Eating more of a plant based diet can be one of the most cleansing things you can do for you body, mind and spirit. I like to give my body a break from refined sugars, lean meats and the occasional glass of wine. I love incorporating raw foods and vegan dishes into my daily meal prep, because eating more whole foods gives me more energy and mental clarity. Hey, not mention I usually drop about 5-7 pounds. However, a raw diet or a vegan diet is not for everyone, especially long term, unless you have talked to a vegan wellness expert, professional nutritionist and/or your healthcare practitioner. My personal and professional opinion on the matter is, I never met anyone that didn’t benefit from eating more fruits, veggies and drinking clean water.
Now, this is a recipe I make often for my vegan clients and one I enjoy when I am cleansing my system. The key to raw cuisine is understanding how you can convert different raw food ingredients, into cooked food recipes you are familiar with. For instance, in raw cuisine, nuts can become a meat substitute, because of their texture and they are high in protein and good omega fatty acids. They can also become a flour base for “raw food” crust, cookies and cakes. The possibilities are endless. But just for now, let’s stick with making this recipe, by using nuts as a meat substitute. The recipe can be extremely versatile based on your flavor profiles. You can season the nuts with old bay and have more of cajun flavor or season them with Italian herbs and give them more of Italian flare. Use your imagination and see what you can discover. I like to serve this on a bed on greens, with a side salad and maybe a yummy carrot and pineapple juice. However you decide to serve it remember to alway Set the Table with Love. Enjoy.
“Raw Chick” Curry Stuffed Peppers
Raw Chick Pate’
1 cup almonds, dry
1 cup cashews, dry
1 cup sunflower seeds, dry
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup water
3 mini sweet peppers, cut in halves (I used red, yellow and orange)
1 red bell pepper, diced for garnish
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
Put nuts, seeds, and all the spices into a food processor and process
into a powder. Add water and process until the mixture is well
incorporated. You are looking for more of a chunky consistency than it
being totally smooth.
2. Cut the peppers into halves and stuff the Raw Chick Pate’ into each
pepper. Garnish with peppers, cilantro and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Makes 6 mini peppers
Excerpt From: Lisa Washington. “Set the Table with Love Farm to Table Cuisine.” Apple Books.
What do you do with a large sweet potato and a bag of French lentils and you are just craving home and comfort? Shepherd’s pie and a Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.
So let’s get a bit familiar with this pie:
Shepherd’s pie, common and inexpensive British dish originating from the sheep country in Scotland and northern England. It is a baked meat pie made with minced or diced lamb and topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes. Although the dish is sometimes called cottage pie, that name is usually given to a version featuring beef. It is thought that peasant housewives invented the pies as a way of repackaging leftovers from the Sunday roast. Source :https://www.britannica.com/topic/shepherds-pie .
Shepherd’s pie in my household was actually one of my favorite dishes. My mom would make it in the fall and winter months. My favorite part was was the mashes potatoes and sweet peas and carrots. I wasn’t a big meat eater growing up, but you ate whatever mom put on the table. I remember times being hard for us growing up, but my mother made sure we had a hot meal, clean clothes on our backs and lots of laughs. She was a very funny woman. Shepherd’s pie was special , it was comforting and a time to cuddle up with my family and enjoy a warm hearty meal together. My mother used ground beef, carrot, sweet peas, celery, onions and garlic as the base with lots of thyme. It was so yummy. I believe I have made this recipe only once in my life. Why? Why would I make a childhood favorite only once, because some dishes your mom just makes better, she adds that special mom LOVE ingredient.
This is what brought this recipe to life. Mother’s Day is coming up and I am missing my mom. She has been gone for 16 years now and I this time of the year I miss her so much and I just wanted to feel home. I do not eat meat like that anymore, no I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but my body craves plants more so I listen. Honoring myself and what my heart was desiring birth this lovely and delicious version of Shepherd’s pie. I hope you enjoy it and it brings your soul comfort and a smile.
