Here’s how you can make a better salad to boost energy and help with weight loss

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:

Greens:

Choose 2 to 3 greens:

romaine lettuce

arugula

spinach

kale

Mixed green Medley ( easier way to get several leafy green choices)

You can also add:

Cabbage or Radicchio

Fresh herbs:

Choose 1 or 2 herbs:

basil

parsley

mint

dill

Grains ( optional, but loaded with vegan protein and lots of fiber, just use a little, they are high in carbohydrates.)

Choose 1 grain:

Quinoa

Wild Rice

Farro

Bulgar Wheat

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Protein 

Choose 1 to 2 proteins:

Organic Chicken ( grilled )

Salmon, steamed or grilled, high in protein and essential fatty acids

Chickpeas, vegan protein and fiber

Eggs

Beans, such as lentils

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Vegetables:

LET THESE BE THE MOST IN YOUR SALAD, LOAD UP!

Beets

Carrots

Onions

Cucumbers

Yellow Squash

Bell Peppers

Zucchini

Mushrooms

Celery

Peas

Olives

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

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 .

Dressings:

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.

Oil ~ Olive oil, Walnut Oil, Avocado Oil, and Hazelnut Oil .

Emulsifierr ~ which is the ingredient that helps keep the first two ingredients from separating and keeps your dressing stable ~ Mustard, Greek Yogurt, Ground  Flaxseed, Mashed Avocado and Honey.

Herbs and Flavoring ~ Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Cracked Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Chives and Honey .

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Warm Beet, Green Apple and Trio Lentil Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Salad Recipes

Warm Beet, Green Apple and Trio Lentil Salad

Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing 

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

water, to thin ( if necessary)

In a blender add all ingredients, blend and enjoy. 🙂

Store in a glass airtight container in the fridge for one to two days, this is a very perishable item. Use it all in a day if possible. 

So now you are educated about how to make an awesome salad that is loaded with everything your body needs. Now go out my loves and make the world a ” Happy Salad Place.” 🙂

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

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

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

Zucchini Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 egg

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced,finely 

1/2 cup cheese gruyere

1/2 cup parmesan 

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

Salt and Pepper, to taste. 

DIRECTIONS:

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

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

1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips 

4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar 

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

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 1 egg yolk

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

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon salt

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

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

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  • Campari Stuffed with Tuscan White Beans with a balsamic glaze

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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.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

WOW!! So my amazing friend Paula gave me a challenge to make a brownie for her son that hid cauliflower inside and it taste good. Well here is what I came up with.  This was an experiment and may need a little adjusting, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in my comment box. But I am not bragging, these bad boys were pretty tasty.

Ingredients:

First things first, the cauliflower puree.  You can serve the rest as a side dish or convert it into a soup. But that’s another blog. You will only need one cup for the brownie recipe.

1 head cauliflower, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Instructions:

Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the core in a kind of cone-shaped section. Then pull the florets off the head with your fingers, using a knife when you need to. Break or cut the florets into smaller, regular pieces (about 1 1/2 inch) and put them in a steamer insert. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in the steamer pot, add the insert, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can poke a paring knife into the stems and you can feel that there’s still a little texture there. Save 1 cup of steaming water.
In batches, put cauliflower in a food processor to puree. If you are having problems getting the cauliflower to puree add a little of the cooking water but as little as possible. With the motor running, add oil and salt.

Set a side.

Brownie Ingredients:

Dry
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup ground organic raw cane sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips ( cacao chips)

Wet:

1 cup cauliflower puree
1 Tablespoons flaxmeal
3 Tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil, canola oil

Directions:

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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Brownies:

Over a double boiler, on low heat, add the dark chocolate chips into the bowl and stir,until melted. Once melted set aside.  In another bowl add cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, oil and mix together.

In a small bowl mix flaxmeal in the warm water and vinegar and let sit for few minutes about 3-4 minutes, this will be part of your egg, substitute. Add the flax meal mixture to the cocoa powder mixture.
In another bowl, combine all the remaining dry ingredients, stir and add to the cocoa powder mixture. Mix to combine well. Gently fold half of the melted chocolate into the mixture, you will use the other half as a glaze on top of the brownies.  If the mixture is too wet, add a little more cocoa powder. If too dry fold in more melted chocolate.
Spread the mixture into a parchment lined or greased pan. Press and even it out, using a spatula.
Bake 30-32 minutes at 375 degrees F. Bake till the toothpick an inch from the edge comes out with a few crumbs. Do not over bake as the brownie, it will dry them out and make them hard.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled remove from the parchment lined pan and cut brownies in squares.  Add the remaining melted chocolate on top of each as a glaze. You can also add more chocolate chips if you like.

