Vegan Sloppy Joes Stuffed in a Sweet Potato

Growing up as a kid. I absolutely loved eating sloppy joes. They were one of my all times favorites, but not the healthiest. So what does a girl do when she is taking on a 30 day vegan challenge and craving sloppy joes. No problem, add beans, instead of meat. This recipe has everything in it that I remember about my Mom’s sloppy joes growing up, that sweet, sour and smokiness that made them so good. I addd french lentils to this recipes, but you can add white northern beans or dark kidney beans, if you like. I mushed up some of the lentisl to give texture and left the rest whole. Lentils are high in plant based protein and fiber, so you are not missing any protein and it’s good for you. I hope you will use this recipe in your “Meatless Mondays” or any time of the week.

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FOR THE LENTILS

COOK ACCORDING TO PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS, BUT YOU WILL NEED A CUP OF LENTILS FOR THIS RECIPE AND I USED

LOW SODIUM VEGETABLE BROTH AND WATER FOR THIS RECIPE, FOR MORE FLAVOR.

FOR THE SLOPPY JOES

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup poblano peppers, diced

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar,

2 Tbsp low sodium vegan Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

INSTRUCTIONS:

COOK YOUR LENTILS ACCORDING TO PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS. I USED HALF VEGETABLE BROTH, INSTEAD OF JUST WATER. Once cooked, rinsed and drained, set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat your oil. Once heated, add, add oil, onion, garlic, bell peppers and poblano peppers. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Sautè for 4-5 minutes,until the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned. Add in the tomato sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin,garlic and smoked paprika, Stir to incorporate the spices.

Add in the cooked lentill, stir to combine.

Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warmed through and thick, stirring occasionally – about 5-10 minutes.

Taste and adjust flavor as needed.

I added the sloppy joes on a sweet potato with some homemade vegan coleslaw.

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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! 🙂

 

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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

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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.

Guacamole Stuffed Zucchini Cups

This week I am sharing recipes from my cookbook, Set the Table with Love. I hope you enjoy these recipes and share them with your family and friends. I had so much fun doing this shoot with my friends and eating all the yummy food afterwards. Photography credit: ROB POLANCO. Art Design by: KEEGAN LEIBA. Love you guys!

Who doesn’t love good recipe for guacamole, well I have one for you. It’s simple and refreshing, because it’s stuffed in these zucchini cups. I love using this recipe for when I having a small dinner party or just for a nice afternoon snack.  A lot of my wellness clients are looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into their diet and this is a great way to do. I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember before the plates, glasses, silverware and candles, Set the Table with Love. 🙂

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

4 zucchini

2 tbsp. cilantro finely chopped, and enough leaves to garnish to top of the cups

1 tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice

1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

2 ripe avocados

1/2 – 3/4 cups red bell pepper, diced

1/2 tsp. of sea salt and a dash of black pepper, to taste

1. Cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak the guacamole.

2. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion and cilantro. Stir in salt and black pepper. Fill each cup with guacamole. Top with red bell peppers and cilantro.

 

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WHEW! Life has been an Adventure! Food. Birthday Celebrations. Cooking Demos for Charity. Cover Girl. WOW!

Wow, May was a month of major surprises and lots of fun adventures. So, forgive me for just now posting. Boy, I did miss you guys, but let’s sit down for a moment. Do you have your favorite cup of tea? Great, because I have so much to talk about! Well, where do I begin? FOOD, of course my dear, food. I was asked back again this year to be one of the chefs to do a cooking demo on the big stage at Taste of Town Brookhaven for this year’s charity event to benefit LifeLine Animal Project.

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It was amazing and the best part, it was my birthday and I got to cook in front of this incredible audience and they all sung happy birthday to me, by the lead of celebrity and award winning DJ, Yvonne Monet, she was the Mcee for the evening and we jammed out as I did my cooking demo. I made my Cilantro Lime Shrimp with an avocado and pepper salsa.

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Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp with an avocado and pepper salsa

Along with a wonderful Basil and Mint Berry Salad. The music was pumping and the crowds were jumping and it was just a big party. The next day my friends threw me this amazing dinner party at my favorite restaurant, St.Cecilia Atlanta, best pasta and fish in Atlanta.

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Birthday at St.Cecilia

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St.Cecilia
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St.Cecilia

Now this is a condensed version of my birthday month, also had a pre launch cookbook cooking demo at William Sonoma and my bestie brought the most beautiful birthday cake from my new favorite dessert place,Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery.

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Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery
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Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery

I also got a chance to go to the filming of my friends new Food Network show and it was so much fun! I even got an opportunity to be part of the filming. The theme was the Great Gatsby. One of the coolest date nights with my hubby. He looked amazing in his tux.

