Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My 5 Most Popular Recipes of 2014

It is fun for me to look back at the recipes I have posted this year and see which ones were the most popular… which ones got the most attention.  And, not surprisingly at all, they are some of my most favorite new recipes as well.  All of them are gluten free... some are Paleo, some are vegan.  Have a look... I know you will find something you really like, too.

Here are the 5 recipes and dishes that seem to be the favorites with my readers this past year.  If you click on the image, you will be redirected to the original blog post and recipe.

1.  Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup
This one has vegan options.  A delicious and rich hearty soup. I love the smoky flavor  of roasted red peppers.

2. Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
These happen to be vegan.  Lovely!

3. High Protein Breakfast Puff

High Protein Breakfast Puff
This continues to be one of my breakfast staples.  Change up the fruit and it is different every time!  It only takes about 5 minutes to put together.

4. Low Carb Flatbread

Low-Carb Flatbread
Another of my own favorites. I put these together and freeze them whenever I find a good buy on nice large heads of cauliflower. They are gluten free and a great texture.  They do take a bit of work but so worth it!

5. High Protein Angel Food Cake

High Protein Angel Food Cake
No surprise that this remains to be so popular. Who doesn’t like a little sweet now and then? And this one is not sugar-laden at all.  Add a bit of fruit and some yogurt or whipped coconut milk and you have a very special dessert.  Mmmmm.

Thanks to all of your for your continued support and readership… I hope to bring you lots of fun recipes and food finds in 2015.

What is your favorite new recipe from 2014?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nutty Truffles

I  had a bit of a hard time coming up with a name for these little balls… they have so many tasty and healthy things in them that it was not easy to focus on just one to name them. So, I am simply calling them Nutty Truffles.  Once you read the ingredient list, you will see why.

I made up the batter and then left it in the fridge for about an hour because as gooey as it is, it is much easier to work with when it’s cold.

I used my favorite North Coast Naturals 100% ISO vanilla whey protein powder and their hemp seeds to make these little goodies. You can use your own favorite brands. I also used PB2 instead of peanut butter just to keep the calorie count down… use your favorite nut butter of course.  It’s just a template… feel free to experiment.

Nutty Truffles 

Nutty Truffles
Makes 11 truffles

for the truffle batter:
  • 4 Tbs PB2
  • 3 Tbs Almond Breeze, vanilla unsweetened
  • 2 Tbs coconut flour
  • 2 Tbs almond meal
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
for the coating:
  • 1 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbs fine coconut, unsweetened 
  1. Mix all the truffle batter ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate till chilled, about one hour.
  2. Mix the coating ingredients together in a very small bowl and set aside.
  3. To make the truffles, scoop out a portion of the batter with a small spoon, and roll into a ball with your hands.
  4. Drop the ball into the coating mixture and roll it around till completely covered.
  5. Set on parchment paper and repeat process 10 more times.
  6. Refrigerate till ready to eat.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 46; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 3g; Fat 2g; Fibre 1g.

Nutty Truffles 1
Drop the rolls into the coating mixture.

Nutty Truffles 2
Roll around till completely covered.

Nutty Truffles 3
Set on parchment paper and put back in fridge to chill before serving.

The whole recipe N.I. is as follows so you can recalculate for each truffle if you happen to make more or fewer with your batter.

Calories 508; Protein 45g; Carbohydrate 29g; Fat 26g; Fibre 15g.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Every time I come up with a new combination of veggies and flavors to make soup, it immediately becomes my favorite.    And that’s true of this one…. actually I have been keeping it all to myself over the past couple of weeks, but now that I only have one serving left, which I am enjoying for lunch today, I think it is about time I shared it with you. I am calling it my Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup.

And believe me, naming this soup was a bit of a problem for me. It has lots of garlic in it, and it also has curry powder… but honestly, Garlicky Curried Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup just sounds so cumbersome… and sometimes putting the word curry in the title of a soup scares people away. And if you thought you didn’t like garlic, that might turn you off as well (leave it out – really!)
So, Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup it is, and not matter what I might call it, it is fabulous. Really!

