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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Vegan Quinoa Protein Bowl with a little Thai flavor

 

 

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Vegan Quinoa Protein Bowl with Roasted Thai Peanut Butter flavored Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts, Tomatoes, Carrots and Peppers

I love peanut butter. I can eat it by the spoonfuls, but the best part about eating peanut butter for me is, the high plant based protein and antioxidants it has in it. Yay me. Good for my body and my skin. I actually came across an amazing peanut butter a few weeks ago, when I was being interviewed by Mara Davis, television and radio personality, also GURU of all that is too know about food and where to get it.  She is the host of Atlanta Eats radio and television show. I absolutely love this woman, she knows food and she makes me laugh until my ribs crack.

Well as we were having our interview at Krog Street Market, here in Atlanta, she took me to Natures Garden Express and turned me on to this amazing peanut butter, Georgia Grinders. The owner Michael at Nature’s Garden Express was generous enough to give me a jar to take home and try. I  have been hooked ever since. This recipe came about when I was just craving a spoonful of their peanut butter.  A quick note here: if you are allergic to peanut butter you can substitute another nut butter of your liking.  This recipe is super simple, loaded with vitamins, vegan based protein, lots of flavor.  You get protein everywhere in this dish, the chick peas, the quinoa , the peanut and a little here in the brussels sprouts.

Thai Peanut Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 1″ piece ginger, peeled

1 1/2 cup Georgia Grinders peanut butter

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoon (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoons srirachi sauce

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

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Vegan Quinoa Protein Bowl with Roasted Thai Peanut Butter flavored Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts, Tomatoes, Carrots and Peppers

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat 400

Add ginger into a blender and blend until finely chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, srirachi sauce, coconut oil, and blend. ADD  A LITTLE WARM WATER IF IT IS TOO THICK, until smooth. DO AHEAD: Peanut sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Set a side some of the sauce for garnish. Add the remaining sauce over chick peas that have been drained and rinsed. Toss the chickpeas in the sauce until they are covered completely.  Place the chickpeas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spread them out, so each one can roast properly. Roast for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Once they are roasted remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled use a fork to separate them from one another. Set a side.

Cook 1 cup of quinoa, brown rice or your favorite gluten free grain. Add the grain to the base of the bowl and top with your chickpeas and favorite vegetable toppings. Here I sautéed some brussels sprouts with garlic, lemon juice and a little sea salt in a non stick pan. I added tomatoes, carrot, red bell peppers and the sautéed brussels sprouts. I garnished with a little parsley, cilantro would be the best option, but I am without a car since it is in the shop, so parsley made it on this dish today.

The point here is being created and eating as much as the rainbow as possible.

You can add other raw vegetables here for example, cauliflower, yellow squash, avocado would have been a good options as well. Eating healthy is about creativity and exploration.

So enjoy being a food art is your kitchen.

Do not forget to Set the Table with Love

Pan Seared and Poached Halibut with sweet peas in a lemon caper broth topped with Sweet Potato Chips

Halibut. One of my favorite fish to make. I use to be so intimidated about making fish, until I was on Food Network’s All Star Academy and my mentor, Alex Guarnaschelli had me make Arctic Char for one of the elimination challenges, her  mentoring gave me the confidence to never be scared of fish again. The thing that blew me away the most, was during judging. Adam Richman, Man Finds Food, told me my Arctic Char could be served in a restaurant and he would order it, Yes!!

The key to any ingredient is understanding the ingredient itself. If you have never used a particular ingredient, I would suggest to research it. Ask a chef or someone you know that  is an excellent cook that has used it before, successfully. Cooking is an adventure, so dive in with an open heart.

Now, back to the recipe. I had a few of my fans wanting this recipe, so I hope you guys enjoy it, but make sure, before you get started to Set the Table with Love. Enjoy.

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Pan Seared and Poached Halibut with sweet peas, sweet potato chips in a lemon caper broth

Pan Seared and Poached Halibut:

Ingredients:

4, 5 oz. halibut filets

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon no salt herb garlic seasonings

2 tablespoons of organic butter

1 shallot, finely minced

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup of dry wine

3/4 cup of chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp capers

5 springs of thyme

1 tablespoon of cold, unsalted butter

1 cup green peas,  frozen peas thawed out
Instructions:

Place a large lidded skillet over high heat. Once hot, season the filets with the salt, garlic seasoning, then add the unsalted butter and then place the halibut filets in the pan. Sear on one side, without moving, for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes carefully flip the filets and then move the heat to low. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, dry wine, shallot, bay leaf, thyme and capers. Place the lid on the pan and cook  on low heat.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until halibut is just opaque.The fish will keep cooking so do not over cook it. When desired doneness is reached, pull the skillet off of the heat and remove the halibut from the pan and place the fish on a warm plate and lightly cover with foil. Use braising liquids from the pan to make your broth. Add the cold butter into the liquid and whisk until combined. Keep the broth on low heat add the green peas into the broth and allow to warm through.  Keep the broth warm, on a very low heat.

