Guacamole Stuffed Zucchini Cups

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

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

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

4 zucchini

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

1 tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice

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

2 ripe avocados

1/2 – 3/4 cups red bell pepper, diced

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

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

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

 

IMG_8211

img_1601

Advertisements

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

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

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

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

SIMPLE VINAGRETTE RECIPE:

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

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTION:

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

     

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

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

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

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

BELOW THIS RECIPE IS MORE S3 RECIPES YOU CAN TRY.

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

French Lentil and Porcini Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

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

Smoothies

Smoothie with a Purpose

Salads

Mediterranean Salad

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

Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Salad for Breast Health

Soups

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

 

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.

img_4042
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.

 

img_4043
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

 

img_4054
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.

 

 

 

French Lentils with Cherry Tomatoes over Grilled Romaine Lettuce

This dish was inspired by how beautiful I think french lentils are. I love cooking with them. They whole their texture very well and that makes any dish look incredibly elegant. I have made soups, stews and salads using french lentils. I would like to share this grilled salad recipe I made over the summer. It was a true winner. Very light and loaded with vegan protein. I always looking for ways to incorporate more vegan protein in my families diet. I believe this one hit the mark. I hope you enjoy it as well.

French Lentils over Wilted Romaine Lettuce
French Lentils over Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Ingredients:
1  cup onions, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons olive

2 cups French lentils

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 tbsp  Madrecita Salt Free Garlic Herbal- Seasoning ( a must have)

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp sea salt  or more to taste

4 romaine lettuce leaves, Large

10 -12 cherry tomato, halves

French Lentils and Grilled Romaine Lettuce
French Lentils and Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Directions:
Place a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil. When hot, add chopped vegetables, and sauté until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water, lentils, thyme, garlic seasons, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
Simmer lentils until they are tender and have absorbed most of the water, for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain any excess water after lentils have cooked. Check the seasonings. Add more no salt garlic seasonings or salt, if needed. I usually add more of the garlic seasonings at the end to build the flavor of the dish, if needed.

I used my George Foreman grill. Heat up the grill and add oil to the grill. Remove the leaves from the head ( make sure they leaves are dry) and add salt to each leaf. Add the leaves to the grill and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, until they have a nice char on them. Remove from the grill and place on a platter. Take the lentils and add them on top of the leaves and garnish with the cherry tomatoes.  Serve immediately.

Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple and Potato Tart

This tart says, Fall. Apples. Lentils. Potatoes. Comfort Food. It’s hard and so very delicious. I love the sweetness the apples brings to this recipe. The crust is flaky and it’s vegan. I used coconut oil in this recipe, instead of butter. The coconut oil must be solid and not melted. So put it the fridge, the cold water will keep it solidified. If you do not want to go Gluten Free or Vegan you can easily buy pre made bake pie crust pastry dough.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

THE TOPPINGS

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling over the tart

2 large organic red apples, cored and diced

3 small red potatoes, washed and diced

1 cup french lentils,  cleaned, soaked over night and drained

1 /2 cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fennels

1 tbsp dried parsley

sea salt and black pepper

Gluten Free herb bread crumbs ( optional )

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Directions:

Cook lentils according to directions on your packaging. I soaked mines overnight it makes the cooking time shorter.  Once cooked, set aside.

In a sauté pan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Sauté your onions and garlic, until soften. Add your diced potatoes and cooked until soften. Add your diced apples. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add your cooked lentils to the sauté pan. Stir everything together. Next, add your seasonings, parsley and fennel. Stir everything together and set aside.

THE CRUST

6 tbsp. chilled coconut oil, MUST BE CHILLED, YOU CAN ALSO USE VEGAN BUTTER, BUT I AM ALLERGIC TO PALM OIL ūüôā
1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill, 1:1 Gluten Free Flour mix
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4-6 tbsp ice cold water

DIRECTIONS:

To prepare crust, add gluten free flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Add in the cold coconut oil, one dollop at a time. Work gently with a fork. Don’t overwork your dough, just get the coconut butter incorporated in the flour.
Next add ice cold water a little at a time. I like using a wooden spoon to stir my water into the dough.  You are adding enough water to allow the dough to come together.
When the dough as come together, place it on a piece of plastic wrap and work gently with your hands to form a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap it firmly and place it in the  refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. When you are ready to use the dough, allow it to get a little of the chill off of it, so you can work with it, easily.  Do not let it get soft, because it will be hard to work and the coconut oil will start to make it oily. If it is dry, add more cold water, a little at at time.

To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two sizable layers of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of a rectangle, press the sides up so you can have a wall border about haIf an inch high. This will allow your filling to not fall off. If the dough cracks some, just use your fingers to pull it back together and reform it. Be gentle, using taps to pull cracks back together. Poked holes in the pie crust with a fork, so it will not rise.  I also pressed some of the gluten free crumbs on the side of the crust, to get an extra crunch once baked.

Preheat oven to 375¬įF with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Line the pie crust with foil (not heavy-duty) and fill with pie weights, beans or rice. Bake until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven. In another pan, sauté the gluten free bread crumbs in a little olive oil over a medium heat, until  golden brown. Set aside. Once the crust is done, brush the crust with olive oil.  Add the vegetable and bean topping and add your sautéed gluten free crumbs.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart