Gluten Free Orange & Sage Quinoa Stuffing

This recipe has all the flavor a classic Thanksgiving stuffing…but won’t leave you with a raging gluten hangover.

Because so many of our Campers avoid “the glu” (our sometimes code-name for gluten) we wanted to give you a Thanksgiving option that has all the flavors and fixins’ you’ll  find in a traditional stuffing but give it a totally whole-grain, healthified makeover.

Preeeetty sure we nailed it with this one.  What do you think?

quinoa stuffing

Gluten Free Orange Quinoa and Sage Stuffing
Servings: 6-8
Time: 40 minutes

  • 2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp dried sage OR 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
  • 1 tsp dried parsley OR ¼ cup chopped fresh
  • ½ cup of walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped (can use white button, baby bellas or any kind)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for cooking plus more quinoa
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

*Note: save a little parsley, zest and walnuts for garnishing at the end

Directions

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot.  Then add your quinoa, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, then cook the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed (quinoa will continue to bake in oven so it’s okay if it’s a little wetter than usual).

In a separate pan heat extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat.  Sauté onions with garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes.

Add celery, mushrooms and herbs and season generously with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook an additional 5-6 minutes (until mushrooms begin to brown).

Toss cooked veggies and herbs into a baking dish with quinoa, orange zest and walnuts and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Garnish with an additional sprinkle of parsley, zest and walnuts and serve.

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Mercury Levels in Fish

By now you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t eat too much fish because it’s high in mercury.  But like many people, you might also be wondering, what does mercury do to me and why is it found in fish?

Here’s the deal:

Mercury is a metal that exists naturally in the environment.  But we humans do things that negatively impact the environment, such as factory farming, burning coal, and using mercury in manufacturing.  This increases the amount mercury that flows through the air, water, and soil.

When in water, mercury changes its form and becomes methylmercury. Fishies absorb this mercury just like we often inhale bad chemicals when we breath in oxygen.

All fish and shellfish have some level of mercury, but it’s typically not a huge deal because fish also have so many health benefits.   However, if you eat fish ALL the time, or choose varieties that are higher in mercury (see chart below) it can be potentially harmful.

The good news is, mercury will leave the body over time in the urine, feces, and breast milk.  The bad news is if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding that mercury could have detrimental effects on your little one.

Mercury can also have nevetive effects on us grown ups.  Remember when Jeremy Piven had to drop out of a Broadway show?  Yeah, mercury poisoning is a real thing so read up below and be in the know…

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Chart from Canton Becker

NOTE: Mercury is only an issue with wild caught fish even so, this option is WAY better than farm raised fish.  Fish that are farmed are fed a completely unnatural diet, including dyes to make their flesh appear more vibrant and they are kept in confined spaces where they can’t get enough exercise.

Always, always, always avoid farm raised fish!!!

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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass

By Quinn

I’ve found that some of the most delicious food is often the simplest.  This easy and elegant fish recipe hardly has anything to it – the only thing you need is some super fresh wild caught fish.  From there, it’s about observing your each filet as it cooks in order to bring it to prepare it perfectly.

If time is your issue, put your excuses away sister because this whole meal takes no more than 10-minutes of preparation and it tastes like a $30 dish from a fancy NYC restaurant.  

Don’t sweat if your fish is slightly over or under cooked the first time you make it. It will be better the second time.  Promise.  That’s how you learn to cook.  It’s all about trial and error.

Just making the effort to put a homemade meal on the table is an incredible act of self care.

And love, well, that’s always delicious.

chilean sea bass 2

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Servings: 2
Time: 10 minutes

  • 2 filets of Wild Caught Chilean Sea Bass
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 a lemon or lime (optional)

 Directions

Take your fish out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, even if it’s just out for a few minutes, that’s great.

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat with 1-2 tablespoons on extra virgin olive oil.  The amount that you use depends on the size of your skillet since the oil will spread out.  If you’re using a smaller pan, you can use less oil.  Larger pan, more oil.

Generously salt the fish on both sides, but of course you want more on the non-skin side.

When the oil is hot, but not smoking put in the fish, skin side up.  Allow it to cook for about 3-6 minutes.  Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish.

Just be very aware.  Watch as the color changes.  It will go from cloudy to solid. When it is 90% cooked through, flip it over and cook the skin side for 1-2 minutes.

