Chilled Melon Soup

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1 Rock Melon (Honeydew), cut into chunks

A handful of Mint leaves

Lime juice from 2 limes

1 small red onion (you can use this or omit it, depending on your taste)

1/4 cup or more of Coconut cream

pinch of salt to taste

optional¬†add 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier swirled in before serving for a decadent appetizer or brunch addition ūüôā

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or strong blender. Garnish with extra mint or lime. You can also top with a dollop of coconut cream if you want!

Back in my university days, I worked as a waitresss every summer to finance my travels and my artsy lifestyle. One of the nicest restaurants I worked at was a country club on a golf course in Chatham, MA on the elbow of Cape Cod. I never had time to sit and eat while working so a bowl of their chilled fruit soups were one of my favorite quick snacks. They were refreshing, cooling, and just the right amount of food.

Right now, it’s still very hot in Dubai and this melon soup hit the spot today in between my school runs. Regional melon is quite delicious and cheap. The melon I used today was from Armenia. That’s just one of my many favorite things about Dubai, even our food knows no borders.

Enjoy and please comment with any fruit soup/gazpacho variations you love, I’m always looking for new ideas.

 

Beef and Mango Lettuce Wraps

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Serves 4

Simple, spicy and a little sweet.

6-700 g ( 1.5lb) of  beef mince/ground beef (grass-fed, organic if possible)

1 red onion, chopped

1 T oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 T ginger, minced

1 T vinegar

Crushed red pepper or cayenne to taste

Salt, tamarin or coconut aminos to taste

1 head big leaf lettuce (Boston, bibb or Iceberg), leaves separated and washed carefully to keep intact, store in layers in the fridge for extra crispness

¬ľ head of cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

1 mango, chopped

4-5 radishes, sliced very thinly

Cilantro, chopped

1 small lime, juiced

  • Heat a skillet over medium/medium high heat
  • Add oil
  • Saute beef and onions until your beef is no longer pink
  • Add garlic and ginger
  • Stir and cook for one minute
  • Stir in vinegar, spice, and salt
  • Make mango salsa with mangos, radishes, cilantro and lime juice
  • Spoon beef mixture into lettuce cups (4 per person)
  • Garnish with salsa and shredded cabbage

Coconut, Almond, and Lime Crusted Fish

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 Coconut, Almond, and Lime Crusted Fish
I just love the combination of limes and coconut and I’m always looking for new ways to use these flavors in food! I serve this dish with extra lime wedges (never enough in my house) and last night I improvised a salsa made from chopped Thai green chilis, lime juice, red onion, and cilantro as a topping and it was fantastic extra kick.
100 g or 1/2 cup fresh or dried shredded coconut (desiccated)
2 Limes, zested, one juiced and one cut in wedges for later
100 g or 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds
1 pinch Black Pepper
1/2 can Coconut Cream/Milk
Cooking Oil/Spray
500-600 g (approximately 1 lb)White Fish Fillets, cut into portion size pieces, I used Nile Perch
Salt, to taste
1) Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 425 F
2) Meanwhile, dry toast the fresh shredded coconut in a pan over medium
high heat until golden (5 minutes, while preparing other ingredients). Repeat same process with almonds.
3) Zest the limes and juice one lime
4) Blend coconut, almonds, lime zest,and black pepper in
a food processor or crush almonds in a bag and mix well with other
two. Set aside.
5) In a baking dish mix coconut cream/milk and lime juice, set aside.
6) Spray a baking dish large enough for fish with cooking spray. Dry
the fish fillets very thoroughly using paper towels, cut in four pieces, then
salt.
7) Dip in the lime and coconut mixture and place in baking dish. Top each fillet with the almond mixture to create a thick crust. Lightly spray or brush/drizzle the tops with oil.
8) Bake 12-17 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Topping
should be golden and fish should flake easily.
Serve with blanched asparagus, roasted broccoli or any vegetable of your choice! I love the tropical tastes of this fish. It’s a perfect light lunch or refreshing dinner in the summer.

