Blackberry Broccoli Slaw with a Blueberry Yogurt Dressing

Broccoli Slaw is one of my favorite things to eat. According to studies, Broccoli contains phytochemicals shown to benefit arthritis, cancer, immune system health, blood pressure levels, vision, skin health, blood sugar disorders and much more” Source:Mercola

This recipe is packed with not just the benefits of broccoli but it’s loaded with planted based protein from the pumpkin seeds, fiber from the cranberries and vegetarian protein from the greek yogurt dressing, not to mention the b vitamin power of the blueberries and blackberries. My mantra is to. Eat on purpose with lots of flavor and this salad honors that fully. You can add your favorite fruit in this salad or even zucchini and yellow squash would be amazing. However you decide to enjoy it remember to, Set the Table with Love. 💕💕Ingredients:

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

6 oz (3 cups) store-bought broccoli slaw

2-3 Tbsp cranberries, to taste

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, to taste

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions:In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Add the broccoli slaw, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and chia seeds and toss gently until all ingredients are well combined.Eat immediately or you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. The yogurt and mustard will tenderize the vegetables; the salad will be crunchy, but not soggy.Serve cold or at room temperature.

Simple Green ” Heart Healthy” Avocado Salad

This salad is so beautiful, simple and delicious. I love avocados. They are loaded with so much good stuff, like omega fatty acids. Avocado also helps improve digestion and they are wonderful for your heart.  I love making this salad in the summer, but it’s also delicious in the winter time as well, because I saute the green beans and sweet peas and toss them with arugula, spices and olive oil and lemon juice. I love to also add salmon to add more good omega fatty acids and protein. If you are vegan, add walnut or pistachios.  The possibilities are endless, you can also add chard, kale, even brussels sprouts would be a wonderful green option. Oh and don’t forget to Set the Table with Love.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen

1 cup sweet peas, frozen

Avocado, halved and peeled

olive oil, sea salt, Montreal steak seasonings, lemon juice

fullsizeoutput_7083
Simple Green Avocado Salad

Directions:

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions, saute the onions for about 1 – 2 minutes, then add your garlic, cook for another minute. Add your beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes until slightly tender, you still want them to have a crunch. Add your sweet peas, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat once the sweet peas are warmed through.

In a nice serving bowl, add you arugula, sweet peas, green beans, toss gently with a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cut an avocado in half and peel. Take half of the avocado and add it to the top of the green mixture, drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice and season generously with Montreal Steak Seasoning or a medley of cracked peppercorns. I love to also add basil leaves or mint to this salad to give it some freshness. Enjoy with some crusty bread or yummy multi grain crackers.

Ways to make him feel special this Valentine’s Day

This blog is short and sweet.

Here are a few ideas you can try to help your honey feel special this week. I found some of these on: She Knows.com Valentine’s Day Ideas , for more ideas check out her blog. I listed some I have did with my husband over the past 25 years.

  1. Photo book of our dating relationship.
  2. Breakfast in bed with old loves letters, that we read after breakfast.
  3. Recreated the first meal I made him.
  4. Outdoor picnic in the park.
  5. Romantic coupon book, with his favorite things inside. 😘
  6. Theatre 🎭 🤫
  7. A day of being “right”.pexels-photo-207962.jpeg
  8. Leave a little note in his/her briefcase or laptop bag so they will find it when they get to work.
  9. Plan a surprise outing! Start with dinner at your partner’s favorite restaurant, then reveal tickets to a show or sports game.
  10. Stop by your sweetie’s office around lunchtime with his/her favorite noontime snack.
  11. Take a drive together — car trips provide some of the best time for talking one-on-one.
  12. Do chores or errands without being asked and without complaining.
  13. Leave a note on the bathroom mirror so he/she will see it first thing in the morning.
  14. Recreate your first date — then recall all the feelings you had for each other that very first night.pexels-photo-264109.jpeg
  15. Dedicate a day to the one you love — plan a day filled with his/her favorite things.
  16. Volunteer together. Work side-by-side at your local animal shelter, nursing home or as you gather donations for your local food bank.
  17. Try an activity that he/she loves that you don’t usually do together.
  18. Iron his/her clothes and leave sweet, simple notes in the pockets.
  19. Watch the sun set or rise together from your backyard or nearby park
  20. Kidnap them. Blindfold them and take to a secluded location, where you create one of your favorite evenings together.

heart-wood-love-wooden-161711.jpeg No matter what you do, have fun and know that it’s about you guys enjoying one another.

