Valentine’s Day Chocolate Heart Shaped Quinoa Coconut Macaroons 

This is one of my favorite holidays. I am such a hopeless romantic. I love Love.❤❤❤

Valentine’s Day can be decadent and nourishing. We usually see quinoa used for savory dishes, but this is one of my favorites. You guys know how much I love quinoa. Check out all the delicious recipes here on my blog, but try this one first. 😘

< y Chocolate Heart Shaped Quinoa Macaroons is one you will come back to often. Enjoy these on Valentine’s Day or any day of the week. It’s an awesome recipe to share with your kids as well.  b>Ingredients 6 tablespoons egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2  cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup cooked  white quinoa. Follow package instructions.

Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:<<<
bine the egg whites and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl.

Begin by tempering the eggs, which will create a nice crispy cookie exterior. Place the bowl over a pot with boiling water and whisk the eggs and maple syrup  together until creamy and warm. When they’re warm to the touch, they are ready to go.

Remove the bowl off the heat and add in coconut, quinoa and salt, mix well.

Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat or double parchment paper,( so they will not burn under the bottom)

Spray canola oil inside a heart shaped cookie cutter.  Using an ice cream scoop, place the mixture in the heart shaped cookie cutter and fill to the top.<<<
tly press down the mixture into the cookie cutter, molding it into a heart shape. Remove the cookie cutter and continue until you have used all the mixture.  Separating the cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the center of a warm oven for 15 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden brown.

Let them cool for at least 10 minutes or until completely cooled.

Top with Chocolate Ganache<<<
colate Ganache

4 oz dark or semi milk chocolate baking bar, chopped

1/2 cup milk or organic almond milk or any non dairy milk or heavy cream

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Easy version<<<<
ce chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat milk on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour milk or cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and stir. Drizzle over cooled heart shaped macaroons and Enjoy!!<<<<
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Raw Chocolate Ganache Three Ways, inspired by a journey HOME.

Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and  I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in.  However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.

The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13  years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.

The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME.  The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.

My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.

Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.

Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts

Ingredients:

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries

 

3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache

1 tbsp maple syrup

crushed pistachios and a black cherry

Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.

Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte

 

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Ingredients:

1 pear cut in half and seeds removed

Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.

crushed walnuts

whole coconut milk

1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears

1 tbs maple syrup

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Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Directions:

Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them  into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness.  Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.

Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom.  Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.

NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.img_4922

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

 

Last one, but oh so good.  My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick

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Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios

Instructions
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint

Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.

Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer.
PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.

 

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. 

Leftover Sangria Fruit ~ No Prob! Ginger Peach and Green Apple Crumble

So, yesterday I had some ladies over for a luncheon. It is one I have been wanting to do for awhile. Life can get very busy and we can run from one thing to the next, but the busyness of life has to take a back burner sometimes, so you can connect and show appreciation to those in your life, that support you and just maybe need a little bit of encouragement. The best way I know I how to do that is to cook for people. It truly is my love language.

 

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Ginger Peach and Green Apple Sangria Crumble
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Ginger Peach and Green Apple Sangria Crumble
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Ginger Peach and Green Apple Sangria Crumble

I have been in this mood for foods from Spain, one of my favorite things is Paella, so I made a vegan version of this dish for my friends and they loved it. I also paired it with this wonderfully refreshing sangria. I love using seasonal food, so I made a Ginger Peach and Green Apple sangria. I am a Georgia girl, so honey, we got peaches. It was a hit, but you know after you make the sangria, you are left with all this aromatic  wine infused fruit.

I looked at my happy guest and said, Girls I need to do something with this fruit. Maybe some wine infused chutney or a preserve?  I did not do anything of that, I wanted dessert, so this crumble was born.

It is delicious, sweet, tart, you taste the ginger, the peaches, the green apples, and a touch of the wine flavor comes through beautifully. I was so surprised how good it turned out. Well, enough of that babbling, here’s the sangria and crumble recipe. Enjoy and take a pause from the busyness  and Set the Table with Love for those beautiful souls in your own life.

 

Ingredients
1 bottle Pinot Grigio,
2 cups of Rosé (optional), I had it, so I used it. You can add 1 cup go Grand Marnier
Bottle of gingerale
5 medium peaches, sliced
3 medium green apples, sliced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger)
handful of ice

Instructions
Stir all ingredients together. Chill until you’re ready to serve!

 

Sangria Ginger Peach and Green Apple Crumble

Preheat the oven 350. 

Ingredients:

Super Simple!

In a buttered greased baking dish, add all the fruit. Add 2 tbsp of gluten free flour to the fruit. Add 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon , 1 tsp ginger powder and pinch of salt. Toss gently.

