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Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup

This slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup is comfort food times two in one healthy bowl: it’s a combination of 2 old favorites: baked ziti and hearty soup!
vegan baked ziti soup

I love to take old fashioned comfort foods and turn them into something that tastes just as good as I remember them tasting when I was a kid, but that actually can heal my body. In my house, these comfort food recipes are usually everyone’s favorites. This slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup is a new creation, but I’m betting it quickly makes it to “favorite status”…

Right now, I think the top rated comfort food recipe is my Cheeseburger Soup. I make this all of the time… I mean, waaaayyyyyyyy too often. But OMG it is sooooo good!  So, I figured I should create a new soup with the same healing yet comforting vibe. Enter: Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup.

We are all creatures of habit.

I guide people out of their comfort zones every day. Because it’s so important. Soooooooo important…

I just love when someone steps outside of their box with me. Let’s face it — it’s so much easier to stay in our comfort zone than step out of it. But, we all know that nothing good comes from stagnation. You’ve got to leap in order to fly… you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince… if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you… blah, blah, blah…

Sometimes, you just need to throw those cliches in the trash and find someone to guide you out of your comfy box.

I remember, in one of my old careers (and yes, I’ve had several…), I got to meet Walter Cronkite. And what this genius said has always stuck with me. He said he loved his job as a newsperson, but that every single night before he went on the air, he had to put his head between his knees because he felt like he was going to vomit. This was because every single night he stepped out of his comfort zone and into the unknown by interviewing people who were unpredictable and never gave expected answers… every single night was different.

What a way to live. And I mean that in a great way. What a way to live!

I’ve made a habit of stepping outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. Maybe not every single day, but yes, every single week.

If you want to step outside of your box, sign up for a free phone consultation with me and we will step together. Let’s chat and figure out how to create awesome changes in your body, your mind and your spirit… I just love this stuff! So, CLICK HERE and you’ll be taken directly to my calendar so you can sign up for a time that’s convenient for you… do it now!

Oh my, that’s quite a tangent I went off on. All because of the phrase “comfort food”.

So, back to this comfort food recipe for slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup. It really is comforting. It really does taste like baked ziti. I made it with lentil pasta, and a really creamy vegan mozzarella cheese and I drizzled some great basil pesto on top. And, of course, I hid some superfoods inside — hemp seeks and Chinese herbs… so healing!

I want to thank Alissa at Connoisseurus Veg because it was her genius recipe for Slow Cooker Vegan Lasagna Soup that was my inspiration for this recipe.

So, make this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup. Or, try my recipe for Paleo Beefaroni — that’s a great comfort food too.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. So CLICK HERE to be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup:

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

Huang Qi is like magic; this Chinese herb builds qi/gives you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. My family makes fun of my excitement for herbs, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat my herb-infused foods, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you boil a pot of something…

I added a few sticks of raw Shan Yao. This Chinese herb is actually Chinese Yam, and it’s great for energy.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

If you make this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, vegan, comfort food, vegetarian, slow cooker
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: Connoisseurus Veg
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This comforting vegan soup is so healing, so delicious, and the slow cooker does all the work!
Ingredients
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup dry green lentils
  • 2 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Optional raw Chinese herbs: Huang Qi, Shan Yao
  • 3 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz green lentil penne (or pasta of your choice)
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup vegan ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Put the vegetable broth, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, dry lentils, hemp seeds, Chinese herbs, and crushed tomatoes into the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 3-1/2 hours.
  3. Open the cooker and add the spinach and pasta.
  4. Cook on high for 8 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked al dente).
  5. Ladle into bowls.
  6. Top each bowl with a dollop of pesto and a dollop of vegan ricotta cheese.
  7. Enjoy!

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

Pink Pitaya Mango Smoothie Bowl

This pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl is the perfect thing to keep you hydrated on a hot summer day… and it’s as delicious as it is pretty!
pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl

Color is so important. We’ve all heard the saying “eat the rainbow”… and that’s because the way to stay healthy is to eat as many colors as possible. I eat tons of greens, lots of reds, there’s plenty of yellows and oranges too. But, pink… well that’s a little harder to find. This beautifully healing pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl is the perfect way to get your pink on.

In Chinese medicine, each organ in the body is associated with a different color. Black/blue is great for the kidneys and red is for the heart. Mix blue and red together, and you’ve got pink. The more prominent a color is, the more healing power it has — and just look at this pink color!

It’s no secret that I am a huge smoothie lover. Okay, I might even have a slight obsession with them.

But, my smoothies are just for me. I whip them up in the mornings, add all of my greens and superfoods, pour the mixture into a big mason jar, and I drink it without any regard do what it looks like. And, let me tell you, sometimes it aint pretty…

Smoothie bowls are a whole different animal.

They are celebratory bowls. I mean, if you serve somebody this pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl, they are going to feel pretty special. I know I’d be pretty happy if you made one for me. This is worthy of company. Important company.

And, you get to let the artist in you come out when you decorate the top…

Have you tried pitaya yet? OMG… if you haven’t, you must!

Pitaya powder is made from dragonfruit. The first time I ever tried dragonfruit was in Aruba. It came on my fruit platter at lunch and it was love at first sight. It’s so sweet and tropical that it can’t help but make you smile. But, aside from being truly delicious, research has shown dragonfruit to be helpful in lowering the risk of certain types of cancer. And it only makes sense that a fruit as beautiful as this would be good to enhance your outer beauty as well.

And let’s talk about mangos. This is another tropical winner of a fruit. Mangos help hydrate you in the most delicious way. Perfect for summer. I managed to get mango into this pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl in two ways — I used a mango infused coconut water (see the recipe below for more info) and fresh mango. All I can say is yum!

Another great smoothie bowl you should try is my Pineapple Protein Smoothie Bowl.

pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. So CLICK HERE to be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl

Here are the details on some of the amazing healing ingredients in this pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl recipe:

In Chinese medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. I used mango infused coconut water for this recipe.

Mangos are great for digestion and they help if you have one of those annoying dry coughs that just won’t go away. This delicious fruit will also help strengthen your bones and is good for your heart.

Dragon Fruit (pink pitaya) is an anti-aging food and it’s great for your heart. It contains lots of vitamin C, so it’s great for your immune system and it’s a great friend to your skin — it helps keep it from sagging and getting wrinkly. Research has shown that this gorgeous fruit can help protect against some forms of cancer — prostate and skin cancers especially.

Peaches moisten the body; they can alleviate a dry cough, help with dry mouth, and can be good if you are experiencing constipation. In Chinese medicine, we have an herb that is made from the peach kernel (Tao Ren). This herb is great for constipation and some menstrual problems. Isn’t it great when something so delicious is also so healthy?

I use cauliflower for breads, crusts, rice… everything. One of my favorite uses is in smoothies — when used frozen, it’s a great thickening agent that really has no taste, so it’s a perfect base for whatever you are adding into your smoothies. Cauliflower can be used in so many forms… and, it’s really good for you. In Chinese medicine we use it to aid in digestion and help with constipation. One of the things I find most amazing about this cruciferous vegetable is it’s ability to help with age-related memory loss. (My menopausal friends will appreciate this benefit!). It contains a healthy amount of Vitamin B, Vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids and can help fight cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cauliflower also helps the body with detoxification and with reducing inflammation.

I love to add bananas to smoothie bowls; they offer a great natural sweetness and a nice creamy texture. Bananas are good for your intestines (an old Asian remedy was to eat a banana every day to relieve hemorrhoids) and your lungs, and they even help relieve the effects of overindulging in alcohol.