Oh yes, don’t forget to Set the Table with Love. Thanks Mom for always teaching me how.
1 large organic sweet potato (thoroughly washed, peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks)
Organic vegetable broth
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp or more of maple syrup, depending on how sweet the potatoes are.
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup French lentils, cooked (follow instructions on package)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 small bay leaf
2 tsp fresh thyme
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
1-2 small carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
Place sweet potato in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until you stick a fork in it and it breaks apart.
Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add coconut oil, all the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
Next heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, onions, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and caramelized – about 4-5 minutes.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add lentils, vegetable broth, bay leaf and the thyme, and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (20-30 minutes).
In the last 15 minutes of cooking the lentils, add the carrots, and celery. Cook until the carrots and celery are a bit tender, but not mushy. Add in the frozen corn and sweet peas, stir, and cover and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain the lentils. Taste and adjust flavor to your preference.
Transfer the lentil mixture into oven-safe baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon.
Set on a baking sheet to catch any juices come from the pie and bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and the edges are bubbling.
Easter is in a week and everyone is getting their menus ready. The typical Easter dishes usually includes, of course a Baked Ham with Brown Sugar , Classic Deviled Eggs, Macaroni and Cheese and perhaps Scallop Potatoes. Just listing all of that makes me hungry. I love these dishes and I will definitely be making my Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese, but I do enjoy a few lighter side dishes. One of my favorites and it’s super easy, is my Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts. They are crispy on the outside from the parmesan and nice and soft on the inside. I get it, not everyone is a brussels sprout fan, but throw some cheese on something and honey they will eat it. All kidding aside these are pretty good and they are super easy.
If you are the one that is preparing Easter dinner, my advice, do not make every dish super complicated. I leave that to about two or three dishes and the rest is delicious and easy side dishes. Entertaining is all about spending time with the ones you love and sharing lots of laughs and memories, over family favorites.
For this recipe, I add a balsamic glaze sometimes with beautiful green basil leaves to give it some freshness. It’s Spring after all and herbs are an excellent way to add more flavor and brightness.
Oh yeah! Do not forget to Set the Table with Love. Enjoy!
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts (trimmed & halved)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
balsamic glaze (optional)
basil leaves for garnish
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Add parchment paper to a cookie sheet.
In a bowl, combine the trimmed and halved brussels sprouts with the remaining ingredients. Toss together to coat all the brussels sprouts.
Lay the brussels sprouts onto the cookie sheet, separate them, so they do not touch. This will help them bake and steam.
Add a little more parmesan cheese on top of each one, to help created a crust.
Cook 16-18 minutes. Serve Immediately or add balsamic glaze and basil as a garnish.
I adore beets. They are loaded with lots fiber, vitamin C and they help with inflammation in the body, which mean they are good for you, but they also taste amazing. I love to add beets to my salads, smoothies, and they are awesome sautéed, roasted or just raw.
Today I was craving a salad, but not the lettuce type. I looked in my fridge and remembered, I bought diced beets already marinated from my favorite beet company, Love Beets ! They made this salad easy to make, because everything is seasoned and ready to assemble. I just had to slice the red beets.
I wanted this to look a bit fancy, so I used one of my metal rounds to assemble the dish, but you can easily, slice your beets, top with the pesto and drizzle some of your orange vinaigrette on top and toss. However you decide to do it, just remember to Set the Table with Love.
1 pack of Love Beets diced marinated golden beets
1 pack of Love Beets marinated red beets thinly sliced
For the Parsley walnut pesto:
1 cup shelled walnuts, about 3 1/2 ounces
2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese or if vegan nutritional yeast
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Put the walnuts, parsley, cheese, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pulse again.
2. Drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running just long enough to incorporate the oil, about 20-30 seconds.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Pinch of salt
In a small jar with a tight-fitting cover, combine the orange juice, vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper. Cover and shake well until combined. To store, refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake well before serving.