Crumble:

1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1 cup brown sugar
1  1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, oatmeal, cinnamon and butter in the bowl ,work the mixture with your hands or you can use an electric blender with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute or crumble with your hands, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Green Beans and Potatoes and A Green Pea Soup inspired by Chef Michel Guerard

Growing up my mom made the best green beans and potatoes. Lawd they were yummy. She would clean them, cut them and put them in a pot with Idaho white potatoes, seasonings and several pieces of cooked bacon. I can smell them now. Yesterday, after yoga, I went to my local farmers market stand and got a bag of green beans and decided I wanted to pay homage to my mom’s green beans and potatoes, but with a healthy twist. Now, don’t stop reading because you hear the word healthy, as Eddie Murphy said, in the movie, Life ~ “Don’t be scared.”  LOL. 😉

These Green Beans and Red Potatoes are full of flavor and doesn’t take an hour or two to make and you still get the wonderful nutrition benefits of the vegetable. Green beans are high in antioxidants and contains, Vitamin A, B and C. The amino acid in beans and peas make them a great options for vegetarians.

This recipe is very simple and makes a wonderful side dish. Since we are on the subject of green beans. I also decided to make a recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Michel Guerard. My husband gave me a copy of his first cookbook back in 1976, Michel Guerard’s Cuisine for Home Cooks. He is a Michelin 3 star Chef of France and his recipes are fresh, simple and full of flavor. Today I made a  vegetarian version of his Cream of Pea Soup. I changed it up a little and used super greens, chard, spinach and arugula, instead of the bibb lettuce.  I also used greek yogurt, instead of creme fraiche, but I did not skip on the butter. I used my french butter for the recipe. Hey you got to indulge sometimes.

I hope you enjoy these easy Green recipes. Hey, I love to eat in color, today it was all about the greens.  Bon A Petit! Remember to always Set the Table with Love.

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Green Beans and Potatoes

 

Green Beans and Potatoes

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half

1 pound red waxy potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 2-inch wedges

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4-5  small garlic cloves (to taste), minced

Sea salt and red chili pepper flakes, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Steam the green beans above 1 inch of boiling water for four to five minutes until tender. Remove from the steamer, and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Add the potatoes, and steam for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and red chili peppers, and cook for a minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the beans and cook, stirring, for three minutes until quite tender and coated with oil (but still bright green).

3. Gently stir in the potatoes, and add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until they begin to color lightly, about 3 -5 minutes. Serve Warm.

Inspired Michel Gerard’s  Vegetarian Version Cream Pea Soup

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons butter

1  onion, chopped

1 cup Super Greens, I used chard, spinach and arugula

1 1/2 quart vegetable stock

2 cups fresh or frozen tiny green peas

2/3 cup greek yogurt

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Vegetarian Version of Michel Guerard’s Cream of Pea Soup

DIRECTIONS:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion, and sauté it until lightly browned. Add the super greens and cook it until wilted, about 4 -5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Then add the peas and simmer for 6 minutes, if frozen, 15 minutes, if fresh.

Puree the soup in a food processor and strain back into the saucepan.

NOTE: The recipe can be prepared ahead of time, before adding greek yogurt, add this whenever you warm the soup up and are ready to serve it.

Reheat the soup and bring to a boil. Whisk in the greek yogurt and bring the soup to a boil again. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

 

 

 

Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Who says, you can not eat sweet potato soup in the heat of summer? This soup is spicy but very cooling because of the base of coconut milk. It is also has a nice sweet, smoky and just plan delish. The saffron gives it a touch of elegance. Some things are just worth the price and saffron is one of those.

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Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced, put 1/2 cup to the side for garnish

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup red onions, diced

2 garlic clove, crushed

pinch saffron threads

1 tsp smoked chili

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup organic vegetable broth

1 1/2 tbsp organic honey

1  tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Salt and Pepper to taste.

A few saffron threads for garnish. If it suits your fancy. 🙂

Directions~

In a large pot add enough water to cover the diced sweet potatoes. Cook on a medium high heat, until tender.  Remember to put 1/2 cup of the diced sweet potatoes to the side to sauté for your garnish.

Garnish:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook the 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, red onions and red bell peppers, stirring, until soft. Add the garlic and the saffron; cook, stirring. Add 1/2 smoked paprika, fennel seeds and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for a minute to incorporate the spices. Set the garnish mixture to the side.

Soup:

Take the boiled sweet potatoes and drain them in a strainer. Add the sweet potatoes to a blender, Vitamix or Ninja. Add the remaining ingredients, milk, honey, vegetable broth and spices. Blend until smooth. Add the soup to a pot and warm up, if needed. Add the soup to serving bowls; top with the sweet potato garnish and Enjoy!