Butternut Squash Pilaf

Butternut Squash Pilaf is an amazing alternative to perhaps this years stuffing. It’s gluten free and loaded with lots of vegan protein and hey it’s delicious. I was able to make this dish for William Sonoma’s guest yesterday. I did a cooking demo on Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Side Dishes! It was a hit. I love to watch people reactions when they eat food they do not normally eat on a regular basis, especially a spice or herb. This pilaf has garam masala in it, a very popular spice in India. The awesome thing about this spice,  it has some of the same spices we use for our Thanksgiving holiday recipes, such as; cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander and black pepper. What’s different about garam masala, is the cardamom. We usually do not use that is everyday cooking, but now you can with this recipe. It is such an amazing spice. So, the moral of this story, try new spices in some of your everyday dishes.

This dish is super easy and will look beautiful on your Thanksgiving table this year. But first Remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Butternut Squash Pilaf
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Butternut Squash Pilaf

2  cups wild rice blend, gluten free

4 cups water

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed ½ inch

1 tsp oil

1 tbsp dried  NO SALT garlic herb seasoning

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp dried thyme

sea salt and white pepper, to taste. You can use black pepper if you like.

1 med. whole clove, peeled and dice

½ tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp garam masala

sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large sauce pan add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of wild rice blend. Cover with a tight fitted lid, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the butternut squash. Stir and add the seasonings, NO SALT garlic herb seasonings, cardamom, dried thyme, white pepper and sea salt. Stir and allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add diced garlic. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the squash has soften but not mushy. The cooking process should take 6-7 minutes.

Toast the nuts and seeds

In a sauté pan on medium heat, add your nuts and seeds. Season them with a 1 tsp of garam masala, sea salt and touch of honey. Toast them for about 1 minute, nuts and seeds can burn because they have a very high oil content.

ASSEMBLE

Add the wild rice to a large bowl. Add the squash and the toasted nuts, seeds and cranberries. Stir everything in the bowl gently, incorporating all the ingredients. Taste and see if you need to add more seasonings. Serve immediately.

 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potatoes in red wine with toasted quinoa and almonds

Thanksgiving is next month and I am always thinking about what will I do differently this year. Then I remember that I go out of town each year and visit my family, so it’s more like what will I do differently for Christmas this year. Lately, for the past 3 years I have been doing a French country inspired Christmas dinner, but I want to switch it up a bit. I want to do more of a vegetarian theme dinner. I know my boys, they will not have that at all, but I will incorporate more plant-based recipes this year. I always add a new vegetarian plant based recipe each year and less meat, getting closer and closer to my vegetarian Christmas dinner, more and more. LOL.

This particular dish came about when I was thinking of my past made coursed for Christmas, usually I like to do a Beef Bourguignon, but if I could do a take on that recipe using vegetables.  Now this recipe is not like Beef Bourguignon, at all but the richness of it from the wine and the balsamic vinegar, reminded me so much of the dish. It could easily be a main course for vegan or vegetarian table.

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potato in red wine 

I toasted quinoa and almonds to add some protein and texture, some cranberries and lemon zest and you have a deliciously decadent, rich, and refreshing dish for Thanksgiving or any time of the Fall and Winter season.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I did today. You can add walnuts, or any other nut your prefer, instead of almonds. I had almonds and hand and I believe in using what you have.

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potato in red with toasted quinoa and almonds

Ingredients:

1 medium butter squash, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces

1 pound brussels sprouts, peeled and halved

3 medium purple sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions

2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

1 tbsp sea salt, or taste

1  1/2 tbsp Harissa seasoning, adjust to your heat preference

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Garnish: Toasted Quinoa, Toasted Nuts, Cranberries and Lemon Zest

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potato in red wine with toasted quinoa and almonds

Directions:

Preheat the oven 375.

In a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add the oil and chopped veggies and sea salt. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic. Add the Harissa and brown sugar Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and vinegar.

Place the cast iron skillet in the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes until the vegetables are brown and a fork can go through the vegetables easily.

Toasted Quinoa recipe: Quinoa two ways ~ Toasted and Roasted

For Toasted Nuts,  just add nuts in a non stick pan on medium heat and allow to toast until you can smell the nuts aroma, remove from heat, be careful not to burn them.

Once cooked add the vegetable in a beautiful bowl top with toasted quinoa, nuts, cranberries and lemon zest.