I love the skin, there are so many good fats in there but if it’s soggy, it doesn’t takes so good, so you want to cook it just a bit.

At the end, squeeze 1/2 a lemon or lime over both filets.  Best served immediately.

We recommend pairing this with a simple salad like THIS ONE or a great veggie dish like THESE.

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Spiced Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream

Happy Halloween!!!  This is just the beginning of temptation season!  There’s krackles and candy corn as far as the eye can see, but there’s no reason that you can’t stay relatively healthy.

Last year we posted these amazing Peanut Butter Candied Apples which still totally rock our socks.  But this year we’re pumpkin-ify things.

Our friend, Healthy Hungry Girl posted this amazingly comprehensive list of Healthy Halloween Treats which inspired countless “OMG”s and “I NEED TO TRY THAT”s.

We’d like to add our Spiced Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream to the list of halloween treats.

We know what you’re thinking, “there’s no way they’re healthy”.  But we swear, it’s not a trick.  They are remarkably low in sugar and full of good stuff like fiber (that keeps you full) and cinnamon (which helps stabilize blood sugar).

They have about 1/2 the sugar of most comparable recipe so they aren’t too-too sweet, making them the perfect pumpkin cupcakes for someone with a more refined pallate

Optional: Garnish them with some Pecan Candy

pumpkincupcakes4

Spiced Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes (or 1 loaf)
Time: 1 hour

  • 1 can of organic pumpkin
  • 2 heaping tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil  (you could also use butter)
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups All Purpose Baking Mix (Gluten Free Baking Mix works great)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, at least 70% cacao content

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the pumpkin pie mix with the oil (or butter).  Add the sugar and salt, stir to combine.  Then whisk in eggs, one at a time.

Slowly fold in the baking mix using a rubber spatula, making sure not to overwork the batter.  Then gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a spoon place the pumpkin mix into greased/lined cupcake trays and bake for about 30 minutes.  If you choose to bake this as a loaf, cook for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool before frosting with the Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream.

Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream 
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Time: 5 minutes

  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk (use Thai Kitchen organic coconut milk.  This brand is best because the cream separates from the water.  You just want the cream part)
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions 

Put coconut cream (not the water) in a medium bowl then add in the other ingredients and whisk together until fluffy and smooth.

Frost the cupcakes with the Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream and garnish with Pecan Candy

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How to Talk To Your Farmer

{Re-blogged from Health Coach Quinn}

I talk to a lot of people who are intimidated by farmer’s markets.  They feel like they don’t quite know what questions to ask, who to buy from and end up getting totally overwhelmed by the process.

First thing to note is: it’s up to you to get the conversation going.  

Most farmers are incredibly intelligent, have copious amounts of information about their crops and could talk ad nauseum about them…if you show a little interest.

They are so entrenched in what they do that they assume you know what they know.  Like, if someone asks about your job, you’re not going to immediately offer detailed information about how exactly you do what you do…  People need to ask for it.

Here is your simple guide to get the convo going with your local farmer.  Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!

Farmers_Market__July__2010_027

The Basics

  • Do you use any pesticides or herbicides in your field? (just because a farm is not certified organic doesn’t mean they don’t follow organic standards.  It’s always best to just ask!)
  • What’s the freshest today?
  • What is the most ripe? (especially if you’re talking about fruit)
  • What items do you recommend?

A little more in-depth

  • When was this harvested? (harvested=picked)
  • How can I prepare this? (let them give you some ideas, they are happy to share!)
  • How should I store this? (Importanté!)
  • How much longer will this be in season? (that’s an advanced level question)

Your farmer is not some serious, socially inept weird-o.  They want to chat with you!  But they don’t want to assume that you know nothing, so it’s on you to engage them.  Also, a lot of people who choose to work on their own tend to be introverts.

Don’t be afraid to engage them in conversation about what they do and how they grow/raise their food.  Be interested, be curious, be whoever you are.

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All people like to talk about themselves.  Feel free to ask questions like:

  • How long have you been farming?
  • What got you into it?
  • What is your favorite vegetable/fruit/cut of meat/dairy product that you have?

Of course if they are super busy you don’t want to barrage them with small talk.  But these are people who have dedicated their entire lives to this.

Farming isn’t a 9-5 “job”.  It’s a lifestyle, a labor or love, and the people who devote their lives to this are proud and passionate about what they do.

Any other questions you think are pertinent?  Please add to the list in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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