It’s back to school and here’s an easy recipe that will be a go to for you and your family. I love making this for my family because it’s quick, healthy and fills their bellies. When school starts back we all are in the grind of life, adjusting to a new school year schedule. There are footballs practices, ballet rehearsals, music recitals and a thousand other things we have to focus on, so let dinner be one thing, you pour Love into, but not lots of time. But hey it can taste like it. 😉
Note: A short cut here for this recipe is to precooked the potatoes the night before or use frozen potatoes. I prefer to precook fresh potatoes the night before, fresh ingredients really does make a difference. If you do, cook them until they are mostly tender and not mushy. They will cook later in the recipe.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4-5 Sweet Italian Turkey sausage links
10 medium red or purple hasselback potatoes, cut in half
1 large yellow onion, sliced
3 bell peppers, any color, sliced into strips. I used what was in the fridge.
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 tbsp Italian seasoning ( optional)
Sea salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Add the potatoes to a pot of boiling water, cook until mostly tender, they will cook in the saucepan with the sausage and peppers later. Drain and set aside.
*If you are using precooked potatoes or frozen, skip this step above.
While the potatoes are cooking, Poke each sausage a few times with a paring knife or fork (this helps release steam as they cook).
In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add sausages and brown gently and slowly. Cook for 3- 5 minutes, turning occasionally to gently brown on all sides. (They should not be fully cooked.) Once browned, remove sausages to a plate. Set aside.
Increase heat to medium high. Add onion and pepper slices. Toss to coat in oil and sear vegetables until slightly browned, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add vegetable broth, to deglaze the saucepan, scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to release bits. Simmer the vegetable broth until reduced by half.
Add Italian seasoning ( optional). Stir well to combine. Add sausages and the potatoes. Add salt to taste and gently toss. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until potatoes and peppers are soft and sausages are cooked.
Broccoli and Parmesan Cheese with a twist
This is a simple recipe, but it has a twist. Instead of using water to steam the broccoli you use vegetable broth. It gives the broccoli so much flavor. In a sauce pan add a bit of oil on heat the stove on medium heat . Toss in 2 cups of broccoli florets. Stir the florets around in the pan to help coat them with the oil. Add in a 1/3 cup of low sodium vegetable. Place the lid on top of the pan and allow to steam until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese on top, place lid back onto the pan to help the cheese melt. Serve immediately. Enjoy
Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes? Yes. Everyone does! Okay I just going to pretend that everyone does. The rest of you guys will be converted after this post! LOL.
So here it is, sweet potatoes are not only nature’s little candy, because they are super sweet, but they are loaded with nutrients. Here are a few benefits why you should eat sweet potatoes:
Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
They are high in antioxidants
Need a brain boost, sweet potatoes helps with brain function.
They also are known to help enhance you immunity
They promote vision health.
Need to drop a few pounds, they also help with weight loss.
I know you are thinking about trying them now, with those impressive health benefits, but if you are not totally convinced, check out these two awesome recipes. The recipes below are vegan and plant based, but you can add an egg to them to boost your protein, if you are vegetarian or eat meat. The best thing about both recipes is that you can get super creative.
Sweet potato toast is the new craze out there, if you are trying to cut back on the bread. I love this new take on toast. The toppings are endless, you can go sweet or savory.
Sweet potato toast is simple to make and you make several slices of the toast and keep them in the fridge for up to 7 days and pull them out when you need them and add your favorite toppings. Here’s the easy recipe:
Sweet Potato Toast
1 large sweet potato
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper to help prevent sticking.
Peel the potato. This is optional. I peeled the the ends of the sweet potato off, cut the potatoes in 1/2 inch slices.
Bake until the slices are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite toast toppings.
Store any leftover sweet potato slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat for an easy breakfast, just add to your toaster on the medium setting to heat up, remove and add your favorite toppings.
