Turkey, Pumpkin, Fall Vegetable And White Bean Chili

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This turkey chili is one of those recipes that you can make over and over again during the fall and winter months. It’s hearty, warming and quite delicious! I play around with different ingredients and spices but this is the basic recipe. The key is to add lots of warming spices to the mix and make it as spicy as you want. I don’t eat beef or lamb so often use ground turkey as a substitute in recipes and I like its lighter flavor. If you are on a low-carb diet, this will be a full meal for you or you can add quinoa or brown rice as a side. To make it into a vegetarian or vegan recipe, simply omit the the turkey and replace with extra portabella mushrooms or cubes of butternut squash. It’s also a great recipe for a slow cooker. I prefer to brown the turkey first, then mix with the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker and leave on low heat for 8 hours. This recipe serves about 4-6 people and it keep really well in the fridge to be heated up as a quick dinner during the week.

Ingredients

1 pack organic ground turkey
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 small pack cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 bunch kale, cut into thin ribbons
1 red pepper, diced
1 large can whole plum tomatoes
1 small can navy or pinto beans
1/2 can organic pumpkin puree

Spices:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (to taste/optional)

Method:

  1. Heat a large skillet or large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground turkey and stir occasionally. Cook until brown.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, mushrooms and spices. Stir under softened.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, pumpkin, kale and garlic.
  4. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes on low heat until everything is cooked through and the flavors have developed. Add more spices (chili powder or cayenne) to taste.
  5. Serve alone in a bowl or with a side of quinoa or brown rice.
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Coconut Lime Quinoa

IMG_2569It feels as if I’ve been hibernating during this long cold winter. Eating lots of soup and stews. Heavier comfort foods. So with the arrival of a few crocuses in my front garden and a huge magnolia tree by my neighbor’s house, I can officially come out of hibernation and enjoy the spring sunshine and cheerier spring foods. I always tell my clients to use March and April to transition from the richer, heartier winter foods to lighter salads, soups and raw foods and this is a perfect recipe for that.

This coconut lime quinoa side dish is zesty and bright and reminds me of the warm tropical flavors of the Caribbean. It’s just as easy to make as regular quinoa and the lime really stands out in this recipe. I like to make a big batch and store in my fridge for 3-4 days. Eat with roasted chicken or vegetables for a delicious spring supper!

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa
2 cups (1 can) coconut milk
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa with water in a sieve.
  2. Add quinoa and coconut milk to a small saucepan and simmer, covered, for about 12 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.
  3. Stir in the lime zest and juice at the end.

 

Bunny Muffins (Carrot and Apple Muffins)

FullSizeRender-4I was asked this week by my daughter’s pre-school teacher to make their Easter snack so I came up with these muffins – quick and easy and full of carrots…perfect for the Easter Bunny so now they are officially called Bunny Muffins. There is no sugar in these muffins (the sweetener comes from maple syrup or mashed banana and apple) and they have a hearty blend of carrots, oats and apples and would make a delicious healthy breakfast on the go or a perfect snack for your little ones. I like to make them in mini muffin tins for small hands and bite size snacks. I literally whipped them up as I was packing lunches this morning so they aren’t fussy and pretty quick to make.

Bunny Muffins
Makes 12 large or 24 mini muffins

Dry Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
(you can add extra spices too such as ginger or nutmeg)

Wet ingredients:

2 cups grated carrots (preferably organic)
1 small apple, grated
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup – OR 1 small banana, mashed
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in one bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients.
  4. Combine both wet and dry ingredients until mixed together.
  5. Distribute among lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Thanks to Cookie + Kate for the recipe inspiration!

 

Quick And Easy Vegetable Stock

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Thanks so much to Doug from The Kitchen Professor my guest blogger today for some great tips about how to make your own vegetable stock. This tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store!

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I don’t know about you…

But I always seem to be out of vegetable stock whenever I need it.

There are some big advantages to making your own vegetable stock:
1. You won’t feel silly when you don’t have it and need it.
2. You can control the amount of salt, i.e. sodium, in your meal.
3. It is much cheaper to make your own stock than to buy it premade.

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Apple-Banana-Oat-Raisin Muffins

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I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember and it’s a wonderful tradition that I now love to share with my children. Both my children love it – the measuring out of ingredients, the mixing and the licking of the bowl after everything is in the oven. Think baking needs to be just sugary chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on the top? Think again. There are so many ways to bake with lowering the sugar content and adding in nutritious ingredients like fruit or vegetables.

I’ve posted on my blog many times about some really great alternatives to traditional baked goods. Try my delicious sweet potato brownies or chocolate ginger beet and pear muffins with chocolate gaze or my apple and oatmeal bars. These all make perfect after school snacks or weekend teatime treats.

These simple muffins came about because we belong to a winter CSA where we get a weekly share of apples and pears (cue the cockney rhyming slang) and I was looking for a recipe that used fruit as a sweetener. There’s only a little but of sugar in this recipe but I think you could probably omit it entirely (except for the honey) and not notice it at all. These are easy and quick to make and taste delicious hot and fresh from the oven and keep for a couple of days in a cookie/biscuit tin too.

Apple – Banana – Oat – Raisin Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup of butter)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons of local honey
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup raisins
1 apple, cored and cut into very small fine pieces
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup of oats (I like jumbo oats but instant will do too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a good pinch of salt

Oven: 350F

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar and then mix in the eggs.
  3. Add the mashed banana and apple and honey. Mix well.
  4. Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix very well. Mix in the raisins. The mixture will be fairly moist.
  5. Spoon into muffin liners in your muffin tin.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top is brown. Leave in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes to cool.

 

 

Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Pecorino and Pine Nuts

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This month has been so much fun with all the holiday parties, brunches, school events and gatherings with friends of family. Lots of comfort food too and unfortunately a little bit too much sugar, alcohol and treats.

This salad was made out of a craving. A craving for crunch. A craving for raw vegetables. A craving for a simple lunch. A craving for something nutritious and easy in the middle of dark December.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats

Lasagne Boats

We had a wonderful week in North Carolina for Thanksgiving and we fortunate to be able to stay in a beautiful lake house in Lake Norman (thanks, Allison and family!) which had a huge and fantastic chef’s kitchen. I absolutely love cooking for crowds so I was in my element all week long.

The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to try out this recipe. Many members of the family are on a low-carb diet and I always like to try something new. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to try it. I have a bit of a thing for spaghetti squash right now! This is a low carb and low fat meal.

I love how everything is piled into the spaghetti squash “boats” so that you can exercise some portion control (although you may be tempted to steal a bit from your neighbor’s plate during the meal) and you can serve it with a light side salad. It does take some prep work but it can easily be prepared for the family as a weeknight meal. You can make them vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and replacing with some portabello mushrooms or eggplant for extra texture. Here’s my take on the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again this month!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (one half for each person)
  • 1 pack lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms – preferably baby bella
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. (You can prepare the squash in advance if you’d like) Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands.
  4. Wrap strands on a clean dish towel and squeeze until barely moist. This is a necessary step or the spaghetti squash boats will be really watery. Place spaghetti squash halves (or “boats”) onto a baking sheet.
  5. Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Make the spinach-mushroom topping. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the spinach and cook briefly (1 minute) until it wilts.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the spaghetti squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and half of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Make the tomato sauce: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds.  Add the can of tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  9. Spoon tomato-turkey sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash-spinach-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
  10. To brown the tops of the squash, broil/grill squash for 1-2 minutes under a high broiler/grill.