Guacamole Stuffed Zucchini Cups

This week I am sharing recipes from my cookbook, Set the Table with Love. I hope you enjoy these recipes and share them with your family and friends. I had so much fun doing this shoot with my friends and eating all the yummy food afterwards. Photography credit: ROB POLANCO. Art Design by: KEEGAN LEIBA. Love you guys!

Who doesn’t love good recipe for guacamole, well I have one for you. It’s simple and refreshing, because it’s stuffed in these zucchini cups. I love using this recipe for when I having a small dinner party or just for a nice afternoon snack. ¬†A lot of my wellness clients are looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into their diet and this is a great way to do. I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember before the plates, glasses, silverware and candles, Set the Table with Love. ūüôā

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

4 zucchini

2 tbsp. cilantro finely chopped, and enough leaves to garnish to top of the cups

1 tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice

1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

2 ripe avocados

1/2 – 3/4 cups red bell pepper, diced

1/2 tsp. of sea salt and a dash of black pepper, to taste

1. Cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak the guacamole.

2. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion and cilantro. Stir in salt and black pepper. Fill each cup with guacamole. Top with red bell peppers and cilantro.

 

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Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Today on my Facebook Live video, I talked about eating Antioxidant Powerhouse foods. ¬†Here’s the deal, we get these list of foods to eat, and then what? ¬†How do we¬†convert them into delicious and balancing meals? Well no worries, I got you. Today I made a Spaghetti Squash Bowl using foods high in antioxidants. So, what’s an antioxidant?

“Antioxidants include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. You can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, and teas.” Source: WEBMD.¬†

Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries

I truly believe, our well being is in the foods we eat and drink. This recipe is loaded with vitamin C, E, beta carotene and flavonoids. It’s very simple, healthy and above all, super delicious! You can switch out some of the ingredients to truly make this recipe your own. Instead of lentils you can use chickpeas, instead of spaghetti squash, use butternut squash. The possibilities are endless. But, before we get into the recipe, let me share with you a list of delicious super antioxidant foods you might want to try incorporating in your menu this week and some reasons why you should eat them:

 

  • Slower signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain
  • Healthier, more youthful, glowing skin
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Detoxification support
  • Longer life span
  • Protection against heart disease and stroke
  • Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia
  • Reduced risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Antioxidants are also added to food or household products to prevent oxidation and spoilage Source: Dr. Ox

Antioxidant Powerhouse List:

  1. Dark Beans
  2. Dark Chocolate
  3. Small Red Beans ( adzuki)
  4. Pecans
  5. Red Grapes
  6. Apples
  7. Plum
  8. Extra Virgin Olive oil
  9. Blackberries
  10. Winter Squash
  11. Carrot
  12. Raspberries
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Black Beans
  15. Kiwi
  16. Green Tea
  17. Clove
  18. Butternut Squash
  19. Sweet Cherries
  20. Kale
  21. Blueberries
  22. Cacao Powder

Spaghetti Squash Bowl Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 ¬†tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup sprouted lentils
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 mini red, orange and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 ¬†cup chopped cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice juice
  • salt salt and black pepper to taste
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of each spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half.
  2. Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside and outside of the squash, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-40, until the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the chopped kale over a medium heat. Add a tbs of olive in a sauté and chopped kale, a little sea salt and stir.  Cook the kale until it has withered just a bit, you want it to still have some crunch, so about 2 minutes on medium heat.  Remove from heat and set aside. In another sauté pan, add the nuts, honey, paprika and a pinch of sea salt over a medium heat.  Stir and allow the nuts and seeds to heat up, for about a minute, Remove from heat and add to a bowl, so they can harden.
  4. Once the squash is done, remove with from the oven using oven mittens.  Being to assemble the bowls, use a fork to  remove most of the squash, add spaghetti squash to a bowl. Add a little olive to the spaghetti squash, then add the kale, chopped peppers, some of the nuts and seeds, set a few aside as a garnish, add the cherries, cranberries, fresh basil, and orange zest. Toss and drizzle some of the juice from the orange over everything and a little more olive oil, if desired. Add the mixture into the spaghetti squash bowls and garnish with the remaining nuts and seeds. Enjoy.

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 saut√©ed 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

 

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.‚̧‚̧‚̧

‚ÄčValentine’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. ūüėė

My 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. 
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

Combine 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 inside and whisk the eggs and maple syrup  together until creamy and warm. When they‚Äôre 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. 
Gently press down the mixture into the cookie cutter, molding it into the 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 
Chocolate Ganache

4 oz dark or semi milk chocolate baking bar, chopped

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

Pinch of cayenne pepper 

Easy version
Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat milk on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour 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!!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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. ūüôā

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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
2¬Ĺ 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. ūüôā 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.