Sweet Potato Chips

1 medium sweet potato, sliced with a mandolin

sea salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and position oven rack in the center of the oven.
    Rinse and dry your sweet potatoes thoroughly and slice them with a mandolin, or use a knife and slice them as thinly as possible.
  2. Toss slices in a touch of olive oil to lightly coat, then sprinkle with salt.  Lay a piece of parchment paper onto a non stick baking sheet.
  3. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, then turn the potato slices over, and bake for another 6-7 minutes , watch for the edges, they will start to get darker, pull them before they burn. Remove once crisp and golden brown. Some may feel a little tender in the middle but take them out and let them rest for 10 minutes, so they can crisp up. To assemble this dish, I put the chips on top of the halibut as a garnish with a lemon wedge.

Assemble:

Add broth into a bowl, add halibut in the middle of the bowl and top with sweet potato chips and lemon slice( optional).

Tuscan White Bean Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Summer is around the corner, but honey if you live in Georgia, it is already here sitting on our backs like a monkey. LOL. In the Summer time my go to is salad. I love to use vegetables and fruits that are in season to make super flavorful and refreshing salads. This salad here is excellent anytime of the year. What makes it special to me is the champagne citrus vinaigrette, it gives the salad this wonderful burst of summer in your mouth. I am one to take my salad seriously. It’s not just putting raw vegetables and fruit in a bowl. Allow yourself  to get wild with salads this summer, roast, sauté, grill bake your ingredients and add them to arugula, wild kale, Napa cabbage, just get creative and add lots of color, EAT THE RAINBOW! Salad is a great way to do this. I hope you enjoy this recipe just as I have. Remember, to Set the Table with Love.

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Tuscan White Bean Salad with a Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Tuscan White Bean Salad w/ Lemon Basil vinaigrette
2 cans white beans
1 1/2 tbsp Tuscan season blend
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onions, med, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, med. chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 garlic clove
5 small artichoke heart , cut in fours
1/2 cup black olives,small
3 tbsp parmesan grated cheese
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp capers
4 shaved pieces of parmesan for garnish
1 boiled egg cut in quarters as garnish,
optional

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup basil leaves, packed
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of cracked black pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp lemon zest
2 1/2 tbsp. organic honey
1 tbsp citrus champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. In large skillet add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, saute the onions, peppers,
beans. Sprinkle everything with 1 tsp of Tuscan season blend and
1/2 tsp of sea salt , cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is soft. Set
everything aside in a larger salad bowl.
3. Add to the bowl the quartered artichoke hearts, black olives,
capers, red onions, 3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, dried basil and
the remainder of the Tuscan season blend. Set aside and make the
vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette
1. In a food processor, process the basil, garlic, salt, black pepper and
lemon juice vinegar and zest, until smooth. As the food processor is
running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined.
2. Drizzle vinaigrette onto the white bean salad and gently toss until
all ingredients are combined. Do this to taste. I like to start off with a
small amount of dressing for the salad and add more, as needed. Or you
can leave the dressing out and serve it with the salad on the side.
3. Place the shaved pieces of parmesan on top and quartered boil eggs and add to the salad.

 

Mother’s Day Story ~ Breakfast in Bed Ideas

I love Mother’s Day. I have two boys, one 29 and my youngest is 15. I have two grandchildren, I adore and could get up with a biscuit and some gravy. They are truly yummy. My favorite thing growing up as child was to think about how I was going to make my mom feel special for Mother’s Day. Of course, I did the usually cards with macaroni glued to them and flowers, candy and little things I made with popsicles sticks. Okay, I need to confess soon as I wrote, macaroni, I thought about my mom’s cheesy, buttery, gooey macaroni and cheese, bubbling over in her special mac and cheese glass bowl. So where were we? Yes, Mother’s Day. One year I came up with the idea to make my mom, breakfast in bed.  Now granted I was about 9 years old and I never really cooked a meal all by myself, but I was determined to do this for her.

I went into the kitchen very quietly. I made sure not to make a sound. I remember opening up the fridge and getting out,  bacon, eggs, butter and the orange juice. Yes. I was going to make my mom, a good old southern, bacon and eggs breakfast. I put on a cup of coffee, aka, hot water and Folgers, put the cast iron skillet on the stove and added the bacon. It smelled so good, but it was making too much noise, so I closed the kitchen door.

