Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing – Gluten Free and Vegan

This recipe is vegan and gluten free creamy cilantro-lime dressing is simple and delicious! - thesimplehive.com

It’s summertime in Texas, which means is a jillion degrees outside and I’m not kidding even a little bit.

As you may know, when it’s a jillion degrees outside, it can be difficult to find the desire to eat.

Or run.

Or move at all.

As the temps soar, I tend to lose my drive to spend time in the kitchen.  Since there are people in my house who think they must eat every single day, multiple times even, I found myself in the kitchen just long enough to make this salad.

Go me!

The salad is really just leftovers piled randomly so you can get creative here.  I used romaine, spinach, baby kale as the base and topped it with a chopped vegan veggie burger, some roasted acorn squash and garnished it with guacamole and radishes.

Creamy cilantro-lime dressing that is vegan and gluten-free. Simple and delicious! - thesimplehive.com

 

After piling all the goodness in the bowl, it called for something cool and creamy.  Not wanting to undo all the hard work I’ve been putting into keeping healthy, I opted for a light vegan dressing with just the right amount of creaminess to think I was being bad.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

1 c. coconut yogurt (unsweetened)

a handful of cilantro

juice from half a lime

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except the apple cider vinegar in a mason jar or blender.  I went the mason jar route since I have an ancient blender and the blender blade and ring fits the jar.  Easy and no mess.

Vegan and gluten free creamy cilantro-lime dressing. - thesimplehive.com

 

Blend until all the cilantro is chopped and the dressing takes on a uniform green color.

Taste to adjust salt and pepper.  At this point, add the apple cider vinegar if you want a tangy dressing.  You can also add more lime.  Whatever floats your boat.

Drizzle it on a salad for a healthy meal or use it as a healthy dip for fresh, seasonal vegetables.

Creamy cilantro-lime dressing. Gluten free and vegan. - thesimplehive.com

 

For more healthy meal inspiration, visit my Fit Foodies Pinterest group board.  If you are interested in contributing to the board, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to add you!

Follow Sherry Lyle of TheSimpleHive’s board Fit Foodies on Pinterest.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Healthy gluten-free and vegan options for easy lunches. - thesimplehive.com

I’m on a mission to feel better and have more energy and so far, it’s working!  I have been doing yoga on a regular basis and fitting a little running in when time allows, but mostly, I’ve been making healthier food choices.  Over the last few years, I have fallen into a bad habit of letting lunchtime get the best of me.  We homeschool so we can exercise healthy food choices, but we don’t always do it.  Some days we are knee-deep in schoolwork and don’t allow for a real lunch break.  We eat while discussing our latest math concept or history timeline.  That’s not always a bad thing, but doing these things over sandwiches and chips is not so great.

I’m not knocking sandwiches.  They are what you make them. For the chips, I have no strong argument.  I will say, there was a time in my life I didn’t eat chips.  I never even bought them.  Five years ago, after discovering the need to eat a gluten-free diet, I began substituting the wheat snack crackers I once enjoyed with chips.  What was I thinking?  I wasn’t.  It wasn’t thinking about the extra fat and empty calories until the extra pounds began layering themselves on my person.  It isn’t a daily thing, but I put chips on my plate more often than I care to admit and my thighs are angry about it.  They’re not gonna take it anymore!  (You’re singing Twisted Sister in your head right now, aren’t you?  Sorry.) Continue reading “Healthy Lunch Ideas”

Gluten-Free Vegan Recipe for Veggie Burgers & Meatballs

Versatile recipe for #glutenfree and #vegan veggie burgers and meatballs. - thesimplehive.com

After IKEA announced its new vegan meatballs, I began craving meatballs.  Obsessively craving is a more accurate description.

Well played IKEA.

Because of this craving and the fact that the nearest IKEA is more than an hour from home, I rummaged through my pantry and freezer to see if I could satisfy the obsession.  What I ended up with was the most delicious veggie burger in existence.