Place your metal round on a pretty plate. Inside the round, layer the thinly sliced red beets, then top with the diced beets, stacking them on top of the red beets slices, until you have no space left. Add some pesto, then start the process over, until you end with a layer of pesto on top of the golden beets. Place on fridge to set for 30 minutes. Gently remove the metal round and drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately. 💕
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) .
I had such a beautiful afternoon spending time with my girlfriend Sarah and talking about her amazing weight-loss using the keto lifestyle plan. She has lost 40 pounds using this plan. So in honoring of her big victory, I decided to make her my keto savory zucchini cakes.
We did a Facebook Live, where she was able to talk to about how the keto lifestyle plan has helped her live a more healthier way of living. It’s pretty fun, hilarious and educational, so check it out in my Facebook page under Lisa Washington.
Here’s the recipe. To find out more about to keto lifestyle Magic Pill on Netflix.
Keto Zucchini Cakes
• 1 pound zucchini
• 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt or regular sea salt or to taste
• 1 1/2 teaspoon savory south seasoning by Hillari Moon or herbal garlic no salt seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 cup almond flour
• 1/4 cup coconut flour
• 1/4 cup grated Vegetarian Parmesan cheese, BelGioioso Cheese is Vegetarian
• olive oil for frying
1. Grate the zucchini on a box grater . Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the teaspoon of Himalayan pink sea salt or regular sea salt. Mix the zucchini gently to distribute the salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini out with your hands and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Sauté the onions and garlic in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Remove from pan once the garlic is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Add the eggs to the zucchini and the cooled onions and garlic mix together. In a small bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir together. Add them to the zucchini and mix thoroughly.
4. Heat a medium to large pan over medium – high heat. Pour in enough oil to completely cover the bottom surface of the pan. When it looks hot, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and check for bubbles. If the bubbles are moving quickly, then the oil is hot enough.
5. Stir the zucchini mixture one more time and dip a 1/4 cup measuring cup into the batter, level off. Dump the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula/flipper. Cook for three minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then flip, cooking for another three minutes. Add more oil to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.
6. Drain the zucchini cakes on a paper towel before serving.
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.
Who doesn’t love a delicious scone? One of my favorite scones to bake is blueberry with a lemon zest icing. But today I was interested in something a lot more savory, so I decided to make these sun-dried tomato, olive and goat cheese scones. They are packed with so much flavor and you can have them for breakfast and lunch with a nice salad and soup combo.
The scone is super creamy, because of the goat cheese and also the buttermilk I used instead of using regular milk. If you want to make the scones vegan you can completely leave out the goat cheese and use a non dairy milk and vegan butter instead of regular butter.
The beauty of scones, is they give us an opportunity to take a biscuit and make it all fancy and add our favorite ingredients. Try different food combinations, like spicy scone with cheddar and jalapeños.
My next recipe prosciutto, walnut and fig scones with smoky gruyere or gouda. Hmm…🤔. You will have to wait and see until next time remember to Set the Table with Love.
2 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum free
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces (1 stick)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 organic egg
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes without oil, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, dried and chopped
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. I used a silpat it seems to brown better than parchment, if you use parchment, double of the sheets. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, pepper and sugar. Using two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Pour into mixing bowl and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the sun-dried tomatoes, the olives and the goat cheese. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead very lightly and form into an 8-inch circle. (Add a little more flour to the dough if the dough becomes too sticky to handle). Cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or so, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool down, enjoy them for breakfast with a poached egg and a cup or tea.
