I knew I’d have to make something that would incorporate these beautiful walnuts. I decided on a winter citrus salad (I almost always add chopped nuts to my salads because I think they add an extra heartyness). Citrus fruits are everywhere this January, so I bought oro bianco grapefruit and blood oranges (of course regular grapefruit and oranges would work just fine too). I choose avocados too because they go nicely with citrus and are in season.
Last stop, Cowgirl Creamery, my favorite local cheese store, to pick up some raw goat feta to crumble on top.
To give this dish a little more substance, I made quinoa flavored with mint and lemon!
I made a dressing of fresh ginger and avage- so delicious. The sweetness of the agave and the strong flavor of the fresh ginger really go well with the citrus fruits. If you don’t have agave, honey will work too. I bought fresh crushed ginger in a jar, and since I made this salad I’ve used it about 3 more times in recipes- it’s my new favorite “must have”! Ginger is also super good for you! (Ginger’s health benefits)
This salad can be presented in many ways. NO need to make it technical like I did- I just had the time to spend making it look pretty. These ingredients all thrown together in a bowl will look pretty no mater what.
1 cup of quinoa
Equal parts fresh crushed ginger and agave.
Add extra virgin olive oil until you reach the consistency you like- stir really well
Add your Quinoa (1 part to 2 parts water) to boiling water. Stir a bit, bring to a simmer for about a minute. Then turn off the heat and cover. Let site for about 15 minutes- it will cook itself in the steam!
Add lemon zest and chopped mint to taste
Stir in good olive oil salt and pepper to taste
I used a cookie cutter to shape the quinoa nicely.
My cousin Simone has a big heart and an even bigger appreciation for healthy cooking and living!
Not only does she maintain a healthy lifestyle while living in the states, but also while she travels the world! She recently spent 3 months traveling in Croatia, Bosnia, Italy, Spain and Portugal, all while continuing to stay fit and eat vegan. Even I fell off the Vegan Wagon while in Paris- the CHEESE was calling me! But Simone always stands her ground and isn’t tempted by a country’s cuisine.
Simone staying veg in Spain!
Simone’s Amazing Rice Medley was inspired by Julia Child. This year for Christmas everyone had to make something from a Julia Child cookbook. For the many vegetarians and health conscious members in my family this was not an ideal Christmas!
As many of you probably know, Julia Child’s motto is the more butter, cream and fat the better!
Really? Ok, if you don’t mind high cholesterol, clogged arteries and high blood pressure, fine.
Simone knew that some changes would definitely have to be made to Julia’s recipe- sorry Julia.
Healthy Change #1: Simone used a mixture of rices like brown, wild and even red.
Healthy Change #2: Instead of 2 cups of milk, use 2 cups of vegetable stock (no salt added).
Two simple changes with such big health benefits!
3 types of rice
This recipe makes a ton and lasts a few days in the fridge. Since Christmas I’ve made a batch ever week! It goes so well with steamed veggies for a healthy, hearty vegetarian filling dinner!
In French this is called, Puree Freneuse!
(Puree of Rice and Turnips with herbs and garlic)
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup of rice (mix it up! Be creative!)
1 T butter (Earth Balance if making vegan)
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 t salt
1/4 t Italian seasoning
3-4 white turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
In a heavy- bottomed pot bring the vegetable stock to a simmer.
Add the rice, salt, butter, garlic and seasonings.
Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.
Add the turnips and more stock if necessary (vegetable should be covered with liquid)
Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
And there you have it! So simple and so delicious!
Vanessa and Jaime eating- because that’s what we do best!
“Sausage” Focaccia Pizza
Spinach, Garlic and Pine Nut Focaccia Pizza
Just saying her name makes me smile!
Vanessa makes any room brighter with her off the wall energy and good vibes!
Loud. Energetic. Smart as Hell. Spontaneous. Commitment Phobia. Well Traveled. Health Nut. Positive Affirmations…. and on….
I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with Vanessa since the time we were in middle school and now the pleasure of living with her.
For our All Girls Dinner Party Vanessa had no problem coming up with something for an appetizer.
I love her idea of making pizza on focaccia bread.
Because we all know, anything tastes better on focaccia!
1 Rosemary garlic focaccia loaf cut in half like you were going to make a sandwich.
Top your ingredients on the open face.
Bake for about 25 minutes
Spinach Garlic and Pine Nut Pizza
This combo is SO delicious. The pine nuts and garlic roast nicely while the spinach still stays fresh tasting. I love the contrast of flavors, well done Vanessa!
