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.

Jul 192012
 
You’ll be tempted, but resist the urge to add any oil or butter with this recipe if you use all fresh ingredients. Just try it and see what happens.  Let your seasonal veggies shine through and enjoy the real flavors that each adds.  Every layer is perfectly delicious in itself – roasted tomatoes become sweet and tangy, potatoes become buttery, onions caramelize and corn turns even sweeter with roasting.
This is an easy recipe but since there are a fair amount of steps I chronicled it in photos.
Tomatoes and Onions – Ready for Roasting
Potatoes and onions – just in the oven
….and corn lined up for roasting.
Corn – finished roasting and kernels removed

 

Roasted tomato and potato trays
Ready to top with mashed potatoes.
Complete dish before going into the oven for final baking.
**Stop here if you are making ahead! Cool, refrigerate, and bake the next day.
I am not an oil free vegan, but I do see the benefits of cutting back on refined oils because in the process of refining most oils, many of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are stripped away when it is heated- similarly to how white flour and sugar is refined.  It is definitely important to incorporate fats into your diet for cognitive function and digestive health etc. - but leaning towards healthy, un-processed and plant based fats, such as avocados, seeds and nuts is the best way to go.
The next best thing to plant based fats is organic, cold pressed oils. These are are non-genetically modified and have gone through a very minimal heating process. Some examples are cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil and avocado oil.
Many times reason for refining oils is to increase the smoke point.  This is the point in heating when the oil turns to vapor and the begins to decompose, loose even more nutrients, acquire free radicals and may even gain some cancer causing compounds. It is best to not heat oils above smoke point.
So what oils are best to cook with?  I found so much contradictory information out there that I finally went to Cleveland Clinic’s website and found the following chart:

High smoke pointBest suited for searing, browning and deep frying (although the latter is not a recommended practice where heart health is concerned).

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Almond 65 28 7 Distinctive nutty flavor
Avocado 65 18 17 Sweet aroma
Hazelnut 82 11 7 Bold, strong flavor
Palm 38 10 52 High in saturated fat. Not recommended
Sunflower 79 7 14 Seek out high-oleic versions, which are higher in monounsaturated fat
“Light” olive/refined olive 78 8 14 The more refined the olive oil, the better its all-purpose cooking use. “Light” refers to color

Medium-high smoke pointBest suited for baking, oven cooking or stir frying.

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Canola 62 31 7 Contains low levels of omega-3
Grapeseed 17 73 10 High in omega-6
Macadamia nut 84 3 13 Bold flavor
Extra virgin olive 78 8 14 Best-pick oil
Peanut 48 34 18 Great for stir frying

Medium smoke point Best suited for light sautéing, sauces and low-heat baking.

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Corn 25 62 13 High in omega-6. High-oleic (monounsaturated fat) versions coming soon
Hemp 15 75 10 Good source of omega-3. Keep refrigerated
Pumpkinseed 32 53 15 Contains omega-3
Sesame 41 44 15 Rich, nutty flavor. Keep refrigerated
Soybean 25 60 15 High in omega-6
Walnut 24 67 9 Good source of omega-3
Coconut 6 2 92 High in saturated fat. Not recommended

No-heat oils* Best used for dressings, dips or marinades.

Oil % Mono % Poly % Sat Nutrition Notes
Flaxseed 65 28 7 Excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid,
a form of omega-3
Wheat Germ 65 18 17 Rich in omega-6. Keep refrigerated

*Toasted sesame, extra virgin olive and walnut oils also work well.

Now that your head is spinning with all the information about oils – deciding to forgo fats in a meal or two every now and then is perfectly fine – simply grab a handful of almonds as a snack earlier or, if you like, add some nuts or seeds into the dish!
Tip:  Using an oil mister is going to prevent your foods from sticking and at the same time using a fraction of a teaspoon.
Roasted Summer Veggie Shepherds Pie with Corn, Tomato, Onions and Quinoa
Serves 8

Ingredients

3 ½ pounds mixed potatoes
2 sweet onions, divided
2 pints cherry tomatoes
4 fresh ears corn
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp gluten free flour (or any flour)
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 Tbsp fresh thyme & chives (or any herbs you like)
1 cup dry quinoa