Makes sense in my head.

To clarify, I did make some of the mixture into meatballs using a small scoop and baking them until firm.  They were a nice addition to top of some gluten-free spaghetti.  But I just couldn’t leave well enough alone and thought, what if?

That question usually leads me down a long and winding road, sometimes leading to success and sometimes leading to a new lesson learned.  This time it led me to an easy and delicious veggie burger.  If all roads were this easy to travel, my life would be less interesting.

Let me give you a little nutrient breakdown so you can fully appreciate this humble little burger.  With this knowledge, you can feel good about what you are using as fuel for the amazingly complicated machine that is your body.

The chickpeas and green peas pack a protein punch while providing iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C.

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, so sneak it in whenever possible.  It is high in vitamins A, B6, C and K and minerals such as manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium.  Fiber and protein are some more benefits of kale, so eat up Buttercup!

Sorry I called you Buttercup.

Ground psyllium husks act as a binder to keep the form of the patty while providing fiber.  Fiber helps control blood sugar, promotes cardiovascular health and helps provide a feeling of fullness, thereby aiding weight loss.  It also helps to keep your skin healthy, did ya know?  It helps move yeast and fungus from the body so they don’t have a chance to be excreted through the skin, triggering acne or rashes.  Fiber also helps keep things moving along ifyouknowwhatImean.

Flax meal also acts as a binder while providing a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans.  It also is a good source of fiber.  Again with the fiber!

Continue reading “Gluten-Free Vegan Recipe for Veggie Burgers & Meatballs”

Vegan Triple Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

#glutenfree and #vegan recipe for healthy and delicious triple chocolate cookies.  Only 5 ingredients! - thesimplehive.com

As simple as this recipe is, I can’t believe it’s so delicious!  I had to eat two just to be sure I wasn’t mistaken.  Maybe I should eat another just to be completely sure of its deliciousness.  I do what I can to ensure honest evaluations.  I’m here for you!

This recipe happened because the girls and I needed a little chocolate to push through our day.  Homeschooling can be hard, folks!

This was a perfect way to integrate life skills into our day.  The recipe is so simple, even a five-year old can do it and she did!  I have found that my little picky eater is more likely to eat the foods she helps make.  Get the kids in the kitchen and make these healthy chocolate cookies.

Continue reading “Vegan Triple Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies”

Fruit Gazpacho

Fruit gazpacho recipe - the simple hive

I give all fruits equal opportunity, but I love when pineapples and mangoes are in season.  I play favorites.  It’s not right, but I do.

When my favorite fruits are available, I make them into gazpacho de frutas, or fruit gazpacho.

This is simple recipe that can be modified to suit your tastes or to use whatever fruits you have on hand.

Continue reading “Fruit Gazpacho”

Vegan Shamrock Shake

Vegan Shamrock Shake - the simple hive

After seeing recipes for Shamrock Shakes all over Pinterest, I decided to try a healthier spin.  After all, I’m not getting any younger, or healthier, and pounds aren’t as easy to shed as they once were.  I can’t do anything about getting older, but I can do something to be healthier.

Go away extra pounds!  You aren’t welcome here.

Because I like ice cream, but still want to be able to fit into my jeans, I came up with a healthy and delicious Shamrock shake that is filled with energy-giving foods.  Because St. Patrick’s Day is just around the bend, and because I want you to be able to fit into your jeans too, I’m sharing the love.

Continue reading “Vegan Shamrock Shake”

Gluten-free and Peanut-free Peanut Sauce

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Say what?! How can peanut sauce not have peanuts? By simple definition, it would be a sauce made with, or containing, peanuts.

Not in this house, it doesn’t. And…it’s gluten-free!

Three of my four children are peanut allergic so “peanut” is a four-letter word in our house. Yes, I know the word peanut actually has six letters, but you know what I mean. Or, maybe you don’t. Maybe I’m confusing you. I’m confusing myself. It happens all the time.