 

 

 

Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Salad for Breast Health

Brussels sprouts can be one of those, either you love them or you hate them. The truth is if they are done right you might just fall in love with these little sprouts that remind you of mini cabbages.

Actually brussels sprouts are in the cruciferous family such as cabbages and cauliflower. They hold a big punch in nutrition as well. In fact, many studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale are rich in sulforaphane – one of the primary phytochemicals (protective compounds found in plants) that helps prevent cancer.

Recent studies from the Linus Pauling Institute, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute, suggest that sulforaphane can selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells healthy and unaffected.

Here are two more reasons why you should incorporate brussels sprouts into your diet:

• They lower cholesterol ~ brussels sprouts have bile acid binding properties, meaning they stick to cholesterol and help guide it out of the digestive system, so it’s not absorbed in the blood steam.

• They help reduce Inflammation ~ brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants, which protect cells from free radical damage and help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body is a leading cause for most degenerative diseases and aging. I really believe you should enjoy your food and eat as many healing ingredients as possible. I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember to always Set the Table with Love.

Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 1 pound brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed and leaves separated 2-tablespoons raw walnuts 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cubed 2 tablespoons cranberries, for garnish.

Instructions: Whisk together lemon zest and juice and mustard in a bowl. Add oil in slow nice and steady streams, whisking until emulsified. Next, season with salt and pepper. Clean the brussels sprouts and cut off the bottoms. Cut the brussels sprouts in halves and pull the leaves apart. Add the leaves, cut halves and walnuts into the dressing bowl. Toss the brussels sprout leaves and walnuts. Gently stir in avocado cubes, cranberries and season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

 

Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Salad

For the Raw Vegan Mom ~ Cacao Raw Pudding Tarts

What mama doesn’t love a little sweet treat on Mother’s Day, but this one is for the Raw Vegan moms and those in spirit that love a super, decadent, delicious and yes healthy treat.  I love making these when I need a little something sweet, but is not going to put on tons of calories on me, whatever they decides to go after 40. LOL.

Chocolate, yes. I am a dark chocolate girl. I love dark chocolate, it is so good for you, it is high in antioxidants, low in fat, gives you energy and helps balance out moodiness. So, it maybe a good idea to make mom these yummies.

Hey here’s the thing, THERE IS NO COOKING! NO BAKING! YES!  So, you feeling pretty confident, huh? Honey you should feel confident. You can do this and the best part, she want feel all guilty about eating these chocolates later on. Win Win!

Enjoy one for yourself and remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

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CACAO RAW PUDDING TARTS

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CACAO CACAO RAW PUDDING TARTS

Tart Crust

Ingredients
1 cup almonds, dry
1 cup cashews, dry
1 cup dehydrated shredded coconut flakes
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups raisins or pitted dates
Cacao Pudding filling
Ingredients
2 med. avocado (ripe)
1/2 cup raisins
3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1/4 cup water or more if need for smoothness
2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup orange zest, for garnished

Tart Crust
1. Pulse the almonds, cashews, 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, sea salt in a
food processor until nuts are in tiny pieces. Do not over process the
mixture, you want chunks in your crust.
2. Slowy add the raisins into processor in small batches to mix with
the nut bits. The raisins will bind the nuts to form a dough. Flour
each tart mold with dehydrated coconut flakes. Press the dough into
the bottom of the floured tart pan. Set aside.
Cacao Pudding filling
1. Blend all the ingredients into the blender or food processor. Add
more water if the mixture is too thick, if too thin add a little more
cacao powder. Making Raw food is about adjusting, adding a little bit
here and there to get the right consistency.
Assembly
1. Add the Cacao pudding filling into each tart crust.
2. Add orange zest to each tart and sprinkle with a little coconut
flakes.
3. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow tarts to set. Remove from
tart pan and serve.
Makes 12 tarts

For more Raw Vegan Desserts on my blog check these out:

Cacao Smoothie

Raw Chocolate Torte

 

 

How to Break “Fast” and Have more Energy

I love talking about food, nutrition, wellness and beauty. So, I thought that, I would share how my days usually go, that keeps me full of energy, balanced, looking and feeling my best. I learned a lot of this when I studied Holistic Nutrition and Medicine at Clayton College of Natural Health. How we break our fast, from the night before is very important . Eating a healthier, lighter diet and drinking plenty of fluids, helps cleanse and nourish the body gently, so you may have more energy and clarity throughout the day. What is happening, is we are flushing out built up mucous in the body, as we consume pure liquids, high fiber fruits and veggies, during the am.