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Chop potatoes and one onion.  Lay out four baking sheets, spray with organic olive oil cooking spray (or your Misto). Top two sheets with potatoes and chopped onion. Quarter and slice second onion.  Place on third tray with tomatoes.  Cut off silk on top of corn only and place on 4th.  Sprinkle salt on tomatoes, onions and potatoes.  Place all trays in oven, bake 45 minutes, remove corn from oven and toss the remaining three trays. Place all but corn back in oven for additional 10 minutes.
2. Rinse quinoa and add to small pot with 1 ½ cups veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 15 minutes; remove from heat and let sit an additional 5 minutes
3. Place cooked potatoes and onions from first two trays in a food processor and pulse until it becomes the texture of a rustic mashed potato.  Taste and re-season.
4. Mix the 2 tbsp flour and ½ cup veggie broth in a medium bowl; stir in tomatoes, onions, thyme/chives and cooked quinoa.  Shuck corn and cut kernels off cob; add to bowl and mix all well.  Taste and re-season if necessary.
5. Spray a 2 Qt baking dish with cooking spray.  Spoon tomato mixture into baking dish and top with potato mixture.  Press potatoes evenly.  (**You can cool and refrigerate for one day at this point.  Simply bring back to room temp and cook as directed.)
6. Place baking dish in preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes or until heated well throughout. Turn broiler to high and brown top, about 3 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 235.8
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 17.8 mg
Potassium 761.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 49.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Sugars 3.7 g
Protein 7.4 g

Vitamin A 6.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 23.0 %
Vitamin C 55.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.2 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 10.1 %
Folate 12.0 %
Iron 18.1 %
Magnesium 12.5 %
Manganese 16.8 %
Niacin 11.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 7.8 %
Phosphorus 31.9 %
Riboflavin 47.6 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 13.9 %
Zinc 4.2 %

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

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 212012
 

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.
Bay, garlic, thyme and vinegar are the flavors we will pair with this casual dish today – a mixed bean with veggies, quinoa and sautéed kale. The suggested wines are Broadbent Vinho Verde n/v (Portugal) and Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa).
Before I looked up some background info on each wine, I tasted it myself and recorded my notes to see how close my perception is to the actual description.


 Broadbent Vinho Verde n/v (Portugal).  Composed of 50% Loureiro, 40% Trajadura, and 10% Pederna and the description I found said Crisp notes of lime and tart apple are complemented by a slight fizz and pleasant acidity. Wine Spectator said notes of “blood orange and peach”.  It is also considered a “fresh, youthful, green wine” – apparently the teenager of the wine world.

 I loved this second description because it gave the wine a bit more character in my mind;  It isn’t just the wine here that is green. The countryside is lush and leafy across much of Minho, and is intensively farmed. Vines are grown in the majority of properties, whose average area is just a few acres. The tell-tale sign of a vinho verde vineyard is not just its diminutive size, but its upwards orientation: the density of viticulture here is such that most farmers train their vines on high pergolas, and even telephone poles.

 Hmm…just like a teenager to do things like climb telephone poles.


Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’ Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa). This wine is a blend of grapes, Shiraz, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache, grown on the un-irrigated slopes of Swartland, South Africa.  The grapes are hand picked, chilled and crushed.  They start their fermentation in concrete tanks, run through a transition to casks and tanks and finish for fourteen months in old French oak casks.  The owners, Hein and Adi Badenorst are described as the “good looking” cousins that restored a neglected farm in South Africa from the 1930s where they make wine in the traditional manner, as naturally as possible.  
This is my second wine from Badenhorst, so I feel like family at this point.  Hopefully Adi will have me over to South Africa to drink wine and frolic in the vineyards.  Plus he is one of the good looking cousins.
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 The dish.
Rating of ho-hum. I chose to try the Engine 2 Diet’s Kale with Quinoa and Kidney beans. There were elements of the dish that I liked – the beans and quinoa because I cooked it with broth and some additional spices; however, I thought more could have been done with the kale. I liked the aromatics of the thyme and bay with the vinegar-y tang of the beans. The whole dish was super light as Rip Esselstyn, creator of the Engine 2 Diet, uses no oils or butter of any kind. I would add some additional elements when I make it next time. Possibly add some heat with chili and some saltiness with tamari and even a tad bit of oil.  I haven’t reached the point of cutting all fats out yet,
Category #2 The wines
Broadbent Vinho Verde n/v (Portugal)

