Saturday, November 18, 2017

Balsamic Butternut Squash with Sage & Thyme

Another SUPER SIMPLE,  4-ingredient, vegetable, colorful, tasty, savory and sweet, side to add to the list of Thanksgiving side dish ideas. This one is so simple it doesn't really need a recipe, and maybe you have tried this combo before, so this is just rocket science to me...BUT it deserves a recipe post of it's own! 
I love every part of this one. The easy prep, roast and serve part, but also the very fresh herb, sweet and savory part too. It checks off all the boxes for a side that many people will love and ask, what did you do?!? And then you mention to your allergy- or healthy friends and family that NO BUTTER or dairy, or sugar was involved??? WHAT!? Yes, ma'am it's true!
Don't be afraid of taking all the credit for the chopping and the roasting ;) This is a delicacy-dish! Don't reveal the secrets of how crazy simple and wonderful it is, well, until you can't help it and you love to share like I do :) You can't go wrong with squash and herbs in this season and when you are looking to add some to the feast... THIS. IS. IT!
Balsamic Butternut Squash with Fresh Sage and Thyme
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed, nut, soy and sugar-free}

1 large butternut squash peeled, and cubed into bite-sized pieces
(about 4 cups worth of cubed squash)
1/4 cup of avocado oil*
1/4 cup of NAPA VALLEY Raspberry Balsamic**
1/2 cup of FRESH finely chopped fresh herbs: sage and thyme
pinch of sea salt and sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper

*You can find the CHOSEN brand Avocado oil 32 ounce at Costco right now for under $10! A steal!

**You can use a regular balsamic as well, but Napa Valley has the BEST balsamic around and when it is infused with raspberry, fig or pomegranate it has the best results in salad dressings, or in this case, roasting butternut squash ;)

Toss all of the above together in a mixing bowl. Then spread out in a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish to bake, or use a 12x15 parchment covered baking sheet to get a more crispier results. Bake in a 375-400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. And toss with a spoon and serve warm. You can easily DOUBLE and TRIPLE this recipe if you are cooking for a crowd too!

This is a melt-in-your-mouth kinda deliciousness! Try it out and you will want to have this more in your life than just for a Thanksgiving Feast :)

I hope you give this a try and ENJOY!

Much love and happy cooking xoxo

Friday, November 17, 2017

Caramelized Onion and Brussel Sprout Qunioa

This one is my newest favorite combo of fall herbs, vegetables, greens and quinoa. I add in the Dijon mustard and maple syrup for the perfect kind of sweet and tangy and it's just about perfect as a side dish to any side of roast, or make it the main event and add in a few other sides of vegetables or plant proteins and it's a feast better than the any epic feast from the history books. 
I just recently had this discussion with my first grader. He was informing me of all the foods they had at the first thanksgiving feast. And he saw a video about it at school- so he says- so he really knows what he is talking about over here! LOL So I guess according to him a feast should involve popcorn, turkey from a can, and pie with whipped cream?!? I'M SO CONFUSED!!!
Well, I am not sure of whatever they had at 'the first feast'. But I do know what I love to have this time of year to celebrate family time together...a warm, comforting, nourishing, from-the-earth (or backyard or farmer's market) kind of feast. And brussel sprouts and kale are the first on my lists of things to enjoy and have a part of an epic feast :) I'm going to share a few of my favorite VERY SIMPLE sides (or main dishes ;) in my next few recipe posts. It may be too late to add into the Thanksgiving planning but hopefully something to enjoy this time of year as we gather and give thanks and gratitude for all the gifts in our lives.
 Caramelized Onion and Brussel Sprout Quinoa Dish Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, soy, and refined-sugars-free}

Veggie Part
1 large stalk of fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed and cleaned from the stalk
(or use 16 ounces of fresh, washed, cut and cleaned brussel sprouts)

1 medium halved onion thinly sliced, not chopped (about 1/2 cups worth)

2 cups of finely chopped lacinato kale that has already been washed and dried

2-3 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced or use 1-2 ts. of ground garlic powder

1/3 cup of avocado oil
1/3 cup of Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup of fresh cut herb combo: thyme, sage, rosemary
healthy pinch of sea salt and black pepper

On a large 15x20 baking sheet, cover with parchment and spread out the kale, sprouts, and onion all over. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, mustard, and maple syrup, and when all combined, drizzle over the whole tray of veggies. Spread all over and then sprinkle over the fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. Then use a spoon combo or just use your hands and rub and mix the dressing into the veggies. It should soak in and spread out all evenly! Then cook in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes until everything is crispy, bubbling and caramlized. In the meantime while waiting for it to cook make the following quinoa part...
Quinoa Part
2 TB of avocado or olive oil
1/2 cup of red onion
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of sea salt

2 cups of dry quinoa
4 cups of water

In a medium pot, saute the onion in the oil and sugar until it gets all caramelly. Then add in the dry quinoa without the water and let it soak up the oil and juices. Then, add in the water and let it come up to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cook on low until the water is gone and the quinoa starts to poof. Then turn off the heat completely and cover with a secure lid and let it cook the rest of it's time until its ready to fluff and mix with the roasted green part. 

