Millet and Red Quinoa Balls

I love this dish, because it is one that brings beautiful memories of me sitting in my friend’s garden, enjoying a nice glass of Pinot Noir, along side her olive tree, with yummy crusty bread on the side, lots of laughs and a few tears. One of my favorite memories, is just watching the hummingbirds flying around and allowing ourselves to just be in the present moment.

This recipe is a wonderful alternative for a “Meatless Monday”, it can also be a great vegan recipe, just omit the parmesan cheese. The flavor is in the red bell peppers, garlic, onions, basil and fennel. This is one you will want to make with your family over and over and again.  If you have balls left over, please freeze them, they do great in the freezer.

I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do and maybe it will be bring fond memories for you, when you Set the Table with Love for those special people in your life.  Enjoy! 🙂

 

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Millet and Red Quinoa Balls in a Simple Marinara Sauce

Millet and Red Quiona Balls

Ingredients

1 cup of Millet
1/2 cup of Red quinoa
4 cups of water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves ( minced)
1/2 cup onions diced
1/2 cup of red bell peppers, diced
1 cup of parmesan cheese, if vegan omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese instead
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder

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Millet and Red Quinoa Balls in a Simple Marinara Sauce

1. In large deep sauce pan add the 4 cups of water. Allow it to come to boil. Add millet and red quinoa. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Turn down the heat to medium low simmer, cook for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally. You want a nice fluffy mash potato like texture. This makes the balls easy to roll up.
2. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a sauté’ pan and sauté’ the garlic, onions and red bell peppers, cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season the veggies. Add the sauté’ vegetables to the mixture along with the dried basil, fennel seeds and the cup of parmesan cheese. Taste and season with the black pepper and sea salt, as needed.
3. Stir completely, incorporating all the ingredients. Wet your hands
slightly and roll the mixture into medium balls. You can put the balls in the fridge to harden for about 30 minutes. This will help the balls to hold together when you are browning them in the sauté pan.
4.Once the balls are firm, add the remaining olive oil in a sauté’ pan and sauté’ each ball until golden brown on each side on medium heat. Add goat cheese, basil and lemon zest for garnish, if you desire.
Makes 20-25 small millet and red quinoa balls

 

Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.)can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
2 1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp of sea salt
2 tsp. organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 bay leaves
Directions:
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic until tender.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato puree, basil, oregano,sea salt (or to taste), organic cane sugar, red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 40 minutes.
Serve the Millet and Red Quiona Balls on top of the Marinara Sauce.
Use pieces of basil as garnish with a little lemon zest.

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Raw Carrot Cake bites for Easter. How to use up your carrot pulp from juicing.

Tuesday is my day to get refueled from the weekend and a super busy Monday.  Mondays are one of my busiest times of the week, very rejuvenating but I am moving from one thing to the next.

I have an early morning Life coaching and Reiki session and right after, I teach my yoga class and then I am off to do B’Tyli Natural Skin Therapies work, plus other things that my Creative Marketing Director, Kristina Millsaps has on the agenda. So, let me tell you when Tuesday rolls around I am ready to go and set in my yoga teacher’s studio and her peaceful presence, for 1 hour and 30 minutes and receive my healing and bliss. Tuesdays, also calls for a little work.  I really don’t consider this a work day, because I get to make raw food and let out some creative energy.  I love making raw foods for my clients,  because it sends healing to them and I always make enough for leftovers for me. 🙂

Today was all about the carrots. I juiced carrots for a yummy raw carrot and ginger soup, this juice also was used to make a raw carrot and ginger dressing for a beautiful cruciferous salad.  Cruciferous salad?

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Raw Carrot Cake Balls for Easter

Cruciferous vegetables have risen in popularity recently due to their apparent cancer-fighting properties. This large group of plants is diverse, each providing strong, unique flavors. It is named after the Latin word for crucifix because the blossoms of these plants resemble a cross.

Cruciferous vegetables include:

  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • kale
  • radish
  • turnips

Cruciferous vegetables are low-calorie, and rich in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient to incorporate if weight loss is the goal, as it helps keep you fuller longer.

