batter until it begins to bubble and the bubbles are bursting. Flip the crepe. Wait another 2-3 minutes before moving the crepe to a plate. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

 

For a savory onion, mushroom, and spinach crepe:

 

Heat some olive oil in a separate skillet. Add 2 cups of chopped onions, 3 cups of

mushrooms, and salt. Cook for about 8 minutes, then add 2 big handfuls of spinach.

Keep cooking until the onions and mushrooms are tender, and the spinach has

wilted. Season with more salt, if necessary, and pepper.

 

For a sweet Nutella-banana crepe:

 

Cut up 5-6 small bananas into round slices. Spread into your crepes and spread on a

heaping spoonful of Nutella. Fold over, and dust with powdered sugar and a dollop

of whipped cream.

 

Ingredients:

4 big eggs

½ cup water

2 tablespoons coconut flour

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon coconut oil

 

Directions:

 

  1. Using a food processor, blend the eggs and coconut flour.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, the water, and pulse again until combined.
  3. Pour 1 teaspoon of coconut oil into an 8-inch skillet and heat over medium-low.
  4. When hot, ladle ¼ cup of batter into the skillet so the batter spreads to the edges.
  5. Wait until you can see bubbles on the crepe (they should also burst) and then flip.
  6. After 2-3 minutes, the other side of the crepe should be cooked through.
  7. Move to a plate and continue with the rest of the batter.
  8. Serve sweet or savory, and enjoy!

 

Nutritional Info (⅙ of the crepe batter):

 

Calories: 119

Protein: 5

Carbs: 2
Fat: 11

Fiber: 3

 

Simply-Delicious Chicken Stir-Fry

Serves: 4

Time: About 35 minutes

 

I love stir-fry! It’s easy to make and easy to pack with nutritious, grain-free ingredients. This recipe is for a chicken stir-fry with lots of veggies like broccoli, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms, to name just a few. It also includes toasted sesame oil and Ume Plum Vinegar, which gives the whole dish an incredibly tasty,   slightly fruity, acidic, toasty flavor. With just those two add-ins, this homemade stir-fry beats out even your favorite take-out place.

 

To make this stir-fry, you basically just cook all the ingredients in shifts. Now, you’ll notice this recipe calls for Celtic sea salt. This is a fancy unrefined salt, which means it has no additives and has numerous health benefits. You don’t have to go out of your way to buy it for this dish, but if you choose to, there are different “cuts” of the salt, like fine-ground or coarse. I like fine-ground for this recipe, personally, because the dish is already pretty salty with the plum vinegar, and the coarse salt just creates really salty pockets that aren’t super appealing. Celtic sea salt is strong, so don’t go over the ½ teaspoon recommendation.

 

Begin by prepping the chicken. Rinse and dry the breasts before cutting them into 1-inch cubes. They’ll cook faster in bite-sized pieces. Next, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until it’s clear and soft. Toss in the carrots, broccoli, and chicken. Cook for another 10 minutes. Next come the mushrooms, zucchini, and bok choy. Toss in some sea salt, too, while you’re at it. After five minutes, pour in 1 cup of water and cover the skillet.

 

While the veggies are steaming, whisk the arrowroot powder with ½ cup of water. After the veggies are done, pour your water/arrowroot mixture into the skillet and keep whisking. When the sauce has thickened, it’s time to add the sesame oil and plum vinegar. That’s it! It’s time to eat!

 

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 ½ cups water

1 finely-chopped medium-sized onion

2 medium-sized sliced carrots

2 heads of broccoli, sliced into spears

2 heads sliced baby bok choy

4-ounces stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms

1 small sliced zucchini

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons Ume Plum Vinegar

½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt

 

Directions:

 

  1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Toss in the onion to cook for 8-10 minutes, until clear and soft.
  4. Add the carrots, broccoli, and chicken cubes.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, bok choy, and salt.
  7. After 5 minutes, pour in the cup of water and cover the skillet.
  8. Cook for 10 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, mix ½ cup of water with the arrowroot powder until smooth.
  10. Pour into the skillet and stir for 2-3 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  11. Stir in the plum vinegar and sesame oil before serving.

 

Nutritional Info (¼ recipe of stir-fry):

 

Calories: 353

Protein: 29

Carbs: 15
Fat: 19

Fiber: 5

 

Thai Peanut Chicken

Serves: 2

Time: About 10-15 minutes

If you’re looking for a quick weekday dinner, this savory peanut chicken is super easy. You just whip up a quick sauce and cook some chicken tenders, and you’re ready to go! The combination of classic Asian flavors like ginger and bright scallions with the creamy, nutty-sweet of peanut butter is absolutely lip-smacking. To keep this recipe grain-free, you use tamari instead of soy sauce. You can find it at any Asian market or a grocery store like Target.