I used my homemade turkey broth and my usual soup method to prepare this soup but you could use a store-bought chicken stock, or even make it vegan, and go with a veggie broth. I like to make my own. Ignoring either of those options, just use water. I know the garlic and the curry will give it enough flavor.

I like to freeze leftovers in individual portions.  Just pop it into a small saucepan to thaw and heat for serving.  This soup is thick and hearty and goes like this:

Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup
Makes 8 one-cup servings.
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into one-inch chunks
  • 2 large carrots, cut into one-inch lengths
  • 1 cup onions slices
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 cups broth of choice
  • 2 Tbs curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare your vegetables, onions, garlic, and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tsp coconut oil over MEDIUM heat in large stock pot.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes till translucent, taking care not to let them brown.
  4. Add the squash and the carrots and cook about 5 minutes more.
  5. Add the curry powder and stir till all the veggies are coated.
  6. Add the stock, cover with a lid and turn heat to HIGH.
  7. When the broth has come to a boil, turn heat to LOW and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and uncover.  Allow soup to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  9. Puree in batches or with an immersion blender till smooth.
  10. Ladle into serving bowls, and season liberally with salt and a dash of pepper. Serve warm.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 88; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 18g; Fat 1g; Fibre 3g.

If you are following the Simply Filling Technique, there is really nothing to count here as the oil per serving is only 1/4 tsp.

Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash Souop with yogurt1
And I also love it with a bit of plain Greek yogurt .

Spicy Carrot and Butternut Squash soup with yogurt2
It adds an element of creaminess, and also packs a great protein punch.

What's your favorite combination of veggies for homemade soups?

Do you like to garnish your soups with yogurt, or even sour cream?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Coconut Flour Thumbprint Cookies

The Captain has always loved Thumbprint Cookies so when this recipe for a gluten free, grain free version arrived in an email from Laura at Mommy Run Fast a couple of weeks ago, I saved it to try for the Holiday Season.

And they did not disappoint!  Thank you, Laura, for doing the work in coming up with this lovely cookie recipe, and for sharing it on your blog, too!

Coconut Flour Thumbprint Cookies

He is not on a gluten free diet, but several of his family members have serious gluten issues so I will always opt for a gluten free version for him when a good one is available.

And I wanted to share it on my own blog so that my Weight Watchers buddies can enjoy it, too. Several of my friends opt for grain free recipes when they can, even if they use a few more P+ from their daily budget.  These recipes are often way more satisfying than a version with wheat flour might be.

If you haven’t worked with coconut flour much, do be patient. It absorbs more liquid than regular wheat flours and you need to stir it a little longer as well. Don’t pack it down when measuring… just scoop it lightly into measuring cup.

These little mouthfuls are sweet and tasty… and they come together pretty quickly.

I did make a couple of small substitutions… white sugar in place of coconut sugar, and I made them with a regular sugar-laden fruit spread… if you could find a low-sugar or even sugar-free version, the calorie count and Weight Watcher’s P+ values would be less, I am sure.  Your choice, of course.  I used strawberry flavor because that is The Captain’s favorite… about 1/4 tsp per cookie.  Laura uses raspberries in hers. 

I kind of think a lemony curd or custard would be nice, too, spooned into the depression after the cookies are baked and cooled.

Click this link to find Laura’s recipe on her original blog post.

I made 20 small cookies from the dough.  Here is the N.I. I calculated for the ingredients I used.

Per cookie.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 82;  Protein 2g;  Carbohydrate 8g; Fat 5g; Fibre 2.

Dec 7 Coconut Flour Thumbprint cookies 001
The dough is quite stiff and rolls well after being chilled for half an hour.

Dec 7 Coconut Flour Thumbprint cookies 002
Make small depressions in each cookie for jam filling.

Dec 7 Coconut Flour Thumbprint cookies 003
Use about 1/4 tsp jam for each cookie.

Dec 7 Coconut Flour Thumbprint cookies 004
Ready to pop into the oven.

Dec 7 Coconut Flour Thumbprint cookies 007
Make sure to let them cool after baking so you don’t burn your mouth on the hot jam!