1 sweet potato, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Peel your potato and add it to your toaster. It may take you three times to cook and toast the sweet potato completely. Every toaster is different, so you will know it is done when the sweet potato is tender and brown on the edges. Remove it from the toaster and add your favorite ingredients: nut butters, avocado, jams, jelly, granola, nuts, apples slices, whatever, you get creative.
Sweet Potato and Poblano Pepper Hash
1 large organic sweet potato peeled and cubed
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano peppers, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
1 cup broccoli pearls
1 cup of black beans
1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
a pinch or two crushed red pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften, add the sweet potato, broccoli pearls, salt, and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, until the potatoes begin to soften. Add beans and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the beans are warmed up. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Top with cilantro and garnish with lime ( optional) .
The past months have been very busy. My son is about to graduate from high school and we have been preparing with all the events around “Senior Year” to help him keep his sanity and for us to keep ours. My business has been going great and celebrating those I love in my life has been very fulfilling and made my heart so happy. All these things are good, but after awhile my body started to talking to me, “Hey you, yes you, can we celebrate me for a moment, can you honor and pay attention to me, because I am losing it over here. Yup that’s a sore throat you are feeling and those are body-aches, PAY ATTENTION LADY!” LOL. 🙂
But all jokes aside, I got so rundown and being on auto immune suppressants, as a kidney transplant recipient, is not good medicine for wellness, and with a busy schedule. Not happening!
This is my birthday week/month. I know, I am one of those people. Why not? It only comes once a year! Right?! Let’s get on with it, how this laryngitis has been my birthday blessing .
So, I got sick and I lost my voice. No voice for the past three days. I have been pretty much silent and laid up in the house. The thing is, I know what this means, I am not listening to my spirit, so that is the first place I go, back home, to me, to Spirit.
You know that time in your life when you are fighting to “make things and people happen” and nothing is going your way. Yes, that frustrating, what is wrong with the world time? What this week has taught me, well, what it has brought me back to, is a lesson God has been teaching me for many years. The issue is never outside of you Lisa, it is always within. I love Mother Teresa’s quote, “In the final analysis. it is between you and God. It was never between you and them.”
So here I am with no voice, speaking to God with my soul, listening for his guidance, his words. What is it God that you want me to know? It is a question I have been asking God for as long as I can remember. The answer always opens up my heart and soul and blessings flood into my life in ways I never imagined.
The first thing he did was lead me to a book titled, Make the Most of You, by PatrickLindsay. I read something in this book this week that brought me to tears, it was a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, ” To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest.” Wow!!!
What do I l believe and I am not living it? Where am I not be truthful in my life? I examined this question and it pricked my heart so much. I believe that God is the source of my life and that whatever I need and desire comes directly from him. But I was stressed out and living like, No what I need and desire, comes from this situation or a person working it out for me. That is a lie. The second belief, You need to say No, you are on divine assignment, stay aligned with God and he will tell you where to go and when to go and who to go with. I was living, I need to be there, so they will see that I care, so they will see that I matter. EGO. EGO. EGO. This made me sick, because I was not honoring what I believe to be true. I WAS HONORING MY EGO, MY PRIDE.
God, the universe, our bodies are always speaking the truth to us.
We must not as Marianne Williamson states from the Course in Miracles, “Do not seek illusions to replace the truth.” I am returning back to being a truth seeker, my well being depends on it. The divine assignments that God has laid out for me depends on it. The flow of blessings and miracles that God has stored up for me depends on it. Silence has been a wonderful teacher, but the greatest teacher of them all for me is in God’s word: Galatians 1:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
It is so easy to be human focus and not spirit focus in our day to day lives. I leave you with this beautiful African story about allowing our souls to catch up with our bodies:
There was once an American traveler who planned a safari to Africa. He was that typical Type-A American tourist, who many of us may be and who I admittedly am when I travel. We do our research about this travel destination and we have a timetable, maps, and a clear agenda of the things we need to see and do. Some local people had even been hired to carry some of the traveler’s supplies as they trekked throughout the land—it was that level of planning.
