Eggplant ‘sandwiches’ with smoked Italian ham, tomatoes and pesto

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I found a similar recipe to this one through Pinterest, and decided to give it a go as a weekend treat. Although this is low carb you still need to use almond flour for the crust, so it’s still not completely calorie free, but it’s a lot healthier than using traditional flour.

This is a great alternative to your traditional eggplant Parm sandwich and it tastes really, really, really scrumptious!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 4 slices of ham (serves 4)
  • 1 package of skim mozzarella or 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 jar of pesto (or make your own!)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

So how do you make this decadent, bread-free sandwich, you ask? Simple!

Start by slicing your eggplant into rounds (as pictured above). I slice my eggplant quite thick so you get more of a sandwich feel to the end product.

Salt the eggplant splices and place on a baking tray or in a bowl, and let stand, ideally for up to an hour. The longer you let the salt draw out the water from the eggplant the better.

After you have removed the excess water from your eggplant you are ready to cook!

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Turn your oven on to 200 C.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your olive oil dampen the paper, so that your eggplant doesn’t stick while baking.

Pair the eggplant slices with pieces of similar size and place on prepared baking sheet. On half the eggplant slices place a slice of tomato, a piece of ham, a little mozzarella or a tablespoon of Parmesan and a teaspoon of pesto. Add a little salt and pepper and top with the other eggplant slice of similar size.

Pour your almond flour into a small bowl. In another small bowl beat the eggs.

Firmly hold the eggplant sandwich and coat in the egg, then coat in the almond meal. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, flip the sandwiches and then bake for another 20 minutes. Bake until golden on both sides.

Enjoy!

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FOOD FACT: EGGPLANT

Eggplant not only plays host to a bunch of vitamins and minerals, but it also contains phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidants in them. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such as caffeic and chlorogenic acid.

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 7.12.55 PMEggplant is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps protect against colon cancer and keeps your digestive system healthy. Eggplant is also a great source of Vitamin A, B, C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. With no fat, six carbs and 27 calories in a 1-cup serving, eggplant makes an excellent addition to any diet. via. Livestrong.com

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Cauliflower pizza with steak and onions

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Pizza doesn’t have to be a diet crasher, although the magnificence of cheese, crispy crust and meat toppings do invite hungry diners to (sometimes) overeat. Enter cauliflower pizza! Instead of making a traditional flour base for your tasty wheel, why not use cauliflower (or cabbage) instead?

I have tried making this pizza several times and although it will never have the exact same flavour or texture as a classic Italian margharita, it is probably the closest you can get with vegetables as a base.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of grated cauliflower (boiled or microwaved)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup of Mozzarella
  • 2 cloves of garlic, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour (optional)
  • 200 g. of skirt steak
  • 2 large onions
  • 1/2 cup of olives (optional)
  • 1 can tinned tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • 1 fresh chilli (or chilli flakes)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and turn on the oven to 200 C. Boil or microwave the grated or blended cauliflower until tender, make sure it is properly cooked through as otherwise you will have a very crunchy pizza. Ensure that your cauliflower is also very well blended.

Once boiled let the cauliflower cool, and then place in a tea towel. Wring out all the water (this may take a few minutes), and once dry place in a bowl. Mix in the egg, Parmesan cheese (leave a few tablespoons to use as topping for your pizza), almond flour, garlic, salt and pepper.

Mix well until the cauliflower base becomes dough-like. Place on the parchment paper and using your hands kneed the dough out and form a circular pizza base. The thickness of the base is a personal choice, I prefer to have it quite thin as this makes it crunchier, however be warned – it is harder to pick up if it is very thin!

Place the cauliflower base in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, until darkened and crispy. Keep an eye on the base as oven times may vary.

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While the base is in the oven you can begin preparing your toppings. I chose to use some leftover steak I had in the fridge and onions. Slice and fry the onions in a bit of olive oil. Place on a plate and fry the steak in the same pan as the onions. Season with spices and herbs of your choice.

