Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Remember those Roasted Curry Carrots from last week? Well, while roasting those I also used some Japanese sweet potatoes I had laying around.

I love Japanese sweet potatoes because they are the perfect blend of sweet and starch. The average serving of Japanese sweet potato is 5 inches — or about 130 grams. This serving  size contains just under 120 calories, none of which come from fat. For my paleo and low-carb friends out there, sweet potatoes are a great carbohydrates to have in your diet.

To add, these potatoes are a great source of vitamin A (~200% of the recommended daily value). Prep these Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes in a big batch to serve with meals throughout the week. They are delicious and filling.

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Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

(serves 2-3)

Ingredients

2 medium-large Japanese sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

Spices

1 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all of the spices together. Set aside.
  3. Rinse the sweet potato and chop into bite-sized pieces. Leave the skin on ( — it’s got the nutrients).
  4. Place the sweet potato on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Next, pour the spices on and use your hands to mix.
  5. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until they start to crisp and turn brown.

When you make these Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes, take a photo and tag a #SHSHkitchen! Happy, healthy eating. <3

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Roasted Red Pepper Spread

This holiday season was nice and mellow — even though I was running here, there and everywhere. Christmas Eve is always a big, big party with my mom’s family. This year we gathered at my aunt’s beautiful house. Here is most of the crowd:

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That night we stayed at my mom’s house, then went over to dad’s where I was in charge of Christmas lunch. On the menu was a spinach and mushroom egg bake featuring Iggy’s bread, breakfast pork chops that soaked in a brine overnight, garlic-y green peans and sweet, sweet potatoes. Appetizers were banana chocolate chip mini muffins and yogurt with fruit and homemade granola.

Foolish me never took pictures of anything. I was too focused on cooking and enjoying time with family. We did snag this pic of our Christmas stroll on the beach. There were so many people out walking on Nantasket Beach!

Mike, Molly, Ryo, Me, Mary and Dad!

Mike, Molly, Ryo, Me, Mary and Dad!

I did however take a picture of the roasted red pepper spread I brought to my aunt’s house. It’s a simple recipe with minimal ingredients. You’ll find the recipe below.

For Christmas dinner, we spent time with Ryo’s family. We at out at Gyu-Kaku and then went up to North Conway, NH, in the morning. We shopped a lot and walked up to Cathedral Ledge. Check out the view!

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I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season. Cheers to 2016!

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

Ingredients

5 red bell peppers

5 garlic cloves

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

5-8 basil leaves

sea salt

olive oil

Directions

  1. Slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Coat them in olive oil and place them on a baking sheet with outsides facing up. Add the garlic to the sheet as well. Place in the oven and set to a high broil.
  2. When the skin starts to blacken and bubble, remove from the oven and let cool.IMG_1864
  3. Once cool, peel off the skin. Place the peppers and garlic in the food processor and chop. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1-2 tsp of sea salt, basil and the parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. Serve chilled or warmed with bread or — my fav — burrata.

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Healthy Patatas Bravas Recipe

Barcelona Wine Bar in Brookline is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. Not only is it close to home, but the food is great, the staff is awesome, tapas are reasonably priced and the sangria is always on point. They recently opened a second Massachusetts location in the South End. If you haven’t check them out, put it on your bucket list.

One dish we always get is the patatas bravas: fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce. This dish also has a mayo drizzled on top. Since I can’t — or shouldn’t — eat out at Barcelona Wine Bar every day, I thought I’d try to replicate this delish dish on my own. The spicy tomato sauce isn’t quite right, but this version is simple, tasty and not all that bad for you.

At the base, the potatoes are baked instead of fried. The tomato sauce seasoned with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Finally, instead of mayo I stirred up a special Greek yogurt aioli. My test subjects? My favorite gal pals and Grandma Carol.

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The dish was a hit! Next time, I’ll crisp the potatoes more and blend the sauce smoother. Recipe below!

