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Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Making your own dressings is a much simpler endeavor than many people realize.You not only have absolute control over your ingredients which assures that there won’t be any allergens or unwanted additives, it’s also 100% better tasting and you can tweak it to your own personal tastes! Most will last a week in the fridge, and if you eat as many salads and veggies as we do, you’ll get through it in plenty of time!

GREEN GODDESS: Traditional Green Goddess dressing is actually not made with avocados, but when you have something as green, creamy and full of nutritional goodness as an avocado is, why not include it! This dressing is pretty zingy from the green onion and garlic, so if you prefer something a little calmer, just use less. My son is a huge fan of ranch dressing, and he LOVES this one. I used fresh parsley as the herb because that’s what I had on hand, but when my herb garden is flourishing this summer, I would also add tarragon, chives, or perhaps even make a version with Basil, as the Barefoot Contessa has done here, though I would still add my beloved avocado 😉 And speaking of ingredients, I’ve discovered that not all sour cream is created equally (or healthfully!) Many have a long list of ingredients which include additives. The commercial brand I buy is Daisy, which contains only Grade A cultured cream. Yay, Daisy!! They get an A+ from me, and they get my business!!

Gretchen’s Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 C chopped green onions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh parsley (or blend of herbs such as tarragon, basil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C half and half if needed for consistency

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Store in refrigerator in airtight container up to one week. Makes about 2 cups. (10g net carb per batch, 1.25g net carb per 1/4C)

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

CARROT GINGER: Most of us who have been to sushi or hibachi restaurants have tried their simple iceberg salad with a Carrot Ginger dressing (most likely eaten with chopsticks!). I’ve always enjoyed the color and spirited flavors, and decided to give this one a try as well. I did steam the carrots slightly to make them easier to blend in my Ninja, but if your machine is powerful enough, you could just use them raw. I don’t think this is an exact replica of the dressing, but we sure enjoyed it last night on a simple salad to accompany a Broccoli Beef stir fry! I use light olive oil in this recipe because extra virgin olive oil has a much stronger taste that I do not prefer with the other flavors. Of course, use whichever olive oil you like. I prefer to get the flavor from a little bit of sesame oil… just be aware, sesame oil has a very strong flavor, and a little goes a long ways!

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • 3/4 C chopped carrot, lightly steamed
  • 1/2 C onion, diced
  • 2 Tb fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 light olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 5Tb rice vinegar
  • 1Tb tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sweetener (optional, I used Truvia)
  • 2Tb lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to one week. Makes about 1.5 cups. (22g net carb for batch, about 1g net carb per Tb.) 

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Carrot Ginger Dressing

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Thick Chops Roasted with Pesto Balsamic Marinade and Tomatoes

Pesto Balsamic Chops

Pesto Balsamic Chops

I just posted about making my annual pesto for the freezer, so that I can carry a bit of late summer with me in the kitchen all year long! Here is a recipe that I made with the pesto, just to show you how versatile it is as a seasoning. This is a very simple marinade because most of the work is already done by using the pesto, which contains basil, garlic, olive oil, nuts and Parmesan cheese. It’s also great on chicken or as a marinade for grilled meats and seafood (awesome on grilled shrimp!)

Thick Chops Roasted with
Pesto Balsamic Marinade and Tomatoes

  • Chops and tomatoes, ready for the oven.

    Chops and tomatoes, ready for the oven.

    3 large boneless pork loin chops
    (these were about 1 1/4″ thick or slightly more)

  • 1/2C fresh pesto (or frozen, thawed or jarred)
  • 1/4C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, roughly diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread the tomatoes in a casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Combine pesto and balsamic vinegar; spread evenly over both sides of chops as well as the sides.
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until meat reaches 165-170 using a meat thermometer (or to desired doneness.) Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving. (Also great on the grill.) Serve topped with the roasted tomatoes.

I served this with a side of sauteed veggies including broccoli, purple cabbage and brussel sprouts. I’m sorry for not getting a better photo of this all plated up, but it was eaten too quickly! Very juicy and tender, and incredibly easy. Great for a busy weeknight when you don’t have a lot of time to spend on preparation!

Tender and delicious, Pesto Balsamic Roasted Chops

Tender and delicious, Pesto Balsamic Roasted Chops

 

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Sundried Tomato Basil Crackers with Almond Flour

Sundried Tomato Basil Almond Flour Crackers.

