Since August I have eaten squash at least 3 times a week… I know, 5 months later I am just now deciding to write about it.
My favorites are Acorn, Butternut and Spaghetti Squash.
Mindee’s beautiful blue and white China, classy.
This Sunday my cousin and I took a stroll to our lovely neighborhood Farmer’s Market at Fort Mason– and it was here that I came across these adorable little baby size butternut squash.
To help understand the petit-ness of the squash, I served them on 6 inch plates.
Because butternut squash does not have a very large opening in the middle with seeds (see photo below) you will have to scoop out extra to make a larger space, big enough to fill with your yummy pilaf. Leaving about 1 inch of the “meat” around all sides.
Butternut Squash (or acorn squash)
1/4 cup quinoa
1 T butter
A few fresh sage leaves chopped
A handful of pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375
Cut the Squash lengthwise
Scoop out the seeds and using a knife, make an even larger opening.
Place cut side down on a baking sheet and prick many times with a fork (this allows steam to escape when baking)
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa.
Rinse the quinoa well before adding to a sauce pan. Add double the amount of water as quinoa, and a pinch of salt to the sauce pan of quinoa, cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, partially covered, cook for 15 minutes- viola!
For the good stuff:
Add the butter to a small skillet, melt and let burn a little, add a pinch of salt sage and pecans.
Cook for a minute until sage and nuts become fragrant.
Add the Quinoa to the pan, coat and mix well with the butter.
Stuff the baked squash with the warm quinoa pilaf and top with a pecan half for a little extra touch.
If I were making these for a crowd (or men) I’d probably serve skirt steak and sauteed dark leafy greens too. But for my cousin and me, this was plenty for dinner.
These last a few days in the fridge. Today after the gym I reheated my last half in the oven for about 30 minutes at 300 while I was in the shower- and viola- lunch is served :o)
Not to mention, this is a good source of full protein after a workout.
I’ve recently been experimenting with making healthy, whole, full protein, gluten free workout snacks…and these I think are a winner. Just one will sustain your energy for at least 2 hour workout.
I had a bowl of cooked grains (quinoa, millet, amaranth) in my fridge that I had made the day before and decided to use this as my base.
I have also been obsessed with almond butter- I finished 2 jars in 3 weeks! oooops :o)
So I decided to go with a nut butter to hold the grains together and provides a good source of protein and healthy fats.
I also prefer almond butter over peanut butter because it has more vitamins and minerals.
Now that we have chosen the carb and protein (grains and almond butter) I decided to roll the balls in coconut as a source of natural sugar. The coconut also helps hold the balls together and keeps from getting your fingers sticky with almond butter… not necessarily a bad thing.
You can use any grain here, even rice. I recommend using quinoa though because it is a full protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids).
Quantities here, like most things I make, are not important at all, you have complete control here. If you prefer, walnut butter, use that. If you prefer cocoa, roll your balls in that. The possibilities are endless.
I didn’t think it needed to be sweet, but again, it’s up to you. You can add 1 T of a natural sweetener like honey, during the first step
Other Options Inside:
ground flax seed
Other Options for Rolling:
Chopped Dried Fruit like Cranberries…
Makes about 10 Power Balls:
1 1/2 cups cooked grains
1/2 cup nut butter
Coconut for rolling
Combine the first 2 ingredients in a bowl (at this point add your sweetener or protein powder)
Form into little balls about 2 tablespoons worth
roll in coconut (nuts, cocoa powder, dried fruit, etc.)
Keep in an airtight container i the the fridge for, well I’d say forever- but just to be safe, 3 weeks!
This Cake was so delicious I had to make it twice in 2 days.
On Saturday I made it for the guys that run the garage I park my car in. You see, in San Francisco it is very rare to find a garage (conveniently open 24 hrs- steps from your front door) that charges less than $250 a month. Not wanting to pay that much, I offered to pay $200 and bring them baked goods every week! They happily excepted the offer!
A Full Protein is made up of a combination of essential amino acids, nine to be exact.
Protein is found in many things besides for animal products, for example seeds, beans and grains.
However, all animal products are full proteins on there own (containing all esential amino acids)- the proper combination of things like rice and beans creates a full protein too.
