Jan 212014
 

One bite of my Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce will have your taste buds dancing.

Layers of flavor create balance in this dish; aromatic, fresh ginger, cooling coconut milk, sweet mango, a little heat from the chili sauce, and salty, savory miso ~ all tied together in a neat bow by Ume Plum vinegar.

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Have you seen the show the Taste?

The Taste “features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson, expert chef and author Ludo Lefebvre and restaurateur Brian Malarkey. Each of the four culinary superstars and “Taste” mentors – Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey – will coach a team of four competing pro and amateur cooks chosen from a nationwide casting call as they vie to create the best tasting dish.”

My five year old daughter and I have been watching this season and rooting for our favorite Vegan, Cassandra Bodzak.

As you watch the judging of each dish, it is interesting how the judges lean towards two things: fat and balance. Many times the dishes that lose are too dry or lack one of the elements of taste, most often sour/acidity or heat.

As I created this dish, the subject of acid became very apparent at first taste. Many times, without acid a recipe falls flat, lacks depth and seems to be missing something.  Think about the dish ~ could you add tomatoes, vinegar or citrus….google to see what goes best in that type of cuisine. In this case I didn’t have lime on hand so I used Ume Plum vinegar. Ah ha! Perfection!

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Umeboshi are traditionally made by harvesting ume fruit when they ripen around June and packing them in barrels with salt. A weight is placed on top and the fruit gradually exude juices, which accumulate at the bottom of the barrel. This salty, sour liquid is marketed as umezu (梅酢; often translated as “ume vinegar”), although it is not a true vinegar.

I searched for quite a while to find this ingredient because it is often used in one of my favorite recipe books ~ Clean Food by Terry Walters. I finally found it locally at Native Sun; however, if you don’t live in the area, check on line or visit your local natural food store.

I can’t wait for you to try this dish! It is going down in my “favorites” and even my husband who is not a fan of Indian inspired dishes complimented this one. Enjoy!

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Serves 7-8 3/4 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup mango (the fruit of about 2)
1 sweet potato, chopped (do not peel)
2 tsp miso
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 dashes organic chili sauce or Sriracha (Plus extra for garnish if you like it hot like I do!)
2 tsp Ume plum vinegar
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat; add onions, sauté about 5 minutes; add garlic and ginger sauté an additional minute; add lentils, toast for 1-2 minutes; add curry powder; add vegetable broth, mango and sweet potato; bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and potato are soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk, miso, chili sauce and vinegar.

3. Garnish with cilantro and serve over cooked quinoa such as Pereg Quinoa with Vegetables.

Nutrition Facts
7 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 154.8
Total Fat 10.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 588.1 mg
Potassium 134.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 1.8 g

Vitamin A 50.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.7 %
Vitamin C 17.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.6 %
Calcium 1.3 %
Copper 4.6 %
Folate 8.1 %
Iron 4.3 %
Magnesium 2.6 %
Manganese 8.0 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 3.7 %
Riboflavin 2.6 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 3.4 %
Zinc 1.8 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Bonus tip: 

For a WONDERFUL breakdown of the different types of lentils visit about.com.

Apr 012013
 

Kale 3 Ways – Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce, Kale Basil Pesto and Quinoa Power Bowl

Quinoa Power Bowl

There was a certain time during our camping trip last week that I took my life into my own hands. I was in a stare down with a tired and hungry 4 year old after a day of sun and fun with no nap. I needed to whip up something fast and healthy because I had already busted her hiding under a pillow with marshmallows stuffed in her cheeks like a chipmunk with a third waiting to follow.  Needless to say she was not thrilled when I grabbed the lone remaining marshmallow.

I quickly set some water on to boil and pulled some brown rice noodles, nutritional yeast (nooch) and a jar of quality pasta sauce in the cupboard of my little teardrop shaped trailer and some kale from the mini fridge.  (What, that’s not normal camping fare?) With those ingredients I made a semi-homemade cheesy kale tomato sauce with a vegan twist by stirring in some nutritional yeast as I heated the sauce and then simmering some finely chopped kale right in the sauce to wilt it down nicely. Voila – it looked like normal pasta sauce but had lots of protein, vitamins and minerals.  Once I got home I simply had to create it from scratch. It was super simple to do and would be great over salad, tofu and tempeh, poured over baked dishes or anywhere sauce is used.  It’s rich and hearty and has a great balance of acidity, sweet and savory flavors.  After trying the sauce, my daughter ate at least a full cup of the made- from-scratch version.  I’d much rather see her cheeks fully of healthy sauce than marshmallows!