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Great Gatsby
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Great Gatsby

Okay, whew! I am not done yet, tons of lunches and spa times, but the coolest thing was to be named Best Self Atlanta Magazine‘s  2017 Over 40 and Fabulous Cover Girl, check out the articles here and read about all of the winners this year.  A big THANK YOU to the staff of Best Self Atlanta and our amazing photographer Sawyer Photography

It has been a month, but I have been playing around with some new and delicious recipes for you guys to try, will post soon.  I want to just give a big shout out to the month of May and how amazing it has been for me. Recipes coming soon and oh my, what will June bring.  Enjoy this little gallery and remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Best Self Atlanta Magazine Cover Girl
Best Self Atlanta Magazine Cover Girl
Best Self Atlanta Magazine Cover Girl
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Best Self Atlanta Magazine Cover Girl

 

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?

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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!
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RAW Carrot Cake Balls for Easter

 

Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Today on my Facebook Live video, I talked about eating Antioxidant Powerhouse foods.  Here’s the deal, we get these list of foods to eat, and then what?  How do we convert them into delicious and balancing meals? Well no worries, I got you. Today I made a Spaghetti Squash Bowl using foods high in antioxidants. So, what’s an antioxidant?

“Antioxidants include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. You can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, and teas.” Source: WEBMD. 

Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries

I truly believe, our well being is in the foods we eat and drink. This recipe is loaded with vitamin C, E, beta carotene and flavonoids. It’s very simple, healthy and above all, super delicious! You can switch out some of the ingredients to truly make this recipe your own. Instead of lentils you can use chickpeas, instead of spaghetti squash, use butternut squash. The possibilities are endless. But, before we get into the recipe, let me share with you a list of delicious super antioxidant foods you might want to try incorporating in your menu this week and some reasons why you should eat them:

 

  • Slower signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain
  • Healthier, more youthful, glowing skin
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Detoxification support
  • Longer life span
  • Protection against heart disease and stroke
  • Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia
  • Reduced risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Antioxidants are also added to food or household products to prevent oxidation and spoilage Source: Dr. Ox

Antioxidant Powerhouse List:

  1. Dark Beans
  2. Dark Chocolate
  3. Small Red Beans ( adzuki)
  4. Pecans
  5. Red Grapes
  6. Apples
  7. Plum
  8. Extra Virgin Olive oil
  9. Blackberries
  10. Winter Squash
  11. Carrot
  12. Raspberries
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Black Beans
  15. Kiwi
  16. Green Tea
  17. Clove
  18. Butternut Squash
  19. Sweet Cherries
  20. Kale
  21. Blueberries
  22. Cacao Powder

Spaghetti Squash Bowl Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2  tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup sprouted lentils
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 mini red, orange and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4  cup chopped cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice juice
  • salt salt and black pepper to taste
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of each spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half.
  2. Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside and outside of the squash, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-40, until the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the chopped kale over a medium heat. Add a tbs of olive in a sauté and chopped kale, a little sea salt and stir.  Cook the kale until it has withered just a bit, you want it to still have some crunch, so about 2 minutes on medium heat.  Remove from heat and set aside. In another sauté pan, add the nuts, honey, paprika and a pinch of sea salt over a medium heat.  Stir and allow the nuts and seeds to heat up, for about a minute, Remove from heat and add to a bowl, so they can harden.
  4. Once the squash is done, remove with from the oven using oven mittens.  Being to assemble the bowls, use a fork to  remove most of the squash, add spaghetti squash to a bowl. Add a little olive to the spaghetti squash, then add the kale, chopped peppers, some of the nuts and seeds, set a few aside as a garnish, add the cherries, cranberries, fresh basil, and orange zest. Toss and drizzle some of the juice from the orange over everything and a little more olive oil, if desired. Add the mixture into the spaghetti squash bowls and garnish with the remaining nuts and seeds. Enjoy.

S3 ( Smoothies, Salads and Soups) For A Happy Healthy Summer

Today on my Facebook Live post I talked about something I love sharing with my clients.  Most of them have super busy schedules, but want to incorporate a healthier lifestyle and perhaps lose a few pounds, but do not need all the fuss. I like to call this my S3 plan, Smoothies, Salads and Soups, we also do a +1 for those who like to incorporate fresh green juices.

