I’m not really a cabbage person. I occasionally buy them to make coleslaw with in the summer but when I see them in the supermarket, I normally walk right past them and move on to something more familiar like kale or squash. Last week however, I got a cabbage in my CSA box. If you’re not familiar with the CSA model it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a wonderful system of accessing organic fruits and vegetables and supporting local farms. The only slight problem with this model is that you can’t choose what is in your box and sometimes you end up with fruits or vegetables you aren’t quite familiar with or don’t quite know how to cook. Like a cabbage.
I’ve been desperate to make my own hot chocolate ever since our trusty Cadbury’s ran out last week. My children love a little hot chocolate especially as a treat in the cold wintry days after school. I know many store bought brands can be full of sugar and artificially additives and so that led me on the quest to make my own. I had two reasons really: my thirsty children being one of them, and secondly I wanted a pretty gift to give to teachers and friends at Christmas. This recipe fit the bill.
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 getting cold outside, the evenings are drawing in and this is the week that America celebrates Thanksgiving. At this time of the year, it’s natural for us to turn to rich, heavy, comforting foods. With the sugar craziness that starts at Halloween and finishes after New Year’s, many of us throw out our diet and nutrition goals and forget about healthy food options and our good intentions from the summertime.
Don’t worry, here are some easy tips that you can use throughout the entire holiday party season that will keep you healthy and won’t have you starting all over again with unrealistic health goals on January 1.
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.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my healthy followers!
If you are worried about packing on the pounds and staying healthy this festive season, read my tips below for help.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. People are traveling all over the country to be with their loved ones. Gifts are being wrapped and placed under twinkling Christmas trees. Friends and families are being reunited. Kitchens everywhere smell of aromatic spices and tasty treats. It’s a time to rest, spend time at home, cook delicious meals and have fun. This month has been a whirlwind for me with work, holiday parties, events at my son’s school, visits from relatives and traveling to be with family. I haven’t had so much time to spend in my kitchen whipping up new treats for my blog, so I thought I would round up some delicious gluten free, healthy treats that you can bake at home from some of my favorite blogs and recipe sites. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!