On the first morning, they all woke up early and traveled fast and covered a great distance. The second morning was the same—woke up early, traveled fast, and traveled far. Third morning, same thing. But on the fourth morning, the local hired help refused to move. Instead, they sat by a tree in the shade well into the morning. The American traveler became incensed and irate and said to his translator, “This is a waste of valuable time. Can someone tell me what’s going on here?” The translator looked at him and calmly answered, “They’re waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”
Okay, so my biggest client is my husband. He is in amazing shape… and the Oscar goes to his wife, that’s me, for making him delicious and healthy meals, everyday. Yes everyday, well almost everyday. Lol 😂
He went for his yearly annual and his doctor told him most everything looked awesome, just had to watch those carbs. Of course, I get a call, because my husband is serious about his health and he married his nutritionist.
“Honey, he says, I need to cut back on the carbohydrates, but how do I do that and still enjoy what I love to eat? ”
Well before we get to that, let’s look at Why Carbohydrates are good for us:
Here’s the deal on carbohydrates, first off they are our friends. We need carbs to function, they give us energy. They help fuel our brains, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. They help us fill full and assist in keeping our blood cholesterol levels on point.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should consume, at the very least, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates, which is 130 grams for adults, 175 grams for women who are pregnant and 210 grams for women who are breastfeeding. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, women should consume 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis, while men should consume 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. Source:WebMD
If you have health issues, like diabetes or prediabetic this number can vary based on your doctors evaluation.
If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor or dietitian who can help you plan meals to control your blood sugar. Though your daily carbohydrate requirements are the same as those for someone without diabetes, it’s important to avoid eating too many carbohydrates in one sitting. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you should limit your intake to about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. SOURCE: WebMD
If you are just cutting back, I like to suggest 100 grams a day for weight loss. Substituting your simple carbs with more complex carbs, like brown rice for white rice, eating more fruits, whole grains and legumes. Eliminating simple carbs out of your diet, like sugary foods, white flour and white potatoes.
Also knowing how to count your carbs is very important. For example, multi grain bread may have 21 grams of carbs, but 4 grams of fiber, you subtract the fiber and you get a true number of how many carbs will be in that slice of bread. Got it?
Enough of the science, here’s some healthy substitutes I bought my husband that I know he will eat.
Popcorn instead of chips, is the big one for all of us:
The Special K bars have 11 g of carbs, the Dave’s Killer Bread, thin slice has 9 g of carbs, for breakfast he toast that and add a tablespoon of Nutella on it ,which is 10 g of carbs. The Smart Food popcorn has 11 g in 1 3/4 cups . We are cutting his desserts down to once a week, because we are not skipping on dessert. 🍮 . He eats some type of protein with each meal. The carbs gives him energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together.
So there you have it folks, my long answer to a question I think a lot of us are asking. Need more low car tips, just shoot me an email. Oh yes, I almost forgot, remember to Set the Table with Love.
Salads are what you make them, and if you are eating to boost energy and shed a few pounds, you may want to be more conscious of how you are making that ‘healthy salad”. Most people think to throw some lettuce in a bowl with a few tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and some type of dressing and you got yourself a healthy salad. Think again my friend. Don’t get me wrong, everything in that salad for the most part is good, but let’s look at it closer.
So, you are making a salad, most people go for just regular iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce has no real nutritional value, just good ruffage. When picking lettuce the best rule of thumb, the darker the greens the more fiber, flavor and nutrients they will possess.
Now let’s talk about ingredients. If you are eating a salad as your main meal, which is a good idea, because you can incorporate, good protein, lots of fiber, good carbohydrates and good essential fatty acids all on one plate, if we are conscious of what ingredients you are choosing. A salad that will keep you energized and help you drop a few pounds, if eaten daily, with exercise and other healthy accompany meals would look something like this:
Green Avocado Salad
Choose 2 to 3 greens:
Mixed green Medley ( easier way to get several leafy green choices)
You can also add:
Cabbage or Radicchio
Choose 1 or 2 herbs:
Grains ( optional, but loaded with vegan protein and lots of fiber, just use a little, they are high in carbohydrates.)