Rating of NICE; but in the summer drinkability context I give it a YUM.  The weather is getting warmer, it is lighter later.  Let’s take the boat out and have some Vinho Verde.
I loved the fizziness without the “Acid-y” feeling.  (See my post on pH in the body.)  It was light, dry and refreshing. I had trouble deciding what flavors I perceived so I let my daughter smell it. She said apples. On second sniff I agreed. A citrusy apple-y taste. 
Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’ Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa)
Rating of YUM and my hubby gave it a DTG. It was medium bodied and I smelled what I thought was a tobacco but maybe more smoky fruit. Definitely drinkable, but in the context of the warm weather and summer it would get just under a YUM.
Category #3 How did the wines pair with the dish.
This time I put each wine this time in a small tasting glass and put each element, thyme, garlic, vinegar and bay in a small dish.  First I drank the wine, smelled the spice and then drank again.
The thyme was what brought the most out for me.  I suddenly tasted a brighter citrus in the Vinho Verde and currant flavor in the Secaturs Red.  The cider vinegar for the Vinho didn’t change much but with the Secaturs it brought out a really strong tobacco/smoky flavor.
 Overall, I like the Vinho Verde better with it because of the citrusy and apple flavors and the fact that the dish is so light.
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.

Mixed Beans with Kale and Quinoa
Inspired by E2 Diet’s Kale, Quinoa and Kidney bean recipe

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients


1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and cooked to package directions with veggie broth or water
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced thinly
2 leeks
1 bay leaf, minced or crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 14.5oz can mixed beans or red kidney beans
¾ cup veggie broth, divided
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper


Directions


1. Spray a straight sided skillet or pot with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat; add onion, carrot, leek and bay leaf and cook about 5 minute, or until translucent. Reduce heat and add garlic, cook for one minute. Add thyme, vinegar, beans and ½ cup broth, cook about five minutes. Mush the beans down a bit to create a thicker sauce.
Pour bean mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

 2. Heat remaining ¼ cup broth over medium high heat; reduce heat, add kale and simmer until kale is wilted; about three minutes. Season to taste.

 3. Divide quinoa, bean mixture and kale over four plates.




Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 380.4
Total Fat 4.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 407.7 mg
Potassium 691.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 73.3 g
Dietary Fiber 12.3 g
Sugars 8.2 g
Protein 15 g

Vitamin A 443.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 42.1 %
Vitamin C 109.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.4 %
Calcium 17.7 %
Copper 23.4 %
Folate 31.3 %
Iron 44.3 %
Magnesium 18.5 %
Manganese 76.3 %
Niacin 6.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.4 %
Phosphorus 55.4 %
Riboflavin 94.6 %
Selenium 6.7 %
Thiamin 10.3 %
Zinc 10.7 %


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

Jan 262012
 
Can I just ask whose idea was it to take a perfectly good foot and decide that the heel of it needed to be four inches taller?  In fact, the toes are too wide. Let’s stuff them into a pointy shape like a gnome hat and call it fashion.


Furthermore, why is it that we continue to subject ourselves to such torture day in and day out at the office and out on the town in the name of fashion?  Well I say no more for me! 

Bring on the slouchy opaque stockings and orthopedic shoes.  I’m now all about comfort. 

Does anyone know of any hot orthopedic shoes?  Cause I like to wear them from day to night.

 And then there is the skinny jean, surely invented by some sadistic Victoria‘s Secret model as derision at all us 5’3 gals.  Nevertheless, we buy them in our current size and bring them home only to find the seamstress misread the size.  She must have mislabeled these pants that should have been a size smaller.

 Screw it we say, these darn things will be worn because the label says they are the right size, ignoring Stacy and Clinton’s admonishment that the fact it is made in our size, doesn’t mean we should wear it.  What the heck do they know anyway?

No, no, no my friends.  We prefer to cut off all circulation to our feet by stuffing ourselves into shape-wear that will enable us to actually be our correct size.  Luckily loosing feeling in our feet has a dual role.  We can’t feel the pain from the gnome-hat shoes.


Why do we put ourselves through this?!  Again I say no more

Enter the cabbage soup diet.  You’ve heard of the cabbage soup diet right?  Where you boil a bunch of cabbage and choke it down?  Well the suffering ends here.  Try my very sexy cabbage soup.