I added the eggs to the skillet, with lots of butter, just the way my mom did.  Well, maybe too much, but hey I was 9. I cracked the eggs, very gently into a bowl and used a fork to gently whisk them. I was doing something. I felt like my mom, for just a moment. I remember my little sister and brother getting up. I pulled them in the kitchen and demanded they keep quiet. We made our brother sit at the table quietly and my sister made the toast and poured the juice.

All of a sudden I hear footsteps. I wanted to cry.  Oh no, it will not be a surprise anymore, I thought. But, it was my dad. He open the door very slowly. It seemed as if, it took forever for him to open that door and for me to see, it was Dad, not Mom.

He asked with a smile on his face, What are you guys doing? We replied, Making mom breakfast. He left out and said, Okay, carry on.

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My grandson Mikey
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My oldest son Bernard and granddaughter Naleyla
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My granddaughter Naleyla
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My husband, Joseph, my youngest son,  Tyler and my granddaughter Naleyla

It was almost done. I had my sister run into the dining room and get a pretty tray from our china cabinet. We got a rose from my Dad’s rose garden and put it in a nice vase. I was so proud of that breakfast. The toast was a little burnt and the the bacon on the crispier side, but my eggs were awesome. We carried the tray to her bed and the best thing about that day that I remember, is my mom’s face when she say we had made her breakfast in bed.

Just writing this makes me cry. She has been gone for 14 years now and I miss her as though it was yesterday, when she left this Earth. She kissed me, my sister and brother and said, Thank  you so much, this makes mama feel special. But I remember the special look in her eyes she gave me. She was so proud of me, she knew how much this meant to me.  I will never forget that look as long as I live. She ate that breakfast as though it came from a five star restaurant. This is properly where my love of cooking for those I love comes from.  The day I first Set the Table with Love for my Mama.

Thanks everyone for taking time out to read this post. I usually don’t write long. I just get to the recipes, but that will change. I believe setting the table with love, is much more than just good healthy food, it’s about expressing love and that love being experienced through food.

Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

Check out these links for some yummy Mother’s Day breakfast and brunch idea.

Gluten Free Vegan Potato and Leek Waffles

Southern Style Biscuits No Lard Needed Sorry Mom

Caramelized Pears with Homemade Granola

Gigi’s Fluffy Pancakes with Nutella Almonds and Chocolate Chips

 

Gluten Free Chickpea Mediterranean Pizza with Grated Vegan Cheese

I had some leftover chickpeas from my lunch yesterday. So,  I decided to make a pizza with the rest of the chick peas.

I have made this pizza many times, but the difference is the Grated Vegan Cheese I topped it with. I used one of my favorite vegan and raw brands to make the cheese, Go Raw Foods Sprouted Watermelons seeds, the seeds give them that nutty, buttery taste you find in parmesan cheese. This cheese provides you with 11 grams of protein per 2 tbsp.

The vegan cheese can be used over pizza, salad and soups. You can add crushed red peppers to make it spicy.

Gluten Free Chickpea Mediterranean Pizza with Vegan Cheese
Gluten Free Chickpea Mediterranean Pizza with Vegan Cheese

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The Spread

1/2 chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cups, plus 1 tbsp olive oil, for sauté the chickpeas,

1/2 tsp No Salt McCormick Garlic herb seasoning

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions: Add the chickpeas, in a sauté pan with enough olive oil to cover the pan, on medium heat. Stir the chickpeas and add the seasonings. Allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the food processors the remaining  olive oil and process and until you get a nice smooth spread.

Grated Vegan Cheese

VEGAN CHEESE:

2 tbsp Go Raw watermelon seeds

1 tbsp McCormick No Salt Garlic Herb Seasoning

1 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of sea salt

TIP: I added a few of my sautéed chick peas to the food processor to give it more flavor and depth. That will also increase the protein factor.

Add the watermelon seeds into a food processor. Process, until you get a small, fine crumbles. Add in the seasons, and gently pulse again, until the seasonings are incorporate into the seeds, you have texture like fine grated parmesan cheese.

The topping 

1/4 cup red bell peppers, diced

4 marinated artichoke hearts

1 tbsp capers

fresh basil, as garnish

Assembly:

Bake your gluten free pizza crust in the oven, according to the instructions. Once bake , remove with oven mittens and place on a plate. Add a drizzle of olive oil, the chickpea spread, artichoke hearts, chopped red bell peppers, capers, kalamata olives and garnish with basil, top with the grated vegan cheese and Enjoy!!