It looks to me like some of the jam ran away!  I wonder if it would be better to bake the cookie and then put the jam in them.  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Cranberry Pulled Pork in the Crockpot

When the outside temperatures get nippy, I love to get out my crockpot. I am not sure why I equate slow cooking with cooler weather, but I sure do.  I not only used it one day this last week to prepare this Cranberry Pulled Pork, but also the next… to cook up a turkey carcass that was in the freezer for Homemade Turkey Broth to make soups and sauces over the next few weeks.  I should actually have made that broth first, then I could have used it in this recipe!

I have always loved pork with fruit… apples, peaches, and yes, cranberries.  The flavors just go so well together.  This Pork Medallions with Apples and Cranberries is an old favorite. 

This time I decided to leave out the apples and just go with cranberries.  It is lovely and the balsamic vinegar gives just enough sweetness to the dish.  I was tempted to add garlic, but am glad I didn’t.

I used a lean pork loin roast that weighed just over 2 pounds. If you find a nice tenderloin, just reduce the amount of the other ingredients. It’s not rocket science, and you can’t really go wrong here.

I like to make a dish like this and then freeze it in individual or family-size portions so that I can put dinner together quickly on days I am working, or when I just don’t really feel like cooking much.  If you like, add some potatoes or rice, or just a vegetable or a salad, and you have a hearty and delicious meal.

Cranberry Pulled Pork in the Crockpot4

Cranberry Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot
Makes 14 four-ounce servings
  • 2-lb pork loin roast, trimmed of all fat
  • 1 cup onion slices
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar
  • 2 or 3 tsp dried oregano
  1. Lightly coat the inside of your crockpot with a non-stick spray or oil spray to make cleaning up easier.
  2. Brown all the outer edges of the pork roast in a saute pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat for a few seconds. This is to seal in the juices so don’t skip doing this step.
  3. Spread the onion slices over the bottom of the crock pot, followed by the cranberries.
  4. Place the browned pork roast on top. and then sprinkle with the dried oregano.
  5. Pour the broth over the top of the roast, followed by the balsamic vinegar.
  6. Cover and let simmer on LOW for up to 8 hours.
  7. Remove the lid, and turn the heat OFF.
  8. With 2 forks, slowly pull the roast apart, mixing in the broth and the cranberries as you do.
  9. Measure out 4 ounces of the mixture for each serving.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 121; Protein 16g; Carbohydrate 4g; Fat 4g; Fibre 1g.

Cranberry Pulled Pork in the Crockpot

Cranberry Pulled Pork in the Crockpot1

Cranberry Pulled Pork in the Crockpot2

What’s your favorite crockpot meal?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Yes, a gluten-free Thanksgiving Dinner can be done and in a very HAPPY way that the whole family will enjoy…


We celebrated our first gluten-free Thanksgiving a couple of years ago… just the thought of it was very daunting. But with a bit of research and some planning, it all came together in a very easy and DELICIOUS manner. 

Here is what is on the menu:

Roasted turkey and potatoes
Turkey gravy
Quinoa dressing
Homemade cranberry sauce
Steamed carrots
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Pinot Grigio/ice water
Is this your first gluten-free Thanksgiving?  What are you preparing?

Friday, November 07, 2014

10 Tips to Doing Your Holiday Baking Without Gaining Any Weight

This time of year can pose a real challenge to those of us who do Christmas or Holiday Baking!

10 Tips\

We are often surrounded by tasty, tempting ingredients and recipes that we don’t normally face during the rest of the year… we are looking to make salted caramels, shortbread, molasses cookies, butter tarts, pecan and mincemeat pies…. and on and on.  Every year it seems there are more and more calorie and sugar laden goodies to try… more recipes in our favorite magazines and blogs and it can all become quite overwhelming… and let’s be honest… fattening!

It would be easier to just refuse to do it… and for a brave few, that is often the solution.
But for those of us who want to make special things for beloved family members and friends, how do we go about producing these fabulous food gifts without piling on the pounds?

Some people would advise you to only make things that you don’t like to eat yourself.  Others would say to bake when you are not hungry, or to put the baked goodies in the freezer right away so they are out of sight.  Good tips, but not very realistic.  Who hasn’t discovered that peanut butter cookies taste wonderful when they are frozen?

