This is one of those nutritious bowls that seems super duper fancy and only steals about 5 minutes of your life! If you got this at a restaurant you would be floored. Seriously, it’s incredible and so quick and easy that you could make it daily while simultaneously chopping ungodly amounts of fruit for a toddler fruit monster. I know because I do;)

Customize however you like. Sometimes I do a few shakes of pumpkin spice and that’s delicious. Chia, flax, nuts you name it! It’s all good!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2016

  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • pat pasture butter
  • greek yogurt
  • small chunk of honeycomb
  • a few almonds (not pictured)
  • sprinkle of maldon sea salt
  • sprinkle of chili powder
  • sprinkle of ground vanilla bean

~ In a frying pan, melt butter over low-medium heat. Add dates, sprinkle with salt, and sauté turning regularly so they don’t burn. Once they’re a bit crispy on all sides they’re done! It only take about 5 minutes so keep an eye on them because they’ll burn quickly.

~ Assemble your yogurt bowl with the remaining ingredients. Top with the dates and pour the brown butter from the pan over the yogurt. YUM!

ENJOY!!!

Since giving up gluten to make my guts happy, I’ve tried plenty of gluten-free breads and confections. Some have been downright terrible (truly an affront to the senses!) while others have so many gums in them I end up with “bubble guts” for days. Mostly I just avoid substitutes entirely and stick with foods that never had flour in them to begin with. But sometimes, just sometimes I daydream of a crusty baguette to dip into a rich Coq Au Vin or a toasted roll slathered in butter and honeycomb. A friend introduced me to Against the Grain’s breads and they were delicious. Expensive but tasty and with real ingredients (no gums!! Hooray!). Lately I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of their products so that is where this recipe comes in. It’s a slight adaptation from this one from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. From what I understand, her recipes are usually spot on but I just could not get it to work for the life of me and it seems like I wasn’t alone. Here is the adaptation that made these babies…

ps: this recipe is tapioca based so it has a crusty outside and slightly chewy inside. Lovely:)

pps: the brand of tapioca flour matters. I use Vitacost brand with great success (Bob’s Red Mill was a fail). Gluten free on a Shoestring also recommends Authentic Foods and nuts.com brand, which I have not personally used.

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2016

  • 2 1/2 cups (Vitacost brand) tapioca flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (tamped on counter) shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid coconut oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 1/2 Tablespoons milk (I believe this is around 5 oz but don’t have a scale)

~ Put first 5 ingredients in a food processor with the steel blade. Turn on then add milk very slowly while machine is running. Turn off machine and scrape down sides if necessary. Process until dough is smooth ( around 2.5 minutes in my Cuisinart). The dough will be quite slack and sticky.

~ Set a large piece of plastic wrap on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with more tapioca flour. Scrape dough onto it and freeze until firmer for about 10 minutes.

~ Unwrap dough and divide into 6 equal parts. Use wet hand to shape the dough into rounds. Note that this dough does not have a lot of spread so you’ll want to shape them into a real round, not a ball. Place equidistant on a baking sheet and freeze for another 10 minutes.

~Preheat oven to 375 degrees while you wait.

~ Remove from freezer and bake in center of oven for 20 minutes. Then quickly cut a small slit on the top of each roll for steam release and bake for another 10 minutes or so until golden. Note* these won’t get super golden like regular bread.

~ Remove and let cool completely. Eat fresh or slice in half, wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost for 30 minutes then toast in oven.

ENJOY!!!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

There are plenty of versions of this flying around the internet. This is just my favorite. It’s super easy, truly terrible for you, and big enough to make quickly for dessert after a dinner party or shamefully shove in your face until your sick to your stomach all by your lonesome. We don’t judge.

I used crushed maple pecans I already had on hand. Use this maple pecan recipe and omit the pepper and herbs in favor of 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Then I lit that ish on fire because it’s fun and burnt sugar is delicious. What a great life, huh? 😉

  • 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate
  • crushed maple pecans OR toffee bit OR peanut butter chips (whatever your heart desires basically)
  • ~1 1/4 bags large marshmallows (enough to fill pan, depends on pan size)
  • graham crackers for dipping

~ In a large cast iron pan, spread chocolate chips then sprinkle with pecans and top with marshmallows.
~ Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes for golden brown, gooey marshmallow perfection.
~ If you like ’em burnt up, torch or broil but keep a VERY close eye as they flame fast!
~ Serve with graham cracker.

For example….

ps: if anyone knows why a GIF won’t play in wordpress (sizing is original etc.) please let me know! I wasted too many hours troubleshooting and finally resorted to vimeo instead. Technology…

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

 

Holiday dishes tend to be a bit of an epic battle for oven time, don’t they? Turkey, ham, endless casseroles and on on on. They all need their time in the oven, often at different temperatures of course, then need even more time for a reheat before dinner. If you don’t have an enormous commercial kitchen, this can present quite a problem. That’s why we always have some cold, delicious, crisp veggie dish waiting in the fridge that can be made the night before to take some of the pressure off.