Kale and Nutritional Yeast

What is nutritional yeast? Find out here. And why all the kale? Kale is that powerful and vibrantly green plant that packs a huge nutrient punch. It is one of the sources of plant based calcium that is super absorbable and alkalizing. It also helps to lower cholesterol, fights inflammation and oxidative stress and has tons of vitamin K, A and C.

Quinoa Bowl and Fresh Pesto

The idea for the quinoa power bowl came from a breakfast dish I had recently at a local restaurant.  Their quinoa and kale is typically served with tomatoes, a creamy pesto, chicken and feta so I had to do lots of “leave this off please“.  I loved the idea, but there were way too many animal based foods in it.  I decided to nix the chicken, feta and creamy pesto and create a virgin olive oil based pesto with fresh garlic, kale and some of the Cheesy Kale Tomato sauce.  Wowza!  The fresh pesto really makes this dish pop. There is nothing like aromatic basil and garlic with a touch of salt; what a versatile recipe.  Here are some ideas of how to use pesto; use it as a spread for sandwiches, stir into soups, use it on pasta, top any vegetable or salad, make hummus or potato salad!

Time Crunched?

If you don’t have time to make the sauce from scratch but want to try your hand at the quinoa power bowl, simply do what I did the first time – purchase your favorite store bought brand, heat and stir in 2 cups kale and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.  No time even for that? Open a can of fire roasted tomatoes, drain and use in place of tomato sauce on the Quinoa Bowl.

Another time saving tip.

There are many delicious store bought versions of pesto.  Simply purchase one and add a tbsp to each plate.

Have some extra time to make all three?  Here is a handy grocery list.

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce (Vegan)

Basic sauce recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes about 5 cups
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 dried bay leave, crushed
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 tsp sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp agave
2 cups finely chopped kale
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot.  Add onion, saute until translucent, about two minutes; add garlic, saute n additional minute.  Add carrot and saute about 5 minutes. Add bay, basil, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes.

2. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until semi-smooth or to desired texture.  Alternatively; process the sauce in a food processor until smooth; stir in agave.

3. Add kale and simmer an additional 20 minutes.

4. Stir in nutritional yeast; and taste to check seasoning.

**If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

Kale Basil Pesto

Kale Basil Pesto

Kale Basil Pesto

Makes about 1/2 cup
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
 

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped kale
Handful fresh basil
3 cloves fresh garlic
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup vegetable broth

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients in a magic bullet or blender.

 

Quinoa Power Bowl

Quinoa Power Bowl

Quinoa Power Bowl with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Basil Pesto

Inspired by First Watch
Serves 4 (plus extra quinoa for another use)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup dry quinoa
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
4 cups chopped kale
2 cups Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce (or sub store bought tomato sauce of choice)
1/2 cup Kale Basil Pesto (or sub store bought pesto of choice)

Directions

1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer; heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium stock pan; add quinoa, onion and 2 cloves garlic to heated oil; toast by stirring about 3 minutes; add 1/4 tsp salt and vegetable broth; cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, covered and let sit 5 minutes. (Makes 4 cups. Reserve 2 cups for recipe and set aside 2 cups for another use.)

2. Heat second Tbsp olive oil in pot originally used for quinoa; add kale and 1/4 sea salt and second 2 cloves garlic.  Saute until wilted; about 5 minutes.

3. Place 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 kale mixture; 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1 Tbsp pesto on each of four plates. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

**I have been making quesadillas with my leftover quinoa – delicious!

Nutrition Information
___________________

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce (Vegan)

Kale Basil Pesto

Quinoa Power Bowl with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Basil Pesto (For the quinoa and kale only.) 
Kale 3 Ways – Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce, Kale Basil Pesto and Quinoa Power Bowl

Nov 282012
 

Ready to get a little crazy?

How about THIS instead of your same old green bean casserole?

Fresh green beans, Meyer lemon from the tree out front, a hint of aromatic garlic and some crispy onions – what is not to love?

According to one of my favorite websites, World’s Healthiest Foods, green beans are full of carotenoids – just like carrots and tomatoes! They are high in vitamins C, K and A and even have some of those B Vitamins that many of us just don’t get enough of in our diets.

Green beans are also the perfect diet food – high in fiber and low in calories.  I confess that I wasn’t too excited about green beans -  I had gotten bored.  I needed a new and fresh way to prepare them, so I broke out one of my favorite cooking tools, the Flavor Bible.  It is a must have for every cook that wants to create their own recipes.  For each ingredient, the book offers what flavors pair best and there was quite a list for green beans.

The Flavor Bible

I have a feeling that if you are bored with the same old casserole, with this recipe you will fall in love with green beans all over again!