Super Food Pad Thai

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Super Foods Pad Thai
Pad Thai traditionally uses shrimp or chicken with tofu and speciality sauces. This speedy
plant based version packs in tons of anti-oxidant veggies with eggs and nuts for a protein kick. Easily adaptable for special diets. Simply omit the eggs if you are vegan and swap rice noodles for other grains or veggie noodles if you want.  Clean, high alkaline ingredients make this a great detox dish. Omit salt and increase citrus if you are avoiding salt/soy.
250 g rice or buckwheat noodles (Sub mixed veg noodles if paleo or grain free)
4 T tamari or coconut aminos
2 T peanut, almond or sesame butter
1 Lime, juiced
3 tbsp rice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 t turmeric
1 1/2 bunches spring onions, cut in 2 cm slices (white and
green pieces), divided
1 fresh Red Chili Pepper, sliced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
1 inch of  Ginger, grated
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 T Cooking Oil (avocado, peanut, or coconut)
2-3 Eggs (omit if vegan)
2 cups spinach, chopped
300g or 2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded
300g or 2 cups kale (massage briefly with a bit of oil first)
1/2 cup or 100g chopped peanuts or almonds (toast first for max flavor)
1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving
1)Cook the noodles for 3-5 minutes in boiling water
2)Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside
3)Combine tamari, nut butter,lime juice,vinegar, and turmeric in a small bowl.
Mash and stir to a uniform paste/sauce
4)Slice the spring onions and chili pepper, grate the ginger and garlic.
5)Heat oil over medium high heat.
6)Add garlic, chili, 1/2 of the spring onions and ginger
and fry for 1 minute, push aside
7)Crack eggs in pan and scramble until dry
8)Add the noodles to the pan and stir fry. Meanwhile,
chop the spinach, kale and shred the cabbage.
9)Add the sauce and the greens and cabbage. Stir fry for a minute or 2 to just wilt the veggies (if you want completely raw vegetables omit this step and add at end)
10)Chop (and toast) the nuts and cut the lime into wedges. Top with nuts and garnish with lime. Eat!!

Coconut Poached Fish with Tropical Cauliflower Rice

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 Poached Fish
7-800g  (approx 1.5 lb) White Fish (tilapia, nile perch)
Salt & Pepper
1 can Coconut Cream/Milk  reserve 1-2 T for Cauliflower Rice
1 Lime, zested and juiced
2 cloves Garlic,minced
¬Ĺ-1 Red Chili Pepper, chopped, remove all or some of the seeds to suit your taste for heat
1 Red Bell Pepper, removed seeds and sliced into strips
1 tbsp. Coconut/Cooking Oil
1 bunch Spinach, shredded
Cauliflower Rice
1 small Onion,chopped
1 Lime, zested and then cut in quarters for serving
1 head of Cauliflower florets,grated or riced in processor
1 T. Coconut/Cooking Oil (h)
1-2 T  reserved Coconut Cream
1/4 cup or more Shredded/Desiccated Coconut (unsweetened)
1 bunch Spring Onions, chopped
1) Cut the fish into smaller pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
2) Zest and juice the lime and mince the garlic.
3) Combine coconut cream, lime juice and zest, minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. of salt in a bowl
and whisk.
4) Pour mixture over fish in a shallow dish and place in the fridge.
5) Prepare the chili and bell peppers. Chop the chili pepper and slice the bell peppers.
6) Heat oil in a pan.
7) Sauté chili and pepper slices until they become tender.
8) Pour fish and marinade into pan and poach fish fillets (6-10 m
minutes) until almost done.
9) Shred the spinach and add, cook until they begin to wilt and
fish is opaque.
While fish is poaching prepare cauliflower rice:
10)¬†Chop the onion, zest the lime, ¬†and process or finely slice the cauliflower to ‘rice’.
11) Heat 1 T of coconut/cooking oil in a wok or pan. Sauté the onion for two minutes, add lime zest and cauliflower rice, cook for 5-10 min until cauliflower is soft
12) Pour in coconut cream and grated coconut.
13) Chop the spring onion and cut the lime into quarters.
14) Serve fish on top of cauliflower rice and enjoy

Swedish Meatballs:Redesigned and Inspired

A year ago, when I was developing recipes for Dinnertime, I had a lot of fun developing paleo modifications for comfort classics. I have a husband that will eat almost anything that I put in front of him, he knows he’s lucky to get meals home cooked with love! He grew up with a mother that is a phenomenal cook and he has good taste. That said, he prefers meat and potato centered dishes. The higher the dairy and fat content, the better, in his eyes. So I really love taking a dish like Swedish Meatballs and making it healthier and free from dairy. I love it even more that he didn’t mind the changes at all. I know I’ve succeeded if he has seconds of a dish I have changed so much it actually deserves a whole new name.

