Posted by: dinainsuburbia | May 23, 2015

Carrot & Zucchini Mini Muffins

This amazing recipe comes courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network. For the original recipe, please click: here.

I was charged with cooking a gluten free and dairy free (eggs ok) brunch for Mother’s Day. Harder than it seems, I did a good three days of research to come up with the perfect recipes also limited by my refusal to eat simple sugars and white carbohydrates (i.e. white potatoes). I decided to take up the challenge and served these delicious morsels of yum along side a sweet potato and baked egg hash (recipe here– note I used chicken sausage and did make the hash the night before).

For the mini-muffins, I made a coconut cream frosting (recipe below).

INGREDIENTS (yields 48 mini muffins)

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup grapeseed oil (I didn’t have on hand, I used canola)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup raisins


For the muffins: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 48 mini-muffin cups with (1 1/2-inch) paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, egg & vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the grated carrot, grated zucchini, and raisins.

Using 2 small spoons, fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter and bake until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.



  • one can of coconut cream, refrigerated over night (I found in Trader Joes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a cold bowl, and whip with hand-mixer until light & fluffy- like whipped cream

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | April 9, 2015

Crock Pot Short Rib Ragu

I’ve mentioned it before, but we belong to a healthy eating program where we get farm-raised, pastured beef and pork on a weekly basis. I ask for “weird” cuts all the time, because those weird cuts often make the BEST crock pot ingredients. A few weeks back we got 3 HUGE short ribs. I instantly thought braised beef ragu. Super easy to accomplish in the crock pot.

Like most of my “recipes” this really isn’t a recipe, but a method.


  • 3-5 beef short ribsshortribs
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 28 ounce can fire roasted, chopped tomatoes


Heat a large, heavy skilled (I prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat. Season short ribs with salt and pepper, and brown on each side. Once brown, set aside on paper towel.

To pan, add your chopped vegetables. Sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent, approximately 10 minutes.

To the crock pot, add the short ribs and your saluted vegetables and then the can of fire roasted tomatoes in their juices. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. I like to shred the meat off the short rib, and add it back into the tomatoes. Spoon over pasta or polenta Delicious served with a salad.

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | March 28, 2015

Quick Awesome Meal for After Work or Lazy Nights

So I’ll admit it- some nights eating clean is annoying. The chopping of the vegetables, the figuring out of the health starch.. you get where I’m going with this. Sometimes, you just want something fast. Hence fast-food. So, this is more of a methodology than a recipe. I’m going to post a few suggestions- all of which would be good. The absolute LIFE SAVER here is the frozen brown rice you can get a Trader Joe’s. It’s amazing! Three minutes in the microwave and it is ready to go. And best yet- no preservatives or nastiness!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 1 package chicken sausage, sliced (I like Trader Joe’s brand cause it’s pre-cooked- so all you need to do is brown it up a little. But if you want to use uncooked, that’s fine too- it will just take a little longer)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Assorted Fresh Vegetables (I like red & green sliced bell peppers and a bag of pre-washed, pre-chopped Kale)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can Amy’s Organic Black Bean Soup or Goya’s Low Sodium Black Bean Soup
  • 2 Cups Brown Rice (or 1 packet Trader Joe’s Frozen Brown Rice)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Cuminfood
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped Almond cheese
  • hot sauce if desired


In a large skillet, heat Olive Oil over medium heat. Add in sliced chicken sausage. Once about half-way browned, then add to the same pan the onions and sliced vegetables. If using a hearty green like Kale, add it right away. If using spinach, add at the very end of cooking. Season with salt, pepper and cumin and allow to cook until vegetables and softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your brown rice to package directions, heat up your black beans either on the stove top or microwave, and in a smaller skillet make two over-easy eggs making sure the yolk stays runny (you don’t want it cooked through).

To assemble the dish, layer the brown rice at the bottom of the plate. Then add a tablespoon of almond cheese and top with a scoop of black bean soup. Place the sausage-vegetable mixture on top of the soup and top that with your over-easy egg! Top with hot sauce if desired.

This is easy- and you can play around with it- change up the beans (use a kidney bean soup) or change up the vegetables. Top with some fresh, sliced avocado too- why not! Again, this really is more of a method than anything. And it’s super easy and approachable especially for after work 🙂

Let me know what tweaks you make!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | March 9, 2015

Super Quick & Yummy Mug Cake

Just because you’ve changed your eating habits and you no longer fill your body with rubbish doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally get a hankering for something sinful. The other night I needed something “sweet” but I didn’t want to go off the rails, either.. enter this quick & easy chocolate mug cake!