So what do you do when faced with raw cookie dough or chocolate cake batter?  How do you keep from tasting or nibbling or licking the spoons or egg beaters while you are doing the actual baking?  We all know that these little BLTs (bites, licks, tastes) can add up to hundreds of extra calories over a few hours… and if you do several baking sessions, you might be facing thousands of calories full of sugar and fat!

I think we should reward ourselves for all of this creative and love-driven work we are doing, by enjoying some of the goodies we are making.  I think it is extremely unrealistic to expect that we won’t do a bit of sampling… but I would suggest that we decide, before we even get started, that we are going to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of wine, AFTER it is all done and enjoy one piece of our favorite confection…. one cookie, one piece of brownie, one thin sliver of pie.

Keep your eye on that prize, and keep the tasting to a minimum.

I have come up with a few ways to avoid the BLTs and have been given some tips by some of my friends over the years as well… I would love to share them with you.

10 Tips for Doing Your Holiday Baking Without Gaining Any Weight
  • Brush your teeth before you get started.  A fresh, clean mouth feels so good and you are less likely to start popping nuts or chocolate chips into your mouth when you have fresh sparkly clean teeth.
  • Chew gum.  It is very difficult to pop bits of cookie dough into your mouth while you are chewing gum.  Let’s face it.  We don’t need to taste the cookie dough because we are often using recipes that we have made over and over and over again… we already know that dough tastes good!   I am not normally a gum chewer but I do find this tip really works for me.
  • It does make sense to do your baking when you are not hungry.  But you might want to have an appropriate snack at the ready, right out in front of you where it is easily accessible.  Apple slices covered with peanut butter, or some cubes of cheddar cheese will help keep you going.  Make it something a bit special that you really like, and something that can easily be popped into your mouth instead of a piece of cookie dough.
  • Have lunch already prepared so you don’t nibble instead of eating a real meal. If your baking session will last for hours, especially over lunchtime, or involves a friend, it might be a good idea to have something ready in the fridge, that you can take to a table to sit down and eat while taking a break from the baking.
  • If you do bake with a friend, challenge each other not to taste as you go along.  Make a little game of it and charge each other a penalty for catching each other tasting, or have a non-food reward pre-determined for the one who does it the least. 
  • Wear your workout clothes and shoes while you bake.   This is a really good idea for so many different reasons.  It will remind you about why you don’t want to be nibbling while you are baking.  And if you do get time for a quick break, you could get out for a little walk, or you can do some squats or pushups in the living room while the cookies are in the oven.  Or you can crank up some holiday music and do a bit of dancing.
  • Make up rules before you begin baking.  I have a rule that I don’t eat while I am standing up. If I want to put something in my mouth I have to take it to the table to sit down first.  It has happened where I have taken a brownie batter spoon to the table to sit down and lick it, but by the time I got there, I realized how silly it was and avoided the deed! 
  • Put the used bowls, mixer blades, spoons, spatulas, and other utensils into a sinkful of hot soapy water as soon as you are done with them, or at least rinse the batter off them so you won’t be tempted to lick if off!
  • Imagine that someone is watching you in the kitchen.  Behave the way you would if you were being recorded or if the neighbor or your husband was spying on you!  Better yet, set up your video camera and make a vlog about it all. You will never lick your fingers! 
  • Focus on the end goal… to make something lovely for your family and friends to enjoy.  The more you nibble now, the less finished product there will be when you are done!  If you  cannot control yourself while the cookies are cooling, get out of the kitchen.  Have someone else put the finished and cooled baking into containers and then get them out of sight as soon as you can.
I hope that some of these tips might help you to get through your holiday baking without adding on some holiday pounds!

If you have any tips, I would love to have you share them with me.

And I would really like to know what you are cooking up for the holidays, too.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

You Don't Have to Be a Foodie to Enjoy a Good Vinegar...

There is hardly a day goes by without my digging into a salad of some kind.  My lunch is usually a very large huge plateful of salad with some lean protein for staying power, topped by a tasty dressing… and my dinner plate often has a salad of some kind on it as well.

It isn’t seasonal for me. I am not one who starts to crave fresh, crunchy veggies when the weather starts to warm up… perhaps because I live in a Mediterranean climate where the temps are fairly moderate all year long. I love fresh, raw, crunchy veggies all year round.  And in mass quantities.