Healthy Patatas Bravas Recipe

Ingredients

For the roasted potatoes:

2 pounds of small yellow/golden potatoes, or medley bag

2 Tbsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

For the spicy tomato sauce:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 large), diced

1 can unsalted diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp salt

1 tsp honey (or sugar)

Greek yogurt aioli:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Optional garnishes:

Fresh parsley

Directions

  1. For the potatoes: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces (skin on) and then toss with oil and salt. Add the chopped potatoes to a baking sheet and roast for 40-50 minutes (or until desired crispness), flipping them halfway through.
  2. For the sauce: While the potatoes bake, prepare the spicy tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pot, add the onion and cook until fragrant. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and increase the heat to bring sauce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Taste to see if you need more spice. Optional: Let cool slightly and add to a food processor if you want a smoother consistency. 
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  3. For the Greek yogurt aioli: Stir all ingredients together. (Phew! That one was easy.)
  4. Put it all together: Once the potatoes have reached a desired crispness, add them to a large serving bowl or dish. Pour the tomato sauce over the potatoes, drizzle the aioli and then garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutty Coconut Granola Recipe

Before I dive into this delicious Nutty Coconut Granola recipe, I’d like to share a quick announcement. At last night’s MoveWith Zumba class on the Cambridge Center Roof Garden (the perfect hidden gem) I shared about two events in Harvard Square this summer. Here’s a pic from last night…

And now, the announcement… I’m teaching Zumba and Yoga Barre at the gorgeous Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre. Sign up for Zumba at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, and/or Yoga Barre at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 11. I vote we all go for a coffee date afterwards. Who’s in?

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Now, the reason you came…

Every week or two, I like to make a big batch of nutty granola to store in the fridge. Homemade is the way to go because… 1. You can control the ingredients, and 2. granola a great option when you need a quick breakfast, snack or smoothie topping. My go-to ingredients are oats, maple syrup and coconut oil. This Nutty Coconut Granola recipe also has almonds, shredded coconut and other goodies. Check ‘er out and make your own!

Nutty Coconut Granola

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup oats (gluten-free)

2 cup brown rice cereal

1 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed or chia seeds

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 maple syrup or honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet or pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix melted coconut oil with maple syrup/honey. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, grind 1/2 cup raw almonds to a fine powder. Add the remaining 1/2 cup and pulse to chop lightly. Add to the mixing bowl of oil/sweetener.
  4. To the same mixing bowl, add the oats, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and flaxseed/chia seeds. Stir until everything is well-coated. If you need more liquid to coat, add a touch more sweetener (1 Tbsp at a time).
  5. Pour granola onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper in one mound. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, start to pack the granola down tightly so that it spreads out and is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Packing tightly will ensure you get coveted clusters!
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning the rotating the pan after 10 minutes. Granola is done when the edges start to reach a darker brown and the center is golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Break the granola apart and store in an air-tight container for up to a week. I store mine in the fridge to keep that freshness and crunch.

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Stay healthy, stay happy!

Mint Cacao Smoothie Recipe

Summer, where have you been all my life?  When the weather is warmer, my smoothie game is on point. There’s nothing better than an ice-cold, refreshing smoothie on a hot day — especially a filling one.

When it comes to creating a good smoothie, it’s about including something frozen + something creamy + something slightly sweet. After that, the world–err–fridge is your oyster. For me, my base is almost always a frozen banana (creamy and cold), 1 cup of almond milk and 1 tbsp of chia seeds. From there, I’ll usually add whatever greens I have on hand, plus some berries or flavor booster.

This particular mint cacao smoothie recipe came about for two reasons:

  1. I love raw cacao. (I buy TruVibe Organics.)
  2. My mint plant is out of control.

My stepdad built an amazing vertical planter for my porch and the herbs are thriving to the point where it’s becoming overwhelming. I pick mint regularly for minty lemon water (thanks for the idea, Lisa), but I need another use. I thought, mint chocolate smoothie… then thought, mint cacao smoothie. Um, yum!

Raw cacao mint smoothie

(serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs for garnish

Directions

Place bananas, raw cacao, milk and other ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth! Add more milk or ice to alter the consistency. Tip for freezing bananas: Peel, chop into 4s and freeze in a ziplock bag.cacao smoothie

Optional: If you need something more filling, add a handful of spinach, 1/4 cup oats, or 1/2 cup of berries, etc. Other good add-ins are more chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp hearts or a dollop of granola.

Try some of my other favorite smoothies:

Tofu Glass Noodles

Last week, I had this weird craving for these bean threads. You can find bean threads at an Asian food store — or in the international section of your favorite grocery store (usually you’ll see the Saifun brand I used here). Serve this dish hot or cold as a simple weekday lunch or dinner. From start to finish, it takes you less than 20 minutes.

