Easter Side Dish ~ Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Easter is in a week and everyone is getting their menus ready. The typical Easter dishes usually includes, of course a Baked Ham with Brown Sugar , Classic Deviled Eggs, Macaroni and Cheese and perhaps Scallop Potatoes. Just listing all of that makes me hungry. I love these dishes and I will definitely be making my Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese, but I do enjoy a few lighter side dishes. One of my favorites and it’s super easy, is my Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts. They are crispy on the outside from the parmesan and nice and soft on the inside. I get it, not everyone is a brussels sprout fan, but throw some cheese on something and honey they will eat it. All kidding aside these are pretty good and they are super easy.

If you are the one that is preparing Easter dinner, my advice, do not make every dish super complicated. I leave that to about two or three dishes and the rest is delicious and easy side dishes. Entertaining is all about spending time with the ones you love and sharing lots of laughs and memories, over family favorites.

For this recipe, I add a balsamic glaze sometimes with beautiful green basil leaves to give it some freshness. It’s Spring after all and herbs are an excellent way to add more flavor and brightness.

Oh yeah! Do not forget to Set the Table with Love. Enjoy!

Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts (trimmed & halved)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • balsamic glaze (optional)
  • basil leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Add parchment paper to a cookie sheet.
  2. In a bowl, combine the trimmed and halved brussels sprouts with the remaining ingredients. Toss together to coat all the brussels sprouts.
  3. Lay the brussels sprouts onto the cookie sheet, separate them, so they do not touch. This will help them bake and steam.
  4. Add a little more parmesan cheese on top of each one, to help created a crust.
  5. Cook 16-18 minutes. Serve Immediately or add balsamic glaze and basil as a garnish.

Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze


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.

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

img_4698
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.

img_4694

 

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.

 

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

WOW!! So my amazing friend Paula gave me a challenge to make a brownie for her son that hid cauliflower inside and it taste good. Well here is what I came up with.  This was an experiment and may need a little adjusting, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in my comment box. But I am not bragging, these bad boys were pretty tasty.

Ingredients:

First things first, the cauliflower puree.  You can serve the rest as a side dish or convert it into a soup. But that’s another blog. You will only need one cup for the brownie recipe.

1 head cauliflower, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

IMG_5264
Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Instructions:

Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the core in a kind of cone-shaped section. Then pull the florets off the head with your fingers, using a knife when you need to. Break or cut the florets into smaller, regular pieces (about 1 1/2 inch) and put them in a steamer insert. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in the steamer pot, add the insert, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can poke a paring knife into the stems and you can feel that there’s still a little texture there. Save 1 cup of steaming water.
In batches, put cauliflower in a food processor to puree. If you are having problems getting the cauliflower to puree add a little of the cooking water but as little as possible. With the motor running, add oil and salt.

Set a side.

Brownie Ingredients:

Dry
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup ground organic raw cane sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips ( cacao chips)

Wet:

1 cup cauliflower puree
1 Tablespoons flaxmeal
3 Tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil, canola oil

Directions:

IMG_5276
Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Brownies:

Over a double boiler, on low heat, add the dark chocolate chips into the bowl and stir,until melted. Once melted set aside.  In another bowl add cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, oil and mix together.

In a small bowl mix flaxmeal in the warm water and vinegar and let sit for few minutes about 3-4 minutes, this will be part of your egg, substitute. Add the flax meal mixture to the cocoa powder mixture.
In another bowl, combine all the remaining dry ingredients, stir and add to the cocoa powder mixture. Mix to combine well. Gently fold half of the melted chocolate into the mixture, you will use the other half as a glaze on top of the brownies.  If the mixture is too wet, add a little more cocoa powder. If too dry fold in more melted chocolate.
Spread the mixture into a parchment lined or greased pan. Press and even it out, using a spatula.
Bake 30-32 minutes at 375 degrees F. Bake till the toothpick an inch from the edge comes out with a few crumbs. Do not over bake as the brownie, it will dry them out and make them hard.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled remove from the parchment lined pan and cut brownies in squares.  Add the remaining melted chocolate on top of each as a glaze. You can also add more chocolate chips if you like.

RAW Tuscan Marinated Vegetable Salad in Basil oil

This recipe came from me craving something fresh, healthy and easy. I love this salad because you can put any of your favorite veggies and it’s always a winner. I took red cabbages, cherry tomatoes, asparagus , green snap peas, red bell peppers, carrots and portobella mushrooms and it was a great combination. This is such an easy and flavorful salad to make.

Ingredients: 

2 large carrots, chopped in circles

2 cup green snap peas

1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, whole

1 large red pepper, chopped

1 cup  red cabbage, shredded

1 1/2 cup baby portobella mushrooms, halved ( love mushrooms) 🙂

10 medium asparagus, chopped at an angle, each about an inch length

Sea salt and Black Pepper to taste, just a little. But do season your veggies. 🙂

Basil Oil Marinate

3/4 cup oil, extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup organic honey or your favorite sweetener

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried fennel seeds ( or more if you like fennel)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp.

1 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes ( optional), But great for digestion. 🙂

In a large bowl add all the ingredients and whisk, until everything is incorporated. 

Take prepared veggies and put them in a large glass bowl with an air tight container lid. Combine ingredients for the Basil Oil Marinate and pour over vegetables. Mix the vegetables and  marinate thoroughly. Cover the glass bowl with an airtight lid and refrigerate overnight. You can remove the veggies from the marinate and plate. I like to drizzle a little of the marinate and extra  virgin olive oil over my salad for extra flavor. You can serve this alone or you can top it on some leafy greens.

*Allow it to get room temperature for the best experience for your taste buds. 

Remember, Set the Table with Love.