Choose 1 grain:
Choose 1 to 2 proteins:
Organic Chicken ( grilled )
Salmon, steamed or grilled, high in protein and essential fatty acids
Chickpeas, vegan protein and fiber
Beans, such as lentils
LET THESE BE THE MOST IN YOUR SALAD, LOAD UP!
Healthy Fats, for crunch
Nuts and Seeds of all kind that you can consume:
Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds and Hemp Seeds .
Make your own and the healthiest dressings are one that are not creamy, but more in the vinaigrette family.
Simple and healthy dressings have these 4 key ingredients:
Acid~ Lemon Juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar.
Feeling afraid is very natural and sometimes very necessary. Fear ~ an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. We are wired with fear, it serves a purpose, like all things in our lives. It’s here to help us be safe, it keeps us alive during the times of danger. Our ancestors lived in a world where imminent danger from wild animals and the elements of their environment was always a life or death situation, but even now people live in societies with constant war, and physical danger around every corner. This launches us into The fight or flight mode.
The truth is most of us do not live in extremely dangerous environments, where we need to be in fight or flight mode, all the time. But, when you think about it, we are often there in our minds. We are practicing self preservation, we are trying to keep something, SAFE. We are trying to preserve our idea of what life should look like.
When life for any reason doesn’t look the way we would like it to, fear pops up and we panic!
Our minds begin to wonder, and our “what ifs”, start to flood us like a dam that has been broken and now is taking over a calm and peaceful forest, disturbing all of life within it. What if they do not like me? What if they see me for who I truly am? What if I do not get the job? What if I am not good enough? What if he doesn’t call? What if this relationship ends? What if it’s not what I expected? There is no obvious physical danger here, but our “idea of life” has been threaten. I love this quote by Mark Twain, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Most of the time we are living in fear of things that will never happen.
When we constantly live like this we can be do serious harm to ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Here are a few ways that chronic fear can impact our lives: SOURCE: Impact of Fear and Anxiety
Living under constant threat has serious health consequences.
Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.
We do not want to stay in a chronic state of fear, but when it comes, you can allow fear to serve you.
A few months ago my fear was over taking me and all I wanted to do is run away and put my son in a room, so he would be safe. I was in the flight mode for sure. It was about my son driving, he is 17 years old and he has been driving for a year. He is a pretty good driver, but it’s a scary thing to see your kid growing up and getting behind the wheel, with all the teenager driver accidents I hear about. I also have PTSD. Years ago I saw a guy killed in a car accident and his body laid in the road for awhile before the paramedics came to remove him. This put me in the hospital and I couldn’t speak for three days.
Trauma can give the mind references to pull up, when those similarities show up in our lives and our bodies and mental state can feel as though it’s happening all over again.
So when those past thoughts start to overwhelm me, I prayed and meditated. Suddenly I heard a gentle whisper, ” Why do I have to be something you avoid, something you fear or allow to consume you? I am here to serve your highest good.” I just sat there in tears, blown away by these words, that just washed over my soul. Fear is here to serve me. YES!!! It was put inside of my being, to help me stay safe and survive the elements of my world. The thing is, I do not live in an environment that is constantly threatening my physical body, but I do live in a world that is constantly threatening my emotional, mental and spiritual body. I continued to meditate and pray. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and this came to me, “Ask me why I am here?’ “Why did I show up?” So I took another trembling breath and asked fear ” Hello, fear why are you here?”
Fear said, as I continued to meditate and pray:
I am here to remind you that you have stepped away from where you should truly stand. You have stepped away from the spirit of truth and love. I feel so strong and so forceful, because I need you to move from this place NOW. I grip you so tight, because I need you to pay attention and listen to why I am here. I am here to show you where you have not surrendered. I am here to get you to look at the place deep inside you, where you first experienced me so intensely, so we can go back there and find your healing. I am here to get you to ask, Why am I scared? What do I truly want and am I afraid I will not get it? I am here to remind you to get back to GOD, back to LOVE and back to TRUTH. IF AM HERE, THEN FAITH CAN NOT BE and you will not have hope. I do not give hope, I am just a reminder that you need to take care. SO LET’S DEAL with it. There is work for you to do. I am your teacher. I am a hard teacher, that will consume you until you surrender, learn and move forward.
