Pistachio Falafel with Green Goddess Tahini & Avocado Dip

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Who doesn’t love a good Falafel with a yummy sauce to go along.  This Pistachio Falafel is baked crispy on the outside, but hearty and tasty on the inside.  Made with roasted salted GetCrackin Wonderful Pistachios No Shells instead of flour and fresh cilantro instead of parsley.  They are gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan.

When it comes to chickpeas, unless I’m making my own chickpea flour I only used canned chickpeas.  When making falafel I like to mash them up by hand.  A food processor is great, however I find is easier to mash them up quickly with a fork.  It takes two minutes and a just a little elbow grease.  Much less time then in takes to drag out the equipment and then all cleaning afterwards.

 

Then there’s the pistachios.  In this case I like to use my Magic Bullet with the flat attachment to create a pistachio flour, but a food processor works just as well.  I always like to leave a few nutty chunks which adds a little texture to the bite.

 

Pistachio Falafel

Ingredients:

1 15.5 oz can chickpeas

3/4 cup roasted & salted @getcrackin Wonderful Pistachios No Shells

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a bowl add the chickpeas and mash with fork into a chunky paste. Add the pistachios to a food processor or bullet with flat blade and pulse into a powder leaving a few pistachios chunks. Add the pistachio flour into the bowl with the mashed chickpeas along with the remaining ingredients and mash together well. Spray a baking sheet generously with olive oil spray. Roll the pistachio chickpea mixture with clean hands into 1 1/2 inch balls and place onto baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Spray tops of falafel balls with olive oil spray. Bake in 425 F oven for 30 minutes. Makes 8 falafel balls. Double up recipe for 16.

Green Goddess Tahini Avocado Dip

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon tahini

1/2 an avocado

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons water

salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients except water, salt and pepper to a bullet or food processor and pulse until thick and creamy.  Add a little water at a time and pulse until desired texture. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Pistachio Falafel and veggies.

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Lemon Olive Oil Chicken & Potatoes Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain.

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There is nothing like a one pan meal for a fast and easy dinner. This crispy skin lemon olive oil chicken and potatoes is made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain the worlds leading producer and exporter of olive oil.

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As the world leaders in olive oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain has won the most awards for quality and taste. Better quality olive oil makes better tasting food.

Considered by experts and consumers alike to be an essential ingredient in the cuisine of any country and the PREDIMED study of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil contains multiple properties that are beneficial to our health.  Consuming 2 spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to its high content of monounsaturated fats by 30%.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1800389

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You can find out more information about Olive Oils from Spain and what it has to offer here:

www.TasteTheTruth.org.

 

Ingredients

6 chicken thighs

3 large russet potatoes cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

6-8 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain

4-5 large cloves of garlic peeled and sliced lengthwise in half

3 lemons

4- tablespoons fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Season both side of the chicken with salt and pepper.  On the stove top in a large pan on medium high heat, heat 4-5 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain until hot but not smoking.  Once the oil is hot place the chicken skin side down into the pan.  Brown the chicken 4-5 minutes on each side and transfer to a plate leaving the excess juices in the pan.  Add another 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain to the pan and add the potatoes, garlic, ¼ cup of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the potatoes tossing often until they start to tender (about 5 minutes).  Transfer the chicken and potato mixture with all the juices onto a baking pan and spread out evenly.  Squeeze on the juice of another lemon and season with more salt and pepper.  Thinly slice a lemon and tuck the pieces into the mixture throughout.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the skin of the chicken is crispy and the potatoes are fully cooked and golden. Remove from oven and top with fresh parsley.

https://www.oliveoilsfromspain.org/

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Cauliflower “Meatballs”

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Spaghetti and meatballs was always one of my favorite meals growing up.  In fact I don’t know many people that don’t like it.  It’s seriously the best kind of comfort food.  A family favorite at one of those Sunday dinners or a side dish at a good Italian restaurant.

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But a good pasta dinner doesn’t always have to involve heavy carbs and meats. Veggie “Meatballs” and veggie noodles work just as good with the right seasonings and method.  And of course there is the sauce.  Whether it’s a tomato sauce or cream based sauce, a pesto or olive oil and garlic with fresh herbs, the sauce is what brings it all together.

