Noor’s Crust-less Clean Pumpkin Treat

I just love pumpkin, in everything. I make pumpkin cookies, cakes, breads, pies, and well this sort of treat that falls between a fudgy brownie and a pie, without a crust. Pumpkin is very high in Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and fiber. It’s very easy and best of all requires no flour, refined sugar, evaporated milk, or even a crust!  

Ingredients:
16 oz 100% Organic Pure Pumpkin or this Organic Pumpkin Puree I like to use too

2 Organic/pasture-raised eggs

1 medium banana

½ cup raw walnuts, ground* and some chunks

½ cup raw almonds ground or almond meal*

1 tablespoon ground organic cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder (I only buy aluminum free)

1 teaspoon baking soda

*Use a food processor or a small coffee grinder to grind the nuts. If you dislike the feeling of chunky walnuts in your usual brownies or desserts, grind them completely as you would with the almonds. 

Directions:

STEP 1 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a spring form or 9inch pan.Ground raw walnuts and almonds using your food processor or grinder.

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Raw walnuts and almonds

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Place in the grinder, and make almonds fine as powder. Feel free to completely grind your walnuts as well (I kept big walnut chunks for a crunch).

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Just like that…

STEP 2

Mix all the (dry) last five ingredients (ground nuts and spices) in a large mixing bowl.

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Mix ground walnuts, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

STEP 3
Stir in pumpkin and eggs.

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1 ingredient: 100% Organic Pumpkin Puree 😉

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Add pumpkin and 2 eggs.

STEP 4
Mash the banana in a separate bowl, add and mix.

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Mash the banana with a fork.

STEP 5
Place in the baking pan for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve. 

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I used a spring-form pan, you can use any kind.

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Baked…

This is what I like about spring-form pans.

This is what I like about spring-form pans.

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Slice and eat.

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Enjoy with a cup of tea! 🙂

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Easiest Luscious Garlic

The benefits of garlic are vast, and the more I research and learn about them, the more I eat them! I now put fresh garlic in almost every dish I make, soups, salads, dressings, and main dishes. The best way to eat garlic is fresh of course, much better than ground or granulated. So this recipe is from my mom, and we enjoy altering it every now and then. The spices you can throw on these are unlimited! You want them spicy then throw on some red pepper, and if you prefer simplicity then salt and pepper do the job. I enjoy adding cayenne pepper, Layan doesn’t eat from it anyway. 😉

*A special fresh garlic salad and dressing coming soon! 😉

Ingredients:

8-10 fresh garlic heads

Extra virgin olive oil (amount as desired, usually a teaspoon per garlic head is sufficient)

Himalayan Pink Salt/Celtic Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Rosemary ground (I grind this fresh)

Red Pepper, ground mustard seed, crushed pepper* optional

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top of the garlic straight with a knife allowing the cloves to peek through. Top with extra virgin olive oil followed by the seasonings (Putting the spices first will cause them to not stick).

Place a wax paper on top of a piece of foil and wrap well, making sure the wax paper won’t stick out. Close it tightly at the top. Do each garlic individually wrapped using the same method. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Props to my bro again for letting me use his amazing DSLR mashaAllah :-)

Props to my bro again for letting me use his amazing DSLR mashaAllah 🙂

Examine the wax topped with foil, wrapped tightly at the top.

Examine the wax topped with foil, wrapped tightly at the top.

:)

🙂

Noor’s Lemony Veggie Grape Leaves

Grape Leaves are a very popular dish in my culture. I made these two shown below a year ago while down South visiting my favorite uncle, and this is one of his favorite dishes so my sister and I got down to business. They are usually made with rice, ground beef, tomatoes, and parsley, but being a cook, I enjoy playing around with different ingredients (usually to make dishes healthier). This recipe is vegetarian and very tasty! Feel free to use any veggies or meat for the filling that you feel suit. (I’ll definitely make a step by step post for these in the near future, since many people question the rolling process). 😉

Homemade, veggie full, lemon topped grapeleaves.

Homemade, veggie full, lemon topped grapeleaves.

Ingredients:

2 jars grape leaves, washed

2 cups washed rice, brown rice, or burghul (cracked wheat)

1 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed

½- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 large tomatoes

1 bunch fresh parsley

2 bunches green onions

5 cloves fresh garlic pounded

1-2 red, yellow, green bell peppers (optional, and organic preferred)

1 tablespoon fresh or dried mint

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

¼ tsp cumin, ground

1 teaspoon all spice (7 spice) My mom makes this fresh at home. 