Lastly, In a large bowl add in the cooked quinoa and the roasted veggies and mix together well. Add in a pinch more of salt and pepper and some fresh plucked thyme in the finished product. Serve warm, cooled, or even it is better the next day as leftovers. Isn't the the truth for all thanksgiving sides ;) 

My hope for you is that you find a few simple ways this season to enjoy the fruits and plants from the ground, let it nourish and center you into what matters most. May you be surrounded by those you love most and may you find ways to share and be kind with all of those around you!

Much love and ENJOY! xoxo

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Time for a little pre-Thanksgiving treat! I think this year we might start with the pumpkin pie for breakfast or maybe perhaps these pumpkin waffles. Maybe then we can really enjoy them instead of being too full of other goodness. Thanksgiving is not all about the food, yes?!? But so many times it feels that way since it is the focus point of the holiday. But truly, when we have all of our stresses taken away from what the menu is and what the plans are, maybe we can enjoy the simplicity of family and loved ones being together. Slowing down. Saying thanks. Living with amazement and gratitude for the gifts of life and cherishing the memories we can make together.
That is what Thanksgiving we are focusing on this year. Yes, the food. But more so, the time together. We have all had a busy and crazy year in so many ways, but this season begs us to slow down, say thanks and live fully present into our peoples lives. I hope this for you, I hope this for me. And sometimes making waffles and making lattes, is just the way to do it! So I share yet another pumpkin recipe as we gather and slow down and nestle into this holiday week.
Pumpkin Spice Waffles Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs, refined-sugar-free}

1/3 cup of coconut flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup of rice flour
1 1/2 cup of gluten free oat flour (I grind my own out of GF rolled oats)
2 ts. of baking powder (Hain brand-corn free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. of pumpkin pie spice (or mix up cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves)
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup of date puree
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
3/4 cup of coconut milk beverage with 3 TB apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup of pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil or avocado oil
optional addition: 1 ts. of pure vanilla extract

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the wet and whisk together well. Let the batter sit and stiffen up while the baking powder ignites. Use an oiled 1/3 or 1/2 cup measuring cup to dish out enough batter to pour onto the waffle skillet. I have used this one before...

Then I use my waffle iron according to it's instructions and then even cook for a bit longer than that to get the crispiness we desire. Because this recipe is vegan and has no eggs it can tend to be a bit soft (or soggy) if you do not cook long enough. So its about a 3-4 minute cook time on my iron- but that might be different on yours.  This recipe makes about 6-8 waffles or 12 pancakes. When I make them, we usually eat half and have the rest in the fridge ready to toast up for the rest of the week- so a great leftover!!! Make a big batch and stick them in the freezer ready to go! 
Top with a dollup of maple syrup, coconut cream whip, a pinch of spice, or dried or fresh fruit or whatever your thanksgiving-pumpkin-loving-heart desires!

I hope you give this a try and ENJOY with your people. Much love and warmth as alaways, xoxo

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Warm Cranberry-Ginger-Pear Smoothie

It's been a busy few weeks of November here. Hence my lack of presence. It doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Oh jeez- I have been cooking more actually! I have been cooking and baking again for another Women's Wellness Retreat . It is such a beautiful time together where women come together and rest, reflect, get nourished, just be, replenish their souls and find the mindful space to breathe, move, and dig deeper in asking questions of what their story is and where they want to go.

Women to me represent the life force of change and love in the world. We are the ones that can bring new life and healing into our worlds in ways that no one else can. And when we do this together- that's where the magic is.

So this little tonic was made a morning of one of the retreat days together and it was just about perfect as we watched the new snow fall outside our windows and were looking for a way to feel warm, nourished and grounded into this new season. It is similar to some ginger-blueberry shots I made this last summer, except this recipe embodies fall and all it's goodness. A must try if you are feeling need to nourish your immune system this season or you LOVE GINGER like I do :)
Warm Cranberry-Ginger-Pear Smoothie Recipe 
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut, seed, and refined-sugar-free}

10-12 ounces of fresh organic cranberries
1/2 of organic orange sliced, with the peel, but pull out seeds if you have them
2 organic Bartlett pears sliced with peel is fine
1/2 cup of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 cup of fresh ginger roughly chopped
2-4 cups of organic pear or apple juice (2 cups of water can be subbed in)

drizzle to 1/3 cup of pure raw honey
pinch of sea salt
pinch of fresh ground cinnamon

optional: you could add in a few pinches of more warming spices like cloves, nutmeg and cardamon if you love spice and are looking for a bit more of it...

In a saucepan, put in the fresh cranberries first with 1/4 cup water and let them boil and pop open, then add in the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the honey,  and let it cook on low to medium heat for at least 10 minutes but you could do this for 30 minutes too if you are enjoying the smells :) Use 2 cups juice if you want it thicker, otherwise I have found 4 cups of juice works great too- or you can sub in 2 cups of water for the juice if you want too. After it is all cooked down together, turn off the heat completely and let cool just a bit and you can then drizzle in the honey and the pinch of salt and cinnamon. Then transfer the boiled goodness into a high powdered blender and blend on high for 2 minutes until creamy smooth. Be careful if it is still very hot or boiling and make sure to taste test before if it is too hot or if you want to add in a little more honey. 

You can sub the cranberries for 4 sliced apples instead or even 2 cups of roasted pumpkin too

Basically you can mix and match a few favorite fall fruits to make this smoothie. Use what you got.

I hope you give it a try and ENJOY and BE NOURISHED well.

So much love to you!