The plan is pretty simple and just takes a little creativity and prep work on your part, but  I am going to get you started.  So what’s the plan? Here’s the deal on S3. It’s smoothies in the morning, that consist of fruits such as, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, peaches,oranges, papaya, melons,guava and kiwi. These fruits can be added to your smoothie. I like using unsweetened non dairy milk as my liquid. Remember S3 is a gentle cleansing plan, so dairy is not included. I do suggest if you must have dairy, use yogurt. You can also add to your smoothie, nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios. This will add more protein to your smoothies.  I also like to add a vegan protein mix, that’s low in sugar and carbohydrates. Get creativity! Try out new fruit and nut combinations, it’s easy, just throw it all in your blender and go for it.

For the salad: When we think of salads we think, lettuce, tomatoes and cold vegetables with yucky carrots stripes that are dry and just unappealing.  You can make a salad without lettuces, but if you do use greens, make sure they are  leafy greens, like kale, swiss chard, butter and bib lettuces, romaine lettuce, add different type of spinaches. But a salad can be sautéed vegetables, with some chickpeas added, some fresh herbs and dried cranberries or golden raisins. In the S3 plan, I make all kinds of vegetable salads, french lentil salads and green salads as well. The point here is to use as many vegetables you enjoy, cooked or raw and make your own vinaigrettes or buy a really good healthy one. That’s the key here, use vinaigrettes on your salads, instead of heavy creamy dressings.

SIMPLE VINAGRETTE RECIPE:

You can be so creative with vinaigrettes, add chopped strawberries, finely chopped blueberries and blackberries, if you like and there you have a fruit vinaigrettes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons organic honey
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTION:

  1. Combine shallot, garlic, honey, vinegar, and water in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a tightly sealing jar, seal, and shake vigorously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

     

Now for the soups, here you have a world of possibilities just as with the smoothies and the salads. The catch here is to only make broth based soups, lots of broth, this will add in elimination. Today I made a french lentil and porcini mushroom soup, it was brothy and earthy and just plan delicious. All of the carrots, onions, garlic and celery helped give me a good fiber based. When you are making your soups you want to pack them out with lots of herbs, dry and fresh, seasonings, such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger,smoked paprika, chipotle and red chili peppers. All of these are anti inflammatory spices.

Here on S3 you can eat all the Smoothies, Salads and Soups you want. When you need to snack, make sure to have nuts, seeds, and vegetable and fruit handy. I would suggest the ones I listed above under what fruits are good for a S3 smoothie. You can do this plan for 3 days, 3 weeks or even 3 months. Your basically eating a vegetarian diet. I like to add eggs to make soup, a poached or boil egg gives me that extra protein I may need. You can also add eggs to your salad. If you need to eat something more than vegetarian, I would suggest fish, such as trout, salmon or mackerel. Here’s the deal, keep it simple and it will not be complicated.

How are we feeling about S3?  It’s super simple and easy, it can be done.

Let’s talk about what you want to avoid during S3: Whatever time period you have decided to do this plan you want to cut back or all together avoid, processed sugar, alcohol, caffeine, red meats, high fat foods, such as chips, pastries, etc. You want to consume plenty of water, that includes, green tea, coconut water, that is just pure coconut water and you can juice your

BELOW THIS RECIPE IS MORE S3 RECIPES YOU CAN TRY.

FRENCH LENTIL AND PORCINI MUSHROOM SOUP
FRENCH LENTIL AND PORCINI MUSHROOM SOUP

French Lentil and Porcini Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cups boiling water to re-hydrate them (save liquid for soup)
  • 3 tbs good cooking extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2  small celery stalks, cleansed and chopped
  • 1 small onion,  peeled and roughly chopped onion
  • 1 cups French lentils or any lentils you prefer
  • 4 cups good low sodium vegetable stock
  • fresh thyme, about 1 tbs, minced
  • sea salt and ground cracked  pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Re-hydrate the mushrooms in boiling water, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes.
  2. In a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat and olive oil, then add our vegetables, MAKE SURE TO CUT THE VEGETABLES THE SAME SIZE and season with salt and pepper and add a sprig of thyme.
  3. Cook stirring often for 15 minutes or until vegetables start to caramelizE, YOU WANT JUST COLOR, NOT BURNT VEGETABLES, :)!
  4. Add lentils, vegetable stock, mushroom liquid, broth then bring to boil, then turn down to simmer.
  5. Cook until lentils are just tender.
  6. Serve immediately, I like to drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive over the soup.
  A FEW RECIPES YOU CAN TRY. ENJOY AND REMEMBER TO SET THE TABLE WITH LOVE

Smoothies

Smoothie with a Purpose

Salads

Mediterranean Salad

Harissa Roasted Chickpea salad with acorn squash, mint and pumpkin seeds

Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Salad for Breast Health

Soups

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

 

If life gives you Lemons, Make Meyer Lemon Confit

I love trying new things.  My new love outside of poaching white fish in butter, is this making confits.  What does confit mean: Confit (/kɒnfi/, French pronunciation: [kɔ̃fi]) comes from the French word confire which means literally “to preserve,” a confit being any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation. Usually you hear this word in fine dining  restaurants, duck confit or goose confit, meaning the bird has been cooked in it’s own fat. Yes! Actually. I prefer making confits with citrus. A lemon confit is the same idea, but I am using olive oil to slowing cook the meyer lemon rinds in. It makes an excellent condiment to any dish. You can use it on toasted breads, drizzle on salads, vegetables and as I did today on a piece of broiled pacific cod. This is a very simple and easy recipe, that I adapted from Naomi Pomeroy Taste and Technique Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking. 