Focaccia (sliced open like a sandwich)
Generous Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Handful of spinach
2 T pine nuts
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
Fresh ground pepper and salt
When I crave the savory “meaty” flavor (I know, gross for a vegetarian to say, but it’s true) this pizza is definitely the most satisfying. Vanessa chose to use vegan Tofurkey Kielbasa sausage, so yummy, and soy cheese! She first sliced and cooked the sausage in a frying pan to get them nice and crisp before putting them on the pizza to be baked.
O My Gosh- I have never eaten the batter of anything like I did this! Maybe it was all the liquor that had me licking the bowl clean!
The first time I had a Persimmon Bundt Cake was when my brother Chad (a P.E. teacher at an elementary school) was given one as a Holiday present by a student’s mom. By the time I finished the cake there was still one more week left of Chad’s Winter Break- which meant I had to wait an entire week before getting the recipe from “The persimmon cake mom”! During the first week back to school Chad brought me a bag of persimmons and a note that read: “Google Fuyu Bundt Cake” Ah, yeah! Thank you Mrs. Persimmon Mom!
The “Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake” recipe is everywhere on the internet, and was orignally published in Sunset Magazine in Oct 1978! Wow, It’s been around for quite awhile- which is why I decided it definitely needed a facelift!
I changed the recipe around a bit to make it healthier and amaretto infused.
My version is Gluten Free and vegan.
I used Gluten Free Flour made from potatoes, which I find can taste a little too starchy. So I went extra heavy on the spices and liquor to cover the starchy taste.
Bob’s Red Mill is a fantastic brand that carries wonderful whole grains, oats, TVP, and all the baking ingredients you could possibley need.
Erin? How should I start? We’ve been friends since elementary school and we’re now roomies.
She’s witty and sassy and most importantly has a true appreciation for healthy, local, organic food. Erin is sure to know how the cow in her bun was raised or if the cheese on her cracker came from a happy goat. When it comes to big farms, little farms, corporate and family farms Erin knows it all. If you are willing to listen, she’s sure to make any meat eater think twice before ordering a BigMac. The Truth.
While taking our stroll through San Francisco’s beautiful farmer’s market and seeing all the wonderful produce it was hard to decide on just one dish to make. Erin spotted the persimmons and knew she could whip up something creative with them.
Erin decided to put a twist on the tradition caprese salad (Italian salad of tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella) and added persimmons!
While at the market Erin stopped at Cowgirl Creamery, a store specializing in organic and local cheese, to grab the freshest mozzarella they had.
The sweet flavor of the fruit really mixes well with the tomatoes,
mozzarella and balsamic vinagar- well done ErBear!
Yields 6 servings
2 beefsteak tomatoes- I hate the name
1 Ball of fresh mozzarella (buffalo if you can find it)
A handful of chopped fresh basil.
3 T olive oil
2 T Balsamic vinegar
2 cups of arugula
Slice the persimmons and tomatoes- discarding any extra watery seeds you’d like.
slice the mozzarella.
Toss well with the chopped basil, sea salt and fresh pepper.
Line a serving dish with the arugula.
Spoon the persimmons onto the arugula and drizzle with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Butternut squash is fantastic this time of year. Not only is it full of vitamins and minerals but it’s tasty and beautiful too. Walnuts, browned butter and sage go nicely with butternut squash too! I then decided to go with bulger as my grain to pull it all together- yum yum!
Slicing butternut squash, peeling it and seeding it can me tedious and exhausting, therefore many grocery stores sell butternut squash pre chopped- this is what I used
I decided to layer this dish- purely for esthetics. But, this dish tastes delightful anyway you serve it.
Also, i was making this dish vegan but feta would go well with this if you’d like to add a chesse
3 cups of chopped Butternut squash
1/2 an onion sliced
1 cup of uncooked Bulger
i couple Tablespoons of butter- I used Earth Balance
A few fresh sage leaves
A handful of roughly chopped walnuts
Roast butternut squash with the onion in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper- about 30 minutes depending on size of pieces.
Meanwhile Cook the bulger in a pot of water according to directions. Bulger/water ratio is 2 to 1. Takes only about 15 minutes to cook.
Chop a few leaves of sage.
Brown the butter in a pan and add the sage leaves. Cook until they become soft- 3 minutes.
Combine all the ingredients, add a little S&P and enjoy!
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