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Sarah Lawrence

Mac & Cheese

I've been hearing from a lot of you lately that you need some tasty, dairy and gluten free recipes for kids.  This one has been a GodSend in our home for years.  We use gluten free pasta, but if you're not gluten free you can use whatever you like!  The cheese sauce is also yummy served over rice with broccoli, drizzled over burritos or your favorite Mexican dish.  Thin it out as needed. Cut back on the Daiya if it's too thick for your taste.  Easy. Yummy. Comforting for the little ones who are just looking for the taste of something familiar. Freedom Mac and Cheese 4 servings, 15-30 minutes from start to finish.
  • 8 ounces pasta, any shape and gluten free if necessary
  • 1 package Daiya cheddar style Shreds (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 2 cups unsweetened milk product of your choice (rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, but definitely helps cheesy flavor and boosts B12)
If you are baking the mac and cheese, here is a topper/crust idea:
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or melted Earth Balance (to moisten and bind)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ tsp ground pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs, optional
If you’re going to be baking the mac and cheese, preheat oven to 350°F. Get your water boiling and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking: Prepare the cheese sauce by warming the alternative milk, Earth Balance and Daiya.  Over medium low heat, stir or whisk until cheese melts, then add the nutritional yeast and whisk to combine. If sauce is too thick for your liking just stream in a bit more of your milk choice and whisk to loosen the sauce.  My kids like a thicker, creamier sauce… but we’ve gone up to 3 cups of liquid and gotten a nice, thinner consistency that is more like Kraft mac and cheese from the box mixes. Toss the cooked pasta with the creamy sauce and either transfer it to serving bowls or to a casserole dish (if you’re baking it). For baked mac and cheese:  Top with the bread crumbs and paprika. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is bubbling and top is starting to brown.

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Sarah Lawrence

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Farm stand produce is such a beautiful inspiration this time of year. I found an amazing head of cauliflower that could have been an earthy pizza crust or doughy fritters, but I read this snippet in Food & Wine magazine recently about an epic Roasted Cauliflower Risotto. And so, it began... cauliflower risotto Assemble: 1 head of cauliflower, broken in florets then scattered on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for 15 minutes or until so fragrant and sweet that you can't stand it any longer. Let the cauliflower cool a bit and then chop it into smallish pieces. Set the tray aside. You will add this to the rice in a little while. 2 cloves of garlic + 1 sweet white onion, minced and softened in a large skillet in about 1 Tbsp olive oil or veg stock; you're looking for translucent, not browned, so low heat for about 10 minutes. 1 quart of great tasting vegetable stock - homemade or carton. 1 cup dry white wine or a crisp hard cider (optional, but adds lots of flavor) 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice -- add this to the softened onions and stir it really well to combine and coat the grains. Let the rice toast for a minute, then add wine or cider (if you're using) and let everything simmer for a few minutes until you can smell that the alcohol has cooked off. Then add 1/2 cup of veg stock and stir. You'll be doing this every 5-8 minutes as the stock is absorbed, so you need to stay near the pot. When you're down to about 1 cup of liquid left to add, stir in the cauliflower. Keep adding the stock until you've topped it off, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Because we're dairy free I don't add regular parmesan. When I made this dish though, I found a heavenly nugget of cashew parm that I made a few months back. Perfect, honestly, for this kind of dish, because I just chopped it and sprinkled it in for that cheesy, earthy yum factor. If you don't have any cashew cheese or if you're nut sensitive, consider adding a little tofu sour cream or even toasted hemp seeds and a sprinkle of finishing salt. More often than not, if you add a sprinkle of good salt to a dish that calls for parm you will be satisfied. Serve with a big salad and your tummy will be happy. **Reader's Response time: Do you like cauliflower? What is your favorite way to eat it? ~ one of my favorites is cauliflower poppers (roast florets and sprinkle with seasoning of choice).

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Sarah Lawrence

Tomato Soup, Onion Style

Soup is easily one of my favorite foods. Two superstars : tomato soup and french onion soup, for sure! With my pantry and cupboards lacking veg broth, I figured it might be worth a try to make Tomato soup, onion style.... (go ahead and let PSY's "Gangnam Style" be the soundtrack for this post if you must! Anyway, it couldn't be easier to make (& you can even dance while you do it!) Start with equal parts diced tomato and sliced onion. In a large pot, heat a tbsp of veg butter or your favorite mild oil. Add onion and cook over gentle heat until onions are golden and fragrant. For me and my pot, this took about 20 minutes. Add the tomato and an equal amount of water... I used 4 cups tomato, 4 cups onion and 4 cups water. Simmer until tomato has broken down. Then puree with an immersion blender or cool and puree in your Vitamix or regular blender. If the soup is too thick, just add a bit more water to get it where you want. The thickness makes it versatile though, so don't instantly go for the water. Consider using it as a sauce for red lentils (stir in a bit of coconut milk and curry powder). As a soup goes, it has the rich oniony base and robust tomato goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add torn basil for a treat. Throw in cooked rice for a hearty bowl (like I did for lunch). image Enjoy!