Southern Girls ~ Gluten Free Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans

Today I spent time with my friend Melissa. We both are true southern girls, so we love ourselves some cornbread. I made two versions of this recipe. One vegetarian and one vegan.  They both were very delicious. We talked about our childhood, birth order, being girls, southern 🙂 and how much we both love dessert. You know of course I had to have dessert, so I made this Vegan Nice Dream using my Go Raw Apple Cinnamon Sprouted Granola. Now remember to scroll down, that recipe with be at the end of this blog post.

Okay, back to the cornbread. The cornbread is sweet and the beans are spicy, an awesome combination. I topped the beans with cheese, and some cilantro and added fresh tomatoes all around the whole dish. I hope you will share this with your family and enjoy it as much as we girls did. Well till next time. Set the Table with Love.

Talk to you later, YA’LL. 🙂

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Southern Girls ~  Vegetarian Gluten Free Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans a

CORN BREAD RECIPE Vegetarian                                                 

Wet Ingredients

2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature

( For VEGAN VERSION USE ONE FLAX SEED EGG (1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 2 tablespoons water)

1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 cup Organic Cane Sugar

1/3 cup Olive oil

Dry Ingredients

1/2 cup Bob’s Mills Tapicoa Flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Mills Sorghum Flour

1/4 cup Bob’s Mills Brown Rice Flour

1 cup Bob’s Mills GF Cornmeal

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Sea Salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease cast-iron skillet. Set a side.

2. In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.

3. In a separated bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until thoroughly blended. Gradually, with a blender on low speed, add in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until the mixture is thick like cake batter. Spread evenly in the cast-iron pan.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is firm and edges are lightly browned.

5. Remove from oven and set aside.

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Southern Girls ~ Gluten Free Vegan Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans 

Spicy Mexican Beans

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup onions, diced

1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced

1 can organic dark kidney beans

1 can organic pinto beans

1 tbsp William Sonoma Apple smoked herb rub ( optional)

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp smoked chilis

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp vegetable broth

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish

4 campri tomatoes, cut in fours, for garnish

1 cup of grated white cheddar cheese for the vegetarian version as a topping, 1 cup of vegan cheddar cheese for the vegan version as a topping

Directions:

Add olive oil to a deep sauce pan on medium high heat. Add onions and red bell peppers, cook for about 3 minutes. Add beans and stir. Add spices and stir until beans are coated with the spices. Add 1 tbsp of the vegetable broth, turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 4-5 minutes more adding the rest of the vegetable broth. Cook on a low heat for another 7-8 minutes, until beans are a little tender but still have a firmness.

Remove the cornbread from the cask iron pans, by flipping them over into a plate. The bottom part should be face up.  Scoop the middle of the cornbread out, about 1 1/2 – 2 inches down. Keeping the bottom in tack. You need to just scoop out enough to allow a space for the beans. Add the hot beans into the hollow of the cornbread. The beans need to be hot to melt the cheese, so if you need to warm them up some, do so. Once they are heated up, add the cheese on top, and the cilantro.  Add the quartered tomatoes around the entire dish, if desired.

Roasting Acorn Squash 3 Ways

This week has been about entertaining friends and family. Last night my husband and I had dinner with some of our best friends we love dearly. It was such a bittersweet dinner together, because they will be moving soon to another state. I prepared our guest one of their favorite dishes, Jambalaya and for dessert Double Chocolate Chip Brownies. We laughed and talked almost till midnight.

This afternoon I had the privileged of having lunch with my old class mate. We have known each other since third grade. We have stayed in contact over the years, but have never had a chance to sit down and have lunch together. We had such a wonderful time building each other up and sharing memories. The last time we saw each other she came to my housewarming party and brought me a very nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I promised here I would not open it until we had lunch. Well we enjoyed it with our lunch, it went perfect with the recipes I am about to share with you.

I also received a bonus guest, one of my dear friends who has a gorgeous baby popped over as well. It was definitely an awesome afternoon. We all cooked together and enjoyed each others company.

So what did we make. Acorn Squash 3 ways. I bought an acorn squash this week and was wondering what to do with it.

Simple. Acorn Squash Soup, Roasted Acorn Squash and Apple Quinoa Risotto and  Roasted Spiced Acorn Squash seeds as a garnish and a healthy snack. Okay so here we go. I hope you enjoy these recipes.

