Food Feature Friday: Lettuce

This week’s Food Feature Friday was inspired by something I’ve been getting a lot of in my CSA lately: lettuce! I’m not the biggest salad person, but there’s something to be said for perfectly fresh in-season lettuce. It’s crispy, crunchy, has a ton of flavor and is super hydrating!

Food Feature Friday: Lettuce // Naturally Lindsey

But did you know that lettuce is also really healthy? Now yes, I know, it’s not like you’d really ever think of lettuce as unhealthy but it’s actually quite the powerhouse, packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate. In addition, it’s a good source of fiber, potassium, and manganese. Who knew, right?

Needless to say, with all this lettuce coming around I’ve needed to find something to do with it. A girl can only eat so many salads (and lettuce wraps…) Though they were a bit tough to find, below are a few recipes I’ll be trying soon:

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Food Feature Friday: Coconut

I’m constantly looking for recipes ideas, though I hardly ever follow one recipe to a T when I cook. Needless to say, I come across a lot of amazing ones (I have a whole email folder devoted to them!) that I never have a chance to make. Every Friday I’m going to feature 5 recipes from different blogs and sites based around a certain ingredient that I’m totally digging. Just think of it as a little bit of healthy food porn before you start your weekend.

This weeks recipes all feature coconut! Mildly sweet and slightly nutty (aren’t we all?) coconut contains essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, manganese, selenium and potassium, with the oil containing medium chain fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol, decrease abdominal obesity, enhance your immune system, and even protect against STDs – pretty impressive, right? It’s delicious and wholly nutritious, so try it out!

Munch and Chew: Pumpkin Coconut Quesadillas
You read that correctly. I stumbled across these babies today and knew right away they needed to be shared. These are vegetarian and gluten-free (with corn tortillas) and can be made vegan/dairy-free if you omit the cheese and sour cream. She also has a ton of other great recipes, so check it out!

The First Mess: Vegan Coconut, Almond + Quinoa Breakfast Cakes
These vegan breakfast cakes look like perhaps the best kind of pancake I’ve ever seen. They can be made gluten-free by using all-purpose GF flour. With healthy quinoa, bananas, cacao, and 3 different coconut-derived ingredients, your belly is going to be just as happy as your taste buds.

Food and Wine: Carrot-Ginger Soup with Coconut-Roasted Shrimp
Spring brings gorgeous aromatic bunches of carrots to the farmers markets here in Southern California, and this combination of the sweet carrots, spicy ginger, and tropical coconut shrimp  seems perfect for the transition from spring into summer.

Honest Cooking: Coconut Milk and Honey Pops
I could have included coconut milk ice cream, but I don’t have an ice cream maker so I included something a little easier– pops! This frozen treat uses three ingredients max and includes no added sugar!

This Chick Cooks: Chicken Bites Fried in Coconut Oil
If you’re like me, there’s a good chance you get a craving for some fried chicken every now and then. Frying with coconut oil is probably the healthiest (and tastiest) way to accomplish this (and they’re gluten- and dairy-free!)

Decadent Indulgence: Gluten-free Dairy-free Hazelnut Brownies, no nut flour required

Let’s face it: brownies aren’t exactly health food. But when you have cravings (you know the ones) and all you want to do is abandon ship and shove something glutenous and/or gluttonous your mouth, health food is the last thing on your mind. However, that Betty Crocker boxed crap isn’t going to do you (or your stomach) any good. So what’s a GFDF girl to do? Indulge your cravings with these delicious gluten- and dairy-free hazelnut brownies! Fudgey, moist, and supremely decadent. Who says you can’t have it all?

These brownies use ground hazelnuts (not hazelnut flour) and coconut oil to keep them allergy-free. I got the inspiration for this recipe here, but considering I can’t have dairy and I don’t need a huge 13×9 tray of brownies laying around, the recipe has been heavily modified.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know below… I’d love to hear how yours turn out!

This recipe is:
– Dairy-free
– Gluten-free
– Grain-free
– Soy-free
– Vegetarian

Ingredients

• 5 oz raw hazelnuts
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup sugar or sucanat
• 5 tablespoons coconut oil*
• 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70+ percent), chopped
• 4 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon water (optional)

*unrefined/virgin coconut oil will provide more of a coconut taste than unrefined, so if you don’t prefer the coconut flavor I’d go with refined for this recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil, pressing into the corners and leaving overhang on the sides. I didn’t have foil, so I used parchment as you can see, but foil will be much easier.

2. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast for 15-20 minutes, until fragrant and the skins blister; transfer to a kitchen towel to cool slightly, then rub off the skins. Let cool completely. I found that not all the skins came off completely, but do your best to get most of them off.

3. Transfer the nuts to a food processor. Add the cocoa, salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar and pulse until finely ground.

4. Melt the coconut oil over low heat, or for a few seconds in the microwave, until heated but not crackling. This will happen quickly, so make sure to watch it. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. When the chocolate starts to melt, whisk it into the oil until smooth. Let cool slightly.

5. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the remaining 1 3/4 cups of sugar, coffee, and vanilla until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Beat in the chocolate-oil mixture until well-combined. Then add the cocoa-hazelnut mixture and beat to combine, scraping down the bowl. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is glossy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

The original recipe says to cool on a rack and refrigerate until chilled (what? cold brownies?) and then lift the brownie out of the pan, peel off the foil, cut into pieces and serve. But let’s be honest, that’s way too much work and there’s no way you’re not digging in as soon as it reaches won’t-burn-your-mouth-off-with-one-bite temperature, amiright? Some coconut milk ice cream would be an especially delicious addition to this treat (cue drooling), and would totally take care of that whole burning problem.