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Foodist Approved: Toasted Turmeric Pumpkin Seeds

by | Oct 29, 2014
turmeric pumpkin seeds

turmeric pumpkin seeds

Boo!

It’s finally time to carve that giant pumpkin that’s been hanging out on your front steps for the last couple of weeks. I know I’ve been anxiously awaiting this moment, not because I can’t wait to carve a scary face (my carving skills are seriously lackluster), but because I can’t wait to get my hands on those slimy seeds.

The best part about carving pumpkins has gotta be the seeds. They’re a gooey, stringy mess coming out, but with a little love they can be transformed into a crunchy, crave-worthy salty snack. If you overdo it with sugar on Halloween night, they’ll provide some much-needed balance.

And here’s one more reason to not toss your seeds: pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a mineral we could all use a little extra boost of this time of year. Zinc helps your body fight off nasty cold and flu viruses.

Happy carving!

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The Easiest Way to Make Spectacular Gluten-Free Bread at Home

by | Oct 20, 2014
Gluten-Free Girl's baguettes

Gluten-Free Girl’s baguettes

I’m currently in the air at 35,00 feet flying from Austin to Detroit. I had the honor this past weekend to speak about how to Eat Clean at the Prevention R3 Summit, and am on my way to speak at Brand Camp 2014.

It’s difficult not to be inspired by all the brilliant people in these two worlds––health and tech––putting all their energy and talents into making the planet a better place to live.

In the health world we are already lightyears ahead of where we were when I was growing up. Instead of talking about fat, calories and carbs, this weekend I was on stage with a farm-to-table chef and a RD talking about the pleasures of eating Real Food and how there really is no benefit in depriving yourself of foods you love.

At Brand Camp I’ll tell the story of how I was able to use free online tools (thank you WordPress, Twitter and Facebook for supporting this starving grad student) to share my passion for eating well and change thousands of lives for the better. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

Today I want to introduce you to my friend Shauna Ahern, aka Gluten-Free Girl, who is working on a project that embodies the progress that has been made in both of these realms.

Gluten-free may seem like the latest health fad, but for those with Celiac disease and real wheat intolerance gluten-free isn’t optional. Shauna has Celiac disease, but hasn’t let it stop her from enjoying food and baking for her beautiful family.

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Foodist Approved: Gluten-Free Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins

by | Sep 17, 2014
maple zucchini nut muffins

maple zucchini nut muffins

I typically don’t condone eating muffins for breakfast since they’re usually just a minuscule step up from a cupcake. Even the wannabe bran muffin is loaded with sugar and unhealthy oils, and will leave you feeling drained and hungry with lunch still hours away. But the illustrious muffin is a convenient food for busy mornings when you just need something to grab, so I set out to create a Foodist-approved muffin recipe.

The winner of my muffin escapades in the kitchen were these Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins. They’re the perfect balance of hearty and healthy. My zucchini muffins are free of refined sugars and flours (the gluten-free crowd will love ‘em!) and are loaded with protein and healthy fat from the nuts, oats, flax, eggs and organic butter.

Best part—counts as eating veggies for breakfast!
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For the Love of Food

by | May 30, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week wheat vs gluten, the truth about alkaline diets, and the surprising importance of iodine.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).
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Foodist Approved: Simply Roast Chicken

by | May 14, 2014
Simply Roasted Chicken

Simply Roasted Chicken

Once upon a time I was intimidated by the idea of cooking a whole chicken. It seemed like a daunting task requiring a day’s commitment and the skills of a butcher. But now that I’ve roasted a few stellar chickens, I’m here to tell you the truth.

Roasting a chicken is seriously easier than baking cookies. It’s also more rewarding. You’ll be spending most of the hour-and-a-half commitment sipping wine and savoring the smells wafting from your oven. And once you roast your own chicken, you’ll never again want to buy some flavor-injected, grocery-store rotisserie chicken. My homemade version is healthier, and tastier.

The key to serving a praise-worthy roasted chicken to your family or friends is actually not determined by your culinary skills. A chicken’s nourishing flavor and satisfying juiciness is all dependent on the bird you buy (but no reason not to let your guests think the opposite!). A few simple tips to finding the perfect chicken: buy local, do pay extra for organic and free-range, and avoid those huge chickens pumped up with antibiotics.

And fear not the dark side. Dark meat is actually more nutritious than white—that’s where all the vitamins and minerals are hiding out.

Serve with a salad of spring greens, radish, walnuts and crumbled goat cheese and you’ve got a meal to remember.
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Foodist Approved: Zucchini Pesto “Pasta”

by | Apr 30, 2014
Zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles

Remember how I told you to make a double batch of my kale hazelnut pesto? I hope you listened! We’re going to put that leftover pesto to good use to make a simple, but insanely satisfying noodle dish, sans noodles.