Cruciferous vegetables are also good sources of phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds that may help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. SOURCE : HEALTH LINE CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES BENEFITS

But, hmm… what to do with the all the carrot pulp. I decided to make these yummy Raw Carrot Cake bites. I shaped them like Easter eggs, because I thought these would be so pretty on the table at Easter. Raw vegan or not, you will love these little bites. They are very versatile, you can use your favorite nut, add your favorite spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of clove. Also raisins or dates will work just find in this recipe.  I did not use nuts for this recipe. I love nuts, but sometimes we can have a love hate relationship and today my body said, NO NUTS! 🙂 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe add it on your table for Easter or any day of the week. Happy Easter Everyone! Enjoy setting your table with love.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 shredded unsweetened coconut, set aside 2 tbsp for garnish
  • 3/4 cup dried raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrot pulp
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼  cup water or more if needed
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Blend oats, sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup coconut  in vitamix (food processor should work too) until you get a fine consistency like flour.
  2. Add in dried raisins, pulse a few times to break them up then add carrots pulp, maple syrup, vanilla and spices.
  3. Slowly add in water. You looking for a consistency of nice slightly wet cookie dough
  4. Roll dough into balls, like the shape of Easter eggs and cover in shredded coconut if you want.
  5.  Enjoy!
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RAW Carrot Cake Balls for Easter

 

S3 ( Smoothies, Salads and Soups) For A Happy Healthy Summer

Today on my Facebook Live post I talked about something I love sharing with my clients.  Most of them have super busy schedules, but want to incorporate a healthier lifestyle and perhaps lose a few pounds, but do not need all the fuss. I like to call this my S3 plan, Smoothies, Salads and Soups, we also do a +1 for those who like to incorporate fresh green juices.

The plan is pretty simple and just takes a little creativity and prep work on your part, but  I am going to get you started.  So what’s the plan? Here’s the deal on S3. It’s smoothies in the morning, that consist of fruits such as, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, peaches,oranges, papaya, melons,guava and kiwi. These fruits can be added to your smoothie. I like using unsweetened non dairy milk as my liquid. Remember S3 is a gentle cleansing plan, so dairy is not included. I do suggest if you must have dairy, use yogurt. You can also add to your smoothie, nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios. This will add more protein to your smoothies.  I also like to add a vegan protein mix, that’s low in sugar and carbohydrates. Get creativity! Try out new fruit and nut combinations, it’s easy, just throw it all in your blender and go for it.

For the salad: When we think of salads we think, lettuce, tomatoes and cold vegetables with yucky carrots stripes that are dry and just unappealing.  You can make a salad without lettuces, but if you do use greens, make sure they are  leafy greens, like kale, swiss chard, butter and bib lettuces, romaine lettuce, add different type of spinaches. But a salad can be sautéed vegetables, with some chickpeas added, some fresh herbs and dried cranberries or golden raisins. In the S3 plan, I make all kinds of vegetable salads, french lentil salads and green salads as well. The point here is to use as many vegetables you enjoy, cooked or raw and make your own vinaigrettes or buy a really good healthy one. That’s the key here, use vinaigrettes on your salads, instead of heavy creamy dressings.

SIMPLE VINAGRETTE RECIPE:

You can be so creative with vinaigrettes, add chopped strawberries, finely chopped blueberries and blackberries, if you like and there you have a fruit vinaigrettes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons organic honey
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTION:

  1. Combine shallot, garlic, honey, vinegar, and water in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a tightly sealing jar, seal, and shake vigorously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

     

Now for the soups, here you have a world of possibilities just as with the smoothies and the salads. The catch here is to only make broth based soups, lots of broth, this will add in elimination. Today I made a french lentil and porcini mushroom soup, it was brothy and earthy and just plan delicious. All of the carrots, onions, garlic and celery helped give me a good fiber based. When you are making your soups you want to pack them out with lots of herbs, dry and fresh, seasonings, such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger,smoked paprika, chipotle and red chili peppers. All of these are anti inflammatory spices.