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Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro
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Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro

 Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with  Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro
Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro

The Seeds

1/2 cups raw squash seeds, if the acorn is small to medium

1 3/4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp clove

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Gather seeds from squash and place in colander.  Rinse thoroughly in colander to remove any excess squash. Once clean, spread out in an even layer on a cookie sheet and allow to dry. Seeds can be patted dry, but roast much better when they are completely dry.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Toss dry squash seeds with seasonings and olive oil and place in a single layer onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until seeds are golden brown. Remove and place in a bowl.

The Soup

Ingredients
1 medium acorn sliced in half (through stem) and seeds removed

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ yellow onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped honey crisp apples ( garnish)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro ( garnish)

1 small clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 tbsp. organic honey

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

⅛ tsp. clove

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups almond milk

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper. Place squash, cut-side-down, onto baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until flesh is tender and easily pierced. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Once cool, remove flesh from skin by using a spoon and scooping out the flesh. Discard skin and set flesh aside.
In a Vitamix, Ninja or Fast Speed Blender, add the squash, remaining seasonings, olive oil and 1 cup of the almond milk. Blend well until very smooth. If the soup is thick and it maybe add the other cup of almond milk. Blend and taste. If you need to add more seasonings this is the point to do it. Blend if you add more spices. I like to add the soup to a pot and let it heat up a little more for a few minutes. Add to bowls and garnish with the roasted seeds, cilantro and apples pieces. This soup is sweet so adding the seeds gave it more depth.

The Risotto

1 1/2 cups acorn squash, cubed

1 1/2 cup quinoa

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp. clove

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the quinoa to the pan. Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Add in one cup of vegetable broth and stir for a minute or two until liquid is absorbed. Continue to stir.

When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the remaining cups of broth 1 cup at a time, stirring and simmering until each cup of liquid is absorbed before adding the next one.  During the third cup of broth you want to add the cubed acorn squash and allow it to cook and get tender.  Once the liquid is absorbed you want to add the fourth cup of broth, once it is absorbed, add in the fifth cup of broth and also add in the diced apples. During the fifth cup of broth you want to add all your spices, the sea salt and black pepper and stir. Allow the liquid to absorb. Drizzle a little olive oil over the risotto and gently stir. (The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes; you are looking for a quinoa that is al dente.  Taste and see if you need more sea salt or pepper.

I put my quinoa in little bowls and turn the bowl upside down onto a plate, this made a nice little presentation. I also took some of the seeds, diced apples and cilantro to garnish my plate. I drizzled it all with olive oil before serving. Enjoy!!!

RAW Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter Candy Apple

One of my favorite things during the Fall season as a kid was to find a big juicy red candy apple. My favorite of course was the caramel apples. I am far from being a kid, well physically that is, but I still love a big juicy candy apple. My education and battling kidney disease over 40 years has moved me toward a more wholesome way of eating. I love eating good food. Hey my dad was a chef. He taught me technique and presentation. My mom taught me how to flavor food. How to make it really come alive.

Well this candy apple will blow your mind with flavor and you will not realize you are eating something super healthy.

Enjoy!

Remember to Set the Table with Love

RAW CHOCOLATE GANACHE PEANUT BUTTER CANDY APPLE
RAW CHOCOLATE GANACHE PEANUT BUTTER CANDY APPLE

Ingredients

The Peanut Butter topping

1 honey crisp apple

1/2 cup of Raw Peanut butter in it’s oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

pinch of sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir the peanut butter with it’s oils. This will make it pliable. If it is too thick add more peanut oil or melted coconut oil. Add the peanut butter onto the apple using a small spatula or small spoon. Cover the whole apple. Pour the chocolate ganache onto the peanut butter, gently spreading it all around the apple. You want to cover the peanut butter with ganache leaving a little peanut butter exposed. Place in the fridge to set. Be patient with the process. It can be sticky, but yummy.

The Raw Chocolate Ganache

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa powder if you don’t have)
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  If ganache is runny add a little more coconut oil and cacao powder. The coconut oil will make it thicker once refrigerated.  Just a little at a time.  Place in the fridge to thicken for just a few minutes. You want a ganache that is easy to add to the apple, so it needs to be pourable.

If the sauce is too cold and thickens up too much, simply place closed bottle into a bowl of hot water until it melts. Add the sauce to the peanut butter part of the apple.