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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Farm to Williams Sonoma’s Table Cooking Demo Recipes

What a fun day?!  I so enjoy coming out and cooking for the customers and staff of Williams Sonoma in the Forum. The staff is like family! I have been demoing and educating the customers about eating and supporting local farmers for the past 6 months and it has been a beautiful partnership.  So many times we do not eat in season, we eat the same things week after week. I am so very grateful for the support of such an icon, like Williams Sonoma, to be able to showcase local farmers and share with their customers, creative and healthy ways to eat local.  Today we used my favorite local farm, Fry Farm in Bethlehem Ga, early spring produce, red kitten kale, baby chantenay carrots, nobel spinach and baby cress.

I wanted to put up a couple of the customer’s favorite recipes, before hitting the sack. I hope my readers will enjoy these simple and delicious farm to table recipes as well, just as we all did today.

Until next time remember to Set the Table with Love and Eat Local. ūüôā

SET THE TABLE WITH LOVE

FARM TO TABLE EARLY SPRING MENU

White Asparagus, Red Spinach and Pancetta Tart topped with Baby Cress

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled out
  • ¬ľ – ¬Ĺ cup pancetta, crisped and cooled
  • 1 cup shaved white asparagus, cutting off the spearheads and chopping them finely to add to each tart.
  • 3/4 cup gruyere, or more based on your preference
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • ¬ľ cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups red spinach, chopped
  • baby cress, as garnished
  • extra virgin olive, sea salt and a lemon juice to dress the baby cress, optional.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone-baking sheet. In a saucepan on medium heat, cook the pancetta, until crispy, set aside to cool.

Combine the shaved white asparagus, crispy pancetta, gruyere, parmesan, milk, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Place the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.

Once hot, add the shallots and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl with the cheese mixture.

Stir together until well combined.

On a floured surface roll out the puff pasty and using the smallest cookie cutter cut out several circles, as many as you can with each pastry sheet. Place the cut pieces into a lightly mini muffin pan, mold the pastry to make a small cup in the muffin pan. Use a fork to prick holes in the bottom, so the pastry doesn’t puff up. If the pastry puffs up after your blind baking, just gently press the middle down, before adding the filling.

Blind bake the tarts in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven gently push down the middle of the tarts, if has puffed up a lot. Leave whilst to add the filling.

Spoon in a little mixture into each tart.

Brush each puff pastry with the remaining beaten egg and top with a sprinkling of extra parmesan and gruyere, if desired.

Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes before serving.

Gently toss the baby cress in the olive oil, lemon and sea salt. Add to the top of each tart.

 

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White Asparagus Red Spinach Pancetta and Gruyere Tart

                               

GRILLED SMOKY AND SWEET MAPLE BABY CHANTENY CARROTS, MAPLE SYRUP

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bushel of baby chantney carrots
  • 1 and ¬Ĺ tablespoons oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle seasoning
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons butter
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • Fresh chopped mint

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil (for easy clean-up) and set aside.
  • Wash the baby carrots and drain well, chop off tops.
  • Tip the carrots onto the lined baking sheet (don’t crowd them, you want them to roast, not steam). Drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle with the sea salt and smoked paprika, chipotle seasoning, then toss the carrots gently to coat them with the seasoned oil.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-40 mins or until almost done.
  • In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter, and maple syrup, sea salt, and one juice of a medium blood orange, and reduce heat, until sauce has thicken. Add roasted carrots into the ¬†saucepan and toss, until the carrots are completely covered.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped mint

 

 

 

Pear and Beet Salad 5 under 30

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

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

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

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Pear and Beet Salad Fit and Fabulous

Pear and Beet Salad

Ingredients:

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

1 bosc pear

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

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

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

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

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

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

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Pear and Beet Salad Fit and Fabulous

 

 

 

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.

 

Veggie Plate Special of the Day ~ Roasted Eggplant, Charred Okra, Lemons and Saut√©ed Northern Georgia Candy Squash.

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

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

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

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

 

Roasted Eggplant

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

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Charred Okra and Lemon

For the okra:

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

For the lemon:

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

Sautéed North Georgia Candy Squash

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

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

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

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

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

 

Butternut Squash Pilaf

Butternut Squash Pilaf is an amazing alternative to perhaps this years stuffing. It’s gluten free and loaded with lots of vegan protein and hey it’s delicious. I was able to make this dish for William Sonoma’s guest yesterday. I did a cooking demo on Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Side Dishes! It was a hit. I love to watch people reactions when they eat food they do not normally eat on a regular basis, especially a spice or herb. This pilaf has garam masala in it, a very popular spice in India. The awesome thing about this spice, ¬†it has some of the same spices we use for our Thanksgiving holiday recipes, such as; cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander and black pepper. What’s different about garam masala, is the cardamom. We usually do not use that is everyday cooking, but now you can with this recipe. It is such an amazing spice. So, the moral of this story, try new spices in some of your everyday dishes.