What is love? Here’s a thought: just a thought.

Love, what is it really about?

Well I have been with my husband for almost 25 years and I have a few failing thoughts on that, which has helped me get to this right here, with time and practice. When you are happy, you make others happy around you. Deal with yourself first. The other one is this, Love is not complicated. A quote from my husband. “Marriage (relationships) can be challenging, but love is easy.” I totally agree with him. I think about all that the Bible mentions about love and it’s a pretty wonderful thing God designed, he designed Divine love:

Who doesn’t want that? But we hear so many times; love sucks, love is hard, love is for losers, love is not real, etc., etc., of more negative love affirmations.

What we are experiencing in life is not love itself as it was designed by the Divine to be. We are experiencing are our beliefs about love and love is being filtered through that thinking. The truth is we are dealing with our past experiences, perspectives and idiosyncrasies, but love is still the same as God created it to be, our baggage just happens to be tagging along, giving it a bad wrap.

When you realize that, your heart can stay open to love and you can deal with what’s truly going on. We think things like, if he loved me he would call more, if she loved me, she would have known not to say things like that. But not necessarily, love has nothing to do with someone being inconsiderate, forgetful, selfish or just plain immature. Deal with the issue, then ask yourself is Divine love here? If not, is this relationship worth calling Divine love into it? Or do you need to practice Divine love for yourself and move on.

Love, this Divine Love, true love is a God given gift to us all. We have to practice this love in our own lives first, before being able to practice with someone else fully. It’s your right to be loved like this. Recognize it. Understand it. Live it and allow it to Live.

Risotto Balls with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Here’s another really beautiful appetizer it is my leftover risotto balls. These are very simple to make and they are absolutely gorgeous, especially when you pair it with my sun-dried tomato pesto. I am just going to get to the recipe here, so you can get back to make the evening more magical.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked risotto

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Italian seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

Sundried Tomato Pesto:

2 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained, if packed in oil

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled

Directions: 1 Using lightly greased or wet hands, shape leftover risotto into 1-inch balls. Return balls to the baking pan. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until balls are completely chilled.

2 In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium-high heat. Roll rice balls in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs to coat.

3 Cook rice balls, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, carefully turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while cooking the remaining rice balls. Once all the balls cooked plate them with a side of sun dried tomato pesto.

Sun dried tomato pesto:

Process all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the mixture forms a coarse paste. This pesto will keep in the fridge inside an airtight container up to one month.

Vegan Spinach Florentine Rice Paper Wraps.

Here’s another recipe that may wow your Valentine’s Day date. 💕It’s so simple, easy, delicious and healthy. I love taking traditional recipes like a spring roll adding non traditional ingredients and allowing my guests to experience something in familiar in a new way. This will make appetizer, before dinner or add some wonderful cheeses, nuts,dried fruit and you got a beautifully unique anti pasti platter, pair it with your favorite wines and dinner is served. Psst… throw in some really good chocolates and this Valentine’s Day will be talked about for awhile. The truth is whatever you decide to do, just make sure you Set the Table with Love. NOTE: The pictures below show a wok fried version of this recipe, but I did give you an option to back them. Ingredients:1 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup onions 1/2 cup red bell pepper1/2 cup sundried tomatoes 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and pat dry to remove excess water1/2 cup chanterelle or baby portobello mushrooms,choppedFreshly ground black pepper and sea salt to tasteRice Papers To help hold them together:1/2 tbsp cornstarch 1 tbsp water Basil oil for dipping 2 cup of basil 1 cup olive oilSea salt to taste Directions: Preheat your oven to 425.In a sauté pan on medium heat add the olive oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic and sauté for about minutes or two until onions are a bit transparent. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until everything is heated through. Remember you will be baking these as well. Remove from stove and set aside. Prepare your rice paper for baking: 1 Place a single wrapper on a wet kitchen towel (cover the remaining wrappers with another kitchen towel so that they don’t dry). Arrange the wrapper in a diamond shape, place a bit of ingredients at the bottom. Stop when you reach half way, fold the right and left corner in so that the roll looks like an open envelope. Brush a bit of cornstarch mixture on the final corner and finish rolling. Place under a damp kitchen towel while you roll the rest. 2 Brush the rolls with a small amount of vegetable oil and place on a baking tray lined with a piece of baking parchment. 3 Bake for about 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes on the other side, until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy with the basil oil or your favorite sauce.