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How to break a Fast

Here is my  sample of an Ideal Morning routine to cleanse the body, reduce inflammation, boost energy and jump start your day.

  • Wake up with the sun. Go to bed early enough to wake up without an alarm.
  • Sit quietly or lie up in bed, pray, meditate, deep breathing. Release any concerns or frustrations. Let things go. Visualize your day.
  • Pray, and I love reading  my bible and other spiritual books.
  • Drink 2 cups of purified water with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Yoga and deep breathing for 20-30 minutes.
  • Eat 1 or 2 pieces of fruit.
  • Go for a vigorous morning walk or weight training 30 minutes
  • Get ready for my day.
  • Eat a whole grain breakfast, I love cooked oats or quinoa.  Consume 30 – 60 minutes after the fruit.
  • Take my supplements.
  • In 1 or 2 hours, mid morning. a handful of nuts and/or seeds.

Now this depends upon any health issues you may have. So, ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER, BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW ROUTINE.

I am kidney transplant survivor and this works well for me, even when I have to p]0take medication.

I will share my Ideal Afternoon routine tomorrow, remember to always Set the Table with Love.

 

Gluten Free Rustic Banana Nut Bread

My husband loves Banana Nut Bread and so do I . Every week I buy him organic bananas for his snack. This week he did not eat them for a snack, so mama had to make some banana nut bread for us. I love this recipe because the ripe bananas makes it sweet and I only used 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  You can see from the pictures, I like it rustic. It’s not pretty, but delicious.

This will be our snack over the weekend.  Psst… Remember to Set the Table with Love. 🙂

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GF Banana Nut Bread

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GF Banana Nut

My rustic GF Banana Nut Bread.
My rustic GF Banana Nut Bread.

Ingredients:

1 cup mashed organic ripe bananas ( I ended up using 3 bananas)
2 large organic eggs, beaten
1/4 cup organic olive oil
1/4 cup  light brown sugar (packed down)
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup walnut pieces

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat the mashed bananas with the eggs, oil and brown sugar till combined. Add the sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and beat until a smooth sticky batter forms. Stir in the walnut pieces by hand, save a few to nestle into the top of the bread.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly, if you like. I gently spread mines because I wanted that rustic bread look.   Nestle into the top some extra walnut pieces.  Bake on the center rack for 55-60 minutes, if necessary, depending on your oven, until the center is done. Use a wood kabob stick or like my mama use to do, poke a knife down the center, gently.  If it comes back clean, it’s a done deal.

Ovens vary, so check the loaf at 50-60 minutes.  My bread baked for an hour in my Whirlpool.

Bread for Champions

High Octane Banana Nut Bread

Well I rested for awhile until I was craving this amazing bagel from Einstein Brothers. They call it the Power Bagel. It is packed out with whole grains, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. I call it one of my favorites when I need some tasty protein.  But since I am resting and doe not want to give Einstein 3.29 that is including the honey almond cream cheese, I will make my own. So, I got out of my pantry some seeds, nuts, dried fruit and went to town.  What did I come up with this little recipe. My High Octane Banana Nut Bread. Okay this bread is packed out with EFAs, essential fatty acids, protein, high in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C just to name a few.  I also made a pecan honey cream cheese to go over top it, now this is not healthy, but boy was it good. Hope you will enjoy this Goodness on a plate.

High Octane Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature( you will need some for your pan to grease it)
  • 1 1/2 cups  organic all-purpose flour ( you will need a little of flour for your baking pan)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 large organic  eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of  flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • Pecan Honey cream cheese spread, recipe follows
  • If you like your bread to have more seeds and nuts you can add a little more, but this recipe will fill your bread up with enough of each ingredient.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a rack on the middle shelf. Butter and flour a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate small bowl, mash the bananas with a wooden spoon, you want to nice texture not real mushy.

In another large bowl, use a hand electric mixer or stand mixer to cream the 1/2 cup of butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add the dry ingredients and gently stir in pecans, almonds, seeds, cranberries. Pour the batter into the pan and put on a sheet tray.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice and spread pecan honey cream cheese  on top (optional).

Pecan Honey Cream Cheese

  • 4 oz. of cream cheese
  • 3 tbs of  honey to taste, you may use more or less
  • 1/2 cup of  chopped pecans

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve over top your bread.