Luckily I have all the ingredients on hand. It’s low carb, has a pretty low glycemic index, and it’s super easy. I mean, you MICROWAVE it for goodness sakes! I know these mug cakes have been around forever, I have no idea why I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon sooner… so now, does anyone have a good recipe using protein powder? Let me know!


  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa (unsweetened of course)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt or himalayan pink salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown rice syrupmugcake
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk or almond milk
  • sprinkle of chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Place the dry ingredients in a small bowl, whisking to combine.
  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, whisking well to make sure all dry ingredients are combined into the wet (you don’t want any pockets of those dry ingredients, trust me)
  3. Transfer mixture into a microwave-proof mug, and microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes. Take out & enjoy for the mug, or empty into a bowl. I served mine with a teaspoon of unsweetened almond butter and it was SUPER delicious.
Posted by: dinainsuburbia | March 9, 2015

Nutritional Cleansing

If you haven’t noticed I’ve tagged quite a few of my recipes with “nutritional cleansing”. Since the first week of November, I have begun a new, clean-eating lifestyle supported with highly nutritious shakes. I didn’t want to “announce” it at first because, hey- you never know if products will perform the way they are supposed to! I’m happy to announce that after 4 months I can say with 100% certainty that the products work. The system works.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain energy, or gain muscle, this program is for you. Since November I have lost over 35 pounds and almost 50 inches! My energy is off the charts. I’m off coffee, sugar, and simple, white carbs, replacing them with brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa. BeforeAfterDS

If you’re curious about the nutritional cleansing lifestyle, feel free to contact me!

P.S. yup, that’s my before & after!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | March 1, 2015

Spiced Chicken Stew

So this is one of my favorite recipes. It really isn’t a strict recipe though, it’s more of a method. I’ve used different vegetables- in combinations of fresh or canned (shocker I know) as well as different cuts of chicken (boneless, skinless thighs or chicken breasts cut up into pieces). Aside from what’s listed below- feel free to experiment- add fresh tomatoes, green beans, kidney beans, etc. Really it is all up to what you have on-hand that day and what you favor.


  • 4 chicken breasts cut into small chunks or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighsstew
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 16 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 -3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 16 ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes (I like Muir Garden brand)
  • 1 16 ounce can chic peas, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4-1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • brown rice or brown rice pasta cooked to package directions


In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown chicken pieces or thighs on all sides. Once brown, take out of the pot and set aside (leave all those delicious browned bits in the bottom).

Reduce heat to medium- to the pot add your vegetables (onions and peppers first, then garlic, then kale or any other leafy greens at the very last minute) and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

While vegetables are cooking, measure out your spices into a cup with the liquid amino and water. Whisk with a fork until incorporated.

Add the chic peas, canned tomatoes – use a spoon to scrape up the chicken “bits” at the bottom of the pot, and finally the chicken back into the pot. Stir in the Braggs-spice mixture. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice pasta or brown rice!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 22, 2015

Crock Pot Vegetable Stock

So- this really isn’t a recipe, but more of a methodology. Ever since we started our clean-eating lifestyle, it seems like we’ve been using chicken and vegetable stock more-and-more to impart flavor into various recipes. Good-Quality stock can be pretty pricey- even more so if you purchase organic. I wondered, could I make a stock out of the scraps of vegetables I would have otherwise thrown away? The answer is yes!

For 2 weeks I froze all sorts of vegetable ends: onion ends, red and green pepper ends, broccoli stalks, parsley stems, etc. Whatever i was left with, I threw in a gallon ziplock and froze. By the end of two weeks I had 1 1/2 gallon ziplock bags filled with vegetable scraps. Scraps that would have ended up in the garbage.FullSizeRender-6

I took those frozen scraps, threw them in my crock pot, and covered them with water. I then covered the crock pot and set it to low, allowing it to cook 14 hours. What developed? A flavor-intense, delicious stock with a deep color (thanks to those onion peels- leave ’em on!).

I strained the stock through a fine sieve and store in mason jars in my freezer. Let me know if you try making your own vegetable stock and what you do with the final product?