Preparing Rice Paper wraps for deep frying. Use the same rolling process as you would for baking adding the ingredients in the rice paper and rolling according to previous instructions:To start the process of deep frying, all you need is a nice big wok or saucepan, a ladle or a pair of tongs and some oil.

  1. Heat up a cup of oil on low heat in a wok or big sauce pan. When the oil starts to lightly smoke, it is ready for frying.
  2. Using a ladle or a pair of tongs, gently immerse a spring roll into the hot oil. Be very gentle so that the oil does not splash on you.
  3. After half a minute, turn the spring roll over gently. Fry for another half a minute, then put it to the side of the wok and let it continue frying. You need to do this before putting the next spring roll into the oil as the spring rolls may stick to each other before both sides have been fried for half a minute.
  4. Fry the spring rolls until they are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Remove from oil and place ice on a paper towel, to remove and excess oil and enjoy!

For basil oil: Add all ingredients in a blender and lightly pulse, until well blended, add more oil if you like a nice thin basil oil. Continue to 5 of 6 below.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Valentine’s Day is all about making that special someone in your life feel appreciated and loved. My favorite way of expressing my love is through food. However, not everyone wants to be in the kitchen cooking up a five course meal all day.

No worries I have a beautiful salad you can prepare in under 20 minutes and your love will be very impressed. This recipe uses peaches , but you can easily substitute them for pears. You can have this salad as a main course or serve along side a piece of grilled salmon.

No matter how you decide to serve it, remember to always Set the Table with Love.💕💕💕

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Ingredients:

Prepackaged Organic Arugula Greens, (tripled washed)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp organic honey

3 medium peaches, sliced

1 cup almonds

1 tsp harissa seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

Fresh Burrata ( Whole Foods or Fresh Market )

Balsamic Glaze

Very Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instruction:

Add enough arugula on to a beautiful serving dish, set aside.

Add oil to a sauté pan on medium heat. Once heated add sliced peaches, drizzle 1 tbsp of the honey over them and stir until they are coated with the honey and a pinch of sea salt . Sauté for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Using the same pan on medium heat, add your almonds, the rest of the honey, harissa and sea salt to the pan and stir constantly, until the almonds are covered completely, about a minute. Remove from heat, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Take your Burrata and put it in the middle of your bed of arugula, open it up with a knife gently in the middle, to expose the curd, add the Organic Waikiki Honey in the middle of opened Burrata. Next add the peaches on top of the bed of arugula, then add the almonds all around, creating a beautiful salad, drizzle the entire salad with olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

The Happy Now

pexels-photo-573259.jpeg

Most of us are waiting for happy to show up at our door and knock, we answer with glee, “Hello, Happy I have been waiting for you, now all is well with the world.” Happy looks at you and says with great merriment, sorry is this 52 Henderson Way?  You look with great disappointment and hang your head low and slam the door. Happy skips off, not affected at all and move on to find 52 Henderson Way.  I know, cheesy story, but my point is this, we need to stop waiting. If we expect happy to make things right in our lives we will be disappointed. Happiness is based on condition and conditions change as much as the weather is so unpredictable here in Georgia.

God is my source of happiness. God is the creator of happiness, love, compassion and all the sparkly, unicorn fairy feelings ,that make us feel all effervescent inside.

My connection to God and the universal truth, that he planted inside of all of us, that in him we are remember that we are whole and complete.  Happiness is not something that you wait to show up, it is always. Happiness is always there. Love is always there. Compassion is always there. It is a matter of where you are looking.  This little exercise may perhaps help you see it more clearly in your own life.

The Happy Now practice :pexels-photo-799420.jpeg

List 10 things that make you HAPPY :

Take your time. The mind is programmed to look for what you are looking for. If you are looking for suffering you will find it , because just as happiness is out there, so is suffering, so is love, just as hate. It’s all about where you are focusing your attention.

