My birthday blessing ~ laryngitis

The past months have been very busy. My son is about to graduate from high school and we have been preparing with all the events around “Senior Year” to help him keep his sanity and for us to keep ours. My business has been going great and celebrating those I love in my life has been very fulfilling and made my heart so happy. All these things are good, but after awhile my body started to talking to me, “Hey you, yes you, can we celebrate me for a moment, can you honor and pay attention to me, because I am losing it over here. Yup that’s a sore throat you are feeling and those are body-aches, PAY ATTENTION LADY!”  LOL. 🙂

But all jokes aside, I got so rundown and being on auto immune suppressants, as a kidney transplant recipient, is not good medicine for wellness, and with a busy schedule.  Not happening!

anniversary beautiful birthday birthday cake
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is my birthday week/month. I know, I am one of those people.  Why not? It only comes once a year! Right?! Let’s get on with it,  how this laryngitis has been my birthday blessing .

So, I got sick and I lost my voice. No voice for the past three days. I have been pretty much silent and laid up in the house. The thing is, I know what this means, I am not listening to my spirit, so that is the first place I go, back home, to me, to Spirit.

You know that time in your life when you are fighting to “make things and people happen” and nothing is going your way. Yes, that frustrating, what is wrong with the world time?  What this week has taught me, well, what it has brought me back to, is a lesson God has been teaching me for many years. The issue is never outside of you Lisa, it is always within. I love Mother Teresa’s quote, “In the final analysis. it is between you and God. It was never between you and them.”

TYLERBOOK

So here I am with no voice, speaking to God with my soul, listening for his guidance, his words. What is it God that you want me to know? It is a question I have been asking God for as long as I can remember. The answer always opens up my heart and soul and blessings flood into my life in ways I never imagined.

The first thing he did was lead me to a book titled, Make the Most of You, by Patrick Lindsay. I read something in this book this week that brought me to tears, it was a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, ” To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest.” Wow!!!

What do I l believe and I am not living it? Where am I not be truthful in my life? I examined this question and it pricked my heart so much. I believe that God is the source of my life and that whatever I need and desire comes directly from him. But I was stressed out and living like, No what I need and desire, comes from this situation or a person working it out for me. That is a lie. The second belief,  You need to say No, you are on divine assignment, stay aligned with God and he will tell you where to go and when to go and who to go with. I was living, I need to be there, so they will see that I care, so they will see that I matter.  EGO. EGO. EGO.  This made me sick, because I was not honoring what I believe to be true. I WAS HONORING MY EGO, MY PRIDE.

grayscale photo of man in zip up jacket
Photo by Enoch Patro on Pexels.com

God, the universe, our bodies are always speaking the truth to us.

We must not as Marianne Williamson states from the Course in Miracles, “Do not seek illusions to replace the truth.” I am returning back to being a truth seeker, my well being depends on it. The divine assignments that God has laid out for me depends on it. The flow of blessings and miracles that God has stored up for me depends on it. Silence has been a wonderful teacher, but the greatest teacher of them all for me is in God’s word: Galatians 1:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

It is so easy to be human focus and not spirit focus in our day to day lives. I leave you with this beautiful African story about allowing our souls to catch up with our bodies:

landscape photography of wild trees over mountain
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

 

There was once an American traveler who planned a safari to Africa. He was that typical Type-A American tourist, who many of us may be and who I admittedly am when I travel. We do our research about this travel destination and we have a timetable, maps, and a clear agenda of the things we need to see and do. Some local people had even been hired to carry some of the traveler’s supplies as they trekked throughout the land—it was that level of planning.

On the first morning, they all woke up early and traveled fast and covered a great distance. The second morning was the same—woke up early, traveled fast, and traveled far. Third morning, same thing. But on the fourth morning, the local hired help refused to move. Instead, they sat by a tree in the shade well into the morning. The American traveler became incensed and irate and said to his translator, “This is a waste of valuable time. Can someone tell me what’s going on here?” The translator looked at him and calmly answered, “They’re waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”[1]

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.

Pear and Beet Salad 5 under 30

I am so excited about cooking and sharing on Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta, how you can stay Fit and Fabulous for 2017, using 5 main ingredients under 30 minutes.

This salad was inspired by that simple challenge. We can do it and we can do it deliciously, with hardly no effort at all, using some of my easy recipes. It just takes some preparing and a bit of creativity. I love this salad, because it has over 26 grams of protein, that is vegetarian and about 15 grams of carbs. I love those numbers.

I hope you tune in to Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta Thursday Feburary 9th at 9:00 am, but until then, enjoy this salad. Oh yeah! Do not forget to always Set the Table with Love.

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Pear and Beet Salad Fit and Fabulous

Pear and Beet Salad

Ingredients:

4 small roasted or marinated beets, (I used Love Beets, already peeled and marinated or roasted for you and they are organic and delicious.)

1 bosc pear

2 cups of your favorite greens, chopped, ( I used romaine lettuce.)

2 tbsp of your favorite cheese, ( I used parmesan, vegetarian.)

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Add the lettuce to a salad bowl. Place the beets around in different places around lettuce, add the pears on top of the lettuce, sprinkle the cheese and the pumpkin seeds. You may have pumpkin seeds left over, eat them as a snack later.

Add a pinch of sea salt, cracked black pepper. Drizzle a little balsamic glaze and olive oil. Salad done.