 

Quinoa two ways ~ Toasted and Roasted

Quinoa is one of the only complete protein grains in the vegan/vegetarian circle of life. Quinoa is considered a whole grain, but in actuality, ¬†it is a seed, from a leafy plant that is related to the spinach family. I do enjoy a good bowl of sweet or savory quinoa, but I love to explore other ways I can use ingredients. So, this morning I kept going back and forth with the question, what should I eat, quinoa or oatmeal? I just wasn’t feeling the big bowl of either and wanted something different.

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Toasted Quinoa

 

Toasted Quinoa Recipe:

Preparation
Cook the quinoa in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until it is lightly dried out and toasted, about 15 minutes.

It will make slight popping sounds as it approaches being done. …
Remove the skillet from the heat.

 

How about granola? Well, I have made granola from scratch a million times, but not with quinoa. Yes! that’s the ticket. Roasted Quinoa granola. I can put this over fruit, yogurt, ice cream, whatever my heart desires. Well, if quinoa can be sweet, how about making it savory. Yes! again that’s the ticket, so I decided to roast the quinoa for my granola and to toast the quinoa for a savory corn salad, I am making for dinner tonight, boom! ¬†Both of these recipes are easy and you could go wild with the possibilities.

I took my Roasted Quinoa and topped it over some sautéed peaches that I seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon and a little pink salt, delish and yum yum approved.

I hope you will enjoy this  complete protein healthy treat and remember to go wild with your imagination when making your granola. After it is cooked and cooled, add dark chocolate chips to it, or  us a different dried fruit, like apricots or a different nut, such as hazelnuts or pecans.  You decide, but whatever you come up with, Remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Roasted Quinoa Granola

Ingredients:
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 cup uncooked Bob’s Red Mill White Quinoa

1 cups raw almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup cranberries

1 1/2  tbsp  organic cane sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 vanilla extract

pink sea salt or reg sea salt , just pinch

2  tbsp coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Add oats, quinoa, almonds, raisins, cranberries,  sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl Рstir to combine.
To a small saucepan, add coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Warm over medium heat for 2 minutes, whisking frequently, until the two are totally incorporated.

Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine until, everything is covered with the syrup mixture.  Arrange on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper and spread into an even layer.
Bake for  35 Р40 minutes.  Then remove from oven and stir/toss the granola. Rotate the pan to the other side, so you can cook the other end of

the granola and bake 10 -15 minutes more, until it is golden brown. * KEEP WATCH OVER IT SO IT DOESN’T BURN. ¬†Once done, remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes, before serving.

Two sides of the coin ~ Toasted Pearl Barley Salad

When I competed on Food Network’s All Star Academy season 2, I was blessed to be mentored by Iron Chef and Food Network guru, Alex Guarnaschelli. ¬†She looked at me and my teammate Lee Abbot and said, “You will never look at cooking the same,ever again.” She was right. Competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. ¬†It’s not just television folks, it’s an experience you will never forget. It challenged me to my very soul, not only in front of the cameras, but also behind the scenes. In such competitions, 12 hours of filming, elimination challenges, television politics and illness, you discover a part of you, you never knew. I have to say, I am so grateful for my time on the show. The experience is still revealing more of who I am and what I am capable of. You may say, Lisa, it was just a game show, maybe, but life is how you digest it, how you take it in and savior all of it’s flavors, like a wonderful dish executed with skill, patience and lots of care. This is experience was one of the best I have ever consumed.

The dish I would like to share with you today reminded me of my time on the show. I got a chance to cook also with Chef Curtis Stone, he is incredibly brilliant chef, that takes his craft very seriously. ¬†Chef Stone inspired me with his precision and attention to every single detail. Chef’s food reminded me of art, fashion, symphony, culture expressed on a plate. Chef Guarnaschelli mentoring and food is full of soul, spirit, it’s holistic, she hits you with texture, flavor, aromas, emotions, she brings you HOME.

I made today two salads, from produce I got from the Farm and from my local grocery store. The salad is made with all the same ingredients, not one is missing no matter how different they may look. When I made these dishes, I wasn’t thinking of my experience on Food Network, I was just creating, but as Chef Guarnaschelli said, ¬†You will never look at cooking the same, ever again. She was right. Thanks Chefs for the inspiration that ¬†sometimes comes out unconsciously. It’s in me now. ūüôā

 

Toasted Pearl Barley Salad ( two ways) 

This salad is necessarily not a recipe. It using your favorite vegetables and displaying them from your cooking perspective. Here is what I used.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

 

For the Rustic Salad and Salad of Art

Using a mandolin, slice up squash, radish, red cabbages, set a side

Cut up campari tomatoes in quarter for the rustic salad, for the artistic one, thinly slice of the bottoms, not exposing the inside, scoop out the top and some of the inside of the tomato, set a side.

Cut up 1 shallot, peel and slice horizontally, keep two of the ends where the circles are intact, the remainder will be used to toast in the rustic salad.

This is all about creativity, so follow my instruction or go wild with your imagination.

