Caramelized Balsamic Walnuts and Almonds

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While I haven’t blogged in months, it never leaves my mind. Summer has been busy with road trips and vacations to tropical islands!

I’ve been wanting to caramelize nuts lately, but wanted to do something different. I was thinking balsamic flavor would be amazing. So, why not add balsamic to some sugar? This nut mix is awesome. I plan to serve it with a beet and goat chèvre salad!

Ingredients

– 1/2 c sugar

– 2 Tbls canola oil

– 2 Tbls balsamic (I used a mix of original and garlic flavored)

– 2 c nuts

– salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a pan, heat the sugar, oil and vinegar. When this begins to bubble, add the nuts

2. Cook the nuts for several minutes. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool!

To Beet or not to Beet?

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Beets: love them or loathe them?

I am a beet lover. And while I type this autocorrect keeps wanting to say beer over beet. For the record, I also love beer.

Prior to posting this meal, a few friends discouraged this beet-alicious post. They said the photo looked gross. I asked why and they said because beets are gross.

On an aside, beets are crazy hard to photograph. At least for me.

As for the meal, I think if you find different ways to cook and incorporate ingredients, you may find them to be quite appealing.

My beets were pickled so they were a little on the sweeter side. But if you use a savory cheese and maybe some greens, it can really change the flavor. I would’ve liked to use a chèvre spread but I only had Swiss cheese on hand. I was very pleased with this grilled beet and Swiss cheese!

Parmesan Fried Polenta with Roasted Broccolini

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The past few weeks have been unbelievably busy. The first week of March I was diagnosed with melanoma and 8 days later said melanoma was removed and I am officially cancer free. I was very fortunate to have caught this early and highly encourage everyone to go in for yearly skin checks! Also, wear your SPF!

Disclaimer over. Onto delicious food. The dish above was a quick and easy meal with most ingredients premade. I used a healthy pasta sauce with no added sugar or funky ingredients. I also used a premade tube of organic polenta.

To prepare the broccolini: cut the ends, if needed, and then rinse. In a bowl toss the broccolini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400F for 10-15 minutes.

To prepare the polenta: Heat some olive oil in a pan and add some thinly shaved garlic to the oil which will infuse it with flavor. Slice the polenta and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and freshly shaved Parmesan. Fry the polenta slices until light brown.

For extra texture and flavor, we also sautéed some mushrooms in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Top the polenta with pasta sauce and fresh Parmesan. Enjoy!!

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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This quinoa salad is excellent. Why? It’s easy to make and is delicious. My favorite combination when making a meal.

I cooked 1 cup of quinoa then added a few capers, oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, celery, kalamata olives, basil, feta, garlic, olive oil and some zested lemon.

As you can see, I served it atop some greens, baby kale. I loved this so much, I made it again with fusilli pasta as the grain.

Enjoy!!

Rogan Josh Lentil Stew

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First post of 2016! Happy New Year to you. Honoring that New Year tradition, I wanted to focus on an ingredient that brings hope for the year ahead: lentils! These mini-“coin-like” legumes are amazing and delicious. I am glad to create a recipe that includes them.

I ran across the spice, Rogan Josh, a few years ago. It was in a meat dish, so it wasn’t really my thing, but the spice aroma smelled amazing. So, I saught it out and bought a small jar.  Rogan Josh is a Persian spice that has cinnamon, paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom; very curry-esque. I absolutely love it in this lentil stew. Feel free to sub other veggies in here as desired. I stuck with carrots and sweet potato.

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeeled, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 Tbls and 1 tsp rogan josh spice
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 can whole fat coconut milk
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c red lentils
  1. Sauté the onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper in coconut oil for 5-10 minutes
  2. Add the diced sweet potato and rogan josh spice
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, coconut milk and lentils
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and then cover. Stir frequently and add water as needed (I added about 1 cup)
  5. Cook for 45 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked
  6. Optional, top with wilted spinach

French Onion Soup

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I have been eating a ridiculous amount of French onion soup lately. This is really quite amazing because French onion is typically made with beef broth. However I have been finding more places that offer a veggie version of it.

When I saw this recipe posted by Sweet Paul, I know I had to try it out. The recipe isn’t vegan but you could easily sub earth balance butter or olive oil.

The soup turned out great, even though I had to use Swiss cheese instead of the gooey Gruyere.

Enjoy!

Acorn Squash Stuffed With Curried Fried Rice

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Today had me feeling out of sorts and I was in the mood for some healthy comfort food. My acorn squash was going from green to orange, so I knew I had to use it up.  First, I halved the squash and scooped the seeds out. Then I oiled and seasoned the halves. I baked them at 400 F for about 20 minutes.

While the squash was baking, I cooked some brown rice. In a separate pan I sautéed onion, carrot, celery, kale and garlic in sunflower oil. I added Maharajah curry, salt and pepper to the mix. Once the veggies were tender, I added golden raisins and some white wine. When the rice was ready, I added it to the skillet of curried veggies, covered it and left the heat on low.

Once the squash is tender, remove from the oven. Take advantage of the heat and roast some cashews coated in coconut oil, salt and curry powder for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the roasted cashews to the curried rice. Scoop generous portions into the squash.

Enjoy!!

Cinnamon Honey Nut Granola

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I am a huge fan of granola. It has a great shelf life, it’s relatively healthy, it’s easy to make, and it’s great hot or cold!

I recently whipped up a batch of this granola and it is fantastic. Last year I made and gifted granola for the holidays and I will likely do the same this year, with this exact recipe.

Feel free to play around with the spices, nuts and fruits that are used here.

Cinnamon Honey Nut Granola

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 Tbls brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Mix dry ingredients – oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt. Set aside
  3. Mix wet ingredients – honey, oil, vanilla
  4. Add wet to dry. Mix in nuts
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 10 more minutes or until granola is golden
  6. Let cool and mix in cranberries

Wilted Kale with Foraged Mushrooms

I have a bunch of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms to use up still….

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For tonight, I heated the mushrooms (which were previously sautéed in butter and frozen) in a skillet. I seasoned them with nutritional yeast, Bragg’s amigos and red pepper flakes. It is so simple, healthy, and delicious. You can mix the same ingredients together with more traditional shroomies such as portobellos.

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