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Smoked Paprika Mashed Yams

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Smoked Paprika Mashed Yams

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This twist on a Thanksgiving classic is infused with a warming flavor that will keep all of your holiday guests coming back for more.  And vegetarians rejoice! The smokiness of the paprika mimics that roasted taste that is often lacking in a veggies-only meal.  Check out your new favorite holiday recipe ...

Ingredients: 

- 5 yams

- 5 cloves of garlic, diced

- 1 Tbsp. olive oil

- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil

- 1/2 c. coconut milk

- 2 tsp. smoked paprika

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Optional: toasted pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts to garnish

Recipe: 

1) Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this will make clean-up much easier since yams release a sweet sticky liquid while baking).

2) Using a fork, pierce the yams all over then place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast until soft (about 1 hour).

3) Once yams are cooked through, remove from oven and peel the skins off.  If fully cooked, this should be very easy and the skins will just slide off.

4) Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat and, once hot, add the diced garlic and fry until aromatic and just starting to crispen.

5) Place peeled yams in large mixing bowl and mash.  Add the garlic, coconut oil, smoked paprika and continue to mix.  Next, add coconut milk and mix until you reach your desired consistency.

6) Season with salt and pepper to taste - add more paprika for added smokiness or more coconut milk for increased creaminess - then top with roasted pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts and serve!

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Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

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Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

One of the challenges of turning a dish healthy is how to replace dairy. I'm always looking to replace saturated fats with something that still tastes rich and creamy. Behold cashew cream! This magical trick takes raw cashews and turns them into a cream that will enhance almost any dish, sweet or savory.

The key to making good cashew cream is to soak the cashews thoroughly beforehand; this will make for easy blending. It’s also essential to use raw cashews, as roasted ones won’t boast the same neutral flavor or blend up as well. Depending on how much water you add, it can be quite thick — like the texture of ricotta — or thin enough to resemble heavy cream. It demands very little effort — all you need is a food processor or a high-speed blender — and it’s incredibly versatile. Add a little maple syrup, and it becomes a sweet dessert cream. Add some miso or salt and a touch of lemon, and the cream (or crème, if you want to be fancy) turns savory. Mix in lemon juice, some sea salt, and a little Dijon mustard and you've got a vegan alfredo. Add some cocoa powder and vanilla, and you've made a vegan ganache. Your cream will last at least four days in the fridge, and can be frozen as well. Curious about what to do with cashew cream, other than simply eating it with a spoon? Here are a few of my favorite applications:

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Serves six

INGREDIENTS 2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound 4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup of cashew cream Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup coconut milk 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, thyme leaves

1/2 Tbs of rosemary

Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews

½ cup water

Juice of 1 lemon

Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS

To begin, soak your cashews in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight, then drain and rinse. To make your cashew cream, place all ingredients in a blender and blend at high-speed until smooth and creamy.  Your cashew cream can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

To make your gratin, Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease a casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, use a mandoline (or a sharp knife) to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less.

Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl, add the chopped rosemary.

Now you are going to build your gratin by layering the squash, potatoes and cashew cream in your dish. Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them, just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top that layer with half of your cashew cream. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the cashew cream. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the coconut milk over the entire dish.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns.

Scatter on the fresh basil or thyme before serving.

Serve with a big green salad!

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Beet-O De Gallo

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Beet-O De Gallo

For me, beets are nostalgic. They remind me of family dinners and of my father.  Even way out in Hawaii, he always managed to bring beets to our table, along with stories of Californian farming and summers spent on river bottoms.  Lately, in my house, beets have been finding their way into the most unexpected of dishes.  New favorite: using rich, tangy and colorful beets to liven up salsas.  Take this delectable Beet-O De Gallo: Beet-O De Gallo

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (1-2 tomatoes)

1 cup of diced, roasted beets

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon diced jalapeño

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Two small limes, juiced

3 tablespoons loosely chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1) To roast beets, first wash, then place in a large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and loosely wrap the tinfoil around them. Beets should be roasted at 400 for 20-40 minutes (or until they can be easily pierced).

2) Once the beets are soft, remove them from the oven and foil and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

3) While the beets are cooling, combine all other ingredients in a bowl to make a classic Pico de Gallo base.

4) When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel.  If fully cooked, this should be easy enough to do with just your hands, although a small paring knife can be used as well.

5) After removing the skin, dice the beets and mix them into your tomato salsa base.

6) Transfer all ingredients to your serving bowl and season with salt, pepper and fresh chili powder to taste.

*My favorite way to eat this salsa is on a veggie-heavy tostada!

 

The Skinny

Why eat beets? Because beets, (especially the greens), are packed full of vitamins C, A, calcium and iron.  They also have high levels of folic acid, magnesium and potassium and are excellent sources of fiber.  They have long been used in treating liver disorders, by stimulating detoxification as well as for lowering cholesterol.