Bee pollen is considered one of the most nutritious substances you can put in your body. It is higher in protein than anything animal-based and it contains an amazing amount of amino acids. It’s good for your energy, your skin, your breathing and your allergies. Add a spoonful to whatever you can. I know there are differing opinions as to whether bee pollen is vegan; so if you would prefer to leave it out, that’s just fine.

Raspberries are an anti-aging fruit. They are great for men who are experiencing frequent urination and for men and women with vision issues. They have anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties. In Chinese medicine, raspberries are an herb called Fu Pen Zi. This Chinese herb is prescribed for impotence, premature ejaculation, poor vision, and frequent urination. Raspberries are great for you, but if you are experiencing difficulty urinating, that’s when this berry should be avoided.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Raw cacao is a superfood. It is packed with magnesium, iron, zinc and other minerals. Not only is it packed with health benefits, but it actually has properties that help the body absorb nutrients better and it’s filled with antioxidants. Cacao can actually be translated as “food of the gods”… Raw cacao can help lower blood pressure, promote healthy heart function, improve digestion, and may even help increase the libido.

Mint is a Chinese herb called Bo He. It’s one of the best things to fight a cold, sore throat, or fever. It’s also good for some abdominal issues too, like bloating, nausea, and some stomach pains. Mint also helps cool of the body in cases of heatstroke, so stock up in summer!

pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl

If you make this Pink Pitaya Mango Smoothie Bowl, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Pink Pitaya Mango Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: smoothie bowl, summer, blender, Vitamix, fruit
Cuisine: vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
This is the prettiest, easiest, and healthiest way to stay hydrated this summer... and it's so delicious!
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into the blender, except the toppings.
  2. Whiz it up until smooth.
  3. Pour into bowls and become an artist with the toppings.
  4. Enjoy!

pink pitaya mango smoothie bowl

Cold Cucumber Herb Soup

This Cold Cucumber Herb Soup is filled with healing superfoods and greens. Make a pitcher and keep it in the fridge for the hot summer days ahead! Read more

Cauliflower No Potato Salad

It’s potato salad season. But… ugh… sometimes I know my body doesn’t want all the starch of potatoes. Do I suffer? Nope, I just make this cauliflower no potato salad. Read more

Green Bean Fries

All fries are good… and these green bean fries are awesome!

green bean fries

If you could see the talk-bubble above my head whenever anyone asks me what my favorite food is, you’d see a picture of a huge plate of french fries. Next to that would be a puddle of ketchup and a bowl of gravy. My all-time favorite food has always been french fries with gravy… preferably from a greasy diner. That’s what I’m thinking when I get asked that question. But, it’s been many, many years since I felt good eating that way.  Nowadays, I make my “fries” baked, not fried, and they are not always made with potatoes.

That doesn’t mean that I am depriving myself at all. Mainly, because I truly don’t believe in depravation.  Baked fries, if you make them correctly, taste just as good as the fried version (okay… maybe not the greasy diner version…).   But, because I like all fries, I have learned to make them out of lots of different veggies. This way I can have them all the time.  Literally, with every meal if I feel like it.

First, let me just say that these taste nothing like traditional french fries. Nothing compares to a fried potato. So, when you serve these, don’t call them fries. People get all drool-y and excited (at least I know I do…) when they think you are serving french fries. When I served them at my house, I just called them green beans. OMG, they got rave reviews! Really, who doesn’t like a crispy food that you can pick up with your fingers and dunk in a creamy spicy dip?

I live in the middle of Manhattan. So, it’s kind of crazy and loud all of the time. I kind of thrive on the craziness and the hustle and bustle. And, now that I’m in my urban happy place, I can find something I like about every season. Even though I’m not really a lover of the cold, I love to watch the snow fall on the city streets below my windows. That’s winter. Now that winter is over and it’s full-on spring here in New York, it means we get to sit at my dining room table near the window, look outside, and actually watch the sun set at dinner time… yay! No more darkness at 4:30 pm…

Picture it… a big plate of green bean fries. A spicy creamy dip. Finger food near an open window while the sun sets. And for me, the beauty of the city noises outside while I eat with a smile on my lips. I feel so blessed to have found my happy place… and when I fill it with happy food… oh my, it’s a great thing!