Green Beans

Simple Lemon Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Onions

Serves 2
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

10 oz fresh green beans
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced finely
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp crispy onions, (Loebs)

Directions

1. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in large skillet; add green beans and salt; cook about 1 minute; reduce heat to medium low, add 1 Tbsp water and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes.  Uncover, stir; cook an additional 5 minutes; add fresh lemon; spoon onto plate and top with crispy onions.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 90.5
Total Fat 4.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 116.3 mg
Potassium 313.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13.0 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 2.7 g 

Vitamin A 18.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 47.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.9 %
Calcium 5.5 %
Copper 5.2 %
Folate 13.3 %
Iron 8.3 %
Magnesium 9.0 %
Manganese 16.3 %
Niacin 5.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.5 %
Phosphorus 5.6 %
Riboflavin 8.8 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 8.3 %
Zinc 2.4 % 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nov 142012
 

How many times have you grabbed a seasoning mix to save time and looked at the ingredients and wondered what the heck some of the ingredients were?  

If you haven’t done this, I encourage you to do so.  Start reading your labels. More important than just fat, calories and carbs, we should be looking at what the item’s ingredients are.

Take a look at this McCormick potato seasoning.

BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, TOASTED ONION, SALT, SUGAR, GARLIC, MALTODEXTRIN, WHEY (MILK), BUTTER [CREAM, SALT], SPICE (INCLUDING BLACK PEPPER), CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRY MILK, GREEN ONION, YEAST, AND NATURAL FLAVOR.

Notice there is bleached wheat, sugar, maltodextrin and whey.  The wheat is most certainly genetically modified and we get so much wheat in our diets that it is the most likely reason for all the gluten sensitivities.  We are not meant to eat that much wheat – period – and it’s in EVERYTHING.

Secondly, malodextrin is a food additive. Wikepedia has this definition: Maltodextrin is an oligosaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a whitehygroscopic spray-dried powder.[1] Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.

Sure it may be ok in a minuscule amount but think about the amount of processed foods that most Americans eat.

If this seems a bit overwhelming just keep it simple.  Get back to basics and start reading the ingredients.

Now let’s take a look at this hand blended seasoning mix from All Spiced Up. The ingredients are clearly labeled on the front and we can read and understand each one without having to google it.

Garlic Unleashed

 And the taste? It can’t be compared!

This seasoning would normally be used on roasted potatoes but I tried it here in soup and the garlic flavor really shines.  What a great alternative to simple salt and pepper and it’s something you can feel great about feeding your family.

Is there someone on your gift list that loves cooking?  This would be a great gift!

Sep 272012
 

My mom is an amazing woman.  We talk every morning and she is my coach, friend and therapist all rolled into one.  Never have I met a more positive, loving and gentle soul. She devotes herself to helping others and listening to their problems, at the same time battling a degenerative disease - Multiple Sclerosis.

MS is a disease that degrades the myelin sheaths around the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.  When this sheathing is lost the nerves have trouble conducting signals.  This means that mom gets tired….VERY tired.  She tells me it is sort of like a cup of energy and when you use it all up, that is it for the day.  There is no pushing through it or ignoring it and moving on.  During times of change or extreme stress she sometimes has an exacerbation where the MS flares up and she is complete incapacitated for a period of time.  The last time was when my daughter was born.  She is her only granddaughter, but she could barely get to the hospital or hold my daughter – it was horrible and I know my mom was so sad to not be present every minute in the beginning.

My mom’s affliction is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about Mila.  It came into my life through her visits to the neurologist where she would return and tell me about her amazing neurology nurse practitioner, Megan.  Of course, my mom, being her friendly self, started telling Megan all about what I’m up to and how I write a food blog.  Little did I know that Megan is also very interested in treating disease and illness with whole foods as much as possible.  She contacted me to see if I had heard of Mila – I said no and asked her a few questions; she sent me a sample and the rest is history! After several weeks of eating it I was so impressed with the nutrition of the food that I decided to start up my own business helping people with this amazing food.

I asked Megan to share a little information about MS and her findings on Mila and this is what she said….