Though, it is not necessary to combine specific protein foods at one sitting. Throughout the day, as you are consuming plant based proteins, your body will combine proteins from all sources to get all the “complete proteins” it needs.
Plant Based Protein is divided into 3 categories:
Legumes combined with Seeds, Nuts or Grains form a complete FULL protein.
Hummus is a full Protein!
Tihini (sesame paste): Seeds
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sando!
Bread (I like gluten free brown rice bread): Grains
Almond Butter: protein, magnesium, potassium (important electrolyte), healthy fats and gives you long lasting energy and actually reduces your GI (just read this on almonds!)
Chocolate and Espresso: Fast energy
Brown Rice Syrup: natural sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar levels the way white sugar does. It’s a complex sugar that dissolves easily in the bloodstream plus it’s a complex carb, meaning it will take your body longer to digest- all reason why it’s a better sweetener than white sugar.
Here it is, and super easy:
1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup
1 stick of Vegan Butter (the only not-so-good ingredient)
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 T vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter (peanut butter is fine too)
1 T ground espresso
Preheat oven to 350
cream the butter and brown rice syrup
stir in the vanilla then the cooked quinoa, oats and flax
Bake in a greased 9×13 pan for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, in a double broiler melt the chocolate and peanut butter
Stir in the espresso (optional)
Spread over your oats.
Let cool completely before cutting (I even keep mine in the refrigerator)
My Italian grandmother would be disappointed to see what I have done to the family biscotti recipe. But, in my defense, it’s 20-10 and with new research coming out showing the negative effects wheat and sugar have on our bodies, I felt the need to make a few adjustments.
I have recently cut gluten and sugar (except from fruit) from my diet, and I feel great. I have more energy and I’m not bloated and gassy anymore (symptoms of having a wheat allergy).
80% of people are sensitive to wheat, to some degree. I recommend you try just a week with no gluten (and sugar if you really want to take the challenge). I guarantee you will be amazed with how great you feel. Don’t be discourage, there are plenty of things you can still eat (check them out).
I saved some for myself and put the rest in a jar for my brother!
What’s a girl to do with a studio full of cookies anyway?
2 sticks of vegan butter
1 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
3 1/2 cups of G.F. Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1 t salt
1 cup slivered almonds
In a mixer, cream the butter
Add the extract
While the mixer is on, slowly add the applesauce and liquor
It will not blend together completely, no worries
Sift the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients.
You may want to add a little flour if your dough seems too sticky
On a floured surface, roll the dough into logs the size of a broom handle
Bake for 30-33 minutes
Remove from the oven and cut them at a diagonal, about a half inch thick
Turn cut side up and return to the oven to continue baking for about 10 minutes
Cool on a rack
Yields about 30 Biscotti.
I calculated about 55 calories per cookie, and 2 grams of fat! Woohoo!
I can actually say it has been “hot” in the good ol’ “Fog City”
Which means I can no longer get away with out shaving my legs for 2 weeks or not wearing deodorant, damn :o)
With this beautiful weather comes picnic-ing…
Whether you are living in a big city, or a quaint town, it is so important to make time to enjoy the outdoors. Spending time in nature is good for your health, mind and mood. Can you believe it, hanging out in the sun releases serotonin, the happy endorphin! (more on ways to increase Endorphins)
I have been having so much fun lately packing a picnic and riding my bike around discovering parks. There are SO MANY parks in SF, who knew?!
Lately my favorite park has been Allyne, tucked away in a quiet hilly neighborhood, it reminds me of something I’d stumble across in Paris’ Montmartre District.
Today I was tight on time, but it was too beautiful to have lunch indoors, so I decided to whip up a quick, nutritious salad.
(I will be adding many more picnic recipes this summer, but for now, here’s just a simple couscous salad)
Greek CousCous Salad
Made wonderfully first by my cousin Mindee.
Equal Parts couscous to boiling water
Chickpeas (I used a can of organic)
Good quality organic feta
Balsamic Vinegar and EVOO to taste
S&P to taste
Add Boiling water to couscous, cover and let stand for 5 minutes
Fluff with a fork.
Now, toss in the remaining ingredients!
It’s all up to you on proportions, you really can’t go wrong here!
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