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Pomi Organic Chopped Tomatoes worked perfectly with this dish.  The sauce is light and fresh and I didn’t need to add any additional ingredients.  It was just straight up garden fresh tomato goodness.

https://www.pomi.us.com/en-us/products/organic-line/organic-chopped-tomatoes-usa/26-6/

Pomi guarantees healthy and safe products that are 100% Italian and 100% sustainable from environmental, economical, ethical and social stand points. The tomatoes are 100% Italian, cultivated to respect the environment and the health of their consumers, while bringing a burst of flavor to each dish.

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These Cauliflower “Meatballs” are baked crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside.  The “meatiest meatball around!  You would never even know they are meatless. I used panko breadcrumbs to bind these all together but gluten free breadcrumbs, oats or even cooked quinoa does the job to suit any type of diet.  They can be made in advance and then frozen to be easily reheated into a quick easy meal.

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Cauliflower “Meatballs”

Ingredients:

6 cups riced cauliflower

1 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups seasoned panko breadcrumbs (sub gluten-free breadcrumbs, oats or cooked quinoa)

2 eggs

1 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Olive oil and olive oil spray for cooking

Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a large skillet on the stove top add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and heat on medium high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the riced cauliflower and cook stirring often until tender. About 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.  Once the cooked cauliflower rice is cooled add to a large bowl along with the remaining ingredients.   Combine well.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Gently roll cauliflower mixture between your hands into 2 inch balls and place onto baking sheet at least 1 inch apart.  Spray the tops with olive oil spray,  Bake in oven for 25- 30 minutes until tops of the meatballs are golden brown.  Serve with veggie noodles, pasta, with a salad or just as a snack.  Makes 14-16 meatballs.

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Shrimp with Tomatoes & Feta

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My grandparents always had tons of fresh mint and tomatoes growing in their garden and feta was always on the table along with some olives and good wine.  Growing up half Cypriot I’ve always had a taste for Mediterranean food so for me the flavors in this dish are far from the normal especially with the addition of the salty feta and fresh mint.

A Mediterranean twist on Shrimp Marinara this Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta has always been a favorite of mine.  I like to have it with orzo although any type of pasta, rice or even quinoa would work.  Another favorite way to eat it is with some toasted garlic bread.

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It’s important to use the best chopped tomatoes for the best flavors.  Pomi USA uses fresh tomatoes ripened under the sun, cut into delicious chunks and packaged on location to bring to the table an inimitable taste and are grown from selected seeds cultivated in Northern Italy.  Fields are located at an average distance of 50 km from processing establishments to guarantee the freshest quality, in other word “local”.

https://www.pomi.us.com/en-us/

https://www.instagram.com/pomi_kitchen/

Pomi USA tomatoes are 100% Italian, cultivated to respect the environment and the health of consumers, while bringing a burst of flavor to each dish.

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Ingredients:

1 lb. jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 cups Pomi USA CHOPPED TOMATOES

https://www.pomi.us.com/en-us/products/chopped-tomatoes/chopped-tomatoes-usa/26-6/

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

Cracked black pepper to taste

On the stove top heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat until hot but not smokey.  Add the onion and cook stirring occasionally until it becomes translucent and fragrant (about 3-4 minutes). Add the shrimp and garlic.  Cook the shrimp turning once 3-4 minutes so they just turn pink throughout.  Add the Pomi USA CHOPPED TOMATOES, mix well, bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for 5-7 minutes until flavors are combined and shrimp is cooked through.  Turn off the heat and sprinkle feta cheese over the top evenly.  Then garnish with fresh mint and cracked black pepper.  Serve with orzo, rice or quinoa.

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Brussels Sprouts & Potato Hash

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Ingredients

2 cups brussels sprouts shredded

1 large russet potato

1 cup red onion roughly chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Start by precooking the potato. Scrub potato and pierce with a fork.  Wrap loosely in a paper towel, place on microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes.  If you don’t like to use a microwave bake in oven on 400 F (without paper towel) for 45-50 minutes until tender.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes then gently peel off the skin.  Dice the potato into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a medium large pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the red onion and cook until they start to sweat and become fragrant.  Add the shredded brussels, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes until veggies start to caramelize.  Add the potatoes and drizzle in another 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Season with more salt and pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes stirring often until potatoes start to brown.  Serve with fried eggs.