Keep in mind — any of the veggies can be swapped out for what’s in your fridge. As you’ll see in the photos, I added some mushrooms (I needed to use them up), but mushrooms are not 0n the ingredient list.noodles

Tofu Glass Noodles

Serves 3-4
Ingredients

5-6 ounces dry glass noodles (I used Saifun bean threads)

2 Tbsp sesame oil

 3/4 package of firm tofu, cubed (How to Prepare Tofu)

1 Tbsp ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 large carrots, sliced into thin sticks

1 red bell pepper, sliced thing

1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

sesame seeds for garnish

Sauce for spicy noodles (this one is my favorite)

2 tsp garlic chili paste

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 lime, juiced

Sauce for sweeter noodles

2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 lime, juiced

Directions
  1. Noodles: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil (use an electric tea kettle — so easy!). Break the noodle bunches in half, place them in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and divide into 3 or 4 serving bowls.
  2. Tofu: In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp sesame oil (other oil works) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add cubed tofu and let it crisp. Fried it on each site until golden brown.noodles
  3. Veggies: In a separate skillet, heat 1 Tbsp sesame oil and then add ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add carrots, peppers and 1 Tbsp water. Cover and cook until they start to soften (like steaming them). After about 5 minutes, add kale and cook until it wilts.noodles
  4. Sauce: In a bowl, whisk together your sauce ingredients. If serving your dish hot, add your sauce to you veggies to warm it up in the next step. If serving cold, put sauce to the side for now. noodles
  5. Remove your veggies from heat and mix in the cooked tofu. If serving hot, mix in the sauce and tofu before removing from the heat. If serving cold, add sauce and let everything cool.
  6. Add the skillet ingredients to your noodles, toss gently and serve!
Stay healthy, stay happy!

Vegan Matcha Oatmeal

I finally got my hands on some Japanese matcha powder a couple weeks ago and experimentation has begun. Last week I made matcha muffins, but concluded that they needed more matcha (stay tuned). On Monday, I made a green tea latte but struggled to get it right without a milk frother or bamboo whisk (birthday present ideas, people). FullSizeRender (11)

Also, I have a high standard for this beverage in particular after sipping on matcha lattes in Japan. Lucky for me… WE ARE GOING BACK TO JAPAN IN JULY. Downside, the last thing I’ll want in the 100-degree whether is a hot matcha latte. But, who knows!

This morning, I thought, why not marry two of my fav things — matcha and oatmeal — to make a yummy breakfast. Here’s what we got!

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Invest in some high-quality matcha powder and make this alternative vegan breakfast yourself!

Matcha Oatmeal

Ingredients

1/2 cup oats

1 cup dairy-free milk

1.5 tsp matcha powder

2 Tbsp hot water

sweetener*

toppings**

*I used liquid stevia. Brown sugar, raw honey, maple syrup or other sweeteners work too!

**I recommend going the coconut route and opting for coconut milk as your non-dairy milk. Then sprinkle your oats with shredded coconut, banana, etc.

Directions

  1. In a small pot, heat 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup dairy-free milk to a simmer. Stir constantly and cook until oats are soft and milk is mostly absorbed (about 5 minutes). Before removing from the heat, stir in sweetener of choice.
  2. Stir 1.5 tsp of matcha powder in 2 Tbsp of hot water until it dissolves. Add this to your cooked oats.
  3. Top with shredded coconut, nut butter, raw cacao nibs, chia seeds — what have you.

oatsEnjoy!

Raw Cacao Banana Oats (or Pancakes)

Breakfast, I love you. Raw cacao, I love you too.

Raw Cacao Banana Oats

Ingredients

1/4 cup gluten-free oats*

1 banana, sliced

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

3/4 – 1 cup almond milk**

Toppings: Sliced banana, raw cacao nibs

*Any oats work

**This depends on how thick you want your oats; you can always add more milk

Directions

  1. Add sliced banana, oats and 1/2 cup almond milk to your bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 second to soften the banana and oats. Remove from microwave to stir and smush the banana.
  3. Add the raw cacao powder and the rest of the almond milk (1/4-1/2 cups). Place back in the microwave for 2 minutes (watch so that it doesn’t overflow while cooking).
  4. Stir, let cool and them top with your favorite toppings (cacao nibs, extra banana, a scoop of nut butter).

oatsFeel like pancakes? Instead of putting the bowl back in the microwave during step three above, pour the oat batter onto a warm skillet and cook like pancakes. Enjoy!

