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.

 

 

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.

 

Go Raw Raw Chick Pate bites

I am in love with #GoRaw Organic Sprouted Watermelon Seeds. I have snacked on the bag of seeds, made a big salad with them, a smoothie and yesterday I made Vegan RAW Nut Free Basil Pesto. Here’s the thing, a lot of us can not eat nuts. I love nuts, but sometimes we do not always get along. It’s all good though, we good people. LOL.

Today I would like to share this amazing appetizer, but you can spread this on some bread and there you go, a high protein sandwich. You can also wrap it in some butter lettuce and enjoy a nice lettuce wrap. The deal is you will love the diversity of this recipe, but better than that, is the fact, it’s loaded with nutrition and plant based protein.

Remember to Set the Table with Love. Enjoy!

Go RAW Raw Chick Pate with fresh parsley and tomato and a Watermelon Basil Salad.
Go RAW Raw Chick Pate with fresh parsley and tomato and a Watermelon Basil Salad.

Go Raw  Raw Chick Pate 

Ingredients~

Base

1 1/2 cups gluten free oats

1/2 cup Go Raw Sprouted Organic Watermelon seeds

1 cup chopped cauliflower florets

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons, about 4 tbsp

1/8 tsp turmeric  ( optional, but gives the pate a beautiful color)

1/2 -1 cup water, as needed, for your desired texture

Chick Pate 

1/12 – 1 cup chopped apples ( I used gala and a whole cup. I love apples) 🙂

1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup yellow onions chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 tbsp garlic herb seasoning ( Salt Free)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Go RAW Raw Chick Pate with fresh parsley and tomato and a Watermelon Basil Salad.
Go RAW Raw Chick Pate with fresh parsley and tomato and a Watermelon Basil Salad.

Directions ~

To make pate base, in a food processor add the base ingredients, Except the lemon juice and water. Add the lemon juice first, 2 tbsp at a time. Look at the consistency, it should be a thick creamy based, but not watery. If it is too watery. Add more Watermelon seeds to your food processor and blend well.

Scoop the pate base into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. If the pate is too thick, add a bit of water and stir. Season to taste.

Slice up cucumber circles about 1/4 – inch thick and the Raw Chick Pate on top of each slice and garnish with fresh parsley and a cherry tomato slice.

These make a great appetizer for your next party.

Peach Mango Smoothie 11 grams of protein, From? Wait for it…

I am in love with Go Raw foods. I discovered their sprouted watermelon seed and how much vegan protein you can get from these little seed is amazing, just one ounce of these little babies will give you 11 grams of protein with only 4 grams of carbohydrates, say yes, please and thank you!!

Here’s the facts:

1 cup of dried seeds containing 30.6g, but I would suggest that because watermelon seeds are high in calories. A cup of watermelon seeds in about 600 calories, but this recipe only call for 1 oz. which is only a 170 calories.

Also, watermelon seeds are also loaded with several of the B vitamins. The American Cancer Society reports that B vitamins are necessary for converting food into energy and other important bodily functions.

Peach Mango Smoothie Vegan Protein
Peach Mango Smoothie Vegan Protein

Well this morning I made this amazing smoothie and did not want use any of my protein powder, so I used the seeds instead.

I am ready to go on my walk and do a little yoga. My son’s are killing me with their work out plan and getting all ripped. Mama got catch up.

Peach Mango Smoothie Vegan Protein
Peach Mango Smoothie Vegan Protein

Peach Mango Smoothie

3 peaches
1 cup of frozen mangos
1 banana
1 cup of non dairy milk
1 oz of watermelon seeds by Go RAW

Throw it all in a blender and let it rip. Enjoy!

Roasting Acorn Squash 3 Ways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seeds

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

1 3/4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp clove

1/8 tsp nutmeg

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

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

The Soup

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

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ yellow onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped honey crisp apples ( garnish)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro ( garnish)

1 small clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 tbsp. organic honey

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

⅛ tsp. clove

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups almond milk

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

The Risotto

1 1/2 cups acorn squash, cubed

1 1/2 cup quinoa

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp. clove

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

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

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

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

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