 

Here’s the instructions you need to follow:

Toasted Pearl Barley with Ras El Hanout season walnuts and vegetables with a fried egg

( a mouth full) ūüôā

Toasted Pearl Barley

Ingredients:

1 cup pearl barley

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup green cauliflower florets, small pieces

1/2 cup green sweet peas

1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Cook pearl barley as instructed. Once cook set a side. In a sauté pan add the oil, the peppers, onions, and pinch of the salt, cook until tender remove. Add the cauliflower, pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes, you want it to stay crunchy. Remove and add to the peppers and onions. Add the walnuts and the ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook the walnuts and seasonings for about a minute, you are just warming up the walnuts and bringing out the flavors of the ras el hanout. Add all the ingredients into the toasted pearl barley, season with more ras el hanout and sea salt, to taste.

For the Rustic Salad:

Add the toasted pearl barley to a plate and toast in your favorite veggies, remember to leave some of the vegetables on the side to create your Salad of Art. You will need 3 medium squash slices, 6 small pieces of the squash slices, 6 small radish slices, 3 pieces of the red cabbage,  Drizzle with the Basil and Garlic oil, recipe below:

Basil and Garlic Oil:

Ingredients:

2 cups of packed basil leaves
¬Ĺ cup – 1 cup of olive oil, adjust based on the thickness level you prefer
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth sauce. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Salad of Art:

On a beautiful white plate, add 3 pearls of basil oil on the plate, take 3 of your mandolin cut squash and add it on top of the basil oil pearls. Stuff your campari tomatoes with some of the toasted pearl barley mixture, add one pea on top of the each stuffed tomato. Add a piece of the red cabbage inside of the stuffed tomato, allowing it to stand up like a flag. Add the radishes on the outside of the tomatoes with a dollop of the basil and garlic oil and add the small squash slices onto that. Add the pieces of the green cauliflower artistically onto the plate with the slices of shallots.

Be creative, squash all that I have written and honey do your on thing. LOL.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

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

Coming Home to You Birthday Luncheon

Coming Home to You Birthday Luncheon

Dee this one is for you.

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Asparagus with parsley and shaved parmesan

I love my friends. I am even so grateful that God put some incredible women in my life. I have women that have been in my life for over 3 decades. They have celebrated life with me and some of my most tragic times. These ladies have loved me unconditionally. They understand me and allow me to just be Lisa, without depends. I am so grateful for that more than anything.

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We all wrote a blessing on this card for her.

Yesterday I was able to throw a birthday brunch for one of those beautiful souls, Dee Armstead. I met Dee when we both were going through a very hard time in our lives, we both had lost our moms and we were there for each other. We kept each other afloat. She loves me for me, she builds me up and never tears me down. This is 14 year friendship and I can honestly say these words about her.

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Dee is the fabulous one in the linen pants

Dee is a big giver. When I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she said, Lisa I want to do something that will inspire and empower women. This is her gift, Dee inspires others, so I want this to be really special. So, I decided to do one of my Coming Home to You workshop brunches. I filled the whole entire brunch and exercises with positive affirmations, deep breathing technique , meditation and a lifestyle behavioral coaching exercise. The ladies were very inspired and the best part, my Dee was happy and pleased with the outcome.

God is amazing in how he works. There were many components in planning such a brunch, because it is not just about beautiful table settings and food, but helping people move passed the things that get in the way of connecting again themselves and what is next in there lives.

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Follow your Dreams

Dee trust me, she never once asked me, what I was planning. This is how you now it is God, she closed it out with a speech of gratitude and gave each of her guest, a beautiful frame with the most inspiring words that went along side the workshop’s entire message. “Allow ALL life to move though you, let go of fear and embrace love.”

One of the best things I got a chance to teach my granddaughter how to Set the Table with Love. She pressed napkins, linens, we made floral arrangements, and made the prettiest table settings. We had a blast.

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Coming Home to You Birthday Luncheon Homemade Floral Arrangement adds a special touch.

Thanks Dee for being one of my dearest friends and allowing your light to ignite my light within. Love you.

The menu was vegetarian. I wanted to share recipes with everyone that was simple, easy, delicious and healthy . The chai muffins were gluten free and one of my favorite recipes, we served the muffins with a simple ginger and cardamom butter.

The menu included:

Blueberry and Lemon scones with lemon sugar

Chai Muffins made by my bestie, Kristina Millsaps

Frittata Muffins with cheddar cheese and parmesan

Roasted Asparagus with parsley and parmesan

Roasted Potatoes with herbs and parmesan

Strawberry Basil Rosé Lemonade punch

Chocolate Oolong Tea

Coffee

Guests Favorite:

I want to share with you one of the recipes that was one the favorites. I will share the other recipes, including that incredible punch later this week. Enjoy this one.

Roasted Asparagus 

Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus

A bunch of parsley leaves

Fine sea salt, ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan shavings

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400.

Trim away the bottom third of each asparagus stalk.

Put the asparagus on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, top with parsley. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until slightly tender, about 10 -15 minutes. Just before serving, add shaved parmesan.