Oh yes, cabbage soup can be veeery sexy.

Sweet little bits of sweet potato, luscious butternut squash, steamy broth…I will make fitting into those skinny jeans comfortable and delicious.  Especially for 40ish calories, almost no fat and a good dose of vitamins A and C.

As for the sexy orthopedic shoes…I haven’t figured a recipe out for that yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.
Sweet Potato, Butternut and Cabbage Soup
14 1-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, I used Nappa cabbage
1 quart vegetable broth
6 cups water
2 tsps dried thyme
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional, taste for saltiness prior to adding)

Directions

1. Spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add butternut squash, sweet potato and cabbage; stir well.

2. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft

Nutrition Facts
14 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 47.3
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 289.8 mg
Potassium 289.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 1.5 g


Vitamin A 24.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 7.5 %
Vitamin C 32.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.4 %
Calcium 3.9 %
Copper 2.8 %
Folate 7.6 %
Iron 5.9 %
Magnesium 4.8 %
Manganese 9.4 %
Niacin 3.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 3.5 %
Riboflavin 2.0 %
Selenium 1.0 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 1.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Dec 032011
 
My second KYV Farm CSA bag, once again, had such variety. Thanks to KYV!

Radish and Broccoli


Bok Choy and Lettuce


 Onions

Kale


Golden Beets


Pigeon Peas


Arugula

Now-for the “turkey” tempeh-I have a confession.

I was going to cave.

I’ve cut out meat and have been doing awesome, but for Thanksgiving I was thinking about turkey.  I still had a little hope that I might be able to make something that would be just as delicious.


 I created a marinade-this green soupy stuff to marinate the tempeh in.  After looking at my concoction I can’t say I had high hopes.  The goal was a marinade made with seasonings I would normally pair with turkey-since I know that a lot of times when I marinate tofu in a sauce or seasoning I’m craving, it actually does satisfy that craving.

Tempeh, for anyone who has never heard of such a thing, is a sort of fermented soy cake.  I know that sounds gross, but I really love the texture and flavor.  It has more “meat” than tofu and a subtle nutty flavor.  Some folks steam it, as sometimes tempeh can have a bitterness to it, but this marinade I created was strong enough to take any bitterness out of the tempeh.

Much to my suprise, when I tried the marinated and pan seared tempeh, it was delicious!  It had a nice hearty texture and I didn’t miss turkey ONE BIT.


“Turkey” Tempeh
Inspired by All Recipes
Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients

1 package tempeh, I use Lightlife
4 Tbsp EVOO, (1 Tbsp reserved for cooking)
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce
Juice 1 lemon
1 Tbsp mustard
Handful fresh chives
1 1/2 Tbsp dried sage
Handful fresh oregano
Handful fresh parsley
2 Tbsp dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1 fresh sprig rosemary

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients but tempeh; marinate tempeh overnight in mixture. Store in the refrigerator.

2. Scrape as much of marinade off tempeh as possible.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Sear on one side until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Flip and sear second side an additional 3 to 5 minutes.  Slice and enjoy.



Nutrition Facts for Tempeh only
(From Lightlife Site)
Per Single Serving
Serving Size 4oz. (113g)
Servings per package: about 2
Nutrition: Amount per Serving Percentage Daily Value


Calories 240
Calories from Fat 100
Fat, g 11 17%
Saturated Fat, g 2 10%
Trans Fatty Acids, g* 0
Cholesterol, mg 0 0%
Sodium, mg 10
Potassium, mg* 360 10%
Carbohydrate, g 16 5%
Fiber, g 9 36%
Sugars, g <1
Protein, g 20 40%
Vitamin A, % 0%
Vitamin C, % 0%
Calcium, % 8%
Iron, % 15%


Ingredients
Cultured organic soybeans, water, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, lactic acid (from plant sources).

