Simple Green ” Heart Healthy” Avocado Salad

This salad is so beautiful, simple and delicious. I love avocados. They are loaded with so much good stuff, like omega fatty acids. Avocado also helps improve digestion and they are wonderful for your heart.  I love making this salad in the summer, but it’s also delicious in the winter time as well, because I saute the green beans and sweet peas and toss them with arugula, spices and olive oil and lemon juice. I love to also add salmon to add more good omega fatty acids and protein. If you are vegan, add walnut or pistachios.  The possibilities are endless, you can also add chard, kale, even brussels sprouts would be a wonderful green option. Oh and don’t forget to Set the Table with Love.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen

1 cup sweet peas, frozen

Avocado, halved and peeled

olive oil, sea salt, Montreal steak seasonings, lemon juice

fullsizeoutput_7083
Simple Green Avocado Salad

Directions:

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions, saute the onions for about 1 – 2 minutes, then add your garlic, cook for another minute. Add your beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes until slightly tender, you still want them to have a crunch. Add your sweet peas, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat once the sweet peas are warmed through.

In a nice serving bowl, add you arugula, sweet peas, green beans, toss gently with a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cut an avocado in half and peel. Take half of the avocado and add it to the top of the green mixture, drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice and season generously with Montreal Steak Seasoning or a medley of cracked peppercorns. I love to also add basil leaves or mint to this salad to give it some freshness. Enjoy with some crusty bread or yummy multi grain crackers.

Risotto Balls with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Here’s another really beautiful appetizer it is my leftover risotto balls. These are very simple to make and they are absolutely gorgeous, especially when you pair it with my sun-dried tomato pesto. I am just going to get to the recipe here, so you can get back to make the evening more magical.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked risotto

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Italian seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

Sundried Tomato Pesto:

2 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained, if packed in oil

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled

Directions: 1 Using lightly greased or wet hands, shape leftover risotto into 1-inch balls. Return balls to the baking pan. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until balls are completely chilled.

2 In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium-high heat. Roll rice balls in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs to coat.

3 Cook rice balls, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, carefully turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while cooking the remaining rice balls. Once all the balls cooked plate them with a side of sun dried tomato pesto.

Sun dried tomato pesto:

Process all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the mixture forms a coarse paste. This pesto will keep in the fridge inside an airtight container up to one month.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Valentine’s Day is all about making that special someone in your life feel appreciated and loved. My favorite way of expressing my love is through food. However, not everyone wants to be in the kitchen cooking up a five course meal all day.

No worries I have a beautiful salad you can prepare in under 20 minutes and your love will be very impressed. This recipe uses peaches , but you can easily substitute them for pears. You can have this salad as a main course or serve along side a piece of grilled salmon.

No matter how you decide to serve it, remember to always Set the Table with Love.💕💕💕

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Ingredients:

Prepackaged Organic Arugula Greens, (tripled washed)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp organic honey

3 medium peaches, sliced

1 cup almonds

1 tsp harissa seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

Fresh Burrata ( Whole Foods or Fresh Market )

Balsamic Glaze

Very Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instruction:

Add enough arugula on to a beautiful serving dish, set aside.

Add oil to a sauté pan on medium heat. Once heated add sliced peaches, drizzle 1 tbsp of the honey over them and stir until they are coated with the honey and a pinch of sea salt . Sauté for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Using the same pan on medium heat, add your almonds, the rest of the honey, harissa and sea salt to the pan and stir constantly, until the almonds are covered completely, about a minute. Remove from heat, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Take your Burrata and put it in the middle of your bed of arugula, open it up with a knife gently in the middle, to expose the curd, add the Organic Waikiki Honey in the middle of opened Burrata. Next add the peaches on top of the bed of arugula, then add the almonds all around, creating a beautiful salad, drizzle the entire salad with olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Sundried Tomato Risotto ~ Easy Elegant Entertaining

What I love about entertaining at home, is spending time with my friends and family, so that means, not being in the kitchen all day, while everyone is having a good time in the other room. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the party?  I even bought our new house with that purpose in mind, to be with my guest, while I am preparing food for them. We all sit around our 8 foot island and just connect with one another over an excellent bottle of wine and eat as each course comes out.

Creating recipes that are loaded with flavor and doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make your guest feel like it did, is the key. My to go to recipe, my Sundried Tomato Risotto, because it seems, difficult, it looks fancy, but psst… IT’S NOT and it’s pretty darn delicious.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can truly make it your own, you can flavor it with all kinds of mouthwatering possibilities, with spinach, sweet peas and mint or you could do butternut squash and fried sage with just a pinch of nutmeg. Just allow your imagination to run wild, serve it with steamed veggies or a nice salad, some crusty bread, excellent wine, and you will be the hostess of the year, will maybe of the month, it is risotto and not coq au vin, LOL, 🙂

So here’s the recipe I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family as you Set the Table with Love.

Sun dried Tomato Risotto

IMG_1355
Sundried Tomato Risotto photo by: Noi Tran Photography

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, I used pre sliced ones)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

finely chopped fresh basil leaves for sprinkling the risotto after cooking

Directions:

1. In a saucepan add the water and the bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it at a bare simmer. In a large saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil, and stir in the tomatoes.