“Mila is a whole, raw, plant-based superfood source of omega 3 fatty acids…and this superfood may be helpful for many health conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis.  While studies using omega 3 fish oil in MS have had conflicting results about benefit to modifying disease progression and decreasing fatigue, anecdotally, many people find Mila to be helpful in managing symptoms of MS.  Some of the more common symptoms of MS that may be helped by Mila include fatigue, pain, and depression.  Suggested diets for MS, like the Swank Diet and the Gold Coast Cure, are heavily plant-based, and recommend omega 3 supplementation.  I support Mila because the addition of this superfood to the Standard American Diet (appropriately nicknamed SAD) will add health benefits to anyone living with (or without) a chronic disease!  People with MS are more prone to other medical conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, etc. because of the potential for a sedentary lifestyle.  By adding Mila into your diet, you are using food to increase your health!  It’s kind of a no-brainer…food IS medicine!  It is important to understand that Mila should not take the place of a disease modifying therapy, and that it’s use should be discussed with your health care provider, just like any supplement.  The National MS Society has a nice overview about omega 3 supplementation in MS, but this review is based on fish oil.  The benefits of Mila in the form of protein, fiber, and other minerals, are profoundly different than those of fish oil.  The link for the MS Society review is as follows:

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/healthy-living/nutirtion-and-diet/the-omega-3-factor/index.aspx

Many thanks to Megan for taking time out of her busy day in Neurology to share some information with us!

Do you know anyone in your life that suffers from a neurological disorder?  Mila may be able to help them just like it helped my mom!

This dip is a fabulous way to get Mila into your diet – especially if you love garlic! For those that aren’t as fond, feel free to cut back to one clove.  The hearty black beans and Mila soak up all those delicious spices and make for a satisfying appetizer.  Try it as a sandwich spread or as a snack with dip fresh veggies or pita chips.

Garlicky Black Bean Mila Dip

Garlicky Black Bean Mila Dip

Serves 10
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Mila
1 (14.5oz/411 grams) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp EVOO
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup water

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients well in a food processor, blender or magic bullet.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 84.0
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 147.1 mg
Potassium 48.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 1.0 g 

Vitamin A 1.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.8 %
Vitamin C 1.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 4.2 %
Calcium 3.4 %
Copper 2.0 %
Folate 0.3 %
Iron 5.4 %
Magnesium 2.4 %
Manganese 6.6 %
Niacin 1.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.2 %
Phosphorus 3.5 %
Riboflavin 0.5 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 1.9 %
Zinc 0.9 % 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sep 242012
 

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Sauce and Squash Blossoms

What do you do with squash blossoms?

This was the question I heard over and over from customers at the KyV Farm tent set up at the St Johns Farmers Market at Alpine Grove Park last Saturday.  There are many fried and stuffed recipes on the internet so here is a unique one that showcases the fresh blossoms with their sweet, nutty flavor.  They create a beautiful presentation and taste without adding lots of calories – only about five per cup.

The St Johns farmers market is a newly established one right on the St Johns river.  They had a good number of fresh vegetable vendors as well as a great mix of art work, jewelry, crafts and personal care products.  I would like to see some more prepared food vendors (vegetarian would be awesome!), possibly a food truck and some live music, but overall it was a GREAT market and you can find KyV Farm there every week featuring their organic produce.  Please head out there to support this new market – it is every Saturday, 10AM to 2PM, 2060 State Road 13, Switzerland, Florida.

The acorn squash, spaghetti squash, blossoms and garlic are all organically grown from KyV Farm. In fact, the spaghetti squash I had from the end of last season, waiting patiently on the counter for me to use it – so this started out as a spaghetti squash recipe but quickly morphed into a stuffed acorn squash since I bought two of those fresh at the market on Saturday.  There were so many delicious elements in this recipe that I had trouble fitting them all in the title; sweet roasted garlic, aromatic sage and thyme, fresh rosemary, caramel-y roasted onions, squash blossoms and that creamy pumpkin sauce.  This dish incorporates all of the welcoming tastes of fall and if you are like me living in Florida, it is a great way to celebrate the new season, even if we are only just starting to see some cooler weather.

I am SO excited about this recipe and if you try it, I know you will be too!

Lastly, I hope you will follow me on facebook if you don’t already.  It is such a great way to connect with the people that support and follow my blog.  Thank you to all of you!

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic, Sage, Pumpkin Sauce and Fresh Squash Blossoms

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic, Sage, Pumpkin Sauce and Fresh Squash Blossoms

Inspired by my friend Caras Cravings
Serves 6 – 1 cup spaghetti squash, 1/2 acorn squash, 1/4 cup sauce

Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash**
3 acorn squashes
1 onion
2 small bulbs garlic or one large
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Sauce
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese for non-vegan)
1/2 cup plain non dairy creamer – I used Silk Original (or regular creamer for non-vegan)
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
4 squash blossoms (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut squashes in half and scoop out seeds, chop onion, cut tops off garlic and wrap in foil; prepare pans with non-stick cooking spray.   Place squashes face down on pans, add onions and garlic around squashes.  Bake 60 minutes.