This is my month, because June 17, 2018 my husband gave me his kidney and my life was changed. I am so excited to celebrate national kidney month, bringing you kidney happy recipes. There so many amazing foods that actually help with kidney health, like eggplant, celery, cabbage, asparagus, red peppers and cauliflower. Eating foods that are high in water, actually helps keep the kidneys hydrated and flushed. Drinking clean fluids and getting the proper exercise is also a wonderful way to keep our kidney and other organs healthy and functioning at their best. Check out the blog for some awesome “happy kidney recipes”, like my sautéed cauliflower, tossed with herbs and drizzled with garlic oil and this low carb Gluten free Vegetarian Cauliflower Veggie Pizza. Happy National Kidney Month eat to your health. 🤗💕
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Today I am talking about “food for the soul”, but will be back to our regularly scheduled food program tomorrow. 🙂
Did you know According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Source: Business Insider
Wow! Really? That means we only have a couple of weeks before most of us stop going to gym, our closets look like a hurricane hit them, and that plant based “What the Health” diet, has us pulling up to the closest fast food chain. LOL. 🙂 Okay all kidding aside, staying true to our goals can be pretty challenging, if you do not start off with the right intention, as well as, giving ourselves a bit of grace and lots of support. I wanted to share on this blog a few things I do to keep myself focus and on track. It’s not going to cost you tons of dollars, maybe not even a dime, just a moment to breath, slow down and make some conscious decisions . So, here we go, are you ready! This is a big one!
Be determine to not give up! Keep trying!
Do not be so hard on yourself. Remember this is a journey and along the way we have to pace and reset. Give yourself grace and take time out to go back and look at your goals. Ask yourself a few questions: How is this going? How is this making me feel? Do I need to reevaluate a few things or maybe change this goal to something more realistic? We can easily be pumped up by the beginning of the year with all the it’s “A New Year, so you much become a New You” talk. There’s nothing wrong with growing in all areas of our lives, but do it with lovingkindness.
Make sure you have encouragement around. Get a goal buddy, or join a Groupme, an amazing app where you can find like minded individuals, moving in the same flow of energy as yourself.
Set yourself up to win. I have throughout my home mantras, affirmations and positive words to remind me of my goals. My fridge, pantry and counters, reflect my goals for healthy eating. My yoga mat is laid out in my yoga space, so I can see it. I put my water jug on the side of my bed every night, so I can make sure I drink my water as soon as I get up.
Reward yourself appropriately. If it’s about eating healthy, do not reward yourself with a bucket of ice cream, maybe reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of shoes, and if you want the ice cream or cake, just a few bites and PLEASE enjoy it. How we feel about food affects how we digest our food, so be happy eating that cake.
A Bonus Tip:
Stay positive, making goals can be so much fun! It allows us to open up our minds to all the possibilities out there waiting for us. We get to try new things, connect with people moving in the same direction and possibly change our lives for the better.
When I competed on Food Network’s All Star Academy season 2, I was blessed to be mentored by Iron Chef and Food Network guru, Alex Guarnaschelli. She looked at me and my teammate Lee Abbot and said, “You will never look at cooking the same,ever again.” She was right. Competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. It’s not just television folks, it’s an experience you will never forget. It challenged me to my very soul, not only in front of the cameras, but also behind the scenes. In such competitions, 12 hours of filming, elimination challenges, television politics and illness, you discover a part of you, you never knew. I have to say, I am so grateful for my time on the show. The experience is still revealing more of who I am and what I am capable of. You may say, Lisa, it was just a game show, maybe, but life is how you digest it, how you take it in and savior all of it’s flavors, like a wonderful dish executed with skill, patience and lots of care. This is experience was one of the best I have ever consumed.
The dish I would like to share with you today reminded me of my time on the show. I got a chance to cook also with Chef Curtis Stone, he is incredibly brilliant chef, that takes his craft very seriously. Chef Stone inspired me with his precision and attention to every single detail. Chef’s food reminded me of art, fashion, symphony, culture expressed on a plate. Chef Guarnaschelli mentoring and food is full of soul, spirit, it’s holistic, she hits you with texture, flavor, aromas, emotions, she brings you HOME.