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Sarah Lawrence

Coconut Almond Cookie Dough Bites

Who hasn't snuck a knob of cookie dough at one point or another?  Well, these tasty bites are the perfect thing, really.  I’m not going to suggest that they’re healthy.  No, even I can’t go that far with a sweet.  But, as cookie dough goes, popping one or two of these little gems isn’t a horrible choice.  Coconut oil is a source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids and has multiple health benefits, but of greatest note in 2012 was the research that showed significant improvement in Alzheimers patients who used a coconut oil protocol.  Almond meal is the bulk of the dough so there is nothing overly processed and no gluten to gum up the gut.  If you want to take these bites over the top, you can coat them in chocolate and even add a few mini chips to the dough.  This recipe makes enough for a party.  The dough can also be stored in the freezer wrapped well in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag so you can make a few bites at a time. 006 Coconut Almond Cookie Dough Bites ½ cup coconut oil, room temperature ½ cup coconut sugar 1 tsp vanilla powder 1 ½ cups almond meal 1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, ½ for melting and ½ for dough (optional, but yummy!) In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and coconut sugar with the paddle attachment until the coconut sugar has “melted” into the oil and is no longer grainy.  Add the vanilla powder and almond meal.  Beat again for a few minutes to get the almond meal incorporated.   You will need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  The dough will not make a ball, but should keep together.  Because coconut oil is liquid at room temp, the dough will be soft.  At this point, if you want chocolate chips in the cookie, go ahead and stir in ¼ - ½ cup to suite your taste.  You can omit them and have a lovely treat all the same. Tip the batter into a smaller bowl and pop it into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to firm up.  If you leave it too long the dough will go quite solid and will need to sit at room temp for a bit to be soft enough to roll.  We are looking to be able to roll smallish, teaspoon size balls of dough.  You can make the dough balls larger, but this size is nice for popping as the occasional sweet treat and it’s also great for potlucks and parties. While the dough is firming up, take the ½ cup of mini chips and put them in a small heat proof bowl.  You need to melt the chips.  If you have a tried and true method, go ahead and get on with your renegade self.  If not, follow the leader… I boil water in the kettle and pour it into a pan that is a bit deeper and bigger than the bowl I chose for the chips.  I set the chip bowl carefully into the water bath, being sure that the water doesn’t get into the chips.  Leave the whole thing to warm for a few minutes, remove and stir the melted chips. Voila! Now back to the dough.  It should be a good temp for rolling so go ahead and scoop out teaspoons-full and roll them.  If your dough is too hard to scoop and roll, just leave it ococonut almond cookie dough bitesn the counter a minute to warm up again.  Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet or plate.  If the dough balls get too soft, you can pop the plate into the freezer to firm up before enrobing them in chocolate (doesn’t that sound so much sexier than dipping or drizzling?) Heavenly cookie dough balls, meet chocolate bath.  Roll them around in it and then rescue them gently with a spoon.  Place the drenched goodies onto a piece of wax paper or parchment or silpat.  They will need to go back to the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up the coating before serving, so if the whole operation is on a plate, that’s great.  Once the chocolate has set you can serve them or pop them off the plate and store in a freezer safe container.  For freezing, position the bites so they aren’t touching much, and separate layers with wax paper so they don’t stick. At room temp, the chocolate coating is fabulously finger licking good.  We like these best right out of the freezer when the dough is super cold and firm. For a variation, roll the dough balls in finely shredded coconut instead of chocolate… or, (mercy) roll in chocolate and then top with coconut! (You’re totally welcome!)

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Sarah Lawrence

Banana Goji Berry Smoothie

Add this guy to your smoothie list… this one tastes like banana while having the antioxidant benefits of the goji, omega 3’s from the flax oil and the killer nutrient punch from the kale.  It’s an earthy orange color and my kids gave it two thumbs up!  Nervous about adding kale or greens to your smoothie?  I was too... but the thing is that you really don't end up tasting them.  In this recipe, you taste the banana and the goji's and the color masks the greens well.  In some of my other recipes, I use blueberries or other berries to make the smoothies more appealing to the eye while also making them taste like fruit.  The BIGGEST ISSUE with adding greens to smoothies is usually the texture.  If you have a vitamix you'll be fine because that thing blends just about anything to a silky smooooooth perfection.  If you're using another blender you may find the texture to be grainy.  If that's the case you can try steaming the greens without any seasoning and then adding the wilted greens to the blender.  Another thing to note is that smoothies are a great way to incorporate your powdered probiotics.  I use a product that has a very high count of beneficial bacteria to manage my autoimmune imbalance.  Even though I use the unflavored version, it doesn't taste good when mixed with just water, so I pour out everyone elses portions of smoothie and then add in my packet, blend and I'm good to go! Looking for other smoothie recipes?  Use the search box on this page and type in “smoothie” or check out my smoothie page.  I am working to update the list.  We start every day with a fruit and vegetable packed smoothie, so I’ve not even typed up a fraction of the ones we’ve made… [caption id="attachment_505" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="This one is a nice earthy orange color"]Banana Goji Berry Smoothie[/caption] Banana Goji Berry Smoothie (serves 3) 3 bananas 2 cups almond milk 2 Tbsp flax oil ½ goji berries 2- 3 cups kale (I just pack the Vitamix with kale and blend) Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth. Serve.

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