2. Add pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, creamer, salt, sage and thyme to small sauce pan; heat over medium, low heat.  Stir in roasted onions and garlic and simmer mixture, about five minutes or until heated through.

3. Place 1/2 acorn squash on each of six plates, top with 1 cup spaghetti squash and 1/4 cup sauce mixture. Slice squash blossoms; sprinkle evenly over 6 plates, top with sprinkle of chopped fresh rosemary.

**There may be some left over depending on the size of the squash.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 209.8
Total Fat 2.4 g
Sat Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsat Fat 0.3 g
Monounsat Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 106.8 mg
Potassium 1,080.1 mg
Total Carb 46.7 g
Dietary Fiber 8.0 g
Sugars 12.2 g
Protein 6.2 g

Vitamin A 18.4 %
Vitamin B-12 44.3 %
Vitamin B-6 187.3 %
Vitamin C   52.6%
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.1 %
Calcium 12.0 %
Copper 12.8 %
Folate 33.3 %
Iron 14.1 %
Magnesium 24.0 %
Manganese 32.6 %
Niacin 107.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 17.9 %
Phosphorus 16.7 %
Riboflavin 192.1 %
Selenium 13.6 %
Thiamin 238.4 %
Zinc 11.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Aug 242012
 
Eggplant Leek Soup recipe at the bottom!

 

_______________________________________
 
There were a few things about growing up in Massachusetts that I wouldn’t trade the world for.
 
Cape Cod
 
I got to bring my baby there back in 2009.  Yikes – my hair was not at its best that day, but my daughter sure looked psyched.
 
I think I was about 8 lbs heavier then than I am now
(thank you to my plant based diet and Mila!).
 The marsh – Sandwich Cape Cod that I used to jump off this bridge at high tide in the summers.
 
 
 My mom’s best friend Martha.
Mom, My daughter and Martha
 
After having tons of pregnancy problems prior to having my daughter, including a loss at 8 months pregnant with my first baby and two miscarriages, I made a “Vision Board”.  I pasted a photo of a healthy baby girl and a picture of a baby in Cape Cod.  I dreamed of bringing her back home to Cape Cod to visit.
 
Both came true!
 
 Martha got to meet her in 2009!
 
We flew up to visit when my daughter was 10 months old and stayed at her cottage on the Cape where she lives in the summer and in Louisiana in the winter.
 
 
 
Each morning while visiting I would push my daughter in her stroller on the short walk to the ocean in the cool morning air.  I love the weathered shingles, hydrangea and smell of the salty sea.
 

 

I’m so thankful for my best friend Jenny; she is the one of the only friends I keep in touch with, other than on facebook, from my childhood.
 
You  have already met her in this post, remember?  She came down for a visit in July.
 
 The house I grew up in. It looks WAY different.  Someone came in and bought it and made major renovations adding the front entryway there and the whole addition above the garage and we had a glorious garden off to the right.
 
It used to be “the white house with yellow shutters”.
Number 9……
The house I grew up in.
 
 ……and Jenny’s house was number 4, so we could run to each other’s house to play.
 
 I’ll admit I don’t miss the long, cold winters, but there were many memories I treasure and experiences I’m so thankful for.
 
 
It was Jenny that told me about this recipe. Martha makes it in huge batches and freezes it.
I can see why it’s Jenny’s favorite soup…..eggplant, garlic, onion, leeks and red wine give this soup a hearty texture and flavor but it’s actually super light!
 
I guestimated at the serving size but this makes a lot.
For those of you Mila lovers out there, this is PERFECT to stir Mila into. Simply stir 2 Tbsp into your bowl of warm soup.
What is Mila?
 
Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 
 
It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.
 
It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to 6 to 10 fish oil pills per serving.  
 
A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.
 
This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!
Eggplant Leek Soup
Inspired by my mom’s best friend Martha
Serves 8 – 10
Vegan, Gluten Free
 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp avocado oil, or oil of choice
1 large leek, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 onions sliced
2 lg. for 4 small eggplants diced, skin on
1Tbsp chopped garlic, (about 4 lg cloves)
1 can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1/2 Tbsp salt, or to taste
1 dash red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter
3/4 cup red wine
3 cans vegetable broth
1Tbsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 T cocoa power
Juice of 1 lemon

Optional
2 Tbsp Mila per serving

Directions

1. Preheat a pan over medium high heat.  Add 2 Tbsp oil; sauté leeks, onions, eggplants and bell pepper until softened, about 7 minutes; add garlic, saute an additional 2 minutes; add all ingredients except cocoa powder, Earth Balance butter and lemon juice; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add butter and cocoa powder; cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes; stir in lemon juice; purée until smooth.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 162.4
Total Fat 6.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 862.8 mg
Potassium 542.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.5 g
Sugars 3.4 g
Protein 3.0 g

