Inside My Kitchen

Uncaged Cuisine

Hey everyone! I’m in the process of creating a brand new website for healthy recipes and nutrition tips. I’d love for y’all to join me there when it launches next month. But for now, be sure to follow @uncagedcuisine on Instagram and Facebook for a sneak peak of what’s to come!

Thanks for following my adventures here and I’m excited to have y’all on board for my next chapter!

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Shrimp Creole Scramble

This week we’re throwing it back to the crazy Hurricane drinking, cajun eating world of New Orleans. Some of you may have remember my authentic New Orleans hot sauce purchase from the store, Sugar and Spice, a hot sauce and praline boutique on Bourbon St. 20150213-IMG_9037

Well as promised, I used it to recreate a classic New Orleans brunch item, the Shrimp Creole Scramble.

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Ingredients
1oz serving of shrimp (TJ Wild Argentinian is my favorite)
2-3 egg whites
1-2 tomatoes
1-2 stalks of celery
Handful spinach
Spices to taste: cayenne, paprika, black pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic/onion powder (or sub a premixed creole seasoning, but watch out for high sodium content)

Directions
1. Sautée the tomatoes and celery with spices on medium heat in olive oil or vegan butter until softened. (7-10 minutes)
2. Add in shrimp and cook until pink and opaque.
3. Scramble in egg whites and add in spinach.
4. Top with a few drops of hot sauce, optional but authentic!

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Worry-Free Wednesday: Paying it Forward and #WCW

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This week’s Worry-Free Wednesday is dedicated my WomanCrushWednesday, my best friend and Kappa Delta little sis, Allanah Jackson. Not to mention today she turned 21! She’s always been someone who is involved in philanthropy – in high school she was active in her school’s Relay for Life and she was KD’s VP Community Service. Her latest endeavor involves Boom Boom Cards, which have random acts of kindness to perform and then the cards are passed on to another person to continue the cycle of kindness! To learn more, follow her kindness revolution here!

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Monday Munchies: Balela

This is by far by new favorite item at the grocery store! I bought this bad boy at Costco last week and I’ve eaten it practically everyday for the past week. Balela is a combination of black beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, olive oil, and Mediterranean spices. It makes for a great instant salad over spinach or served hot inside a baked sweet potato or just straight from the tub with pita chips or veggies. Enjoy!

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February Fennel

For those of you who remember my matcha post from last month, part of my New Year’s resolution this year was to try a new ingredient every month. For February, I chose fennel. Fennel’s health benefits include aiding in digestion, stomach upset, and immunity due to it’s high anti-acidic, fiber, and vitamin C content.  I’ve had in dishes at my favorite restaurant in Nashville, Margot Cafe, but I was intimidated to cook it. Much to my delight, after doing some research there were countless easy ways to prepare the daunting vegetable. For starters, an easy way to prep your fennel for however you chose to make it is to first chop the stalk off the top, then slice the end of the bulb off, cut the bulb in half and go from there. Below are two of my favorites from the month!

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Raw Dijon Slaw

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Ingredients
1 cup assorted shredded or julienne sliced vegetables (I used fennel, beets, carrots, cucumbers, and celery)
1/2 cup white beans
1-2 cups spinach
1-2 tbsp walnuts
1-2 tbsp dried cherries
Dressing: 1-2 tsp olive oil, 1-2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice, pepper to taste

Directions
1. Chop the vegetables into thin strips or use a vegetable grater or mandolin.
2. Mix dressing ingredients and toss with chopped vegetables.
3. Serve over spinach and top with white beans, walnuts, and dried cherries. (optional)

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Oven Roasted Lemon, Fennel, and Artichokes

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Ingredients
1 cup canned artichokes
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1/4 cup kamut (wheatberries), uncooked
Handful black olives
Dressing: 1-2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon juiced, parsley, thyme, pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Prepare kamut according to package directions.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil and place fennel, artichokes, tomatoes, and lemon on it.
4. Mix dressing ingredients, pour over vegetables, and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping in the middle.
5. Serve over kamut and top with olives. (optional)

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Brussels Sprouts Bonanza

So last week I bought a bag of brussels sprouts from Costco. With two pounds of raw brussels sprouts on my hands, I was determined to try as many different variations as possible throughout the week. To start I cut them all in half and roasted them at 425 for about 35 minutes, flipping them about halfway through. Then throughout the week I added this base to different recipes that you’ll find below.

My Classic Recipe

This is my go to recipe – the perfect mix of savory, sweet, and spicy. Roast with the remaining ingredients to intensify the flavor or simply add in afterwards. 

Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Cinnamon and cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp maple syrup, optional

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice, basil, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper
Drizzle of olive oil, optional

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with diced tomatoes and quinoa

Sriracha Lime Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
Lime juice, sriracha, ginger, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with black rice, kale, peanuts, and a poached egg. For a perfect poached egg, simmer a pot of water, pour an egg in and gently swirl for 3-4 minutes as shown below.

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Brussels Sprouts “Hash”

This last recipe takes a spin on a classic breakfast side dish by using shredded brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kale, and avocado instead of white potato, sausage, and cheese. 

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Ingredients
1 cup shredded brussels sprouts (or roughly chop whole ones)
1/2 sweet potato, grated
1 tomato, diced
1 egg
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Thyme, cayenne pepper, rosemary, lemon pepper
1/4 avocado, optional

Pan fry all ingredients (except the egg) until softened. Add the egg in last and cook to your desired consistency. Top with avocado, if desired.

