Break Bad and Bake Bread: Spiced Zucchini Pumpkin Chia Bread with Pecans and Cranberries

Up until two weeks ago, I was really on top of eating clean, but after the election, I found myself struggling to eat well. Thanksgiving this year really inspired me to make a change – get out of my rut. But that did not turn off my cravings. The cold weather combined with the holiday feeling left me with the craving for warm bread…so I made one that would keep me healthy and happy.  What better than a slice of a healthy flavorful bread and a cup of tea. This whole wheat, oat, zucchini, pumpkin, cranberry, pecan, chia bread made with psyllium husk, sweetened with dates and spiced with green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove will keep you satisfied. It was moist, filling and full of flavor.

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Give quiche a chance: Black olive, sun dried tomato, spinach, zucchini, leek, mint quiche in a sweet potato crust

There is only one thing that I know when it comes to food – eat fresh, whole real food. But even with whole, fresh, real food, there can be problems. I learned about the FODMAP over the last few weeks through a friend. Some people can’t eat real whole foods that have short chain carbohydrates without seriously upsetting their digestive system. That includes foods like garlic, onions, avocado, cauliflower, nuts, seeds and so much my recipes and diet are dependent on. With a FODMAP, meat is not a problem –  but meat is a food that my own digestive system does not process and that I choose not to eat. Does that mean that someone with a diet on a FODMAP and a vegetarian can’t share a flavorful beautiful meal? Of course not – especially when that sparks creativity in me using the ingredients we share in common. I came up with a black olive, sun dried tomato, spinach, zucchini, leek, mint quiche in a sweet potato crust. Topped with either feta or an almond based “parmesan.” No processed foods, no short chain carbohydrates, no cream or lactose or flour.

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Saag it to me: Indian fusion breakfast with chard-spinach-almond veg, sweet potato hash, eggs and raw almond parmesan

I have had a fix on saag lately. It all came about while in France. I was asked to make a an Indian green side dish for Christmas dinner that would complement everyone else’s fish main course. Saag seemed to be the simplest dish for me to make last minute and that did not require me to purchase unusual spices that would require a specialty store – and Indian/Pakastani restaurants or stores for products are not common in France as they are in many states and cities in the US. In fact, to my surprise, much of what I saw listed or heard as being referred to as an Indian dish – such as a samosa – did not contain a single ingredient that is found in traditional Indian cuisine, but rather North African/Middle Eastern cuisine. So I knew I could make something simple and Indian inspired. And unlike traditional saag, I added a boost of protein and texture with almonds. It was so good – I put it on everything I ate. But the best application was brunch – in a dish of sweet potato hash, saag and an egg over easy with a raw almond parmesan.

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Let’s bowl, let’s bowl, let’s rock-‘n-roll: Breakfast bowl of egg whites, spaghetti squash, mushroom, zucchini, spinach, and avocado

I’ve been wanting to incorporate more veggies into my breakfast without making yet another hash,omelette or sauteed veg side. I’ve been playing with more squash for breakfast – baking an egg on top and treating it like a baked potato but I really scored a hit with a bowl of spaghetti squash. I make it during the week and for brunch – egg whites with sauteed veg, spices and mixed with avocado and spaghetti squash. I especially like it topped with hot sauce…sriracha to be precise.

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