Meyer Lemon Confit
Meyer Lemon Confit

Ingredients:

Lemon Confit

Rinds of 3 lemons

1/4 teaspoons dried fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes

2 teaspoons organic cane sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

Directions:

Cut away most of the spongy white pit of the rinds, leaving only the yellow peel. Cut the trimmed rind pieces into strips 1/8 inch wide and 1 inch long.

Place the strips in a 2 quart saucepan and add the fennels seeds, red chili pepper flakes, sugar, salt, olive oil and garlic cloves. Place over very low heat and slowly simmer. You want it simmer to point you see tiny little bubbles. You will need to stir this often, to make sure the sugar and salt dissolves. You do not want the mixture to fry the lemon rinds, so keep a close eye on it. I had to take mine off the heat at least 3 times and put it back on the low heat, so it would not fry. Naomi suggest using a diffuser, but I did have one of those. If you keep it on a low heat and just keep a good eye, it will be fine.  It takes about 20 minutes for the rinds to simmer and cook until they are soft. Take a fork and remove one out from the oil to check the consistency. Once they are soft, remove from heat and set aside, covered, at room temperature to allow the flavors to come together overnight. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.

I poured my meyer lemon confit over this beautiful piece of pacific cod.

Broiled Pacific Cod with Meyer Lemon Confit, Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes
Broiled Pacific Cod with Meyer Lemon Confit, Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

 

Mediterranean Kale, Chard and White Bean Salad with Artichokes and Gluten Free Toast with Olive Tapenade

There is nothing like a beautifully delicious salad, but sometimes it’s really hard to eat salad during the winter. So I opt out to making warm salads. Yes, salads can be warm, you still get your greens and veggies but sautéed a bit. Here is one of my favorite salads. I love mediterranean ingredients, like artichokes and kalamata olives. This salad includes them both, but with a little twist. The great thing about salad, you can throw in all your favorite ingredients. Instead of just putting the olives in this salad I made an olive tapenade and spreader it on gluten free toast is a great alternative. In a later post, I will show you how to pump up your olive tapenade with plant based protein. But, until then enjoy this recipe. Always remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Mediterranean Kale, Chard and White Bean Salad with Artichokes and Gluten Free Toast with Olive Tapenade

Ingredients:

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup red onions, diced and extra tablespoon for garnish

1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons olive oil, in a sauce pan, to sauté veggies

1 tablespoons garlic herb seasonings

1 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 bunches of kale, rinsed, dried with a paper towel, leaves roughly chopped

1 bunch of chard, rinsed, dried with a paper towel, leaves roughly chopped

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, marinated

Directions:

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a sauté pan, on medium heat and then add the diced onions and peppers. Sauté until soft. Add diced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add beans and stir. Add the spices and stir gently, to keep the beans in tack. Cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside once cooked. Add the remaining oil into the pan on medium heat. Add the kale and chard, sauté for 2 minutes, you are just welting the leaves. Remove for heat and set aside

Olive Tapenade Ingredients:

1 cup pitted black olives

6 small capers

1 garlic clove

3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Mince the garlic clove. Place olives, minced garlic, capers and olive oil in blender. Blend until you reach a smooth spread. Add to the gluten free toast. To Assemble: Add the kale, chard, in a salad bowl, top with beans and gently toss, place artichoke hearts sparingly throughout the salad. Garnish with diced red peppers, season with sea salt, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Three Ways, inspired by a journey HOME.

Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and  I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in.  However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.

The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13  years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.

The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME.  The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.

My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.

Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.

Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts

Ingredients:

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries

 

3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache

1 tbsp maple syrup

crushed pistachios and a black cherry

Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.

Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte

 

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Ingredients:

1 pear cut in half and seeds removed

Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.

crushed walnuts

whole coconut milk

1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears

1 tbs maple syrup

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Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Directions:

Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them  into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness.  Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.

Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom.  Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.

NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.img_4922

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

 

Last one, but oh so good.  My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp cacao
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

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Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios

Instructions
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint

Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 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.