Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

What do you do with a large sweet potato and a bag of French lentils and you are just craving home and comfort? Shepherd’s pie and a Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.

So let’s get a bit familiar with this pie:

Shepherd’s pie, common and inexpensive British dish originating from the sheep country in Scotland and northern England. It is a baked meat pie made with minced or diced lamb and topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes. Although the dish is sometimes called cottage pie, that name is usually given to a version featuring beef. It is thought that peasant housewives invented the pies as a way of repackaging leftovers from the Sunday roast. Source :https://www.britannica.com/topic/shepherds-pie .

Shepherd’s pie in my household was actually one of my favorite dishes. My mom would make it in the fall and winter months. My favorite part was was the mashes potatoes and sweet peas and carrots. I wasn’t a big meat eater growing up, but you ate whatever mom put on the table. I remember times being hard for us growing up, but my mother made sure we had a hot meal, clean clothes on our backs and lots of laughs. She was a very funny woman. Shepherd’s pie was special , it was comforting and a time to cuddle up with my family and enjoy a warm hearty meal together. My mother used ground beef, carrot, sweet peas, celery, onions and garlic as the base with lots of thyme. It was so yummy. I believe I have made this recipe only once in my life. Why? Why would I make a childhood favorite only once, because some dishes your mom just makes better, she adds that special mom LOVE ingredient.

This is what brought this recipe to life. Mother’s Day is coming up and I am missing my mom. She has been gone for 16 years now and I this time of the year I miss her so much and I just wanted to feel home. I do not eat meat like that anymore, no I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but my body craves plants more so I listen. Honoring myself and what my heart was desiring birth this lovely and delicious version of Shepherd’s pie. I hope you enjoy it and it brings your soul comfort and a smile.

Oh yes, don’t forget to Set the Table with Love. Thanks Mom for always teaching me how.

Sweet Potatoes

SWEET POTATOES

  • 1  large organic sweet potato (thoroughly washed, peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks)
  • Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp or more of maple syrup, depending on how sweet the potatoes are.
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
The Filings

FILLING

  • 1  cup French lentils, cooked (follow instructions on package)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Instructions

  1. Place sweet potato in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until you stick a fork in it and it breaks apart.
  2. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add coconut oil, all the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
  3. Next heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, onions, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and caramelized – about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add lentils, vegetable broth, bay leaf and the thyme, and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (20-30 minutes).
  5. In the last 15 minutes of cooking the lentils, add the carrots, and celery. Cook until the carrots and celery are a bit tender, but not mushy. Add in the frozen corn and sweet peas, stir, and cover and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain the lentils. Taste and adjust flavor to your preference.
  6. Transfer the lentil mixture into oven-safe baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon.
  7. Set on a baking sheet to catch any juices come from the pie and bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and the edges are bubbling.
  8. Let cool at bit before serving.

Notes

Super Easy Breakfast Carrot Cake Bites

After Easter feast, my body needed to cleanse. A raw vegan diet is the best way for me to get rid of all the pies and cakes I indulged in and not to mention, my mac and cheese that’s made with six cheeses.

But a girl still needs a little something sweet in her life. My Carrot Cake Bites does the trick every-time. Now on my blog I do have this recipe, but the bites are shaped into balls. To make them square bites, you will need to pour the mixture into a square pan and gently smooth out, you want the bites to be about 1 -1 1/2 inches thick. Put them in the fridge for one hour or over night to firm up, cut them out into squares, top each one with dried coconut and Enjoy. These go well with a cup of cinnamon tea. Remember to always Set the 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 cup grated carrots, peeled
  • 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, maple syrup, vanilla and spices.
  3. Slowly add in water. You looking for a consistency of nice slightly wet cookie dough,

4. Pour the mixture into a square pan and gently smooth out, you want the bites to be about 1 – 11/2 inches thick. Put them in the fridge for one hour or over night to firm up, cut them out into squares, top each one with dried shredded coconut

5. Enjoy!

Winter Detox Soup

This is simple and super easy! But here’s the twist. You eat this soup for breakfast!! What?!! Yes, breakfast. Soup for breakfast has incredible health benefits.