2 teaspoons onion powder

Directions:

  1. Wash brown rice/burghul well in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Wash and chop tomatoes, parsley, green onions, fresh garlic ground, and optional bell peppers. Add to mixing bowl.
  3. Add lemon juice, EVOO, and spices. Mix well.
  4. Roll into the grape leaves by placing a small line of filling the middle, folding the edges, and rolling tightly. Stack and cook in a pressure cooker about 45-60 minutes.
  5. Enjoy it with cucumber yogurt salad!

Noor’s “I can’t Believe it’s Blackberry Pie” and “Awesome Apple Pie”

Well what do you know, it’s pie season. While many people enjoy every bite of flaky crusted warm pies, others enjoy crumbles and cookies. The holiday season is about baking, but it doesn’t mean you are limited to making your pies and treats unhealthy. One of my siblings loves apple pie, and the store-bought one scares me, mostly because it has over 20 ingredients, half of which none of us can pronounce. I decided to make my own altering one of my old recipes.  I threw in two pie recipes, two birds in one stone. Enjoy! 

Ingredients:

Whole wheat pastry pie crust:

2 cups 100% stone ground whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup grass-fed butter or Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or Unrefined Real Salt

5-8 tablespoons ice water

Noor’s awesome fresh blackberries filling:

2 packs fresh blackberries (about 2 cups)

2-4 tablespoons raw Coconut Palm Sugar

1 tablespoon 100% stone ground whole wheat pastry flour

Noor’s awesome organic apple pie filling:

3 honey-crisp organic apples (I did NOT peel ;-))

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup Coconut Palm Sugar

Noor’s awesome crumble topping

1 cup 100% whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup Coconut Palm Sugar

¼-1/2 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (ONLY for the apple pie.)

 

Directions:

STEP 1

Whole wheat pastry pie crust:
Mix the pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter/coconut oil, scoop it into about 16 smaller pieces and use your hands to crumble. Leave coarse crumbs but not too large.
Add one tablespoon of water at a time and knead.
Shape into a disc and cover with wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Mix flour and salt. Toss in "butter spread" in small pieces.

Mix flour and salt. Toss in “oil spread” in small pieces.

Add water one tablespoon at a time and knead.

Add water one tablespoon at a time and knead.

Separate into two.

Separate into two.

Shape into disc and  cover with wrap well.

Shape into disc and cover with wrap well.

STEP 2 

Noor’s awesome crumble topping:
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Divide EVENLY into two separate bowls.
Add cinnamon to one bowl and mix well.
Add in the butter/oil in small pieces and use hands to crumble into coarse crumbs (use a kneading method as well).
Set aside until you fill your pie crust with the filling.

Crumble in buttery spread.

Crumble in buttery spread.

STEP 3

Noor’s awesome PIES:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When ready to make the pie you can either roll it out (with a rolling pin) or simply stick it in the 9 inch pie crust and use your palms to press and spread. Make an edge, the higher the better.
Place the fillings (apple or blackberry) in the pie shell, careful not to go over the edges.
Top each with the crumble topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is browned.
Allow to cool or serve warm. Enjoy this as a treat! 
 

Slice fresh apples

Slices of fresh organic apples

Add lemon, Truvia, and cinnamon.

Add lemon, palm sugar, and cinnamon.

Blackberry

Blackberries

Roll or pat.

Roll or pat.

2 pies

2 pie crusts

Filling topped with crumble, pre-baked.

Filling topped with crumble, pre-baked.

Done!

Done!

Close up

Close up

Organic, pure, delicious.

Organic, pure, delicious.

Told you….pie and junk don’t always belong in the same sentence. 😉

Quick & Easy Steamed Beets

I was not planning to put the beets recipe up now but since I was asked to I will. Beets are a very healthy vegetable which unfortunately many people don’t eat. You may have tried them canned or fresh, either way they are packed with over a dozen nutrients (the canning process does kill a good amount of phytonutrients though).  The red betalain pigment scares many away, but hey, that’s where all the benefit is! So this recipe is fairly easy, the hardest part is peeling the beets without looking like you just walked out of an art classroom. Other than that, it’s a quick and trouble-free method.

Ingredients:
5-6 medium fresh beets

3 fresh lemons squeezed

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt (this is real salt you should use, full of numerous nutrients!)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Fresh mint leaves

Iceberg lettuce (for décor, and eating 😉 )

Directions:

STEP 1

Wash and peel the beets and dice them into cubes. Place them in your steamer and if you don’t have one then in a small pot filled with VERY little water (that  you shouldn’t toss out afterwards, since a good majority your vitamins will be in the water). Cover and allow steaming for about 15 minutes.

STEP 2

Mix the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and seasonings together in a small mixing bowl.

STEP 3

Lay out the lettuce on the serving platter. Top with the beets, and then drizzle the dressing. Garnish with fresh lemon and mint leaves.

Awesome top view. I absolutely love fresh mint leaves.

Awesome top view. I absolutely love fresh mint leaves.