Now it’s time to prepare your pizza sauce. I find that using a tin of canned tomatoes, and literally just blending this with some garlic, fresh basil, oregano, chilli, salt and pepper gives a great, easy to make, tomato sauce.

Once the cauliflower base is ready top with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, steak, onions, olives, and whatever else you like on your pizza. Turn up the oven to 275 C, and once it is piping hot put the pizza in the oven. Keep a close eye on it, as it only needs 4-5 minutes for the cheese to melt and your cauliflower pizza with steak and onions to be ready!*

Enjoy!

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FOOD FACT: CAULIFLOWERScreen shot 2013-09-07 at 12.30.03 PM

Cauliflower is packed with nutrients, including indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which helps prevent prostate, ovarian and cervical cancer. This cheap vegetable is also filled with Vitamin B, C and K.  Cauliflower provides humans with two core antioxidants, manganese and Vitamin C, which helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in human cells.

Chronic oxidative stress—meaning chronic presence over overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and cumulative damage to our cells by these molecules—is a risk factor for development of most cancer types. via. whfoods.com

*The cauliflower pizza base in these pictures is a little on the burnt side, the ideal pizza base would be a little lighter in color.

 

Tuna and spinach salad with fresh garden peas and feta

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Summer is here and here in Denmark we are experiencing one of those very rare heat waves (which means it’s above 25 °C for 3 days in a row). Denmark and Danes are not very well equipped for too much heat, and the temperatures don’t need to rise above 20 °C before people start complaining about it being too hot.

When the weather is like this I always have a hard time figuring out what I want to eat: everything just seems too heavy and cooking also feels like too much work. Which is where fresh summer salads come in! I love tuna sandwiches, but a tuna and spinach salad with fresh garden peas and feta seemed like a very good alternative to the classic sandwich option.

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This recipe is easy, cheap and diet friendly, and if you are serving your meal to non-dieters you can just switch out the spinach leaves with some Ciabatta bread or a baguette.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can tuna
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lime
  • 10 fresh garden peas (peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat feta cheese (I use 3%)
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon capers (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Siracha (optional)

Mix canned tuna with low-fat sour cream, mayonnaise, juice of half a lime, 1/2 finely chopped onion, Dijon mustard, capers, Siracha, salt and pepper. Mix well and taste. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed.

Wash spinach and place in a bowl. Top with garden peas and low fat feta cheese. Add as much tuna as you like and garnish with lime wedges and black pepper.

Enjoy!

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FOOD FACT: TUNA

TScreen shot 2013-07-23 at 1.45.19 PMuna is very high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which means it is a great option for lowering triglyceride levels as well as controlling blood pressure. Eating tuna may also help lower your risk for stroke, heart disease, cancer, eye disease as well as help fight depression.

Women who consume more than five servings of baked or broiled fish a week have the lowest risk of heart failure. via. Healthyeating.sfgate.com

Shirataki Noodles: Low-Carb Goodness!

So this is probably the most exciting food find I’ve made in a long time. I am a noodle and pasta fanatic, and I know nothing better than spicy Indonesian fried-noodles with a sunny side up egg on top, or a creamy Italian carbonara with plenty of extra cheese. My love for these carb-filled dishes however, is not often satiated, as I try to stay away from starch laden noodles and pasta.

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Shirataki noodles are Japanese yam noodles and they are extremely low-calorie and low-carbohydrate. They are quite gelatinous in texture and are a great replacement when on a low-carb diet.

How Shirataki Noodles Are Made

Shirataki comes from the root of a plant (Amorphophallus Konjac, or a few other closely-related species) grown in various parts of Asia. The fiber in Shirataki noodles is known as glucomannan, which is derived from the Konjac root. This fiber contains more than 16 amino acids and several vitamins and minerals.

Konjac glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber derived from Konjac plant roots. In Japan Konjac foods are known as Shirataki noodles or Konnyaku. These noodles are a traditional Chinese food and have been eaten for more than two thousand years. Shirataki noodles are also known as Moyu and Juruo in China.