So many thoughts flooded my mind during this time of prayer. I had moved away from God, love and truth in my thinking and I was afraid of my son getting into a bad car accident and being killed like that guy was. I had to go back and deal. I had to give that fearful thought over to God. I had to trust and plug into the million other probabilities out there, like this one, my son can be safe on the road. You see we allow fear to take us over, because we do not honor it’s presence.
We push it away, we try to avoid it altogether, but I am learning to stop, pause, breath, pray and ask fear, Hello, fear why are you here? What do you need me to know? Where do we need to go? Once you have done that, the light comes back in, the soul feels safe from the dangers of the emotions we have not dealt with. It maybe something in childhood, a bad relationship, a real physical trauma, a negative thought, whatever it is, we must not be afraid of fear.
We need to face our fears like a old friend that knows us really well and is trying to get us to see the truth. Resistance only feeds fear’s call and it starts to consume us, so surrender with lovingkindness and ask fear, “HELLO, FEAR WHY ARE YOU HERE,” so we can be FREE.
Yes! It’s winter and our bodies are craving those wonderful comfort foods, like l a big bowl of chili with jalapeno and cheddar cornbread or some creamy mac and cheese, but it’s good to give the digestive tract a little rest, even in the cold wintry months.
Today I was missing summer, so I decided to make this wonderful pasta and salad dish. I used one of my new favorite gluten free pastas, brown rice penne fromJovial Foods I love the nuttiness of their pasta and it holds up to it’s form.
This recipe honors a few of spring and summer’s produce, mint, lemons and sweet peas. I roasted some cherry tomatoes to give it a nice burst of smoky citrus flavor and a few pieces of mint leaves with a bit of lemon zest, well just say, it’s summer in your mouth.
The Green Apple Mint salad makes a wonderfully refreshing side. I love making my own vinaigrettes and this balsamic mint dressing could be one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy a bit of summer in these recipe. Make sure you stay warm and Set the Table with Love.
1/2 cup Jovial Penne Pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup organic sweet peas
2 tbsp lemon juice
mint leaves, for garnish
cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste
drizzle of good Extra Virgin Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread them out into one layer and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Once roasted set aside.
Add penne pasta to a pot of salted boiling water. Cook according to package direction. Drain and place back on the stove on low heat, add peas and lemon juice. Allow peas to just heat up and remove from heat. Add pasta, peas and roasted tomatoes into a bowl, add lemon zest, mint leaves and gently toss. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Green Apple Salad
1 medium green apple
Bib lettuce or your favorite leafy greens 🙂
Baby mint leaves, as garnish
Cut the apples, as desired. Gently tear the bib lettuce into desired pieces and place in a bowl, top with the cut apples, cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Add drizzle with the Balsamic Mint vinaigrette.
Balsamic Mint Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the shallots in a small glass jar with a secure lid. Add the balsamic vinegar, the salt and the pepper. Pour the olive oil into the jar. Put the lid on the jar tightly, and shake vigorously, and add to the salad right before serving.
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. 🙂
Stuffed Zucchini Cups
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.
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. 🙂
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
¼ – ½ 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
¼ 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.
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.
GRILLED SMOKY AND SWEET MAPLE BABY CHANTENY CARROTS, MAPLE SYRUP
1 bushel of baby chantney carrots
1 and ½ tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chipotle seasoning
2 – 3 teaspoons butter
2 – 3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
Fresh chopped mint
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.
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.
Pear and Beet Salad
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
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.
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
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt
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. 🙂
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.
Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream
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.
whole coconut milk
1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears
1 tbs maple syrup
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.
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
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint
Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.
Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer. PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
2 cups wild rice blend, gluten free
4 cups water
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed ½ 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
½ 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.