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Cold Peanut “Noodles” and Sesame Tempeh

One of my favorite appetizers at chinese food restaurants growing up was cold sesame noodles. So with some healthy substitutions (mainly the broccoli slaw in lieu of noodles), I was able to recreate this takeout fav! I think I liked this version even better because I didn’t feel bloated and sluggish after eating it. It’s so fresh and flavorful and the sauce is UNREAL. Seriously I ate it for dinner one night and then leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day. And I even thinned the sauce out with some extra coconut aminos and water and made a delicious salad dressing! If that’s not a good testimony, I don’t know what is. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients
serves 2, with leftover sauce
1 package broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, or spiralized zucchini
1 package tempeh
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I subbed half with PB2)
1 tbsp honey
Spices: sriracha, ginger, cilantro, crushed red pepper to taste

Directions
1. Blanch broccoli slaw by boiling for 2-3 minutes and then soaking in ice water. Optional, but I think it tastes better than completely raw veggies. Also feel free to cook them more thoroughly with a drizzle of sesame oil in a pan.
2. Chop tempeh into cubes and sautée them with a tsp of sesame oil for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. Blend all remaining ingredients and spices to make sauce.
4. Toss broccoli slaw with sauce until coated. Top with cooked tempeh and sesame seeds, optional.
5. You can eat it as is, or let sit 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge (I think it tasted even better the next day!).

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Blueberry Lemon Compote

Last week a friend of mine showed me a recipe for blueberry lemon quinoa. At the same time I had been experimenting with different homemade jams with chia seeds. Chia seeds are great for creating a jam consistency because they expand to up to 10 times their size when combined with liquid. So long story short, I was just playing around in the kitchen one morning and ended up with this delicious compote that came together in just about 10 minutes!

Ingredients
1/4 cup blueberries
juice of one lemon
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
lemon zest or lemon oil (optional)

Directions
1. Mash ripe blueberries with the back of a fork.
2. Add lemon juice, chia seeds, and zest.
3. Stir well to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the chia seeds expand and thicken the compote.
4. Enjoy over oats, breakfast quinoa, toast, pancakes, or just with a spoon!

Notes
*This is just for about 1 serving, feel free to double or triple the recipe. It will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
*If you’d like a smoother consistency, you can blend the lemon juice and blueberries before adding the chia seeds. Personally, I liked it chunkier.

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Monday Munchies: Frozen Acai Berry Purée

Acai bowls are a trendy LA treat, made from blending frozen acai berry purée with bananas, other berries, pineapple and the likes and then topped with additional fruit, shredded coconut, and granola. Acai berries are known for their high antioxidant and omega 3,6, and 9 content. While they are a dime a dozen out in LA, (dare I say they are the biscuits of the west coast?) it’s hard to find them in Nashville. Luckily, the brand Sambazon makes frozen acai berry purée packs. They have no added sugar and come individually wrapped in 4 portions – perfect for smoothies or bowls. Basically the only difference between a smoothie and a bowl is thickness, so if you can use less milk and more fruit and then add toppings you can eat it with a spoon much like a yogurt parfait. More often than not though, I’ve used these frozen packs in a smoothie for on the go convenience. My go to combo is acai purée, coconut water, and vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder. It pretty much works in place (or in addition to) any fruit in your favorite smoothie!

look how pretty the smoothie comes out!

 

my acai bowl in LA

my acai bowl inspiration in LA

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Traditional Italian food is often fried and loaded with cheese and refined carbs making it a total diet demolisher. So does that mean you can never enjoy the rich, gooey, flavorful goodness of pizza, baked ziti, or lasagna ever again? Of course not! But with inspiration from This Rawesome Vegan Life and the help of my partner in crime Stacey, we created a healthy alternative using cashews, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, and Italian spices. Raw cashews surprisingly take on a very creamy, savory flavor when mixed with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and spices. It’s a common base for many dairy-free cheese substitutes, even cream cheese! The sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli create a fresh, lighter version of classic oil-filled pesto to compliment the heavier cashew “cheese.” Seriously y’all, I loveeee pesto, but I think this may be my new favorite! Although it may seem complicated with all the different components of the recipe, I promise it only took us under an hour to prep, cook, and clean (all just in time for our weekly Scandal viewing!)

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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Ingredients
serves 2

2 zucchinis
1/2 cup diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
sprinkle of non-dairy cheese, optional (I tried almond cheese for the first time this week, but I also love daiya or Trader Joe’s brand)

Cashew “Cheese”
1/2 cup raw cashews
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano to taste

Sun-dried Tomato and Broccoli Pesto
1-2 cups broccoli (steamed and chopped)
handful sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 tsp olive oil (if the tomatoes aren’t packed in oil)
salt, pepper, basil to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare the cashew “cheese” by putting all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth. Remove and set aside.
3. Prepare sun-dried tomato and broccoli pesto by putting all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender, I preferred it on the chunkier side so I used a medium speed setting. Remove and set aside.
4. Cut zucchinis in half and scoop out the seeds to make room for the fillings.
5. Fill zucchini with tomatoes and then layer in cashew “cheese” and pesto (we alternated a dollop of each).
6. Optional, sprinkle your choice shredded non-dairy cheese.
7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and zucchini is softened.

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cashew “cheese”

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sun-dried tomato and broccoli pesto

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filling the zucchini

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mozzarella flavored cheese made from almonds – pretty mild taste and browns nicely!

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before the oven

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ready to eat (and watch Scandal!)

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bon appetit!