Did Someone Say Kale Chips?

This country lives on potato chips. Not only are they deep fried in hydrogenated oils, they are coated in sodium, unfriendly chemicals, and tons of preservatives. Basically we begin with a potato, and end with a potato stripped of its nutrients. Now potatoes are not bad for you at all, but it’s the way it’s cooked and prepared nowadays that makes it bad for you. Potatoes are high in potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and plays role in cell building. 

Either way, why not boost the typical crunchy salty snack and create an astonishing scrumptious chip? Yes, I mean it, kale chips.

Kale is a super green. It’s full of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, fiber, yes Vitamin C, and over a dozen other nutrients. What’s not to like about this chip? I top it with nutritious spices and organic coconut oil, one of the best oils to cook with.

This recipe is so quick you could make it faster than running out to the supermarket at midnight when you’re craving a crunchy and salty snack. =)

This recipe is gluten, dairy, soy, wheat, egg,, and chemical free. What’s not to like about this chip?

Ingredients:

A bunch of fresh organic kale (fresh from the Farmer’s Market is best :))

1/3- 1/2 cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (you can use EVOO)

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or Celtic Sea Salt

To your desired amounts: dill, ground mustard, black pepper, paprika, rosemary

Cayenne pepper (optional and yummy)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the Kale well after removing the stems. Allow them to dry.

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    Washed and dried fresh kale.

  3. In a separate bowl melt the Organic Coconut Oil. If you’re using different oil that’s liquid at room temperature, simply measure the required amount and place it in a bowl.

    Bowl of oil and spices.

    Bowl of oil and spices.

  4. Add the salt and spices to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Toss the kale with the oil mixture well and place on a flat baking sheet.

    Kale tossed in oil and ready to bake.

    Kale tossed in oil and ready to bake.

  6. Bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes until toasted from the edges and darker in color. 

    Baked kale.

    Baked kale.

  7. Serve with fresh pita, hummus, kale hummus, or eat them all by themselves. ;)

    Serve with fresh pita, hummus, kale hummus, or eat them all by themselves. 😉

    Allow to cool, remove from the baking sheet, and enjoy. =) 

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A Super Delicious Super Food: Quinoa

For my health advice column in the newspaper this week, the question was referring to Quinoa as a gluten free food. Along with the request from a friend for my quinoa recipe, I thought I’d put up the recipe (I know I put this before but I altered it a bit, and added the advice). So I’ll share the advice response here too, followed by the recipe, which is dedicated to a special friend.  😉 

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free (don’t top with Organic Greek Yogurt/ Organic sour cream), and vegetarian, yet high in protein.

I have to say, although this is yummy, this is not my favorite recipe for quinoa. My favorite is cooked without tomato paste or corn, and topped with a bunch of avocados.  I’ll have that step by step recipe soon .:)

My response to the question in my weekly health advice column:

Today almost everyone is struggling with a food allergy or intolerance. While one person is lactose intolerant, another is allergic to nuts, and a third is struggling with celiac disease. Knowing what to eat and what to avoid could really help one cure their body.

Quinoa is growing in popularity, and when you take a deep look at its health benefits you’ll know exactly why. For those unfamiliar with this seed, quinoa is a grain like crop. Quinoa sure is gluten free, so those with celiac disease or wheat intolerance should feel comfortable enjoying this grain.

Quinoa contains many essential protein amino acids, and is high in many essential vitamins and minerals including manganese, iron, and calcium. For those with arthritis, do add quinoa in your diet for it helps lower inflammation in the body. Plus, while quinoa is high in protein and fiber, it’s very low in fat and is quite filling. So what’s not to like about this super-seed?

Quinoa is prepared very similar to rice. Usually one cup of the grain takes two cups of water for it to be tender.

I love using quinoa in desserts as well as main dishes. I even occasionally replace burghul (cracked wheat) in my homemade taboulli salad with quinoa. You can replace your usual bowl of oatmeal with cooked quinoa topped with cinnamon, nutmeg, raw walnuts, raisins, and Organic Raw honey.

As a main dish I cook Quinoa and allow it to cool. I add a variety of vegetables, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Flaxseed Oil, and of course top it with lots of fresh ripe avocadoes. Or as a variation I do a “Mexican quinoa” salad with black beans, tomato paste, and delicious spices. It’s easy to play around with this seed, and I assure you once you add it to your diet you wouldn’t be able to go on without it. 

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.