Vitamin A 19.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 16.5 %
Vitamin C 44.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 5.4 %
Copper 10.2 %
Folate 15.4 %
Iron 10.6 %
Magnesium 11.0 %
Manganese 31.5 %
Niacin 6.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.1 %
Phosphorus 7.3 %
Riboflavin 5.4 %
Selenium 2.0 %
Thiamin 9.0 %
Zinc 3.0 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


With 2 Tbsp Mila
Calories 232
Fat 10g
Chol 0.0mg
Sodium 862.8mg
Fiber 10.5g
Protein 6g

Jun 302012
 
Saturday Quick Post!

Tofy Satay

 
This was one of those dinners that came out so great that I wanted to save the list of ingredients but I hadn’t measured everything out.  If you typically follow a recipe to the letter (not mentioning any names, MOM), I encourage you to try this one out and just wing it by utilizing your sense of taste!
 
Mix the ingredients, taste it, and think – does it need more salt?  Add some more Braggs (or soy, or tamari). Too sweet?  Balance it out with some more vinegar.  Just experiment!
 
Also, my original intent was to skewer the tofu but cutting the block into tofu steaks saved time so I went with it – and it came out perfectly. Use the skewers if you are going for presentation.
 
Tip: This marinade can be used for any protein.  You can leave it over night, for just an hour or simply brush it on – so versatile!
 
Tofu Satay without the Skewer
 Tofu Satay with Steamed Broccoli
(Without the skewer!)
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
 
Ingredients
 
Tofu
1 block extra firm tofu
Dark sesame oil (or any oil you have on hand)
Agave (or honey)
Sunflower seed butter (or peanut butter, or tahini)
Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy, or tamari)
Rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar or white)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
 
Broccoli
1 head broccoli, chopped
Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy, or tamari)
Rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar or white)
Agave (or honey)
Water
 
Directions
 
1. Press water from the tofu then slice in half and then through the center into “steaks” or however you like to slice your tofu – any way will work. 
 
2. Preheat grill to medium high.  Mix about 1 tbsp each –  sesame oil through vinegar; stir well; mix in garlic.  Adjust to taste.  Add tofu and coat all sides; save the remaining for dipping sauce.  Grill to desired temperature.
 
3. Meanwhile steam the broccoli, about 10 minutes; as that cooks whisk about 1 tsp each liquid aminos through agave and add about 1 tbsp water; adjust to taste. Pour over steamed broccoli. 
 
4. Serve one slice tofu and 1/4 broccoli mixture on each of four plates with a side of left over marinade.
Jun 202012
 
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegetarian dish paired with two different wines from Broadbent Selections.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.
In this case, mushrooms, thyme, butternut, garlic and chives.
The wines to pair are Organic Pares Balta Penedes Garnatxa Cabernet, 2009, Spain  and Dr Hermann Riesling , 2011, Mosel Germany 
Organic Pares Balta Penedes Garnatxa Cabernet, 2009, Spain and Dr Hermann Riesling , 2011, Mosel Germany
This dish was one of those created on the fly.  I had butternut, mushroom and thyme on hand and the caramelized onions are a given when I’m making any pizza.  A tomato based sauce did not sound appealing so I grabbed some fresh chives from my herb garden and made a simple pesto by blended them with garlic, salt and a bit of olive oil.
Fresh Pesto
Here is the rating info.

Categories

Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine (and fellow tasters).
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 How well the dish turned out.

Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Thyme Pizza
with Garlic Chive Pesto Rating of  YUM

I liked the freshness of the herbs and chives with the earthiness of the mushrooms.  The caramelized onions and butternut squash add a touch of sweetness.  It made for an interesting appetizer on Father’s Day as opposed to the usual chips n’ salsa.

Category #2 The Wines

I actually did this wine tasting on Sunday during Father’s Day; the participants inlcuded me, my Mom and Dad, my father in law Paul and my brother in law Matt.  Paul’s career takes him around the world to many of the American Embassies to review energy efficiency.  During his visits he enjoys local wineries and sampling regional wines so we dubbed him our “expert” of the tasting.

Organic Pares Balta Penedes Garnatxa Cab

Organic Pares Balta Penedes Garnatxa Cabernet, 2009, Spain
” Black cherry, flecks of earth, anise, wild herbs, graphite.   Soft tannins, sees about 7 mos of oak.”
PARES BALTA is a family owned organic winery about half an hour south of Barcelona. The winemakers are two young women, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas. Pares Balta has a National Park as part of its land holdings. Pares Balta has their own colony of bees to pollinate the vines and a flock of sheep to eat weeds in the vineyards and provide a natural compost. These vineyards have never seen chemicals.