My salads do vary a great deal from day to day, and week to week. I tend to get into a groove with a particular taste or ingredient and enjoy it to the fullest before moving on to the next.  For example, a few weeks ago, most of my salads had some capers and green olives on them with some light feta that I found at Trader Joe’s last time we crossed the border. 

And sometimes my concoctions get quite creative when I have bits and pieces in the fridge that need to be used up.  Do you do that too?

My salads usually start out with some mixture of greens: romaine, spinach, chard… and sometimes I have mixed greens that come pre-washed in cello bags.  I also like a bit of cabbage, and the pre-packed slaws and broccoli slaws are a favorite.  I love those little English cucumbers, green onions, white mushrooms, and grape tomatoes.

Then I add some protein: canned tuna, chicken, wild salmon, sardines, or leftover chicken, pork, roast beef, or even slivers of lean deli ham.  Hard boiled eggs are a favorite, and I might opt for cheese occasionally too.  Feta is usually my favorite.

I like to change the flavor and the crunch factor with little extras such as capers, olives, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,hemp seeds, or even slices of fruit such as pears, strawberries and blueberries… I have even been known to toss in chunks of cooked leftover squash or a few green peas occasionally. 

My salads are often very simple… and other times quite elaborate.  The sky is the limit!

And I have thrown all the 'rules' about what goes with what out the window.  For instance, I thought I would never put tomatoes and fruit in the same salad, but when in Colorado this past Summer, I ordered a Chicken and Raspberry Salad from a golf course lunch menu, and it came with cherry tomatoes. And I loved it.  Who knew?

I have found a few commercially prepared dressings that I like…. Trader Joe’s has a couple and so does Kraft… I have even been known to choose Wishbone fat free Blue Cheese... (sssshhh!) but for the most part, I like to make my own dressing.  And the ingredients I choose will depend on the items in the salad.  If I use an oil, it will be a light extra virgin olive oil or perhaps a light grape seed oil that has little to no flavor of its own.  I also have a little stash of flavored oils that my friend Kate gave to me a while ago.

And I love to use flavored vinegars.  Open my pantry door and you will find a good variety: apple cider, red wine, light and dark balsamics, rice, raspberry, and even white…. and lately a couple of new stars on the shelf that I am very excited to tell  you about. 

They are Cucumber Blush Vinegar and Morning Meadow Honey Vinegar, 2 of the many flavors that are handcrafted by Mr. Vinegar… a home-based operation in Hamilton Ontario.  I was thrilled when Joyce (would she be Mrs. Vinegar?) offered to send me some… and I have been enjoying them immensely ever since.

Mr Vinegar 001
These bottles are 155ml in volume… that is about 5 to 6 ounces for my American friends.

I chose to try the Cucumber Blush Vinegar first.  It is their best seller.  Mr. Vinegar describes it thus:

100% whole cucumbers are pureed and then fermented fully with Merlot. A precise balance offering fresh spring like flavours with Merlot at the front and crisp late after notes of cucumber on the finish. Oak aged.

Mr Vinegar 002
Looks like wine!

I chose to use it on a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and white onion slices over a bit of cottage cheese… no oil… just spooned a bit of the vinegar over the top. I thought that would be a true test of of the taste.

Mr Vinegar 003
Look at the beautiful color.

Mr Vinegar 006
A bit of pepper and voila!  Lovely.

I have also used it several times mixed with a bit of EVOO.  I particularly like it on salads with feta cheese.

Mr Vinegar2 004

And I have also added a spoonful to a chilled glass of Mott’s Garden Cocktail… makes a lovely non-alcoholic cocktail!

I chose to try the Morning Meadow Honey Vinegar over a salad that has fruit in it.  From the Mr. Vinegar web site:

100% pure Ontario Honey is first fermented into a quality Meade. It is then fermented to very high quality honey vinegar and aged in Apple Wood. Honey flavours at the front and lasting wild flower after notes.

Mr Vinegar2 001
Golden nectar!

I made a lovely lunch salad with a few well-chosen ingredients that I thought would go nicely with the slight sweetness of the vinegar… spinach leaves, white onion, ripe pear, light feta, and a few pecans.  Drizzled the Morning Meadow Honey Vinegar over the top.