Nov 302011
 


Is everything as crazy for you as it is for me?  The holidays, extra responsibilities at work, taking care of a 3 year old and keeping in touch with friends and family all contributes to the craziness.  But the other day, I was lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling, thinking WOW, I have it good.  Instead of getting overwhelmed I stopped and took a moment to be thankful for what I have….. 
….A crazy/awesome family, a supportive and loving hubby, a healthy baby girl (after many trials and tribulations), a way to get around, a roof over my head, a job to go to every day, both legs/eyes/arms and health, just to name a few.
It is so easy to get bogged down with all I have to do around the holidays and all the details that I have decided to make it my intention to STOP and focus on the present moment.  Just this morning I was in the bathroom getting ready for work and noticed the light shining through this beautiful glass vase made with all the colors of the sea; blues and greens, and realized that is what it’s like to be in the present moment.  I thought, how often do I even look at this vase?  I rush through the morning just trying to get out of the house, rush to drop my daughter off, rush to work as I’m usually running late, and rush home to get my baby girl, rush to make dinner, rush to the grocery….see a pattern?  I don’t think I’ll make it through this season unless I stop and take the time to appreciate where I am at that moment and all that I have.  We really do have a decision to be happy or unhappy.  I want to wake up each morning and make the decision to be happy.  Easier said than done some mornings, I know, but I will make it a habit and hopefully it will stick.
This dish was created as I was still had Thanksgiving in my thoughts.  I’m a big fan of cranberries so I had bought two fresh bags and decided to cook them up.  It’s SUPER easy and super tart.  If you like sweeter cranberry sauces simply add enough to suit your taste.  Paired with the sautéed organic spinach from my farm, scented with the hint of thyme and sage make dish somehow light but comforting at the same time.
As an FYI the nutrition info will be a bit off because there will be a LOT of cranberry sauce left over.  To create the nutrition info I had to list all the ingredients though so the calories will be a bit lower.

Cranberry Bowl with Sauteed Spinach, Black Eyed Peas and Couscous
***If you want sweeter cranberries add 1/4 cup brown sugar or agave.
Serves 4



Ingredients


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 tangerine, peeled and chopped
1 cup apple juice
1 can black eyed peas
1 bunch fresh spinach
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 head roasted garlic or 2 fresh cloves, minced
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp sage
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 servings couscous, cooked to package directions


Directions


1. Wash and pick through cranberries, add to a medium pot with tangerine and apple juice; bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.


2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat; add onions; sauté 5 to 7 minutes; add garlic and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes; add spinach, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir until wilted, about 3 minutes.


3. Serve each of four bowls with 1/4 cup couscous, 1/4 cup cranberry mixture, 1/4 spinach mixture and a large heaping spoonful of black eyed peas.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 247.8
Total Fat 4.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 319.5 mg
Potassium 641.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.5 g
Dietary Fiber 11.5 g
Sugars 6.4 g
Protein 7.8 g


Vitamin A 179.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 14.2 %
Vitamin C 71.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 10.8 %
Calcium 23.4 %
Copper 9.7 %
Folate 44.7 %
Iron 21.7 %
Magnesium 19.9 %
Manganese 56.4 %
Niacin 5.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.9 %
Phosphorus 7.1 %
Riboflavin 11.6 %
Selenium 17.4 %
Thiamin 8.8 %
Zinc 4.9 %




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

Nov 092011
 
I learned something really interesting today from my coworker, Sarah.  Her son, Jake, did a fabulous presentation on plastic.  Have you heard of the Great Garbage Patch? It is this huge garbage mound of plastic in the middle of the ocean that is “roughly the size of Texas, containing approximately 3.5 million tons of trash. Shoes, toys, bags, pacifiers, wrappers, toothbrushes, and bottles too numerous to count are only part of what can be found in this accidental dump floating midway between Hawaii and San Francisco.”

Um WHAT?  I followed the link to Plastic Pollution Coalition and found that “Plastic recycling is not a sustainable solution. Most of our plastic waste is landfilled, downcycled, incinerated or exported to other countries. Recycling of plastic is costly and does not stem the production of virgin plastic product.”

Great, so the fact that I reuse my plastic bag for my snack veggies all week and then recycle it doesn’t make any difference.  I am proud that I have switched to glass containers for my leftovers and to pack my lunches but I think about how much plastic is on everything and it makes my head spin.

Gum.  I buy the three pack of gum.  Not only does it come wrapped in plastic but then each pack is also wrapped in plastic.  WHY is that?  Because gum won’t stay as fresh? Riiight.

Bread.  The brown rice bread I buy my daughter is wrapped in plastic and then placed in a plastic bag. 

Water Bottles. Cases of water bottles are plastic and then wrapped in plastic.