I bet you thought of somethings, so guess where happy is right now? It’s in you! You just experienced it. You stepped into the happy that has always been there.

Now take the same list and live in the energy of that happiness, try to do one thing on your list this week that stirred up the happy inside of you.   If you can do all ten and do it with someone you love, make it a weekly practice. The point is to see that whatever you  are looking for is never outside of you, dear one. It’s right there, always.


Mini Vegan Dark Chocolate Macaroons

Today is day four of my 30 day cleanse and it’s going pretty good. It is challenging coming up with creative recipes, but hey, that’s my thing. I love to take what I have an make creative recipes, but even more when the recipes call for no diary, no processed white sugar,vegan and yep, no gluten. The truth is even though I am doing this cleanse, I still crave my favorites, like dessert, chips and bread. The body needs to cleanse and reset itself for optimum health and wellness, this is why I cleanse 3 to 4 times a year. We all need a reset, no matter how healthy we eat. So, back to dessert, chips and breads.

This dessert is very easy and you do not need a million ingredients. Take note, I am not using any sugars, such as, honey, maple syrup or agave, just coconut sugar. Coconut sugar only has 5 grams of sugar, much better for you while doing a cleanse, if you craving something sweet. The macaroons are excellent paired with French Broad 100% dark chocolate, now this will be intense, only for the purist. You can also use 72% or 80% dark chocolate, no milk chocolate, since we are doing a cleanse. LOL. 🙂

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Macaroons

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup  dairy free dark chocolate, chopped
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Add coconut and coconut flour to a food processor or high speed blender and blend, scraping down sides as needed, until you have incorporated the coconut and coconut flour.  You want a pliable dough to feel like play doh. If the dough is not pliable, add more coconut and blend.  Add coconut sugar and vanilla and mix again until just incorporated.
Using a 1 tbsp scoop, scoop out in enough to fill the scoop, pack down firmly, but gently with your hands to shape the dough, gently tap the dough out of the scoop. Shape it into a nice half moon ball. Place each macaroon gently on the baking sheet.

Brush the tops lightly with melted coconut oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to look golden brown. Allow the macaroons to cool.
While macaroons are cooling, melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second increments.  Set aside.
Once completely cooled, drizzle the chocolate over each one. Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes or over night, this will allow them to firm up.  Be gentle in handling the macaroons, because they are very fragile.  Remove each macaroon from the cookie sheet and place on a nice platter. Serve and Enjoy.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Macaroons

Sundried Tomato Risotto ~ Easy Elegant Entertaining

What I love about entertaining at home, is spending time with my friends and family, so that means, not being in the kitchen all day, while everyone is having a good time in the other room. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the party?  I even bought our new house with that purpose in mind, to be with my guest, while I am preparing food for them. We all sit around our 8 foot island and just connect with one another over an excellent bottle of wine and eat as each course comes out.

Creating recipes that are loaded with flavor and doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make your guest feel like it did, is the key. My to go to recipe, my Sundried Tomato Risotto, because it seems, difficult, it looks fancy, but psst… IT’S NOT and it’s pretty darn delicious.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can truly make it your own, you can flavor it with all kinds of mouthwatering possibilities, with spinach, sweet peas and mint or you could do butternut squash and fried sage with just a pinch of nutmeg. Just allow your imagination to run wild, serve it with steamed veggies or a nice salad, some crusty bread, excellent wine, and you will be the hostess of the year, will maybe of the month, it is risotto and not coq au vin, LOL, 🙂

So here’s the recipe I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family as you Set the Table with Love.

Sun dried Tomato Risotto

IMG_1355
Sundried Tomato Risotto photo by: Noi Tran Photography

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, I used pre sliced ones)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

finely chopped fresh basil leaves for sprinkling the risotto after cooking

Directions:

1. In a saucepan add the water and the bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it at a bare simmer. In a large saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil, and stir in the tomatoes.

IMG_1312
Sundried Tomato Risotto Photo by: Noi Tran Photography

2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once you have added all the water and broth liquid add the 1/2 cup of white wine remember to allow each portion to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente)

3. Stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the risotto with the fresh basil. I like to drizzle a little olive oil over it all at the end. Makes 4-6 servings