Having soup in the am helps with better digestion and elimination. When we are cleansed from the inside , we have more energy and our immune system is able to function better. This will help us ward off all those yuckies that our kids lovingly bring home to us.

Here’s a few benefits:

1. They are quick and easy, especially when you are in a hurry. Pour it in a Yeti thermal and go.

2. They are loaded with lots of nutrients,. A super easy way to get what you need all at once.

3. They help with digestion, because of the high fiber content and the liquid from the broths, which also helps with elimination.

4. The options are endless. You will never get bored with soup.

5. You feel fuller longer, because they are nutritionally dense.

So, why not?

Here’s my go to:

Ingredient:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ginger, powder

1/2 cup onions, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

2 sprigs of thyme, remove leaves to use in the soup

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 large yellow squash, chopped

1 1/2 cup cauliflower florets

1 /2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup kale, finely chopped, fresh or frozen

32 fl oz. Vegetable or Chicken Broth

Directions:

In a medium pot or Dutch oven add the olive oil over medium heat. Next add all your spices, stir and cook the spices for 15 seconds. Add the aromatics and sea salt and pepper, ginger, garlic, onions, red pepper flakes and thyme leaves , stir and cook for 1 minutes. Add the vegetables except the kale, Stir and cook for 5 -7 minutes, until the pot starts to get brown pieces at the bottom. Add the broth, stir and taste. Adjust seasonings, add more of the previous seasoning, to taste , plus add more salt or pepper, if needed. Turn up the heat and bring everything to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium and allow to cook for 20 minutes, until the carrots and cauliflower are soft, but still has some crunch. Add chopped kale and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Beet Salad with a Parsley and Walnut Pesto drizzled with Orange Vinaigrette

I adore beets. They are loaded with lots fiber, vitamin C and they help with inflammation in the body, which mean they are good for you, but they also taste amazing. I love to add beets to my salads, smoothies, and they are awesome sautéed, roasted or just raw.

Today I was craving a salad, but not the lettuce type. I looked in my fridge and remembered, I bought diced beets already marinated from my favorite beet company, Love Beets ! They made this salad easy to make, because everything is seasoned and ready to assemble. I just had to slice the red beets.

I wanted this to look a bit fancy, so I used one of my metal rounds to assemble the dish, but you can easily, slice your beets, top with the pesto and drizzle some of your orange vinaigrette on top and toss. However you decide to do it, just remember to Set the Table with Love.

Beets Rock!!!

Ingredients:

1 pack of Love Beets diced marinated golden beets

1 pack of Love Beets marinated red beets thinly sliced

For the Parsley walnut pesto:

Ingredients:

1 cup shelled walnuts, about 3 1/2 ounces

2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch

1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese or if vegan nutritional yeast

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

1. Put the walnuts, parsley, cheese, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pulse again.

2. Drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running just long enough to incorporate the oil, about 20-30 seconds.

Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredient:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a small jar with a tight-fitting cover, combine the orange juice, vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper. Cover and shake well until combined. To store, refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake well before serving.

Place your metal round on a pretty plate. Inside the round, layer the thinly sliced red beets, then top with the diced beets, stacking them on top of the red beets slices, until you have no space left. Add some pesto, then start the process over, until you end with a layer of pesto on top of the golden beets. Place on fridge to set for 30 minutes. Gently remove the metal round and drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately. 💕

Spicy Orange Ginger and Garlic Cauliflower with Orange Ginger Cauliflower Rice

This week it’s all about the cauliflower.

Here’s the recipe, running out for an event, but wanted to share this with you guys. Always Set the Table with Love.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

• 2/3 cup water

• 1/3 cup cornstarch, plus 1 teaspoon

• 1/3 cup flour

• 3 tablespoons coconut oil

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 cup onions, minced

•. 1 teaspoon ginger, minced

• 1 large orange, zest only

• 1/4 cup orange juice, from zested orange

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

• 2 teaspoon sweet chili sauce

• 1 teaspoon brown sugar

• vegetable oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

1 In a bowl, whisk together the water, 1/3 cup of corn starch, the flour, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.

2 In a sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, minced garlic, ginger and onions, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a slight boil.

3 Stir 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water until dissolved. Whisk into the sauce and reduce heat to a very lower simmer.

4 Next, heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 375 degrees.

5 Coat each cauliflower floret in the flour mixture.

6 Carefully place each floret into the hot oil. Fry each piece until golden brown – about 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

7. Toss the cauliflower in the sauce mixture, pour into a bowl and spoon the remaining thick, hot sauce over top. Garnish with some cilantro or sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions, (optional).

Serve immediately.

Fruit Skewers with homemade Chocolate Sauce and Yogurt with Fruit and Honey

Getting kids eat fruit and vegetables can sometimes be a bit challenging, but I believe these two dipping recipes will have them coming back for more. Keeping it simple and getting your little ones involved is the key. Whenever I pick up my grandkids the first thing that they ask me is, Gigi what are we making today? The second question is, Gigi what can I do to help? I noticed raising my boys, whatever they were a part of baking or cooking they would eat it all up.

This recipe is simple and will not take lots of time. You start with a skewer and their favorite fruit, cut up the fruit into bite sizes pieces, potatoes but big enough to place on the skewer. Allow them to pick which piece goes first. You can even talk about the health benefits of the fruit or where bananas truly come from. Now the dipping sauces:

Open up a container of plain yogurt. Chop up pieces of their favorite fruit. Add the fruit and yogurt in a bowl, drizzle with honey or maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir and let the kids spoon some over their fruit skewer.

Next the chocolate sauce, this can be done two ways, first the non dairy recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. semi sweet chocolate bark

1/2 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTION:

1 Chop the chocolate and add it to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

2 Pour the heavy whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl (I like to use a glass measuring cup) and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds-1 minute. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over in the microwave.

3 Pour the warm heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Start whisking slowly in the middle of the bowl, and continue whisking in one direction until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

4 Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before using as your dipping sauce.

Non Dairy Chocolate Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup of non dairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk)

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup of good quality cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, milk, and maple syrup. Stir and bring to a very gentle simmer.

2. Slowly whisk in the cocoa powder and continue to cook on a low simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Let cool, pour into a bowl and let the dipping commence. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few weeks.

Chocolate Sauce ( Ganache)

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces chopped dark chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

1. Chop the chocolate and add it to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

2. Pour the heavy whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl (I like to use a glass measuring cup) and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds-1 minute. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over in the microwave.

3. Pour the warm heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Start whisking slowly in the middle of the bowl, and continue whisking in one direction until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

4. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before using it to dip for it drizzle over your skewer.

Easiest Stovetop Maple Granola on top of Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

Who doesn’t love granola ? Okay, put your hand down, Lol 😂. But for us granola lovers, here’s a keep it simple and a bit sweet easy recipe.

You can also find this recipe and others delectable pictures of yummies on my Instagram page Life with Lisa Washington:

Easiest Stovetop Granola: Maple Granola with Pumpkin Seeds: #nutfree

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup gluten free old-fashioned oats, not instant

1 tablespoon virgin-coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon of molasses

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

A pinch of clove

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

1. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add seeds and oats. Toast for 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oats are golden and the seeds are fragrant, but not burnt. Add oil, maple syrup, molasses , vanilla, and salt, mix well to coat the oats. Cook 1 additional minute while string.

2. Remove from the heat and spread on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow to cool completely before adding to an airtight container.

Back to School Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Today I had the opportunity to do a television segment for Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta, because back to school is upon us and we want to give our kids a healthy start to the new school year. Well, I got you covered. Try out some of these recipes with your kids and see how going back school can be a fun and tasty experience for the whole family.