 

To make the sauce, just mix the water, vinegar, tamari, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and creamy peanut butter together in a pot till smooth. Turn the burner to low, so the sauce can reduce for 8 minutes. While that’s simmering, season your chicken tenders with salt and pepper, and heat some olive oil in a skillet. Lay the chicken in the hot oil and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Depending on your stove, it may take a bit longer.

 

To blanch the broccoli, boil a large pot of water with a tablespoon of salt. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. When the boiling water is ready, add the broccoli and cook for 1-1 ½ minutes. Immediately remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and submerge in the ice water to stop the cooking process.

 

When the chicken and sauce are done, get out two plates and transfer the chicken tenders. Serve with the blanched broccoli and lots of the peanut sauce. To finish things off, garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions.

 

Ingredients:

9-ounces of chicken tenders

3 cups of water

1 ½ cups blanched broccoli florets

¼ cup chopped peanuts

5 chopped scallions

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon champagne vinegar

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Directions:

 

  1. Begin by mixing the water, vinegar, tamari, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and peanut butter in a pot.
  2. Turn the burner to “low” and reduce for 8 minutes.
  3. Season the chicken with some salt and pepper.
  4. Grease a skillet with a healthy splash of olive oil and heat on medium-high.
  5. When hot, add the chicken tenders and cook through.
  6. After about 4 minutes per side (8 minutes total), the chicken should be done.
  7. Serve chicken tenders with the blanched broccoli and lots of the sauce on top.
  8. Sprinkle on the peanuts and scallions.

 

Nutritional Info (½ recipe):

 

Calories: 510

Protein: 29

Carbs: 30
Fat: 32

Fiber: 1

                                          

 

You probably noticed that two of these recipes are clearly Asian-inspired. That’s not just a coincidence. I love homemade versions of these take-out classics, because they’re way healthier, and just as tasty. They’re also really great for going grain-free, because the only adjustments you need to make are to skip the rice side dish.

 

One of the challenges of grain-free is experimenting with different grain substitutes and flours (like coconut flour, from the crepe recipe), and that can be tricky and a bit touch-’n-go at first. When you just want an easy meal after a long day, that kind of experimentation is not fun, which is why I gave you two recipes that are simple and easy to make grain-free. Just sub out soy sauce for tamari, and use arrowroot instead of flour or cornstarch.

 

If you like what you see here and want to look at some other recipes I’ve done, check out my Happy Healthy Cooking blog for some French-inspired pressure cooker recipes. Two of them are even grain-free!

 

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for sharing today!

 

For regular readers of Dancing With My Father, here are a couple other recipes for yummy grain-free treats!

Chocolate Hazelnut Latte Cookies

Banana-Rum Skillet Cake

Apple Avocado Kale Salad

 

What is your favorite grain-free recipe?

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whole 30 camping {whole 30 family camping, part 2}

we had way too many photos to share in part 1 of our whole 30 camping with kids post, so here’s what we cooked on the second half of our trip!  (i encourage you to get the book it starts with food; we’re having our older kids read it as part of a health and wellness study, and it is so eye-opening!)

 

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{**affiliate links:  there are a few links in this post that allow you to purchase an item at no additional cost to you, but will provide us with a small commission on your purchase!  many links are not affiliate links at all, but simply sites offering products and information we love and companies support for our own family!  all affiliate links are products we use ourselves and we would only recommend such products.}

 

(one parenting note: another observation about our family’s whole 30 adventure is that even though i thought my kids already took initiative when it came to meal prep, they’ve stepped up to the plate even more when it comes to choosing options that they are learning are good for them and delicious.  bonus!)

 

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dinner, day 2: sausage and potato pouches, green bean salad, warmed spiced apple cider from trader joe’s

 

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for our sausage pouches, we cut up potatoes and onions at home and tossed them with salt and pepper, garlic and olive oil in ziploc bags.  we brought aidell’s chicken-and-apple sausages (why don’t more companies make a “clean” sausage like this?!) and threw them into a foil pouch for each person with a handful of potatoes and onions.

 

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this meal was a favorite, and we plan to repeat it at home on the grill!

 

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our green bean salad was just fresh raw green beans and halved heirloom cherry tomatoes tossed at home with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spicy mustard, garlic and salt and pepper, stored in a ziploc bag.  my girl and i really enjoyed the warm sausage dish topped with the cold green beans – the contrast of soft with crunchy, warm & buttery with tart and cold, was a perfect mix!

 

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and of course, nighttime campfires.  we warmed up hot cider for the kids and tea/coffee for the “big kids.”

 

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and because we’re a photography-loving family, some play-time with burning twigs and long exposures.  with great attention to safety, i might add.

 

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and cards, always cards by lantern-light.

 

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breakfast, day 3:

leftover egg cups and homemade turkey sausage patties (frozen after little’s birthday party), warmed over the campfire, fresh fruit (grapes and clementine oranges)

 

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enjoying the fruit of her labor…

 

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long morning hikes and geocaching, a camping tradition.