Detoxifying Daikon Chicken Soup

Before we dive into anything recipe-related I must share…

Today, December 30th, is one of my favorite days ever! Why? Because it’s this guy’s birthday!

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I’m so lucky to have such a supportive significant other — someone who motivates me to be the best version of myself every single damn day. Keep pushing my limits and keep me dreaming big. I promise to do the same for you. <3

~

My recent recipe development has been heavily influenced by what I’ve learned about Japanese food and culture. We can chalk that up to living with a Japanese S/O — oh, and binge watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown episodes where he says again and again, “Not many chefs can out-cook culinary masters of Japan” (or something of that nature). However, if my S/O and I hadn’t crossed paths, I do feel as though I would have eventually stumbled upon the delectable culinary creations of Japan. Not only are they tasty, but so good for you.

A couple of months back, I made Asian Beef Stew. On that day in particular, I was craving something my mom used to make when I was growing up. This past weekend, I was craving daikon and chicken soup. Weird, I know. What came about is my delicious Daikon Chicken Soup. It’s packed with greens (good for boosting immunities) and daikon/celery (inflammatory and aid digestion).

This is a one pot operation. The less dishes, the better (IMO). soup

Daikon Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ lb skinless chicken breast/thighs/tenderloin, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups low sodium (organic) chicken broth*
  • 1 cup daikon, sliced into half circles
  • 1-2 cups snow/snap peas
  • 2 cups spinach**

*Sub in vegetable broth if you don’t have (or don’t want) chicken broth

**Sub in kale, cabbage or other greens

Directions

  1. Heat sesame oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, celery and chicken. Sauté until the chicken is fully cooked.
  2. Add sake and soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Then add broth, daikon and snow peas. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer (covered) for 15-20 minutes or until daikon is soft..
  3. Finally, add your spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot.soup

This is the PERFECT winter detox soup. It has lean protein, leafy greens and digestive aids. If you need something sinus clearing, add a little chili hot sauce or chili garlic paste. Warning: Nose dripping will commence. Eat this soup while it’s piping hot — you won’t regret it.

Baked Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

It doesn’t get easier — or yummier — than this. Seriously. When you’re looking to switch to a “clean” diet, you don’t have to give up all of the good stuff.

I’m a sucker for some crispy fries, especially sweet potato fries.  (I always spend the extra $2 to swap my fries at the restaurant.)

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In this [geeky] video, I’m slicing up a Japanese sweet potato. This particular sweet potato variety has a yellow-white flesh. Japanese sweet potatoes are also lighter and less sweet than the traditional orange sweet potato.

Below I have two recipes for you. One is a simple baked sweet potato fries recipe, and the other is seasoned with sesame seeds and aonori — a seaweed powder.

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Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Simple sweet potato fries ingredients

2 large Japanese sweet potatoes

1 Tbsp of olive or avocado oil

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Japanese-seasoned sweet potato fries ingredients 

2 large Japanese sweet potatoes

1 Tbsp of olive or sesame oil

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp aonori

1 tsp white sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.
  2. Wash your potatoes and pat them dry. Leave the skin on, or peel if you would prefer the skin off.
  3. Slice your potatoes into fries. Do your best to make them uniform in size so that they bake evenly.
  4. Add the potatoes to a mixing bowl, then add the oil and seasonings. Toss using your hands until the fries are well-coated.
  5. Line your fries on the baking sheet with no overlap.
  6. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes, then turn your fries and bake for another 5-10 until they reach desired crispiness.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Enjoy!

Vegan Chickpea Coconut Curry

Cooking is my meditation — well, one of my many meditative practices. For me, meditation doesn’t necessarily require sitting quietly (though, that is most effective IMO). The whole purpose of meditation, in whatever form it takes, is to cultivate awareness and compassion.

Boston yogi, Rebecca Pacheco, describes it well:

It’s not possible to be bad at meditation.  There’s doing it and not doing it.  That’s all.  If you want to try: try.  And be assured that it doesn’t always look, sound, or feel Zen.  Sometimes, it feels wretched or boring or like nothing much at all.  It doesn’t matter how long or where you sit, whether roused by an antique Buddhist gong or iPhone.

 

All experiences of meditation are good and valuable because they cultivate the skill of being present, of strengthening the mind.