Here’s a few tips to get your kids into eating healthy:

1. Show the new ways to eat fruit and veggies: peanut butter on celery, hummus and red pepper slices, coconut milk with berries popsicle sticks

2. Get them involved in the process. Let them come up with healthy recipes ideas that incorporates more veggies .

3. Plant a garden.

4. Let them explore new fruits and veggies once a week. They don’t have to love it, just be open to trying new things.

5. Make eating healthy fun and not a chore. They are exploring and getting to know how to make good eating choices. So keep light.

If you want to check out the television footage just click this link: Good Day Atlanta Healthy Breakfast ideas .

Remember to always Set the Table with Love as you head into the new school year. 💕

Good Day Atlanta

Naleyla’s

Mango Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 Cup Mangoes, fresh or frozen, chopped

½ cup frozen blueberries

1-cup organic orange juice

A pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to the blender. Blend and Enjoy.

Serves two happy little campers 

As a school snack or for the lunch box add this smoothie into a thermos keep drinks cool.

Coconut Chocolate Chip No Bake Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1-½ cup raisins

½ cup maple syrup or (honey if not vegan)

½ cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter

1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup mini chocolate chips or (cacao chips, if vegan)

2 cups rolled oats, gluten-free, for any sensitivities

Directions:

1. Process raisins in a food processor until small bits remain. You are looking for ”dough” like consistency.

2. Place the oats in a large saucepan with a tablespoon of liquid coconut oil and toast for 3 minutes on medium

heat. Add all the spices and stir.

3. Place oats and raisin “dough” a large mixing bowl – set aside.

4. Warm honey and nut butter or sunflower butter, if there is a nut allergy, in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir

and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the raisin “dough” to disperse throughout.

5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8-inch baking dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or

parchment paper so they lift out easily.

6. Press down firmly until uniformly flattened. I use another piece of parchment paper over top of the granola and smooth flat with a spoon.

7. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 20 minutes.

8. Remove bars from pan and cut into bars of your desire. I cut them into small squares or 2 inch logs. Store in an

airtight container for 3-4 days. If you freeze them they will last longer and you can pop them out the fridge and add

to your kids lunch boxes each morning or as a great after school snack. Note: IF THE BARS ARE TOO CRUMBLY,

ADD A LITTLE WATER TO MAKE THEM STICKY. IF TOO STICKY AT MORE OATS.

Fruit and Granola at the Bottom Yogurt Cups

Ingredients:

1 small 4 oz. Mason jar with lid or 4 oz. BPA free recyclable plastic cup with lid

¼ cup granola

Few strawberries and frozen blueberries, or any fruit of your choice. I love to add frozen fruit, because it will keep the yogurt cool.

¼ cup Greek yogurt

A drizzle of honey, maple syrup, cacao chips or granola to add on top as garnish

Directions:

Add the granola to the bottom of the jar. Top with your favorite fruit, then top with greek yogurt and garnish as you desire.

This is a great lunch box recipe and after school snack. For school I would suggest using a BPA free plastic cup with lid, instead of a jar class.

This is for the Sweet Potato Lovers~ Sweet Potato Hash and Toast

Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?  Yes. Everyone does! Okay I just going to pretend that everyone does. The rest of you guys will be converted after this post! LOL.

So here it is, sweet potatoes are not only nature’s little candy, because they are super sweet, but they are loaded with nutrients. Here are a few benefits why you should eat sweet potatoes:

  1. Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  2. They are high in antioxidants
  3. Need a brain boost, sweet potatoes helps with brain function.
  4. They also are known to help enhance you immunity
  5. They promote vision health.
  6. Need to drop a few pounds, they also help with weight loss.

I know you are thinking about trying them now, with those impressive health benefits, but if you are not totally convinced, check out these two awesome recipes. The recipes below are vegan and plant based, but you can add an egg to them to boost your protein, if you are vegetarian or eat meat. The best thing about both recipes is that you can get super creative.

Sweet potato toast is the new craze out there, if you are trying to cut back on the bread. I love this new take on toast.  The toppings are endless, you can go sweet or savory.