I have made fries out of just about every vegetable you can think of. Some are good, some are excellent, and some… well… they really were… ummm… pretty gross.

The secret to these green bean fries is the coating. You’ve got to dredge them in something to get them crispy. I’m sure breadcrumbs and flour would crisp them up nicely, but we don’t want to have to use those inflammation-producing ingredients, so I tried out lots of things on the way to finding out the best answer to the crispy green bean dilemma.

And, here’s the answer: chickpea crumbs! In the supermarkets now they actually sell bags of chickpea crumbs. Now, you can use any crumbs you like to coat these green bean fries, but if you can find chickpea crumbs, give them a shot. You can add whatever you like to these crumbs.  Once I added hemp seeds. Once I added sesame seeds.  Do whatever floats your boat.

If you want to try another great green bean recipe, try my simple recipe for Salt And Pepper Roasted Green Beans.

green bean friesgreen bean fries

Here are some of the healing ingredients in these green bean fries:

Green beans have a lot of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B, and iron. Eating green beans can help rid the body of toxins and can help regulate metabolism. They also can help relieve that feeling of excessive fullness in your stomach and excessive belching. In Chinese medicine, green beans are eaten to clear up chronic diarrhea and even for some lower back pain.

Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular… I used chickpea crumbs to coat these green bean fries.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot peppers you like. The main component of hot peppers is capsicum. Capsicum actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people. These green bean fries have chili powder, and chipotle chili powder in the coating and the dip is made with sriracha.

green bean fries

 

Green Bean Fries
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetable, side dish
Cuisine: paleo, whole30, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
These "fries" are meant to be eaten with your fingers. Dunk them in the spicy creamy sauce and you will smile from ear to ear!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup chickpea crumbs (you can buy them here) (or substitute a Paleo-friendly crumb)
  • 2 Tbs hemp seeds (optional) (I like these)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion flakes
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • For the dip:
  • ⅓ cup healthy mayonnaise (here's a paleo/avocado oil one)
  • ¼ cup cashew yogurt (or other yogurt of your choice)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp sriracha, or to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a pie plate, combine the chickpea crumbs, hemp seeds, garlic powder, minced onion flakes, paprika, salt and pepper, and chili powders.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a second pie plate or bowl.
  5. Dunk the beans in the eggs and then dredge them in the crumb mixture. Make sure they are well-coated.
  6. Place them on the baking sheet in a single layer so they are not touching each other.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are crispy.
  8. Meanwhile, make the dip: combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  9. Remove the beans from the oven when they are done, and serve on a platter with the dip.
  10. Enjoy!

green bean fries

Paleo Meatloaf

Sometimes you just need a comforting paleo meatloaf… and oh how good the leftovers are…

paleo meatloaf

I’m a pretty fickle foodie. One month I’m all gung-ho vegan and then another month I’m all about the meat. This month I’m a little bit vegan and a little bit meat-y. But, I am almost always a Paleo eater. I learned many years ago that my body feels best without grains and without dairy. But, if I eat grass-fed organic meat, I’m also good. So, believe you me, I love to take advantage of those facts.

This meatloaf came to be last week when I was craving meat. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but all week long I was making recipes out of various types of ground meat. It’s making me laugh now when I think back on Steve’s face when I put a different variety of meatballs in front of him several meals in a row. Then, I moved on to meatloaf. Which I happen to love.

Truth be told, I love meatloaf, but nobody else in my house does. So, that means there’s a boat-load of leftover meatloaf in my fridge each time I make it. Have you ever made a leftover meatloaf wrap for lunch… OMG it’s sooooo good. And this time, I even made a bolognese sauce out of a few slices. Then, I made a sweet potato hash with meatloaf chunks one day. I don’t know why, but my family will eat all of these reconstituted meatloaf recipes, but they back away from the fresh thing. Go figure.

