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.

Cooking today with William Sonoma ~ Gluten Free Holiday Treats ~ Sneak Peak

It is always a pleasure to come out and share my passion for delicious, healthy eating with William Sonoma’s staff and customers. Today I am cooking up some yummy, decadent and   gluten free holiday appetizers and my gluten free brownie bites with a twist. I will be using William Sonoma’s famous Original Peppermint Bark as a topping for these rich and luscious brownies. I will also be making tuscan white beans stuffed in a roasted campari tomato and yummy zucchini bites stuffed with gruyere and parmesan cheese.

I am so excited to share some of my families favorite holiday treats today with William Sonoma’s customers, as they shop for wonderful gifts for their love ones. So stop by and find some great gifts for your family and have a brownie on me. Here’s a sneak peak of today’s menu.  

Zucchini Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 egg

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced,finely 

1/2 cup cheese gruyere

1/2 cup parmesan 

1/2 cup gluten free  bread crumbs – I used Italian style

Salt and Pepper, to taste. 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.  In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper. 4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  

  • Gluten Free Brownies with Chocolate Ganache these will be topped with William Sonoma Original Peppermint Bark

1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips 

4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free-purpose flour. I love Bob Mills Gluten free baking flour or Pillsbury Gluten-free baking powder. 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 -35  minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares.

This recipe is gluten free, gluten-free flour can take a little more time to bake. It usually takes about 33 minutes on these. 

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  • Campari Stuffed with Tuscan White Beans with a balsamic glaze

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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.

 

 

 

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

 

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!