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.
I’ve gone a little bit apple crazy this month, even though it’s not strictly apple season. I ordered extra apples in my CSA box this past week which I made a huge batch of apple sauce with and today, I made this simple and delicious apple and oatmeal bar with the applesauce too.
I’m always trying to find healthy snacks for my family that aren’t filled with sugar and are nutritious and will fill them up and give them energy. The apple and oatmeal bars are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen and will last you a few days. They are also easy to pop into lunch boxes or have for breakfast if you are pressed for time.
This recipe is forgiving enough that you can add in different fresh and dried fruit (I imagine pear and figs would be delicious here) and spices (allspice or nutmeg for example). You could even add an extra 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds too. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and dairy free and perfect if you are on any clean eating or detox program.
Tis the season for holiday parties, feasts and gatherings! We have a lovely tradition with our Brooklyn friends every year of gathering during the holiday season and making some different seasonal dishes to share. We’re all foodies and love to eat, so this year the menu is already looking pretty impressive. I like to think we’re a little competitive too and want to make the best dishes we can to impress everyone. This year, I wanted to bring a hearty winter salad which featured kale (but of course) but also some seasonal ingredients which included the humble Brussels Sprout.
It’s been so cold this week in the Northeast, I think many have us have wanted to hibernate at home with a DVD box set and eat meal after meal of stodginess just to keep us warm until June.
Eating in the fall or winter months can be such a huge shift to what we were eating just weeks before when the days were long and hot and all you wanted to eat all day was sweet watermelon.
As much as I love smoothies and juices, sometimes I find the thought of them hard to digest when it gets cold! However, I was determined this week to find a juice that would work for me when the temperatures dipped. That would make me feel refreshed and warm inside. That would have seasonal ingredients that I could pick up at the local Farmers Market or CSA. And here it is. Simple but nourishing and a little spicy. I added the turmeric for its super anti-inflammatory properties and you don’t taste it a bit here. The ginger is also really great for your digestion.
This fall, I’m officially in love with squash of all kinds. I love roasted rainbow slices of delicata squash, butternut squash soup and of course my old favorite acorn squash. Squash is such a versatile and easy fall vegetable and there is no reason to be intimated. In fact, you don’t need to peel squash at all when roasting. Just cut it in half, drizzle over some olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until soft. Roasting squash is kind of a miraculous event – you can’t even imagine that something so hard could turn into something so sweet and caramelized in the oven.
Even though I’m not vegetarian and look forward to my Thanksgiving turkey every year, I have many vegetarian friends and clients and they are always looking for an extra special dish for the holidays rather than being left with all the vegetable side dishes. Personally, I’m moving away from eating meat with every meal to having meat once in a while for a little extra flavor so this roasted acorn squash would be perfect for anyone – vegetarian or carnivore come Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. You can experiment your own spice mixture and add some holiday pizzazz with some cranberries or pomegranates too. Of course, you could add in a little ground pork or turkey into the stuffing mix but I think this is perfect just as it is.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Pomegranates (serves 2 or 1 hungry vegetarian)
1 medium acorn squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mix of cooked wild rice and brown rice – preferably cooked in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until just a little soft for about 30 minutes.
- Saute the onion, scallions, mushrooms and celery in the butter. Stir occasionally and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the rice, chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Remove the squash from the oven and add the rice filling to each half.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place squash back in the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes until the squash is completely tender.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve warm.