When I first started eating dairy free, I struggled with the idea of everything tasting like coconuts or cashews. I have gotten over that fear and I am a little obsessed with coconuts, but I promise you this dish isn’t too coconutty… Traditionally, Swedish Meatballs are served with a ligonberry jam or sauce. Sure, I could drive to Ikea and get Ligonberries but I love replacing imported ingredients with locally abundant (i.e. cheaper) options. With fresh pomegranate seeds, you don’t need any sugar and they give the dish the perfect tart and sweet crunch it deserves.

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Swedish Meatballs over Cauliflower Mash 

800g or 1.7 lbs, Ground Beef (Grass Fed, organic if possible)

2 eggs

1 T parsley

1 t salt

1 t pepper

¬ľ t cinnamon

¬ľ t nutmeg

pinch of cloves

¬Ĺ sweet onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ¬Ĺ T coconut oil

Gravy

1/2 sweet onion, minced

1 garlic clove, mined

1 can coconut cream

2 cups beef broth or water

2 T oil or ghee

salt and pepper to taste

2 T arrowroot or tapioca flour

2t oil

1-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium head cauliflower, chopped in florets

1-2 T Coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pomegranate, seeded

  1. Mix beef, eggs, and seasoning in a bowl
  2. Heat ¬Ĺ T of oil in a pan
  3. Sauté garlic and onion until soft and add to meatball mixture, combine with your hands
  4. Form into balls with 2 T of meat mixture and place on a plate
  5. Heat ¬Ĺ T of oil at at time to fry meatballs in batches (about 10 at a time for 5-8 minutes)
  6. Drain meatballs on a strainer or on towels when finished cooking
  7. Make gravy by cooking onion and garlic in same skillet for one minute
  8. Add coconut milk, broth, ghee and salt and pepper
  9. Whisk and cook for 5 minutes
  10. Remove a ¬ľ cup of liquid and whisk in arrowroot, return to pan and simmer to thicken
  11. Add meatballs to pan and simmer gently while you make cauliflower rice
  12. Heat oil in a pan and add garlic, stir for one minute on medium heat, set aside
  13. Steam cauliflower until a fork easily pierces the florets (this step can be done ahead of time)
  14. Blend cauliflower, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to taste and/or desired consistency
  15. Top cauliflower mash with meatballs and gravy
  16. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds

Thai Style Sweet Potato Zoodles

 

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Recently, I discovered the most amazing recipe for sweet potato noodles: (http://kristineskitchenblog.com/sweet-potato-noodles-with-peanut-sauce/) and I binged on them, big time. I made them for ladies nights, my kids, and for visitors. I ate them hot, cold, for dinner and lunch. Then I did allergy testing and found out I am intolerant to just about everything (whole other blog post) so I decided to work with the recipe to find a way to keep eating them. These noodles are gluten, soy, and peanut free. ¬†Thank you to Kristine’s Kitchen Blog for giving me an amazing template to work with! * Note I usually double this sauce so that I can have extra to add to more zoodles or other vegetables. That’s sort of a lie, I just like things really saucey ūüôā

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 inch piece of ginger, grated (adjust to your own taste)

2 limes, juiced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or hot sauce

2-4 T coconut milk if desired to thin sauce and add more Thai flavor

Assorted Zoodles ( I usually use 2-3 Sweet potatoes and 1 zucchini, I have also used butternut zoodles and beetroot zoodles, I play around with what I have on hand) but use about 5-6 cups of veggies

1 T coconut oil

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Toppings: chopped cilantro, green onions, and toasted sliced almonds or toasted sesame seeds

  1. Mix sauce ingredients together, dilute with coconut milk or water if desired.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or a large sauté pan.
  3. Stir fry until soft and water is released from veggies.
  4. Add the sauce and chickpeas, cook for several minutes to warm everything and blend the flavors.
  5. Add toppings and eat!

Coconut Corn Chowder

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Winter in Dubai…it’s mild, and fleeting but these cloudy and windy days are a great excuse for a warm soup.

