Posts made in October, 2012

spaghetti squash with creamy avocado sauce

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in vegetables | 0 comments

I love avocados.  I guess that is obvious.  I add them to anything and everything and even eat them plain with maybe a little balsamic drizzled over.  I came across a recipe from one my favorite food blogs, Oh She Glows, for an avocado cream pasta sauce – YUM!  Creamy equals comfort to me.  Now that the weather has finally gotten cooler, I crave warm and creamy foods.  I tweaked her recipe just a little and am loving this sauce tossed with quinoa pasta or spaghetti squash.  I served this with chipotle lime salmon for a complete meal.

Growing up, I was part of the “no fat” generation.  I believed that as long as a food had no fat (despite the mega amounts of sugar), it was healthy and I would get skinny eating it.  What a myth I bought in to!  Our bodies must have healthy fats to be strong and thrive.  Avocados are a food known for being especially high in fat – about 85% of  their calories come from fat.  The types of fat in avocados have several health benefits:

  • Phytosterols (a big part of avocado fats) are important in keeping inflammation under control, especially the inflammation involving arthritis.
  • Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols or PFAs (mainly in ocean plants) are also quite anti-inflammatory.
  • The fatty acid called oleic acid (over half of the total fat in an avocado) is similar to the fat of olives and olive oil, so it not only helps our digestive tract absorb fat-soluble nutrients and but it is also a monounsaturated fat, so it has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.

spaghetti squash with avocado cream sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish, vegetable
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon (for garnish)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • handful of parsley
  • fresh cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place spaghetti squash in the preheating oven for 5 minutes to soften, making it easier to cut in half.
  3. Remove from the oven and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds.
  4. Place the squash cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Scoop out and divide squash "noodles" onto 2 plates.
  6. In a food processor, combine avocado, olive oil, water, lemon juice, sea salt, garlic, basil, and parsley and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water if a thinner sauce is desired.
  7. Spoon and divide the avocado sauce over both plates of spaghetti squash and toss to evenly coat the "noodles".
  8. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh cracked pepper.

 

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roasted beet and orange quinoa salad

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in featured, grains, salads | 0 comments

Beets are another delicious root vegetable in season through fall and winter.  When roasted, they lend a hearty texture and sweet flavor to salads and side dishes.  Beets are one of those foods that I grew up dreading being served.  Brussels sprouts and black eyed peas fell into that same category.  Surprisingly, these have become some of my favorite foods in the last several years.  At the beginning of each week, I steam or roast a bunch of beets to have on hand to add to meals throughout the week.

Beets belong to the chenopod family along with chard and quinoa because of their red and yellow pigments and their unique antioxidant phytonutrient content.  Their bright red color comes from the betalain pigment that has an unusual antioxidant make up that make them both pretty and quite healthy.  5 reasons to add beets to your family’s menu this week:

  • They’re good for your eyes and your nervous system.
  • They reduce inflammation in your body.
  • They promote detoxification in your liver.
  • They slow cancer tumor growth.
  • They contain a fiber blend that is good for your colon and your heart.

roasted beet and orange quinoa salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad, side dish
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange white balsamic vinegar (plain balsamic is fine too)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, cut in cubes
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel skin off of beets and cut into small cubes.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, thyme, and sea salt to make the dressing.
  4. Toss beets in 2 tablespoons of the dressing, and lay out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes and let cool.
  6. Combine quinoa, oranges, green onions, pecans, and beets in a medium bowl.
  7. Drizzle remaining dressing over quinoa salad and gently toss.
  8. Serve immediately or chill before serving.

 

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pumpkin gingerbread smoothie

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in featured, smoothies | 0 comments

Fall has arrived and that means pumpkin season – pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin risotto…  Bring in the season with this energizing smoothie and enjoy the health benefits of the natural sweetener, molasses.  Blackstrap molasses is one sweetener that actually has health benefits, as it contains quickly used carbohydrates and lots of necessary minerals.

4 reasons to enjoy blackstrap molasses:

  • Increases your energy by increasing your iron.  Iron is an important part of hemoglobin, the part of your blood that carries oxygen to all of your cells including your muscles and brain.
  • Provides a good source of calcium, the mineral needed for many, many important processes in your body like muscle contraction, heart rhythm, blood clotting, nerve impulses from the brian, and of course strong bones and teeth.
  • Provides an excellent source of other energizing minerals:  copper, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Provides a good source of vitamin B6 and selenium.

Besides this smoothie, enjoy blackstrap molasses in baked beans, in baked items like cookies, cakes and breads, and in marinades for chicken, turkey, or salmon.

pumpkin gingerbread smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: smoothie
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • ½ - 1 dropper of vanilla creme stevia, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • optional: 3 - 4 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or other blender, and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

 

 

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broccoli stuffed acorn squash

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in entree, vegetables | 0 comments

The last week of September marks the end of summer, but it also ushers in the next season – Fall, which is one of my favorites.  I love the changes in colors, weather, sports, scents, and most importantly, of course, the food. Coming in season are all of the squashes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beets, artichokes, chard, pomegranates, cauliflower, apples, pears, and more.

Three reasons to try this recipe this fall:

  • Eating sweet veggies like squashes and onions can satisfy your craving for sweet foods, and therefore lower your craving for sugar.
  • Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and the name “cruciferous” was originally named for the four equal-sized petals in its flowers that look like a cross or crucifix shape.  Pretty cool, especially considering the new study done in China showing their life saving role as protectors against cancer!
  • Made from pickled umeboshi plums, ume plum vinegar is a sweet and salty vinegar that helps with digestion, works to alkalinize your body, and boosts your energy.

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broccoli stuffed acorn squash
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetable, entree, side dish
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • ¼ medium purple onion, diced
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Bake each half of the acorn squash open side down on a parchment lined baking sheet for 45 minutes.
  3. While squash is baking, saute broccoli, onion, raisins, and walnuts in olive oil, vinegar, and agave nectar until soft.
  4. Spoon broccoli mixture inside each acorn squash half, and serve.

 

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