I’ve probably made hundreds of different types of meatloaf over the years. I figured it was about time I made a traditional meatloaf that was also paleo-friendly.

Take my word for it, you are not going to miss the bread in this meatloaf. And your gut will thank you. Oh, and your tastebuds will be pretty happy too…

This meatloaf has no grains and no dairy. It’s made with homemade ketchup, but you can buy a jar of paleo ketchup if you’d prefer to use that. I hid some hemp seeds in the loaf for some extra nutrition and I ground up some zucchini for a little added moisture. I think the next time I make it, I may even try to substitute some mushrooms for the zucchini and see how that tastes.

Bottom line: even if your family says no to meatloaf — like my crazy crew — make this anyway, because you will love it, and the leftovers are amazing!

If you like this recipe for paleo meatloaf, you will also love my recipe for Paleo Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs!

paleo meatloafpaleo meatloaf

Here are some of the awesome healing powers of this paleo meatloaf:

Beef is good for a lot of ailments. It’s good for edema/swelling in the body, it helps many people with their weak back and knees and, believe it or not, it’s good for that bloated, distended feeling we sometimes get in our stomachs. In the olden days, beef was stewed for hours so that the liquid could be sipped to combat chronic diarrhea. I use grass-fed beef whenever possible.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Parsley has been shown to reduce tumors in the lungs and to neutralize the effects of carcinogens, including cigarette smoke. It is high in vitamins A and C, and is good for your heart. This herb is also a natural breath freshener. So, if you have a chance to use more than a few sprigs as a garnish, go for it.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

In eastern medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond flour.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

paleo meatloaf

Paleo Meatloaf
Author: 
Recipe type: paleo, whole30
Cuisine: meatloaf, comfort food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This meatloaf is comfort food to the max. It's got everything you need and want and it makes for the best leftovers ever!
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small zucchini, grated and squeezed as dry as possible
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs ketchup
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup hemp seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a 9x5-in. loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and some salt and pepper.
  5. Cook, stirring, until the onions begin to soften, then add the garlic and stir for an additional 30 seconds.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, squeezed grated zucchini, almond flour, eggs, ketchup, parsley, and hemp seeds, and cooked onion mixture.
  7. Get in there with your hands, and mush it up until combined.
  8. Put the meat mixture into your lined loaf pan and spread it out evenly.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, then spread the ketchup on the top and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until its' cooked through.
  10. Remove from oven and let cook slightly.
  11. Slice and enjoy.
  12. Store the leftovers in the fridge and make lots of great stuff with it all week!

paleo meatloaf

Grain Free Banana Bread

grain free banana bread

The other day I was on a hunt for grain-free, unsweetened desserts. I know, sounds pretty unappetizing. That’s why I needed to hunt. When I came across this recipe for grain free banana bread, my expectations were fairly low. But, I must give kudos to Michele at Paleo Running Mamma because that’s where I found the original recipe, and it’s genius.

I’ve made grain free cakes and breads before and more often than not, they don’t rise enough or they are really dense. But not this recipe. This grain free banana bread is delicious. And it rose. And it turned golden on the outside. And it tastes unbelievable — it’s sweet with no added sweeteners.

This month, I’ve been on an elimination diet. I’ve been indulging a tad too much since I moved into Manhattan. I mean, it’s just so easy to eat and drink way too much here. I really deluded myself into thinking that because there are so many healthy places to eat here that I would be in tip top shape. Haha — turns out even though I eat really healthy, I eat way too much. And don’t even get me started on happy hours and brunches…

This grain-free banana bread is sitting in my kitchen now and it’s making me smile because I know I can grab a slice of it later and have it with a great cuppa something. Yum.

And, if you are looking for another healthy baked goods recipe, try my Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies.

grain free banana breadgrain free banana bread

This grain free banana bread has some great healing ingredients:

Bananas are good for your intestines (an old Asian remedy was to eat a banana every day to relieve hemorrhoids) and your lungs, and they even help relieve the effects of overindulging in alcohol.

I am a big proponent of eating the whole egg. So many of the nutrients and the taste are in the yolk; I’ll never understand separating nature’s perfect food. Eggs help with many types of dryness in the body. If you have a dry cough or a frog-in-your-throat, try eating some eggs. They have also been shown to help women with various conditions during and after pregnancy. Some people consider eggs to be a superfood. They contain a large amount of vitamins A and B and are a great source of protein. Eggs sometimes get a bad rap because of cholesterol, but it’s been shown that in 70% of people, eggs do not raise cholesterol, so don’t assume they are bad for you. Buy organic eggs and you are really doing the right thing.

In eastern medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond flour.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming. Here’s an article about the benefits of cinnamon from Well-Being Secrets.

grain free banana bread

Grain Free Banana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert, snack, paleo, vegetarian, gluten free
Cuisine: Recipe adapted from: Paleo Running Mamma
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
All the taste of traditional banana bread, but no grains and no sweeteners! This is so easy and so delicious! Perfect with a cuppa....
Ingredients
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1-3/4 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cuphemp seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas and the eggs.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and the coconut oil.
  5. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the mashed banana and egg mixture.
  7. Stir to combine.
  8. Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan.
  9. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Mine took 65 minutes, but be sure to check yours at 45 minutes... all ovens are different.)
  10. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  11. Slice.
  12. Enjoy!

grain free banana bread

Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta

Avocados are good for hot flashes!
creamy mint avocado pasta

I’m going to be honest: most of my life I was not a big mint fan. I could never understand how people liked mint chocolate chip ice cream so much — to me, the mint ruined the deliciousness of the chocolate chip. Mint tea?… ewww…. And, I would always choose any other candy over the pretty red and white candy canes of winter. Funny how things change. And boy have they ever! Mint is awesome! And it’s recipes like this creamy mint avocado pasta that make me wonder what was wrong with me all of those years ago…

When I first started studying Chinese medicine and I fell so in love with all of the herbs, Mint (Bo He) quickly became a go-to healing herb for me. It is amazing in it’s abilities to fight colds, boost the immune system, and settle your stomach. But, it wasn’t until I started experimenting by adding mint to my recipes, that a true love affair bloomed.

A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors asked me if I wanted some fresh mint from her garden. Well, duh… of course I did. So I gratefully took a whole bag-full, and made tea and chocolate mint shakes, and this awesome pasta sauce. I probably should have shared the big bowl of it that I made but we ate it all before that ever happened. I guess there’s always next time…

So, when I tell you that this creamy mint avocado pasta sauce is amazing, I really mean it. The avocado makes it creamy. The flavor of the mint can be as strong as you like, or it can just peak through. And, if you make this dish with grain-free pasta, it’s one of the healthiest comfort foods around. It’s like happiness in a bowl — ugh, did I really just say that…?

If you are looking for another great pasta sauce, try my recipe for: Chickpea Penne With Arugula Pesto.

creamy mint avocado pastacreamy mint avocado pasta

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this creamy mint avocado pasta:

Mint is a Chinese herb called Bo He. It’s one of the best things to fight a cold, sore throat, or fever. It’s also good for some abdominal issues too, like bloating, nausea, and some stomach pains. Mint also helps cool of the body in cases of heatstroke, so stock up in summer!

Avocados are one of my favorite foods, both for their health benefits and because they taste great. In Chinese medicine, some practitioners recommend avocados to raise the sperm count. I like them because they are good for anemia, dry skin, palpitations, constipation, and hot flashes due to menopause.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc…. In this recipe, the garlic is left raw, so it’s effect and taste is magnified… so don’t use as much as you would if you are making a recipe with cooked garlic.

Limes help to regenerate fluids, so they are great to combat any dehydration symptoms that sometimes can accompany alcohol consumption. They also contain a lot of vitamin C and they can actually help energize you.

creamy mint avocado pasta

Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: pasta, simple, sauce, vegan, vegetarian, paleo
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: Always Order Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This pasta sauce is amazing! It's so healthy, and it's raw -- just put the ingredients in your food processor or blender, cook your pasta, and you're ready to go!
Ingredients
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (you can buy these)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 lge garlic clove, chopped
  • juice of 1-1/2 limes
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 12-oz pasta of your choice (here's a grain-free one)
  • Vegan parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions, making sure it's al dente.
  2. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting all of the remaining ingredients (except Parmesan) into your food processor.
  4. Whiz it up until it's creamy.
  5. Toss the sauce with the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan if you like.
  7. Enjoy!

creamy mint avocado pasta

Sprouted Grain Chicken Cutlets

Seeds can be your best friend. Many of them are great for digestion and are considered longevity foods. This chicken’s got a bunch of ’em…

sprouted grain chicken cutlets

This is my number 1 go-to recipe. Everyone likes it. Everyone. Ok, well, not my vegetarian and vegan friends. But everyone else. And, I’m going to be bold and say that about 90% of all those who eat it, ask me for the recipe. This recipe for sprouted grain chicken cutlets is that good. I know, you may be dubious, but don’t roll your eyes until you’ve tried it.

This chicken is crispy. The outside layer actually crunches in your mouth, but the chicken itself stays so moist. This is due to a combination of things. First, I highly recommend using boneless chicken thighs, not breasts — these are more flavorful and they don’t dry out like breasts can. Also, I use olive oil, not eggs, to moisten the chicken before dredging it in the magically easy crispy coating mixture.

And, about that magical coating mixture… it’s so easy to make (see the recipe below) and it contains superfoods to heal your body. Ummmmm…. what are you waiting for? You’ve got to try this one!

Perhaps the best part of this sprouted grain chicken cutlets recipe is its versatility. Sometimes I make them into Chicken Milanese by piling a huge mound of salad greens and tomatoes on top. Sometimes, I serve them as-is with a few dipping sauces. Sometimes, I make them into a Chicken Parmesan of sorts. But I alwaysmake enough so that I can store leftovers in the fridge. These magically cutlets make the best leftovers. Cut them up for salads, sandwiches, or just eat them straight out of the fridge.

Okay, are you ready to make them?

And, if you are looking for another awesome chicken recipe, try my Chicken Souvlaki Bowls.

sprouted grain chicken cutletssprouted grain chicken cutlets

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in these sprouted grain chicken cutlets:

Chicken is something I push people to buy organic if possible. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery or childbirth. People who have some conditions that we consider “excess heat” conditions should limit the amount of chicken they eat. So, if you have an illness that gives you a bright red tongue or severe dryness in your body, check with your doctor first. For example, if you have a lot of burning stomach acid, you should avoid chicken for awhile…

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc…. In this recipe, I prefer to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic because sometimes the fresh garlic can burn here, and I hate the taste of burned garlic.

Chia seeds are ancient seeds that got their name from the Mayan word for “strength”. These tiny seeds have the unique ability to turn liquid into a gel-like substance when making puddings and they are great added to smoothies and shakes. They are really good for you because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Sesame seeds (the black ones) are a Chinese herb (Hei Zhi Ma). Black foods, in Chinese medicine, are knows as longevity foods. This herb is good for so many things, including headaches, constipation, dizziness, and even helping with lactation. White sesame seeds also have many great nutritional benefits. They are also an anti-aging food. If you have backaches, hair thats graying way too fast, ringing in the ears, weak knees, blurry vision or general weakness, go for the sesame seeds; just sprinkle them on everything. Long ago in China, sesame seeds were ground into honey to form a paste and was taken as a medicine to counter old-age and weakness. For this recipe, you can use black or white seeds, or a combination of both.