Me rating of YUM, lovely medium body, herby, earthy, toast
Mom rating of Nice, woody, smooth, no aftertaste, dry finish
Dad rating of Nice, dry
Paul rating of YUM, reminds him of Malbec, spicy
Matt rating of Nice-YUM, dry for him – likes his wine a bit sweeter

Dr Hermann Riesling

Dr Hermann Riesling , 2011, Mosel Germany Fine concentration and intensity mark this creamy white, which offers apricot, apple compote and vanilla flavors tinged by botrytis. There’s enough acidity to keep this light and long on the finish.” This wine is fermented in steel tanks for 6 to 12 weeks and the winery is run by Dr Rudy Hermann and his so Christian. The family has been in wine making for several hundred years. Me rating of YUM, now mind you, I’m not a fan of sweet wines, but if I was, I would love this one. It is a little fizzy, cool, sweet and tasted like honey
Mom rating of YUM, smooth, could drink a lot of this
Dad rating of ho hum, not a fan of sweet wines
Paul rating of Nice, the more he drank the more he liked it. Tasted pears.
Matt rating of ho hum, likes drier wines. Reminded him of muscadine grapes

Category #3 The Pairing

Organic Pares Balta Penedes Garnatxa Cabernet, 2009, Spain Rating of Damn that’s Good
It tamed the garlic a bit and the wine became a sweeter as I started munching the pizza.

Dr Hermann Riesling , 2011, Mosel Germany Rating of YUMThe riesling enhanced the fresh herby flavor, the sweet butternut squash and earthy mushrooms.

Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Thyme Pizza with Garlic Chive Pesto
Where to buy
All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.
Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Thyme Pizza with Garlic Chive Pesto
Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Thyme Pizza with Garlic Chive Pesto
Serves 8 appetizer size or 4 dinner
Vegetarian
Ingredients
1 Tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan butter
2 onions, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp olive oil
10oz (283 grams) cubed butternut squash, I used frozen
5oz (141 grams) mixed mushrooms, I used frozen organic Asian blend (about 1/2 bag)
1  tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 pkgs whole wheat naan (2 naan bread)
Garlic Chive Pesto
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1 handful fresh chives, minced
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt (increase to taste)
Directions
1. Heat 1 Tbsp Earth Balance over medium high heat.  Add onions, stir and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes adding water or broth it mixture begins sticking; remove onions from pan.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to pan, increase heat to medium high; stir in butternut squash, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook about 10 minutes or until mixture is heated through and butternut begins to brown, stirring frequently.  Stir onions back in, remove pan from heat and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400F.  Blend pesto ingredients in Magic Bullet or mix well by hand.  Place naan on a baking sheet; top each with half pesto mixture and half butternut squash mixture.  Bake about 10 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through.
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 370.4
Total Fat 18.9 g
Saturated Fat 3.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 891.0 mg
Potassium 412.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.0 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Protein 8.7 g

Vitamin A 101.9 %
Vitamin C 28.7 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 185.2
Total Fat 9.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 445.5 mg
Potassium 206.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 2.0 g
Protein 4.3 g

Vitamin A 51.0 %
Vitamin C 14.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Mar 282012
 
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I will review a vegan dish paired with two different wines.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.
For the spring rolls we look for a wine that would pair well with the following ingredients -
Fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro, fish sauce, fresh lime juice and garlic.

The wines chosen to pair – LOUIS Dry Riesling 2010, ( Rheinhessen, Germany) and ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010, ( Curico, Chile)

So far my favorite part about doing these wine pairings is learning more about the wines.  I tend to find a few and stick with them, but this exercise is getting me to branch out and learn more about the wine makers, varietals and background of each winery, which gives each wine more depth in my mind.

Louis Guntrum Winery was originally established in 1648 and was taken over by Louis Konstantin Guntrum – the 11th generation of wine makers.
During World War II, the family winery and mansion was occupied by US General Patton as he was crossing the Rhein river right in front of their estate.
The winery is located in Rheinhessen, Germany where the grapes reside in a cool climate that gets approximately 1800 hours of sunshine a year and has been certified as a sustainable winery by the German Agricultural Society.  The wine itself is actually called Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Spatlese Trocken but they figured it was an easier sell as LOUIS Dry Riesling.  I would agree with that.

ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010, ( Curico, Chile)
Aresti wine is a family owned business that was founded in 1951 and is run by three generations of the Aresti family – they grow over 1000 acres of vineyards. The award winning labels feature a panting called “Harvest at the Bellavista Hacienda” that depict part of the Aresti winery history.