Before I completely loose my marbles, let me pass along one of the tastiest UNpeanut sauce recipes that I have ever tasted. I should have titled this post “Unpeanut Sauce”. That way people would be buzzing about the new unpeanut sauce in town. It’d be all the rage. I’m sure it would go viral.

To clarify, I have tried many different variations of sauces to mimic peanut sauce for my gluten-free chicken imperial roll recipe, which was recently pinned by BlogHer on Pinterest, by the way (*cough*shameless plug). Actually, they pinned the old blog post, but whatever, I’ll take it!

Since sunflower seed butter is our go-to replacement for peanut butter, I tried subbing it, but the sauce always fell short of my expectations. For the most part, I settled into thinking I would be stuck with only plum sauce in which to dunk the delicious rolls.

Last night, I was a woman on a mission. I blended and tweaked until I came up something that took me back in time to my peanut-eating glory days!

I didn’t take pictures of the process because it was really very simple. I threw all the ingredients in a regular mason jar, screwed on the blender blade and ring and let it whirl. I did stop once to scrape the sunflower seed butter off the sides and then blended it again.

Here’s what you need to make the “unpeanut” sauce:

2/3 c. gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
2 TBSP. rice vinegar
2 TBSP. apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sunflower seed butter
Sriracha to taste*

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and there are no visible chunks of garlic.

*If you have many people in your home with varying tastes for spicy, the Sriracha can be left out of the original blend. When serving, add a dollop of Sriracha on top of the sauce in individual bowls.

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Serve it up with these lovely rolls, which were pinned by Blogher on Pinterest.  Did ya hear?

 


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Make sushi at home

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Please forgive me.  It has been a few weeks since my last post.  I have been busy and this is beginning to sound like a confession of sorts.  What a weird way to begin a blog post.  But, by  now you know me and would expect nothing less.

Now that this month of crazy is coming to an end, I promise I’ll be better at trying to post more regularly.  Don’t you love my commitment?  I’ll be better at trying to post more regularly.  Don’t be like me.

But, if you’re already like me, you need to eat gluten-free to be healthy. Also, if you’re like me, you prefer to stay at home in your t-shirt and yoga pants and have dinner and a movie night with the family.  Fun for all ages!

Although, sushi is healthy, store-bought or restaurant sushi is typically not gluten-free. The seaweed wraps and rice do not contain gluten, but the fillings can contain soy sauce, which contains gluten.

What’s a gluten-free girl to do?

She makes her own at home. That’s what!

Here’s what you need:

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bamboo mat

Nori (aka seaweed wraps)

1.5 cups Jasmine or sushi rice (cooked with 3 cups of water)

4 oz. smoked salmon (sliced into long strips)

1 cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into strips)

1 avocado (sliced)

wasabi sauce

rice vinegar

gluten-free tamari or soy sauce

 

Here’s what you do:

Measure out rice and water into a pan and set on high heat.  When the water begins to boil, turn down to low heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and fluff with a fork or rice paddle.

I would advise letting the rice cool, with the lid off, for several minutes so you don’t burn off your finger tips.  You will need those in the future.

Lay out the bamboo mat.  You can buy a mat specifically for sushi, or you can do what I do and use a place mat.  I have also been known to roll the sushi without a mat.  I’m a rebel.

Place a sheet of nori on top.  Sprinkle cooled rice over the nori, leaving about a quarter of an inch border on the bottom edge and about a half-inch along the top edge.  It only takes about a half cup of cooked rice for each roll.  Dip your fingers into a small bowl of rice vinegar to keep the rice from sticking and press the rice into an even layer across the nori.

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Make a horizontal indentation with your fingers along the middle of the rice and add a strip of salmon, cucumber and avocado slices extending from one side to the other.  It’s ok if you don’t go all the way to the edges, as you will trim the ends to make it all look pretty.