Noor's quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s Gone Vegetable Quinoa

For those who love the taste of Mexican, this is a healthier version of the good flavor, without the greasy meat and fatty cheese on top.

Quinoa is  a very healthy grain and an excellent replacement for rice. You can use it in main meals, snacks or desserts.

I had friends try many of my quinoa recipes and this was one of their favorite (excluding Layan). You can play around with this recipe by adding or omitting things you like. I’ve made it without the tomato base before and it was great.

Ingredients:

1 cup Organic Quinoa rinsed

2 cans black beans, soaked and rinsed

2 cups frozen organic and non-GMO corn

2 cups organic spinach chopped, frozen or fresh

2 large fresh tomatoes chopped

1-2 fresh jalapenos, optional

1 6 oz can Organic tomato paste

Seasoning of your choice: : Himalayan Pink Salt, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Curry, Rosemary, Garlic, Onion, Cayenne, etc

Water for cooking (approximately 4-5 cups)

 

Directions:

STEP 1

In a large skillet (with lid) place corn, spinach, and washed black beans with 2 cups water. Simmer on medium heat.

STEP 2

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, seasoning, and rinsed Quinoa. Add jalapeno here if adding. Mix well. Add enough water (2 inches above). Cover and allow to cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally if necessary. Once Quinoa is tender cooked it will be transparent in color.

STEP 3

Fluff and serve warm. Suggested serving, fresh mint leaves and a scoop of certified organic sour cream!

Before garnish

Before garnish

Quinoa on the left. Barley spinach (recipe to come later) on the right.

Quinoa on the left. Barley spinach (recipe to come later) on the right.

Noor's quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Removing the Bad Rep of a Cookie

Almost everyone loves cookies, and I was one of those people, until I’ve learned what’s put in those things. While pre-packaged cookies are full of multi-syllabic ingredients I can’t pronounce, and have an ingredient list bigger than the actual cookies, homemade cookies can be bad too. Eating a cookie others make means most likely bleached flour, nasty oils, and a ton of refined sugar. These are reasons why cookies have a bad reputation. 

Well for someone who once loved cookies, and still does (only when I make them, and see what goes in them), I came up with what I call not so bad rep cookie bars. Since I was careful about buying gluten free oats, my entire recipe is gluten free. Oats are usually gluten free but contaminated in factories, so watch your labels if you are tolerant. 

 These are high in protein (thanks to the Quinoa), very low natural sugar (raisins), and taste great! The coconut oil is a “good for you oil”, so you could enjoy your cookie and not have to worry about what you just put in your body.  

Ingredients:
2  Organic/pasture-raised eggs

½ cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

¾ cup Organic coconut palm sugar or organic raw honey

1 ½ cups Organic Quinoa flour (grind whole raw quinoa  like I did, or buy it ready)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup un-sulphured raisins (or dried blueberries/cranberries)

1 cup raw walnuts (or any nut, chopped or whole)

¾ cup old fashion oats, gluten-free if necessary

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs and melted coconut oil. Mix well with the palm sugar/honey. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.

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Add dry ingredients.

STEP 2

 Fold in the raisins, walnuts, and oats if you like. Use a spatula or your palms to fold the dough. The dough will be nice and thick.

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Add walnuts and raisins (you can alternate)

                                                                   

                                       

STEP 3

Place in a baking dish and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until browned on the edges.

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Bake 35-40 mins.

STEP 4

Cut and serve as desired.

Clean and delicious.

Clean and delicious. Serve on a platter.

Gone Vegetables Salmon

It’s hard to get omega-3 fatty acids from food, but enjoying wild caught Alaskan salmon is a great way to boost protein and fatty-acids. Fish is a quick and easy protein to cook, and very nutritious (when not farm raised!). Even little Layan won’t mind finding this on her dinner plate. 

 This is a 3-step dinner recipe, it really can’t get easier than this! I don’t think it’ll take you more than 30 minutes maximum. 🙂

Ingredients:
1 or 2 Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon fillets (pre-marinated)

3 large carrots

1 broccoli head

4 zucchinis

5-6 mushrooms

Fresh garlic cloves

2 tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (or any oil you prefer)

 

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake the salmon covered for about 15 minutes. Remove the skin and place in a glass, oven-safe Pyrex. 

Remove the skin of the salmon and place in a glass Pyrex.

Remove the skin of the salmon and place in a glass Pyrex.

STEP 2

Wash and cut your vegetables in medium/large chunks. Place in a large skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook on medium/high heat, but don’t overcook.

Chunky fresh vegetables in skillet with 2 tbsp coconut oil

Chunky fresh vegetables in skillet with 2 tbsp coconut oil

STEP 3

Top the salmon with the fresh vegetables uncovered for about 5-7 minutes. Remove and serve with a side of grain (Quinoa, rice, pasta, barley, etc).