Beets have also gained attention for their anti-cancer properties.  The bright red pigment that gives beets their color, AKA betacyanin, is a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting agent.  Betacyanin works to inhibit cancer-causing cell mutations, specifically in the stomach.  To top it all off, the excellent fiber found in beets helps to increase bowel function and heighten detoxification, helping to cleanse the body of its toxins. (Micheal Murray, 2005)

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

A good blended soup should be a go-to in your cooking kit of cooking techniques. They are easy to make, extremely nourishing and seem much fancier then they truly are.  All blended soups start with garlic, onions and vegetables. Get creative with whatever is in season. Cook vegetables until soft, season and then blend them until smooth. Wah lah! I love picking a good garnish. Garnish opportunities are endless! Some of my favorites are something with crunch (toasted nuts, whole-grain croutons, crispy tortilla strips), something creamy (yogurt or flavored oils), or fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, thyme.) Get creative! 

INGREDIENTS

Olive Oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 teaspoons of red curry paste

1 head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped

1 russet potato, peeled and chopped

1 can of coconut milk

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)

Greek yogurt, toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onions, garlic and ginger and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.  (4-5 mins)

Add red curry paste to the vegetables and cook another minute or until fragrant. Stir in your coarsely chopped cauliflower and your peeled and chopped potato. Add another pinch of salt.

Add about 4 cups of stock and increase the heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce it to medium heat and add in your coconut milk. Stirring occasionally, cooking until the vegetables are very tender. About 20 minutes.

Using a food processor, immersion blender or hand-held blender, puree the soup until it is completely smooth. Put the soup back into it's pot and reheat on low until you are ready to serve.

Serve hot in warm bowls and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a few sprinkled pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves.

The Skinny

Cauliflower is part of my favorite vegetable family: The Cruciferous! The cruciferous family are known sulfuric vegetables that stimulate and detoxify the liver. for healthy detoxification you'll want to include a cruciferous vegetable 2-3 times per week.

Cauliflower itself offers huge doses of antioxidant Vitamin C, manganese and carotenoids. 1 cup of cooked cauliflower gives you  55 mg of vitamin C. Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation. And, just by virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower is naturally protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

Now that we are in the holiday season, sugar cravings are high.  Instead of breaking out the Christmas cookies early, use up the last of your Thanksgiving pie ingredients with this magically creamy pumpkin ice cream.  This delicious, guilt free, holiday dessert is vegan and very low in sugar.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS

2 Frozen bananas (break into pieces before freezing.)

3 TBS Pumpkin Puree

Few splashes of Vanilla Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Or Cow Milk. (just enough to create a creamy consistency)

1/4tsp Ground Cinnamon & 1/4tsp Ground Clove (or substitute both cinnamon and clove with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie mix. )

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1 Tsp honey or maple syrup

2 Tsp. toasted pecans to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the frozen bananas to a food processor or heavy duty blender.

Pulse a few times to break them up, then add the milk and blend until smooth (you may need more or less depending on the consistency your looking for.)

Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend slowly until it is mixed.

Dish up into ice cream bowls and serve immediately!

The Skinny

Having less sugar in you diet will improve your immune system, control your food cravings and promote healthy skin. Did you know that just one teaspoon of sugar, inhibits your immune system for 12 hrs?! If your someone who craves sweets, find creative ways around the habit.  When those cravings kick in, satiate the body with good fats instead.  Pumpkin "ice cream", apples with cinnamon, or 1 Tbs of almond butter are all good choices....

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

For both kids and adults Halloween is the gateway into the holiday eating season. It marks the beginning of the many celebrations to come, and with it our hard earned health and weight loss goes out the window.  Many of our holiday festivities are centered around eating which is arguable the best and worst of traditions.  Halloween in particular, sabotages our weight because of the high amounts of sugar we consume.  And as much as I love a tiny witch knocking on my door, I can't help but feel that I am working against my own values when I stock their buckets (and my own pantry) with sweets. Now I don't want to be the house on the block known for giving out weird kale treats (or do I..?), but I do think there are healthier options for our trick-or-treaters. Here are a few ideas to help you and your neighbors be a little less sugar crazed.

    • If you have kids of your own, try to keep the focus on the spirit of Halloween. Play dress up and make creative costumes, carve pumpkins, decorate your house and yard, play games, build a haunted house, tell ghost stories, and have parties with friends.
    • Don't over buy trick-or-treat candy! Running out is okay, I promise.  Every house on the block (including your own) will have more candy then they know what to do with. And that extra Halloween candy that is enticingly left out on the counter, will undoubtedly sabotage your health plans.
    • Give toys: false teeth, temporary tattoos, stickers, bouncy balls, plastic spiders and rats, Halloween pencils and erasers, hair clips, and bracelets.
    • Offer healthier treats: instant coco mix, graham cracker cookies, 100% juice boxes, fruit leather, air-popped popcorn packs, box raisins, natural fruit snacks, and trail mix.
    • If you do buy candy opt for the smaller versions: Hershey's kisses, tootsie rolls, etc.
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