Flax seeds can relieve constipation and lower cholesterol.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world! For this recipe, dried onion flakes (the ones you can buy in a jar) are perfect!

sprouted grain chicken cutlets

Sprouted Grain Chicken Cutlets
Author: 
Recipe type: chicken, main course, whole grains
Cuisine: American, classic, comfort food, simple
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is my most-requested recipe. Make a batch of this and you will have healthy dinners all week long.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F convection setting, or 425°F regular bake setting.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Pour the oil into a shallow pie plate or bowl.
  4. In a second shallow pie plate or bowl, combine the cereal, seasonings, and seeds. Stir until combined well.
  5. Roll each piece of chicken in the oil and then in the seed mixture, making sure each piece is well-coated. Place the chicken onto the tray, making sure that they are not touching each other.
  6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. Enjoy!

 

sprouted grain chicken cutlets

Paleo Lemon Cookies

Lemon peels help detoxify your body and boost your immune system!
paleo lemon cookies

These cookies are what I call a “pantry dessert”. That means that I can whip it up without having to go to the store for anything. These paleo lemon cookies are made with a bunch of ingredients found in many healthy pantries and with some fresh lemons.

Everyone who knows me knows that desserts are not my forte. I oftentimes get an A for effort, but a C for taste. I was the mom who used to burn the chocolate chip cookies that you just had to slice and bake. I attribute this lack of baking ability to the fact that I like to taste as I go and I hate to measure. My daughter is constantly slapping her hand to her forehead in frustration when she watches me bake — she’s a great baker and understands the value of the science behind it.

So, believe me when I tell you, that these paleo lemon cookies are easy. I made them and they came out great the first time. I took the original impressive recipe from a great blog, Texanerin Baking and it’s a winner — even with my not-so-standard adjustments.

These cookies taste like deliciously sweet sugar cookies with a hint of lemon. The first night, we ate a bunch of them because they were so good. The second day, the taste was the same, but the texture changed to be like moist soft macarons. The taste was still just as amazing, but we crumbled them on top of smoothie bowls and yogurt parfaits. I highly recommend that you try this too!

For another great simple cookie, try my Paleo Peanut Butter Cookies.

paleo lemon cookiespaleo lemon cookies

Here are some of the healing ingredients in these paleo lemon cookies:

Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels. This recipe uses zested lemon peel and lemon juice.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Pure maple syrup contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body (think inflammatory bowel syndrome or heart disease). It also contains zinc, calcium, and magnesium. It’s much lower on the glycemic scale than traditional sugar. Whenever possible, use a darker (grade B) syrup because the nutritional composition is better than that of lighter syrups.

In eastern medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. These cookies contain coconut oil and coconut flour.

In eastern medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond flour.

paleo lemon cookies

Paleo Lemon Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert, cookies, paleo
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Texanerin Baking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 13
 
These cookies taste like deliciously sweet sugar cookies with a hint of lemon. They are completely grain-free and dairy-free and contain healing ingredients!
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  3. In another bowl, combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, salt, and hemp seeds.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. Roll the dough into golf-ball size balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking tray, spacing them at least a few inches apart.
  6. Press down on the cookies with a fork or your hand. (I used a fork, but found it much easier when the fork was wet.)
  7. I got 13 cookies out of my dough, but whatever you get, is fine.
  8. Bake until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges and a bit on the tops too; mine took 23 minutes, but the original recipe says to check them after 12 minutes...
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing them from the tray.
  10. I stored my leftovers in a sealed container and they were awesome the next day, just a lot softer. (I highly recommend crumbling them up the next day and topping your yogurt or smoothie bowl with the crumbles...yum!)
  11. Enjoy!

paleo lemon cookies