Top salmon with the vegetables. Bake 5-7 mins.

Top salmon with the vegetables. Bake 5-7 mins.

Enjoy!

Enjoy! Serve with steamed rice, quinoa, or clean ingredient pasta.

Rowing Your Boat Towards Good Health: Noor’s Zucchini Vegetable Stuffed Boats

I recall loving the zucchini boats my mother made as a child, they were stuffed with diced onions, ground beef, and amazing spices. They would be baked to perfection.

I wanted to make something different, quick with time. At the same moment of this craving, I debated making my famous smashed sweet potatoes but didn’t think they’d match. Instead, I used carrots to make some delicious mash!

This is a very quick and easy recipe, and vegetarian friendly. It’s a great way to hide veggies from the little ones and have them enjoy eating “boats”.

 Minus the extreme amount of garlic I threw in, Layan liked these. If you’re feeding the kids, minimize the garlic. 🙂

Ingredients:

4 zucchinis (or more if desired)

1 medium round tomato, organic preferred

4 mushrooms

5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

2 large carrots, organic preferred

Spices (onion powder, Himalayan Pink Salt or real unrefined sea salt, turmeric, rosemary)

***you can stuff any veggie you like (artichoke, bell peppers, etc)

Raw pine nuts for garnish and fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc)

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and slice the carrots and place in a very small pot with about a cup of water. Cover and allow to cook on medium high.

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2 Carrots washed well.

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Chopped and added to the pot with 1 cup of water.

STEP 2

Wash the zucchini, mushrooms, and tomato and “unstuff” them. Place their stuffing in the pot with the carrots. Place the vegetables in an oven safe tray.

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Veggies

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Empty out the tomato. Remove the mushroom stems and inside of zucchini.

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Don’t throw out the stuffing though! Toss them in with the carrots! =)

STEP 3

Pound the fresh garlic and add it to the pot. Add your spices here as well and mix slightly. If more water is needed add it now. Turn off the heat.

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Fresh garlic cloves

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Pounded

STEP 4

Use a hand blender (food processor, or regular blender) to puree the vegetable stuffing.

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Puree

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Puree the veggie stuffing…

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…until smooth.
*I got carried away at this point it was soo good I ate it alone (like mashed potatoes) =)

STEP 5

Fill the vegetable boats with the stuffing and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Fill the boats up.

Fill the boats up.

STEP 6

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and sliced almonds or pine nuts.

 Serve with a side of cooked Quinoa, rice, etc.

Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs;serve.

Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs;serve.

Side view.

Side view.

Noor’s Natural Element, Guilt-Free, Finger-Licking Blackberry Cheesecake

It’s no wonder why cheesecake always has the bad rep; it begins with a crust full of partially hydrogenated oils, bleached flour, and some sugar too. It ends with a sugary topping we misinterpret for “fruit”. Let’s not forget that culpable feeling after eating such a treat.

 So instead of eating that and having to remorse, I created what I call the Natural Element Blackberry Cheesecake, full of natural ingredients, or “elements” our bodies can digest normally.  

This is a NO-BAKE recipe and the only tools you need is your food processor, a medium bowl, hand blender, and a spatula.

 

 

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates (soaked is better for your food processor!)

1 cup raw cashews

¼ cup raw almonds or raw walnuts 

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2-4 tablespoons hot water

 

Filling Ingredients:
2 packs Organic cream cheese (or my popular coconut “no dairy-cheese” recipe to come later)

½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk)

1/8 cup Organic Raw Honey or Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

2 packs (about 1 ½ cups) fresh blackberries*

 

*You can substitute blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mango, etc 

Directions:

STEP 1

Place all “can’t get healthier crust” ingredients into your food processor and blend well until dough like (the crust would look better w/ chunks of nuts/dates showing but not too coarse). PRESS into a pie pan using a spatula or back of a spoon.

Noor's Nut Crust

Noor’s Nut Crust

STEP 2

In a medium bowl hand blend the cream cheese, almond milk, and Raw Honey/Coconut Palm Sugar. Blend on medium-high until very creamy and no chunks remain.

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Hand blend cream cheese, almond milk, and Raw Honey/Coconut Palm Sugar.

STEP 3

Cut a few blackberries in half, toss in all berries and fold with a spatula.

Fold in blackberries.

Fold in blackberries.

STEP 4

Scoop into the pie crust keeping the crust showing on the edges. Cover with wrap and freeze several hours or overnight.

Ta-da

Ta-da

Yum

Yum

*When ready to serve slice and top with fresh blackberries or make a quick blackberry sauce (smashed fresh blackberries). 

Side view.

Side view.

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