Sweet potato toast is simple to make and you make several slices of the toast and keep them in the fridge for up to 7 days and pull them out when you need them and add your favorite toppings. Here’s the easy recipe:

 

blogfood1

Sweet Potato Toast

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato

Sweet Potato Toast : Sweet ~ Almond Butter, Granola and Cherries Savory ~ Avocado, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil
Sweet Potato Toast : Sweet ~ Almond Butter, Granola and Cherries Savory ~ Avocado, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil

Instructions:

OVEN 
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper to help prevent sticking.

Peel the potato. This is optional. I peeled the the ends of the sweet potato off, cut the potatoes in 1/2 inch slices.

Bake until the slices are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite toast toppings.

Store any leftover sweet potato slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat for an easy breakfast, just add to your toaster on the medium setting to heat up, remove and add your favorite toppings.

TOASTER

Ingredients
1 sweet potato, cut into 1/4 inch slices

Instructions
Peel your potato and add it to your toaster. It may take you three times to cook and toast the sweet potato completely.  Every toaster is different, so you will know it is done when the sweet potato is tender and brown on the edges. Remove it from the toaster and add your favorite ingredients: nut butters, avocado, jams, jelly, granola, nuts, apples slices, whatever, you get creative.

blogfood
Sweet Potato and Poblano Pepper Hash

Sweet Potato and Poblano Pepper Hash  

Ingredients

1 large organic sweet potato peeled and cubed
1  small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano peppers, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
1 cup broccoli pearls
1 cup of black beans
1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
a pinch or two crushed red pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften, add the sweet potato, broccoli pearls, salt,  and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, until the potatoes begin to soften. Add beans and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the beans are warmed up.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Top with cilantro and garnish with lime ( optional) .

 

 

 

There’s more than one way to use vegetable skewers

How can you take 4 prepackaged vegetable skewers and make several meals?

What I love about using the skewers is they have all my favorite veggies, big plump portobello mushrooms, crunch red bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and red onions. The first day I marinated them in a balsamic glaze with olive oil and herbs and paired it with a red quinoa vegan tabbouleh. The next day I took the two of the vegetables skewers and took off the vegetables and sautéed them in olive oil, herbs, sea salt and cracked black pepper. I put the veggies in a bowl, add kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, banana peppers and chickpeas. I added a little olive oil, balsamic glaze and toss. I chopped some fresh parsley over top and you have your second skewer meal. I took the last one and made a simple stir fry with eggs.

Honey, how do I lower my carbs, but still have the snacks I love? 🤔

Okay, so my biggest client is my husband. He is in amazing shape… and the Oscar goes to his wife, that’s me, for making him delicious and healthy meals, everyday. Yes everyday, well almost everyday. Lol 😂

He went for his yearly annual and his doctor told him most everything looked awesome, just had to watch those carbs. Of course, I get a call, because my husband is serious about his health and he married his nutritionist.

“Honey, he says, I need to cut back on the carbohydrates, but how do I do that and still enjoy what I love to eat? ”

Well before we get to that, let’s look at Why Carbohydrates are good for us:

Here’s the deal on carbohydrates, first off they are our friends. We need carbs to function, they give us energy. They help fuel our brains, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. They help us fill full and assist in keeping our blood cholesterol levels on point.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should consume, at the very least, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates, which is 130 grams for adults, 175 grams for women who are pregnant and 210 grams for women who are breastfeeding. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, women should consume 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis, while men should consume 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. Source:WebMD

If you have health issues, like diabetes or prediabetic this number can vary based on your doctors evaluation.

If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor or dietitian who can help you plan meals to control your blood sugar. Though your daily carbohydrate requirements are the same as those for someone without diabetes, it’s important to avoid eating too many carbohydrates in one sitting. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you should limit your intake to about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. SOURCE: WebMD

If you are just cutting back, I like to suggest 100 grams a day for weight loss. Substituting your simple carbs with more complex carbs, like brown rice for white rice, eating more fruits, whole grains and legumes. Eliminating simple carbs out of your diet, like sugary foods, white flour and white potatoes.

Also knowing how to count your carbs is very important. For example, multi grain bread may have 21 grams of carbs, but 4 grams of fiber, you subtract the fiber and you get a true number of how many carbs will be in that slice of bread. Got it?