Squeeze a generous amount of wasabi sauce along the filling.  I like it hot, some like it not.  Do whatever makes you and your loved ones happy.  Or, surprise them and sit back and enjoy the show.

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Dip your fingers into the vinegar again and moisten the top edge of the nori.  Working quickly, roll the nori away from you and over the fillings all the way to the top edge, making sure it seals evenly across.  Use the mat or towel to lift and roll.

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Let sit, seam side down, while making the remaining rolls.

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When all rolls are complete, trim the ends with a sharp knife and slice into 1-inch pieces.  Between cuts, wipe the knife for cleaner slices.  It’s nice to have a friend who is willing to eat the ugly end pieces to destroy the evidence of you being anything but perfect in your sushi-rolling endeavors.

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I usually make my sushi in advance and cover and refrigerate until the chaos has subsided and we are all ready to sit down together.

When ready to serve. Make a dipping sauce with the wasabi sauce, tamari or soy sauce and rice vinegar mixed together.  I use small bowls for the sauce so that everybody can make their own according to their own tastes.

We buy frozen edamame to eat with our sushi.  Five minutes in the microwave and it’s ready to sprinkle with coarse sea salt and to eat.

Making sushi at home is easy and inexpensive. I can feed my family a meal of sushi and edamame for under $10. The fact that I can wear a t-shirt and yoga pants and watch a movie while I eat is a bonus.

Sayonara folks!

Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot

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Yes, I know Crock Pot is a brand of slow cooker, but I’m an old dog and I grumble when I’m forced to learn new tricks.  Add that to being raised in Texas where all slow cookers are referred to crock pots and it’s doubly embedded in my brain.  The only crock pot (there I go again)  in my house that I don’t call a crock pot is the Ninja.  I like the idea of having a ninja as a sous chef.  I’ll bet they are proficient with the knife.  I also like being able to say things like, “The ninja is cooking dinner tonight”.  And I especially love yelling, “Don’t let the ninja burn down the house!” as I walk out the door.  Confusing my family is one of my gifts.

To say I love my crock pots is an understatement.  I have a very close, personal relationship with my crock pots that most people don’t understand and, really, neither do I.

Crock pot is a member of the family.

Crock pot is swell.

Homemade yogurt is the most recent culinary delight that crock pot concocted in my kitchen.

Now, I have made yogurt before using various methods.  The yogurt maker I had, left me with a very thin yogurt that just wasn’t my thing.  When making it using a Thermos, I was limited with the small capacity.  With the crock pot, I can make a huge batch!  This is important because we eat massive quantities of yogurt around here.

This recipe is a result of tweaking a basic recipe until I reached the desired flavor and consistency.

You will need:

  • 1/2 gallon of  whole milk (2% will work, but result in a slightly thinner yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt (if using a thinner yogurt for a starter culture, double the amount)
  • 1/2 c. powered milk
  • a crock pot (aka slow cooker)
  • ice chest large enough to house the crock pot wrapped in towels
  • towels (to insulate the crock pot)

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Pour the milk into the crock pot.  Cover and turn to high heat.

Now go on about your business for the next two hours.  That’s about how long it will take for the milk to reach 180 degrees (Fahrenheit).  At this point, remove the lid and turn off the heat.

Let the milk cool to 115 degrees.  Stir the milk periodically and test with a thermometer after stirring.  As the milk cools, it will form a skin on the surface.  Remove the milk skin and try not to gag as the words “milk skin” rattle around your brain.

When the milk reaches 115 degrees, whisk in the powdered milk making sure to not have any lumps.  I run the powdered milk through a mesh strainer to get rid of any lumps before adding to the liquid milk.  It works. Do it.

Stir in the yogurt and mix completely.  Only 2-4 tablespoons of yogurt is needed as a starter.  The lovely bacteria need plenty of room to go forth and multiply.  Resist the urge to add more yogurt than necessary.  It will not result in a thicker yogurt.