 

Noory’s Gone Mexican Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 cup Organic Quinoa rinsed

2 cans black beans, rinsed and soaked

1 bag frozen Organic, non-GMO corn

1 bag Organic Chopped Spinach

1 can Organic tomato paste

1 can Organic diced tomatoes (spicy if desired!)

Himalayan Pink Salt or Real Salt, mustard, black pepper, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and cajun

Water for cooking (approximately 4-5 cups)

Organic Sour Cream or Organic Grass-Fed Greek Yogurt (optional)

Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

 

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet (with lid) place corn, spinach, and washed black beans with 2 cups water. Simmer on medium heat.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, spices as desired, and rinsed Quinoa. Mix well. Add enough water (2 inches above) Cover and allow to cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally if necessary. Once Quinoa is tenderly cooked it will be transparent in color.
  3. Fluff with a fork and serve warm. My suggested serving, a dollop of certified Organic sour cream/Greek Yogurt and the fresh chopped cilantro!
  4. Enjoy!

P.S: This tastes delicious alone or as a dip with clean ingredient tortilla chips! (Pick Organic when possible ;))

Chockfull of Ingredients in Your Chocolate Ice Cream

Children scream for ice cream, and adults simply reach for it without sound. As a child I loved ice cream, until I realized what I was being fed. Turning over the container merely scares me, especially with the paragraph comprised of ingredients I can’t pronounce. So what’s in ice cream that’s a hazard to our health? Simply, too many things for me to cover, but I’ll give you a taste of it.

Carrageenan is found in almost every ice cream or frozen yogurt brand out there. It’s used as a thickening agent to make your treat nice and thick, but can also cause harmful effects on your body including cancer.  Is it worth it? Not when you can make an alternative, which I will share below.

Many frozen treats have coloring, including red 40, blue lake 1, yellow lake 5. As I’ve stated numerously, this sounds like I’m in an art classroom, not in the kitchen eating dessert. Food colorings are proven to be harmful by the FDA and have proven to cause ADHD in children.  According to labelwatch.com the CSPI, Center for Science in the Public Interest, recommends avoiding all artificial food coloring.

Watch out for the famous high fructose corn syrup, I don’t even want to get into this. I don’t believe that all sugar is created equally, and if you believe so, well read on. In no way, shape, or form do I consider that Organic Raw Honey or even dates can be on the same scale as high fructose corn syrup. While honey and dates are natural, and have plenty of health benefits, high fructose corn syrup comes from GMO ingredients. What’s to compare?

So as a treat I’ve transformed my regular frozen banana ice cream into “chocolate” banana ice cream using carob powder instead of cocoa powder for a few added health benefits. The texture is merely the same as the store bought chocolate ice cream, but the after-feeling is incomparable. This is dairy free, gluten free, soy free, additive free, added-sugar free, and most importantly guilt free. Oh and don’t forget, this has only 3 ingredients, while the majority of store-bought ice cream has a minimum of  15.

Top with organic berries, raw walnuts, carob chips, etc.

Top with organic berries, raw walnuts, carob chips, etc.

Ingredients:

4-5 frozen bananas peeled and pre-sliced *

½ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, the fat adds to the creaminess)

1/3-1/2 cup carob powder (you can use this amazing raw cocoa powder)

Directions: (can’t get easier than this!)

STEP 1:

Place your frozen bananas, carob powder and almond milk in the food processor and pulse until creamy.

You may need to stop and scrap the sides a few times with a spatula (please, unplug the machine while doing so, you don’t want to accidently turn it on).

Unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, and carob powder.

Unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, and carob powder.

Place frozen bananas,  milk, and carob powder in food processor. 

Place frozen bananas, milk, and carob powder in food processor.

Yes, it's nice and creamy.

Yes, it’s nice and creamy.

Thick and creamy texture.

Thick and creamy texture.

STEP 2:

Serve in desired bowls. Top with fresh berries, mango, or other fruit, and if you’re a nut-a-holic like me, pile on raw walnuts, pistachios, or cashews. Toppings are unlimited, there are no rules. 😉

:) Yummy taste, and no damage to your health.

🙂 Yummy taste, and no damage to your health.

*The best way to have your frozen bananas is this: every time you have over-ripe bananas in your fruit plate peel them, slice them, and place them single layered in a tuber ware. Freeze them and whenever you’re in the mood for ice cream take them out and use them for such recipe.

Now, that’s ice cream to scream for. 😉

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! 🙂

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.

:)

🙂

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.

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