IMG_1312
Sundried Tomato Risotto Photo by: Noi Tran Photography

2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once you have added all the water and broth liquid add the 1/2 cup of white wine remember to allow each portion to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente)

3. Stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the risotto with the fresh basil. I like to drizzle a little olive oil over it all at the end. Makes 4-6 servings

Naleyla’s Mango Blueberry Smoothie and Gigi’s Peanut Butter and Dark Choclate Popsicles

If you know me just a little bit, my grandkids are my heart’s joy. I love cooking, baking and going on adventures with them. They both love to be in the kitchen with me, just like my boys, when they were kids. Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I am sure we will be coming up with some yummy, healthy treats, but until then enjoy Naleyla’s Mango Blueberry Smoothie and Gigi’s Peanut Butter and Dark Choclate Popsicles recipe. Remember to Set the Table with Love. Naleyla’s Mango and BlueberrySmoothie1 cup mangoes, chopped1/2 cup frozen blueberries1 cup organic orange juiceAnd a pinch of cinnamonAdd to a blender. Blend and enjoy.Serves 2 happy grandbabies.Gigi’s Peanut Butter and DarkChocolate Chunk popsicles2 cups of Plain Greek Yogurt1/4 cup Georgia Grinder Peanut Butter(I used their Cinnamon Vanilla PecanPeanut Butter)2 tbsps Xoccoalt dark chocolate baror any good dark chocolate bar,chopped into nice chunkspopsicle sticksMakes 9-12 popsicles, based on thesize of your popsiscle moldsDIRECTIONS:In a food processor or blender combine yogurt and peanutbutter until smooth.Add chunks of dark chocolate and toss them into the mix.Add the mix into popsicles molds and add dark chocolateshaving on top of the mixture.Place in freezer. Allow to set for about 8-10 minutesbefore placing drift wood sticks or popsicle sticks. Onceset, add in popsicle stick. Freeze over night.Allow to thaw just a bit, about 1-2 minutes and removefrom molds and enjoy.

Beet and Couscous Salad with Micro greens and Pistachios.

I am a beet lover, yes I love love beets!! I am about to share a secret with you. Are you ready….here it is, this salad will make you one too. 😆. It’s so simple and the flavors just love each other. Beets, pistachios, mint, orange and a balsamic glaze, just says, Family.

I love to make this salad when I have a busy day and I just don’t have time to think lunch through. I usually have beets on hand and some sort of leafy green. You can also do lentils, instead of couscous or add an egg or piece of salmon. I even like changing up the dressing and just squeezing some lemon juice over it with some good extra virgin olive oil. My thing is this, eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple and delicious.

Oh yes, always Set the Table with Love.

Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked Israeli couscous

1 cup micro-greens

2 cooked medium beets, quartered

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of mint leaves, roughly choppedFor the Dressing Simple: Once you assemble the salad squeeze the juice of a medium orange over it, drizzle with some balsamic glaze and a little extra virgin olive and lots of cracked black pepper.

Instructions

Cook the couscous according to package instructions, put to the side, to cool. You want it to cool, so the micro greens do not wilt. Once the couscous is cool, take out a 1/2 cup or more based on your preference and it to a salad bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Add the dressing ingredients on top and gently toss. Enjoy.

Vegan White Bean Chili

It’s another cold day in Georgia and we got some snow. Yes! I love when it snows here. Everything shuts down, because that’s how we do it in the south. 😊

I love it because it gives our family a chance to get quiet and slow down the hustle and the bustle of life and just be inside and enjoy a nice fire, watch our favorite movies and get outside and attempt to make a snowman ⛄️ .

Vegan White Bean Chili in the Snow ❄️ When it’s this cold, it’s time for some chili. Instead of the traditional chili with dark kidney beans, I am using cannellini beans and making Vegan White Bean Chili. I love the buttery flavor of cannellini beans and they don’t cook very long, since I am using precooked beans. This recipe is quick, easy and full of flavor. I spiced it up with some spicy poblano peppers and a little cayenne never hurts .

Enjoy and always remember to Set the Table with Love.?💕

Vegan White Bean ChiliIngredients: 3 cans or jars of Cannellini Beans ( I used Jovial Organic Cannellini Beans)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion large, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped poblano peppers

6 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning (no salt)

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

dash black pepper

Instruction:In large sauce pot heat the oil. Add the onions and sauté until transparent about 10 or 15 minutes.

  • Add the garlic, peppers, ground cumin, dried Italian herbs, ground cloves and cayenne pepper.
  • Sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add the beans
  • Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth, stir and bring to a boil
  • Add the nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper.
  • Turn on low heat and cook for about 10 minutes ( do not overcook, or the beans will become mushy)

Millet and Red Quinoa Balls

I love this dish, because it is one that brings beautiful memories of me sitting in my friend’s garden, enjoying a nice glass of Pinot Noir, along side her olive tree, with yummy crusty bread on the side, lots of laughs and a few tears. One of my favorite memories, is just watching the hummingbirds flying around and allowing ourselves to just be in the present moment.