How often do you focus your attention on one thing or one task? When sitting in meditation, it’s about becoming still and maybe repeating a mantra to gain control of the mind and reach a heightened awareness.  On your yoga mat, it’s a matter of staying present and keeping your physically body and attention in the room. In Zumba class, it’s about staying engulfed in the rhythm, the movement and how your body feels as you move with the beat. In the kitchen, it’s about paying attention to the task at hand — slicing carefully, stirring thoughtfully and paying attention to the ingredients going into your body.

The goal of meditation is to become more aware of your physical and mental body — while also developing compassion, patience, generosity and forgiveness. The intended outcome of all things you do should be the same — to develop compassion, patience, generosity and forgiveness. This is especially true for the foods you fuel your body with, which is something I’ve been reading about in my Japanese home cooking book by Elizabeth Andoh, “Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen.” Rhythm and flow in the kitchen is important — so is cooking with compassion.

Oh, you came here for a recipe?

The point of all of this is… I have found so much joy in cooking lately and I attribute that to the recent meditative nature of my work in the kitchen. I’m always attentive about what is going into my body (for many reasons), but I didn’t always engulf myself in the process. This recipe is based off of one from VeganSandra.curry

Chickpea Coconut Curry

Ingredients

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 leek, just the whites sliced thin (or 1/2 white onion sliced thin)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

2 bay leaves

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can of diced tomatoes

1, 14 oz can of coconut milk (I buy organic, light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s)

  1. In your soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add thinly sliced leeks/onions and salt. Cook for one minute. Add curry, cumin and and bay leaves. Stir and cook for one minute. Add drained chickpeas and cook for another minute. Add the entire can of tomatoes and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. Open the can of coconut milk  stir vigorously. Add about 1/2 of the can to your pot and simmer for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Final step: Taste test your curry and add more coconut milk if it’s not coconut-y for you. Mine was plenty coconut-y without the rest of the can — but, everyone’s taste buds are different.

Serve alone or over a bed of rice with a drizzle of soy sauce (or tamari). Nom, nom, nom!curry

Pumpkin Millet Porridge

Fall is the best — but always so short-lived. I’m taking advantage of fall flavors and autumn-inspired meals before the season turns to winter. Up first, we have a breakfast item.

If you know me at all (or follow me on Instgram), you know that I eat gluten-free oats almost every day for breakfast. They can come in any form: warm oats, cold overnight oats, savory oats with an egg on top, or even in a smoothie. I love how I feel when fueled by oats in the morning. But, there’s more to breakfast — and the grain family — than just oats. For example quinoa, millet, rice and buckwheat are all gluten-free.

Each of those make a fine breakfast grain option believe it or not. The star in the millet porridge dish is certainly the pumpkin purée. I buy the good, organic, as-close-to-straight-up-pumpkin as you can get. The toppings and sweetener are up to you — as always.

Pumpkin Millet Porridge

(serves 2)

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry millet

1 cup water

1/2 cup organic pumpkin purée (get the good stuff!)

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon

*Optional: Sweetener of your choice (honey, stevia, maple syrup)

Directions

  1. If you are starting with dry, uncooked millet, add it to a small sauce pan with the water. Bring the millet and water to a boil, and then let it simmer until all the water absorbs (about 10 minutes). If you are starting with cooked millet, use 1 cup and start at step #2.SAMSUNG CSC
  2. To the saucepan add pumpkin, almond milk and cinnamon. Let ingredients simmer until everything warms to your desired serving temperature. Add in your preferred sweetener (optional).SAMSUNG CSC
  3. Split porridge into two bowls and share with a friend, or store half in the fridge to eat warm or cold the next day.
  4. Top with sliced banana, sliced almonds and/or — of course — pumpkin seeds!SAMSUNG CSC

 

Shrimp Gumbo with Apple Chicken Sausage

A long, long time ago, my friend Lauren brought some seafood seasoning back from New Orleans. Hey Lauren, I finally used it!gumbo

Inspiration struck when I found a shrimp gumbo “comfort food done light” recipe in Shape Magazine. While the recipe was pretty light, I decided to go lighter by nixing some of the fish, small okra, and corn. Then, I opted for whole wheat pasta instead of white rice. This cut down the prep time, cook time and calorie count.

As you can see, I did a number on the recipe page.

As you can see, I did a number on the recipe page.