Mr Vinegar2 002

And I have also mixed it with EVOO and enjoyed it over other salads with berries, too.  It is truly special.

The Captain is not normally a vinegar fan but he really likes both of these because they are light and tasty.. not the normal over-tart or sometimes even sour taste that we tend to associate with commercially-made vinegars.

All of the vinegars in the line-up take at least a year to make.  And Mr. Vinegar has won 17 international awards… 2 of them being double gold.  It’s not hard to see and taste why. They do not contain sulphites, colouring, or artificial ingredients.

So, where can you find Mr. Vinegar, to learn more about the company, see the growing line of products (yes, there is a mustard now, too) and get your hands on some for yourself?

Check the web site…  Mr. Vinegar … you can order directly from there.  

And do look for them at The One of a Kind Christmas Show in Toronto from November 27th through December 7th, 2014.  You can also find Mr. Vinegar at FEAST in Toronto, on Queen Street West.

Here is Mr. Vinegar himself… Roger Lambert. Picture from

Are you a fan of flavored vinegars?  Have you a favorite?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black Bean Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce

When I first gave up gluten a couple of years ago and stopped eating wheat-based pasta, I found brown rice pasta… and also occasionally enjoyed the white rice pasta favored by The Captain’s sister.  I never cared for either cold though, in pasta salads.

Then I decided to try a Paleo diet for a few months, and started using spaghetti squash in place of noodles. The firm strands of the baked spaghetti squash make a nice replacement for noodles in many dishes, particularly with tomato-based sauces.  But like the rice pastas, I just didn’t care for it cold at all.

Then I got a spiralizer and discovered zucchini noodles.  Zoodles quickly became my pasta of choice and I love them with both hot and cold sauces.  But lately, just when harvest here should be at its peak… sadly, the zukes are not very nice at all.  They are either too large and subsequently quite tasteless, or way too small to put through the spiralizer to make zoodles.

Lucky for me that I had come across and purchased this Organic Black Bean spaghetti at Costco a few weeks ago.  It has a high protein content 23g per serving, is gluten-free and quite tasty.  And for the low-carbers out there, it has only 5 net carbs per serving too…. and that all works out to 3 Points Plus if you are a Weight Watcher.  Oh yeah... it is also vegan and kosher.

I admit, the color of the cooked noodles does tend to put me off a bit, but the texture and the taste is very good.   They are good hot or cold.  And they only take 6 minutes to cook… I wish I had discovered them while we still lived on the sailboat.

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti NI

The first time I tried them I ate them hot with a tomato and ground beef sauce.  Delicious.  Filling with great staying power.

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti with meat sauce

And then I decided to try them cold.  And because The Captain would much rather have plain old wheat pasta, I made a single serving, just for me.

I cooked the 50g suggested amount for a single serving in boiling water for about 7 minutes.  Then I drained the noodles in a colander and held it under the cold water tap for a couple of minutes to cool the noodles as quickly as I could. I wanted to eat my lunch right away… if I had had more time, I would have left them in the fridge for a while to chill even more.

I made up a sauce with some PB2 and some gluten-free soy sauce (tamari) and then added some unflavored North Coast Naturals whey protein powder… to thicken my sauce and also give it a nutritional punch.  A few slices of red pepper and green onions and I was good to go… and gobble it all up! 

Next time I might add a bit of minced fresh garlic, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.  I am sure any unflavored protein powder would work, too.  If you used a pea or rice protein instead of whey you could make it vegan.  A few chopped peanuts or cashews would make it company-worthy!  And of course you could serve this quick sauce over any cold pasta, or zoodles.

Black Bean Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce

Black Bean Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce
Makes 1 serving
  • 2 Tbs PB2
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 Tbs tamari
  • 1/2 scoop NCN unflavored whey protein powder
  • 1/3 medium red pepper
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 serving noodles of choice, prepared and chilled
  • salt and pepper to season
  1. Mix the PB2 and water in a small bowl until creamy.
  2. Add the tamari (soy sauce) and blend well.  Set aside.
  3. Slice the red pepper into thin strips.
  4. Cut the green onions into short lengths.
  5. Place the noodles in a serving bowl.
  6. Pour the sauce over the noodles and then arrange the veggies over the top.
  7. Serve with salt and pepper to season.
Per serving, sauce and veggies only.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 129; Protein 20g; Carbohydrate 11g; Fat 2 g; Fibre 4g.