 

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for our last meal, we wanted to not have to cook.  i made chicken salad in advance with leftover roasted chicken, dried, unsweetened cranberries, some annie’s naturals dijon mustard (be sure to check labels; a surprising number of their ingredient lists are not compliant!), chopped celery and pecans, and some tessamae’s ranch dressing, of course with salt and pepper.  this was packed in ziploc along with shredded carrots, washed romaine leaves, and served with a side of trader joe’s plantain chips.  everyone nibbled on this as we packed up camp.  yum!

 

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and of course, more hiking and exploring.  we’ve been so happy to discover a wealth of gorgeous state parks in our new home in new jersey!

 

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i hope you got some great ideas from our family’s whole 30 camping adventure.  what ideas can you share for camping with kids, and for camping while maintaining a “real food” lifestyle?

 

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whole 30 camping ideas {family camping, part 1}

when we decided to give the whole 30 plan our family’s whole-hearted commitment, i wondered if we could do it.  i wondered if my kids would choose to stick with it, and if i would have the self-fortitude to help them.  i felt such a burden to be prepared, to leave them no excuses if i could help it.  (little do they know i’m already considering it our “first” whole 30…)

 

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this week we planned a family camping trip, and determined to do it while honoring our whole 30 commitment (we are right smack dab in the middle!).  i was amazed at how each family member took it in stride.  there were a couple wistful comments about s’mores and their lack, but we planned and we prepared and we ate delicious food (always part of a camping trip in our book), and honestly, i don’t think anyone felt deprived!  here are some of our preparations – i thought others might benefit from our whole 30 camping ideas, too.

 

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leading up to our trip, i asked if anyone had special requests.  because we couldn’t were choosing not to do some of our usual unhealthy treats, i wanted them to feel they really had a choice in making our meals both healthy and delicious!  then i got creative, trying to honor the principles of the whole 30 plan as well as excite our palates.  i made my meal plan and shopping list, and put a copy of the plan in our food container so i wouldn’t forget.  i also grabbed plenty of compliant snacks, most of which we actually didn’t end up eating!

 

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the day before, i got up early and shopped for our produce and any remaining proteins.  the kids helped me peel potatoes, cut up veggies, and label ziploc bags with each meal’s ingredients.  (i have to give credit where it’s due – my daughter is super organized and has a knack for keeping me on track when i get distracted with “big” projects like this.)  we packed each meal together in a labeled plastic shopping bag (which we later used to throw away garbage as we cooked/ate).  finally, we packed the meals into the cooler so that we reached for the first meal on top, and so on.  this worked really well!

 

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while we are at camp, we expect everyone to pitch in.  when there’s fire and dead-wood-collecting to be done, no one really complains.

 

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first night:

dinner: burgers over campfire, grilled zucchini, marinated mushrooms, foil baked apples, coffee/tea

 

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we made our grass-fed beef burgers in advance, seasoned with trader joe’s 21 seasoning salute.  we bought local zucchini and seasoned it with olive oil and salt and pepper before traveling, so all we had to do was throw it on the grill!  our mushrooms were marinated in half/half red wine vinegar and olive oil, with minced garlic, salt and pepper.  we sauteed this in our iron skillet on the camp stove while the burgers and zucchini grilled.

 

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i’m not sure if this would technically be considered a “remake of a dessert,” in which case it wouldn’t be compliant, but we made baked apples over the fire.  at home in preparations, i cored apples and stuffed them with unsweetened dried cranberries, lots of cinnamon, and crushed walnuts.  before we baked them over the fire, we drizzled in some apple cider and ghee and then closed them tightly into little pouches.  (i did notice my tummy hurt after dinner, and i think i probably could have skipped the fruit.)

 

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breakfast the first morning:

 

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breakfast: bacon wrapped sweet potatoes (we made a variation of this recipe from fast paleo; we peeled and quartered our sweet potatoes lengthwise and roasted for 10 minutes with olive oil at home, and wrapped each quarter with one slice of bacon before grilling), sauteed apples and bananas (simply sliced apples and bananas from home along with a few we found on our hike, then cooked in the iron skillet with ghee and tons of cinnamon, sprinkling with almonds at the end).

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lunch: grilled applegate hot dogs, home made refrigerator pickles (try these!), and fruit (clementines, bananas, dried mango)

 

littlest whittled his own stick for grilling his ‘dog.

 

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i’m noticing that participating in a whole 30 challenge has made us all more contemplative, more intentional about our choices, and it’s made the kids more creative, as well!  there are days when i don’t get something made, and i’m noticing they are taking initiative and making themselves something new that honors the healthy eating ideals!  so cool…

 

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on one of our hikes, we found a fresh herb garden and nibbled on mint, chives, and basil.

 

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what choices are you making as a family to take better care of your bodies?  do you have any helpful tips to share?

 

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