Potential health benefits from the glucomannan fiber include weight loss, decreased cholesterol, diabetes control and gastrointestinal regulation.

FOOD FACT: Konjac

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 6.25.31 PMKonjac foods are ideal for feeling full as the glucomannan increases up to 200 times its original volume after absorbing water, helping you feel more satiated. Konjac also helps remove toxins inside the body, clear the stomach and balance salinity.

Konjac glubcomannan fiber has strong swelling capacities and is the most viscous fiber in nature. When Konjac fiber mixes with other food in the stomach it absorbs a lot of water, forming a soft gel which helps slow digestion. Via. Konjacfoods.com 

Miracle food? I think so!

Recipe coming soon!

Paleo Crisp Bread with Smoked Ham and Hazelnut Pesto

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I LOVE PESTO. Like I really, really, really adore pesto with a passion, and often find myself fantasizing about fresh pasta tossed with homemade pesto with lashings of parmesan cheese on top. But alas, I am staying away from the pasta, but that doesn’t mean I have to say no to pesto!

I recently made Paleo Crisp Bread, and decided to make a homemade hazelnut pesto to compliment some smoked ham I had bought as a topping for the bread. This recipe is inspired by traditional Danish Smørrebrød.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Paleo Crisp Bread
  • 2 slices smoked ham (or whichever cold-cuts you prefer)
  • 1/2 hazelnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cheddar or parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 spring onion

Blend the hazelnuts until finely ground. Add basil, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Blend again, adding olive oil until desired consistency. I usually add a little water to thin-out the pesto a little bit, to save on the oil.

Slice the spring onion and set aside. Place two slices of Paleo Crisp Bread on a plate and put a piece of ham on each slice. Add desired amount of pesto and garnish with spring onion.

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And voila! There you have Paleo Crisp Bread with Smoked Ham and Homemade Hazelnut Pesto!

FOOD FACT: BASIL

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 5.02.43 PMBasil not only tastes great as a main ingredient in pesto, but it also has many surprising health benefits! Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, basil also has antioxidants that can protect the body from premature aging, skin complications and even some forms of cancer. Basil oil can be used to treat stomach complications such as constipation, cramps and indigestion as well as the common cold. (via. Motherearthliving.com).

Here’s a fun fact about basil: In Hindu cultures basil is considered a sacred plant.  In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples (it’s probably easier to find than mistletoe too).

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon

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Banana bread is one of my favorite desserts, and after making Paleo Crisp Bread I decided to use the leftovers to make this delicious, Paleo Banana Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon. This is perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert or just as a snack. You could also whip up some killer Paleo French Toast delights based on this recipe.

I made a Paleo Cherry Compote to go with the bread, which gave the bread that extra sweetness you sometimes miss when on a diet, but without the excessive sugar and guilt that come with regular jam and marmalade.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a batch of Paleo Crisp Bread
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Turn your oven on to 375 F / 200 C

Mix together the bananas, eggs and honey into the Paleo Crisp Bread mixture. Mush the bananas into small and large pieces (I like to have some consistency left in the bananas so you get the real banana taste in the bread) and make sure everything is well mixed together before placing in a bread pan. I use parchment paper and place it in the pan so that the bread doesn’t stick, but you could also use oil.

Chop up the walnuts and sprinkle on the bread. Add additional honey on top if you wish.

Bake at 375 for one hour. This could be a little less or more, depending on your oven, so keep an eye on the bread. Serve with Paleo Cherry Compote or other topping of your choice.IMG_8888

FOOD FACT: WALNUTS

IMG_8820-001According to Health.com, 14 walnut halves contain 185 calories, 18 grams fat, and 4 grams protein. The health benefits of walnuts are aplenty, and beyond lowering cholesterol, it appears that consuming walnuts and walnut oil also potentially reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Here’s a fun fact about these super nuts: Walnuts are the oldest known tree food — they date back to 10,000 BC! (via. www.nutritioulicious.com)