Oct 14 Black noodles and sauce 001
50 g is a very generous serving. You may be happy with less. Yup, the color is not very appetizing at all.

Oct 14 Black noodles and sauce 002
Prep your veggies and make the sauce.

Oct 14 Black noodles and sauce 004
Assemble and dig in!

Have you tried black bean noodles?

Are you a fan of PB2?

Do you like to punch up your dishes with added protein/protein powder?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup

My latest Fall soup is thick and delicious!  I was going to use a butternut squash in this recipe, but when I cut the squash open, it was brown inside and I threw it out immediately… so The Captain spent a few uncomfortable minutes peeling the shell from a kabocha squash so I could use it instead.  The result… Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup.  Lovely.

Normally if I were going to use kabocha squash in soup, I would bake it first so that it can be easily scooped from its shell.  But there was no time to do that and it all turned out very nicely… but it is a difficult beast to peel raw so if you have time, do cook yours first. 

There is just a hint of curry in this soup. I think it is just right, but if you like more, by all means… go ahead and add it.  I also like to add a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt when I serve it… makes it creamy and just Heavenly.

You can use any kind of broth you prefer... I used my homemade turkey broth, but you could also use chicken stock or a vegetable broth if you want a vegan or vegetarian version.  I don't think it would change the taste much at all.

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup
Makes 8 one-cup servings
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 cup white onion, cut into large dice
  • 3 cups stock of choice
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups kabocha squash, peel removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into 1” lengths
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbs curry powder, more or less to taste
  • Salt and pepper to season 
  1. Melt coconut oil in large stockpot over MEDIUM heat. 
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, till translucent, taking care not to brown.
  3. Add the squash, carrots, and cauliflower and cook about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the curry powder and stir to coat veggies.
  5. Add the stock and the water.
  6. Cover the pot with a lid, bring to boil, then reduce heat to SIMMER and cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and cool several minutes.
  8. Blend/purree till smooth.
  9. Serve hot with salt and pepper to season.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 61;  Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 11g; Fat 2g; Fibre 3g.

If you are following the Weight Watchers Simply Filling Techniquer or Simple Start, there is nothing to count… the coconut oil would only be 1/4 tsp per serving, therefore negligible.

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup 2
Bring veggies and stock to the boiling poing, then cover, and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup 3
Purre in stockpot with immersion blender for minimal cleanup.

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup 4
To serve, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with Greek yogurt if you like.

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup 5
Stir it in for maximum creaminess!

Curried Kabocha, Carrot, and Cauliflower Soup 6
You can freeze the leftovers or store in the fridge if you will use them in a few days… just as tasty after reheating on the stove top!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

5 Fabulous Fall Soups

There is a lovely aroma in our apartment right now… a new Fall soup on the stove… this one with kabocha squash, carrots, and cauliflower… and onions and garlic, of course! I love to make soup when the days become a bit shorter, and a bit cooler, and the local farmers are flooding our produce markets with sweet potatoes, root veggies,  and all kinds of squash.  Mmmmm.

I have a usual method that I use to make vegetable soups… and the variations are endless depending upon the veggies and spices and broth you select. You can make them gluten-free, paleo vegetarian, and even vegan if you choose the right ingredients.  They are are all delcious.

You really can’t go wrong.

I will share this new soup later, but today I want to share some other favorite Fall soups from the last couple of years.

5 Fabulous Fall Soups

In no particular order… just click the picture to find the recipe.

Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

Spicy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Jan 11 Butternut Squash Soup 003copy

Cauliflower Coconut Soup with 4 Spice Variations

Of course there are lots more on my blog and you can find them under my Soups, Salads and Dressings  tab… If you give any of my soups a try or Pin them, I would  love to know!

And if you are looking for some other ideas for homemade soups, check out these articles too:

Do you like to make Fall soups, too?  What’s your favorite?