This dish is super easy and will look beautiful on your Thanksgiving table this year. But first Remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Butternut Squash Pilaf
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Butternut Squash Pilaf

2  cups wild rice blend, gluten free

4 cups water

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed ¬Ĺ inch

1 tsp oil

1 tbsp dried  NO SALT garlic herb seasoning

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp dried thyme

sea salt and white pepper, to taste. You can use black pepper if you like.

1 med. whole clove, peeled and dice

¬Ĺ tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp garam masala

sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large sauce pan add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of wild rice blend. Cover with a tight fitted lid, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the butternut squash. Stir and add the seasonings, NO SALT garlic herb seasonings, cardamom, dried thyme, white pepper and sea salt. Stir and allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add diced garlic. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the squash has soften but not mushy. The cooking process should take 6-7 minutes.

Toast the nuts and seeds

In a sauté pan on medium heat, add your nuts and seeds. Season them with a 1 tsp of garam masala, sea salt and touch of honey. Toast them for about 1 minute, nuts and seeds can burn because they have a very high oil content.

ASSEMBLE

Add the wild rice to a large bowl. Add the squash and the toasted nuts, seeds and cranberries. Stir everything in the bowl gently, incorporating all the ingredients. Taste and see if you need to add more seasonings. Serve immediately.

 

 

Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving sides dishes at William Sonoma ~ Turnips and Greens with Orange, Rosemary and Pomegranate

Yesterday was incredible at William Sonoma in Norcross in the Peachtree Forum. ¬†I got a ¬†chance to cook for their customers. The evening was about Farm to Table Healthy Holiday Side Dishes. My biggest conviction about food is EAT LOCAL. SUPPORT FARMERS. EAT MORE PLANT BASED MEALS. So, it’s really cook when William Sonoma welcomes you back to share your convictions with a side of farm fresh yummies.

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TURNIPS AND TURNIPS GREEN WITH ORANGE, ROSEMARY AND POMEGRANATE 

This particular dish was a big hit. The recipe was from Vicky Fry, the amazing farmer and friend I get my produce from, she is the owner of¬†Fry Farm¬†in Bethlehem, Ga. ¬†She told me how she made her turnips and I decided to take that beautiful recipe on and make it for my cooking demo. ¬†It was so much fun, watching people here in the south, eat turnips and turnip greens in a totally different way. Okay, here’s the deal on that statement. Southerns love our turnips and turnip greens cooked for 2 hours with a piece of fatback swimming around in the pot. Hey I am Georgia girl I get it and my mom did some mean greens, y’all, but we have to think about sound the box sometimes. I am very grateful for Vicky sharing this recipe. You know how we do it, the recipe was a little this and a little of that. LOL. I hope you will like how I put together a little of this and a little that, and perhaps use this recipe for your Holiday festivities.

Until next time, Remember to Set the Table with Love.

Ingredients:

A bunch of turnips and turnip greens washed, turnips quartered, greens finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 med garlic clove, diced finely

1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, pull the leaves of the stalk

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 large orange, cut in half  or quarters

sea salt and black pepper to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

pomegranate for garnish

 

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TURNIPS AND TURNIPS GREEN WITH ORANGE, ROSEMARY AND POMEGRANATE

Directions:

Add oil and butter to a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add in your turnips, season with salt and sauté for a 3-4 minutes until you get a little caramelization onto the the turnips. Add in garlic, rosemary,thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes, continue to cook and stir. Add in juice from the orange, continue to cook. Remove turnips from the pan into a bowl, set a side. Add greens into the sauté pan, stir. Add seasonings, black pepper, sea salt, dried thyme and oregano. Sauté for 2 -3 minutes. Remove from pan. Plate the greens on a platter, add the turnips on top, add the pomegranate on top with a little orange zest ( optional). I like to squeeze a little of the orange juice on top.

* NOTE: YOU CAN ADD THE ORANGES INTO THE TURNIPS WHEN COOKING TO GIVE MORE A CITRUS FLAVOR TO THE TURNIPS. I ADD THEM CLOSE TO THE END OF COOKING. YOU CAN KEEP THEM IN IF YOU LIKE AS A COLORFUL GARNISH.