Monthly Archives:

November 2013

Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

Snow is falling, flannel PJ’s are on, and my parents house is my office for the day. Suddenly, I feel the holiday bug has hit me. I am ready for the feasting, and gifting, and extra special loving to begin.

In preparation for tomorrow, I whipped up my family a healthy, wholesome lunch this afternoon. Perhaps consider doing something similar for your own dinner, pre or post Thanksgiving day.

Light meals are extra welcomed this time of year.

Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

Salads are rarely rocket science. For this one, I tore up a bunch of washed romaine, while I let a butternut squash roast. For the squash, preheat your oven to 375F. Slice it in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds, and then cut into 3/4-inch half moons. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum oil, and lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and add a bunch of fresh thyme. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until soft and creamy, but still together enough to slice.

For the vinaigrette, mix 2 parts oil to one part apple cider vinegar, and throw in a few Tbsp. of Dijon mustard. Season with pepper. If you use enough Dijon, likely you won’t need any salt. The Dijon should make it creamy, but not be overpowering in flavor. Taste as you whisk.

Toast up a handful or two of chopped pecans, depending on how many heads of lettuce you’re using. Simply add to a dry skillet over medium-high heat and stir with a spoon until edges of the pecans are browned.

Toss lettuce with the vinaigrette. Chop the cooked squash into bite-sized pieces, and add to the salad bowl. Throw in toasted pecans and a handful of pomegranate seeds. Share, eat, enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving, FoodFitnessFreshAir friends!

 

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Vegan Coconut Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Vegan Coconut Bacon

There’s this new spot that opened up in Philadelphia last year called COOK, designed for cooking demonstrations and classes. It features a 16-seat bar that sits in front of a workspace and large open range, with mirrors that hang above for the audience’s viewing. Here, foodie experts and chefs come to hold tastings and learning sessions. And the audience watches/joins in/eats, depending upon the night’s topic. The place is an absolute gem.

Brussels Sprouts

A newfound friend recently invited me to a vegan Thanksgiving class being held there, which would bring me my first COOK experience. By the end of the experience, I was entirely smitten. I do hope this means more nights there to come.

The event was held by a sweet lady named Rachel who owns Miss Rachel’s Pantry, a vegan catering and delivery service as well as a communal table styled restaurant. During the session, she whipped up recipes like cashew brie with toast, winter veggie stuffed seitan roast, and the recipe I bring you today. As the cooking transpired, the audience tossed out questions while COOK’s event host poured an endless supply of wine. Rachel’s responses were incredibly warm and so was the night.

Coconut Flakes

For me, this salad was definitely the highlight of the menu. I had only ever had coconut bacon once or twice before, and the raw brussels sprout concept was entirely new to my taste buds. Together, they make a combination that gives memory to a salad.

This is a bowl of leaves that’s far, far more than just a salad. With the toasty sunflower seeds, sweet and tart cranberries, and smoky coconut-y bacon, theres a huge depth of flavor going on here, all complimentary to the earthy, cabbage-like flavor of the brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts

COOK often sends you the recipes from their events, which is awesome because I had been planning to recreate this recipe since my last bite. I whipped it up yesterday for a lovely Friendsgiving, and plan to make it again for my family’s own Thanksgiving. When a salad gets rave reviews at a party, you know its worthy of remaking and eating twice within a week’s time. If you don’t get around to it for Thanksgiving, I recommend you bookmark this for later. Thanks Rachel!

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Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Spaghetti Squash with Thai Peanut Sauce

Making peanut sauce is like having an old childhood friend come to visit. Not the kind of friend you avoid after spotting in the grocery store during a trip to visit your parents. Rather, the kind you actually want to see. The kind you wish you could run into more often.

This, for me at least, is how it feels when I’m whizzing away peanut sauce in the food processor. Upon first taste from the spatula, I always question myself as to why I don’t let the occasion occur more often. Peanut sauce should be a current friend, not a long lost one.

Peanut Sauce

I found this recipe over on a newly discovered blog, Produce on Parade. Katie whips up some awesome vegan dishes, including the one I’m sharing with you today.

It joins a relatively new pal of mine, spaghetti squash, with that old friend I mentioned above. It’s hard to go wrong when you put those two ingredients together in a bowl, and top it with fresh herbs and salty nuts.

Consider making one and a half batches of the sauce. Heck, go crazy and double it and you could have leftovers to dip tomorrow’s broccoli in. I tend to like things on the saucy side, so I upped the amounts listed in the recipe below. If your tastes lean the same way, I suggest you do the same.

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Sweet Potato, Corn and Jalapeño Bisque

Sweet Potato, Corn and Jalapeño Bisque

Sometimes misfortunes come as blessings in disguise. One door closes, another one opens. And then you realize, life’s all how you look at it. Ya know?

Lately I’ve been riding the happy wave, largely because of that mindset. Jump on it, and life becomes exciting.

Sweet Potatoes

The past few weeks feel like they’ve been filled with one terrible-turned-into-awesome situation after another, this recipe included.

This weekend, when I opened up my fridge, all that stared back at me were a bunch of  cold, bare, fluorescent lit shelves. That, and a jalapeño, a bag of carrots, a half empty carton of soy milk and a few bottles of beer. I’m really adapting to bachelor life well, it appears.

With a simple trip to the grocery store, well, you couldn’t exactly call this situation “terrible”. But bare refrigerator shelves? That’s no fun, and I was antsy to get cooking. For once, I didn’t want to spend my Sunday perusing the aisles of Whole Foods of farmer’s markets. (What’s happened to me?! Swapping food shopping time for friend time? Get outta here.)

Luckily, I didn’t need to leave the kitchen after stumbling across this recipe. Within it lay the few ingredients I somehow had on hand – sweet potatoes, corn in the freezer, and that lonely jalapeño I mentioned earlier. One glance at this over on Joanne’s lovely blog, and I said screw the grocery store. This needs to be made now.

Empty fridge = a blessing in disguise, I tell you.

Sweet Potato, Corn and Jalapeño Bisque

This soup has all the right elements going for it. It’s filled with creamy, naturally sweet goodness from the potatoes, paired with a crunch from the corn and a kick of spice in there too. Use what you have on hand, or make a trip out to go gather the necessary ingredients. I promise, for this one, it’s worth it.

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Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

I can’t seem to kick my iced coffee habit. The days are nearing a blustery 40 degrees, and I’m still walking out of my local cafe with ice in my java. My hands are cold, my nose is red, my coffee is staring up at me like, “girl, what were you thinking? Now I’m cold too.”

What can I say. I like high fives. I like to ride my bike. I like my coffee over ice. All year around.

Sushi, on the other hand, is not something I always reach for as wintery weather sets in. It’s by far one of my favorite meals to grab during the summer. But this time of year, it often gets ousted for soup.

Ooooh, fall.

Ooooh, fall.

Bowls like these, however, combine the best of two worlds. Fresh veg, rice and nori, all wrapped up in a warm package. Feel free to add other sushi favorites, like avocado, sesame seeds, and maybe even a splash or two of rice wine vinegar into the cooked grains. This is essentially a free-form salad, inspired by Asian flavors, not entirely adherent to sushi. The bowl is what you make of it, my friends.

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

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