I made today two salads, from produce I got from the Farm and from my local grocery store. The salad is made with all the same ingredients, not one is missing no matter how different they may look. When I made these dishes, I wasn’t thinking of my experience on Food Network, I was just creating, but as Chef Guarnaschelli said, You will never look at cooking the same, ever again. She was right. Thanks Chefs for the inspiration that sometimes comes out unconsciously. It’s in me now. 🙂
Toasted Pearl Barley Salad ( two ways)
This salad is necessarily not a recipe. It using your favorite vegetables and displaying them from your cooking perspective. Here is what I used.
For the Rustic Salad and Salad of Art
Using a mandolin, slice up squash, radish, red cabbages, set a side
Cut up campari tomatoes in quarter for the rustic salad, for the artistic one, thinly slice of the bottoms, not exposing the inside, scoop out the top and some of the inside of the tomato, set a side.
Cut up 1 shallot, peel and slice horizontally, keep two of the ends where the circles are intact, the remainder will be used to toast in the rustic salad.
This is all about creativity, so follow my instruction or go wild with your imagination.
Here’s the instructions you need to follow:
Toasted Pearl Barley with Ras El Hanout season walnuts and vegetables with a fried egg
( a mouth full) 🙂
Toasted Pearl Barley
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup green cauliflower florets, small pieces
1/2 cup green sweet peas
1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout
sea salt to taste
Cook pearl barley as instructed. Once cook set a side. In a sauté pan add the oil, the peppers, onions, and pinch of the salt, cook until tender remove. Add the cauliflower, pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes, you want it to stay crunchy. Remove and add to the peppers and onions. Add the walnuts and the ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook the walnuts and seasonings for about a minute, you are just warming up the walnuts and bringing out the flavors of the ras el hanout. Add all the ingredients into the toasted pearl barley, season with more ras el hanout and sea salt, to taste.
For the Rustic Salad:
Add the toasted pearl barley to a plate and toast in your favorite veggies, remember to leave some of the vegetables on the side to create your Salad of Art. You will need 3 medium squash slices, 6 small pieces of the squash slices, 6 small radish slices, 3 pieces of the red cabbage, Drizzle with the Basil and Garlic oil, recipe below:
Basil and Garlic Oil:
2 cups of packed basil leaves
½ cup – 1 cup of olive oil, adjust based on the thickness level you prefer
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste
Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth sauce. Taste and add additional salt if needed.
Salad of Art:
On a beautiful white plate, add 3 pearls of basil oil on the plate, take 3 of your mandolin cut squash and add it on top of the basil oil pearls. Stuff your campari tomatoes with some of the toasted pearl barley mixture, add one pea on top of the each stuffed tomato. Add a piece of the red cabbage inside of the stuffed tomato, allowing it to stand up like a flag. Add the radishes on the outside of the tomatoes with a dollop of the basil and garlic oil and add the small squash slices onto that. Add the pieces of the green cauliflower artistically onto the plate with the slices of shallots.
Be creative, squash all that I have written and honey do your on thing. LOL.
Super Bowl is tomorrow and I have to make something, yummy, easy and delicious! I don’t know about you, but for me the best thing about Super Bowl Sunday, is the food. My mind starts to race, what will I make this year? LOL :).
Bingo!! Smash Potatoes!! Crazy, super simple as well. Bake some baby potatoes, use a potato masher, smash them and add your favorite toppings. Done and Done.
I hope you enjoy this recipe any time of the year.
SET THE TABLE WITH LOVE.
24 ounces Dutch yellow baby potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup or more of your favorite cheese, shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well.
Place potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a potato masher or fork, carefully smash the potatoes until flattened but still in one piece. Top with olive oil.
Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven. Using tongs, add the potatoes onto a nice heat proof serving platter. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cheese, red bell peppers and parsley to each potato. DON’T GET ALL FANCY , IT’S SUPER BOWL AND THEY ARE SMASHED POTATOES! 🙂 🙂 🙂