Place a large towel in the bottom of your cooler.  Put the whole crock pot into the cooler and place another towel or two on top.  Then bring up the bottom towel to wrap the crock pot entirely and shut the cooler lid.

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Now, here’s the hard part.

Walk away.

Just walk away.

Leave the crock pot in the insulated cooler for 10-12 hours.  No peeking!

After 10 hours, check on the yogurt.  If it’s the consistency you like, then you can move it into separate containers and place in the fridge.

I usually begin the yogurt making process early in the morning so that the yogurt is ready to place in the refrigerator, crock and all, right before I go to bed.  In the morning, I transfer the yogurt into four 16 oz. jars.

I leave a couple of the jars plain so they are versatile.  We use yogurt in smoothies, in place of sour cream and for baking.

The remaining yogurt is made into creamy vanilla yogurt.  You can use any sweetener you like, but I like the “no added sugar” approach so I use 12-15 drops of Vanilla Stevia per 16 ounces of yogurt.

gluten-free granola with homemade yogurt
gluten-free granola with homemade yogurt

Top a bowl of vanilla yogurt with homemade gluten-free crunchy pecan and coconut granola and you will be happy you did.

Tip:  Don’t eat all the yogurt!  Save 2-4 tablespoons to use as a starter culture for the next batch.

Do your gut a favor and give probiotics a chance!

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cilantro pesto with zucchini noodles – perfect for St. Patrick’s Day

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I made this for dinner tonight and it knocked my socks off!  It was a cinch to prep, it’s gluten-free and would be a perfect addition to your St. Patrick’s Day feast, being green and all.

In order to get this posted so you all have plenty of time to gather your ingredients, I am posting this while pretty close to a long-day-after-dinner coma.  Please forgive me for any misspellings and poor sentence structure that may result.  (Not that poor grammar doesn’t happen any other time.  Nope, not here.)

Here’s what you need for the pesto:

  • 2 bunches of fresh cilantro
  • 6-8 medium size cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 c. pecan halves
  • 3/4 c. sunflower or olive oil
  • salt to taste (I used Celtic sea salt)

For the “noodles”:

  • 4 zucchini squash and a pinch of salt

Here’s what you do:

Wash and slice your zucchini.  You can do this with a knife, making thin slivers or you can track down  a Veggetti spiral vegetable slicer, or something similar.

the Veggetti in action
the Veggetti in action

I went the Veggetti route because, a) I have one and b) I like the long “noodles” it creates.  I also like typing “noodles”.  I like anything that I can use quotation marks.  Don’t even get me started on how much I love doing cheesy air quotes with my fingers.  We’ll be here all day!

zucchini "noodles"
zucchini “noodles”

Stick with me.  After your zucchini is transformed into long strips, place them in a strainer over a bowl and toss them with a pinch of salt.  This helps to remove some of the water so the dish isn’t watery.  Make sense?  Gooood!

Now, on to the pesto!

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In a food processor (or blender) add all ingredients and process until smooth.  You may have to play with the vinegar and oil amounts depending on how much cilantro you are using (a bunch isn’t a standard unit of measure.  Neither is “a whole mess” of something, but it should be.  It paints a clear picture.)

I think the food coma is getting the best of me.

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Once your pesto is processed, heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet.  Throw in the “noodles” (there are those lovely quotes again.  In my head, they are air quotes since in my head, I’m talking to you all.)  Gently heat over medium heat for just a couple of minutes then add the pesto and stir to coat all the zucchini…”noodles”. (I can’t help myself.)

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When you begin to smell the garlic, remove from heat and transfer into a bowl to stop the cooking process.  You only want to warm the pesto and still have some crunch to the “noodles”.

A note on the lovely cilantro pesto. Cilantro has been linked to being a detoxifier of heavy metals.  Not only is it nutritious and delicious, but it’s a hard-working chelator!

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Happy clean eating!

(This recipe makes 6-8 servings depending on how many ravenous teen-aged beasts you are feeding.)

That’s all folks!

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