We haven’t had almond flour crackers in a while, so today I was thinking that I wanted to experiment with a different flavor combination. What came to mind was sundried tomato and basil, which is a classic pairing that we used to enjoy when we made home made bread (I know, I know… banish the thought!) The result was delicious! I also included homemade gomasio (sesame salt), since I just made a batch earlier today. This is a slightly chewier cracker than the ones I have done before that include shredded cheese, but very tasty and satisfying. They are super simple to make, I hope you enjoy!

Combine all ingredients in food processor.

 

Place dough between sheets of parchment, and roll out to 1/8″ thick

Cut into shapes, sprinkle with gomasio and bake per recipe instructions.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Don’t they look yummy?!

Sundried Tomato Basil Almond Flour Crackers

  • 1 C almond flour
  • 1 Tb olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 2 Tb water
  • 1/4 C sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp gomasio (or 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  1. Heat oven to 325.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and combine until the mixture comes together.
  3. Form dough into a ball and flatten between 2 sheets of baking parchment.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll dough evenly until about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Leaving the dough on the parchment, smooth out the jagged edges, and cut the crackers into squares or rectangles, whichever you prefer. (If desired, sprinkle with more gomasio before baking.)
  6. Gently separate crackers, keeping them on the bottom parchment, and bake for about 6 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, carefully turn each cracker over, and put back in oven for an additional 4-6 minutes. Watch crackers carefully, as almond flour can burn easily.
  8. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Serve with cheese or toppings of your choice. We used extra sharp white cheddar today.

 

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Quick Eggy Breakfast

Broccoli Mushroom Scramble

Yesterday was a tough day… NO energy, extreme fatigue, ugh! It made me wonder whether I had accidentally ingested some gluten because “brain fog” is an understatement to how I was feeling! Without body aches and pains though, I had to think it was something else. One thing about going off gluten and eating low carb, is that my appetite isn’t what it once was, and I sometimes forget to eat… so last night my hubby busted me for not having breakfast and snacks during the day. It’s harder to eat when you’re not hungry!

Today I decided to make sure I had a nice dose of protein to start my day, along with a few mineral-rich veggies tossed in to round things out. I can’t say yet whether it will get my energy back on track, but I am hoping so!

What do you do differently when you notice that you are fatigued?
Does it help you to address it with diet?
Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I would love to hear them!!!

Broccoli Mushroom Scramble

  • 1 Tb olive oil or butter
  • 3 small stalks baby broccoli
  • 1/4 C sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tb cream
  • 2 Tb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 roma tomato, sliced

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute broccoli, mushrooms and garlic gently for a couple minutes, until broccoli is tender. Beat eggs with cream and add to pan, scrambling just like normal scrambled eggs. When the eggs are almost done, add the cheese and transfer to a plate along with the sliced tomatoes.

 

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Dilled Salmon with Zucchini and Mushrooms (GF)

Here’s another easy salmon (or any rich fish) recipe… if you’re waiting for something more complicated, sorry! I tend to favor quick, easy and nutritious when it comes to weekday meals. I almost consider this more of a Method, than I do a recipe, because there are endless variations that I throw together depending what I have on hand. One of the reasons I like the fish and veggie combination, is that they can both cook together in under 20 minutes!

Method: In this case I seasoned the salmon with extra virgin olive oil, dried dill and fresh lemon, along with sprinklings of other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, kosher salt and fresh black pepper. The veggies are 2 small chopped zucchinis, a cup or so of quartered crimini mushrooms (baby bellas) and 1/4 of a sweet orange bell pepper. The veggies received the same seasonings as the fish, with the addition of a splash of balsamic vinegar and then a few tablespoons of heavy cream in the last 5 minutes of cooking. The whole thing cooked at 400 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, with the cream added in at the 12 minute mark. It’s so quick and very tasty!

 

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Burger Salad and Sweet Potato Fries

Burger Salad with Sweet Potato Fries is a great warm weather indulgence!

It’s been one of those weeks, where finding time to sit at the computer has been a challenge, and even more so because we’ve been having broadband issues, which I THINK (after 3 service calls) are finally cleared up! With Spring being here in full swing, it’s been a lot more tempting to work in the yard and garden than do housework, or even cook… so the meals this past week have been incredibly simple and focused mainly on veggies. I didn’t want to bore everyone with images of all the steamed baby broccoli, zucchini, bok choy and sliced oranges I’ve been eating, so I waited until I had something a little more interesting or useful to post. So here it is….

Burger Salad and Sweet Potato Fries

Being beautiful outside leads to grilling, and grilling can lead to burgers, MMMM! As someone who doesn’t eat gluten, when preparing something like a burger, you have two main choices: bake or buy gluten free buns, or skip the bun entirely and rely on other things to make dinner delicious. Since we are striving for lower-carb, I skipped the buns this time and opted for a “burger salad”, and indulged in sweet potato fries as a side instead.YUM!