Enough of the science, here’s some healthy substitutes I bought my husband that I know he will eat.

Popcorn instead of chips, is the big one for all of us:

The Special K bars have 11 g of carbs, the Dave’s Killer Bread, thin slice has 9 g of carbs, for breakfast he toast that and add a tablespoon of Nutella on it ,which is 10 g of carbs. The Smart Food popcorn has 11 g in 1 3/4 cups . We are cutting his desserts down to once a week, because we are not skipping on dessert. 🍮 . He eats some type of protein with each meal. The carbs gives him energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together.

So there you have it folks, my long answer to a question I think a lot of us are asking. Need more low car tips, just shoot me an email. Oh yes, I almost forgot, remember to Set the Table with Love.

Blackberry Broccoli Slaw with a Blueberry Yogurt Dressing

Broccoli Slaw is one of my favorite things to eat. According to studies, Broccoli contains phytochemicals shown to benefit arthritis, cancer, immune system health, blood pressure levels, vision, skin health, blood sugar disorders and much more” Source:Mercola

This recipe is packed with not just the benefits of broccoli but it’s loaded with planted based protein from the pumpkin seeds, fiber from the cranberries and vegetarian protein from the greek yogurt dressing, not to mention the b vitamin power of the blueberries and blackberries. My mantra is to. Eat on purpose with lots of flavor and this salad honors that fully. You can add your favorite fruit in this salad or even zucchini and yellow squash would be amazing. However you decide to enjoy it remember to, Set the Table with Love. 💕💕Ingredients:

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

6 oz (3 cups) store-bought broccoli slaw

2-3 Tbsp cranberries, to taste

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, to taste

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions:In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Add the broccoli slaw, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and chia seeds and toss gently until all ingredients are well combined.Eat immediately or you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. The yogurt and mustard will tenderize the vegetables; the salad will be crunchy, but not soggy.Serve cold or at room temperature.

Simple Green ” Heart Healthy” Avocado Salad

This salad is so beautiful, simple and delicious. I love avocados. They are loaded with so much good stuff, like omega fatty acids. Avocado also helps improve digestion and they are wonderful for your heart.  I love making this salad in the summer, but it’s also delicious in the winter time as well, because I saute the green beans and sweet peas and toss them with arugula, spices and olive oil and lemon juice. I love to also add salmon to add more good omega fatty acids and protein. If you are vegan, add walnut or pistachios.  The possibilities are endless, you can also add chard, kale, even brussels sprouts would be a wonderful green option. Oh and don’t forget to Set the Table with Love.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen

1 cup sweet peas, frozen

Avocado, halved and peeled

olive oil, sea salt, Montreal steak seasonings, lemon juice

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Simple Green Avocado Salad

Directions:

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions, saute the onions for about 1 – 2 minutes, then add your garlic, cook for another minute. Add your beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes until slightly tender, you still want them to have a crunch. Add your sweet peas, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat once the sweet peas are warmed through.

In a nice serving bowl, add you arugula, sweet peas, green beans, toss gently with a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cut an avocado in half and peel. Take half of the avocado and add it to the top of the green mixture, drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice and season generously with Montreal Steak Seasoning or a medley of cracked peppercorns. I love to also add basil leaves or mint to this salad to give it some freshness. Enjoy with some crusty bread or yummy multi grain crackers.

Vegan Spinach Florentine Rice Paper Wraps.