Here on S3 you can eat all the Smoothies, Salads and Soups you want. When you need to snack, make sure to have nuts, seeds, and vegetable and fruit handy. I would suggest the ones I listed above under what fruits are good for a S3 smoothie. You can do this plan for 3 days, 3 weeks or even 3 months. Your basically eating a vegetarian diet. I like to add eggs to make soup, a poached or boil egg gives me that extra protein I may need. You can also add eggs to your salad. If you need to eat something more than vegetarian, I would suggest fish, such as trout, salmon or mackerel. Here’s the deal, keep it simple and it will not be complicated.

How are we feeling about S3?  It’s super simple and easy, it can be done.

Let’s talk about what you want to avoid during S3: Whatever time period you have decided to do this plan you want to cut back or all together avoid, processed sugar, alcohol, caffeine, red meats, high fat foods, such as chips, pastries, etc. You want to consume plenty of water, that includes, green tea, coconut water, that is just pure coconut water and you can juice your

BELOW THIS RECIPE IS MORE S3 RECIPES YOU CAN TRY.

FRENCH LENTIL AND PORCINI MUSHROOM SOUP
FRENCH LENTIL AND PORCINI MUSHROOM SOUP

French Lentil and Porcini Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cups boiling water to re-hydrate them (save liquid for soup)
  • 3 tbs good cooking extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2  small celery stalks, cleansed and chopped
  • 1 small onion,  peeled and roughly chopped onion
  • 1 cups French lentils or any lentils you prefer
  • 4 cups good low sodium vegetable stock
  • fresh thyme, about 1 tbs, minced
  • sea salt and ground cracked  pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Re-hydrate the mushrooms in boiling water, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes.
  2. In a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat and olive oil, then add our vegetables, MAKE SURE TO CUT THE VEGETABLES THE SAME SIZE and season with salt and pepper and add a sprig of thyme.
  3. Cook stirring often for 15 minutes or until vegetables start to caramelizE, YOU WANT JUST COLOR, NOT BURNT VEGETABLES, :)!
  4. Add lentils, vegetable stock, mushroom liquid, broth then bring to boil, then turn down to simmer.
  5. Cook until lentils are just tender.
  6. Serve immediately, I like to drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive over the soup.
  A FEW RECIPES YOU CAN TRY. ENJOY AND REMEMBER TO SET THE TABLE WITH LOVE

Smoothies

Smoothie with a Purpose

Salads

Mediterranean Salad

Harissa Roasted Chickpea salad with acorn squash, mint and pumpkin seeds

Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Salad for Breast Health

Soups

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

 

If life gives you Lemons, Make Meyer Lemon Confit

I love trying new things.  My new love outside of poaching white fish in butter, is this making confits.  What does confit mean: Confit (/kɒnfi/, French pronunciation: [kɔ̃fi]) comes from the French word confire which means literally “to preserve,” a confit being any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation. Usually you hear this word in fine dining  restaurants, duck confit or goose confit, meaning the bird has been cooked in it’s own fat. Yes! Actually. I prefer making confits with citrus. A lemon confit is the same idea, but I am using olive oil to slowing cook the meyer lemon rinds in. It makes an excellent condiment to any dish. You can use it on toasted breads, drizzle on salads, vegetables and as I did today on a piece of broiled pacific cod. This is a very simple and easy recipe, that I adapted from Naomi Pomeroy Taste and Technique Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking. 

Meyer Lemon Confit
Meyer Lemon Confit

Ingredients:

Lemon Confit

Rinds of 3 lemons

1/4 teaspoons dried fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes

2 teaspoons organic cane sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

Directions:

Cut away most of the spongy white pit of the rinds, leaving only the yellow peel. Cut the trimmed rind pieces into strips 1/8 inch wide and 1 inch long.

Place the strips in a 2 quart saucepan and add the fennels seeds, red chili pepper flakes, sugar, salt, olive oil and garlic cloves. Place over very low heat and slowly simmer. You want it simmer to point you see tiny little bubbles. You will need to stir this often, to make sure the sugar and salt dissolves. You do not want the mixture to fry the lemon rinds, so keep a close eye on it. I had to take mine off the heat at least 3 times and put it back on the low heat, so it would not fry. Naomi suggest using a diffuser, but I did have one of those. If you keep it on a low heat and just keep a good eye, it will be fine.  It takes about 20 minutes for the rinds to simmer and cook until they are soft. Take a fork and remove one out from the oil to check the consistency. Once they are soft, remove from heat and set aside, covered, at room temperature to allow the flavors to come together overnight. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.