This recipe is a wonderful alternative for a “Meatless Monday”, it can also be a great vegan recipe, just omit the parmesan cheese. The flavor is in the red bell peppers, garlic, onions, basil and fennel. This is one you will want to make with your family over and over and again.  If you have balls left over, please freeze them, they do great in the freezer.

I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do and maybe it will be bring fond memories for you, when you Set the Table with Love for those special people in your life.  Enjoy! 🙂

 

IMG_8305
Millet and Red Quinoa Balls in a Simple Marinara Sauce

Millet and Red Quiona Balls

Ingredients

1 cup of Millet
1/2 cup of Red quinoa
4 cups of water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves ( minced)
1/2 cup onions diced
1/2 cup of red bell peppers, diced
1 cup of parmesan cheese, if vegan omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese instead
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder

IMG_8306-3
Millet and Red Quinoa Balls in a Simple Marinara Sauce

1. In large deep sauce pan add the 4 cups of water. Allow it to come to boil. Add millet and red quinoa. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Turn down the heat to medium low simmer, cook for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally. You want a nice fluffy mash potato like texture. This makes the balls easy to roll up.
2. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a sauté’ pan and sauté’ the garlic, onions and red bell peppers, cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season the veggies. Add the sauté’ vegetables to the mixture along with the dried basil, fennel seeds and the cup of parmesan cheese. Taste and season with the black pepper and sea salt, as needed.
3. Stir completely, incorporating all the ingredients. Wet your hands
slightly and roll the mixture into medium balls. You can put the balls in the fridge to harden for about 30 minutes. This will help the balls to hold together when you are browning them in the sauté pan.
4.Once the balls are firm, add the remaining olive oil in a sauté’ pan and sauté’ each ball until golden brown on each side on medium heat. Add goat cheese, basil and lemon zest for garnish, if you desire.
Makes 20-25 small millet and red quinoa balls

 

Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.)can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
2 1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp of sea salt
2 tsp. organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 bay leaves
Directions:
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic until tender.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato puree, basil, oregano,sea salt (or to taste), organic cane sugar, red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 40 minutes.
Serve the Millet and Red Quiona Balls on top of the Marinara Sauce.
Use pieces of basil as garnish with a little lemon zest.

Raw Carrot Cake bites for Easter. How to use up your carrot pulp from juicing.

Tuesday is my day to get refueled from the weekend and a super busy Monday.  Mondays are one of my busiest times of the week, very rejuvenating but I am moving from one thing to the next.

I have an early morning Life coaching and Reiki session and right after, I teach my yoga class and then I am off to do B’Tyli Natural Skin Therapies work, plus other things that my Creative Marketing Director, Kristina Millsaps has on the agenda. So, let me tell you when Tuesday rolls around I am ready to go and set in my yoga teacher’s studio and her peaceful presence, for 1 hour and 30 minutes and receive my healing and bliss. Tuesdays, also calls for a little work.  I really don’t consider this a work day, because I get to make raw food and let out some creative energy.  I love making raw foods for my clients,  because it sends healing to them and I always make enough for leftovers for me. 🙂

Today was all about the carrots. I juiced carrots for a yummy raw carrot and ginger soup, this juice also was used to make a raw carrot and ginger dressing for a beautiful cruciferous salad.  Cruciferous salad?

IMG_6244
Raw Carrot Cake Balls for Easter

Cruciferous vegetables have risen in popularity recently due to their apparent cancer-fighting properties. This large group of plants is diverse, each providing strong, unique flavors. It is named after the Latin word for crucifix because the blossoms of these plants resemble a cross.

Cruciferous vegetables include:

  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • kale
  • radish
  • turnips

Cruciferous vegetables are low-calorie, and rich in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient to incorporate if weight loss is the goal, as it helps keep you fuller longer.

Cruciferous vegetables are also good sources of phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds that may help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. SOURCE : HEALTH LINE CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES BENEFITS

But, hmm… what to do with the all the carrot pulp. I decided to make these yummy Raw Carrot Cake bites. I shaped them like Easter eggs, because I thought these would be so pretty on the table at Easter. Raw vegan or not, you will love these little bites. They are very versatile, you can use your favorite nut, add your favorite spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of clove. Also raisins or dates will work just find in this recipe.  I did not use nuts for this recipe. I love nuts, but sometimes we can have a love hate relationship and today my body said, NO NUTS! 🙂 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe add it on your table for Easter or any day of the week. Happy Easter Everyone! Enjoy setting your table with love.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 shredded unsweetened coconut, set aside 2 tbsp for garnish
  • 3/4 cup dried raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrot pulp
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼  cup water or more if needed
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Blend oats, sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup coconut  in vitamix (food processor should work too) until you get a fine consistency like flour.
  2. Add in dried raisins, pulse a few times to break them up then add carrots pulp, maple syrup, vanilla and spices.
  3. Slowly add in water. You looking for a consistency of nice slightly wet cookie dough
  4. Roll dough into balls, like the shape of Easter eggs and cover in shredded coconut if you want.
  5.  Enjoy!
IMG_6245
RAW Carrot Cake Balls for Easter

 

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

img_4698
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.

img_4694

 

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.