 The grapes are grown in Curaco, the second largest wine producing valley in Chile.  It has a Mediterranean climate with a dry season that lasts about five months. Chilean Carmenere grapes were initially thought to be merlot as the leaves are very similar; however, they are actually a later ripening variety of Bordeaux.Fresh Spring Rolls

When my husband and I were first married and built our first house I had lots of wine and cheese parties. Almost one Friday night a month I would turn on the white lights lining the patio, put Michael Bublé on the CD player turned just a hair too loud, pop open a few varieties of interesting wine from the Wine Warehouse and make an appetizer. Fresh spring rolls were one of my first ever “gourmet” appetizers – I was very proud of myself. It was a Cooking Light recipe and I followed every ingredient to the letter. They were delicious, but I’m glad that now I’m much more comfortable producing my own creations, many times even more delicious than the original.
I hadn’t made fresh spring rolls in a while and I was inspired by all the spring rolls on my friend’s blog, Amanda at the Grains of Paradise. I decided create some simple ones with some creamy avocado and add the super fresh factor from cilantro and mint. I did sauces two ways, one with a fish sauce and the other with a simple mixture of sriracha and agave. I tried adding several different ingredients to the sriracha sauce but the simple two ingredient mixture was sweet and spicy perfection. I’ve been putting it on everything – salads, in soups and on sandwiches.
Sauces Two Ways
Rice Wrapper Tip: Wrapping the rolls can be daunting but once you get a few under your belt you’ll be an old pro. If you have never done this before, take a plate with raised edges and add a bit of water. Take the rice paper sheet, soak it for a few moments in warm water until it just becomes pliable and place it on the plate. The water will make it so the paper doesn’t stick and rip. Gently place your fillings, not in the center, but just a bit towards you. Fold the edges over and then roll.

Categories
Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 – The Dish
Rating of Damn That’s Good.  I’m all about the bright flavors of lime, cilantro and mint and the buttery texture of the avocado.  I couldn’t decide which sauce was better. I love the spicy sweetness of the sriracha-agave mixture, but the fish sauce and peanuts with that hint of saltiness gave the rolls a whole new dimension of flavor.  These are perfect for the start of summer.

Category #2 – The Wines

Louis Dry Riesling

Riesling -Rating of Damn that’s Good
On first taste I thought melon.  I liked the smooth, silky texture and, though this is a dry wine, it had that hint of sweetness from a bit of residual sugar. Once it opened up I tasted pineapple and apricot.  

ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010

Carmenere – Rating of Damn that’s Good
This wine has a slightly woody flavor; I thought of cedar. I enjoyed this a bit cooler out of my wine fridge - very drinkable with light body.

Category #3 – The Pairing
Rating of DTG for both.  Since I tend to lean towards white wines lately I was surprised how much I liked the Carmenere with this dish.  It really intensified the taste of cilantro.  The Riesling added to the sweetness of the agave in the sriracha sauce and brought down the heat.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Fresh Avocado Spring Rolls and Dipping Sauces Two Ways

Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
(**Asian Dipping Sauce is not Vegan)
Ingredients

Rice Wrappers
8 Rice wrappers
Handful each, fresh cilantro and mint
3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 seedless cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, quartered 

Sweet Sriracha Sauce
3 Tbsp Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1/2 Tbsp agave 

Asian Dipping Sauce
1/4 chopped peanuts
1 to 11/2 Tbsp fish sauce
Juice 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp agave
1 tsp sriracha
1/4 cup water 

Directions
1. Pour hot water into a large bowl – large enough to fit a rice wrapper laid flat.  Soak the first rice wrapper in hot water and place on a large dish with a bit of water in the bottom (this will keep the rice wrapper from sticking and ripping).  Spread out the edges of the rice wrapper if they have folded.  Top with a small amount of cilantro, mint, carrots, cucumber, green onion, a slice of avocado and a squeeze of lime.  Fold the edges in and then roll tightly into a tube.  Slice in half.  Repeat 7 more times.
2. Mix the ingredients of each sauce in two different bowls.  Serve each roll with two sauce cups for a taste of each sauce.
Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 155.2
Total Fat 6.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 304.6 mg
Potassium 429.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 5.1 g
Protein 5.9 g

Vitamin A 54.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.2 %
Vitamin B-6 8.3 %
Vitamin C 25.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 4.4 %
Copper 11.2 %
Folate 12.1 %
Iron 6.9 %
Magnesium 9.8 %
Manganese 17.3 %
Niacin 7.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.7 %
Phosphorus 7.0 %
Riboflavin 4.4 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 5.4 %
Zinc 4.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.