I poured my meyer lemon confit over this beautiful piece of pacific cod.

Broiled Pacific Cod with Meyer Lemon Confit, Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes
Broiled Pacific Cod with Meyer Lemon Confit, Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

 

Pear and Beet Salad 5 under 30

I am so excited about cooking and sharing on Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta, how you can stay Fit and Fabulous for 2017, using 5 main ingredients under 30 minutes.

This salad was inspired by that simple challenge. We can do it and we can do it deliciously, with hardly no effort at all, using some of my easy recipes. It just takes some preparing and a bit of creativity. I love this salad, because it has over 26 grams of protein, that is vegetarian and about 15 grams of carbs. I love those numbers.

I hope you tune in to Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta Thursday Feburary 9th at 9:00 am, but until then, enjoy this salad. Oh yeah! Do not forget to always Set the Table with Love.

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Pear and Beet Salad Fit and Fabulous

Pear and Beet Salad

Ingredients:

4 small roasted or marinated beets, (I used Love Beets, already peeled and marinated or roasted for you and they are organic and delicious.)

1 bosc pear

2 cups of your favorite greens, chopped, ( I used romaine lettuce.)

2 tbsp of your favorite cheese, ( I used parmesan, vegetarian.)

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Add the lettuce to a salad bowl. Place the beets around in different places around lettuce, add the pears on top of the lettuce, sprinkle the cheese and the pumpkin seeds. You may have pumpkin seeds left over, eat them as a snack later.

Add a pinch of sea salt, cracked black pepper. Drizzle a little balsamic glaze and olive oil. Salad done.

You can also use nuts, instead of seeds. You can also add other veggies, like sautéed zucchini and yellow squash.

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Pear and Beet Salad Fit and Fabulous

 

 

 

Harissa Roasted Chickpea salad with acorn squash, mint and pumpkin seeds

This recipe is so delicious and full of exotic flavors, well at least I think so. LOL.

This salad will fill you up and give you tons of plant based vegan protein. You do not have to be a vegan to enjoy this salad. It’s important to incorporate more plant based foods in our diets, because it will help you look and feel better and it will give you tons of energy. I maybe help drop a few unwanted pounds. Who doesn’t want more energy and a few pounds out the way?  Me, me, me!!

I got something for you, in this simple to make salad. I hope you enjoy the flavors and how you feel later. Harissa maybe a new ingredient you are trying, so let me break it down for you.

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Roasted Harissa Chickpea Salad with acorn squash, mint, pumpkin seeds and micro greens

Harissa is a North African hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti pepper, serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, saffron, rose or caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil for preservation.

This Harissa I used in this recipe is a powder form that I got form my local William Sonoma.

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Roasted Harissa Chickpea Salad with acorn squash, mint, pumpkin seeds and micro greens

For Chickpeas

1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, harissa seasoning or cayenne pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Set aside to cool.

For the Lentils

1 cup dry lentils

3 cups of  vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of  vegetable broth to 1 cup of dry lentils. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. For whole lentils, cook time is typically 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Vegetables

1 small acorn squash, chopped in to 1 inch slices

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 small red bell pepper, cut in slices, save a couple of slices to chop up to top the salad

1/4 cup  poblano peppers, chopped

1 cup red cabbages, sliced thinly

1/4 cup red onions, diced

6-8  mint leaves, small to medium

1 cup micro greens, or baby arugula

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

After the legumes are cooked and cooled, turn the stove on medium high heat, place a large saucepan on the stove. Add your oil allow to heat up, then add the acorn squash, red bell peppers and poblano peppers to the  pan. Season with salt and black pepper.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or  until the squash is golden brown, but not mushy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To assemble:

In a salad bowl add the roasted chickpeas and lentils, gently toast together. Add the cooked vegetables and the raw cabbages, mint, red onions and the chopped raw red bell pepper. Top with micro greens and pumpkins. Squeeze some lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over top the salad with a pinch of sea salt and gently toss, incorporating all the ingredients.