This soup is a vegan take on a classic comfort soup. Using coconut cream and
chili, this soup has hints of Thai flavors. Served with smashed chickpeas and
roasted garlic on toast (or as a salad).
Chowder 
1 T coconut or olive oil (ghee can be used as well)
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Chili, chopped, to taste (use half or no seeds if you want it less spicy)
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 sticks Celery, diced
1 large sweet or white potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp Cooking Oil or Butter
1 pinch of chili powder, optional
2 tsp dried thyme
¬Ĺ-1 tsp. Salt
300-500 ml Water
1 can Coconut Cream
2 cans Sweet Corn (sub bell pepper or chopped leeks if paleo)
1 bunch Spring Onions, chopped
1 bunch Parsley, chopped
Smashed Chickpea and Garlic Toasts 
1 head of Garlic, cut in half
2 tbsps. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Vinegar
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
Nice thick bread of choice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, cut the whole garlic in half, drizzle
with olive oil and wrap in foil
Place on a tray and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, while chopping
ingredients and preparing soup
Chop the onion, green chili and three cloves of garlic. Dice the celery. Peel and
dice the potato.
Heat the oil or ghee  in a large, heavy bottom saucepan
Sauté onion, garlic, celery, chili, chili powder, thyme and salt until they brown
Add potato and water, bring to boil and simmer until potatoes soften
Meanwhile, prepare the garlic and chickpea toasts;
Remove garlic from oven and squeeze out roasted garlic
Whisk garlic with oil and vinegar
Drain, rinse and partially mash the chickpeas with a fork
in a bowl.
Chop the red bell pepper.
Add the bell pepper, and mix with the roasted garlic dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice and toast the bread
When the soup is done, blend or emulsify soup if desired, return to pot
Stir coconut milk and sweet corn into soup and gently simmer until warm and
thick
Add salt and pepper to taste
Garnish soup with chopped spring onions and fresh parsley
Smother toast with chickpea mixture or eat over lettuce if eating low carb, paleo, or grain free.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Cashew Creamed Kale
This is a paleo version of a classic American comfort food that traditionally uses lots of
dairy and fat. This version has all of the flavour, without the empty ingredients.
200 g  or 1 cup Cashews
Coconut/Cooking Oil
Coarse Salt
Black Pepper
4 Sweet Potatoes, cut in half
2 bunches of Kale, center stalk removed, coarsely chopped
1-2 tsp  Nutmeg
3-4 T coconut oil, ghee, or butter
10 Shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
Soak cashews in enough water to completely cover them, 4 hours
to overnight (the longer the better. If  needed, soak in hot water for
30 mins).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
Drizzle with oil and salt and pepper
Cut sweet potatoes in halves (or quarters if very big). Dredge and coat both sides of
sweet potatoes with oil and salt and pepper
Roast skin side up for 20 minutes or until soft
Bring a salted pot of water to boil and cook kale until tender (10-15 minutes)
Prepare cashew cream by draining cashews and rinsing well
Blend with 200-250 ml of water, or more until you have a toothpaste consistency
Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper
Drain kale and mix with cashew cream to warm and mix flavors
Saute shallots in 3-4 T of oil until they golden and crispy (can be done ahead of time and stored in an airtight container). ¬†These totally make the dish so don’t skip this step!
Serve sweet potatoes with creamed kale on top and sprinkle them with the crispy shallots.
The creamed kale with crispy shallots is amazing as a Thanksgiving side too…just saying ūüôā

Beef and Broccoli or Chickpeas and Broccoli (15 min dinner)

I’m trying to be better about only buying what I need and using what I have…In an effort to do something unique with some frozen organic beef cubes I threw this together after school on Thursday. I served it with rice for my kiddos. For us, I briefly saut√©ed carrot and zucchini noodles in sesame oil with crushed red pepper. I tossed tons of green onion and toasted sesame seeds on top and ¬†called it dinner. For myself, because I am trying to eat more plant based I skipped the beef cubes and added chickpeas, there was enough sauce in the pan to season my beans.

Gluten Free, Paleo (beef version), Dairy Free, Grain Free, Vegan if you make the chickpea version 

1 lb beef cubes

1 big bunch of broccoli florets

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

5 cloves, garlic, minced

1 large chunk garlic, grated in microplane

3 T coconut oil

1 T sesame oil

Whisk together following ingredients:

1/4 cup Tamari or coconut aminos (still haven’t found these in Dubai and am still wondering wtf they are )

2 T cider vinegar

1 T arrowroot

1/2 lime, juiced

Toppings 

Green onions, diced

Sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan

  1. Heat oil in a non-coated pan
  2. Brown beef cubes
  3. Add broccoli, garlic and peppers to pan and sauté for a few minutes to soften
  4. Add liquid and arrowroot mixture
  5. Cook to desired temperature, sauce will thicken
  6. Top with green onions and sesame seeds

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I only got a photo of this while I was cooking so you’ll have to take my word for it, it looked pretty before I ate it.