Here’s another recipe that may wow your Valentine’s Day date. 💕It’s so simple, easy, delicious and healthy. I love taking traditional recipes like a spring roll adding non traditional ingredients and allowing my guests to experience something in familiar in a new way. This will make appetizer, before dinner or add some wonderful cheeses, nuts,dried fruit and you got a beautifully unique anti pasti platter, pair it with your favorite wines and dinner is served. Psst… throw in some really good chocolates and this Valentine’s Day will be talked about for awhile. The truth is whatever you decide to do, just make sure you Set the Table with Love. NOTE: The pictures below show a wok fried version of this recipe, but I did give you an option to back them. Ingredients:1 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup onions 1/2 cup red bell pepper1/2 cup sundried tomatoes 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and pat dry to remove excess water1/2 cup chanterelle or baby portobello mushrooms,choppedFreshly ground black pepper and sea salt to tasteRice Papers To help hold them together:1/2 tbsp cornstarch 1 tbsp water Basil oil for dipping 2 cup of basil 1 cup olive oilSea salt to taste Directions: Preheat your oven to 425.In a sauté pan on medium heat add the olive oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic and sauté for about minutes or two until onions are a bit transparent. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until everything is heated through. Remember you will be baking these as well. Remove from stove and set aside. Prepare your rice paper for baking: 1 Place a single wrapper on a wet kitchen towel (cover the remaining wrappers with another kitchen towel so that they don’t dry). Arrange the wrapper in a diamond shape, place a bit of ingredients at the bottom. Stop when you reach half way, fold the right and left corner in so that the roll looks like an open envelope. Brush a bit of cornstarch mixture on the final corner and finish rolling. Place under a damp kitchen towel while you roll the rest. 2 Brush the rolls with a small amount of vegetable oil and place on a baking tray lined with a piece of baking parchment. 3 Bake for about 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes on the other side, until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy with the basil oil or your favorite sauce.

Preparing Rice Paper wraps for deep frying. Use the same rolling process as you would for baking adding the ingredients in the rice paper and rolling according to previous instructions:To start the process of deep frying, all you need is a nice big wok or saucepan, a ladle or a pair of tongs and some oil.

  1. Heat up a cup of oil on low heat in a wok or big sauce pan. When the oil starts to lightly smoke, it is ready for frying.
  2. Using a ladle or a pair of tongs, gently immerse a spring roll into the hot oil. Be very gentle so that the oil does not splash on you.
  3. After half a minute, turn the spring roll over gently. Fry for another half a minute, then put it to the side of the wok and let it continue frying. You need to do this before putting the next spring roll into the oil as the spring rolls may stick to each other before both sides have been fried for half a minute.
  4. Fry the spring rolls until they are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Remove from oil and place ice on a paper towel, to remove and excess oil and enjoy!

For basil oil: Add all ingredients in a blender and lightly pulse, until well blended, add more oil if you like a nice thin basil oil. Continue to 5 of 6 below.

Sundried Tomato Risotto ~ Easy Elegant Entertaining

What I love about entertaining at home, is spending time with my friends and family, so that means, not being in the kitchen all day, while everyone is having a good time in the other room. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the party?  I even bought our new house with that purpose in mind, to be with my guest, while I am preparing food for them. We all sit around our 8 foot island and just connect with one another over an excellent bottle of wine and eat as each course comes out.

Creating recipes that are loaded with flavor and doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make your guest feel like it did, is the key. My to go to recipe, my Sundried Tomato Risotto, because it seems, difficult, it looks fancy, but psst… IT’S NOT and it’s pretty darn delicious.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can truly make it your own, you can flavor it with all kinds of mouthwatering possibilities, with spinach, sweet peas and mint or you could do butternut squash and fried sage with just a pinch of nutmeg. Just allow your imagination to run wild, serve it with steamed veggies or a nice salad, some crusty bread, excellent wine, and you will be the hostess of the year, will maybe of the month, it is risotto and not coq au vin, LOL, 🙂

So here’s the recipe I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family as you Set the Table with Love.

Sun dried Tomato Risotto

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Sundried Tomato Risotto photo by: Noi Tran Photography

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, I used pre sliced ones)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

finely chopped fresh basil leaves for sprinkling the risotto after cooking

Directions:

1. In a saucepan add the water and the bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it at a bare simmer. In a large saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil, and stir in the tomatoes.

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Sundried Tomato Risotto Photo by: Noi Tran Photography

2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once you have added all the water and broth liquid add the 1/2 cup of white wine remember to allow each portion to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente)

3. Stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the risotto with the fresh basil. I like to drizzle a little olive oil over it all at the end. Makes 4-6 servings