Plastic bags at the grocery. Don’t you love when they put one toothbrush or pack of gum in it’s own bag?  I always refuse and tell them I don’t want to waste the bag.

Precut veggies at the grocery.  Come in plastic bags and then are placed in a plastic bag to leave the store.

The list goes on and on.

This makes me feel even better about my farm share.  A few months ago I got a spaghetti squash. NOT wrapped in plastic. And it sat on my counter for a few months until I came across a fabulous recipe at Biscuit Batches that I had to make immediately. I split the squash open and it was still perfect. No plastic involved, AND it involves pumpkin.  Two of my favorite squashes in one recipe makes me very happy.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Inspired by Biscuit Batches
Serves 6
Gluten and Dairy Free, Vegan


Ingredients

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Spaghetti Squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried thyme
2 stems fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
¾ cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup plain non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional; you can purchase this at health food stores)
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F; place squash, cut side down on a small baking sheet or casserole dish.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour in about ¼ cup water and roast for an hour.  Let cool then scoop out the inside and place in a medium bowl.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pot; add half the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes; add kale, half the rosemary and half the salt and pepper, sauté until leaves become soft and pliable, about 7 minutes (or cook to desired doneness). Remove from pot and set aside in a separate dish.

3. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in pot; add the remaining onion and sauté about 5 minutes, reduce heat and add garlic, remaining rosemary and thyme; sauté about 1 minutes, add pumpkin puree, milk, nutritional yeast and remaining salt and pepper.  Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Pour over spaghetti squash and toss to coat; top with walnuts.  Serve with sautéed kale.

Estimated Nutrition Info

6 Servings (serving size will vary with size of spaghetti squash and amount of kale)
Amount Per Serving


Calories 178.7
Total Fat 9.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 179.1 mg
Potassium 648.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.8 g
Sugars 5.4 g
Protein 6.8 g


Vitamin A 453.5 %
Vitamin B-12 33.3 %
Vitamin B-6 138.3 %
Vitamin C 99.8 %
Vitamin D 4.2 %
Vitamin E 19.7 %
Calcium 17.0 %
Copper 19.8 %
Folate 24.3 %
Iron 13.4 %
Magnesium 14.9 %
Manganese 47.3 %
Niacin 78.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 8.6 %
Phosphorus 13.6 %
Riboflavin 149.7 %
Selenium 11.1 %
Thiamin 169.6 %
Zinc 10.5 %


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

Jun 192011
 
 There is one question that I almost always ask before I ever take a bite of food at a new restaurant.  The answer to this question will almost always tell me what the quality of the food will be and whether I will return.
So far my question has had a 100% success rate.  How is that for stats?
Granted this is all subjective.  You could try this and most definitely tell me I’m full of it.  I’ll admit there are a few times when I walk in and already know the answer is no but I choose to make an exception for one reason or another (typically because someone else chose the place and it would be rude to decline).
Enough already so what is the question!?
Do they make their own dressings and sauces? 
If a restaurant cares enough to take the time and spend the money on fresh ingredients for their dressings I automatically know I will like the food there and I would most likely return unless the service convinces me otherwise.
There is just something about store bought dressing (with the exception of a very few such as Annie’s Naturals) that I can’t get past.  Even if the dressing sounds amazing, without fail it will sit in my refrigerator far beyond the expiration date until I say enough is enough and do a full fridge cleanout.
The beauty of home made dressing and sauce is that they can be whipped up in a jiffy and used for so many things; such as a dip for some steaming hot crusty bread, or a flavorful marinade for meat.
I made this sundried tomato vinaigrette to go over the same caprese salad I recently made over Memorial day weekend.  The sweet-tartness of sundried tomatoes is what always makes me so weak in the knees; with a bit of mustard and hint of thyme this is a perfect alternative to a balsamic based dressing or even over some sautéed chicken.
Happy Father’s Day!

Sundried Tomato and Thyme Vinaigrette
6 2-Tbsp Servings

Ingredients

3 Tbsp sundried tomato oil (I used the oil that the tomatoes are packed in.)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp coarse ground prepared mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/3 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp water

Directions

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

Nutrition Facts
6 2-Tbsp Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
Total Fat 9.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 104.8 mg
Potassium 11.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Sugars 5.7 g
Protein 0.2 g