These beautiful beans are a crisp and flavorful contrast to the heavy fare of the holidays. I’ve actually converted many a veggie-hating party goer with these beans. They are delicious!!

Crystal-Cartier-holiday-green-beans-5652

  • 1/3 cup minced shallots (~1 shallot)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (thin, not thick aged)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2 pounds trimmed slender green beans (such as haricots verts)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

~ Toast almonds at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes. Keep a close eye as they burn quickly.

~ Whisk first 8 ingredients in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside.

         DO AHEAD: Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; re-whisk before using.

~ Fill large bowl/ half of sink with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to ice water; cool. Drain.

        DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand
            at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.

~Toss green beans, almonds, and vinaigrette in large bowl.

        DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.

ENJOY!!

I’ve been on a bit of a pickling bender lately. They are so crunchy and tangy I just can’t get enough! I won’t even mention how good pickled foods are for digestion (oh, wait, I just did). This recipe is easy, suuuuper crunchy and made to store in the fridge. Get crunching and make your tastebuds and your tummy happy;)

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

*makes 2 pint jars

1 1/2 pounds Persian cucumbers, washed and dried
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
small handful dill
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 Tablespoons sea salt

~ Prepare jars and lids by cleaning in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water. These are not preserved pickles and must be refrigerated.

~ Trim off blossom end of cucumbers. These ends contain enzymes that can take the crunch out of your pickle (hehee). Cut cucumbers into spears or coins.

~ Add spices to jars, dividing evenly between both jars.

~ Combine vinegar, water and salt in a pan over high heat. Bring to a boil then pour over the pickles, leaving space at the top of each jar to gently tap the jars and release air bubbles. The fill the rest of the way then cover with the lids, screwing them on fairly tight.

~ Let the jars cool then refrigerate and ENJOY crunchy fresh homemade pickles!!!

* These Pickled Bell Peppers aren’t to be missed either! They’re PERFECT for that leftover turkey sandwich;)

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

As the weather gets cooler I start to gravitate toward heavier foods. It’s just so so satisfying until my tummy starts to protest! Oh heavy foods can come at a price! This recipe used to be a summer staple in our house but has most recently become a go-to any time we need to do some tasty clean eating and give our poor bellies a break. The other day I realized the only place this recipe exists is jotted in barely legible scrawl on a post-it note it my cabinet in true mad scientist form (all of my best ideas and food/body product recipes live on post-its;)! If that post-it ever fell off and found it’s way into the trash, which is right next to it, that would be the end of this dish. My memory is useless! So, needless to say, I had to make and shoot it asap to preserve it’s delicious legacy.

This is the kind of good-for-you food that even veggie haters tend to really like. It’s beautiful and very obviously healthy with tons of crunch, taste and texture to satisfy your taste buds and heal your angry guts! I’ve been on a pickling kick so more pickled recipes to come…

Ps: This slaw is best made the night before and tastes so much better if the flavor have a chance to get it on in the fridge for a bit!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 Tablespoons minced dill
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 apple, sliced into match sticks
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

~ In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey to emulsify. Add dill and salt and pepper once thoroughly mixed.
~ Add sliced apple to dressing and immediately toss to coat to prevent browning.
~ Add cabbage, raisins and pecans. Toss well to coat and mix ingredients.
~ Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
~ Toss thoroughly before serving.

ENJOY!!!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

…look at all that gut-loving goodness, Hubba hubba…

Oh my gosh life has been crazy and I haven’t had half a second to post anything at all! Oh well, sometimes that’s the way it goes, right?

Anyway, I just wanted to share my first shoot getting “back on the horse” after giving birth to our Sweet P, who I call Pickle so much she’s definitely going to think it’s her legal name! I can’t believe how much time has already gone by. I guess I blinked too long!

This lovely spanish picnic style shoot for EatingWell magazine was the kind that required a lot of up and downs on a ladder. Not the most ideal post-partum shoot but it was beautiful and fun to get right back in it and with my little newborn P too!

You may spy with your little eye a two-week-old Pickle attending this very sophisticated Spanish picnic! We have too much fun! HA!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

Holy smokes this recipe is AMAZING! It’s one of those winter meals I could be gross enough to eat every single day and just get hopelessly fat. Every. Single. Day. Sure it’s a formidable amount of cheese and cream but, hey, it’s cauliflower not pasta so that has to count for something, right?! RIGHT?!?!?!? Ha! Anyway, this is crazy delicious, silly easy and may just help warm you through these bitter cold nights most of the country is suffering. Bletch! Try it, you’ll love it! Nevermind how very wintry it looks. So lovely…

cauliflower, cheese, casserole, holiday, christmas, thanksgiving, recipe, dinner, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

  • ~2 pounds cauliflower, a large head – washed and cut into florets
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup 2 % milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • few slices crusty sourdough bread, torn into bites
  • 4 ounces meaty mushrooms, shitakes or trumpet really sing here but any mushroom will work
  • butter, enough to saute mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 Tablespoon dried thyme)
  • 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

~ Prepare and ice bath in a large bowl in the sink.