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 22, 2015

Almond Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta

I’m always looking for fun, new side dishes. I’ve always love pesto.. the brightness and freshness of the basil.. and of course the pine nuts… left me wondering, could I replicate pesto using almonds?

The answer is yes. So.. this pesto doesn’t have any parmesan cheese (I’m off dairy) but it is SUPER tasty and I was able to even make it “creamy” by incorporating some pasta cooking water into the dish!

I served the pesto over brown rice pasta, but it would be equally delicious as a sauce over rice, chicken or fish.

Almond Pesto

  • 1/3 cup unsalted, raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley (flat parsley)
  • 1 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepperFullSizeRender-5

In a food processor, combine almonds, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse until almonds are completely pulverized. Scrape down the sides of your food processor. Re-attach lid and slowly pour in olive oil until combined. Set aside.

Boil water and cook pasta to directions. I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy, Brown rice fettucini style pasta. Before draining pasta, ladle about 1/2 cup cooking water into a small bowl and set aside.

Mix pasta with pesto mixture, and add in a little bit of pasta water at a time until desired consistency is reached.

TIP! – This is a great base recipe! Kick it up by adding cubed grilled chicken, a handful of sliced kalamata olives, 2 chopped plum tomatoes, and a can of drained & rinsed cannellini beans.

I served mine with beans, a side of roasted broccoli, and some straight-from-the-farm sirloin (if you live on Long Island, please consider checking out Goodale Farms for food delivery. FullSizeRender-4They raise their own beef and are a dairy farm. It’s comforting to me to know exactly where my food comes from, and that it isn’t pumped up with antibiotics. Their animals are raised with love and live their lives on a family farm. Check out

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 22, 2015

Kale Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing

Lets talk kale. I love it for so many reasons.. it’s unbelievably good for you. Jam-packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, a good source of calcium, and even a little protein! What’s more, kale is a pretty hearty vegetable. It stands up to cooking, but for the purpose of today’s blog, it make a great salad because you can dress it and marinate it without fear that the kale will get all soggy.

As we’re off sugar and dairy, sometimes it can be a little difficult to find a good salad dressing. Enter tahini. Tahini is made from sesame seeds and can be found in your ethnic aisle (or nut/seed butter section) of your grocery store. Paired with lemon & garlic, it makes a gorgeous dressing or dip (equally good on a regular tossed salad or spooned atop a piece of grilled chicken or salmon).

Kale Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing

  • 1 16 ounce bag of chopped kale greensFullSizeRender-3
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1/3 cup sesame tahini
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons warm water

In a large bowl place your chopped peppers, scallions, and kale (I like to pick through the kale, removing the leaves from the woody stems). Set aside.

In a small bowl mix tahini, lemon zest, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, warm water, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pour over kale and vegetables and toss to coat. Make in advance and allow salad to marinate!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 19, 2015

Snack Ideas for Nutritional Cleansing

A few of my cleansers were in need of some snack support. So below, please find a list of snacks you can enjoy!

  • Green Apple with 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter
  • unsalted brown rice cake with 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter
  • 1 protein truffle ball
  • 1/2 ezekiel english muffin toasted with 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • unsalted brown rice cake with 1 tablespoon of organic hummus, 1/4 sliced avocado, and sliced cucumber or red pepper with a sprinkling of cumin and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 1 slice of ezekiel toast (once you pull it out of the toaster, rub quickly with a peeled clove of garlic- this will turn your toast into “garlic” bread. Top with 1/4 of avocado and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, a sprinkling of cumin and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 slice of ezekiel toast with 3 scrambled egg whites topped with 1/4 of an avocado sliced
  • egg white omelette (3 egg whites with onions & your vegetable of choice) served atop 1/2 ezekiel english muffin
  • 1 serving of Mary’s Gone Crackers (13 crackers) with hummus and fresh red pepper slices
  • 1 hard boiled egg with yolks removed and replaced with hummus or fresh mashed avocado (mash that avocado with a squeeze of lime and a dash of cumin and cayenne pepper)
  • Fresh Roasted Chick Peas (check out this amazing recipe from eatyourselfskinny!
  • Homemade Kale Chips 
  • Lemony Tuna Salad 
  • small tossed salad with oil & vinegar

Happy Eating 😉 if you have any other snack ideas I’m missing- let me know!! I want to hear them.

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