Serves 3-4

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Pistachio Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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Cauliflower Crust

Ingredients:

3 cups frozen cauliflower, riced

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs beaten

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Heat a pan on the stove top to medium high heat and add the riced cauliflower.  Cook stirring occasionally until tender.  Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a fine strainer or a clean dish towel and squeeze as much of the excess liquid out as possible.  This helps keep the crust together. Add the cauliflower to a bowl along with the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder and eggs and combine well. It should form into a doughy consistency.  Place mixture onto a parchment lined sheet pan, spread out and flatten evenly into desired shape.  Bake in oven for 25 minutes until edges are golden.

Pistachio Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup lightly salted Get Crackin Wonderful Pistachios No Shells

1 cup fresh basil packed

1 cup fresh parsley packed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Topping suggestions:  Mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes, caramelized onions, fresh basil, crushed pistachios, fried egg

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until combined and smooth.  Add salt and pepper to adjust taste as necessary.  Spread as much of the pistachio mixture on top of the cauliflower crust as desired.

Top with more mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes.  Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and top with caramelized onions, fresh basil, crushed pistachios and a fried egg.

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The Hidden Sugar Effect

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This content is sponsored by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

What are hidden sugars and what harm can they do to you?  On average Americans eat 22 teaspoons of sugar per day without even realizing it.

Incorporating too much sugar in your diet causes an excess of insulin in the blood stream, which triggers high blood pressure and causes the liver to store fat more efficiently.  Over time this can lead to globules of fat build up around the liver and can increase the chances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

There are many foods we would never expect to include hidden sugars.  It’s inevitable that a huge source of hidden sugars comes from sugary drinks but much of these sugars also come from the unexpected.  A few examples of these foods include high carb foods such as bagels and breads, potatoes and baked goods like muffins and cookies.  Other foods, which we would least expect, include ketchup, jarred tomato sauces, bananas, dried fruits and corn.

Source:  https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/hidden-sugars

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The best way to avoid hidden sugars is to eat real whole foods like vegetables, high-fiber, low glycemic fruits (like berries) which contain natural sugars, lean meats and a moderate intake of protein, eggs, and foods that are a source of healthy fats like avocados and olive oil.

You can find out more information about “The Hidden Sugar Effect” — foods that you think are healthy that actually turn into sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugars, but your body does — and how sugar effects your health on the Atkins website here:

https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/10-ways-sugar-harms-your-health

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This Veggie Noodle Salad with Grilled Chili Lime Shrimp is the perfect low sugar, low carb recipe.  Its colorful, nutritious, appetizing and filled with flavors.  It’s the perfect addition to any BBQ, as a salad or a side dish and super easy to make!

Veggie Noodle Salad with Chili Lime Shrimp

1 medium zucchini, spiralized

1 medium summer squash, spiralized

1 large carrot, spiralized

1 ½ cups red cabbage, shredded

1 cup snow peas, shredded (sub. shelled edamame)

1 ½ cups red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

½ cup scallions

4 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

4 Tablespoons coconut aminos (sub. soy sauce)

2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2-3 Tablespoon lime juice

½ tsp. chili flakes

2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

1 Handful cilantro, roughly chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the zucchini, squash, carrot, red cabbage, snap peas and red bell pepper.  In a separate small bowl or Mason jar add the toasted sesame oil, coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, chili flakes, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.  Blend and emulsify until well combined.

Pour the dressing mixture over the veggies and toss to coat.  Season with more salt and pepper and top with cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds.

Chili Lime Shrimp

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 clove garlic, chopped

¼ cup fresh lime juice

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Add the olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper to a medium bowl or a mason jar.  Blend and emulsify until well combined.  Add the shrimp and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Skewer the shrimp and grill on each side for 2-3 minutes until shrimp turns pink or bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

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