Why Sweet Potatoes? Some people only think of sweet potatoes at the holidays, but they are truly a nutritional gold mine and can be incorporated more often. The glycemic load is 17 (lower is better), while a red potato is 26. Sweet potatoes are also known to be strongly anti-inflammatory, and choosing anti-inflammatory foods helps ease or prevent joint and muscle pain as well as ease digestive issues caused by internal inflammation. While it is definitely a carbohydrate, it is a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, B6, Vitamin A&C, and manganese.

The Fries: If you haven’t made sweet potato fries before, I can assure you, it’s very easy and tasty too. They are versatile as well. You can choose to cut them thick or thin, in rounds or sticks, and peeled or unpeeled. I choose unpeeled, medium thin sticks.You basically just bake them at 425 degrees for around 15 minutes, loosening them from the pan and turning them every 5 minutes or so. Be sure to coat them in olive oil, and I used garlic salt, onion powder, fresh ground pepper, and a dash of cinnamon to season these. Of course you can spice it up even more if you like, using cumin, cayenne or even chili powder, depending on your tastes. Super simple! If you want them ever crispier, you may choose to coat them with corn starch before baking, but I didn’t do that for carb reasons.

The Burger salad: Is essentially a burger laid on a bed of salad that is made up of things that usually top the burger. In this case, after grilling (or baking, or pan searing) the super lean burgers were topped with a little blue cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and covered with a slice of Swiss which I melted under the broiler for a couple minutes. The “salad” was shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocados, and typical burger dressing of light mayo and mustard. The guys loved it and never even complained about not having a bun! This was a heavier meal than what we’ve been eating most of the week, but every once in awhile, a little indulgence is good.

 

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2-Egg Spinach Omelet with Tomato

Simple and pretty, adding spinach to the eggs in an omelet makes for a visual treat and extra nutrition as well. I can't wait until I have garden-fresh tomatoes to add in this summer!


To begin with, I heated a 10" non-stock skillet with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, and added a nice handful of fresh organic spinach leaves. Continue to saute until they are wilted nicely.

I love Omelets!

Next, arrange the spinach so that it is spread around the pan, add a teaspoon of butter (allowing it to melt), and pour in the 2 eggs which have been lightly beaten with about a tablespoon of water.

After the eggs have been cooking (covered to steam) for a few minutes over medium-low heat, and the egg is appearing to be firmed with small bubbles, layer the cheese and tomato on one half of the omelet.

They bring to mind crispy hash-browns and good coffee at diners we’ve visited throughout our travels. The variety and possibilities for fillings are endless and I’ve enjoyed so many different combinations. Greek style with lamb, tomato, feta… Philly Steak with mushrooms, onions, peppers and Swiss… Potatoes in, potatoes out… you get the idea!

At our house we enjoy making omelets as well, and they range from something packed with leftovers, to simple and a little elegant. THAT is where the spinach comes in; spinach and eggs are a heavenly combination that should not be reserved only for quiche!

I think the keys to a successful omelet are to use a non-stick pan large enough for the egg to spread out thinly, and to have the patience to cook it slowly over a lower heat so that the bottom doesn’t cook too fast, which leaves the middle gooey. I add water to my omelets instead of milk or cream, I just find that I like the results better, but you can use whatever works for you.

2-Egg Spinach Omelet with Tomato

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • handful off fresh organic spinach leaves
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 2 eggs beaten with 1Tb water
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, diced
  • 3Tb finely shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
  • Salt, pepper and herbs to taste
  1. To begin with, heat a 10″ non-stock skillet with a couple teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat, and add a nice handful of fresh organic spinach leaves. Saute these until they are wilted nicely.
  2. Next, change the heat to medium-low, arrange the spinach so that it is spread around the pan, add a teaspoon of butter (allowing it to melt), and pour in the 2 eggs which have been lightly beaten with about a tablespoon of water.Cover and allow to cook slowly for several minutes or until the egg appears semi-firm and may have small bubbles on the surface.
  3. Layer the cheese and tomatoes along with seasonings on one half of the omelet
  4. Replace the lid after adding the fillings, to allow the cheese to melt and the omelet to finish cooking, just another minute or so. Carefully slide a flexible spatula under the edge that doesn’t have fillings, and flip it on top of the tomatoes and cheese. Slide onto a plate and garnish with berries!
 

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