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup orange pepper, cut into strips

1/2 cup yellow pepper , cut into strips

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

3 garlic cloves

1/4 lb apple chicken sausage

1 + 1/2 cups vegetable stock

 2 tsp gumbo filé powder OR other spicy seafood/gumbo blend (I used my New Orleans’ treasure)

1/2 lb small shrimp, defrosted if using frozen (If using fresh shrimp, find cooking instructions here)

1 tsp chili powder or additional spicy seafood/gumbo blend

2 scallions, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or pot (something big enough for all the ingredients), warm vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion, peppers, celery and tomatoes. Stir until soft, ~5-8 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic, chicken sausage and seasoning. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then add the vegetable stock.

    My vegetable stock of choice.

    My vegetable stock of choice.

  3. While the vegetable stock simmers, toss defrosted shrimp with chili powder in a small bowl. Add the coasted shrimp to the gumbo pan/pot and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add scallions and serve over a bed of rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa or other grain. SAMSUNG CSC

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

Vegan, gluten-free mac & cheese? Could it be?! Well, the vegan part is totally up to you. I used parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese in my batch — but you could leave it out or sub in a dairy-free option. This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted this mac & cheese, but it’s the first time I finally got it right! I mostly credit my handy-dandy hand mixer Ryo so kindly bought (so I’d make more cookies).

The key ingredients in this recipe are Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Fusilli ($1.99), sweet potato and original, un-sweetened almond milk (though any dairy-free milk will do). The brown rice fusilli has only two ingredients (Yes, TWO ingredients): organic brown rice and water. 

mac and cheeseIn addition to those three core ingredients, add all the cheeses and spices your heart desired. I added basil, oregano, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and pepper.

mac and cheeseSweet Potato Mac & Cheese

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients

3/4 package of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Fusilli (6 cups cooked)

2 cups sweet potato, mashed

1 cup unsweetened original almond milk

2 tbsp parmesan cheese (omit or use other)

1/2 tsp of each: Basil, oregano, black pepper (omit or switch it up)

*Bonus: Add some leafy greens like kale, spinach or arugula

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Fusilli according to package instructions.
  3. Cook the sweet potato in the microwave (or bake/boil) until mashable. I tossed mine in the microwave for time’s sake and peeled after letting it cool slightly. The skin comes right off the potato after microwaving — but you’re welcome to peel ahead of time.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mash potato. Add almond milk and seasonings to the bowl, and then blend with a hand mixer. For creamier mac & cheese, add an extra 1/4+ cup almond milk.mac and cheese
  5. Stir in 6 cups cooked pasta and any leafy greens. mac and cheese
  6. In a non-stick or lightly-grease baking pan, pour mac & cheese, then top with a layer of mozzarella if desired.  Bake until cheese melts.mac and cheese

Honestly, you don’t have to bake it at all if you’re not melting any cheese. I was eating it out of the bowl before putting it in the oven. LMK if you try this recipe in the comment section below! Enjoy!

 

 

Breakfast Blueberry Crumble

I often lay in bed at night scrolling through recipes on my iPhone’s foodgawker app. I know, I know; screen time before bed negatively affects your quality of sleep. In fact, I’ve even written about that before on Boston Magazine’s Hub Health blog in, “Bedtime yoga flow.” Ninety percent of the time I practice what I preach, unless I’m a little hungry and already thinking about breakfast.

Anyways… While scrolling though my foodgawker feed last week, I found a recipe for a breakfast crumble. The recipe called for butter and brown sugar, however added fat and sugar are two things I try to avoid when possible (esp. when cooking for myself). Banana and stevia stepped up to the plate when I called for replacements and the outcome was delicious!

To replace the flour, I used a scoop of vanilla protein powder. If you don’t have any, just two tablespoons of all-purpose, whole wheat or gluten-free flour.

Breakfast Blueberry Crumble

(Serves 1)

Ingredients

Fruit

1 c frozen berries

1 tsp flaxseed

Sprinkle of cinnamon

 ~

Crumble

1/4 c oats

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/2 mashed banana

4 drops liquid stevia/sprinkle of powdered stevia

Sprinkle of cinnamoncrumble

Directions

    1. In your serving bowl, microwave berries for 3o seconds. Stir in flaxseed and cinnamon, microwaving for another 30 seconds.
    2. In a separate bowl, mash banana then add oats, protein powder, stevia and cinnamon. Combine well, forming your crumble.crumble
    3. Top berries with your crumble and microwave for 45 seconds, + 30 more if needed.SAMSUNG CSC
    4. Add your favorite toppings, i.e. almonds, dollop of Greek yogurt, more berries,etc., and enjoy!

crumble

Simple, quick, easy, healthy.