This post comes to us courtesy of Amie Valpone, blogger at The Healthy Apple.
Why do I cook? What a glorious question. Cooking is my life, my sidekick, my partner in crime and my buddy. It provides a way for me to unwind, relax, and escape. The process of cooking transports me into a Disney land of food magic. My magical world is full of clean, wholesome, real food — the food I enjoy eating and cooking for myself as well as my family and friends. The best part, of course, in the sharing with others, because what’s a wonderful experience without loved ones involved?
Living alone in my tiny Manhattan apartment doesn’t often give me the opportunity to cook for anyone besides yours truly. For this reason I love to bake goodies for my neighbors as well as host dinner parties for close friends. I also never arrive to an event without a homemade treat from my very own kitchen. Why? It simply makes me happy to provide others with what I feel is the greatest gift on Earth, and that is clean food.
The activities involved make it that much more special. There is nothing better that putting on some music, lighting a candle and coming up with a recipe in my head. Whether I’m creating a pate tossed with fresh ginger, oranges, apples and leeks; or whipping up a dark chocolate mousse with almond extract, stevia, cinnamon and dark chocolate, I’m always using clean food. This is what brings me joy and this is why I cook.
One of the best steps in this process is when I get to share my inspiration with others. When I post recipes on my blog and see the comments pour in is when I realize the value in what I do. I love comments that come in from people stating how much they love the flavor, but would have never thought of the combination I used; or when I arrive at a dinner party and my gluten-free caramelized onion bruschetta has everyone asking how the unique taste was created.
This to me is love. It’s passion and it’s excitement for food. Real, clean, unprocessed and nourishing food — the kind I like to eat because it makes me feel good. The kind I believe in and use every day; this is the food that makes me happy.
Here’s a sneak peak at my go-to recipe that I create every Sunday afternoon. I store it in my fridge and enjoy it all week long. I spread it onto toast, mix it into vegetable salads or dollop it onto chicken or fish. Ready for that, “say what?” moment? I even love mixing it with granola and dark chocolate chips. Yes, you read that correctly; just trust me. Try it and I assure you it will bring you to that magical world I’ve been telling you about. Bon Appetit.
Sweet n’ Creamy Radish Guacamole
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
½ cup fresh arugula
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
5 radishes, halved
½ cup cashews
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
2 Tbs. honey
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Serve with toasted pitas or as a dip for fruit, crudités, chicken, fish tofu and eggs. Enjoy! Serves 4.
About the author: Mission: to change the way people eat. Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is a Manhattan based Culinary Marketing Consultant, recipe developer and food writer specializing in Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and Dairy-Free Culinary Nutrition. Amie is also the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. Amie shares her passion for and approach to ‘Clean Eating’ by focusing on natural, whole foods and ingredients that are good for you and your body. Through her blog The Healthy Apple, Amie provides balanced, accessible and engaging information on the most basic components of good health.