You can also use nuts, instead of seeds. You can also add other veggies, like sautéed zucchini and yellow squash.

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Pear and Beet Salad Fit and Fabulous

 

 

 

Veggie Plate Special of the Day ~ Roasted Eggplant, Charred Okra, Lemons and SautĂ©ed Northern Georgia Candy Squash.

I remember growing up and going to those cafeterias with my family, that served the, Blue Plate Special, which included one meat, two veggies, bread and a drink. My family loved these deals, they were inexpensive and you got a good amount of food for the price. It was a great deal for a family of 5 and my dad and brother could eat, so they were in heaven.

My favorite thing was the veggie specials. You got all these yummy vegetables on your plate . I would fill my plate with collard greens, green beans and potatoes, sweet potato mash, corn and a big piece of cornbread.   Well, here is my version of a veggie plate special.

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

The awesome thing about this version, it’s totally Farm to Table and still very inexpensive, but much fresher and a bit more creative. Hope you enjoy! Hey, let’s eat more veggies and support local farmers. As always, remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Roasted Eggplant

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half  crisscrossed. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle dried thyme and sea salt over each eggplant.
Roast in the preheated oven until softened and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

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Charred Okra and Lemon

For the okra:

Trim the stems from the okra and cut each pod in half lengthwise. Place in a large bowl, add the salt, and toss to combine; set aside.
Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Working in 2 to 3 batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the okra, cut-side down in a single layer, and sear undisturbed until charred on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the okra and cook until crisp-tender, about 30 seconds more. Remove to a medium bowl.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the okra in the bowl. Recipe from Chowhound: Charred Okra

For the lemon:

Cut a medium lemon into slices . Add the lemon to the okra pan, allow to cook until caramelized, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl.

Sautéed North Georgia Candy Squash

Peel the squash. Cut it in half, right in the middle of the squash, where you have rings of the squash. Remove the seeds, cut the squash into 1/2 inch rings. In a large sautéed pan,  add enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan, cook on medium heat. Add the rings, add salt and smoked paprika to the rings and allow to cook until golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes, flip them over and sauté the other side, add salt and the smoked paprika and sauté into golden brown and tender.

Serve the veggies on a nice plate and even add a piece of Gluten  Free cornbread

Southern Girls ~ Gluten Free Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans and Dessert Maple Apple Cinnamon Nice Dream

The best thing about this dish is you can use your imagination and come up with your own Veggie Plate Special of the Day.

img_4707Veggie Plate Special of the Day ~ Roasted Eggplant, Charred Okra, Lemons and Sautéed Northern Georgia Candy Squash.

 

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin spice muffins with a pumpkin seed and walnut crumble

Butternut squash, pumpkins, cinnamon, crumble, Fall, Autumn!  This is me screaming all the things I love about this time of the year and cooking.  My favorite things baking for my friends and family. I feel like cooking and baking for those you love is one of my most rewarding things I can do for someone.

I got to bake these yummy muffins for one of my friends and fellow yogi, Amanda, because it was her birthday.  Amanda is the manager and one of the amazing yoga teachers at the studio I teach at in our community. The studio is incredible, owned by the cutest and coolest couple, Kevin and Megan Kearney, you have to check it out, Ebb and Flow Yoga and Surf.

img_4433Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin spice muffins with a pumpkin seed and walnut crumble

Okay back to these muffins. I usually make my own gluten free flour, but this morning I decided to use one of my back up flours when I am in a hurry. I found that, this Pillsbury Gluten Free flour works great, when making muffins. When you are making gluten free baked goods, not every flour blend is going to work. So make sure the flour blend you are using, works well with what you are making. I will talk about this more soon, but check out on the blog my recipes for gluten free flours to make cakes, cookies, pancakes and muffins.

This recipe definitely will remind you of the upcoming holidays, it is packed out with those delicious spices we love during this time of the year, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. I you will not be able to eat just one, I bet ya! 🙂

Enjoy and remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Ingredients:

MUFFINS
Make flax eggs ~  2  tbsp flax seed ground meal, plus 1/2 cup water
1 can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup organic cane sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2  tsp clove

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
3/4 cup almond milk

CRUMBLE
3 tbsp organic brown sugar
3 1/2 tbsp gluten free flour
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp of chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cup tbsp olive oil
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease muffin tin. Dust with gluten free flour and shake off excess.
Add flax and water  together into a large bowl( this is your egg substitute). Let set for 5 minutes. Next, add pumpkin purĂ©e, organic cane sugar, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla extract and whisk for one minute.
Stir in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and mix. Add milk and whisk. Add the gluten free flour and stir until just combined. The batter should be thick and slightly wet, but with form and it able to be scoop into the muffin tins, easily. You do not want dry batter, dry batter will make very dense muffins.
Divide batter into the muffin tins. You will need to fill them to the top,  they will not rise very much.

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Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin spice muffins with a pumpkin seed and walnut crumble

FOR THE CRUMBLE

In a mixing bowl, add crumble ingredients. Use your hand to mash the ingredients together, until crumbly like wet sand. Generously top muffins with streusel.
Bake for  about 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out completely clean.
Let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then gently remove and cool completely on a cooling rack, before serving. Enjoy and Share. 🙂

Two sides of the coin ~ Toasted Pearl Barley Salad

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.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

 

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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:

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.