The first time I made this pesto “pasta” dish using zucchini as the noodles instead of pasta, I thought there’s no way this is going to fill me up. I found the opposite to be true. This pasta tastes indulgent and is richly satisfying thanks to the flavor-loaded pesto and nutrient-packed ingredients.

Top this pasta with your favorite broiled or grilled fish and you have a complete dinner that looks straight out of your favorite Italian cookbook.

This dish is great for the gluten-free crowd, but you don’t have to be Paleo to trade your rigatoni for fresh zucchini. Even my pasta-loving husband gave this dish a rave review.
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Foodist Approved: Gluten-Free PB&J Cookie Bites

by | Apr 2, 2014
PBJ Cookie Bites

PB&J Cookie Bites

Friends keep asking me to share stories about crazy pregnancy cravings. I hate to disappoint—I haven’t experienced any middle of the night I-need-to-eat-a-pickle-right-this-moment cravings. But since month one, I have had this strong desire to eat childhood favorites. One of those has been good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Of course, nobody needs a recipe for PB&J. So, instead, I’ve put a healthy and decadent twist on this classic lunchbox staple. This recipe combines my renewed love affair with PB&J with my always-present appreciation for homemade cookies.

“Healthy and decadent.” It might sound contradictory, but these cookies are truly just that. Thanks to the coconut oil and peanut butter, they are satisfyingly rich and flaky, and on the healthy spectrum, these PB&J Cookie Bites are free of refined sugars and high in protein. Another bonus—they’re also free of common allergens including gluten, dairy and eggs.

Unlike many gluten-free recipes that require three different kinds of flour, this recipe is super easy to master. Since only minimal ingredients are needed, you won’t be tempted to pick up a package of overly sweet store-bought cookies instead of baking your own.

Tip: Invest in a small ice cream scooper. It’s the easiest way to make perfect little round cookies that don’t fall apart the second you try to remove them from the pan.

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Foodist Approved: Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

by | Feb 12, 2014
Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

I love making homemade hummus, but I don’t always love the process of soaking and simmering the chickpeas for hours in advance. Plus beans just don’t seem to agree with everyone (if you know what I mean).

So I decided to concoct a bean-free hummus with seasonal roasted vegetables. I chose parsnips and cauliflower to keep the creamy white of traditional hummus, and to lend an earthy, crave-worthy sweetness to this seasonal spread.

This recipe is a 2-for-1. The first step yields an alluring tray of roasted veggies that you’ll want to snack on right out of the oven. That’s fine! Go ahead and relish—just make sure to set aside two and a half cups of them for the hummus. Otherwise the whole batch might get demolished by hungry peeps.

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Foodist Approved: Southern Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and Quinoa Salad

by | Jan 1, 2014
Black-eyed peas and collard greens quinoa salad

Black-eyed peas with collard greens and quinoa salad

This recipe is inspired by my Southern roots. In the South we eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for good luck. Tradition says that eating these cute beans leads to a prosperous year.

Typically this dish is cooked in pork fat. I decided to skip the oink and instead created a vibrant salad. After all the holiday overindulging we need a little help detoxifying our digestive systems.

This recipe contains plenty of foods rich in fiber and phytonutrients, two things crucial to cleaning the ol’ pipes of toxins. You can make it ahead and pack for lunch all week to ensure you start your year right.

Here’s to a delicious 2014!
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Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

by | Dec 18, 2013
Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

As I wrote in my previous post, the holidays are a time to indulge a little. So I asked Darya what she thought about mixing things up from our usual recipes packed with green veggies.

Darya’s response?

It’s a freaking treat and it’s the holidays, enjoy it already.”

Love it! So in honor of that, get excited! We’re about to make some very beautiful coconut macaroons, one of my favorite sweet indulgences. These macaroons (with chocolate drizzled on top) remind me so much of Samoas Girl Scout cookies, did you ever eat those as a kid? They were my favorite.

But, of course, seeing that this is Summer Tomato, these aren’t your typical store-bought coconut macaroons loaded with a pound of white sugar. I just couldn’t go that low.

My macaroons are made with real maple syrup and are free of refined sugar. And I promise you they’re not just as good as your usual macaroons, but better!

I love macaroons because they’re small and satisfying. And if you want, you can drizzle them in chocolate and sprinkle with crushed pistachios to make an extra fancy treat, one perfect for impressing your holiday guests.

And just in case you need one more excuse to indulge, did you know coconut is high in fiber, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals?

P.S. My macaroons are also gluten-free. Just make sure you’re buying gluten-free chocolate chips if you have an intolerance.
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