Enjoy. This makes a large salad for 4-6 or a great meal for lunch and dinner for 2.

 

 

 

 

 

Mediterranean Kale, Chard and White Bean Salad with Artichokes and Gluten Free Toast with Olive Tapenade

There is nothing like a beautifully delicious salad, but sometimes it’s really hard to eat salad during the winter. So I opt out to making warm salads. Yes, salads can be warm, you still get your greens and veggies but sautéed a bit. Here is one of my favorite salads. I love mediterranean ingredients, like artichokes and kalamata olives. This salad includes them both, but with a little twist. The great thing about salad, you can throw in all your favorite ingredients. Instead of just putting the olives in this salad I made an olive tapenade and spreader it on gluten free toast is a great alternative. In a later post, I will show you how to pump up your olive tapenade with plant based protein. But, until then enjoy this recipe. Always remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Mediterranean Kale, Chard and White Bean Salad with Artichokes and Gluten Free Toast with Olive Tapenade

Ingredients:

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup red onions, diced and extra tablespoon for garnish

1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons olive oil, in a sauce pan, to sauté veggies

1 tablespoons garlic herb seasonings

1 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 bunches of kale, rinsed, dried with a paper towel, leaves roughly chopped

1 bunch of chard, rinsed, dried with a paper towel, leaves roughly chopped

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, marinated

Directions:

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a sauté pan, on medium heat and then add the diced onions and peppers. Sauté until soft. Add diced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add beans and stir. Add the spices and stir gently, to keep the beans in tack. Cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside once cooked. Add the remaining oil into the pan on medium heat. Add the kale and chard, sauté for 2 minutes, you are just welting the leaves. Remove for heat and set aside

Olive Tapenade Ingredients:

1 cup pitted black olives

6 small capers

1 garlic clove

3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Mince the garlic clove. Place olives, minced garlic, capers and olive oil in blender. Blend until you reach a smooth spread. Add to the gluten free toast. To Assemble: Add the kale, chard, in a salad bowl, top with beans and gently toss, place artichoke hearts sparingly throughout the salad. Garnish with diced red peppers, season with sea salt, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Roasted Purple potatoes on top of lemons with thyme and mediterranean sea salt

Who says that vegan food cannot be beautiful and elegant? Well you haven’t tried my roasted purple potatoes with lemon and thyme. This makes an excellent side dish or main course with a side salad. The recipe is super easy.

Roasted Purple potatoes with lemon and thyme
Roasted Purple potatoes with lemon and thyme

All you would need to do is preheat your oven at 35o. Roasting time 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.  
You will need:

4 petite purple potatoes, sliced, read below how to slice the potatoes or you can skip this step.

1 medium lemon, sliced into circles about 1/2 inch thick

2 sprigs thyme 

olive oil

Mediterranean course sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Using a sharp kitchen knife, carefully start making a series of vertical cuts width-wise through the potato, making sure not to cut all the way through – cuts should only be 3/4 of the way through the potato. 

Next, slice lemons into circles about a half inch thick. Place the lemons on parchment paper on a cookie sheet  and add the potatoes on top of the lemons, drizzle the lemons and the potatoes with olive oil generously, season with the Mediterranean Sea salt and top with thyme sprigs. 

Roast for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Once cooked, remove from oven. Set aside to cool a bit.  Transfer everything onto a plate and drizzle with olive oil and a little lemon juice.

Roasted Purple potatoes with lemon and thyme
  

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese 

I love Mac and cheese. It is definitely a holiday favorite .  This year I wanted to do something different .  I wanted to see if I  could make my mom’s incredible mac and cheese recipe and make it a little healthier. My mom made the best mac and cheese ever, buttery , cheesy, creamy and loaded with lots of flavor. I knew this would be a feat. 

So how would I  do this? I  believe it’s best to use what you have first. A lesson my mom taught me growing up. I looked on my counter and there was a butternut squash. I  love butternut squash and the color reminds me of sharp cheddar cheese. Now how will I  I corporate this in  my  recipe. Substitute the cheese. Now the butter, that easy, make the roux with olive oil instead .  The milk also, no biggie, use 2% or a non dairy unsweetened milk .  I went for the 2%. 
I  got an opportunity to try out my recipe on a local talk show, Women on the MOVE, hosted by Kim McNair. You have check out her talk show, it’s very inspiring  highlight incredible women here in the Atlanta area and local celebrities that are making a difference in our community. 

Okay back to the  mac and cheese .  The crew tore right into and loved the flavor. I think my mom would be proud. Of course, she would say  Lisa you should  have added a little butter.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember this holiday season to Set the Table with Love and holiday cheer. 

Ingredients 
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

1 large butternut squash

6 tablespoons olive

¾ cup all-purpose flour

7 cups 2% milk 

pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup smoked gouda  shredded 

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded 

1/4 mozzarella, shredded  

1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded save 1/2 cup for the top of the mac and cheese 

1/2 cup herb Japanese panko breadcrumbs

 Salt

 Pepper

Directions 

Heat oven on 375.

Peel the squash, cut the butternut squash in half, remove seeds and cut the squash in cubes.  In a large pot of boiling water add the squash. Cook until squash is tender. Drain squash and add to a blender.  Purée until smooth.

Make cheese sauce. Add olive oil in saucepan. Add flour. Stir to make a roux and cook 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. Add 3 cups milk, pinch of nutmeg and stir until thickened. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add shredded cheese, (leaving out 1/2 of the sharp cheddar cheese out) and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the dish: Place cooked elbow macaroni in large bowl. Pour half of the cheese sauce over and add puréed butternut squash. Fold together. Add the remainder of the cheese sauce according to your cheese preference. Top with the remaining sharp cheddar, panko breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.  Place in an ovenproof dish and cook until cheese is melted and golden brown. 

Veggie Plate Special of the Day ~ Roasted Eggplant, Charred Okra, Lemons and Sautéed Northern Georgia Candy Squash.

I remember growing up and going to those cafeterias with my family, that served the, Blue Plate Special, which included one meat, two veggies, bread and a drink. My family loved these deals, they were inexpensive and you got a good amount of food for the price. It was a great deal for a family of 5 and my dad and brother could eat, so they were in heaven.

My favorite thing was the veggie specials. You got all these yummy vegetables on your plate . I would fill my plate with collard greens, green beans and potatoes, sweet potato mash, corn and a big piece of cornbread.   Well, here is my version of a veggie plate special.

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Veggie Plate Special of the Day ~ Roasted Eggplant, Charred Okra, Lemons and Sautéed Northern Georgia Candy Squash.

The awesome thing about this version, it’s totally Farm to Table and still very inexpensive, but much fresher and a bit more creative. Hope you enjoy! Hey, let’s eat more veggies and support local farmers. As always, remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Roasted Eggplant

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half  crisscrossed. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle dried thyme and sea salt over each eggplant.
Roast in the preheated oven until softened and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

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Charred Okra and Lemon

For the okra:

Trim the stems from the okra and cut each pod in half lengthwise. Place in a large bowl, add the salt, and toss to combine; set aside.
Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Working in 2 to 3 batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the okra, cut-side down in a single layer, and sear undisturbed until charred on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the okra and cook until crisp-tender, about 30 seconds more. Remove to a medium bowl.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the okra in the bowl. Recipe from Chowhound: Charred Okra

For the lemon:

Cut a medium lemon into slices . Add the lemon to the okra pan, allow to cook until caramelized, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl.

Sautéed North Georgia Candy Squash

Peel the squash. Cut it in half, right in the middle of the squash, where you have rings of the squash. Remove the seeds, cut the squash into 1/2 inch rings. In a large sautéed pan,  add enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan, cook on medium heat. Add the rings, add salt and smoked paprika to the rings and allow to cook until golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes, flip them over and sauté the other side, add salt and the smoked paprika and sauté into golden brown and tender.

Serve the veggies on a nice plate and even add a piece of Gluten  Free cornbread

Southern Girls ~ Gluten Free Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans and Dessert Maple Apple Cinnamon Nice Dream

The best thing about this dish is you can use your imagination and come up with your own Veggie Plate Special of the Day.

img_4707Veggie Plate Special of the Day ~ Roasted Eggplant, Charred Okra, Lemons and Sautéed Northern Georgia Candy Squash.