~ Heat the oven to 400°F and grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

~ Blanch the cauliflower in salt water for 2 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice bath until cooled, drain again or dry VERY well.

~ Heat a generous amount of butter in a skillet and saute mushrooms with rosemary and thyme until softened and fragrant.

~ Whisk together the cream, milk, cheese and the eggs, season with salt, ground black pepper. Reserve a bit of this mixture and toss the remainder with the cauliflower and bread. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Pour the reserved portion of the mixture over the cauliflower in the baking dish (this makes the top beautifully cheesy;). Bake for 35 minutes or so until the liquid is absorbed and the top is golden brown. Bake time may vary depending on the depth of the baking dish used so keep an eye on it.

Savor and ENJOY!!!

 cauliflower, cheese, casserole, holiday, christmas, thanksgiving, recipe, dinner, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

Hiya everybody! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! We ate and ate and ate and ate and, well, you get the idea. I think I was hurting for days afterward so it was time for some restorative winter food dinners. This recipe is an absolute favorite of mine so full of delicious, healthy goodies and super easy to boot!

I’ve been on a real cool weather foods bender these days. Living in a climate that doesn’t really have any kind of winter, I relish in the cool nights of the desert and love making some hearty, warming foods. I’m a huge soup person but my husband, not so much. Though soups and stews are the ultimate warming comforts foods in my life, I try to make some other non-soup dishes that celebrate the cooler season and are pretty healthy. This recipe fits the bill. It’s simple and doesn’t make a lot of dishes. One quick tip: Don’t skip making the maple chili pepitas (pumpkin seeds)! They are AWESOME and transformative in the dish (and also as I shovel them in my mouth by the fistful!). The flavor of the pepitas once they’re in the mix is slightly subtle but turns a simple skillet fry into a culinary masterpiece. Oh, and it’s stupid easy, did I mention that? Yep, stupid easy.

This pretty little number may make an appearance at our Christmas (or maybe hanukkah) table. Definitely an easy, healthy, impressive holiday dish!

squash, kale, vegan, holiday, christmas, thanksgiving, recipe, dinner, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

MAPLE CHILI PEPITAS

  • 1 cup raw unsalted pepitas/pumpkin seeds (if you can only find roasted cut roasting time down to 5 minutes)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more depending on your taste)

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND KALE SKILLET FRY

  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed (you can also use kabocha squash, equally delicious!)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 large bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale, stemmed and torn into bites
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees with oven rack in the middle. Toss together pepitas, maple syrup, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, several cranks of ground sea salt and chili powder until evenly coated. Spread evenly on parchment lined baking dish and roast for 10 minutes or so until fragrant. Remove from oven and cool completely before breaking them up.

~ In a very large skillet (or divided among two skillets if need be), combine squash, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, a few cranks of salt, shallots, garlic and rosemary. Cover and steam over high heat until the squash is softened and water evaporates, about 10 minutes.

~ Uncover skillet and cook stirring frequently until squash browns nicely, about 7-10 more minutes. Add kale and cook a few minutes longer until wilted.

~ Plate and top generously with pepitas.

ENJOY!!!

squash, kale, vegan, holiday, christmas, thanksgiving, recipe, dinner, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

 

 

I never know what to make as an appetizer when we have people over. I’m always stumped by what will keep well enough to have out, or what jives with various food preferences and intolerances. Today’s recipe is a fun and unique one though, sure to be a hit as an appetizer or family lunch. We certainly enjoyed them ALL just for lunch. They’re delicious topped with the healthy, flavorful toppings in this recipe, but they’re also completely amazing drizzled with honey after they’re freshly fried. I swooned over these crispy, honey drenched little goodies. Mmmmm I want some now…

Obviously these are just a template and you can top them with anything. Maybe some creme fraiche, dill, smoked salmon and poached egg for a gluten-free benedict. Yes please! Endless awesome possibilities! Honestly, we went this route with the toppings simply because I snagged these gorgeous little heirloom cherry tomatoes and couldn’t resist. Aren’t they beautiful? Food is so gorgeous…

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corn cakes, gluten free, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

  • 2 cups plain corn meal (if using fine white you may need to use less water, just an fyi)
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water, added slowly to check consistency
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • coconut oil for frying
  • corn salsa
  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • heirloom cherry tomatoes

~ Combine cornmeal and salt, add water slowly while stirring to get desired consistency. You want a batter on the thinner side but without the water pooling up.

~ Heat 1/3 inch of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet. Once hot, drop spoonfuls of batter in and fry for 4 minutes total. Drain on paper towel.

~ At this point your welcome to just slather these tasty morsels in honey but you could also top with corn salsa, avocado, sour cream and cherry tomatoes for a southwest delight (as pictured).

Serve and ENJOY!!!

corn cakes, gluten free, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier cherry tomatoes, heirloom, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

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